Intraday trading is the act of buying and selling a particular asset (stock, commodity, currency) within a given trading day. Intraday traders are looking for real-time data and the ability to build and execute trading system analysis, backtesting, and forecasting. Additional bonuses are free stock trades and broker integration. We cover all of these essential service points in our in-depth review.
Each vendor reviewed here offers a unique mix of pricing, services, and software to try to meet the needs of the intra-day trader. Read carefully through each review to see which one best fits your requirements as an active trader.
Best Intraday Trading Charts & Scanners Summary:
- MetaStock: Best for powerful charting & trading system analysis backtesting & forecasting with real-time news
- TradingView: Best for intraday traders seeking the best social trading, good backtesting & global market coverage
- TC2000: The best intraday trading software for U.S.A. & Canadian Exchanges, robust real-time scanning, and excellent trading from charts.
- Firstrade: Best for FREE stock & ETF trades & powerful stock & options tools.
- SpeedTrader: Best for intraday traders seeking direct market access (D.M.A.) & fast execution for low-cost stock & options trading
- Interactive Brokers: Best for global intraday Algorithmic Trading, low commissions & the best margin rates
Read on for the webs most detailed analysis.
The Top 6 Intraday Trading Charts & Scanner Software
1. MetaStock: Best for powerful charting & trading system analysis backtesting & forecasting with real-time news
If you are a trader that needs to experiment with building a system that works like clockwork, giving you an edge in intraday trading, then MetaStock is the product for you. You cannot execute trades directly from charts, but the systems backtesting and forecasting are a vast edge in day trading.
The latest release of Metastock XVI (16) has been a big hit with improvements across the board. Considerable advances in scanning, Back-testing, and forecasting, making this one of the best offerings on the market. MetaStock is one of the biggest fish in the sea of stock market analysis software. Backed up by the mighty Thomson Reuters, you can expect excellent fast global data coverage and broad market coverage, including equities, futures, forex, ETF’s and options.
Broker Integration. MetaStock does not natively provide broker integration, and the execution of trades from charts and live integrated P&L analysis is limited.
Fundamental Scanning and Screening. Using Refinitiv Xenith, you can see an in-depth analysis of company fundamentals from debt structure to top 10 investors, including level II. Excellent watch lists featuring fundamentals and powerful scanning of the markets gets a perfect 10
Real-time News (Winner) – Trading the short-term intraday trend means you rely on the fastest real-time news available, MetaStock 16 has full Refinitiv Xenith integration with institutional level news, analysis, and outlook. This is the fastest global news service available on the market, including translations into all major languages.
Technical Analysis (Winner) – Foreign exchange currency forecasting based on sentiment is an exceptional feature. Never mind the broadest selection of technical analysis indicators on the market today. MetaStock is the king of technical analysis, warranting a perfect 10 out of 10.
Stock Systems and Back-testing (Winner) Another area where MetaStock excels is what they call the expert advisors. MetaStock harnesses a massive amount of inbuilt systems that will help you as a beginner or intermediate trader understand and profit from technical analysis patterns and well-researched systems. This is a crucial area of advantage. The most significant addition to the MetaStock arsenal is the forecasting functionality, which is fantastic.
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There is no doubt about it; I love TradingView and use it every single day. I post charts, ideas, and analysis regularly and chat with other traders. Follow me on TradingView. The entire community on TradingView is focused on day trading, and the service is first class.
Pricing & Software. I would recommend going for the PRO+ service at $19 per month or the Premium at $39 per month; the benefits are extensive, including priority customer support, the fastest data delivery, with premium data packs available and unlimited everything. The huge advantage is that the data speed and coverage are mind-blowing, covering literally every stock market on the planet and not just stocks but ETF’s, mutual funds, futures, forex, bonds & cryptocurrencies.
Trade Management Score 8/10. With TradingView, you get full broker integration, you can place trades on charts, and it will take care of profit & loss reporting and analysis for you. The only thing it does not cover is Stock Options trading or U.S. Trading; most of the integrations are with C.F.D. brokers or Forex brokers.
Fundamental Scanning & Screening 10/10. Another perfect 10 for TradingView as they hit the mark on real-time scanning and filtering, and first watchlists also. The list of fundamentals you can scan & filter on is genuinely huge. Any idea you have based on fundamentals will be covered.
News & Social Community. As soon as you connect to TradingView, you realize this is also developed for the community. You can look at community ideas, post your charts and ideas, and join limitless numbers of groups covering everything from Bonds to Cryptocurrencies. The news feeds are fully integrated (but not real-time), including Kiplinger, DailyFX, Futures Magazine, FXStreet, and StockTwits. Add that to the social network, and you have a great solution. The news service is only second to MetaStock with their Reuters Feeds.
Technical Analysis & Charts. With over 160 different indicators, and unique specialty charts such as LineBreak, Kagi, Heikin Ashi, Point & Figure, and Renko, you have everything you will need as an advanced trader. With the Premium membership, you also get Level II insight, fully integrated.
Did I mention the charts are fast and beautiful?
Systems, BackTesting & Automated Trading. Good but not perfect. TradingView has an active community of people developing and selling stock analysis systems, and you can create and sell your own with the Premium-level service. Also, there are a vast number of indicators and systems from the community for free. The only thing you cannot do is forecast and implement Robotic Trading Automation.
[Related Article: The Best Platforms for Back-Testing]
Ease of Use. Within 5 minutes, I was using TradingView, no credit card, no installation, no configuring data feeds; it was just there.
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3. TC2000 Brokerage: The best intraday trading software for U.S.A. & Canadian Exchanges, robust real-time scanning, and excellent trading from charts.
Recommended for short-term investors in the U.S.A. & Canada with a fundamental bias who need powerful screening and top charts on all platforms.
Telechart has long been one of my favorite tools, I have been a subscriber for over 18 years and find the latest release v18.x to be another step forward. Endlessly customizable and scalable, the platform offers nearly everything an investor will need.
Pricing and Software. Telechart is a big hitter when it comes to software and pricing. Telechart runs on everything – your iPhone, your Tablet, your Mac, and your P.C. It is also priced very reasonably with a simple pricing structure. If you trade U.S. Stocks, ETF’s or Mutual Funds, then this is a great solution. Worden Brothers also provide regular live training seminars across the U.S.A., which are of very high quality.
Trade Management. Worden recently released TC2000Brokerage offering discount brokerage services $4.95 per trade. This integration means a tight integration for trading stocks from the chart screen but also one of the best implementations of Stock Options trading visualization available.
Fundamental Scanning and Screening. Make no mistake about it; if you want fundamentals screened in real-time layered with technical screens all integrated into live watch lists connected to your charts, TC2000 is a power player.
Technical Chart Analysis. Telechart has an excellent array of technical indicators and drawing tools, all the big ones are there, from O.B.V., R.S.I., and Bollinger Bands to Fibonacci Fans and Andrews Pitchfork. With over 70 different indicators, you will have plenty to play with. They have also introduced live alerts that you can configure to email or pop up if an indicator or trend line is breached, very useful indeed.
Ease Of Use 20/20 – One of the easiest to use and most potent packages available places the icing on the cake for the Worden Brothers.
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4. Firstrade: Best for FREE stock & ETF trades & powerful stock & options tools
Great for Intraday Traders & Investors Seeking FREE Stock & Options Trades + an Industry Best 700 Commission-Free ETF’s.
Firstrade is the outright winner in commissions with a $0 flat fee per trade and $0 per options contract. Commissions are a crucial point for day traders; if you are making ten trades per week at $5 per trade, that can mount up to over $2,600 in trading costs per year. That is a considerable saving. Not to mention the core Firstrade set of excellent tools are free for brokerage clients.
But what also adds to the appeal with Firstrade is the 700+ commission-free Exchange Traded Funds on offer. This is a vast selection, more than the total for all the other brokers reviewed in our Top 10 Brokers Review. You can also purchase Mutual Funds for $0, and Bond purchases are on a Net Yield Basis. The only thing you cannot trade with Firstrade is Forex.
Finally, the margin commission percent is a little higher than with Interactive Brokers or Worden2000 Brokerage, but still lower than most mainstream brokers. The zero commissions charges will easily offset the margin costs.
Platform Costs vs. Analysis & Backtesting for Intraday Traders
If you choose Firstrade as your broker, you get the trading platform for free, unlimited free trades, real-time data included for free and free research, and analysis. TradingView, MetaStock, and TC2000 all charge a monthly cost for the platform, but why? Because they give you the ability to perform very advanced stock chart analysis, backtesting, and forecasting. These are premium platforms that cost.
If you do not plan to perform advanced analysis, the Firstrade is a great choice. If you believe the sophisticated analysis will give you the edge, the MetaStock and TradingView are probably better choices.
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5. SpeedTrader: Best for intraday traders seeking direct market access (D.M.A.) & fast execution for low-cost stock & options trading
The key service offering is Direct Market Access (D.M.A.), meaning you do not go through a 3rd party market maker for your trades, you deal directly on the market itself, which means better visibility of prices and tighter spreads.
Some Brokers offer a flat fee regardless of how many shares are traded. Some offer an optional “per share” commission structure, which can be beneficial for smaller traders. Direct Market Access (D.M.A.) is the name of the game when it comes to day trading the markets. All of the contenders in the Top 10 Best Stock Broker Review have this, but the key is in the implementation, and from the rave customer feedback, SpeedTrader gets this right.
When it comes to commissions, SpeedTrader offers a $4.49 flat fee per trade, but most interestingly, they provide a per-share pricing structure of $0.0044, which beats Interactive Brokers, LightSpeed and SureTrader by the width of a cat’s whisker to be the best in our review.
Also, when it comes to Options Trading Fees, the offering of $1.99 + $0.40 per contract is among the best of all 20 brokers reviewed.
Suffice to say, extremely competitive. But that is where the competition ends as SpeedTrader does not offer Forex, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Bonds, or Commodities. So, if you are into Stocks and Options Day Trading, this is a good place to be.
SpeedTrader has white-labeled the suite of products developed by Direct Access Software Inc. (D.A.S. Trader).
And why not, it is a highly rated set of tools designed for day traders to enable fast screening analysis and order execution with direct market access.
Developing an in-house suite of trading apps is a huge job and incurs a lot of expenses, so only the biggest companies can manage this.
For the smaller brokers, using a third party is quick and efficient. The only challenge is as a broker if you have to pay for the software on behalf of your client or pass the cost onto the client directly by making the client pay. This is precisely the situation with SpeedTrader and most other Day-Trader Brokers. I mention this because, ultimately, you will need to be making at least $25 to $104 per month in trading profit just to cover the cost of the software.
SpeedTrader: Intraday Trader Platform Options
SpeedTrader Active Web
SpeedTrader’s cost model means you will have to pay for the Active Web version $25 per month.
However, for this price, you do get:
- Real-time L1 Quotes
- Live Streaming News
- Real-Time Charts
- Options Chains
- Risk Management Tools
SpeedTrader (DAS TRADER) PRO
For the desktop-based SpeedTrader Pro version, you will be out of pocket by $49 or $104 per month (depending on which version you go for), but at least the mobile version is free if you have the desktop Pro version. But for this price you do get a serious upgrade:
- Faster Trade Execution
- Trading off the Charts
- Level 2 Data
- Most importantly, Direct Access E.C.N. Order Routing.
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6. Interactive Brokers: Best for global intraday Algorithmic Trading, low commissions & the best margin rates
Ideal for Active Intraday Investors and Day Traders seeking the LOWEST Trading Costs, Direct Global Market Access
Interactive Brokers: Ideal for Active Investors and Day Traders, finding the absolute lowest trading costs, direct market access for fast execution, and best in class margin costs. Interactive Brokers (IB) is the grandfather of online discount brokers. Not only are they a long-established company, but it is also significant. It has a complete set of services, enabling you to trade practically anything on any market. Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Foreign Exchange, and even futures and commodities. Usually, when a company is well established and extensive, it loses its competitive edge. Not so with Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers Day Trading Platform
Interactive Brokers has a genuinely excellent trading platform based on Trader Workstation (T.W.S.). It is free to download and use as a client
And it is the single place to be able to trade any and every one of the vehicles on offer from I.B. It caters to everything Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Bonds, Mutual Funds & ETF’s.
Not only that there are a considerable number of advanced add-on tools that plug into T.W.S. such as:
- ChartTrader – for trading directly from charts.
- Continuous Futures – for commodity futures scanning and analysis.
- DepthTrader – for in-depth analysis of market liquidity
- OptionTrader – more in-depth Options Analysis with specific Options strategies
- ProbabilityLab – to test the Probability Distribution of a particular trade
In total, there are 27 different advanced trading tools to suit every possible approach to the market.
Overview Video of Interactive Brokers – Trader Workstation (7 mins)
Interactive Brokers offers by far the best free services in the area of research. Here is a snapshot of some of the services you will get for free.
- IB Market Signals
- I.B. Traders Insight
- Morningstar equity ownership
- Thomson Reuters (in 10 languages), stock reports, news, fundamentals
- Zacks Investment Research
- Real-time News Streaming
In terms of customer service, they offer the full package of telephone, chat & email contact, so no issues there.
We could not find any evidence of negative tweets or reviews, so I.B. has a very good customer satisfaction score, particularly since they have by far the largest twitter following of 233,000 people.
The only reason they are lower on the list of winners is that they do not have a history of people raving about there services. Perhaps the more professional investors trading with I.B. are not focussing on praising them on twitter but trader making profits in the markets.
In any case, I.B. is a very high-quality company with the very best research included for free in your account.
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The Best Intraday Trading Platforms Summary
As you can see, the competition for your custom is stiff. If you want the fastest news service, and most potent backtesting and forecasting platform, then MetaStock is a clear choice. If you are looking for the lowest commissions, then Firstrade is the right choice. If you are looking for the most powerful platform and toolset with low commissions & algorithmic auto trading, then Interactive Brokers is perfect. Looking for lightning-fast direct market access for speedy execution, then Lightspeed. If you want well-integrated trading from charts experience, then TC2000 Brokerage? Finally, for social integration and community learning for beginners, TradingView is the best bet.