With the rapid pace at which technology is advancing, it’s no surprise that online trading is now at your fingertips. Online apps have grown exponentially in recent years and can be accessed on anything from laptops to iPads, iPhones and Android devices. If you plan on trading in the financial markets, check out these 10 apps that are considered a ‘must have’.
This app is first on the list for those who are new to online trading. It is known as an excellent application for the beginner. Analytical site reviews.com explains, “Scottrade earned a spot on the list of best online brokers for beginners primarily because of their fantastic support. Scottrade has a large network of local branches, and does a great job of building strong relationships with their customers.”
Related: Check out the best wealth management & personal finance apps reviewed here.
“Scottrade may not have the most cutting edge trading tools, but they do provide access to some great learning materials. Many webinars, courses, and even live seminars are offered through Scottrade’s online knowledge center, which is a great benefit if you prefer to learn online. Their interface is simple and easy to navigate, and $7 online trades are some of the most affordable in the industry.”
After closing out 2014, E-Trade finished with impressive reviews. As Blain Reinkensmeyer reported on stockbrokers.com, “ETRADE, our winner again this year, had the best showing, earning 92% of the possible points in this category. ETRADE was quick to embrace mobile trading and continues to be the leader today. On the innovation front this year, ETRADE was the only broker in the entire industry to offer clients the ability to compare their portfolio performance against major market indices.”
In an article in Brokerage Reviews on frugalrules.com, online trader John Schmoll praised E-Trade stating “Not only is E-Trade’s trading platform user friendly, but they also offer a good amount of research and tools that can help you with retirement planning. Their free educational offerings can help you better assess what kind of strategies to put in place in order to better manage your investing needs. E-Trade has also been recognized by publications like Kiplinger’s for having some of the best tools and education available in the industry.”
For those interested in Forex (Foreign Exchange), according to Investopedia.com this is one of the most popular apps. It is an upgrade from the MetaTrader4 mobile app, which can be accessed through the iPhone and handheld Android devices and holds special appeal among users who are familiar with the fourth version’s much-coveted software.
One review of it on earnforex.com stated, “MetaTrader5 has many new features compared to the previous version of the software. It still supports various expert advisors, custom indicators, and scripts, but also provides a better Strategy Tester, news event objects, built-in market for trading products and a more flexible development environment. If you look for a simple trading platform with an outstanding functionality combined with thousands of free indicators and automated strategies, choosing an MT5 broker will give you that.”
This is another highly recommended app for Forex trading and, in fact, took first place overall for three years in a row on Barrons.com. “In the past, we’ve shied away from recommending Interactive to anyone who isn’t a big trader because its tools and offerings cater more to hedge funds and registered investment advisors. But today, it offers a lot more support to new clients, including individuals, especially those with larger accounts. Yes, using the word ‘support’ in the same sentence as Interactive Brokers (without the modifier “dismal”) is a change for us, but the firm has clearly made this a point of focus.”
As indicated in this quote, IB has been known for poor customer service, but have recently made great strides to improve it.
As reported by Lewis Humphries on Investopedia.com “The usage of some applications grew even faster than the smartphone market itself, with the TD Ameritrade Mobile App providing a relevant case in point. Created by established brokerage firm TD Ameritrade, its user base more than doubled throughout 2011 as an estimated 30,000 investor trades were executed in August alone. The application is also compatible with a number of individual mobile devices, including the iPad, iPhone and Android handsets. In addition to this, it benefits from a comprehensive range of tools and real-time streaming quotes, which can afford a critical market advantage to investors.”
Reviewing the app on investorjunkie.com, they give the following reasons for using it: you can fund an account with as little as $50-$100 (they used to have a $2K minimum), their fee of $9.99 per online stock transaction is low given the variety of services provided, no maintenance fees, powerful research tools, investment options, and trading tools. “The customer service is outstanding at TD Ameritrade. Holding times are minimal and customer service agents are always helpful and friendly, and emails are responded within 24 hours. You can also get a free investment checkup at any branch.”
Mentioned in several online publications as a ‘must have’, a review by online trader G.E. Miller on 20somethingfinance.com explains why. “Here’s where TradeKing really excels. Whereas some discount brokers try to nickel and dime you with account inactivity fees and IRA fees, TradeKing does not. If you have over $2,500 in an account balance or make 1 trade over 12 months, there are no inactivity fees. And there are no ‘maintenance’ fees. They also don’t have an annual IRA fee.”
In the comment section below his article, there is nothing but praise for this app as an important tool.
Data is the lifeblood for most traders, particularly technical traders. Although other apps may give access to basic data and charting functions, serious traders likely will need something more. QuoTrek is eSignal’s mobile app and gives traders access to many of the same features as their desktop eSignal subscription.
Traders are able to see quotes and historical data on stocks, commodities, and forex, and apply some technical analysis to the data. Some traders may complain that this mobile app does not do everything their desktop application does. But, if you use it as a supplement for when you are on the go, rather than a replacement, it likely will do everything you need it to.
A Charles Schwab app, OptionsXpress has been gaining popularity since 2014’s focus on integrating its All-in-One Trade Ticket across all available devices. Nerdwallet.com gave a thumbs up in their review stating, “You can also trade three- and four-leg options strategies, and use the firm’s Walk Limit order type to enter spread orders and save some money on the transaction. The Walk Limit now allows customers to choose the start price, end price, and price increment as well as the amount of time the order rests on each price point, from two to 60 seconds, before moving.”
“Overall adoption of the product continues to grow — especially for spread and single leg traders,’ says CEO Joseph Vietri. ‘Walk Limit has become a customer favorite as we see continued usage month over month among our options traders,’ he notes.
The Fidelity app has great ratings and reviews overall. On reviews.com they address the strength of this app saying, “Fidelity offers mobile apps for a number of different devices so you can trade on the go. The navigation is different than you’ll see elsewhere, but that’s not a bad thing. The best feature of the app is still the ability to deposit checks directly into your Fidelity trading account. You can also transfer funds and even pay bills.”
“The new iPhone app allows you to perform advanced trades and conduct research on individual stocks, but new features like the Market’s Most Active list and the News + Video section really make it stand out above the competition. The Market’s Most Active list shows you a heat map of the day’s most active stocks. From this screen, you can click on any of the stocks for detailed research and news. The News + Videos section is organized very well and offers the ability to scroll sideways to view news stories on the topics that interest you. In this section of the mobile app, you can also view video news straight from Reuters.” Online-stock-trading-review.com gives a favorable review as well, giving it a 9.05 out of a 10 point system. “This online broker is well established and is a good choice for in-person guidance with branches in most states.”
In Barrons.com report on the Best Online Brokers of 2014, TradeMonster came in second place and is worthy of note. “TradeMonster again takes second place, based on our tabulations. A key to its continued high ranking is the firm’s success in bringing desktop functionality to mobile devices. The TradeMonster experience remains relatively consistent, regardless of where you are. TradeMonster lowered its equity commissions by $2.55 on March 3, to $4.95 per transaction, making its fees extremely competitive.”