Justin is an active trader with more than 20-years of industry experience. He has worked at big banks and hedge funds including Citigroup, D. E. Shaw and Millennium Capital Management.
The wide range of trading apps available for hand-held devices provide traders with the opportunity to keep up with fast-moving markets. The hard truth is that being able to access your account and trade news events can mean the difference between making a profit or a loss.
The real trick is finding an app that has the functionality you need to trade successfully. This can come down to user-friendly trade execution or charting tools that allow you to develop your strategies. With these points in mind, this article will detail the following topics:
If you registered your account with a broker on a desktop device and are looking to trade on the move, you’ll only need your log-in and password to access the trading platform. If you’re starting at square one, it’s possible to set up demo and live accounts just by using your hand-held device.
Brokers that offer in-house and third-party trading platforms are doing their clients a great service – it’s always good to have choices. It probably isn’t a deal-breaker, but for many apps, you may find you have to set up two log-ins, one for your actual account at the broker and another for the trading dashboard.
Traders who use the MetaTrader platforms, MT4 and MT5 will notice that their account details are linked to the MetaTrader app, but that the app itself is very much MetaTrader’s project.
One house-keeping note is that downloading a broker’s app often leads to an improved trading experience. While it is possible to access broker platforms via web portals, this remains a crucial back-stop in the event you have connectivity problems. However, in any scenario, downloading and using the app is always to be advised.
The reality is that some broker apps are better at replicating desktop tools on a smaller screen. If you’re at all likely to be trading or even just monitoring the markets on your phone or tablet, an app is certainly recommended.
The trading interface is likely to be the screen you use most when trading on the go. Having direct access to live markets is increasingly important and having apps that let you manage positions is a big help.
Most of the apps in the market have a home screen that displays the popular markets. Major forex pairs and global equity indices are usually included. Popular commodity markets like oil and gold are also likely to be there along with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
From here, it’s possible to enter any of the markets and buy or sell. You’ll also note that price charts are also available to ensure you have a visual image of the market activity.
Something to also look out for is an app that offers tradable news. Some offer none, some offer some.
The bigger brokers, which offer a greater number of markets on their desktop platforms, do a good job of ensuring mobile traders have the same opportunities.
Popular fast-moving markets such as forex and stocks are a good fit with mobile trading. There are other markets that can also be traded and some brokers also offer ETFs, options, bonds and even grey-market IPOs.
When working trading on a hand-held device, there’s no need to feel you’re missing out on market opportunities.
While it’s the case that research from third party-sources can of course be incorporated into your strategies, there’s certainly benefits from having the option to use them within the app.
App technology is constantly evolving, meaning that some platforms have better charting and analysis tools than others. When flaws are recognised, the good news is that consistent upgrades from providers ensures that the whole sector is continuously improving.
The tools on most apps permit you to research and develop your preferred strategy:
With mobile trading being all about keeping in touch with the markets, the ‘price alerts’ function is likely to be something you’ll want to utilise.
Simply choose your market, enter what price level you want to be notified at and set the alert.
You will find that different brokers offer different kind of notifications. So, there’s something for everybody, regardless of the nature of your usage.
If you’re just looking to keep up with broader market events, some apps also offer alerts for major breaking news. This could concern a significant price move in an asset or a story that is geopolitical in nature.
One of the tricky aspects of mobile trading when you find you have some time on your hands to perform some research. When using an app, this can be challenged by the fact that screen size is smaller.
It’s also the case that not all apps carry over exactly the same desktop functionality to the mobile set up.
This is one of the areas where there is currently most divergence between the different platforms.
Mobile platforms offer all the account admin functionality of the bigger screen versions, which can impact your trading profit / loss account.
It’s all too easy to dismiss the ability to wire funds into your account quickly and easily, allowing you to take advantage of a trading opportunity.
Handset choice may play a role here. Institutional investment firms offer guidance to their employees in terms of what handset they can use. The traditional view has been that Apple handsets compare less favourably to others.
However, all handsets can be misplaced, and if you’re starting out in trading, some precautions you can take include:
As ever, the biggest risk to your cash is likely to be signing up with a fraudulent broker. This can happen, and it is essential you choose a broker that is regulated by at least one of these teir-1 regulators:
These authorities have policies in place to protect account holders. If they’ve gone to the trouble of ticking all those boxes, you can take that as a sign of commitment to their clients.
All the apps provided at the quality-end of the broker sector provide clients with an effective means to keep on top of their trading. While there is something of a ‘space race’ going on as different brokers continuously roll out their upgrades, this is to be welcomed as traders take on fast-moving markets.
Although some of the heavy lifting in terms of training and research materials is missing on some apps, brokers with a more ambitious approach have transferred nearly all the desktop functionality over to their mobile trading platforms.
It’s an exciting area of the market, and the extent that full service has been replicated on smaller screens is quite an achievement. More importantly, it can have very real implications for your trading performance.
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