You have read different materials, watched tutorial videos, and pursued a training course in forex trading. It is now time you get practical.
But don’t risk your life’s savings by opening a real money trading account yet. You need first to test your grasp of the training that you just had and gain an even more profound – more practical – understanding of this market.
And there can be no better way to put your forex trading skills to test than by starting in the risk-free trading environment – the demo account. And to help you get started, we have come up with a list of what we consider the ten most valuable demo accounts.
Note: The efficiency of a broker’s demo trading platform in terms of spreads, spillage and speeds speaks volumes about their real account experience. Only open a real account with the broker if you are delighted with their demo account.
A demo account refers to a free practice trading account. It is given by a forex broker to a prospective trader/investor and cam be used for practice trading or testing out new strategies. It is also referred to as a paper money account because it is funded with fake/virtual money. The fake money allows them to experiment on the broker’s trading platform without risking real cash.
The demo account has all the features of a real trading account. These include access to market data, analysis tools/indicators and even access to the customer support team. The only significant difference between the live account and a demo account is that, a demo account doesn’t have access to live market data but relies on simulated data.
Who needs a forex demo account?
i) Beginners looking for a risk-free trading environment to test their understanding of the forex market
ii) Traders seeking to understand a new broker’s features, services, and proprietary trading platform
iii) Traders looking to test and understand a new platform; such as MT4, cTrader, or other proprietary platforms
iv) Traders looking to experiment or perfect a new strategy
What are thePros and cons of forex demo accounts
Demo accounts are risk-free: Opening a demo forex trading account is free. You will also be given free ‘virtual’ currency that you use to execute trades in the demo account.
Exposes a trader to real-time forex trading situations: Demo accounts mirror the activities of the real market trading environment. And this gives you a feel of what to expect once you go live.
Helps you develop, test, and perfect forex strategies: Both beginner and experienced traders have the chance to use the risk-free demo trading environment to test and perfect a trading strategy.
Critical to understanding the broker’s features and services: The demo environment also helps you understand the tools and resources featured by your broker. This includes their spreads, customer support, educational and news resources.
Prepares a beginner mentally and emotionally for the live trading: To succeed in a real forex trading environment, you need to learn how to control your emotions. The demo environment plays a crucial role in helping keep your emotions in order, even in the face of consistent losses.
Can give you a false sense of confidence: When interacting with a demo account, you already know it is not real. And that your actions have no real impact on your real cash. This can give you a false sense of confidence that encourages over-trading.
Doesn’t do much to help you master your emotions: It is hard to be emotional when there is nothing at stake. Demo trading is all about fake money that has no impact on your finances. It, therefore, doesn’t help you master and keep your emotions in order.
May encourage bad trading habits: Most demo account traders don’t take time to analyze trades before taking up a position. This is a gambling mentality that may result in the accumulation of bad trading habits, especially for day traders and scalpers.
Limited funds and duration: Most brokerages have limits to how much virtual cash you can access. They will as well limit the number of days you can operate a demo account – often 30 days. The short period is not enough for one to understand all aspects of the broker, their platform, and the forex market.
Strategies used to rank best forex demo accounts:
Trading platform, i.e. MT4, cTrader, NinjaTrader, etc.
Trading balances and renewability of the allocated virtual currencies
Ease of opening
Trading tools, features, and execution speeds
Leverage and number of trading pairs
Types of accounts available
Trading costs, i.e. spreads, fees, and commissions
Best forex demo accounts in 2019
1. Forex.com – Best overall
Forex.com has an established global reputation of reliability and the ability to give its traders access to a wide range of financial markets. It is regulated in virtually every key financial trading district including the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. And this makes it one of the brokers with the best demo accounts for traders in and outside the USA. It supports both the MT4 and ForexTrader Pro trading platforms, and you can only open one demo account with either platform.
They will only allow you to operate the demo account for 30 days with leverages of up to 1:50 for US traders. On either of the trading platforms, you can expect customizable chart options, numerous technical indicators, robot trading, backtesting tools, and actionable forex news that includes real-time commentaries by a Forex.com insider.
Gives you up to$50,000 in virtual trade currency
The demo is available in both the desktop and mobile apps
Presents you with over 50 technical indicators that you can use to analyze both simple and complex orders
Charting tools and platform layouts aren’t as customizable as the broker may want you to believe
You can only use one trading platform; either on MT4 or ForexTrader Pro
Easy Markets operate what we consider the most beginner-friendly forex demo accounts. They will furnish you with the most comprehensive educational and training resources. An exceptionally supportive customer support team further complements this. And they can be reached via live chat tool on the EasyMarkets website, phone, and social media – including WhatsApp. The broker’s demo account also tries to mirror the activities of the real market environment as perfectly as possible.
Some of the most exciting features about the Easy Markets Demo account include, 100% fixed spreads and 0% commission. The broker further promises 0% slippage and a highly effective risk management option with a guaranteed stop-loss feature. Plus the ability to cancel losing trades on their proprietary Easy markets platform using the ‘deal cancellation’ feature. Here, you have access to $10,000 virtual currency.
Available in both MT4 and the proprietary EasyMarkets trading platforms
Beginners are treated to attractive leverages of up to 1:400
Excellent customer support
Does not accept US clients
Some features – like deal cancellation – aren’t available on the MT4 platform
3. PLUS 500 – Best for unlimited demo account trading time
Two primary factors help Plus 500 stand out from the rest of the competition when it comes to forex demo accounts. First, it is a free unlimited demo account – implying that there is no time limit to the use of the account. And that you can easily have your virtual currencies redeemed as soon as you exhaust the previous allocation. Secondly, Plus 500 is a pure-CFD broker.
You can open the demo account on either the MT4 or their proprietary trading platform. Here, you get access to a wide range of tools and indicators for analysis and trading as well as a host of risk management tools that include the guaranteed stop loss.
Trade with redeemable $20,000 and leverages of up to 1:300
Excellent customer support
Simulates all the features of a real trading account including the low spreads
Has a limited product portfolio and will only trade CFDs
You might also consider their research and educational resources relatively limited
4. ThinkorSwim – Best for the widest range of analytical and trading tools
Thinkorswim – the proprietary trading platform for TD Ameritrade – is by far one of the most comprehensive platforms we have come across. Here, you have access to over 300 analytical tools. These are then complemented by an equally rich resource of training and forex trading educational materials. And you get unlimited access to these tools and resources in a demo account that you can interact with for 60 days.
Most importantly, the data on the demo trading environment is as close to the real market data as it can get – with a mere 20 min delay. Plus you are treated to one of the most extensive virtual currency stocks in the industry of up to $100,000. The broker is NFA and CFTC regulated and thus welcoming to the United States forex traders.
The massive stock of tools and educational materials make it easy to use
Relatively fast trade execution speeds and a large number of currency pairs available
Accepts US clients
It gives you access to a helpful customer support team 24/5
The maximum leverage for the Demo trades is set at 1:50
One of the most exciting things about OANDA is that it provides its demo account holders with real-time access to the financial market data. And you can open an OANDA practice account on their web-based trading platform or the all-popular MT4 platform. In listing OANDA among the most attractive forex demo accounts, we were particularly drawn by the fact that they don’t have a limit to the amount of time you can spend on the demo account.
You also gain access to an unlimited number of virtual currencies. This gives you enough time to bounce back from a streak of losses, create, and perfect trading strategies. Not to mention that these demo accounts can be accessed on the web trader or the MT4 desktop and mobile apps.
Straightforward demo account opening process and easy to use platform
Presents you with over 50 highly advanced trading and analytical tools
Supports scalping and hedging trade practices
Offers limited educational and forex training resources
One may also consider its pool of analytical and trading tools quite limiting
eToro joins the long list of brokerage firms that don’t limit the amount of time you can spend on their demo account. Plus, the only noticeable difference between the real and demo trading accounts is the delayed market data. This is made possible by the fact that you only need to register with the broker once. eToro maintains a unified registration form for both real and demo trading accounts. If you wish to use their free demo account, you only need to open the trader account and choose “Practice Trading Login.”
Other factors that make eToro an attractive demo trading environment include the reset trade feature. This allows you to restart your practice or reformulate your strategy countless times, thus creating enough room for perfecting a trade. The trading platform is also relatively easy to use. More importantly, they have the social trading feature that allows you to copy trades from the more experienced traders
The eToro trading platform is available in web, desktop and app version.
You gain access to over 50 currency trading pairs
Fastest trade execution speeds and access to near-real-time market data
The broker pays little emphasis on forex education and training for beginners
Non-responsive customer support that can only be reached via the phone
eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs.
Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Past performance is not an indication of future results.
Cryptoassets are volatile instruments which can fluctuate widely in a very short timeframe and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Other than via CFDs, trading cryptoassets is unregulated and therefore is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.
7. CMC Markets – Best for the most versatile trading platform
As the rest of the world and leading forex brokerages abandoned their proprietary trading tools and adopted the MT4 trader, CMC stuck with its Next Generation trading platform. The broker has over the years nurtured and strived to make it one of the most innovative proprietary trading platforms.
Some of its key features include highly customizable layouts and trading tools, multiple charting options, and supports full automation and is also available in desktop and mobile app trading modes. The broker doesn’t impose a limit on the volume of virtual currency or the amount of time you can spend on the practice account. It is also worth noting that only added MT4 as an alternative trading platform for their clients in 2018.
You gain access to high leverages of up to 1:500
Presents you with a host of educational and training materials on forex trading
You get to use some of the most advanced analytic and trading tools like the guaranteed stop loss
Reports relatively sluggish trade execution speeds that often leads to order slippage
Its reclusive nature cuts it off from the world of third-party tools making it hard to launch a day trading career with the broker
8. Go Markets – Best for ultra-fast trade executions
Go Markets uses MT4 trading platform to host its real and demo trading accounts. This makes it possible to avail the live market trading data easily to demo traders. It makes it on this list of best demo accounts because of its adoption of the most advanced trading technologies. And this is best reflected in its ultra-fast trade execution speeds.
This stretches further to feature price improvement technology that is available in both the demo and real trading accounts. Here, you can practice trading over 50 currency pairs with adjustable leverages of up to 500:1. The demo account will have $10,000 in virtual cash that you can play with for a maximum of 30 days.
Gives you access to such innovative tools and indicators as the autochartist pattern recognition tool and trading central that supports technical and fundamental analysis
The fact that you are trading on the MT4 platform on real market data makes the transition to live trade as seamless as possible
Pays huge emphasis on forex and education and training
Readily available on multiple platforms and trading devices
Only has a limited number of accounts that you can practice with
The 30-day trial period is not enough for individuals looking to master the system
9. FXCM – Best for in-depth education and market research and multiple trading platforms
FXCM makes it to our list of best demo forex accounts because of its dedication to forex training and education. This complements their already comprehensive demo trading account. And also makes the broker appealing to both novices and established traders.
It also is available in multiple trading platforms that include the MT4, ZuluTrade, NinjaTrader, and Quant. You can connect either of these to your desktop or mobile app, and get $50,000 in virtual funds upon opening the free demo account. The demo account exposes you to over 39 currency pairs with leverages of 1:400.
Presents the demo account trader with a rich pool of trading tools and indicators
Relatively fast and straightforward demo account creation
Gives you access to a reliable customer support team
The broker has a tainted reputation that saw it banned in the United States in 2017
Some of these lesser popular trading platforms are quite sluggish resulting in slippage and requotes
10. ThinkForex – Best for advanced technical analysis tools and indicators
You can open a free account with ThinkForex – now referred to as ThinkMarkets – on the MT4 or cTrader platforms. On either platform, you can trade over 35 of the most popular currency pairs with leverages of 500:1.
Nevertheless, what we like most about ThinkForex demo accounts is the fact that they present you with some of the most advanced trading and analytical tools. These include Autochartist, TFS VPS, Auto Trade with MyFXbook, and the trade calendar. Additionally, demo account traders can also backtest the effectiveness of both existing and new trading strategies.
Straightforward account application and ease of navigation
You also get access to prompt customer support that is accessible via the live chat option or emails
The trading platforms are quite versatile and available both as a web trader and a mobile app
Doesn’t pay much attention to forex training and education for beginner traders
Tips on how to make the most use of the demo/practice forex account:
Master all the trading platform features and tools
Test all order types available
Test out different lot sizes and leverages
Try to create and perfect your strategy
You need a demo account to gain a deeper understanding of your preferred broker, their trading platform, their operations, and key trading tools and indicators. One of the most important things that you get to learn from interacting with a demo account is the number of trading pairs available. It will also help you get to know the number of trading and analysis tools fronted by the brokers and how to use them. Even more importantly, you will learn how to test the efficiency of the different trading strategies or even come up with some of your own. And on this list, we have included different demo accounts that speak to your different trading needs. Whether you are looking for a broker with more currency pairs or one with sophisticated trading tools, we have you covered.
What is a forex demo account?
A forex demo account is a non-real trading account provided by a forex broker to a prospective trader. It is aimed at helping the trader gain a deeper understanding of the real trading market. And this happens in a risk-free environment where they don’t have to risk their actual cash.
How does a demo forex account work?
It starts with opening a free demo account with your preferred broker who gives you free trading cash. They also present you with a platform – either the universal MT4 or proprietary trading area – where you enter into trades as if you were trading live. You will also get to win trades and lose others depending on the correctness of your analysis and the prevailing market conditions.
How can I open a forex demo account?
Different brokers have different rules when it comes to opening a forex demo account. Some will need you to open a real account alongside the demo. While others demand that the demo be opened and run a separate entity. The bottom line, however, is that a demo account should be free.
For how long can I trade on a forex demo account?
This depends on your preferred broker’s policy. Looking at our list of best demo brokers, however, you realize most – like Go Markets – give you 30-day trial free trial period while others – like PLUS 500 – allow for the unlimited use of the account and its virtual currencies.
What is the difference between a demo and a real money forex account?
There are several distinct differences between a demo and a real forex account. The two most significant however involve the type of currency and the trading data. A demo account uses virtual ‘fake’ currency to enter into trades that use recorded trade data. This implies that trading in a demo environment carries no risk. A real trading account, on the other hand, draws its name from the fact that it uses both real cash and live forex market data to enter and into trades.
Do all forex brokerage firms offer demo account services?
Yes, it is the unwritten rule of the thumb that every reputable brokerage firm gives its clients an opportunity to trade in a risk-free environment. Otherwise, how would you test the broker’s efficiency or learn about their trading features. There is however no standard time or volume of trades that the broker should give their demo traders. It is at the broker’s discretion to determine whether to provide 30-day, 60-day or unlimited demo accounts.
All trading carries risk. Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.
Edith is an investment writer, trader, and personal finance coach specializing in investments advice around the fintech niche. Her fields of expertise include stocks, commodities, forex, indices, bonds, and cryptocurrency investments. She holds a Masters degree in Economics with years of experience as a banker-cum-investment analyst. She is currently the chief editor, learnbonds.com where she specializes in spotting investment opportunities in the emerging financial technology scene and coming up with practical strategies for their exploitation. She also helps her clients identify and take advantage of investment opportunities in the disruptive Fintech world.