What is The Best Day Trading Platform?

What is The Best Day Trading Platform?

What is The Best Day Trading Platform? 1024 546 Steven Dux

In order to trade stocks, you are going to need a day trading platform to do it. Some platforms are much better than others. Some are great for small accounts, while others are better for larger accounts. Depending on what your needs are, these are some of the platforms that most retail traders know about, and some of the ones I personally use. 

Let’s take a look at some of these platforms and what makes them best for your goals as a day trader.

This is the fourth article in a new series on Day Trading For Beginners which I’ve created so you’re better prepared for a successful day trading career. 

Once you understand investing and experience it with practice, you’re not going to want to stop. Every single dollar that you have lying around, you’ll want to invest so your money can work for you. 

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Let’s get right into today’s topic.

 

The Best Day Trading Platform (and Which One To Use)

Trading platforms are tools used to manage and execute market positions.

With so many different types of online platforms available at the tips of your fingertips, it can quickly get overwhelming. As a beginner, you don’t want to put in money where you don’t have complete faith. You have to be wary of premium software that promises the world but does not deliver!

In order to day trade successfully, you need to choose an appropriate day trading platform that works for YOU. Two major things to keep in mind are your trading style and activity level.

You require a brokerage that fits your requirements well. Day traders need to optimize for low costs and the selection of tools such as your trading platforms requires solid fundamental research.

When it comes to money, I know how important the correct advice is. I’ve been there when I didn’t know what advice to follow and how to begin. I am committed to providing you with the most comprehensive reviews possible because I had trouble finding these when I first began. 

These reviews will definitely help you make the most informed decision when it comes to choosing the best day trading platforms. In this article, we’ll break them down so you get a broad perspective of some of the best day trading platforms. 

I encourage you to read these reviews in full, check out their websites, shop around, and make an informed decision.

Keep in mind that all platforms have their pros and cons, some are great, some mediocre and some downright awful (I know this from personal experience!) I’ve had to undergo the painstaking process of stress testing them to figure out which platform works and which doesn’t. 

However, as I said, the right way to go about it is to take this information and do your own research to figure which platform works best for your use.

Let us look at some of these platforms one by one. Please note that depending on when you read this – next week, next month, next year– it’s possible that the functionalities and numbers of the platforms change so please look them up before you buy anything. 

 

The Five Trading Platforms I Use Personally (and Many Other Penny Stock Day Traders Use Consistently):

1: Guardian Trading

Guardian Trading, a division of Velocity Clearing, LLC, was designed by a team of industry professionals with a couple of decades of experience working with active traders.

Guardian Trading serves Active Pattern Day Traders. I’ve personally used this over the last month and I’m happy with it. It comes with competitive commissions and extensive easy-to-borrow lists.

It has no borrow fees, and this is a significant factor because borrow fees could go up to $30k in general.

While most other platforms have third party relationships to clear trades, third party relationships to act as custodian and third-party relationships to locate securities, Guardian Trading is better positioned to deliver quality service. It provides clearing, margin finance, and locates to its clients directly.

Top features include:

  • Extensive easy-to-borrow lists
  • Shortlists for traders who are short-biased
  • Free trial of paper trading account for 14 Days

Pros:

  • An extremely good option for Active Pattern day traders
  • Seamless and fast day trading platform built specifically for traders
  • Provides clearing, margin finance, and locates to its clients directly.
  • Custom solutions for all trading needs
  • Trade using any device
  • No borrow fees

Cons:

  • Not commission-free 

Fees: Commissions per-share starting at $0.0029 /share

Final thoughts: Guardian Trading is excellent to use if you’re an active pattern day trader.

 

2: SpeedTrader

SpeedTrader is one of the tools I employ, and they specialize in hard to borrow stocks.

SpeedTrader has been used by active traders for 20 years, offering extensive shortlists, multiple routing options, and flexible commission structures.

It has multiple subscription options, and as the name suggests, speed is one major advantage you can derive from this trading platform.

You need an account balance of over $30,000 to day-trade with SpeedTrader.

Top features include:

  • Powerful level 2 desktop trading software called SpeedTrader PRO
  • Shortlists for traders who are short-biased
  • Direct access broker, meaning they route your orders directly to the market, leading to faster executions

Pros:

  • An extremely good option for Advanced day traders
  • Seamless and fast day trading platform built specifically for traders
  • Great customer service team, with more personalization 

Cons:

  • Research is not a focal point and is essentially missing
  • Not very easy to use for beginners and infrequent traders
  • Not commission-free
  • Can get expensive if you are not very active
  • Minimum account balance of $30,000 is needed

Fees: per-share pricing starting at $0.0044/share and per-trade pricing starting at $4.49 per share

Final thoughts: SpeedTrader is good to use if you’re a frequent trader and are able to keep the minimum required account balance.

 

3: CenterPoint 

CenterPoint Securities is another stockbroking platform I use. They offer their customers access to hard to borrow stocks and provide exceptional customer support.

CenterPoint has been around since 2000, offering specialized and experienced brokerage services to traders. It only allows services to professional, institutional, and experienced traders.

It mainly caters to traders who trade thousands of shares each month, including day traders.

Top features include:

  • Three commission plans
  • One of the best brokerages for shorting stocks
  • Direct market access

Pros:

  • Excellent customer support
  • Full direct-market routing to over 30 routing options.
  • Multiple commission plans (so there is flexibility)

Cons:

  • Needs a minimum $30,000 balance to start
  • Multiple fee structures so can get confusing
  • Can quickly become expensive for low volume traders because of subscription fees
  • Does not emphasize research
  • No backtesting capabilities

Fees: between $0.002 and $0.004 per share.

Final thoughts: best for professional traders with large accounts who trade frequently.

 

4: TradeZero

In 2019, TradeZero launched its American wing and caters to the active trading community.

TradeZero USA allows commission-free trading for all stocks listed at NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ.

Keep in mind that there is TradeZero and TradeZero USA, both having different local restrictions and regulations. However, the minimum balance required is $25,000 due to the pattern day trader rule.

Top features include:

  • Multiple trading platforms to select from
  • Access to shorts
  • Personalized service
  • Advanced professional-level tools for active traders

Pros:

  • Easy Access to hard to borrow stocks
  • Offers free commission trades
  • Capabilities for stock shorting
  • Review, research and export account and trading history into excel

Cons:

  • No education or research available

Fees: from $0.002 per share.

Final thoughts: TradeZero is more for the execution of trades, and is helpful for shorting.

 

5: Cobra Trading

Cobra Trading is another platform I use, which is a direct-access, low-cost online brokerage for professional stock traders.

Cobra Trading does require a $30,000 deposit to open an account.

Key features include:

  • Real-Time Level 2 Market Data
  • Portfolio Management
  • Hot Keys
  • Stop Orders
  • Advanced Charting
  • Custom Alerts
  • News
  • Stock Watch Lists

Pros:

  • Multiple Direct Access Platforms for active traders
  • Reliable customer service, owing to Cobra’s small team.
  • Specializes in hard to borrow stocks
  • Direct market access
  • Professional-level charting on several desktop platforms
  • Offers extended-hours trading
  • Powerful, fully customizable UI

Cons:

  • Gets expensive for low volume traders
  • No backtesting capabilities or advanced portfolio analysis

Fees: starting at $.004/share

Final thoughts: Great for active and professional traders, not so much for casual traders.

 

The Trading Platforms Most People Are Familiar With. 

Next up, we have the most common names when it comes to trading stocks. Many of these platforms are great at marketing their services to the masses, but when it comes to the needs of a full-time day trader, they are not as great as the options mentioned above that I use on a daily basis. 

They may be feasible options if you have less than $30,000 saved up to trade with, however. The next three platforms you’ll explore are probably names you are familiar with. 

 

1: E*trade

E*trade started long ago in the early 80s and was virtually the pioneer of trading online. What’s interesting is that even today it remains one of the most popular platforms to trade and access other financial services. 

E*trade now offers trading on a zero commission basis. It does have features that work for day traders, like direct access to market venues and powerful charting software. 

Top features include:

  • Access to fundamental research – The E*Trade app has more than 100 technical studies to analyze trading action.
  • Robust trading platform
  • Snapshot Analysis – provides a visual representation of the risk and reward of an options trade
  • Interactive charts and technical studies
  • Portfolio management services
  • Discounts for frequent traders
  • Integrated Bloomberg News
  • Three computer-based platforms and two full-featured mobile apps
  • Power E*Trade mobile app – Available for both iOS and Android

Pros:

  • Charges no fee to trade stocks, ETFs and most mutual funds
  • Educational resources – Beginners can benefit a lot from the large number of educational resources available on the platform. Like I said earlier, the E*Trade app has more than 100 technical studies to analyze trading action. They also provide articles, videos and webinars.
  • Easy to use – The tools present on the platform is pretty easy to use and understand. 
  • Super customer support – E*trade offers a 24/7 robust customer support system. 
  • Long-standing track record
  • No inactivity fees: Does not charge account maintenance or inactivity fees

Cons:

  • No paper trading on its standard platform
  • Charges a 0.30% annual advisory fee. That’s more than what is charged by some competitors.
  • Per-contract options commissions are tiered with higher fees for infrequent traders
  • No direct access to international markets
  • You can’t leverage shorting for small-cap stocks, which is a huge issue for me and my students

Fees: No commission for stock/ETF trades. Options are $0.50-$0.65 per contract, depending on trading volume.

Final thoughts – E*Trade is a decent choice for both active traders and beginner investors.

 

2: Interactive Brokers

Interactive brokers focus mainly on education, teaching individuals how to manage their money (it has a lot of tools that help traders).

Interactive Brokers has remained amongst popular brokers for advanced traders for a long time. However, in 2019 they launched IBKR Lite for more casual investors. On the other hand, IBKR Pro is geared toward advanced traders.

Interactive Brokers has a per-share pricing of $0.005. 

Top features include:

  • Two primary pricing plans: IBKR Pro (professionals) and IBKR Lite (casual investors)
  • Education, research, strategies, and trading tools
  • Extensive research offerings, both free and subscription-based
  • Stock Market Ranking and Scoring System
  • 24-hour phone, email, and chat support (available six days a week).
  • IBKR mobile app, available to both Lite and Pro customers
  • Live seminars, live or virtual advanced classes, live and recorded webinars, on-demand modules, home study courses, 1-on-1 mentoring
  • Fundamentals Explorer, which offers fundamentals data from Thomson Reuters on over 30,000 companies
  • Fully-integrated paper trading account

Pros:

  • Access to global markets (135 market centers in 33 countries)
  • Low commissions: If you’re a casual investor, the low rates of commissions here are unbeatable
  • Unlimited, commission-free trading on US exchange-listed stocks and ETFs on IBKR Lite
  • Fractional shares: you get the ability to purchase a portion of a company’s stock, rather than a full-priced share
  • Real-time monitoring, alerts, watchlists and a customizable account dashboard

Cons:

  • The website isn’t easy to use – finding and interpreting the information you want isn’t always easy on their website
  • No streamlined views – The user experience is poor
  • One drawback of their mobile app is that stock alerts cannot be delivered via push notification

Fees: $0.005 per share with a minimum of $1 per order

Final thoughts – With IBKR Pro and Lite both available, this is a good choice for active and casual traders alike. ­­

 

3: Robinhood

Robinhood is very popular because they have a great affiliate program that gets people to spread the word about using the platform quickly with their friends.

The commission taken by them is $0, and the minimum requirement in your account is nil. This has gotten a lot of young people interested in the stock market, which is great. With the platform being free, it means a lot more people want to explore the opportunities that come with day trading. 

But it being free also means the abilities of this platform are limited. 

Robinhood is a free trading platform that allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs as well as cryptocurrencies. It’s your basic run of the mill platform that has limited capabilities.

Top features include:

  • Simple UI
  • Clean, robust app 
  • Allows you to trade shares, options, index funds, fractional shares, cryptocurrency 

Pros:

  • No minimum account balance required to start trading – You can start trading with the Robinhood with absolutely no investment. 
  • No commissions taken – The platform is completely free to use. 
  • Lowers the entry barriers – The platform lowers entry barriers to investing because it is 100% free and anyone can use it. 
  • Easy to understand – Because of its uncomplicated and streamlined interface, it is easy to use and understand. 

Cons: 

  • Very basic investment platform – Because it is free, it’s also a very basic platform. You might want something more advanced. 
  • They take money from your executions and that is why they are free to use.
  • No real-time customer service – Robinhood is completely online and has no physical locations or numbers you can contact (they don’t have a large customer support staff). This might be a challenge when you’re facing issues using the platform. But if you’re okay waiting for a day after sending them an email, this shouldn’t be a problem. 
  • Limits your research and you’ll have to use other platforms to do that – You’d much rather have a single platform that offers you a wide range of functions. Robinhood Doesn’t offer everything under one platform.
  • Does not offer mutual funds – If you are looking to invest in mutual funds you will not be able to do so via Robinhood. 
  • Frequent crashes- During one of the biggest trading weeks ever which happened this March, their servers were down for 3 days. So reliability is a huge issue here. 

Fees: NIL 

Final thoughts – As you can see, there are too many cons for Robinhood to be a platform I would recommend to anyone.

 

AND FINALLY… a Platform I’ve Been Working On with a Handful of Other Traders, After Seeing The Downfalls off The Existing Retail Platforms…

Stock Craft

After reading all this, you want a platform that works for day trading, is foolproof, easy to use, powerful, allows you to do research, and works for beginners and advanced traders. Correct? 

Let me introduce you to Stock Craft.

Stock Craft is a novel research platform that enables you to create and test strategies like a pro, which has been custom-built keeping penny-stock traders in mind.

Top features include:

  • All-in-One Platform
  • Newsticker with real-time information
  • Powerful scans, custom-built with penny-stock traders in mind
  • Realistic paper trading
  • Modern charting with drawing tools

Pros:

  • Trade different strategies at the same time
  • Thousands of complex search variables made beautifully simple
  • Real-time data search and collection
  • 7-day trial available

Cons:

  • Has some minimal hardware requirements that your system must meet

Fees: $150 a month, $900 for six months or $1,800 for the year.         

Final thoughts: Great for both beginner and advanced traders, Efficient, fast, and reliable; performs as an all-in-one platform.

**DISCLAIMER** I, along with some other successful traders, helped develop Stock Craft. We saw a gap in the market for a platform like this, designed for day traders, by day traders. Our aim is to turn it into the go-to platform for day traders, so it’s a tool I encourage you to check out, research, and keep on your radar.

Please note that Stock Craft is not live yet, but it will be soon. 

You can register at this link to be notified when the platform launches. 

 

Wrapping up, let me commend you for being one step closer to Day Trading success because it is absolutely crucial to know the right tools to use. Many beginners make the mistake of not reading and researching the necessary tools and you just overcame that.

Those quickly become part of the 94% who fail. You can now avoid becoming one of these.

Of course, there’s a lot more to learn than just the tools to use. To continue your learning, follow the rest of this series designed for day trading for beginners (click here to open in a new tab).

In addition, there are a few other steps you can take today:

  1. Subscribe To My Youtube Channel: The destination where I share practical training on how to trade, as well as behind-the-scenes insights into the trades I make.
  1. Join My Newsletter: I write these emails for people who want to learn the basics of Day Trading and the practical steps they should take to get started.
  2. Join The Freedom Challenge: this is my flagship program for traders who want to level-up and learn about the techniques I use, how to use them, and what to do to turn Day Trading into their primary income stream. 

I hope you’ve found this guide valuable, and I hope you find the platform that will help you build a profitable trading career.

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