Best Apps for Day Trading
Smartphones have made our lives easier in countless ways.
With a couple taps of a finger, you can buy a Super Bowl ticket on StubHub, book a flight and hotel room in Miami through Priceline, and summon an Uber to take you to the airport. A trip to Super Bowl Weekend completely planned in less than five minutes!
Smartphones might not be revolutionizing day trading in the same manner, but mobile apps have made it possible to trade from literally anywhere.
Day traders no longer need to bunker down in front of their laptops scanning for stocks.
Stock trading can now be done in restaurants, at bus stops, or even in your backyard out by the pool. However, day trading on mobile requires discipline – much more discipline than trading on a computer.
Day Trading On The Go
Day trading on mobile doesn’t require a change of approach. Just like choosing your first broker, you’ll need to be diligent and choose the mobile app that fits you best.
Do you need lots of charts and technical information? Are you looking for fundamental stats and live access to conference calls? What trading techniques will you use? Are you looking for brokerage services or just connecting an existing account?
Not all mobile trading apps will suit the needs of a day trader, let alone you specifically.
For example, Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up purchases and puts the spare change into index funds – not exactly ideal for day trading.
Robo advisors like Wealthfront and Blooom also won’t allow you to day trade, so cross them off the list.
Day trading on the go should follow the same process as normal day trading. Set out with a plan each day before even typing your password into your app. How much are you trying to make today? How much can you afford to lose?
Have a trading plan in place each day so you’ll be prepared to react if the market turns against you. You’ll still run scans for stocks fitting your specific criteria, look for entry and exit points, and execute trades using your preferred order type.
But while the process is similar, you’ll be dealing with different types of frustrations.
Pros and Cons of Mobile Day Trading
Day trading on mobile might conjure up some picturesque beach scenarios in your head, but it’s not all sun and fun. Day trading on mobile comes with it’s own set of pros and cons. And yes, it goes beyond getting sand in your phone.
Pro: You’ll no longer be at the mercy of your internet service provider. Ever have your day trading routine interrupted because of a Comcast WiFi outage? With mobile, as long as you have a few bars of service, you’ll be able to execute your trades.
Con: An endless array of distractions will attack from two fronts. First, you’ll need to put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode and mute texts from pesky friends or relatives. Nothing disrupts your trading process like a barrage of text messages. Second, the outside world will occasionally barge into your day too. Be sure to trade in a place where you won’t be overwhelmed by distractions.
Pro: You can pack light for vacation and still have access to the markets thanks to mobile trading. Leave the laptop at home and save yourself some leg room. You’ll never trip over a cord again!
Con: It’s far too easy to make emotional trades. With a smartphone, you’re never away from your trading apparatus. Do you have the self-control to leave your phone in a drawer while you run out to grab some coffee? If you don’t, ease into your mobile day trading routine. Overtrading because you’re seeing red is a quick way to lose a huge chunk of your cash.
Pro: Every broker has a smartphone app now and many commission-free brokers are only available via mobile app. Robinhood and WeBull began as a mobile-only operations, but recently added browser trading vehicles. Many zero-commission trading platforms like Dough remain smartphone only though.
Con: If you’re day trading, your cellphone will run out of battery much faster than your laptop. Get yourself a portable battery pack, otherwise you’ll need to stay near an outlet. And isn’t staying close to a power source defeating the whole purpose of mobile trading?
Best Apps for Day Traders
Choosing the right app is half the battle. Not every mobile platform will be geared towards the type of trading you want to do. Some of these apps have great charting software built right into the platform, others don’t.
Some apps let you trade cryptocurrencies, options, and futures, while others are strictly equities. You’ll need to decide what you want out of your trading platform first. Here are our top choices:
Best Overall App – TradeStation
TradeStation is the total package for day traders, offering a variety of account options, terrific trading tools, and the ability to trade different types of securities. New individual clients have their choice of a standard brokerage account or retirement vehicles like an IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP IRA.
Once you’ve opened an account, you’ll be able to sync it to the mobile app and begin trading immediately. Stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and cryptocurrencies are all available to trade on TradeStation.
You’ll be able to scan stocks for certain trading criteria or create your own chart studies using dozens of different indicators. TradeStation is also a direct access broker, meaning you’ll be able to choose how your order is routed through the exchanges.
Choose a TS Select account for zero commission trading ($2,000 minimum) or TS Go for mobile-only trading with no minimum. Mutual funds and bonds will still have commissions, as will any trade of more than 10,000 shares.
No mobile trading platform offers the combination of tools, speed, and affordability like TradeStation.
Best Free App – WeBull
WeBull is a new entry in the mobile trading space but they’ve made an instant impact thanks to their charting tools. WeBull is completely commission free and new customers will even be issued a free share of stock for signing up.
Stock, ETFs, and options can all be traded with no commission and there’s no minimum account balance required (of course you’ll need $25,000 to surpass the Pattern Day Trader rule, but you already knew that).
Charting tools can be used to track basics like 50- and 200-day moving averages or more complex indicators like VWAP, Bollinger bands, and RSI. Real-time quotes are free and extended hours trading is available for all clients.
WeBull also recently introduced desktop trading and IRA accounts, giving day traders even more tools to use. However, be sure to note that only margin accounts with more than $2,000 in capital will be able to short stocks on WeBull.
If you’re new to the day trading scene and interested in learning more about technical analysis and advanced trading techniques, WeBull should be the platform you use to learn the ropes.
Best App Technology – Sterling Trading
If you’re looking for a powerful trading platform with the power of AI behind it, look no further than Sterling Trading Tech. The Chicago-based technology firm has 10 (!) different trading platforms available to clients, including a dynamic mobile trading app.
Available for Android and iOS, Sterling Trader Mobile supports after-hours trading and gives clients direct market access with customizable order routing. Clients can trade equities and options, but futures aren’t available via the mobile platform.
However, the platform does provide 30 different chart studies and streaming Level II quotes.
Sterling Trading Tech isn’t a broker, so you’ll need to have an account with one of their registered partners before downloading the software. Commissions and fees will be based on what your broker charges, however Sterling Trading does charge fees for market access data.
But you certainly get plenty of bang for your buck with Sterling Trader. Not sure if you have the aptitude for these levels of trading? Sterling Trader Mobile users can try a free demo version of the software to see if it fits their trading needs.
Best App For High-Volume Trading – Lightspeed
One of the brokers to recommend Sterling Trader Tech is Lightspeed, a direct access broker owned by Lime Brokerage. But Lightspeed also offers their own mobile trading app which (unlike Sterling Trader Mobile) supports market scanners and has no market data fees for non-professional users.
Lightspeed Mobile users can view streaming Level I quote data and trade both equities and options. Commissions are based on your trading frequency – high volume traders can pay as little as $2.50 per trade.
However, if you make less than 250 trades per month, the volume discounts don’t apply and you’ll be better off with a different broker. To get started, you’ll need an initial account funding balance of $25,000.
Yes, that’s the full amount needed to avoid the Pattern Day Trader rule, although only $2,000 is required to maintain trading privileges once your cash or retirement account is set up.
Smartphones have made day trading accessible to millions of new traders, but they’ve also added levels of distraction that even the most experienced traders could have trouble resisting.
That’s why developing a trading plan and sticking to it is so critical. Before opening a new brokerage account or downloading a new app, ask yourself what type of day trader you want to be and hammer out some goals.
The more specific you can be, the easier time you’ll have selecting an app that fits your style.