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Trading platforms connect users to the largest financial markets. Today, South Africa is the leader on the continent in terms of Forex volumes. Every day, its residents execute trades worth 20 billion US dollars. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, remote sources of income have been essential. Through powerful software, one may trade currencies, derivatives, and commodities wherever they are.

Choosing the best platform is not easy. Today, there is a wide range of products for different brokers and operating systems. Here are a few crucial criteria that should help you identify the most suitable digital environment. Begin by analysing your own needs: which markets do you want to trade, and what devices will you use?


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1.   Analytical Features

Every trader conducts market analysis before making any moves in the live market. Your trading system should allow you to access real-time quotes and monitor the instruments at a glance. Both methods of analysis should be facilitated: fundamental and technical.

Fundamental traders need access to economic news, so they can spot announcements that may sway their currency pairs. Platforms like MetaTrader 5 also come with economic calendars. These features summarise crucial changes. There are also alerts, so users do not miss market opportunities.

Technical traders seek a wide range of indicators and adjustable time frames for price charts — they need systems with dozens of graphic objects, and maximised flexibility. A good system may have as many as 40 analytical objects. Price charts should be adjustable, so you may focus on short-term or long-term strategies as you see fit.

2.   User-friendly Interface

Of course, you cannot learn to use all features of your system overnight. Still, its interface must not be perplexing. All the basic tabs, buttons and features must be visible, and navigation should be largely intuitive.

Here, a lot will depend on the instruments you plan to trade. If you are a novice focused on currency pairs, you may want to choose a relatively simple environment. For example, MetaTrader 4 is less sophisticated than MetaTrader 5, which makes it ideal for beginners. As they gain experience, they may transition to the most recent version, and add more instruments to their portfolios to earn more and risk less.

3.   Mobile or Desktop?

Today, few people can sit in front of their laptops all day. The modern consumer is used to flexibility, and brokers keep up with the times. The most popular online trading platforms may be used on any laptop, PC, tablet, or smartphone.

For example, this is true for MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Web versions do not require any downloads, as you may open them via any popular browser. There are also proprietary solutions for companies. For example, the FXTM Trader app developed for ForexTime gives access to over 250 different instruments. It has impressive features which accommodate all trading needs.

4.   Basics and Extras

It is best to choose platforms with customisable features. For example, MetaTrader 5 allows users to create their own indicators from the source code. They may easily switch between time frames, and modify the trading environment based on their needs.

If you are planning to use automated trading, see if forex robots may be integrated into the system. Expert Advisors can analyse the market, make suggestions, or even trade for you. Make sure you get them from reliable sources, though.

5.   Easy Access to Support

Support is essential, but it depends on your broker. You need 24-hour access to assistance at least five days a week. It is the norm. The more communication channels you may use — the better. Usually, brokers recommend particular platforms, so their support teams are knowledgeable about the technical side of things.

Example: MetaTrader 5

The system has been the leader for a decade. It is a versatile environment with multi-language and multi-currency support — users have access to a wide range of markets: currencies, stocks, derivatives, futures, and more.

The intuitive interface allows one-click trading with instant access to life quotes and news — users may test strategies, switch between nine timeframes, three chart types, and 44 analytical objects. There are six different types of pending orders. Overall, the system gives access to over 300 tools. Today, it is recommended by many brokers in South Africa and abroad.