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Best Automated Trading Software

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What if you could take the psychological element out of trading? What if you could trade without becoming a victim of your own emotions? The best automated trading software makes this possible.

Computers have given traders the power to automate their moves and take all the emotion out of the deal. By using automated trading software, you can set parameters for potential trades, allocate capital and open or close positions all while you sleep or watch TV.

But automated trading doesn’t mean automatic profits. There’s still plenty of risk involved, even when computers do all the work.

The Best Automated Trading Software:

What is Automated Trading Software?

Automated trading software is a sophisticated trading platform that uses computer algorithms to monitor markets for certain conditions. A stock market trader using an automated platform can set some initial guidelines for equities, such as volatile small-cap stocks with prices that recently crossed over their 50-day moving average.

Traders also set entry and exit points for their potential positions and then let the computers take over. The automated software can screen for stocks that fit the criteria and execute trades based on the pre-established parameters.

Some of the benefits of automated trading are obvious. Human beings are limited in the number of stocks or currencies they can monitor at a given moment. We only have two eyes, right?

On the other hand, computers can look through different markets and securities with a speed incomprehensible to flesh-and-blood traders. Algorithms can spot a trend reversal and execute a new trade in a fraction of a second.

Automated strategies only work in specific market conditions — they aren’t universal and you’ll need to understand when to deploy them. Additionally, many automated strategies become over-optimized and fail to account for real-world market conditions. Remember, all the backtesting in the world can’t make any one strategy foolproof.

Pros of Automated Trading

  • Fast trade execution
  • Sticks to a predetermined strategy and doesn’t deviate
  • Removes stress and emotion
  • Lower transaction costs

Cons of Automated Trading

  • Lack of control is difficult for some traders to accept
  • Successful strategies in backtests may falter in real life
  • Easy to over-optimize your strategy
  • Many robots or expert advisors have questionable success rates

What to Look for in Automated Trading Software

The best-automated trading platforms all share a few common characteristics. Keep these features in mind as you choose.

Access to your preferred markets. Automated software doesn’t mean you’ll have access to all markets. For example, MetaTrader 4 can only be used to trade forex products. Make sure you can trade your preferred securities.

Functional interface. Yes, the computers do much of the heavy lifting, but automated platforms still need to be managed (and adjusted when needed). Choose software with a navigable interface so you can make changes on the fly.

Industry-standard programming language. If you really want a unique strategy, you’ll need to program it yourself. Programming language use varies from platform to platform. In the case of MetaTrader 4, some languages are only used on specific software.

Detailed price histories for backtesting. Charts are critical to performing backtests, so make sure your platform has detailed backtesting that can be used across multiple timeframes.

Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading

Compare the best online brokers to get started in stock trading. Buy, sell and trade with the best.

Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Webull’s website
Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Webull, founded in 2017, is a mobile app-based brokerage that features commission-free stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trading. It’s regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Webull offers active traders technical indicators, economic calendars, ratings from research agencies, margin trading and short-selling. Webull’s trading platform is designed for intermediate and experienced traders, although beginning traders can also benefit.

Webull is widely considered one of the best Robinhood alternatives.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Intermediate traders
  • Advanced traders
Pros
  • Commission-free trading in over 5,000 different stocks and ETFs
  • No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
  • No charges to open and maintain an account
  • Leverage of 4:1 on margin trades made the same day and leverage of 2:1 on trades held overnight
  • Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
Cons
  • Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
Best For
Beginners
Overall Rating
get started securely through Robinhood’s website
Best For
Beginners
N/A
1 Minute Review

Robinhood is the broker for traders who want a simple, easy-to-understand layout without all the bells and whistles other brokers offer. Though its trading options and account types are limited, even an absolute beginner can quickly master Robinhood’s intuitive and streamlined platform. On the other hand, more advanced traders might be frustrated by Robinhood’s lack of technical analysis tools, a feature that’s now nearly universal across other platforms.

Best For
  • Beginner traders
  • Mobile traders
Pros
  • Streamlined, easy-to-understand interface
  • Mobile app with full capabilities
  • Can buy and sell cryptocurrency
Cons
  • Almost no trading analysis tools available
  • Only taxable brokerage accounts available
  • No option to open a retirement account
  • No access to mutual funds, forex or futures trading
  • Limited customer service
Best For
Inexpensive Options Trading
Overall Rating
get started securely through Tradier’s website
Best For
Inexpensive Options Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

Tradier is a high-tech broker made with the most active traders in mind. Tradier differentiates itself by using Application Programming Interface (API) technology to partner with popular trading software to offer a wide range of platform choices to Investors. Tradier brokerage offers integration with one of the widest ranges of platforms we’ve seen, including Esignal, Orion Multi Trader, Stockstotrade, 1Option, Evati, and many, many more. 

Tradier offers 2 pricing options — infrequent traders may want to opt for Tradier’s 0 Stocks and $0.35 per Options contract trading, while very active traders can often save money by opting into Tradier’s $30 monthly all-inclusive option and Equity, which cuts commissions entirely.

Tradier TradeHawk platform is exceptionally impressive, combining intuitive 1-click order placements with a vast range of indicators and charting tools. TradeHawk is also completely compatible with both Apple and Android mobile devices. Though we’d love to see Tradier expand into mutual funds and offer a bit more in the way of educational tools, the broker remains a top choice for advanced traders and those looking for enhanced customization options.

Best For
  • Very active options traders who would benefit from a flat-rate monthly charge instead of per-contract fees.
  • Advanced traders looking for a customizable broker with a wide range of platforms that can be integrated.
  • Prominent options traders get high-quality execution, real-time market data and subscription trading.
Pros
  • Wide range of integrated platforms provide an option for any trader.
  • All-inclusive per-month subscriptions available in lieu of per-contract commissions can potentially save very active traders hundreds of dollars a month.
  • Platforms are powered by quality real-time market data and execution.
  • Paper trading and Sandbox building mode allows particularly tech-savvy traders to create a platform and strategies customized to their preferences and needs.
  • Exceptionally affordable margin rates.
Cons
  • While good for active traders, newer traders may prefer a platform with fewer integration choices and a more streamlined approach.
  • No online mutual funds currently available.
Best For
Mobile Investing
Overall Rating
get started securely through SoFi’s website

Best Automated Trading Software

Benzinga has selected the best platforms for automated trading based on specific types of securities. Different categories include stocks, options, currencies and binary options.

No matter what type of trader you are, be sure to understand what you’re buying. As we previously mentioned, automated trading isn’t a golden ticket. You can make money while you sleep, but your platform still requires maintenance.

Best For
  • Beginning traders looking to dip their toes into data
  • Advanced traders who want a data-rich experience

1. Best Overall: MetaTrader 4

Few pieces of trading software have the power of MetaTrader 4, the popular forex trading platform from Russian tech firm MegaQuotes Software Inc. MetaTrader 4 was released in 2005 to much acclaim and quickly became the forex platform of choice for experienced traders.

MetaTrader 4 could be integrated into almost any brokerage account, allowing users to harness the platform’s capabilities without forcing them to open new accounts. The platform runs on its own programming language, MQL4, which is similar to popular programming languages like C.

Additionally, MetaTrader 5 allows clients to trade in markets other than currencies but uses its proprietary programming language called MQL5. Since MQL4 and MQL5 aren’t compatible, many users have chosen to remain exclusively on the MetaTrader 4 platform. If currencies aren’t your thing, you won’t find much use for MetaTrader 4.

Expert advisors might be the biggest selling point of the platform. These programs are robots designed to implement automated strategies. You can purchase EAs from the MetaTrader Marketplace or write your own using the MQL4 programming language.

Read Benzinga’s full MetaTrader 4 Review

Commissions
$0 for stocks and ETFs broker assited orders an additional $6
Account Minimum
$500 to open an account
Best For
  • Options traders looking for low-cost options contracts
  • Beginner and advanced traders looking for options education
  • Advanced traders who don’t need a lot of platform guidance

2. Best for Options Trading: eOption

eOption was created in 2007 and specializes in low-cost options trading. eOption has some of the lowest commissions in the options trading space at only $0.15 per contract and $3 per trade.

But it’s not just for options anymore. eOption clients can trade stocks and ETFs for $3, mutual funds for $5 and bonds for as low as $3 ($5 for the first 25 bonds).

eOption also lets users set up automated trading systems, but there’s no programming language knowledge needed. Instead, eOption has a series of trading newsletters available to clients.

Clients can choose a newsletter to follow and the automated trading desk will execute trades from your specific newsletter.

Note that trades that go through the Auto Trade Desk are subject to a higher $5 commission and your account cannot deviate from the newsletter’s trades after you enroll in auto trading. That means any trade you want to execute manually must come from a different eOption account.

Read Benzinga’s full eOption Review

Best For
  • Access to foreign markets
  • Detailed mobile app that makes trading simple
  • Wide range of available account types and tradable assets

3. Best for Stock Trading: Interactive Brokers API / FIX CTCI

Interactive Brokers is a global trading firm that offers brokerage services in 31 different countries. Users can access 120 different markets, from equities to bonds to currencies.

New traders will find plenty of educational materials about different products, markets and strategies through its Traders University. Experienced traders can play around with automated systems using Interactive Brokers’ API solutions.

Interactive Brokers API allows users to build their own automated trading systems using popular programming languages like Java, Python and C++. You can connect your program right into Trader Workstation.

For even more sophistication, the FIX CTCI solutions enable super-fast trading by leveraging Interactive Brokers’ high-speed order routing.

Trades are executed at the best possible prices, but you’ll pay extra for this service. Required commission minimums for FIX CTCI are $1,500 per month.

Read Benzinga’s full Interactive Brokers Review

Best For
  • Beginning traders looking to dip their toes into data
  • Advanced traders who want a data-rich experience

4. Best for Forex: MetaTrader 4

While MetaTrader 5 can be used for all types of securities, MetaTrader 4 is strictly for forex trading. But the collection of tools here cannot be matched by any other platform.

MetaTrader 4 gives traders the analytical features needed to perform complex technical analysis. Backtest your strategies through 9 different time periods using 30 unique technical indicators.

MetaTrader 4 also supports copy trading, so novice traders can simply imitate the portfolios of their favorite experts.

But MetaTrader 4 is famous for Expert Advisors (EAs), algorithmic robots capable of automating your trading operation. EAs can be purchased on the MetaTrader Market.

Over 1,700 different robots can be acquired on the MetaTrader Market, but tech-savvy traders can write their own unique EAs in the MQL4 programming language. If you create your own EA, you can also sell it on the Market for a price.

Don’t have the cash to buy robots? MetaTrader 4 comes fully loaded with a library of free robots.

Read Benzinga’s full MetaTrader 4 Review

5. Best for Premium Access: Zen Trading Strategies

Zen Trading Strategies offers access to premium Tradingview strategies and indicators. You can try any strategy FREE for 1 week when you sign up on its website.

All of Zen’s Tradingview strategies allow you to backtest different ideas on Tradingview, so you can take a look at how your trading idea did over historical data in the past.

Try different trading ideas and customize settings for trend detection, mean reversion, volume, breakouts, momentum and more. You can also set stop losses, take profit, and add additional filters for how and when your trades should enter and exit.

You can see the results visually on your Tradingview chart. You can also see where trades enter and exit, how they do it, how much profit they make, how much money they lose and all kinds of other performance statistics.

Pricing
Free – $49.95 per month
Account Minimum
50EUR – 500 EUR, depending

6. Best Exchange Rates: WunderBit

Tap into the real world use of crypto through a number of products and solutions with WunderBit. It allows its clients to buy and sell Bitcoin safely and securely.

Wunderbit currently offers a bitcoin and other cryptocurrency exchange service, social trading platform, bitcoin payment processing service and over-the-counter service. Look into WunderBit today.

7. Best for Bot Trading: Botsfolio

Want to invest just 5% of your net worth into cryptocurrency markets and make your portfolio outperform the best equity tycoons?

You can do it with Botsfolio. Just answer few questions to know how to allocate investment in different cryptocurrency trading strategies, add investment amounts to your cryptocurrency trading exchange and link it with Botsfolio in minutes. Bots automatically trade from your account and you can track your automated cryptocurrency trading activities on Botsfolio’s intuitive visual dashboard.

Get involved in hands-off bot crypto trading today.

Make Your Choice

Automated trading software can simplify your life in a number of ways, but it’s still critical to learn and understand why trades are being made. Even the most sophisticated automated system will need maintenance and tweaking during certain market conditions. As you make your choice, be sure you keep your investment goals in mind.

What types of securities are you comfortable trading? How much capital can you invest in an automated system? The computers might do the trading for you, but you’ll be the one who feels pain if things go awry.

Turn to Webull

0 Commissions and no deposit minimums. Everyone gets smart tools for smart investing. Webull supports full extended hours trading, which includes full pre-market (4:00 AM - 9:30 AM ET) and after hours (4:00 PM - 8:00 PM ET) sessions. Webull Financial LLC is registered with and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is also a member of the SIPC, which protects (up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash) against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer at a financially-troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm.