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Choosing the right trading platform is a crucial step when investing online. There are a lot of elements to consider, and it is vital to look at the different platforms from all angles. The platform you choose will also come down to your own specific needs, both in terms of trading and user experience. For instance, if this is your first time trading online, the platform’s usability will be paramount.
Find Out What the Experts Think
An excellent place to start is by finding out what experts in the trading community recommend. You could ask on online forums dedicated to trading online or talk to friends and family who have done it all before. You could also look at specialist publications and comparison websites.
An excellent place to start is a comparison website like TradingPlatforms. This is a site which provides education and comparison services for traders of all levels of experience. Check out their “best of” list to find the best trading platform for you.
Understand Your Trading Needs
It is essential to know what your specific needs are when choosing a trading platform. If this is your first time trading, then you should select a platform that is intuitive and ideally aimed towards beginners. If you plan to invest over time, choose a platform beginners and seasoned pros alike find suitable.
It would be best to consider how much you will be trading and how much money you will be investing. If you will be investing relatively small amounts, then a platform with a lower trading fee will be best.
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It is worth trying out the different platforms to get an idea of how your user experience will be. Many trading platforms allow you to make an account before investing any money to get a feel for the website and how to use it. It is worth testing out a few different websites before you settle on one.
Some brokerages charge commissions when you buy or sell stocks. The amount of commission will vary, so it is worth finding out the different commissions on all of the platforms you are considering.
Typically fees will be a small percentage of the value of the stock. If this is your first trading experience, it may help to look for a platform that offers free trading until you have a better understanding of trading.
Check Out Online Reviews of Trading Platforms
It is a good idea to find out what people are saying about a trading platform online. You should always be cautious when trusting anything you read online. However, the general tone of reviews online will help you get a picture of the experience and quality you can expect.
Find the Trading Platform with the Best Customer Service
Customer service is crucial for an online trading platform. You will need to know how you can get help if you need it. You could check out the different options for getting in touch with the platform. For instance, do they have a 24/7 phone number or live chat function that will connect you to a human operator? What guarantees do they make about how quickly they will respond to queries or complaints?
Consider the Range of Trading Options
The platform you select will need to have plenty of options for trading. You should be looking for multiple trading options, both national and international stocks and at a variety of prices. Different trading platforms are often tailored to a specific type of trader. This means that the stock options can vary. It is worth knowing exactly what kind of trading you want to do before you select a platform so you can be sure you have all the options you want.
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Make Sure the Trading Platform You Choose Is Regulated by Major Financial Bodies
It is crucial to choose a platform that is regulated by a reputable governing body. In the UK, this could be the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or in America, it would be The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Regulated platforms have to conform to certain standards in order to continue trading. These standards are in place to protect traders from unfair or exploitative practices. You will usually be able to tell quickly from a platform’s website if they are regulated. This is because regulated platforms display the trust mark of the regulator prominently.
Consider the Reputations of the Various Trading Platforms
You can determine the reputation of a company from a number of factors. For example, you could find out what people are saying in online reviews and forums for traders. You could also ensure that they are regulated, as mentioned above.
Finally, it may also help to do some searches on Google and major news sites to get an idea of the kind of press the platform receives. For instance, you may find that other traders have praised a platform for its usability online or criticized it for its security protocols. This information could help you make a wise choice.
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