The trading platform is the tool that provides the trader with the means to trade through their chosen Forex broker.  Forex brokers will support different platforms so that a platform preference will limit your choice of broker.  A trader who is opening a new account should know which trading platforms support before making a deposit, as some platforms are suited to the beginner or advanced traders.

Its crucial to pick a broker/platform combination that works for your needs.  Each platform provides essential research tools to the trader to make educated decisions in their trading. The platform will also place your trades on the market.

Equally, ensure the trading platform is compatible with The device and software you are using whether its a mobile phone, tablet or computer running OSX, Android, Linux or Windows.

The most popular trading platform worldwide, MetaTrader, is either a free download fromMetaQuotesor anyMT4 Forex broker. MetaTrader is considered the CFD trading industry standard platform due to its popularity, broker adoption, security, and customisability.

Since MetaTrader is so popular, there are thousands of reviews, guides and documentation that will provide an overview of the software and help get you started,including our own.  MT4 brokers offer guides to set up the software, and customarily offer assistance over the phone should you need it.

Mobile application reviews are available at the Google Play store and Apple App Store.

Upon setup, the platform shows four chart windows, each displaying a different currency pair. At the top of the screen, toolbars and a market watch window, display currency pairs and their bids and asking prices.

Below the market watch window is the tabbed account window. Tabs including Trade, Account History, Alerts, Mailbox where traders perform trades, view trading history, access messages and more.

MetaTrader 5 is only natively available forWindowsbut with some tweaking, it can run on MacOS., but MetaTrader4 will run on bothWindows and MacOS(includingiPhone and iPad),WindowsAndroid.

MetaTrader does not charge commissions for opening and closing positions, but the broker will charge you for executing your trades on the platform. Costs of trading will vary betweenbrokers, currency pairs, volumes traded, and market fluctuations.

Webtrader is the browser version of the MetaTrader trading platform and is easier to use than the downloadable software. Beginners find that it is easy to navigate and make trades.

Since you can export your trade history to an Excel worksheet, its simple to survey your past trades and spot any mistakes or trends, as well as track your improvement. This export and analyse process is perfect for new traders who want to learn as quickly as possible.

In the main window, you will see trading instruments including currency pairs, commodities, indices and a charting icon beside each one. Everything you need to see to make good trades is easily viewable in WebTraders incredibly clear layout.Webtrader is available in South Africa.

WebTrader is a browser-based platform, requiring no extra software or any particular operating system. You can access the platform on your mobile phone too.

Fees vary according to the broker, spreads on different currency pairs, and commission fees.

cTrader also has the advantage of a simple, intuitive layout. It was launched withFxProbut is now available with other Forex brokers, includingPepperstoneHotForex, andXM.

cTrader has a nice feature that allows you to change the layout to suit your needs. You can pick a chart-only layout or the default, which includes analysis and trading news. Even the charts are customizable, allowing you to display different charts side-by-side, or toggle between them. Some of cTraders features and windows look relatively similar to MetaTrader 4, so its a smooth transition if youre used to the latter.

If you tend to trade with a certain set of currencies, the platform also allows you to create a favourites window, allowing you to always have easy access to your most-traded currency pairs. Here you can immediately see quotes when you launch the application so that you can make trades quickly.

cTrader is best for intermediate and experienced traders, and those who are used to MetaTrader may find it slightly more comfortable to use, and the layout cleaner. cTrader is popular, and youll find many useful reviews and tutorials online, including in the App Store and Google Play if you plan on using your mobile phone to trade.

cTrader for desktop is available on Windows but also provides a web trading version that is compatible with any operating system with Firefox, Chrome or Opera. Mobile platforms are available for both Android and Mac OSX.

Commissions depend on the currency values and size of each trade. FxPro has a handy calculator to help you convert currencies and calculate how much commission youll pay on specific trades.

Jeff Cammack is the Editorial Director, a Forex trader since 2008, and educator. Always in search of new trading opportunities, Jeff can always be found doing research in the charts or combing through the financial news. When not trading, he is always researching his next article.

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Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.