Automated trading has become increasingly popular in recent years — in the US stock market and many other developed financial markets, 60 to 75% of all trading volume is now automated.
Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the world of trading, an automated trading platform can be a valuable tool to improve your trading game. In this article, we explore some of the best automated trading platforms available and analyze their features, benefits, and drawbacks to help you choose the platform that suits your trading style and goals.
Automated Trading Platforms Reviewed
Best Automated Trading Platforms at a Glance
Here's a quick summary of the leading automated trading platforms available for US traders right now:
|Beginners & hands-off traders
|Sofi Automated Investing
|Investment & savings
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Capitalise.ai is without a doubt one of the most functional and user-friendly automated trading platforms on the market as of this writing. You can build your own automated trading strategy and tweak it along the way, or choose from premade trading strategies that have worked in the past.
You can easily create, test, automate and automate trading scenarios with everyday English. Smart and efficient automated execution takes the emotion out of trading. You can arrange the bot to execute simple orders like setting the bot to trade at a specific time, entering a dynamic entry price, or arranging triggered alerts. Or arrange fairly advanced rules like assets correlation, and setting buying/selling positions based on the pivot indicator or Ballinger bands.
Note that you will need to integrate Capitalise.ai with an online broker to execute your orders, but as the platform is free of charge, you don’t have to worry about additional costs. It integrates with major platforms like Interactive Brokers.
- It's possible to automate trades using everyday English, without the need for coding.
- The customer service is swift and knowleadgable.
- It supports integration with major platforms, including TradingView.
- It's not a standalone trading solution – it requires integration with other trading platforms to open positions.
- There are some reliability issues, the platform can be unstable at times.
eToro has recently launched the ambitious Academy program, which covers all the basics of investing and trading with videos, articles, podcasts, and webinars. The classes are neatly organized based on topic and level of knowledge. Besides the academy, the platform also offers a social hub where users can discuss and share their trading experience, allowing self-starters an opportunity to observe the trading behavior of other investors.
Copy Portfolio feature allows you to take this one step further and copy more experienced investors’ trading strategies into your own portfolio. With a filtered search, you can find an investor that matches your goals and risk tolerance from eToro’s over 2 million users, and view their preferred assets, average returns, and risk ratings. As you find a suitable investor, you can automate the copying process fully.
- Its social and copy trading functionalities are almost unparalleled.
- There are no additional charges for copy trading.
- It allows no-comission trading for stocks and ETFs.
- The market research features have room for improvement.
- There are non-trading charges, including for inactivity and withdrawals.
- Cryptocurrency trading fees can be steep.
One of the few, and arguably the most outstanding, regulated forex brokers in the US, IG offer various ways of automating forex trades. Traders can use;
ProRealTime to build a range of strategies without coding. The platform has over 100 indicators and provides an easy-to-use backtesting suite to test strategies. Traders who place at least four positions a month can access the system for free, and it caters to seasoned and novice traders alike.
MetaTrader 4 to automate their trades with the help of Expert Advisors. Traders can set up entry and exit positions, as well as more sophisticated parameters, and allow EAs to find opportunities in line with the parameters. It’s possible to set up EAs to open and close positions automatically, or alternatively, they can notify traders to do so.
APIs to build their own platform and create advanced trading solutions. Catering to tech-savvy users, API access requires coding knowledge.
- It provides a range of automation options catering to traders with all levels of knowlegde.
- The platform is committed to client education; the educational resources are far-reaching.
- It follows the best execution practices.
- It's only possible to trade Forex in the US.
- US users cannot use guaranteed stop loss orders.
- There's no account balance protection for US users.
Sofi’s automated investing service comes with a robo-advisor free of charge, with which you can choose a tax-advantaged individual retirement account (IRA) or a taxable investment account. The robot gets to know you by asking you a series of questions to assess your risk tolerance, after which it crafts a suitable portfolio design, at any point you can contact a financial advisor provided by the platform.
Based on your investment goals and personality, the robot manages your money by investing in EFTs, expense ratios of which vary from 0% to 0.49% — which are quite competitive when compared to other asset management platforms, especially when factoring in the no-fee advisor help. You can view and approve your asset allocation and retain control over your portfolio.
- There's no annual advisory fee.
- It's possible to get expert financial help at no additional cost.
- The minimum funding requirement is very low.
- The platform is a relatively new player among investing platforms.
- There's no tax-loss harvesting.
- Sofi ETFs come with a steep cost for industry standards, and are included in portfolios.
Webull’s mobile app neatly bundles up all services with a sleek and modern interface. The services on the application and web services differ only slightly. Mobile traders can access charting tools, options contracts, reporting capabilities, watchlists, and alert settings, along with an extensive library of educational resources, but not screener capabilities. However, any changes made to watchlists on the desktop are also reflected on mobile.
Recurring investments are one of the most outstanding automated features. By setting up precise trade entry and exit points along with a predetermined price, you can set your trades to be placed on a regular basis without having to do it manually.
Many active traders like to trade the market in the pre and/or extended-hour trading periods, and Webull customers have the ability to access these hours. Traders can choose whether they want their orders active during the non-regular trading day times.
- It's possible to trade fractional shares.
- Real-time streaming quotes come with no additional charges.
- Traders can access extended hours and pre-market trading.
- The platform utilizes payment for order flow (PFOF) to make up for no-comission trading.
- Portfolio management tools have room for improvement.
- The product portfolio is limited: it's not possible to trade forex or futures.
E*Trade supports an extensive options trading section with capabilities like pre-built trading strategies based on risk-tolerance factors, robust analytical tools like Live Action, which helps to identify unusual options and volatility, and Spectral Analysis, which allows visualization of your strategy to assess profit/loss probabilities better.
By putting in your long-term investment goals, you can opt for an auto portfolio manager which designs a tailored, diversified portfolio depending on your particulars. The manager shifts easily if you wish to tweak your goals along the way. For further help, the platform includes extensive research amenities like real-time news feeds, market reports, educational videos, and more. Overall, E*TRADE offers an extremely well-rounded platform that serves all types of investors.
With no commissions, management costs, or trading fees for stocks or EFTs, Public.com is among the most cost-efficient automated brokers. For those who seek even cheaper entry to the market, Public.com also offers fractional share trading to bring down the entry barrier further. The platform has a mobile-first approach, so you will find navigating on the mobile app much easier compared to its web services.
Using its recurrent investing feature, you can automate your trades at weekly, biweekly, or monthly intervals at predetermined prices. While it’s not suitable for every trader, it may come in handy for dedicated investors with a solid strategy. Much like eToro, Public.com is also a social trading platform (it’s in the name) and supports a hub where investors can share insights with one another. You can view other investors’ portfolios for inspiration and even drop them a private message should you have any questions.
- It's possible to trade fractional shares.
- There are social trading functionalities for an interactive experience.
- Both desktop and mobile products are user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- The product portfolio doesn't include forex or options.
- The platform doesn't include a charting package, screeners, or any other tools to evaluate stocks.
- There's a $8 fee to access analyst reports and real-time data.
Combining a range of investment products from stocks to mutual funds with an intuitive design, Tradestation is well-cherished by its users. The platform offers exceptional and highly personalized charting functionalities with a built-in automated technical analysis tool, including real-time data, a range of customizable overlays, and numerous indicators. Note that while the interface is intuitive, the sheer amount of moving parts may overwhelm traders with little experience.
Its portfolio analysis tool allows you to backtest your strategy depending on historical data to assess its performance prior to execution and help analyze your allocation with the help of robust reporting capabilities.
You can automate any trading strategy after backtesting. While non-technical traders can utilize technical indicators and pre-built strategy components, programmers can develop custom indicators and strategies and put them to work. The Walk Forward Optimizer offers your strategy a pass/fail report before automation.
- The platform supports a fast and reliable order execution process.
- It's possible to set up advanced order types including conditional orders and profit targets.
- The simulating environment is robust and endowed with real-time data and extensive backtesting features.
- The platform is geared towards seasoned traders and come with a steep learning curve.
- The customer support is hardly accessible, and response times can be very long.
- The pricing structure is can be confusing.
What Are Automated Trading Platforms and How Do They Work?
Automated trading systems, also known as mechanical trading systems, algorithmic trading, automated trading, or system trading, enable traders to program specific rules for trade entry and exit and have them executed automatically by a computer. While some online brokers offer automated capabilities, many integrate with platforms like Metatrader 4 or Metatrader 5 for trade automation. As an upgraded platform, Mt5 is more efficient and faster and offers access to more markets than Mt4.
When using MetaTrader software, you initially have to set a precise set of rules. Depending on these parameters, Expert Advisors (EA), programs that monitor financial markets on these platforms, find opportunities for your trades. Depending on your preference, they either automatically set up a trading position or notify you to do so.
Platforms vary depending on the extent of the automation goes: you can opt for a fully automated, hands-off experience with tools like portfolio copying, or retain some control over your portfolio by using signal-based services and manually executing orders.
How Much Money Do You Need to Get Started?
Brokers’ minimum deposit amounts may differ for their automated tools; eToro’s zero minimum jumps to $1,000 for the CopyPortfolio feature, for example. It is advised that investors with no experience follow the minimum amounts to explore the tools, which can be as little as $50, but don't expect meaningful returns.
Best Free Automated Trading Platforms With Zero Commission
Following Robinhood’s mainstream success, trading platforms largely employ commission-free trading frameworks today. The table below displays platforms with zero commission and account minimums.
Are Automated Trading Platforms Safe?
Unfortunately, unless it’s a feature of an online broker, automated trading robots and signal providers are not regulated — they don’t have to be because they don’t essentially offer financial services. With that in mind, it’s wise to take “guaranteed results” marketing bits with a grain of salt because there’s no accountability framework in place.
It’s also worth noting that trading bots are vulnerable to mechanical failure, especially those executing trade orders on the computer rather than a server, and therefore require an internet connection. Regardless, they are also vulnerable to mechanical failure and require constant monitoring to ensure the utmost safety.
What Can You Do With Automated Trading Platforms?
Much like regular platforms, automated trading platforms also vary in the assets they offer, but it is possible to find trading systems automating stock, options, forex, cryptocurrency, and futures trading.
Besides the type of assets, platforms also vary greatly in terms of the extent of automation they offer, all of which cater to the varying needs of the investors. And alternatively, you can use separate automated trading systems and online brokers to execute trades, in this case, yours.
Accessibility across devices
While auto trading platforms regularly offer various deployment models, due to the high computing power it requires, automated systems are found more in the form of web services or desktop workstations rather than mobile applications.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Automated Trading Platforms
Much like any novel practice, automated trading spun out a set of advantages and disadvantages:
- Backtesting – One of the biggest advantages to automated trading systems is backtesting. Traders can prepare their trading rules and test them on historical data to understand how they will perform.
- Minimizing Emotions – By automatically open and close positions, its possible to eliminate emotions from trading. Keeping the emotions under control may help sticking to a trading plan in the long haul.
- Discipline – When dealing with volatile markets especially, emotions tend to take over and it becomes harder to maintain discipline due to the fear of loss, missing out, or the desire to squueze a little more profit from a trade. Automating trades may help preserving discipline as it follows an exact plan even at times of volatility.
- Real-Life Implementation Struggles – An automated set of rules may not fit well with real-life market conditions. The stock market is everchanging and unpredictable, and despite an impeccable backtest, it may fail in real conditions — which could be a significant issue for higher volume trades.
- Mechanical Failures – Automated trading systems are not infallible. A mechanical failure can result in a crush, and your trade may be jeopardized. While this varies by the platform, if a trade order resides on a computer rather than a server, a loss of internet connection may result in order not being sent to the market.
- Monitoring – Automated trading is hardly hands-off in many cases. Ideally, it requires constant monitoring in case of technological failures or system quirks which can result in duplicate or missing orders.
How Do I Choose the Best Automated Trading Platform?
There are a few points to consider when choosing the best-automated trading system for your needs:
Decide how much automation you need: You can opt for fully automated trading for a full hands-off experience or semi-automated bots via signals which allow you to retain some control of your trades.
Consider fees: Automated trading platforms typically come with monthly subscriptions, and you should also be considering the broker fees on top of that.
Do a trial run: The importance of testing out a bot in a simulated environment before opting in with actual capital. You can try out signal systems with a brokerage demo trading account, and for robots, you can install the trading software on MT4 and run the platform in demo mode. Alternatively, you can contact customer service to understand your options on the free trial.
Seek platforms that cater to your trading knowledge: By nature, automated trading platforms are more geared toward experienced traders who can identify concise trading rules to execute. Those who wish to dip their toes into automation may look into features like portfolio copying to follow experienced investors’ footsteps or semi-automated platforms with signals which send notifications regarding preset indicators so that you can place your bets manually. The table below presents platforms with these capabilities.
Best Automated Trading Platforms for Beginners
iOS / Android
iOS / Android
iOS / Android
Automated Order System (AOS)
The term automated order system refers to a computerized network that transmits instructions to the designated order turnaround system or to floor brokers working on the exchange. The automated order system routes the trader's instructions so they can be quickly executed.
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What is the best-automated trading system for beginners?
What is the best-automated trading platform in the US?
What forms of automated trading are available?
Which automated trading platform in the US is best for small investments?
Are you guaranteed to make profits with automated trading?
Is automated trading legal in the US?
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As someone deeply immersed in the world of automated trading and financial markets, I bring to you a comprehensive understanding of the concepts mentioned in the article. My experience in algorithmic trading and market analysis equips me with the expertise to dissect and elucidate the key points.
Automated trading has witnessed a significant surge in popularity, capturing 60 to 75% of trading volume in various developed financial markets, particularly in the US stock market. This surge is indicative of the industry's recognition of the efficiency and advantages brought about by automation.
The article introduces several automated trading platforms, each catering to different needs and preferences. Let's delve into the details of each platform mentioned:
- Pros: Allows for automated trades using everyday English, no coding required. Swift and knowledgeable customer service. Integration with major platforms, including TradingView.
- Cons: Not a standalone solution, requires integration with other platforms. Some reliability issues, occasional instability.
- Pros: Unparalleled social and copy trading functionalities. No additional charges for copy trading. No-commission trading for stocks and ETFs.
- Cons: Room for improvement in market research features. Non-trading charges, including for inactivity and withdrawals. Steep cryptocurrency trading fees.
- Pros: Offers various ways to automate forex trades using ProRealTime, MetaTrader 4, and APIs. Regulated forex broker in the US.
- Cons: Limited to trading Forex in the US. No guaranteed stop loss orders for US users. No account balance protection for US users.
SoFi Automated Investing:
- Pros: Robo-advisor service free of charge. Low minimum funding requirement. Expert financial help at no additional cost.
- Cons: Relatively new player. No tax-loss harvesting. Steep cost for Sofi ETFs.
- Pros: Mobile app for trading with fractional shares. Real-time streaming quotes with no additional charges. Access to extended hours and pre-market trading.
- Cons: Uses payment for order flow (PFOF). Portfolio management tools need improvement. Limited product portfolio (no forex or futures).
- Pros: Extensive options trading section. Auto portfolio manager based on long-term investment goals. Well-rounded platform with research amenities.
- Cons: Charges for analyst reports and real-time data. Geared towards seasoned traders. No account balance protection for US users.
- Pros: Cost-efficient with no commissions or trading fees. Fractional share trading available. Social trading platform with an interactive experience.
- Cons: Limited product portfolio (no forex or options). No charting package or screeners. $8 fee for analyst reports and real-time data.
- Pros: Intuitive design with personalized charting functionalities. Automated technical analysis tool. Supports advanced order types and extensive backtesting.
- Cons: Geared towards seasoned traders with a steep learning curve. Customer support accessibility issues. Confusing pricing structure.
The article also touches upon the broader concepts related to automated trading:
Automated Trading Systems: Mechanisms enabling traders to program specific rules for trade entry and exit, executed automatically by a computer.
MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5: Platforms commonly used for trade automation, with MetaTrader 5 offering enhanced efficiency and access to more markets.
Minimum Deposit Requirements: Varying across brokers and platforms, influencing accessibility for different investors.
Regulation and Safety: Highlighting the lack of regulation for automated trading robots and signal providers, emphasizing the need for cautious evaluation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Automated Trading:
- Pros: Backtesting for strategy evaluation, emotion elimination, and discipline maintenance.
- Cons: Real-life implementation challenges, mechanical failures, and the need for constant monitoring.
The article concludes with guidance on choosing the best-automated trading platform, considering factors like the level of automation needed, fees, and conducting trial runs.
In summary, automated trading platforms offer a spectrum of features catering to diverse trading styles and preferences. Choosing the right platform requires careful consideration of individual needs, coupled with an understanding of the advantages and challenges associated with automated trading.