A day trader buys and sells the stock the same day. Whether it’s trading forex, crypto, stocks, or other commodity futures, day trading requires discipline and fast reaction times. That’s why your choice of a broker and supported online trading platforms can directly affect how efficiently you can day trade. If you’re a day trader looking to optimize your trading strategy, you may want to hire an EA programmer to develop customized trading algorithms.
Not to mention, some brokers are suitable for specific markets and not everyone. So, what’s the best day trading platform for you? Let’s find out!
Best Day Trading Platforms
We have selected the best brokers and platforms for day trading in the following paragraphs. Select one on the basis of your personal priorities.
1. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers tops our list of the best day trading platforms. It has been one of the most reliable day trading platforms for many years now. However, Interactive Brokers or IKBR is not a platform for beginners or hobbyists. Its targets extremely active day traders who need fast executions at extremely reliable accuracy.
The platform leads in the lowest cost trading. At the moment, it’s charging a mere $0.005 per share with a $1 minimum and a max amount of 1% of the trade value. Then there’s tiered per-share pricing on the basis of monthly order activity.
Lastly, its IKBR Lite is absolutely free of cost. If you want to go for the cheapest day trading platform, IBKR is for you.
It aims to fast-track trades while keeping the trading costs as low as possible. You can utilize the IBKR’s robust desktop platform titled Trader Workstation for quick trades.
It allows easy access to all the professional trading algorithms, technical factors, and trading options. The IBKR Mobile day trading apps are also available for Android and iOS devices.
You can automate your trades with the API on IBKR. You can also customize any of its algorithms to fulfill your orders.
Hence it because easy for you to seek profitable opportunities within a spread. But, the learning curve for automating the trade this way can be a bit much for new users.
XTB is a global CFD broker regulated by several financial authorities all over the world, including the UK’s FCA. It has headquarters in London as well as Warsaw.
It is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, regularly disclosing its financial details online to remain as authentic as possible. This makes XTB one of the safest online brokers for day trading.
The XTB’s xStation 5 platform comes in mobile and desktop versions. In terms of functionality and design, both offer the same as its web trading platform. Forex fees are extremely low. In most cases, there are no withdrawal fees at all.
In fact, some European clients are even eligible for free stocks and ETF trading for up to €100,000 monthly trade volume. However, there are inactivity fees in place.
The account opening process is relatively seamless, quick, and fully digital. It requires no minimum deposit for individual accounts (there’s a fee for corporate accounts, though). Your account gets ready for trade the same day.
Not to mention the deposit and withdrawal processes are also fast, mostly free possible via multiple channels.
However, there’s one major drawback of XTB. Its product range isn’t as diverse as our top pick. You can only trade CFDs. Stocks and ETF trading is limited to some European countries only.
We recommend testing the platform with the help of a demo account before you start trading with XTB.
If you are a day trader, you must be familiar with TradeStation already. It’s one of the top picks for active traders because of its excellent feature set, zero percent trade commissions, and extensive range of tradeable securities, including eight cryptocurrencies.
In recent months, the platform has made some changes to its charting tools, improving its technical market analysis mechanism. Now, it also features some excellent technical triggers to help with your automated strategies.
TradeStation has a massive database of historical data, which they put to good use. It utilizes the best charting tools and trade testing strategies to give you reliable tracking and projections.
Besides, there are a ton of other useful features for traders who trade at a high volume and don’t bother with the minimum account amount.
With TradeStation’s impressive desktop platform, you can route all orders yourself. You can also utilize a particular trading venue or the smart routing engine. And that’s not even the best part.
You can use TradeStation to create, test, monitor, and execute any auto trading strategy on the basis of a technical trigger. Isn’t that awesome, right?
Among some excellent data analysis tools, Tradestation has TriggerCharts Ecotrak. It provides underlying health data on the economic environment.
Likewise, TAS Market Map shows timeframe charts for stocks, cryptos, ETF, and similar indicators. Its app store houses dozens of other analysis tools that you can get for a monthly price ranging from $1 to $299.
Firstrade is one of the original brokerages online. It provides a decent and straightforward trading platform with low fees – particularly for the options.
Although Firstrade lacks the sophisticated functionalities of our top pics, it still provides a very decent solution for options traders and intermediate-level investors who want to trade conventional assets like bonds, ETFs, and stocks.
Commissions and fees are non-existent (you need a $500 minimum account fee, though). Whereas other online brokers have tried to eliminate commissions for ETFs and stocks, Firstrade goes a step further and reduces most other costs to zero.
It doesn’t charge a per contract fee at all. There’s also a wide range of zero commission mutual. However, margin traders should be cautious as Firstrade charges exorbitant rates to borrow funds.
This platform lags behind due to its limited product offerings. There are no Forex trades, futures, cryptos, fractional shares, or international investments. Besides, the platform itself is pretty basic as well.
It has fewer research functionalities and tools in comparison with the best online brokers. So, if you are a pro-investor, you may want to try our top picks instead.
Furthermore, its trading platform is very robust, with an intuitive user interface. It helps beginners get a comprehensive overview of all the critical data and execute any trades in no time.
The options trading is easily accessible, and contracts are free of cost. Overall, it’s an excellent platform for rookie day traders.
5. Saxo Bank
Saxo is a regulated Danish investment bank. It provides Forex and Equities online trading on more than 40,000 markets and 9 asset classes with the help of SaxoTrader Go and Pro platforms.
The bank is regulated by several international financial authorities, such as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Danish Financial Services Agency (FSA). All of these are signs of Saxo Bank’s reliability and safety.
While Saxo Bank has average trading and non-trading fees, the structure is a bit complex. Its service fees for various asset classes differ greatly in different regions of the world.
To offer some consolation, there are no withdrawal fees. On the negative side, there’s a custody fee and an inactivity fee.
Its trading platform offers a variety of asset classes across global financial markets. The SaxoTrader suite runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Blackberry. The mobile suite is called SaxoTrader Go.
The login process takes just one step to load the program. Nevertheless, VIP and Platinum accounts offer more security due to a unique IP address login.
All in all, Sexo Bank is a great online broker. Thanks to a user-friendly interface design backed by great research methodology, it offers a complex yet decent service.
Moreover, its product portfolio covers almost all asset types and global markets. Its only drawback is high fee rates for futures, bonds, and options in certain regions of the world.
6. TD Ameritrade
No minimum amount requirements for trading, no trade commissions, no platform fees, no data fees, multiple charting tools, and research tools – all these make TD Ameritrade the best stocks day trade platform.
Oh, and did we mention, that you get a $600 bonus as soon as you open and fund your new Ameritrade account? It’s a full-service brokerage experience that caters to the requirements of beginners as well as pro-day traders in a variety of asset classes.
Thinkorswim is the best way to trade with TD Ameritrade. It’s a highly customizable option with multiple stock charting, advanced analytics, and extensive screening functionalities. You can customize thinkorswim pattern day trading according to your requirements by picking from 300 in-built strategies.
Moreover, you can also stream live trading data via intra-day charts. And if you want to purchase right from the chart, you can do so as well. Its web and mobile platforms offer a similar experience.
While the brokerage has joined other best-day trading platforms in the race to zero fees, it still needs to embrace it fully. The zero-per-cent commission only applies to the US exchange-listed stocks and ETFs.
Besides, the only fee worth mentioning is the full account transfer fee (i.e. if you want to transfer your assets to another brokerage). In this case, you have to pay $75. On the plus side, there are no annual or inactivity charges.
One area where Ameritrade stands out from the competition is access to educational resources and data. It has research, commentaries, analysis, and news available from 15 service providers like Reuters, Morning Star, Argus, FRED, Vickers, and CFRA, to name a few.
The final day trade platform on our list is Lightspeed. It’s an excellent brokerage for advanced day traders due to a fast platform, stable trades, and a plethora of customization options that may otherwise confuse a rookie trader.
However, if you plan on going with Lightspeed, be mindful of some account minimum fees.
Moreover, the company provides several trading platforms to facilitate a wide variety of users. These include Lightspeed Trader, Lightspeed Web, Lightspeed Mobile, and Sterling Trader Pro.
The Sterling Trading pro is a fully-featured level 2 trading platform with advanced charting facilities. Other options include Sterling VolTrader and Eze EMS for futures trading.
You can qualify for the Active Trader Commission Group pricing if you meet the monthly trading volume threshold. Its fees are as low as $0.001 per share and $2.25 per trade, $1.29 per futures contract, and $0.20 per contract for an options trade.
Its order router is exceptionally quick, thanks to the use of a proprietary algorithm that produces the best execution by rotating through different exchanges.
Watch out for different fees, though. Initial funding requirements, maintenance charges, high standard commissions, platform charges, etc., make Lightspeed a less ideal option for new day traders.
Likewise, the lack of mutuals and bonds means Lightspeed is not very appealing to investors looking to diversify their portfolios.
How to Choose the Best Day Trading Platform?
Online investments can be a bit risky. But, if you choose the right platform, you can probably save more than conventional investments methods. Unfortunately, choosing the best day trading platform can be quite daunting – especially for beginners.
You need a lot of time and homework to find a suitable option. Below are some important features of day trading platforms you should consider before investing your money.
While some people will tempt you to select a trading platform on the basis of low fees or asset classes, we recommend considering the safety of your funds before anything else. And that means knowing whether the forum you are going for is properly regulated or not.
Check which financial bodies the trading platform is licensed by. You cannot entrust your capital to a trading platform regulated in a shady offshore location. The best online trading platforms are approved by SEC & FINRA in the US, FCA in the UK, and ASIC in Australia.
Day trading platforms charge a commission. It’s a fee for executing a transaction. Day trading platforms and brokerages calculate these commissions either as a percentage of the total transaction amount or a flat fee.
As a day trader has to execute a large number of trades every month, considering all the platform commissions become of utmost importance. Some online brokers are rapidly moving towards zero commissions on their popular offerings. You can trade stocks or ETFs free of cost. However, not all platforms are zero-commission.
The second most crucial factor to consider as a day trader is the speed of transactions. How fast is the platform able to execute a trade? Remember, a few seconds’ delays can leave you without a viable trade.
Therefore, you should choose a platform that provides superfast order execution without any delay. Indeed, online day trading platforms realize this and often highlight trade execution time as their primary feature.
4. Analysis and Charting
It doesn’t matter which trading strategy you undertake. You will need to test a few platforms to understand which offers the best technical analysis and charting methods. Advanced charting features, technical analysis tools, and other custom indicators are essential features of any day trading platform.
They will help you analyze the market data within a comparatively very short period of time to make a good trade. If you are a novice, you can overlook some advanced charting and analysis features, though.
How stable and reliable is the platform? Does it go slow whenever there is a surge in trading activity? For quality trade executions, you need to prefer an incredibly stable and reliable trading platform.
One which does not slow down or, worse, becomes unstable. A simple factor that can help you examine the platform’s stability is its age. If a platform has been in the market for a long time and people trust it, it’s a very stable platform.
How many hotkeys are available on its software? Whether you are using its web or mobile platforms, the ability to execute your orders with one click of a button can be crucial. It’s an essential factor to consider for both professional and novice day traders.
Some platforms come with hotkeys by default, while others let you create your own hotkeys. This way, you can create hotkeys that you can easily remember. Hotkeys are, therefore, very helpful on your day trading journey.
Online trading platforms attract all kinds of investors. For instance, some of them are looking to purchase stocks, while others want to invest in Options or Futures. Similarly, some may want to invest in cryptocurrencies.
So, you should check beforehand what asset classes are available with your platform. The best day trading platforms today offer around a dozen asset classes, including:
- Stocks and Shares
- ETFs, Mutual Funds, and Index Funds
- Forex & Commodity Trading
- Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Other Cryptocurrencies
8. Other Fees
Besides platform commissions and transaction fees, you should be mindful of several other charges before joining a particular trading platform. Below is a brief breakdown for your information:
Inactivity fee – If you become inactive on a platform for a particular number of days, your account gets marked dormant. Some trading platforms will charge you a monthly inactivity fee in such a situation.
Margin fee – If you are trading with margin, keep the funding rates for brokers in mind. They usually charge a percentage for each day in order to keep the position open. This is known as a margin fee.
Account fee – Finally, you should check whether the trading platform is charging any account fee? They usually charge it on a monthly basis to keep your account inactive status.
9. Payment Methods
Some trading platforms require that you add some funds to your account before you can start trading. As such, it’s necessary to check what payment methods they accept. In many cases, you should be able to transfer some funds from your bank account directly to your online account.
Some platforms allow this instantly, while others need a few days to process the payment. Moreover, you should also consider whether the platform allows debit or credit cards. With a debit/credit card, you can add the amount to your online account right away.
10. Customer Service
Finally, you should research online about the customer service they provide. There can be a massive disparity in the level of customer service depending on your trading platform. For instance, some providers allow email or telephone consultation while others support online customer service.
Try to go for a platform that provides real-time customer support. Therefore, live chat and telephone support are the two most preferred customer support methods. Further, you should also check their workdays and working hours. Not all trading platforms offer 22×7 customer support.
Overall, the two most important features for day traders are the reliability and speed of a platform. Also, because day traders place far more trades in a single day than an average investor, keeping the cost low is just as important as the reliability and speed of a platform.
Other features like fundamental analysis, supported asset classes, customer support, etc. take a back seat. Instead, day traders focus more on technical data to exploit intraday price fluctuations.
Online trading has seen a rapid boom in the past few years. Today, there are hundreds of day trading platforms available online. But, we hope one of our top seven best day trading platforms fulfills your needs.
In any case, you should do proper research to make sure that the trading provider meets your requirements. For instance, while some of you might be looking at platforms with the lowest fees, others would instead prefer a particular asset class. So, which one of the above trading platforms suits you and why?
Let us know in the usual place and thank you for staying with us.