5 Points To Help You Decide Which Online Trading Platform Is The Best For You

Money / Investing

5 Points To Help You Decide Which Online Trading Platform Is The Best For You

With so many online trading platforms to choose from, how do you know which is best for you? We’ve done the homework to help you decide.

Written by Brent Morgans on 14 July 2017

Online trading can be pretty advantageous for investors who want to avoid high transaction fees typically associated with traditional brokerage firms, on top of giving them more autonomy to manage their own portfolio. But how do you pick the best online trading platform for you? We compare three (IG Markets, Interactive Brokers, and Saxo Capital Markets) in five areas:


Ease of use and mobility

As with an operating system, you’d want something intuitive and user-friendly – navigating the available options and features of the platform should be seamless and easy. An attractive-looking customisable interface would be a plus too. All three platforms are quite similar in look and feel.

Investors who want the option of trading on-the go will need a platform that is mobile-optimised too. Although all three are Android- and iOS-friendly, Saxo offers the best seamless interaction across devices. While Interactive Brokers’ mobile platform allows users to import pages and templates from the desktop version, it doesn’t automatically sync when you make changes on one device.

Our verdict:

IG Markets:                       ****
Interactive Brokers:          ***
Saxo Capital Markets:       *****


Analytics charts

Apart from being able to execute trades on a platform, it is always helpful for the platform to offer other features to help users make informed decisions. While all three platforms provide features such as charting tools as well as news – with Interactive Brokers partnering with Reuters to feature their news stories on its platform – only IG and Saxo offer in-house analysis.

Bonus points to Saxo for providing users with the convenience of trading directly from charts.

Our verdict:

IG Markets:                       ****
Interactive Brokers:          ***
Saxo Capital Markets:       *****


Access to trading instruments

For traders who want to trade a wide range of securities, they might want a platform that gives them access to a wide range of trading instruments so they can execute all trades on one platform – as opposed to using different ones for different types of securities.

In terms of the types of products and stock exchanges available, all three platforms have extensive breadth of offering – ranging from FX, stocks, futures, CFDs, metals, options, etc. Saxo appears to have the most extensive offering of bonds, while IG Markets is the only one that offers bitcoin products.

Our verdict:

IG Markets:                       *****
Interactive Brokers:          ****
Saxo Capital Markets:       *****


Other tools

We’ve looked out for proprietary tools that give platforms an added edge to help users when trading. One that stood out was Saxo’s Trade Signal feature, which allows users to trade a never-before-traded asset class based on their Technical Analysis knowledge – allowing users more opportunities to trade. Also of interest are Saxo’s trade-from-chart capability as well as order and open position views.

IG Markets’ platform – on the other hand – features Signal Centre, which delivers real-time signals to the platform on your desktop or mobile device to alert you of trends or patterns in the markets and to highlight trade opportunities.

Interactive Brokers allows its users to access a large number of hedge funds through its Investor Centre. Its nifty Portfolio Analytics tool assesses the risk of your entire portfolio across asset classes and examines the risk in hypothetical scenarios. Another similar tool is its Option Analytics, which mathematically values and assesses risk in individual option classes.

Also interesting is its Index Arbitrage Meter that illustrates the extent of the premium (or discount) of the lead month futures prices above (or below) its fair future value with respect to the index price.

Our verdict:

IG Markets:                       ***
Interactive Brokers:          *****
Saxo Capital Markets:       ****



Apart from assessing a platform’s features and tools, it is also important to choose one that offers transparency to users. Data such as historical prices of securities and orders filled are useful in a decision-making process.

While such information appears to be quite limited on Interactive Brokers, IG Markets publishes data on order execution and stop loss slippage. Saxo seems to be the strongest in this area with disclosure on stop order fills statistics, historic swap points, and FX volume-based spreads.

It also recently announced its participation in the Global Code of FX Conduct, which is validated by over 16 regulators around the globe.

Our verdict:

IG Markets:                       **
Interactive Brokers:          ****
Saxo Capital Markets:       *****


Choosing the best online trading platform can be down to your needs and priorities – some are willing to pay more for an extensive range of tools and features while others want a platform that offers the most competitive pricing. While Saxo may not be the strongest in this respect, it does boast a pretty comprehensive range of tools for those who want the best resources money can offer.


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