Trading stocks on an intra-day basis require focus and a sharp acumen for investment. You also need software that never gets in your way plus affordable transaction fees. A good day trading app will help you get more out of your day trading activities. We’ve looked at the most popular day trading apps: keep reading to find out what each app offers – and what real-life users have to say about the popular day trading apps.
You need to understand what day trading is before you take the plunge and sign up with a day trading app. A day trader executes trades to make money out of intra-day price movements. In other words, you buy and sell a stock (or bond or currency) on the same day to make a profit on that day.
Day trading is a risky investment strategy and should only be attempted if you know what you are doing. That’s why the SEC has specific restrictions in place for a “pattern day trader”. In other words, someone who executes four or more day trades in a five-day period.
It’s worth understanding what makes a day trading app fit for purpose before you look into individual apps. We think a day trading app should meet the following requirements:
- Speed. Day trading moves quickly, your day trading app needs to be fast at executing trades and provide pricing information that is highly accurate.
- Flexibility. Look for an app that facilitates more than just direct trades: the ability to leverage price movements using options and futures is one example.
- Range of financial instruments. There is more to day trading than just stocks. Your day trading app should ideally enable you to rapidly trade currencies, ETFs, and more.
- Fees. You’re going to be trading frequently. Fees can quickly eat into your profits, so low fees are an essential requirement.
Every app is different, no app will meet all the above requirements equally well. You should take a close look at your personal investment goals, evaluating apps within the context of your own trading patterns and your desired investment outcomes.
We have outlined what day trading is, and you are probably reading this because you are experienced at trading stocks and you’re keen on finding out which stock app is the best for day trading. Here are some of the top picks.
If it’s fast, efficient trading you’re after TradeStation is worth a look. Owned by a Japanese online financial services provider, TradeStation lets you trade stocks, ETFs, futures, and options. You can even trade popular cryptocurrencies. The app is designed to meet the needs of frequent traders, with a relatively low fee of $5 per trade and a low $500 account minimum.
TradeStation gets good reviews from both iOS users and Android users. On iOS, the app scores 4.6 / 5, with users enjoying the straightforward charting tools though some criticized it for lacking essential trading features, including the option to view orders placed more than 24 hours in the past. Android users are positive too, scoring TradeStation 4.3 / 5 with some users complaining that the iOS app has more features.
If you’re an iPhone user, make a lot of trades and have other sources of data to support your trading decisions consider EOption. Per-trade fees are a rock-bottom $3/trade and there’s a $500 account minimum. All the basic functions are there but EOption is a no-frills app.
iOS users are satisfied with EOption, scoring it 4.3 / 5 with users saying EOption for iOS is easy to use, intuitive and fast at executing trades. Android users expressed frustration with EOption, scoring it 3.3 / 5 with complaints around general bugs and app crashes. Until EOption for Android is updated it may not be the best day trading app for Android users.
If you’re looking for a stockbroker with something closer to white-glove service levels consider TD Ameritrade. Fees are higher at $6.95 per trade but you get top-notch research and analysis tools and praise-worthy customer service. There are no account minimums with TD Ameritrade. You get the support of a large financial institution with TD Ameritrade, but it looks like the TD Ameritrade apps require a bit of polish.
Android users rate the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader App 3.7 / 5. Some users are happy with the functionality and ease of use, but there are numerous complaints about app bugs and trading workflows that aren’t as quick as they should be. iOS users are happier, scoring TD Ameritrade’s trading app 4.1 / 5. iOS users like the intuitive trading interface and top service levels though one user said they think the app could use better performance analytics.
Like the idea of top service levels and a stockbroker steeped in history, but prefer a more polished app and lower trading fees? Check out Charles Schwab mobile. Trades are $4.95 but mind the $1,000 account minimum which is higher than the other apps we’ve reviewed. You do get top-notch support and excellent investment advice.
The Schwab Mobile app is more polished than its direct competitor from TD Ameritrade. Users of Apple products score Schwab Mobile 4.3 / 5 giving it praise for its simple, efficient user interface that simply gets out of the way. Android users are also keen on Schwab Mobile, scoring it 4 / 5, commenting that its trading features work as expected while there’s plenty of praise for Charles Schwab customer service.
Finally, for hardcore day traders we recommend taking a closer look at Interactive Brokers and their IBKR Mobile app for Android devices. Interactive Brokers charges a mere $0.01/share in trading fees which can make for super-cheap day trading. Note, however, that the firm imposes a $10,000 account minimum, and an inactive account charge.
Like we said IBKR Mobile is a good choice for Android users, achieving 4.1 / 5 in aggregate with users saying the IBKR Mobile app successfully duplicates the functionality of the popular Interactive Brokers desktop app. There are, nonetheless, complaints about app glitches. IBKR clearly needs to work on its iOS app as users score it a mere 2.9 / 5. As with the Android app, iOS users complain about in-app glitches that frustrate trading.
We’ve covered five of the better stock trading apps that’s widely in use, but which app is best for you? Beginners are probably better served by an app from broad-based financial institutions like Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade. Both companies provide more hand-holding in the shape of customer service and useful investment information.
On the flip side neither offer the cheapest trades. Day traders with bags of experience should consider IBKR Mobile, TradeStation or EOption or the app from their existing broker.