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CFDs are complex instruments. 70% of retail client accounts lose money when trading CFDs, with this investment provider. You can lose your money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you understand how this product works and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing money.
CFDs are complex instruments. 70% of retail client accounts lose money when trading CFDs, with this investment provider. You can lose your money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you understand how this product works and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing money.

How to choose the best UK trading platform for beginners

How to choose the best trading platform for beginners

New to trading? Discover what makes a great platform. We’ll unpack the features of what you’ll need in a platform as a beginner and talk you through what we offer.

Start trading today. Call +44 (20) 7633 5430, or email sales.en@ig.com to talk about opening a trading account. We’re here 24/5.

Contact us: +44 (20) 7633 5430

Start trading today. Call +44 (20) 7633 5430, or email sales.en@ig.com to talk about opening a trading account. We’re here 24/5.

Contact us: +44 (20) 7633 5430

What is a trading platform?

A trading platform is the online space or ‘marketplace’ where you’ll buy and sell financial products when taking a position – whether trading or investing.*

When you shop, communicate with others or otherwise interact digitally, you’ll do so using a platform with software built for that activity (like, for example, a social media platform). The same is true of trading or investing* – this is the technology that enables your taking a position on a market.

While the platform is the technology – the ‘what’ as well as the ‘where’ of trading – your broker is the ‘who’. This is the company that owns the platform and is your intermediary, the trading services provider buying and selling on your behalf within different markets.

Illustration of a man sitting behind a laptop with different thought clouds above his head showing various trading platforms and charts.

Just like all service providers, different brokers will offer different things. Some are strictly trading-focused, while others are only for investors, for example. On our platform, we offer CFD trading for traders.

*With us, you can only trade derivatives via CFDs.

How to choose the right trading platform for beginners

Here are eight things you can consider when choosing a trading platform:

  1. Trading goals
  2. Ease of use and accessibility
  3. Products and markets
  4. Platform costs and exchange fees
  5. Tools
  6. Risk management
  7. Account management
  8. Customer service

1. Trading goals

As we’ve said above, not all platforms offer the same thing – so it’s vital to choose one that’s designed to specialise in what matches your particular goals.

This’ll vary depending on what you hope to achieve. Like every other product, trading platforms are designed with a specific type of user in mind. Each platform’s offering will therefore differ depending on who they’re catering for.

For example, let’s say your aim is to become a forex day trader, skilled at speculating on currency pairs and taking multiple positions daily. You’ll need a platform that’s equipped for forex trading and offers a large amount of currency pairs, as well as educational tools on forex trading to help you on your way. You’ll also be on the platform multiple hours every day, potentially requiring more support services.

2. Ease of use and accessibility

Another important aspect of choosing your trading platform is how intuitive and accessible this platform is. If you’re a beginner trader, you’ll want to focus on studying your chosen market, instead of spending valuable time learning how to navigate an overly complicated platform.

A platform with good user experience makes trading easier and less stressful – which is why we’ve put so much work into designing ours. We’re proud of our award-winning platform and have been crowned both ‘best platform for the active trader’, ‘best multi platform provider’ and ‘best finance app’ in the industry.1

You’ll also want a platform that’s available whenever and wherever you want to trade. It should be available on your mobile phone, desktop, tablet and more. It may even be able to give you access to third party platforms, too.

We offer access to the following platforms:

3. Products and markets

Not all trading platforms will give you access to the same products and markets. So, if you have a specific asset in mind to trade in, you’ll want a platform that has a good offering in that space. If you’re not sure yet what market you want to trade, you’ll want a platform that gives you exposure to as many different assets as possible.

Here are just some of the markets we offer on our platform:

  • Over 13,000 international shares, including Tesla, Apple, Alibaba, Alphabet and much more
  • More than 80 of the world’s top indices, including the Nasdaq (US Tech 100 on our platform), Dow Jones (Wall Street), S&P 500 (US 500), FTSE 100, DAX (Germany 40) and more
  • Over 80 of the most popular forex pairs to trade, including major pairs like the GBP/USD and EUR/USD, minor pairs like the CAD/CHF, emerging currency pairs like the AUD/CNH and even exotic pairs like the EUR/CZK
  • All 27 major commodity markets, including gold, oil, gas and soft commodities like sugar and wheat
  • More than 3400 ETF markets covering indices, sectors, commodities and currencies
  • 11 major cryptocurrencies, two crypto crosses and our Crypto 10 index
  • Numerous themes and basket trading that follow global market trends, including clean energy, robotics, electric vehicles and more
  • Trading on the future direction of interest rates in several of the world’s biggest markets
  • Bond ETFs and futures to speculate on changes in long-term interest rates

4. Platform costs and exchange fees

Another important factor to consider when choosing your platform is how much it will cost to trade with that provider. It’s important to know what these fees are, and when they are applied.

For example, creating an account with us is completely free of charge and there is no obligation to fund your account. You can also deposit funds into your account and withdraw as you wish – for free and you don’t need a minimum or maximum deposit to start trading on your open account.3 This isn’t always the case with other online brokers – always do your due diligence.

With us, you can deposit funds into your CFD trading acccount using a credit card, debit card, HKD FPS, Wise or bank transfer in your name – no third-party funds will be accepted.

If you’re trading regularly, the main charge you’ll need to consider is ‘the spread’. This is the difference between the buy and sell prices when you open a CFD position. In most cases, we charge our own spread on top of the market spread, as our fee for the trade.

You’ll pay a small commission when trading on share CFDs.

5. Tools

As a beginner trader, you’ll want access to as many tools as possible to maximise your chances of success and also explore what will work best for you. Some of the features we offer are:

  • Charts – a huge variety of ways to view your preferred market, from candlestick trading charts to Heikin-Ashi, HLOC, line charts and much more – plus 19 drawing tools within those charts
  • Trading signals – actionable ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ suggestions for you from our platform, based on analysis of the chart patterns of your chosen market
  • Alerts – automatic and customisable notifications which alert you to specific market parameters, that you choose, free of charge
  • Indicators – helpful formulas you can view on any market’s price chart to help you with your trading strategy – we offer 32 different indicators
  • Trading analytics – computational analysis from our platform of your positions, based on your trading data, to help you evaluate and improve your performance

Another powerful tool you use if you’re a beginner trader is our demo account, which enables you to finetune your strategy, as well as familiarise yourself with our platform, before using your own money. You’ll get $20,000 in virtual funds to practise with, which you can use before opening a live account and starting to open real positions.

6. Risk management

As a beginner trader, it’s important to understand the risks you’re going to face and make sure that the trading platforms has adequate risk management functionality.

One of your risks as a trader is losing more than you’ve deposited to open a position. This is because CFDs are leveraged, so you only need to put up a fraction of your trade’s value to open it, but your profit or loss could be much more than your initial deposit.

If you experience substantial losses, for example from a sudden and extreme movement on a volatile market, you could even lose more than the money in your account.

If you’re using a reliable platform, there should be features in place that’ll help mitigate these kinds of risks. For example, with us you can set an automatic stop loss or limit order, as well as a guaranteed stop for more security, on your trades. These execute a trade automatically, taking profit for you or closing a trade without any action needed on your part, as soon as the parameters you’ve set are met. This reduces your potential for loss.

Another risk management tool built into our platform is negative balance protection, which is a Bermuda Monetary Authority regulatory requirement. With it, you’ll never lose more than the money in your account, and we bring negative accounts back to zero at no cost to you.

7. Account management

When you’re getting started in trading, you don’t want to devote too much precious time to admin. So, choosing a platform with efficient account management is important. This is why we try to make account setup and management seamless and easy for our clients.

You can sign up with us in three steps, which may take as little as a few minutes to complete:

  1. Complete a short form: you’ll be asked about your trading knowledge to ensure you get the best experience and understand the risks involved in CFD trading
  2. Get verified: We’ll verify your identity as soon as possible
  3. Fund your account and start trading: deposit funds into your account when you’re ready to start your trading journey. However, you don’t need to fund your account to make it ‘valid’ and there's no minimum required deposit amount3

We also try to make withdrawing and depositing funds as easy as possible. You can withdraw your money whenever you like, for free. Plus, you can make deposits via credit card, debit card, HKD FPS, Wise or bank transfer.

Successful bank card payments are deposited immediately, while bank transfers my at times take up to three working days maximum. In the meantime, you can upload a proof of payment to trade with the funds right away.

8. Customer service

You’ll also want the very best support possible, so that you can count on your provider when you need them most. We’re ranked as the No.1 CFD provider2 for a reason – our customer support, staffed by real people and not chatbots, is there to help every step of the way.

You can contact us by phone, online chat, email or X (formerly known as Twitter) – 24 hours a day.4

When you’re a beginner trader, we can be especially hands-on if you need. Our experienced team and our platform itself provide assistance that guides you to the right tools for your needs – from setting up automated price change alerts on your desired markets to getting you started with free online courses.

We can help direct you to self-learning opportunities with IG Academy, plus hundreds of articles with trading strategy tips and expert market analysis.

Beginners’ trading platform comparison

Here’s an additional breakdown of all our platforms compared to one another, so you can choose the best one for your needs and skill level:

Online Mobile Progressive app ProRealTime MT4 L2 Dealer
Trading goals Suitable for all traders Suitable for all traders Suitable for all traders ProRealTime is more suitable for advanced traders, familiar with technical charts MetaTrader4 is more suitable for advanced forex traders L2 Dealer is direct market access more suitable for advanced stock traders
Ease of use and accessibility Easy enough for beginners, accessible via a browser Easy enough for beginners, accessible via app downloaded to your mobile Easy enough for beginners, accessible via a browser, with a mobile shortcut, too Not designed for beginners, accessible via download on your computer Not designed for beginners, accessible via download. Also accessible on your phone via the app Not designed for beginners, accessible via download
Products and markets Trade 17,000* markets via CFDs Trade 17,000* markets via CFDs Trading varies depending on account type, but includes all our standard products Trade 17,000* markets via CFDs Trade 17,000* markets via CFDs Trade 17,000* markets via share CFDs, plus FX at pro level
Platform costs and exchange fees Free of charge, with monthly exchange fees for some exchanges and L2 shares data Free of charge, with monthly exchange fees for some exchanges and L2 shares data Free of charge, with monthly exchange fees for some exchanges and L2 shares data Free if you transact at least four times in a month. If not, a $40 per month fee will apply Free of charge Free of charge, but minimum of $2000 account balance is required
Tools Use signals, alerts, market orders, watchlists and price alerts. Plus, access in-platform newsfeeds, economic calendars and more Use signals, alerts, market orders, watchlists and price alerts. Plus, access in-platform newsfeeds, economic calendars and more Use stops, limits, guarantee stops and other orders, plus watchlists Use watchlists, signals, price alerts and orders, as well as Autochartist. Plus, access in-platform newsfeeds, economic calendars and more Use watchlists, price alerts and orders Use watchlists and orders
Risk management Limit orders, stops, guaranteed stops, trailing stops and negative balance protection Limit orders, stops, guaranteed stops, trailing stops and negative balance protection Limit orders, stops, guaranteed stops, trailing stops and more. Plus negative balance protection as per regulation Limit orders, stops, market orders, trailing stops and more. No negative balance protection Limit orders, stops, market orders, take profit and more A wide variety of order types includes limits, stops, market orders, algo trades, execute and eliminate, date, day, good for auction, good till canceled, at the auction and more
Account management Withdraw money, make deposits, register cards and more via My IG Withdraw money, make deposits and register cards via My IG. Plus, make bank or HKD FPS transfers Make deposits and manage settings via My IG Withdraw money, make deposits, register cards, manage settings and more Make deposits and other account management through the web-based MT4 platform Withdraw money, make deposits, register cards, manage settings and more
Customer service Phone support 24/7, as well as via X (formerly known as Twitter) and email4 Phone support 24/7, as well as via X (formerly known as Twitter) and email4

** IG Group’s total markets

The best beginners’ trading platform for you

Ultimately, what will determine the best beginners’ trading platform for you are your goals, trading style and the markets, tools and data to which you require access.

We offer a number of platforms, including our classic online and mobile platforms for beginners, but also more advanced, external offerings like MetaTrader4, L2 Dealer and ProRealTime for expert traders.

Having a mobile offering means that you can trade with us wherever you are – whether on the move via mobile or tablet, or at home on your computer. With our range of platforms, from beginner to advanced, you can also continue with us long after learning the ropes.

In addition to this, we offer:

More out-of-hours trading and weekend hours

A market-leading service – we’re the world’s No.1 CFD provider2

24-hour help4 from our trained support staff, who’re knowledgeable on financial markets

Industry-leading execution times for your trades – over 99% of our deals are completed at a 0.0107-second speed5

Access to thousands of online self-improvement and educational resources including analysts’ articles, IG Academy, trading strategy articles and more to help maximise your chance of success

How to start trading with us

  1. Fill in a short form. We’ll ask about your trading knowledge to ensure you get the best experience
  2. Get verification – we’ll verify your identity as soon as possible
  3. Create an account for free – there is no obligation to fund your account immediately
  4. Deposit money into your account, for free, to start trading. You can also withdraw your money whenever you like, at no extra cost to you

FAQ's

Do I need a broker to trade?

Yes. You need a broker and their platform in order to trade. Whenever you take a position on a market, it’s done via a broker and their platform. A broker – for example us – is the owner and provider of that platform.

How can I start trading?

First, learn about trading using our numerous resources available, including IG Academy, strategy tips and analysts’ articles. Then, open an account by filling in a short form, get verification, fund your account and open and monitor your first position on our platform.

You can also start trading with our demo account, which enables you to practise with $20,000 in virtual funds before opening a live account and starting to trade with real money.

Try these next

Discover CFDs, including what CFD trading is and how to open a position

Find out all you need to know to get started with trading

Create a live account to begin your trading journey

1 Best Finance App, Best Multi-Platform Provider and Best Platform for the Active Trader as awarded at the ADVFN International Financial Awards 2023.
2 Based on revenue (published financial statements, 2023).
3 The minimum amount for a debit or credit card payment is $50, and there is no minimum for a bank transfer or HKD FPS. The minimum deposit is shown on the payment screen when you go to process the payment.
4 24/7 except from 6am to 4pm Saturdays and 6.40am to 7am on Mondays, UTC +8. Our trading hours are based on UK GMT hours, and are converted to UTC+8 hours. This means that the times listed are affected by UK clock changes in the year, and will be adjusted by +/- 1 hour accordingly.
5 Average speed calculated from 1 to 28 February 2022.