Best Day Trading Demo Accounts

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Written By
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Written By
James Barra
James is an investment writer with a background in financial services. He has worked as a management consultant, where he delivered large-scale operational transformational programmes at some of Europe's biggest banks. James authors, edits and fact-checks content for a series of investing websites.
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Edited By
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William Berg
William contributes to several investment websites, leveraging his experience as a consultant for IPOs in the Nordic market and background providing localization for forex trading software. William has worked as a writer and fact-checker for a long row of financial publications.
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Fact Checked By
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Fact Checked By
Jemma Grist
Jemma is a writer, editor and fact-checker focused on retail trading and investing. Jemma brings a unique perspective to the forex, stock, and cryptocurrency markets and works across several investment websites as a researcher and broker analyst.
Updated

Having used many demo accounts in recent years, I wanted to create a complete guide to help traders. I share my pick of the best demo trading accounts and answer the most common questions.

The key factors I look at when evaluating demo trading accounts are:

Top 10 Demo Accounts 2024

Based on my tests, I would recommend these day trading demo accounts with easy sign-up requirements:

Click a broker for details
  1. 1
    FOREX.com
    Active Trader Program With A 15% Reduction In Costs

    Ratings
    4.9 / 5
    4 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.6 / 5
    4.6 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    3.6 / 5
    3.8 / 5

    $100
    0.01 Lots
    1:50
    NFA, CFTC
    Forex, Stocks, Futures, Futures Options
    MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
    Wire Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller, ACH Transfer
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, CHF, PLN
  2. 2
    NinjaTrader

    Ratings
    4.3 / 5
    2.8 / 5
    2.9 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    4 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3 / 5
    3.2 / 5

    $0
    0.01 Lots
    1:50
    NFA, CFTC
    Forex, Stocks, Options, Commodities, Futures, Crypto
    NinjaTrader Desktop, Web & Mobile, eSignal
    ACH Transfer, Debit Card, Wire Transfer
    USD
  3. 3
    eToro USA
    Invest $100 and get $10
    https://www.daytrading.com/ is not an affiliate and may be compensated if you access certain products or services offered by the MSB and/or the BD.

    Ratings
    4.3 / 5
    3 / 5
    3.9 / 5
    3.4 / 5
    4 / 5
    3 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4 / 5

    $10
    $10
    SEC, FINRA
    Stocks, Options, ETFs, Crypto
    eToro Trading Platform & CopyTrader
    ACH Transfer, Debit Card, PayPal, Wire Transfer
    USD
  4. 4
    OANDA US
    CFDs are not available to residents in the United States.

    Ratings
    4.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    2.8 / 5
    4 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    4.7 / 5
    3.7 / 5

    $0
    0.01 Lots
    1:50
    NFA, CFTC
    Forex, Crypto with Paxos (Cryptocurrencies are offered through Paxos. Paxos is a separate legal entity from OANDA)
    OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist
    Wire Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Debit Card, ACH Transfer
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD
  5. 5
    DNA Markets

    Ratings
    3 / 5
    4 / 5
    4 / 5
    3.9 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.6 / 5
    1.8 / 5
    1.6 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.4 / 5

    $100
    0.01 Lots
    1:500
    ASIC
    CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto
    MT4, MT5
    Credit Card, Debit Card, Wire Transfer, BPAY, Skrill, Neteller, Bitcoin Payments, Bitwallet, AstroPay, Mastercard
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, SGD
  6. 6
    IG
    Forex trading involves risk. Losses can exceed deposits.

    Ratings
    4.9 / 5
    4 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    4.8 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    4.9 / 5
    5 / 5
    4.6 / 5
    4 / 5

    $0
    0.01 Lots
    1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro)
    FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA, FINMA, CONSOB
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting
    Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
    PayPal, Wire Transfer, Mastercard, Credit Card, Visa, Debit Card
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, ZAR, SEK, DKK, CHF, HKD, SGD
  7. 7
    Pocket Option
    50% Deposit Bonus

    Ratings
    2 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    2.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.3 / 5
    3.3 / 5
    3 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    4 / 5
    4.2 / 5

    $50
    $1
    MISA
    Binary Options, Currencies, Commodities, Stocks, Indices, Cryptos
    Web, MT4, MT5
    Wire Transfer, Credit Card, Bitcoin Payments, Volet, Perfect Money, Visa, Mastercard, Debit Card, WebMoney, FasaPay, Ethereum Payments, Maestro, JetonCash
    USD
  8. 8
    IQCent
    20% to 200% Deposit Bonus

    Ratings
    2.5 / 5
    3.3 / 5
    2.4 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    2.5 / 5
    3 / 5
    2 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.1 / 5

    $250
    $0.01
    1:500
    IFMRRC
    Binary Options, CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Crypto
    Online Platform, TradingView
    Credit Card, Debit Card, Wire Transfer, Bitcoin Payments, Ethereum Payments, Visa, Mastercard
    USD, EUR
  9. 9
    RedMars

    Ratings
    3.3 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    3.8 / 5
    4 / 5
    2.8 / 5
    3 / 5
    4.7 / 5
    4.6 / 5

    €250
    0.01 Lots
    1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)
    CySEC
    CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Cryptos
    MT5
    Credit Card, Wire Transfer, Debit Card, Sticpay, FasaPay, Bitcoin Payments, Trustly, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Klarna, Mastercard, Visa
    USD, EUR
  10. 10
    Interactive Brokers

    Ratings
    4.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    3.3 / 5
    3 / 5
    4.4 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.5 / 5

    $0
    $100
    1:50
    FCA, SEC, FINRA, CFTC, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB, FINMA
    Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies
    Trader Workstation (TWS), IBKR Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
    Cheque, ACH Transfer, Wire Transfer, Automated Customer Account Transfer Service, TransferWise, Debit Card
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, INR, JPY, SEK, NOK, DKK, CHF, AED, HUF

Here is a summary of why we recommend these brokers:

  1. FOREX.com - Founded in 1999, FOREX.com is now part of StoneX, a financial services organization serving over one million customers worldwide. Regulated in the US, UK, EU, Australia and beyond, the broker offers thousands of markets, not just forex, and provides excellent pricing on cutting-edge platforms.
  2. NinjaTrader - NinjaTrader is a US-headquartered and regulated brokerage that specializes in futures trading. There are three pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets, as well as ultra-low margins on popular contracts. The brand's award-winning charting software and trading platform also offers a high-degree of customization and superb technical analysis features.
  3. eToro USA - eToro is a social investing platform that offers short-term and long-term trading on stocks, ETFs, options and crypto. The broker is well-known for its user-friendly community-centred platform and competitive fees. With FINRA and SIPC oversight and millions of users across the world, eToro is still one of the most respected brands in the industry. eToro securities trading is offered by eToro USA Securities, Inc.
  4. OANDA US - OANDA is a popular brand offering exceptional execution, low deposit requirements and advanced charting and trading platform features. The top-rated brand has over 25 years of experience and is regulated by trusted agencies, including the NFA/CFTC. Around the clock support is available for short-term traders, alongside flexible contract sizes and automated trade executions.
  5. DNA Markets - DNA Markets is a forex and CFD broker established in 2020. The broker operates two entities in Australia and the offshore jurisdiction, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Traders can access 800+ markets, with a Standard account for beginners and a Raw account for experienced traders. The reliable MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms are available, alongside Signal Start.
  6. IG - Founded in 1974, IG is part of IG Group Holdings Plc, a publicly traded (LSE: IGG) brokerage. The brand-US offers spread betting, CFD and forex trading across an almost unrivalled selection of 17,000+ markets, with a range of user-friendly platforms and investing apps. For 50 years, IG has maintained its position as an industry leader, excelling in all key areas for traders.
  7. Pocket Option - Established in 2017, Pocket Option is a binary options broker offering high/low contracts on forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies. With over 100,000 active users and a global reach, the platform continues to prove popular with budding traders.
  8. IQCent - IQCent is an offshore binary options and CFD broker based in the Marshall Islands. The brand continues to offer a range of unique account types with bonuses and perks, including payout boosts, TradeBacks and free rollovers. With 100+ assets, around-the-clock trading and 98% payouts, the firm is popular with aspiring short-term traders.
  9. RedMars - Launched in 2020, Cyprus-based RedMars offers competitive spreads on more than 300 instruments and leverage up to 1:500. Three accounts are available - Standard, Pro and VIP - serving a range of budgets and experience levels, with a fast and fully digital account opening process.
  10. Interactive Brokers - Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.

Best Day Trading Demo Accounts Comparison

Best Day Trading Demo Accounts Comparison
Broker Free Demo Account Instruments Available Platforms Education Regulators
FOREX.com logo
Forex, Stocks, Futures, Futures Options MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral NFA, CFTC
NinjaTrader logo
Forex, Stocks, Options, Commodities, Futures, Crypto NinjaTrader Desktop, Web & Mobile, eSignal NFA, CFTC
eToro USA logo
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Crypto eToro Trading Platform & CopyTrader SEC, FINRA
OANDA US logo
Forex, Crypto with Paxos (Cryptocurrencies are offered through Paxos. Paxos is a separate legal entity from OANDA) OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist NFA, CFTC
DNA Markets logo
CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto MT4, MT5 ASIC
IG logo
CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA, FINMA, CONSOB
Pocket Option logo
Binary Options, Currencies, Commodities, Stocks, Indices, Cryptos Web, MT4, MT5 MISA
IQCent logo
Binary Options, CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Crypto Online Platform, TradingView IFMRRC
RedMars logo
CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Cryptos MT5 CySEC
Interactive Brokers logo
Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies Trader Workstation (TWS), IBKR Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral FCA, SEC, FINRA, CFTC, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB, FINMA

FOREX.com

"FOREX.com remains a best-in-class brokerage for active forex traders of all experience levels, with over 80 currency pairs, tight spreads from 0.0 pips and low commissions. The powerful charting platforms collectively offer over 100 technical indicators, as well as extensive research tools."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

FOREX.com Quick Facts

Bonus OfferActive Trader Program With A 15% Reduction In Costs
Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsForex, Stocks, Futures, Futures Options
RegulatorNFA, CFTC
PlatformsMT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
Minimum Deposit$100
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:50
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, CHF, PLN

Pros

  • The in-house Web Trader continues to shine as one of the best-designed platforms for aspiring day traders with a slick design and over 80 technical indicators for market analysis.
  • FOREX.com offers industry-leading forex pricing starting from 0.0 pips, alongside competitive cashback rebates of up to 15% for serious day traders.
  • There’s a wealth of educational resources including tutorials, webinars, and a stacked YouTube channel to help you get educated in the financial markets.

Cons

  • Funding options are limited compared to leading alternatives like IC Markets and don’t include many popular e-wallets, notably UnionPay and POLi.
  • FOREX.com's MT4 platform offers approximately 600 instruments, significantly fewer than the over 5,500 available on its non-MetaTrader platforms.
  • Despite increasing its range of instruments, FOREX.com's product portfolio is still limited to forex and CFDs, so there are no options to invest in real stocks, real ETFs or real cryptocurrencies.

NinjaTrader

"NinjaTrader continues to meet the demands of active futures traders looking for low fees and premium analysis tools. The platform hosts top-rate charting features including hundreds of indicators and 10+ chart types."

Tobias Robinson, Reviewer

NinjaTrader Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsForex, Stocks, Options, Commodities, Futures, Crypto
RegulatorNFA, CFTC
PlatformsNinjaTrader Desktop, Web & Mobile, eSignal
Minimum Deposit$0
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:50
Account CurrenciesUSD

Pros

  • You can get thousands of add-ons and applications from developers in 150+ countries
  • NinjaTrader is a widely respected and award-winning futures broker and is heavily authorized by the NFA and CFTC
  • NinjaTrader continues to deliver comprehensive charting software for active day traders with bespoke technical indicators and widgets

Cons

  • Non forex and futures trading requires signing up with partner brokers
  • There is a withdrawal fee on some funding methods
  • The premium platform tools come with an extra charge

eToro USA

"eToro remains a top pick for traders looking for leading social investing and copy trading services. With a low deposit, zero commissions and an intuitive platform, the broker will meet the needs of newer day traders."

Jemma Grist, Reviewer

eToro USA Quick Facts

Bonus OfferInvest $100 and get $10
Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsStocks, Options, ETFs, Crypto
RegulatorSEC, FINRA
PlatformseToro Trading Platform & CopyTrader
Minimum Deposit$10
Minimum Trade$10
Account CurrenciesUSD

Pros

  • eToro USA Securities is a trustworthy, SEC-regulated broker that is a member of FINRA and SIPC
  • The online broker offers an intuitive social investment network with straightforward copy trading on cryptos
  • The broker's Academy offers comprehensive learning materials for beginners to advanced-level investors

Cons

  • The proprietary terminal doesn't support trading bots and there are no additional stock market analysis tools
  • Average fees may cut into the profit margins of day traders
  • There's no MetaTrader 4 platform integration for traders who are accustomed to using third-party charting tools

OANDA US

"OANDA remains an excellent broker for US day traders seeking a user-friendly platform with premium analysis tools and a straightforward joining process. OANDA is also heavily regulated with a very high trust score."

Jemma Grist, Reviewer

OANDA US Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsForex, Crypto with Paxos (Cryptocurrencies are offered through Paxos. Paxos is a separate legal entity from OANDA)
RegulatorNFA, CFTC
PlatformsOANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist
Minimum Deposit$0
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:50
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, CHF, HKD, SGD

Pros

  • There's a strong selection of 68 currency pairs for dedicated short-term forex traders
  • OANDA is a reliable, trustworthy and secure brand with authorization from tier-one regulators including the CFTC
  • The broker offers a transparent pricing structure with no hidden charges

Cons

  • It's a shame that customer support is not available on weekends
  • There's only a small range of payment methods available, with no e-wallets supported
  • The range of day trading markets is limited to forex and cryptos only

DNA Markets

"DNA Markets is an excellent choice for short-term traders familiar with the MetaTrader platforms. The smooth sign-up process also makes it easy to get started while the $100 minimum deposit is accessible. That said, DNA Markets trails the top brokers in education, research and mobile trading. "

Jemma Grist, Reviewer

DNA Markets Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto
RegulatorASIC
PlatformsMT4, MT5
Minimum Deposit$100
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:500
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, SGD

Pros

  • The broker provides 24/5 customer support with response times of <2 minutes during testing
  • Convenient account funding is available with 7 base currencies, a $100 deposit and a wide range of payment methods
  • You can access low trading fees with spreads from 0.0 pips in the Raw account and zero non-trading fees

Cons

  • Although it continues to strengthen its client base and reputation, DNA Markets lacks the track record of top brokers like Vantage
  • Despite access to MT4 and MT5, there is no proprietary trading app for seamless account management whilst on the go
  • Unlike many alternatives, there are limited educational and research tools for traders seeking an all-in-one solution

IG

"IG continues to provide a comprehensive package with an intuitive web platform and best-in-class education for beginners, plus advanced charting tools, real-time data, and fast execution speeds for experienced day traders."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

IG Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting
RegulatorFCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA, FINMA, CONSOB
PlatformsWeb, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
Minimum Deposit$0
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro)
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, ZAR, SEK, DKK, CHF, HKD, SGD

Pros

  • The IG app offers a superb mobile trading experience with a clean design that helped it secure Runner Up at our Best Trading App award
  • As a well-established broker, IG operates under strict regulatory guidelines in multiple jurisdictions, maintaining a high level of trust
  • IG offers an extensive collection of professional and engaging educational resources, including webinars, articles, and analysis

Cons

  • IG applies an inactivity fee of $12 per month after 2 years, deterring casual investors
  • Beginners might find IG’s fee structure complex, with various fees for different types of trades or services, potentially leading to confusion or unexpected charges
  • Stock and CFD spreads still trail the cheapest brokers like CMC Markets based on tests

Pocket Option

"Pocket Option excels for its easy-to-use web platform which provides a best-in-class user experience for short-term binary traders. The $50 minimum deposit is also accessible for beginners while opening an account is really easy. Looking at the negatives, Pocket Option still trails alternatives in its market offering and regulatory credentials."

Jemma Grist, Reviewer

Pocket Option Quick Facts

Bonus Offer50% Deposit Bonus
Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsBinary Options, Currencies, Commodities, Stocks, Indices, Cryptos
RegulatorMISA
PlatformsWeb, MT4, MT5
Minimum Deposit$50
Minimum Trade$1
Account CurrenciesUSD

Pros

  • The web platform shines for its straightforward design and usability that will appeal to beginners looking to speculate on popular financial markets in a few clicks
  • The MetaTrader platforms offer integrated analysis with helpful technical summaries for short-term traders
  • The range of payment methods beats the majority of rivals, providing fast, secure and convenient deposits for traders in most countries

Cons

  • You need to deposit $1000 to access the extended list of 250+ assets, otherwise just 130+ assets are available
  • Pocket Option offers a slimmed down iteration of the MT4 and MT5 that doesn't provide the full charting package for advanced traders
  • The maximum binary contract length of 4 hours is restrictive for longer-term trading strategies. Alternatives like Videforex offer binaries up to 1 month

IQCent

"IQCent will appeal to day traders looking for a straightforward binary options and CFD trading platform with low fees, a range of accounts, and copy trading. Getting started takes less than 1 minute and a $250 deposit. "

Jemma Grist, Reviewer

IQCent Quick Facts

Bonus Offer20% to 200% Deposit Bonus
Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsBinary Options, CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Crypto
RegulatorIFMRRC
PlatformsOnline Platform, TradingView
Minimum Deposit$250
Minimum Trade$0.01
Leverage1:500
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR

Pros

  • The broker's 24/7 customer support is fast and reliable, responding within 1 minute during tests
  • IQCent is one of the few binary options brokers that also offers a copy trading service for hands-off traders
  • The broker offers up to 98% payouts on binary options, which is more than alternatives like Pocket Option, only offering up to 92%

Cons

  • There's no automated trading support for algo traders
  • IQCent trails binary brokers like Quotex with its narrow investment offering of around 100 assets with no stocks
  • The broker is not overseen by a respected regulator, though this is common among binary options firms

RedMars

"RedMars is the best fit for experienced day traders familiar with the MetaTrader 5 platform and based in the EU, where the broker is authorized by the CySEC. However, the threadbare education and research tools make it unsuitable for beginners."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

RedMars Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsCFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Cryptos
RegulatorCySEC
PlatformsMT5
Minimum Deposit€250
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots
Leverage1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR

Pros

  • Getting started on RedMars is incredibly easy - you can be up and running in just a few minutes based on tests
  • RedMars offers one of the best platforms for day trading, MT5, hosting 21 timeframes, dozens of analytical tools, flexible templates and algo trading
  • Clients in the EU, in particular, can trade with peace of mind knowing RedMars is authorized by the CySEC with up to €20K compensation available through the ICF in the event of bankruptcy

Cons

  • RedMars falls short for newer traders, with little in the way of education, no beginner-friendly platform, a steep minimum deposit, and inadequate support during testing
  • The no-frills trading environment offers little beyond the basics, with no Islamic account, PAMM account or copy trading.
  • While RedMars' spreads are within industry averages, they don't offer a significant edge over the cheapest day trading brokers we've personally used, notably IC Markets

Interactive Brokers

"Interactive Brokers is one of the best brokers for advanced day traders, providing powerful charting platforms, real-time data, and customizable layouts, notably through the new IBKR Desktop application. Its superb pricing and advanced order options also make it highly attractive for day traders, while its diverse range of equities is still among the best in the industry."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

Interactive Brokers Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsStocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies
RegulatorFCA, SEC, FINRA, CFTC, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB, FINMA
PlatformsTrader Workstation (TWS), IBKR Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
Minimum Deposit$0
Minimum Trade$100
Leverage1:50
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, INR, JPY, SEK, NOK, DKK, CHF, AED, HUF

Pros

  • While primarily geared towards experienced traders, IBKR has made moves to broaden its appeal in recent years, reducing its minimum deposit from $10,000 to $0.
  • The new IBKR Desktop platform takes the best of TWS while adding bespoke tools like Option Lattice and Screeners with MultiSort to create a genuinely impressive trading experience for day traders at every level.
  • The TWS platform has clearly been built for intermediate and advanced traders and comes with over 100 order types and a reliable real-time market data feed that rarely goes offline.

Cons

  • You can only have one active session per account, so you can’t have your desktop program and mobile app running simultaneously, making for a sometimes frustrating trading experience.
  • IBKR provides a wide range of research tools, but their distribution across trading platforms and the web-based 'Account Management' page lacks consistency, leading to a confusing user experience.
  • TWS’s learning curve is steep, and beginners may find it challenging to navigate the platform and understand all the features. Plus500's web platform is much better suited to new traders.

What is A Good Demo Trading Account?

Based on my experience testing day trading demo accounts, there are several important factors to consider:

Time Limits

Most online brokers offer access to a demo trading account for up to 30 days. After this, you will normally need to open a real-money account and make a deposit.

However, I prefer brokers that offer unlimited access to demo accounts. These will allow you to continue testing strategies even after you have opened a live account, making them an excellent tool for aspiring traders.

  • AvaTrade offers an unlimited demo account with access to MT4, MT5 and its own in-house platform.

Virtual Funds

Having used dozens of demo trading accounts, most brokers offer between $10,000 and $100,000 in virtual funds.

Once you have exhausted this money, you will normally need to open a live account, though some brokers will replenish your bankroll so you can continue practising until the demo account expires.

Importantly, I recommend demo trading in realistic volumes, as this will make the transition to real-money trading easier.

  • XM offers $100,000 in virtual funds but can you top up your practice account by contacting customer support.

Trading Instruments

The best demo trading accounts allow you to simulate trading on thousands of instruments spanning popular asset classes, including forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptocurrency.

However, the most important thing is to make sure you can practice on the markets you want to trade.

For example, if you want to trade CFDs on the S&P 500, make sure this is available. Equally, if you want to speculate on the EUR/USD, check this is available in demo mode.

  • CMC Markets offers one of the largest product portfolios I have seen with over 12,000 instruments, including currency pairs, currency indices, shares, indices, commodities, treasuries, share baskets, and ETFs.

Getting Started

After signing up for multiple demo trading accounts, those with a straightforward sign-up process stand out. In my experience, the best demo trading accounts allow you to register and start trading in less than 5 minutes.

To get started, you will normally need to provide basic contact details, choose your base currency, amount of virtual funds, and trading platform, and agree to the terms and conditions.

You will then be provided with login credentials which you can use to sign into the demo platform.

  • XTB offers a demo account that you can sign up for in 2 minutes. I simply had to provide my email, name, phone number and choose my country from a list.

Real Trading Conditions

The best demo trading accounts simulate real market conditions. For me, this means looking for several things.

They should offer live market data and pricing, leverage trading if it’s available in the real-money solution, and access to risk-management tools like stop-loss and take-profit orders. This should help gauge what trading in real-money mode will be like.

That being said, day trading demo accounts cannot fully replicate real-market conditions. For example, in demo mode trades are often executed instantly so you won’t experience the slippage or re-quotes you can see when you trade for real.

Demo trading accounts should also provide access to the same platforms and tools. MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader are among the most popular third-party platforms.

However, I think a demo account is even more important to consider if the broker offers a proprietary platform where you may be unfamiliar with the different features available.

  • IC Markets offers demo trading on all three of its platforms; MT4, MT5, and cTrader with pricing conditions that reflect its live accounts.

What Is A Demo Trading Account?

A demo account is a kind of trading simulator, that allows you to practice online trading with a wide range of financial instruments, from stocks, futures, and options to CFDs and cryptocurrencies.

How They Work

Demo accounts are funded with simulated money, allowing you to gain trading experience without risking real capital.

This allows you to craft strategies and build confidence while getting familiar with market conditions.

In addition, they are an effective way to test drive a potential broker and software.

Capabilities

The best demo trading accounts allow you to simulate real trading with the only difference being that you use pretend money.

This way you get the full experience of the markets and the trading platform, without the pressure of risking your actual funds.

XTB demo trading platform
XTB Trading Platform In Demo Mode

Pros And Cons Of Demo Trading Accounts

Pros

  • Risk – Because demo accounts are funded with simulated money, mistakes won’t cost you any of your hard-earned capital. In addition, they also allow you to practice day trading while you are still saving for that initial account deposit.
  • Price action – The best way to understand price action is to experience it. Stock trading demo accounts, for example, will give you practice reacting to volatile markets and capitalizing on price fluctuations.
  • Broker & platform – Online trading with demo accounts is an effective way to test a potential broker and platform. For example, you can check their software has all the charts and tools you need. In addition, do they offer any useful extras, such as trading contests? So, check the overall quality of the broker’s services before you commit real capital.
  • Calibration – Demo brokerage accounts are the ideal place to fine-tune your strategy. You can make mistakes and adjustments until your plan is consistent, without losing real capital. Because overtrading, cutting profits short and direction bias are all common mistakes that can prove costly if you don’t make them in practice accounts first.
  • Forward testing – Once you have a market and strategy in mind, you can either backtest or forward-test your trading plan. While backtesting can prove useful, it lacks the emotional element. Forward testing enables you to put your plan to trade stocks, for example, into action while battling trading pressures in real time.
  • Drawdowns – Regardless of how effective your strategy is, there will be days when the market feels against you. However, investing in a day trading demo account allows you to practice sticking to your plan and perhaps adjusting your position size until things turn around.

Cons

  • Execution – Demo accounts often provide better execution than live trading. This is because demo accounts usually fill a market order at the price shown on the screen. However, in a live market, there is slippage. This can result in orders not being filled at the expected price. So, meeting previous profit calculations may prove challenging.
  • Increased capital – Normally, demo software allows you to choose how much capital you would like to trade with. As a result, many individuals opt for far more than they will have when they live trade. Greater capital allows for smaller losses to be more easily recouped. You may also find yourself unable to afford the expensive instruments you explored when using demo accounts.
  • Spreads – Online forex brokers, for example, often look to impress potential traders with tight spreads in demo accounts. However, in fast-moving markets, in particular, the spread quoted may be far wider.
  • Deposits – Although using virtual money, there are some brokers who will require an initial deposit to use their demo accounts. So, this is something to check before you sign up.
  • Leverage – Many traders enjoy the increased leverage some brokers offer in demo accounts. Whilst this can result in substantial virtual profits, in live trading it can also lead to significant losses.
  • Deal rejection – In demo day trading accounts, trades almost always go through as requested, regardless of certain factors. However, when live trading, price changes between your trade submission and execution can result in rejection. So, be prepared for re-quotes when you upgrade to live trading.
  • Trading tools – Free charts and packages you get when you are trading gold in your demo account may well come at an additional cost when you live trade.
  • Market movements – Your demo account server may not take into account interest and dividend adjustments, or out-of-hours price movements.
  • Emotions – Day trading demo accounts will not expose you to the fear, hope and greed that you may experience when you live trade. The fear of losing your capital can result in costly mistakes. Whilst greed can lead to holding onto a winning position for too long. Unfortunately, you cannot practice controlling these emotions with demo accounts.
  • Complacency – Managing risk properly with a practice account is often overlooked. Traders often take more risks than they would if real funds were on the line. This can result in bad habits when you transition to live trading.
  • Overtrading – The excitement of trading can cause many with demo accounts to overtrade. After all, why not take that risk when it isn’t real money on the line? This can develop into a habit of overtrading. However, when you move to live trading, you will then need to learn quantity doesn’t always trump quality.

Bottom Line

Demo trading accounts offer a multitude of benefits, from honing a strategy to getting familiar with prospective markets.

However, there are certain limitations, from tackling different emotions to seeing the need for an effective risk management strategy.

But regardless of whether you think using demo accounts is very helpful or not, they remain an effective way to test a potential broker and platform.

FAQ

What Are Demo Trading Accounts?

Demo trading accounts offer a risk-free environment where you can practice trading. They differ from live accounts because they do not use real funds – the broker will provide you with a virtual bankroll. There is no requirement to deposit money.

Which Is The Best Demo Trading Account?

I have listed the best demo trading accounts. These practice accounts offer a straightforward sign-up process, a generous amount of virtual funds to practice trading online, and excellent conditions when you are ready to move to real-money trading.

How Do I Open A Demo Trading Account?

Most demo trading accounts are easy to open. The majority of the time, you will simply have to head over to the broker’s website and fill in a straightforward form.

You will usually be asked for your email address, username, password and location. Often you require no more details than this. Your account login details will then be emailed to you and instructions on the next steps will be given.

You can even find some forex demo accounts that require no registration at all.

Are Demo Trading Accounts Only For Beginners?

Not at all. Demo accounts are also useful for experienced traders looking to develop and test strategies before deploying them in live market conditions.

I find they are particularly useful for brokers with proprietary platforms and in-house tools that you may have not used before.

What Are The Alternatives To Demo Trading?

If you don’t want to use a demo account and are new to trading, I recommend brokers with a low minimum deposit.

The best firms allow you to start trading with a minimum investment of less than $100 with access to high-quality educational materials and training guides.

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