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How to choose a trading platform for beginners?
Here are some factors to consider before you sign up for a brokerage account. Though these are important features you’ll want to have, there isn’t a single all-in-one platform that checks all of these boxes. This is why you should do your research and find a trading platform that’s most suitable for your needs.
For beginners and even experienced traders alike, you’ll probably want to use a brokerage account that has low fees. Imagine paying a 2% commission fee for every trade, while another account charges 0.2%. It just makes sense to pay for less so you can maximise your returns.
Though it may seem insignificant when you’re starting out with the limited capital you have, you’ll start to feel the pinch once you gain more confidence and park more funds into the account.
A pro tip is to look out for a flat fee per trade, especially if you’re making fewer and larger investments in the future. Some trading platforms like Saxo Markets also offer different account tiers depending on the size of your total investment, so be sure to choose one that caters to your investing style.
As a beginner, it can be extremely daunting to see charts and numbers on the brokerage platform. This is why a user-friendly interface will make your experience more seamless. You’ll want to find a platform with an intuitive interface that doesn’t take you much time to navigate and get used to it.
Having crisp designs without the clutter and a search function will definitely help you to be more focused on the actual investing, without having to aimlessly click on tabs just to find your portfolio.
It’s also advisable to find a platform that can be used on both desktops and mobile devices, so you can invest on the go.
Some brokerage accounts offer free educational tools and research materials for amateur investors. They usually come in the form of articles, videos, visuals and even live stock quotes that you can take advantage of.
You won’t ever truly know everything about investing, so it will be beneficial to learn on the go as you start investing and gain experience.
Another factor you should consider is the availability of a demo account to get you started. These demo accounts stimulate the market environment as closely as possible in a bid to recreate the experience of ‘real’ trading.
You can take your time and play around with the features and get used to the platform as a whole. Add the stocks you ‘bought’ to your watchlist and watch them rise and dip after time. Once you’re ready, you can start investing with your own real money.
Best trading platforms for beginners
1. TD Ameritrade
|Mutual funds||US$0Up to US49.95 or US$74.95 for no-load buys|
|Options||US$0US$0.65 per contract|
|Futures||US$2.25 per contract (plus exchange and regulatory fees)|
Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade takes the number one spot because of its user-friendly interface and low fees. It is a US-based stock broker and is regulated by top-tier authorities like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Being in the market for a long time and having an exceptional track record, you won’t have to worry about security.
Available on both desktops and mobile devices, TD Ameritrade allows you to invest on the go and seamlessly have an overview of your portfolio from wherever you are. They also offer free stock and ETF trading, though you’ll have to pay if you want to dive into forex, bond and option fees.
You can also find educational materials like webcasts and articles, and even a free demo account that you can experiment with.
2. Saxo Markets
|EU||0.10% - 0.30%||0.10% - 0.30%||0.10% - 0.30%||0.07% - 0.25%||0.05% - 0.20%|
One of the reasons why Saxo Markets is ranked high on our list is because of its very low rates. Not only does Saxo not charge any hidden fees, i.e. no platform fee, inactivity fee and maintenance fee, but they also have a relatively low commission fee of 0.08% on trades in Singapore, with a minimum cost of S$5.
For instance, if you’re investing more than S$300,000 with SaxoWealthCare, you can sign-up for the highest tier plan and enjoy a waiver off the monthly fee, and lower rates of 0.03% with a minimum cost of S$1.
With an intuitive interface, it won’t be long before you get the hang of navigating the platform. They also offer online trading in 60 exchanges worldwide, giving you plenty of options.
|Syfe Trade||Commission-free trades a month|
|Five free trades a month||US$0.99 flat fee
US$1.49 after introductory offer
As Singapore’s first neobroker, Syfe recently introduced Syfe Trade which gives you access to over 10,000 US stocks and ETFs at any amount with the option for fractional trading. Every month, they offer five free trades, while anything thereafter subjects you to a flat US$0.99 fee.
The clean and sleek interface makes your investment experience seamless and easy, and provides real-time stock quotes for deeper insights on price movements as well as the latest market news.
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4. Interactive Brokers
|Market||Min. commission||Min. fee|
|US||US$0.005 per share||US$1|
With over 26 international markets open to investing in, Interactive Brokers have a decent range of stocks to choose from.
They have competitive rates of 0.08% minimum commission rate with a minimum fee of S$2.50, though there are other brokerage accounts on this list that has lower rates. If you’re interested in diving into forex, you’ll be glad to know that the fees for forex spreads are one of the cheapest available in Singapore.
If you need resources, they do have a range of on-demand educational materials for you to make use of, including webinars, extensive courses and financial analyses.
|Market||Brokers fee||Min. commission||Platform fee|
|Singapore||0.03%||S$0.99||0.03% (min S$1.50)|
|US||US$0.99||US$0||US$0 for the first year
US$0.99 per order thereafter
Though moomoo is also a newcomer that was founded in 2018, it has since gained traction in Singapore with its attractive sign-up bonuses usually in the form of free stocks.
Offering a variety of order types, many investors have ever since flocked to moomoo as their trusted brokerage account. The app and desktop versions are both very detailed, though the charts and numbers might be daunting to new investors.
Their fees are also decent as they offer commission-free trading of US stocks, ETFs and options. On the flip side, their margin rates are quite high so it’s best to avoid them. In terms of educational materials, moomoo offers a wide range of webinars, educational videos and tutorials, and even a demo account.
6. Tiger Brokers
|Market||Brokers fee||Min. commission|
|Futures||US$0.99 - US$18.99||NA|
Tiger Brokers is another platform that offers very affordable prices. Their commission fee for each trade is just 0.03%, compared to others that charge around 0.08% to 0.28%, and do not charge any custodian or currency conversion fee.
They also have very attractive sign-up promotions like moomoo, and usually offer Tiger coins that can be used on the platform and free stocks like Apple.
The platform offers real-time access to markets in US, Hong Kong, Australia and China, giving you a wide range of options to choose from. The interface for both desktop and mobile is quite easy to navigate too but can be a little cluttered with the overwhelming number of charts and prices.
|Market||Commission fee||Platform fee|
|Singapore||S$8.80 flat fee||NA|
|China A shares||0.08%||CNH$40|
Of the platforms listed, FSMOne probably offers the most value for buying into overseas markets, at 0.08% commission for each trade in the US, China, Malaysia and Hong Kong markets. However, if you’re looking to invest in the Singapore market, they charge a flat fee of S$8.80, which isn’t the cheapest. They also charge quarterly and annual fees depending on the products you invest in.
They provide a tier-based rewards program, which will benefit you if you are planning on making larger investments as the minimum deposit is over S$200,000. Under the Gold and Diamond accounts, you can accumulate points from transactions to redeem vouchers and other rewards.
FSMOne also offers comprehensive information on stocks, bonds, ETFs, unit trusts, alternative investments and money markets securities for beginners who are interested to learn more about the market.
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