Best Trading Platforms and Brokers in Australia
The brokers with the best trading platforms for Australian traders in 2020 are:
- Pepperstone – Best Overall
- IC Markets – Lowest Spreads And Fees
- CMC Markets – Best CFD and Share Trading
- EasyMarkets – Best Beginner Trading Platform
- Interactive Brokers – Most Advanced Charting
- ANZ eTrade – Most Sophisticated Share Trading
- IG Markets – Best Range-Of-Markets Platform
To compare the forex brokers offering the best trading platforms, we created a best forex broker platform comparison table.
In this article, firstly we explain the two most popular trading platforms for retail investors in Australia (MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5), then we look at the best Australian brokers and the platforms offered.
Best Forex Trading Platform for Australian Traders
Australian forex traders have a selection of online trading platforms to choose from. Below we discuss some of the best trading platform options available to Australian forex traders and the best brokers that offer them.
MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5
The two most popular online trading platforms offered to retail investors in Australia are the MetaQuotes platforms MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Both trading platforms offer an excellent trading experience, providing a range of technical analysis and risk management tools assist with forex and CFD trading.
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the gold standard used by the majority of retail forex traders in Australia and around the globe. Since its release in 2005, MT4 hosts one of the largest online forex communities, Australians using MetaTrader 4 can access forums and gain answers to nearly any trading queries.
MetaTrader 5 was released in # and was developed to cater to traders’ wanting to trade Shares (as Stock trading is restricted on MT4). Although not as popular as MT4, MT5 will continue to grow in popularity due to its more expansive product range with a greater offering of trading tools such as more timeframes, metrics, charting features and order types.
Both Metaquotes trading platforms offer the popular Expert Advisors (EAs) which allow you to develop algorithms and apply automated trading strategies.
Pepperstone – Best Overall
Melbourne based forex broker Pepperstone offers MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader to retail traders. The Australian broker offers two account type options depending on how a trader wants to structure trading fees. The Standard account offers all-inclusive spreads where commission fees are included in the spread, while a Razor Account gives traders access to spreads as low as 0.0 pips while incurring a flat rate commission fee. When trading with Pepperstone, CompareForexBrokers recommends using MetaTrader 4 through a Razor Account type.
Pepperstone’s ECN-Style Razor Account
The Razor account is compatible with both MetaTrader trading platforms as well as cTrader. One of the benefits with the Razor account is it provides a trading environment similar to an Electronic Clearing Network (ECN) account. ECN-like accounts allow for trades to be routed straight to the markets (STP), bypassing broker dealing desks, meaning that you will never wake up to find one of your orders filled at a price other than what you expected. Another key benefit is the ability for you to determine the amount of leverage you want to employ, which is a great way for traders to manage risk exposure. Additionally, Pepperstone offers excellent award-winning customer support, ensuring Australian clients can receive efficient answers to any queries regarding the MetaTrader platform and Razor account.
Trading Tools available on MT4
Pepperstone clients’ using MetaTrader 4 as their trading platform can enjoy a user-friendly interface with a range of advanced analysis tools.
Pepperstone customers can utilise MT4’s Autochartist features to assist with developing complex trading strategies. Autochartist offers a market scanner, risk calculator with backtesting, volatility analysis tools, market reports and a range of technical indicators.
For traders’ wanting to automate trading with algorithmic strategies, Expert Advisors (EAs) can be created and executed using MQL4 (MetaQuotes MT4 Language). If further Expert Advisor tools are required, Pepperstone’s Smart Trader Tools can be downloaded from the broker’s website. The suite of 28 different EAs and indicators allow for sophisticated trading strategies to be developed while managing the high-risk of forex trading.
Expert Advisor Smart Trader Tools
Foreign Exchange Market Regulation
Traders with Pepperstone will appreciate the security and investor protection provided through ASIC regulation. ASIC, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission, requires brokers to follow stringent regulation to ensure Australian traders’ can access fair and competitive forex markets.
IC Markets – Lowest Spreads and Fees
IC Markets an Australian based CFD broker offering ultra-competitive forex spreads while charging low trading and account fees. The regulated broker holds an AFSL (Australian Financial Services License) issued by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) and therefore is seen as one of the best brokers for currency trading in Aussie.
The table below shows the minimum and average spreads for different currencies against the Australian Dollar. Few brokers can compete with IC Markets institutional-grade pricing, with clients’ having the ability to trade the fx financial instruments listed below at spreads as low as 0.0 pips in ideal market conditions.
The ECN-style spreads are due to IC Market’s top-tier liquidity providers and No Dealing Desk (NDD) execution. To ensure traders can access the tightest spreads possible, the regulated broker sources prices from 25 different financial institutions including major European, American and Australian banks.
|IC Markets Spreads||Raw Acc. Minimum Spread||Raw Acc. Average Spread|
Commission Fees for MetaTrader and cTrader Platforms
Commission fees vary between trading platforms. For traders’ signed up to a Raw Spread Account a commission fee of $3.50 (per lot/per side) will be incurred when using MetaTrader 4, while those trading on cTrader will pay a commission fee of $3.0 per USD 100,000 traded.
Nontrading Account Fees
As well as tight spreads and low commission fees, clients trading with IC Markets mostly incur no fees when depositing or withdrawing funds. Traders’ face no fees when withdrawing funds via credit/debit card and domestic bank wire, yet a processing fee of AUD $20 is charged for international bank wire transfers. When it comes to depositing funds into trading accounts, IC Markets customers’ have a range of payment methods available as shown below.
|Australian Dollar (AUD) Funding Methods||Processing Time||Accepted Currencies|
|Credit and Debit Card||Instant||AUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD|
|PayPal||Instant||AUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD, HKD, CHF|
|Neteller||Instant||AUD, USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, SGD, JPY|
|Neteller VIP||Instant||AUD, GBP, EUR, CAD, SGB, JPY|
|Skrill||Instant||AUD, USD, JPY, EUR, SGD, GBP|
|Wire Transfer||2-5 Working Days||AUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD, CHF|
CMC Markets – Best CFD and Share Trading
CMC Markets is a London based forex broker, yet the companies Sydney hub caters to the unique requirements of Australia’s retail forex market. The broker is highly regarded for its impressive market access, with traders able to trade over 330 currency pairs among other CFDs. The tight ECN-like spreads CMC offers are not restricted to major currency pairs such as EUR/USD, with the ability to trade more exotic Asian-Pacific fx pairs at competitive spreads as well.
- Product Range
- Next Generation
When executing trades on the brokers proprietary trading platform Next Generation, users’ can access trading accounts via a webtrader platform or mobile apps compatible with iOS and Android.
EasyMarkets – Best Beginner Trading Platform
Interactive Brokers – Most Advanced Charting
ANZ eTrade – Most Sophisticated Share Trading
IG Markets – Best Market Access
Trading Forex in Australia
Trading forex in Australia has unique but not insurmountable challenges. The best trading platform for Australian forex brokers making a living in the southern hemisphere, far removed from the big financial centres of London and New York, no more difficult than any other aspect of daily life. In an increasingly connected 24/7 world, you can trade forex on a level playing ground in real time with anyone in the world.
Why Forex Is So Popular For Australian Investors
One of the factors Australian traders seeking to capture profits from online trading currencies in foreign exchange currency markets (forex) is that the times of peak currency market activity are out of sync with Australian time zones. Whilst it is entirely true that the Forex market trades 24 hours per day for 5-1/2 days per week, there are many hours when price activity is quiet due to a lack of trader participation.
There are four predominant forex sessions during a trading day, that is based on the time in major cities with large financial market operations. Those sessions are based on Sydney, Tokyo, London and New York. The different sessions overlap to a certain degree. By far, the most critical session in which to participate in is the tail end of the London Market and the beginning of the New York market. The four-hour period when those two sessions overlap is when the vast majority of trading activity, even activity related to the Australian and New Zealand dollars, takes place in terms of currency pair price movements.
For someone living in the Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) zone, those prime hours when the London and New York Forex sessions overlap are 11:00 PM to 3 AM. Given that you would prefer to be sleeping during those hours, choosing the best trading platform for Australian traders requires various order types and algorithmic trading functions because very little of the trading being done will be actively managed.
Taking Advantage of Forex Orders Based on AEST
No, you do not have to forego sleep in order to participate in the forex markets. Rather, you can use special order types to set up your trades in advance, go to bed, get yourself a good night’s sleep, and then have a look in the morning when you get up to see how your online trading strategies panned out. Strange as it may sound, trading in this fashion is less stressful, because price analysis, trade entries, exits and maximum acceptable risk can be made outside times of peak price activity without your emotions getting the better of you.
Using “Limit” and “Stop” orders on your forex trading platform, you can efficiently plan your trades. You will be much more objective without watching trades go in your favour or against you, tick by excruciating tick, and you will be able to determine logical entry and exit points, as well as control your exposure to risk. To new traders, this discovery is a welcome revelation. To those with some degree of experience, it is a solid reality. A good trading platform for Australian traders will take the effect of time zones into account and offer tools to compensate for this.
Brokerage Fees When Online Trading
The best trading platform Australia option should also factor in brokerage fees. Generally, there are two main brokerage fees:
The spread is more applicable to forex trading with the difference between the buy and sell (bid/ask) price being the compensation to forex brokers facilitating trading. A round trip, flat rate commission is often associated with share trding or ECN-like forex trading accounts. Here a set commission is set per trade or more often, by the quantity traded. Commissions are more straightforward than spreads to calculate brokerage fees, hence why experienced traders often opt for these online trading accounts.
Share Trading Options With These Platforms
For Australian investors requiring an online share trading platform, IG Markets and easyMarkets offer both forex and share trading on their primary trading platforms. Another firm that offers a forex/share trading hybrid is CMC Markets. Alternatively, forex brokers such as Pepperstone, offer CFD share trading on MetaTrader 5.