Connect with us

Demo Trading

The Best Paper Trading Options Platforms for Beginner to Pro Traders

There’s no question about it: Options traders don’t have time to deliberate. Hesitation is a killer whenever you trade the stock market. Luckily, new traders can quickly improve their skills by practicing. How can you practice trading? With fake money, of course! Most brokerages now offer demo accounts using the best paper trading options software.

Benzinga Money is a reader-supported publication. We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article. Learn more.

There’s no question about it: Options traders don’t have time to deliberate. Hesitation is a killer whenever you trade the stock market. Luckily, new traders can quickly improve their skills by practicing. How can you practice trading? With fake money, of course! Most brokerages now offer demo accounts using the best paper trading options software.

Just like Monopoly, paper traders are given a bankroll of fake cash and can buy or sell any securities they wish. Paper trading takes place during open market hours so price changes can be tracked in real-time. If you’re a trader who wants to learn options, a paper trading account is a necessity for honing your skills.

Best Paper Trading Options Platforms:

Why Paper Trade Options?

Options can be risky trading vehicles, especially during volatile markets. Profits and losses can be multiplied exponentially when using options and an uneducated trader might see a bankroll evaporate quickly. Reading articles or books about options trading can help, but there’s no substitute for experience.

Paper trading allows you to can gain experience without putting any money at risk.

Testing different options strategies and techniques is easy because you can watch trades unfold in real-time. Though paper trading is crucial for anyone trying to learn a new market, it’s also important to understand the limitations. Paper money isn’t real — you won’t feel the same pain after a big loss that you would with actual money.

Keeping your emotions in check is a huge part of trading and paper accounts simply can’t recreate these mental hurdles. In fact, too much paper trading might lead to overconfidence and you could develop some bad habits.

Trading fake money is great practice for the real thing, but make sure you understand the difference between a scrimmage and a game.

Key Features of Great Paper Trading Platforms

Paper trading software needs to be as close to the real thing as possible, so you’ll want to choose a software with plenty of research and tools, real-time market prices and an interface that allows seamless trading.

Paper trading is a great way to familiarize yourself with how various technical indicators work and how they react in different types of markets.

Here’s what to look for when searching for paper trading software:

Highly customizable analytical tools

Don’t be shy about incorporating new technical indicators or chart patterns into your trading strategies. The point of paper trading is to learn how to trade options.

Reading up on technical analysis is one thing, but seeing it in action is entirely different. Make sure your paper trading software is loaded with analytical tools. There’s little consensus on what works best so each trader will have different favorites.

Accurate market quotes

You don’t want to be trading on old data, do you? Most free paper trading programs will have some kind of delay on price quotes, but anything older than 20 minutes won’t help you if you want to practice during open market hours.

Functional interface

A clunky or archaic paper trading program will provide a lot more frustration than education. A little trial and error might be required to find an interface that works, but avoid anything that requires a dozen mouse clicks to execute a simple trade.

Realistic user experience

Paper traders have no skin in the game and don’t face any real consequences for losing money. If it feels too easy like a video game, you might not get much out of it.

The best paper trading platforms don’t just simulate the experience — they’re identical to the platforms used by traders who risk real capital.

Our Top Picks

Using the above criteria, we’ve chosen the best paper trading programs for options. You’ll recognize plenty of names on this list, but there are a few newcomers who have competed to make the options market simpler and more accessible.

Try to keep your paper trading activities in line with how you’d throw around your own personal capital. If you manage risk well in your paper trading account, you’ll be better prepared for live markets.

Remember, brokers want you to have success in paper trading. The more success you have with fake cash, the more likely you’ll be in putting money into a brokerage account, and that means commissions for the broker.

Commissions

$0
$6.95 for OTC Stocks

Account Minimum

$0

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options

1. Best Overall: Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade

Thinkorswim remains one of the most sophisticated platforms on the market. If you have a TD Ameritrade account, you’ll get 2 different paper trading accounts. One is a standard margin account, the other is an IRA; both come fully funded with $100,000 each.

TD Ameritrade isn’t the first company to come to mind when you think options brokers, but the Thinkorswim platform has some terrific tools specifically for options trading. And it’s all available for both live and paper trading accounts.

Take the Strategy Roller, for example. This feature allows you to develop your very own covered call strategies using certain rules established in advance. Strategy Roller will take your predetermined strategy and roll it forward each month until you stop it manually.

Thinkorswim also has Options Statistics, specialized tools for traders to find entry and exit points on options trades. The Sizzle Index measures the day’s options volume in comparison to the last 5 trading days.

With over 400 technical indicators and access to the CBOE’s TradeWise options newsletter, Thinkorswim gives paper traders more than any other platform.

Learn more about paper trading with TD Ameritrade or read Benzinga’s full TD Ameritrade Review.

Commissions

$0 for stocks and ETFs
broker assited orders an additional $6

Account Minimum

$500
to open an account

Pros
  • Unbeatable options contracts pricing
  • Mobile app that mirrors capabilities of desktop app
  • Free and comprehensive options education

2. eOption Paper Trader

eOption may not be a household name, but it has offered low-cost brokerage services for options traders since 2007.

Commissions are only $3 for equities plus $0.15 per option contract and clients can even trade the underlying stocks and ETFs themselves. Automated trading programs and mobile apps are available too, but new traders can test their hand using eOption’s Paper Trader.

Using Paper Trader, you’ll get $100,000 in fake money to trade both options and equities.

The platform is completely customizable, so users can change the layout to suit their preferences.  The probability calculator lets you know the odds of your potential trades and you’ll have access to the full quotient of eOption newsletters and research. Note that there are no commissions on paper trades.

To open an account with eOption, you’ll need $500 (and $2,000 to use margin).

Learn more about paper trading with eOption or read Benzinga’s full eOption Review.

Commissions

$0.005 per share
minimum $1 and maximum 0.5% of trade value; volume discount available

Account Minimum

$0

Pros
  • Comprehensive, quick desktop platform
  • Mobile app mirrors full capabilities of desktop version
  • Access to massive range of tradable assets
  • Low margin rates
  • Easy-to-use and enhanced screening options are better than ever

3. Interactive Brokers TWS Paper Trader

Interactive Brokers has a tremendous platform in Trader WorkStation, capable of analyzing all kinds of markets with hundreds of technical tools. It’s definitely an intimidating program to the inexperienced trader, but thankfully Interactive Brokers offers a paper trading account with nearly all the features of the live platform.

With $1,000,000 in fake cash, you can play around with different things, especially the options trading tools.

The Options Portfolio algorithm with automatically adjust your account to the Greek risk dimensions (delta, theta, vega or gamma) while factoring in commissions and decay. In the Options Strategy Lab, you’ll be able to enter your own intricate option orders and compare up to 5 different strategies at once. You can filter by characteristics like strike price or expiration and enter orders based on your experiments.

Not well-versed in options lingo? The Probability Lab explains options strategies in simple terms without the head-spinning math formulas.

Learn more about paper trading with Interactive Brokers or read Benzinga’s full Interactive Brokers Review.

Commissions

$0

Account Minimum

$0

Pros
  • Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools
  • Wide range of tradable securities
  • Fully-operational mobile app

4.TradeStation

TradeStation’s platform used to only be best for professional traders who needed a highly technical platform. Now, with TradeStation’s new TS GO account option, novice traders will have access to professional-grade stock screeners and extensive educational and development tools to help them develop as investors.

Another strength of TradeStation is the number of offerings available to trade. From stocks to ETFs to futures contracts to cryptocurrencies, TradeStation offers a wide variety of tradable assets. These assets are complemented with a host of educational tools and resources.

Furthermore, as is the case with other brokerages on this list. TradeStation offers $0 commissions on stocks and most ETFs.

Read Benzinga’s full TradeStation Review

Commissions

$0
when you trade stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds online

Account Minimum

$0

Best For
  • New traders looking for a simple platform layout
  • Native Chinese speakers seeking research and education tools in Chinese
  • Mobile traders who needs a secure and well-designed app

5. Firstrade

Firstrade is a solid choice amongst the dizzying array of brokerages in the market; all fees are set to mirror (or beat) robo-advisor pricing. In fact, Firstrade offers free trades on most of what it offers.

You can monitor your portfolio’s performance easily with the Firstrade mobile trading app, which offers a more dexterous option compared to a desktop. You’ll be exposed to a touch ID screen for iOS devices, equity ratings and fundamental data, advanced charts, comprehensive dashboard and improved research and trading interface.

Since the advent of Firstrade’s fairly recent Navigator, it’s possible to manage your account, place orders, get market updates and do research, all almost simultaneously. The single screen allows traders to immediately intuitively grasp Firstrade Navigator’s account dashboard. Take note, however, that a lot of the options available on Navigator are geared toward active traders.

Commissions

$10/ month to trade commission free

Account Minimum

$0

Tradier

Tradier is a high-tech broker for active traders. Tradier differentiates itself by using application programming interface (API) technology to partner with popular trading software to offer a wide range of platform choices. 

Tradier invented the idea of an API-integrated brokerage firm with customizable interface options. Most brokers lock you into a pre-set interface, allowing you limited ways to customize your trading station, but not Tradier. You can integrate your platform of choice into your Tradier workstation while you take advantage of Tradier’s low fees and commissions. 

Tradier is compatible with a wide range of platforms:

  • Esignal
  • Orion Multi Trader
  • Stockstotrade
  • Q.ai
  • Screener.co
  • 1Option
  • eSignal 
  • And more! 

Its tradable assets include stocks, options and ETFs and its TradeHawk mobile platform is available for an additional fee with fast-streaming data options. 

It requires a $0 minimum investment and two fee schedules. The standard equity and options trading comes with $0 fees per order and $0.35 per contract. If you’re a particularly active trader, you might prefer Tradier’s all-inclusive subscription model. 

  • It’s $30 a month for commission-free equity and options trading. 
  • You’ll pay $10 for broker-assisted trades, which is significantly less expensive than competing brokers.
  • Tradier’s current margin rate is 5.25% for all traders, no matter how much margin you use.

Make Your Choice

You’re going to need an actual brokerage account to get full access to the best paper trading platforms for options, but many offer free demo accounts for prospective clients to try out. Take advantage of these demo accounts and sample a few different platforms. Paper trading is all about gaining experience, so taking a platform for a test drive is the best way to make a decision.

Once you master paper trading, you’ll need the right broker and strategies. Check out Benzinga’s picks for the best options brokers, our guide to all the brokers that offer free options trading, and our favorite options trading books.

Benzinga’s #1 Breakout Stock Every Month

Looking for stocks that are about to breakout for gains of 10%, 15%, even 20% potentially or more? The only problem is finding these stocks takes hours per day. Fortunately, Benzinga’s Breakout Opportunity Newsletter that could potentially break out each and every month. You can today with this special offer:

Click here to get our #1 breakout stock every month.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Demo Trading

Use Demo, Do NOT Over Abuse It

Use Demo, Do NOT Over Abuse It

All  psychologists say that every person needs to know itself and to know his or her own level of patience and anxiety levels, and that practice is a good way to do. But do not abuse it. I think it works in the same way with the Forex demo accounts. Too much demo really sucks and will never prepare you for the real trading. Trading demo too much time won’t make you a better trader but a better loser. Once you know how to use the tools on your trading platform and you have the basis of the trading, close the demo and get on real money. You don’t need six months for that. Think it in this way: if an average human life is 70 years, no one needs more than one single year to learn how to walk. Here are a few tips for you:

  • Even if you are on real money now, you can still use the demo to test a new strategy (strongly recommend to be your own strategy and not someone else’s) or you can use the demo to test how a new instrument acts. For example when Bitcoin was launched, the demo account was a better choice than the real money account, to see how BTCUSD is trading.
  • If you like the automatic trading, you can use the demo to test the EA you just bought or maybe build one yourself.
  • When you start to trade on demo, at least ask your broker to make the demo as big as your future real money account. Is really useful to trade 50000$ on demo while you will only deposit 1000$ when opening the real account.
  • Even if you trade on a demo account, – meaning simulated market conditions – I suggest making realistic assumptions. Use a margin of one up to five pips when you place your entry, stop losses or take profit orders as in the real market conditions quite often happens to see them executed at a different value than what your set ups – especially for entry orders.
  • The simulated trading environment does provide a trader with the opportunity to get used to the software he will be using or with his broker’s trading conditions. Use the demo account only for this purpose and do not try to build a reputation by linking the account on websites as www.myfxbook.com or www.fxstats.com because no one cares how good you are on demo.
  • Least but not the last, try to avoid the demo accounts with unlimited use. If you can’t stop to trade on demo your broker will, by denying you the access to the demo and inviting you to open the real money account.

the Demo accounts are there for you to get started and actually understand if the broker you have chosen is the right one for you. but it is also like when you play a game on your mobile and you play against someone who bought his levels , no matter how good you are his tools will kick your ass every time. forex works much in the same way . in the end you can simulate only so much before it becomes redundant.

Continue Reading

Demo Trading

The Importance of Demo Trading and Your Demo Account

The Importance of Demo Trading and Your Demo Account

I see that some traders believe that demo trading is not a good practice because you know that you are trading with the demo money, and so you don’t trade with discipline. They believe demo trading causes the novice traders not to learn to trade with discipline, and this will be ended to failure finally. When you know you are not trading with your real money, then you don’t care to lose, and so you can make all the possible mistakes, like taking positions with any trade setup (either weak or strong) you see, taking positions while there is no trade setup, over-trading and… . It will be a disaster if these bad actions become a habit in you.

This is true only when you are not a serious learner and you are practicing Forex just to see what it is. So you open a demo account and you take some positions to see how it works. You don’t care if you lose.

However, when you are serious to become a professional and full time-trader, and when you want to make a living through trading, then you should behave completely different.

Before you open a demo account and start demo trading, first you should learn everything you need to know. I have explained this in details here: Do You Think You Are on The Right Track to Become a Profitable Trader?

First complete your knowledge and then start demo trading. Spend enough time to follow the videos and articles I have listed in the above article. If you start demo trading while you are not ready yet, you will only make yourself confused, frustrated and disappointed. Forex makes money. Do not let your mistakes make you think that you can not make money through Forex.

Now let’s say you have learned everything you need to learn, and now you are ready to gain experience through demo-trading. This is a very important stage that if you don’t pass properly, you will not become successful with live trading.

Aren’t you here to make money through forex trading finally? If the answer is yes, then you should pass all the stages very carefully and patiently, otherwise you will not get any good result. I can not emphasize on this more. It is very important.

Make sure to read the below articles carefully:

  1. How To Become a Successful Forex Trader
  2. Are You Still Looking for the Forex Holy Grail?
  3. Do You Think You Are on The Right Track to Become a Profitable Trader?

There are a few things about demo-trading I have to emphasize on:

1. Take the demo trading as serious as possible. Forget that it is the demo money and nothing happens if you lose. You can blow up your live account as easy as you blow up a demo account. So, when you open a demo account, forget that it is a “demo” account. Treat it as a live account and your real money. Do you like to lose money with your live account so easily? If not, then do not lose with your demo account so easily too.

The discipline you need for Forex trading is something that you have to “build” in yourself. You have to “build” it on your own. And demo-trading is the foundation of your “Discipline Building”. If you trade carelessly with your demo account, you will do the same with your live account too. If you take positions with your demo account while there is no strong trade setup, you will do the same with your live account too. If you over-trade with your demo account, it becomes a habit, and you will do the same with your live account too. If you…

Conversely, if you forget that you are “demo” trading, and you take your demo account as serious as your live account and real money, and you wait for the strong setups only, and you do not over-trade and you don’t take too much risk, and you set the stop loss and target properly, and you care about the losses as you care about losing with your real money, then the discipline you need to have to make money through Forex trading, will be built and matured in you, and you will be successful with your live account definitely.

2. Make sure to keep on demo trading and not to open a live account, as long as you have not been able to repeat your success with your demo account.

Does it make sense to open a live account and trade with the real money while you have not become able to make money with the demo account yet? If it doesn’t make sense, why are you trading with a live account then? You think live trading is different? It is not. When you lose with the demo account, you lose with the live account too. If you are not knowledgeable, experienced and disciplined enough to make profit with the demo account, you will not make profit with the live account too.

You will always have time to open a live account and start live trading. Don’t do it when you are not ready yet.

3. Your demo account size has to be the same as your live account size. I mean if you are supposed to open a $1000 live account in future, then practice with a $1000 demo account too, and do not open a $100,000 demo account for example. This helps you behave with your demo account exactly as your live account. This helps you take your demo account serious.

Keep in your mind that your demo account has to be treated exactly as your live account. Although you open a demo account for free, but it is not “free” in reality. You are spending your time on it. You are building your experience and discipline with it. So not only it is not free, but it is too expensive and valuable. It is the “foundation” of your business.

Continue Reading

Demo Trading

NinjaTrader Review 2020: Pros, Cons, Fees & More • Benzinga

If you’re on the hunt for the best online brokerage, Ninja Trader is a great fit for both new investors and seasoned traders. Some of the key features in NinjaTrader’s futures brokerage service include:

If you’re on the hunt for the best online brokerage, Ninja Trader is a great fit for both new investors and seasoned traders. Some of the key features in NinjaTrader’s futures brokerage service include:

  • Commissions as low as $.09 per Micro contract
  • Low $400 account minimum
  • Low day trading margins of $500 per contract for E-mini S&P 500 (ES), Nasdaq (NQ) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (YM) stock index futures contracts
  • $1,000 margins for Gold (GC) and Crude Oil (CL) futures contracts
  • Free version of NinjaTrader platform included with all brokerage accounts
  • Three platform license levels with varying feature sets and commission rates

In addition, the broker offers competitive spreads and a high-speed execution service for forex currency pairs.  

Who’s NinjaTrader For?

Futures Traders

NinjaTrader’s brokerage services cater directly to futures traders. It’s the ideal destination for those both active and new, with unlimited free use for advanced charting, market analysis, and simulation trading.

Advanced Traders

NinjaTrader’s state-of-the-art trading platform has a variety of features available across three license levels that allow traders to select the best fit for their trading approach. There are two upgrade feature sets available, Trader + and Order Flow +.

While advanced charting, market analysis, and simulated trading are included free for all users, licensing Trader + or Order Flow + gives you access to premium tools such as an enhanced SuperDOM, an advanced alerting system, semi-automated order execution, volumetric bars, and other sophisticated charting systems.

Active Traders

With commission among the lowest in the industry, traders can keep their costs low on a per contract basis. NinjaTrader’s low margins are also a great fit for active traders. With numerous technical analysis tools available, the trading platform can help users target opportunities and manage execution in volatile markets.

NinjaTrader has their flagship advanced trading platform for Windows-based desktop computers. Other third-party platforms are supported and available by request. If you are a Mac user, you can run the software using a multi-boot utility like Apple Boot Camp.

Source: https://ninjatrader.com/

NinjaTrader features a wide range of technical analysis functions that can be useful for those starting out with demo trading — especially if you want to learn how to trade futures.

The broker uses CQG (Continuum) for order routing by default but also supports order execution through Rithmic. Kinetick is also available as a free end of day market data source for stock, futures and forex data optimized exclusively for use with NinjaTrader’s platform.

If you’re interested in trying out the NinjaTrader platform using futures data, you can register to get a free two-week trial.

A free version of the NinjaTrader platform is included with all funded brokerage accounts and has all the core features needed for live trading, with access to charts, market analysis, and simulated trading.

If you want to access some of its more advanced capabilities, you can either lease the software starting at a quarterly basis or purchase a Lifetime license, which includes free upgrades for life.

The advanced tool sets are where NinjaTrader really shines. For example, sophisticated order types known as automated trade management (ATM) strategies are included in the Trader + feature suite. These consist of a set of specific rules you create to manage a group of stop-loss and profit target orders to operate on all or part of an open position.

NinjaTrader’s third-party developer community, known as NinjaTrader Ecosystem, features thousands of third-party apps and add-ons you can use with its trading platform. From their website, you can use the keyword search and filters to scan hundreds of custom tools and trading indicators built to work with NinjaTrader.

If you have programming skills, you can build compatible software within its advanced C# based development environment.

The NinjaTrader platform provides a high-performance backtesting engine which allows users to test and verify futures trading strategies using historical data. A wide range of useful educational materials are available if you’re unfamiliar with its platform and wat to enhance your skills.

These include daily training webinars designed to educate new users on the powerful tools available, hundreds of on-demand training videos, help guides, and an informative YouTube channel.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg4ocBoYrjM]

NinjaTrader’s Commission and Fees

Commission and margin requirements are among the lowest in the industry. A $1,000 minimum initial deposit is required to fund a new account and commissions go as low as $.09 per Micro contract with a Lifetime license. Day trading margins of $500 for ES, NQ and YM contracts, and $400 for GC and CL contracts are also very low.

When it comes to platform fees, the broker’s advanced platform and live data are available free of charge for use in a demo account. For live trading, you can use their free platform with all the basic essentials or choose a paid license level for more advanced features and lower commissions.

If you lease or buy a Lifetime license for the trading platform software, you also gain access to a suite of premium features that include its advanced trading management (ATM) strategic order handling. Traders who purchase a lifetime license also get the Order Flow feature set which comes with free platform upgrades for life.

NinjaTrader’s Security

NinjaTrader is well-regulated in the United States by the National Futures Association and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

NinjaTrader’s Customer Support

NinjaTrader’s online support team excels in prompt replies with inquiries addressed within 15 minutes during market hours. An active user community interacts directly with the NinjaTrader support team in their User Forum. They also host daily live training webinars, have hundreds of on-demand training videos, and more.

NinjaTrader can be reached by email, phone, and an online support form for customer service. For critical trade issues, NinjaTrader provides direct phone support for brokerage clients. International traders are also directly supported with dedicated Spanish, Russian and German brokerage service teams. 

NinjaTrader’s Tradable Asset Classes

NinjaTrader brokerage offers a basic range of asset classes with a focus on futures trading on the CME, CBOT, NYBOT and Eurex exchanges. You can trade the following asset classes via NinjaTrader:

  • Futures 
  • Forex 
  • CFDs
  • Stocks*

*The platform can also be used through other supporting brokers such as TD Ameritrade or Interactive Brokers to trade stocks.

NinjaTrader’s Ease of Use

After downloading the NinjaTrader platform, it’s best to spend some time on the forum and watch the tutorial videos provided. It may take some time to set-up your ideal dashboard.

While NinjaTrader’s platform is exceptionally customizable and offers numerous advanced features, it may not be considered easy to use when you first download the platform.

Final Thoughts

NinjaTrader is one of the top brokers for futures and forex trading. The unlimited use of its free platform is a great way to get acclimated to NinjaTrader before deciding to trade live.

The free platform is sufficient for new traders with more advanced tools available as need such as semi-automated execution. NinjaTrader’s low commissions and fees, free tools, and an active community forum will work to any trader’s advantage.

Continue Reading

Trending