Web Based Trading
The web based trading option is probably the most appealing option initially to most traders. The option allows traders to access and trade their account from any computer around the world as long as they have access to the Internet.
The process is very simple. Once you open an online trading account with your commodity broker, they will give you an account number and access to your account. You simply pull up their website and login under the client area. Enter your account ID and password and you will have access to your account and trading.
With this option, you don’t have to download software to your computer. This is the simplest way to trade online, but it does have limitations. Traders typically don’t have the speed and features that a downloadable platform would have. Many new traders begin with the online platform but later switch to a main, feature-rich platform. The online platform is then used for checking their account and making occasion trades when they are away from their main computer.
Online Trading Platforms
The best way for active traders to get the most out of technology is to use a trading platform. This means that you need to download the trading platform from your broker’s website to your computer. It is usually a very large program that has access to a large amount of historic data.
Many commodity brokerage firms have a very sophisticated trading platform that you can utilize. Some firms have several different options available, while you also have the option to purchase a third party trading platform and link it to your account. This will route your orders directly to your broker for execution.
There really is no comparison between the web version and a complete trading platform if you need a great deal of technical studies or your want to conduct back testing. Day traders also need speed and a platform that is faster than the web version. For those who trade actively and basically do all their trading on the same computer, it is better to go ahead and begin using the best platform your broker offers.
Many brokers offer their trading platform for no charge to their clients. Some brokers charge for their platforms, so you have to consider costs before you choose a broker. However, many won’t charge if you do a certain amount of trades every month. Some traders prefer to use a third party platform even though they have to pay for it monthly. This is a small cost to a large trader who feels more comfortable and knows the software well.
Other Options for Traders
Many commodity brokers have created apps that allow clients to access their accounts through their smartphones. You obviously are somewhat limited with what you can do on a smartphone, but this is very convenient for traders. Traders can view quotes, basic charts and place trades. This is incredibly important as a backup if your power goes out or you need to leave your trading station for a while.
In reality, traders can utilize all three types of trading options. I suggest testing several platforms until you find one you like. There are many to choose from if you look at multiple brokers. You may find that you are far more comfortable with a specific platform and that can actually make a difference in your trading. The less distractions you have in trading, the better. Struggling with a platform is one distraction you don’t need.