As recently as the early 1980s, brokers and traders charted the movement of currency prices by hand with nothing but a legal pad and a pencil. In less than four decades, the charting industry has been revamped several times over, which has led to intricate, complex tables that traders decode today before executing currency trades.
Charting software allows those in any market to see price moves, observe changes over various stretches of time and combine this information to conduct market analysis and predictions. It’s an absolute necessity for carrying out intelligent trades; without it, trading currencies would be a lot more like gambling: highly dictated by chance.
Best (free) forex charts
Without a doubt, TradingView comes in at the number one spot on this list. It is a favorite among a multitude of traders, thanks to the fact that its free version offers more features than several paid packages on the market. For the forex market, in particular, TradingView offers a view of all currency pairs, cross rates on the most commonly traded pairs, as well as currency indices and an economic calendar for major macroeconomic events.
It also serves as a trading community; thousands of traders and analysts publish their ideas and forecasts as well as comments and assessments of trade patterns. This can be a great tool for a new trader or someone who wants to become more familiar with the intricacies of trading a certain currency pair. A lot of TradingView users also noted that its option to make its trade histories public – even if only to friends or family members – gave them more accountability and improved their decision-making tactics.
TradingView is available on your desktop, tablet and smartphone, all of which can be synced and saved in a cloud, which offers a seamless transition between devices.
- Free: Use on one device, up to one saved chart layout, no customer support
- Pro: $9.95/month (use on one device, intraday time frames, up to five saved chart layouts, regular customer support, and more)
- Pro Plus: $19.95/month (sync up to two devices, intraday time frames, up to 10 saved chart layouts, fast-version customer support, and more)
- Premium: $39.95/month (SMS alerts, sync up to five devices, intraday time frames, unlimited saved chart layouts, priority customer support and more)
This trading platform, geared towards those traders focused in futures and forex, offers all web surfers access to its advanced charting, strategy backtesting and trade simulations. It’s well known for its sophisticated charting software, which has been enough to persuade many traders to switch from other trading platforms to NinjaTrader. If you are looking for a site that offers both strong charts and the ability to make trades, this could be a great choice for you. Note: For U.S. citizens, trading on NinjaTrader is available through Forex.com and Oanda.
NinjaTrader charting capabilities offer comprehensive tools customizable for your particular focus. It offers dozens of indicators for gaps, news, trends, swings, volume, reversal, volatility, value area, Elliot wave and more. Charts have multi-time frame and multi-tool analysis with hundreds of add-ons available from third parties.
While charting on NinjaTrader’s sleek interface can be incredibly informative, it is unfortunately quite complex for the average new trader and may be more useful for those who already have familiarity with general trading terminology, layout and features. Even still, the NinjaTrader User Guide offers copious details on how to use each chart feature. (If you’re new to trading but you’re a quick study, you may be able to make this platform work for you.)
In terms of payment, NinjaTrader offers a range of options:
- You can lease the program quarterly for $180, a half-year for $330 or one full year for $600.
- You can also choose to purchase a lifetime lease for $999.
- Alternatively, can opt out of buying/leasing the platform and carry out trades through a chosen broker, but this will result in higher total commission fees than for those who lease or purchase the program.
There are also three professional add-on features specifically for forex traders that range from $98-$245, all of which can be demoed free for one week.
NinjaTrader itself does not offer smartphones or tablet options, but there are several plug-ins on the market that you can set up within your devices to be notified of trade updates.
This platform is another winner among investors across the world and is utilized by millions of traders, whether their focus is forex, stocks or commodities. This web-based platform offers not just charts, but also heat maps, portfolio management tools and a host of news and blog links to keep you informed about what’s to come in the currency world and the international market at large.
Heat maps are a favorite feature of FinViz, where traders can quickly analyze the health of certain currency pairs based on a color scheme from green (healthy) to red (unhealthy). There are also a host of free filters that can allow traders to narrow in on information geared towards their preferred currency pair(s).
The downsides of the platform are that it is solely web-based, without mobile chart viewing. Traders also complained that its interface is somewhat dated. Lastly, while the free version offers lots of information, it also crowded with numerous pop-ups.
In terms of pricing, charts on FinViz are free, however, they are not all in real time, and some are even delayed as much as 15 minutes — a big delay in the world of currency trading. An upgrade to FinViz Elite may be worth your money, as all features are given in real time, and the upgraded version also comes with access to advanced charting features like technical studies and performance tracking correlation charts comparing currency pairs or any commodity or stock. The Elite version also offers the ability to do backtests and will give you email notifications about important market events in real time. The price for an Elite subscription is $39.50/month, or $299.50/year.
A general note on using charts: Trading experts advise not using more than two different applications, including your trading platform, when it comes to looking at charts. Dancing across too many platforms can lead to more confusion, and may make executing trades more stressful than need be.
Expect to use a good chunk of time reading trading charts, which is much like learning to read a new language. Once you’ve put in the work to be able to fluently interpret the information on the screen, you’ll be one step closer to executing lucrative trades.
Many newbie traders ask which chart setup is the best of the best, and experienced traders say that such a panacea simply does not exist. If it did, financial institutions who are able to move the market would take advantage of it to beat retail traders. Thus, find the chart that works best for you, and you’ll create the highest chance of achieving successful trades.