MetaTrader is a downloadable trading platform developed by MetaQuotes Software. Its most popular versions are MetaTrader 4, a forex trading platform, and MetaTrader 5, a multi-financial instrument trading platform. Both are free for users — MetaTrader makes its money by licensing its technology and integration capabilities to online brokerages.
MetaTrader is one of the most popular among active forex traders because it features state-of-the-art technical analysis and risk management tools. MetaTrader is also great for people who trade stocks, options, futures, and contracts for differences (CFD).
The popular platform is available on Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. But should you download it?
MetaTrader is one of the most popular trading platforms online today, especially among the forex trading community. The platform earned its popularity by offering traders some compelling features.
Get Started While Learning From the Pros
One of the biggest barriers to the trading industry is a lack of market knowledge.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a market guru when trading on the MetaTrader 5 platform. In fact, even if you have little to no market knowledge, the platform offers three different ways you can achieve potential profitability in the market while you learn:
- Expert Advisors. Expert Advisors are programs developed on the MetaTrader platform that automate trading through a process known as algorithmic trading.
- Copy Trading. MetaTrader is a popular platform used by countless professional traders. Many of these traders make their trading strategies and market activities public, giving newcomers the opportunity to copy their moves using MetaTrader’s copy trading features.
- Trading Signals. If you have some market knowledge but aren’t comfortable going into trades on your own yet, use MetaTrader’s trading signals feature. These detailed indicators could help you determine whether a particular opportunity fits into your trading strategy before making a move.
Trading is a high-risk process, and it’s important that beginners take the time to perfect a trading strategy and plan before getting started. One of the best ways to do so is through a trading simulator.
MetaTrader acts as a trading simulator, providing traders with a demo account and virtual cash. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert trader, you can use the simulator to test new strategies in real-time, regardless of the financial market you plan on trading in.
If the strategy produces consistent profits, you’re ready to move on to real-world trading. If not, you can adjust your strategy without losing any real money.
Ease of Use
The MetaTrader platform is thoughtfully designed to feature the tools you need where you would expect them to be on the screen, making the platform simple to use for the experienced trader.
However, there’s a bit of a learning curve for beginners.
Though everything seems to be thoughtfully laid out, there are tons of different indicators, analysis tools, and options to choose from. That can make the platform seem convoluted if you’re not used to market analysis tools.
If you’re overwhelmed by MetaTrader, take the time to work through the learning curve. The difference the platform’s robust tools can make in your market returns is worth the time you’ll invest in learning how to use them.
State-of-the-Art Analytical Tools
MetaTrader offers some of the most intuitive trading tools on the market. These include:
- Charting & Technical Indicators. Traders can choose from a variety of different chart styles and a long list of technical indicators when analyzing the market for opportunities. The charts are interactive, and MetaTrader clearly makes an effort to ensure that signals from technical indicators aren’t missed.
- Backtesting. If you’re not interested in testing new strategies in real time with the trading simulator, you can test them using MetaTrader’s backtesting tool instead. Simply outline the parameters of the strategy to see how it would have performed over time based on historic market data.
- Fundamental Analysis. MetaTrader takes much of the research out of the fundamental analysis process by making important asset data available with the click of a button.
Trade In All Financial Markets
The majority of trading platforms either offer access to stocks and ETFs, forex, or cryptocurrency. It’s rare to find one that offers access to all three. However, with MetaTrader, the only limit to the assets available to you are those set by your broker.
While the platform is most popular in foreign exchange (forex) markets, it can also be used with a wide range of financial instruments including stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
MetaTrader also offers contracts for differences (CFDs). These are contracts between buyers and sellers where the buyer promises to pay the difference between the current price of an asset and the price of the asset at the expiration of the contract.
A Complete Mobile Trading App
Most mobile trading apps are simplistic. They lack the charting capabilities and technical indicators traders need to be successful.
MetaTrader solves that problem with its mobile app. The MetaTrader app is just as intuitive as the desktop trading app. It works on mobile devices running Windows, iOS, and Android operating systems.
The only drawback is clutter. MetaTrader has so many tools that the view is sometimes cramped on a small screen. You may find that you have to do a bit of scrolling and digging to find the exact tool you’re looking for when you trade.
Algorithmic trading has become a popular trend in global markets. According to Mordor Intelligence, at least 60% of all equities trading in the United States is now done algorithmically.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at algorithmic trading, MetaTrader is the perfect platform for you.
MetaTrader features several prebuilt trading robots, known as Expert Advisors, to choose from. If you’re not interested in using the prebuilt strategies, you can build an automated customized trading bot that follows your strategy, though there’s a learning curve to this process too.
Trading bots are essentially scripts of programming languages. MetaTrader has developed multiple programming languages over time, each becoming easier to understand and manipulate.
However, the constant updates to the programming languages might make you think twice about upgrading to the newest version.
For example, the script for MetaTrader 5 is MQL5, which is slightly different from MetaTrader 4’s MQL4 script. If you’re comfortable with MQL4 but want to upgrade to take advantage of MetaTrader 5’s features, you’ll have to learn a new programming language before building a new custom robot.
MetaTrader is overwhelmingly popular, and it wouldn’t be nearly as popular if it didn’t come with a long list of advantages. Some of the most significant perks to using the platform include:
- It’s Free. The MetaTrader platform is free to download and use for retail investors. The company makes money by charging brokers licensing and monthly maintenance fees.
- Its Charting Capabilities Are Impressive. The platform features all the trading indicators you could need when trading in financial markets, regardless of the instrument you trade. It also features 21 charting time frames, making it perfect for swing traders who analyze longer-term trends, scalpers who analyze the shortest-term trends, and all traders in between.
- No Experience Necessary. You don’t need any experience to get started trading with MetaTrader thanks to the trading robots and copy trading features available on the platform. Beginners should pay close attention to the trades being made in their accounts when using these features to get a better understanding of how the market works and how to become successful traders.
While MetaTrader is a compelling platform, there are some drawbacks to using it. Some of the platform’s biggest disadvantages include:
- Cumbersome for Beginners. Beginners may find it difficult to navigate the platform because of the sheer number of features it offers. Nonetheless, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to use the platform and the tools it provides, even though it may be difficult at first.
- Involves Significant Risk. As its name suggests, MetaTrader was developed for active traders that take part in high-risk activities like day trading. Beginners should generally stay away from day trading until they learn about the market by making long-term investment decisions. Copy trading and robotic trading functions may insinuate that trading is easy and less complex than it actually is.
- May Require Knowledge of Different Programming Languages. Each MetaTrader version has come with its own, updated version of the company’s programming language for automatic trading bot scripting. This creates some aggravation among users with older versions of the platform who want to upgrade to newer versions, because they’ll have to relearn a programming language to get the most out of the newer versions.
MetaTrader’s biggest competitor is thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade. The thinkorswim platform is also known for offering state-of-the-art trading tools for serious traders. Here’s how the two compare to one another:
|Fees||Free to download and use. Commissions and trading fees depend on the broker you work with.||Free to use. TD Ameritrade offers commission-free trading and a competitive fee schedule for other actions.|
|Brokers||The service is compatible with a long list of brokers, including all mainstream online brokers.||The platform can only be used with TD Ameritrade.|
|Cryptocurrency Trading||Yes||Limited to crypto futures|
Still have questions about the MetaTrader trading platform? We have answers:
Is MetaTrader Good for Beginners?
Beginners may find it difficult to overcome the learning curve associated with using the MetaTrader platform. However, those that stick to it can take advantage of some of the most intuitive trading tools available.
Is MetaTrader Free to Use?
Yes, MetaTrader is free to download and use.
Is MetaTrader Only for Forex?
MetaTrader 4 was developed for use in forex markets. However, the newest version, MetaTrader 5, works for stock, ETF, futures, options, forex, CFD, and cryptocurrency traders.
Is There a Minimum Deposit for MetaTrader?
There is no minimum deposit for MetaTrader because the platform doesn’t accept deposits. The minimum deposit you’ll be required to meet is set by your broker.
MetaTrader is one of the most robust trading platforms online today. Even if you consider yourself an expert trader, you’ll find no shortage of tools on the platform.
If you’re a newcomer, you’ll have to commit a bit of time to learning how to use MetaTrader. But with a slew of research and analysis tools, MetaTrader is well worth getting to know — and could help elevate your trading returns in the long run.