A free day trading demo account is a fantastic way to gain experience with zero risk. Here, we list the best forex, cfd and spread betting demo accounts. From ‘no registration’ practise accounts, to MT4 simulators that allow you to test strategies, we have reviews for them all. Test out brands and see if day trading could work for you – without risking capital.
Best Demo Accounts 2021
What is a Demo Account?
A demo account is a kind of trading simulator, or practice account, that allows you to practice day trading with a wide range of financial instruments, from stocks, futures, and options to CFDs and cryptocurrency.
How do 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, it’s an effective way to test drive a potential broker and software.
The best demo 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.
- Exploration – Testing different financial markets allows you to get a feel for how they behave while finding the right product for you. Trading penny stocks will be different to commodities, for example.
- Gain experience – Before you risk real capital, you can practice opening and closing positions, plus applying stops and limits. In addition, you can view margin requirements, as well as track profit and loss.
- Charting – Learn how to interpret and utilise charts, from testing technical indicators to identifying patterns.
- Past performance – You can analyse past performance to correct mistakes and hone your strategy before you put real capital on the line.
- Trading tools – Learn how to interpret and utilise information from news feeds and market data.
- Watch-lists – Demo accounts also allow you to identify and monitor markets of interest.
Whether it’s a forex demo account in the UK and Australia or CFD and spread betting in the US, all will offer a number of benefits:
- 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 capitalising on price fluctuations.
- Broker & platform – Finally, 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 where the market feels against you. However, investing in a demo account allows you to practice sticking to your plan and perhaps adjusting your position size until things turn around.
Overall, signing up for a demo account in binary or stock options, for example, could give you the ideal risk-free platform to develop an effective strategy.
Before you start looking at demo accounts for trading, these practice accounts do come with certain limitations:
- 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 ofter 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 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 your 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 – 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.
To conclude, a comparison of a demo account vs a real live-trading offering will highlight a number of potential pitfalls to take into account.
Yet that does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t use demo accounts. It simply means you need to be aware of the risks, so you can prepare for the differences when you do start trading with real capital.
Moving From Demo To Real Money
You open a demo account as your first step towards becoming a trader. You want to be successful and make real money. So why stop at the demo stage?
It is a common feeling. That fear of losing real money and the lack of belief that you might actually be a profitable day trader.
The same fears held us back to, but until you take that leap, you will never know. Let us guide you in your transition into a successful trader, with our 4 step plan:
Demo To Real Action Plan
1. Assign Some Capital To Trading
2. Open A Real Money Account
3. Calculate A Trade Size
4. Start Trading!
You already know how to place trades as you have tried it on the demo account. So let us build on each point with some detail;
Assign Some Capital
You need to set aside some capital. How much is up to you but £250 to £500 is a reasonable minimum, any less limits the number of trades you can make.
Trading is high risk, so you need to be prepared to lose some or all of this money. If the minimum deposit at a broker is less than you have, you dont need to pay it all in – just set it aside.
Open A Real Money Account
You do not have to use the same firm as your demo account, but this will be the easiest transition. Visit the broker page if you want to try someone new for the real account.
Calculate A Trade Size
How much will you risk on each trade? 1% to 2% is a good conservative number.
If you make 50 to 100 trades, you will be well placed to know if you have what it takes to be profitable trader.
Any less and you will not know if the results were just good or bad luck. 100 trades starts to separate winners from “unprofitable” traders.
Congratulations, you are a trader! Now, are you a winning one?…
Opening a Demo Account
Most demo accounts are easy to open, whether it’s for cryptocurrency or binary options of 60 seconds. 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:
- Email address
Often you require no more details than this. Your account login details will then be emailed to you and instructions on next steps will be given.
You can even find some forex demo accounts that require no registration at all.
Whether you are looking for the best demo account for share trading on the stock market, commodity trading, futures, forex or binary options, some of the top options have been collated below.
This will allow you to find the right software and offering to compliment your trading style whilst give you exposure to your preferred markets.
MetaTrader 4 Demo Account
Once you have finished your MetaTrader download, you will be able to analyse markets using a range of technical indicators, without risking any capital.
This allows you to practice analysing price action, chart figures, support and resistance lines, currency correlations, and more.
In addition, demo accounts on MT4 can be opened in a desktop platform, plus in mobile applications.
Both will also allow you to test automated strategies, calling on historical data to optimise your settings.
Once you have your MetaTrader account password, you can practice all of the above until your demo account expires. However, you will find plenty of brokers offering MT4 demo accounts that don’t expire.
This means you can benefit from live quotes from all markets, as well as a virtual portfolio, allowing you to practice under real market conditions, for as long as you want.
You also benefit from diversity. So, you can choose between MT4 demo accounts in gold trading and FX, just to name a couple.
In fact, because MT4 demo accounts have no time limit, you can try your luck in as many markets as you like, until you find the right product for your trading style. MT4 demo accounts are also available in plenty of countries, from the USA to the UK.
Overall, once you have your MT4 password, you are free to test your strategies for as long as you wish, as most MetaTrader demo accounts are unlimited.
They provide the ideal risk-free way to identify where your strengths lay and which areas of your trading plan require attention.
One of the best forex demo accounts is provided by IC Markets. Their forex account is easy to use. It comes with a range of sophisticated charting and trading tools, whilst their website promises a wealth of support and an active user community.
Another major benefit comes in the form of accessibility. You can open a forex demo account from the USA, UK, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, and a whole host of other countries.
In terms of technical capabilities, IC Markets support a range of platforms.
So, you can select their forex account and get an MT4 download. Alternatively, you can practice on MT5 or cTrader. Also, you can choose between a forex web platform or mobile trading, on both Android and iOS.
IC Markets forex demo account also has no time limit or expiration. So, you don’t have to put real capital on the line until you feel confident.
Overall, if you’re looking for free demo accounts for forex trading, that can be used for an unlimited time, IC Markets is a strong contender. They consistently score highly in reviews of forex demo accounts.
For demo accounts using CFDs only, Plus500 is worth considering.
Reviews highlight traders are impressed with the great flexibility, high-quality software, plus competitive spreads when you upgrade to real-time trading.
Another key selling point of Plus500 demo accounts is that they do not expire, meaning you can practice indefinitely.
On top of that, you can backtest strategies and get familiar with the nuances of the forex market, all with zero risks.
In addition, head over to the app store and you can get a demo account on your iOS or Android device. This will allow you to practice on the way to work or at a time convenient for you.
Simply head over to their website and select ‘Demo Mode’ in the ‘Select Account Mode’ window.
Then follow the on-screen instructions to get set up. Also, you can switch from Real Money mode to Demo by hitting ‘Switch to Demo Mode’. Not to mention, you can reset Plus500 demo accounts if you want a fresh start.
So, if you’re looking for a full demo account without needing a deposit, Plus500 is a worthwhile choice.
If you’re looking for crypto, CFD, or forex demo accounts, Etoro is worth exploring.
In fact, once you have registered on their website, a trading account with both real and demo modes is automatically opened.
After you’ve logged in, you simply need to select ‘Practice Trading Login’ on the main screen and enter your Etoro login credentials that you registered with.
Etoro is a sensible choice for those looking for a free forex demo account download without a time limit. In addition, demo accounts on Etoro can also be reset.
On top of that, you can get their forex demo account in app form, where you can play around with up to €10,000 in virtual funds.
Also, app reviews have been quick to highlight the sleek and easy-to-navigate interface.
A demo account in Etoro will also allow you to practice your skills in trading competitions. Furthermore, it’s an ideal choice for those looking for demo accounts without a deposit required.
There are plenty of options out there. An MT4 demo account that does not expire could well prepare you for any number of potential markets.
However, remember a forex demo account vs live real-time trading will throw up certain challenges.
So, be wary of those that claim ‘demo account trading is a must in my view’. Instead, consider your needs and look for demo accounts that can replicate real-time trading as accurately as possible, including spreads and trade tools.
NSE Demo Trading Accounts
There are now plenty of options for individuals looking for demo accounts for the NSE (National Stock Exchange of India). In fact, demo accounts for stock/share trading in India are on the rise.
Both individuals and retailers are swiftly realising demo accounts can prove useful in the often volatile marketplace.
However, it is worth considering whether a minimum deposit is required.
You should also check whether advanced trading tools will come with an additional charge when you upgrade to a live account.
Finally, how long do you have access to their practice offering? Is it unlimited or will you have to look elsewhere after a short while if you’re not ready to upgrade?
It’s also worth noting you can find demo accounts for commodity trading in India. On top of that, there are binary options demo accounts, without needing a deposit.
Furthermore, a number of brokers offer futures demo accounts for an unlimited period. So, it’s worthwhile shopping around before you sign up.
You do not have to risk your own capital straightaway. You can find plenty of free day trading demo accounts, for binary options and cryptocurrency to forex and stocks.
Location should also not deter you. For example, you can find demo accounts for stock trading in Singapore as easily as you can in South Africa.
Overall, demo 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.