A trading platform is a piece of software that acts as a conduit for information between a trader and a broker. A trading platform provides information such as quotes and charts, and includes an interface for entering orders to be executed by the broker. Trading platform software can be locally based, meaning it is installed on the trader's computer and can be used with Windows, Mac and Linux systems - different brokers offer different options in this respect. Alternatively, some brokers offer software that is web based. These platforms often run using Java, a dynamic web language. The advantage of web-based trading platforms is that they can be used by almost any computer with internet access. Trading platforms are often available free-of-charge, but some brokers allow traders to purchase platforms that have a higher functionality for a fee. Other brokers provide platforms with different levels of functionality for traders who are more active.

Online Forex Trading
Online forex trading requires the same things from a trading platform that are required for trading any other type of security. The platform must act as a go-between for the retail forex broker and the forex trader. Platforms must also provide real-time and historical data to the trader and provide the him or her with access to all of the types of orders that need to be available to trade forex efficiently. (For more on this, read Place Forex Orders Properly.)

Third-party forex trading software is also often used, as many retail forex brokers' platforms have an application program interface (API), which allows traders to integrate third-party or even proprietary software into the platform.

Some factors to consider when looking for forex software are:

  • Is it free? If there is a nominal charge, what additional features are made available?
  • What technical indicators are available in the charting component?
  • Is the software Windows, Mac or internet (Java or HTML) based?
  • Can you trade from the charts?
  • What is the order interface? What types of orders are available?
  • Is historical data made available through the software?
  • Does the platform allow for backtesting of strategies?
  • Is the graphical user interface (GUI) pleasing to look at?
  • Is the GUI conducive to monitoring a lot of information at once?
  • Does the platform have an API that allows additional software or programming?

Most forex brokers allow customers to open a demo account prior to funding a full account or mini account. Be sure to try out each broker's software during their trial periods to help determine which forex trading software is best.

For more on this topic, see our Forex Market Tutorial.

  1. What types of accounts are available for forex trading?

    There are many different types of forex accounts available to the retail forex trader. Demo accounts are offered by forex ... Read Answer >>
  2. What methods can be used to fund a forex account?

    The forex market is where currencies from around the world are traded. In the past, currency trading was limited to certain ... Read Answer >>
  3. In the forex market, how is the closing price of a currency pair determined?

    The foreign exchange market, or forex, is the market in which the currencies of the world are traded by governments, banks, ... Read Answer >>
  4. What am I buying and selling in the forex market?

    The forex market is the largest market in the world. According to the Triennial Central Bank Survey conducted by the Bank ... Read Answer >>
  5. How does margin trading in the forex market work?

    When an investor uses a margin account, he or she is essentially borrowing to increase the possible return on investment. ... Read Answer >>
  6. How does portfolio management software work?

    Discover the functions of various complexity levels of portfolio management software, and learn how traders utilize portfolio ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    5 Tips For Selecting A Forex Broker

    Discover the best ways to find a broker who will help you succeed in the forex market.
  2. Trading

    Forex Broker Guide

    A Guide To Choosing a Forex Broker
  3. Trading

    Working In Finance: 5 Forex Careers

    The forex markets can be both exciting and lucrative. Find out what jobs exist in this space and how to get them.
  4. Trading

    Top US-Regulated Forex Brokers

    Who are the top regulated forex brokers in the USA to trade currencies? Here is a quick list.
  5. Trading

    10 Ways To Avoid Losing Money In Forex

    When approached as a business, forex trading can be profitable and rewarding. Find out what you need to do to avoid big losses as a beginner.
  1. Trading Platform

    Software through which investors and traders can open, close ...
  2. Application Programming Interface - API

    An interface or "go-between" that enables a software program ...
  3. Forex Account

    The type of account a forex trader opens with a retail forex ...
  4. Forex Market

    The market in which participants are able to buy, sell, exchange ...
  5. Forex Spot Rate

    The current exchange rate at which a currency pair can be bought ...
  6. Forex Option Trading

    A security that allows currency traders to realize gains without ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Perkins Loan

    A loan program that provides low-interest student loans to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional ...
  2. Wealth Management

    A high-level professional service that combines financial/investment advice, accounting/tax services, retirement planning ...
  3. Assets Under Management - AUM

    The market value of assets that an investment company manages on behalf of investors. Assets under management (AUM) is looked ...
  4. Subprime Auto Loan

    A type of auto loan approved for people with substandard credit scores or limited credit histories. There is no official ...
  5. Racketeering

    A fraudulent service built to serve a problem that wouldn't otherwise exist without the influence of the enterprise offering ...
  6. Federal Debt

    The total amount of money that the United States federal government owes to creditors. The government's creditors include ...
Trading Center