TIt is home to many people who make a living from the stock market including brokers, traders, financial advisors and more. But few are surrounded by the fascination and mystique of the day trader – someone who follows the market so closely that he can make a living quickly buying and selling positions.
If this type of adrenaline pumping trading appeals to you, read on to find it best platforms keep trading.
What is day trading?
FINRA defined day trading as “buying and selling or selling and buying the same security on the same day in a margin account, excluding positions held overnight.”
FINRA requires brokers to restrict day trading by identifying those investors who are considered model day traders, described as those who execute four or more day trades within five business days. These traders must have a minimum ending balance of $25,000, excluding crypto.
In short, day traders make money on the volatility of certain assets by buying and selling positions in quick succession, usually on the same day. Therefore, a day trading platform should allow you to trade accurately and quickly and have very, very low or no commissions and fees. Per trade fees add up quickly if you trade multiple times a day.
day trading platforms
The key to day trading success is being able to make trades instantly. To do this, you need a platform that not only provides the tools you need to make quick decisions, but to implement those decisions immediately. You also need a platform with no or low commissions per trade.
Here are the 14 best day trading platforms for 2022.
Interactive Brokers’ website is full of awards for its trading platform – best online broker, best trading technology, #1 for professional trading – the list goes on and on. Its desktop, web, and mobile trading platforms are easy to customize and use, yet powerful enough for professionals.
And, perhaps most importantly for day traders, no commission on some trades and low margin rates.
- Powerful trading platform
- Customizable interface
- Can be overwhelming for beginners
With TradeStation you can trade stocks, ETFs, options, futures, futures options, crypto, IPOs and more. The desktop platform offers dynamic tools to scan the market for opportunities, extensive customizable charts and advanced order management, among other things. With the web and mobile versions, you can trade anywhere, anytime with powerful tools, research and analysis.
- Commission-free trading in stocks, ETFs and options
- You pay a transaction fee for trading mutual funds
Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro offers $0 commission online trading for US stocks and ETFs and options trading for as little as $0.65 per contract. That loyalty The platform also gives you extensive research, including reports on over 500 stocks from 20 independent third-party firms, and custom filters to create your own screening strategies.
- Robust educational resources for beginners or those expanding their portfolio – adding options, for example
- You cannot trade crypto, futures or commodities
Merrill Edge MarketPro allows you to customize your trading dashboard or use one of their layouts. You can save up to 25 different layouts created from customizable windows with built-in help. There are no commissions or trading requirements and no minimum deposit.
- Great for Bank of America customers as your Merrill account is included in qualifying for rewards
TD AmeritradeThe thinkorswim platform is available for desktop, web and mobile. The desktop version includes professional tools for analysis and strategy testing, while the web version allows you to access your account anywhere. The mobile version supports a variety of devices, including the Apple Watch.
- Robust trading platforms
- No minimum
- Good range of investments
- The desktop version can be too complex for beginners
Ally Invest might not be the first broker that comes to mind when considering day trading, but their platform is solid and their pricing structure is interesting. Ally Invest day traders pay $0 commission on stocks and ETFs and $0 commission plus 50 cents contract fee on options contracts.
Ally charges fees for trading bonds and mutual funds, which are not typically traded by day traders anyway. They charge $4.95 per trade plus $0.01 per share for securities trades under $2.00 per share.
- Platform is easy to use
- You receive interest on your cash balance
- Forex trading is offered
- Fees for bonds, mutual funds and low-priced securities
- No futures or crypto trading
e-commerce has a powerful investing platform suitable for day traders with powerful tools for trading stocks, options and futures. There’s also the original e-trade platform, which is less sophisticated. There is a mobile app for every platform.
E*Trade offers $0 commission trading in US stocks, ETFs and options, but charges 65 cents per option contract — or 50 cents if you trade more than 30 contracts per quarter. They charge $1.50 per futures contract.
- Basic platform for beginners
- Power platform for demanding investors
- Options and futures trades are expensive compared to other platforms
Webull tipps his hat off to his technology and to making things easier for the individual investor who might be saving for retirement. But again, there are benefits for day traders, such as: B. Extended trading hours: pre-market from 4:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. EST and post-market trading from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.
- No commission fee and no contract fee for options trades
- Mutual funds are not available
ZacksTrade claims to be geared towards the active trader, but charges $1 per share per ETF trade plus a cent per share. They offer option contracts for 75 cents each after your first contract, which costs a dollar. However, they offer low margin rates of 3.56% or less based on your balance.
The ZacksTrade Pro platform is customizable and includes news, research and analysis tools. Less experienced traders can stick with the customer portal, which is more suited to less frequent transactions. ZacksTrade mobile apps are available for smartphones and tablets.
- Wide range of stocks and ETFs, all with low fees
- The desktop platform is complex and not suitable for beginners
Speed of Light
As the name suggests, the Lightspeed platform focuses on fast trade execution. They also offer advanced order management, reliability, risk management, and customization.
- Technology is robust
- Costs are low for high volume traders
- High account minimums make Lightspeed unsuitable for novice or casual traders
Cobra markets its platform specifically to day traders, so it’s optimized for speed, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. They also advertise their customer service that steps in to resolve any issues you might have.
They offer three different platforms with different features. DAS Trader Pro features advanced analytics, portfolio management and multi-instrument trading. Sterling Trader Pro is a direct access stocks and options platform. Cobra TraderPro is for the cost-conscious day trader.
Cobra charges a small, tiered commission for stock trading, starting at $0.003 per share for 100,000 or fewer shares per month, up to $0.0015 per share if you trade 10-20 million shares per month. If your volume is higher, your tariff will be adjusted.
- High volume traders will appreciate the speed and accuracy
Robin Hood became a household name during the so-called “meme stock” phenomenon in early 2021. Since then, they have shied away from actively promoting day trading on their platform, but you can certainly still do so. You can trade stocks, ETFs, options and crypto with no commission fees. Robinhood even offers a debit card that rounds up your purchases and invests the difference.
- Easy to learn and use for beginners
- Research resources are limited
Specialized day trading brokers
Some day traders specialize in one type of transaction, and that’s what brokers are for. For example, if you only want to trade futures or crypto, you should choose a platform that is specifically designed for this type of trading. Here are some specialized day trading brokers.
NinjaTrader is a futures trading broker that lets you start small and work your way up. There is a demo program that you can use to practice trading before investing any money. Then you can buy micro and mini futures — small contracts with less risk, but also less upside potential.
- The open-source architecture allows for third-party apps and add-ons
- Premium Platform Feature Fees
You can trade stocks, ETFs, crypto and commodities on Tastyworks’ platform, but the focus is on options, futures and options on futures. You can quickly adjust your strikes and expiry times with curve analysis, use the quick roll feature to roll your position into the next cycle, and quickly adjust work orders.
- Options traders will find plenty of research and resources
Choosing a day trading platform is critical to success as a day trader. Many of these platforms have a free demo option so you can try them out to see which one will make your day trading experience the most efficient — and profitable.
Given the speed, accuracy, and tenacity it takes to be a successful day trader, choosing your trading platform is very important. Use the demo version before making your choice.
- Which platform is best for day trading?
- The best platform depends on how and what you want to trade. If you only look at stocks, choose a platform that has a large number of stock positions and that doesn’t charge a fee for stock trading. If options are your thing, look for the lowest price per contract and do some solid research.
- Which broker do most day traders use?
- Interactive Brokers, TradeStation and E-Trade are some of the most popular day trading platforms. The right platform for you depends on what you want to trade – Stocks, ETFs, Options, Crypto, etc. – and how experienced you are.
- Most platforms offer a trial so you can try them out before investing any money, which is a great idea for new day traders.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.