A paper trading platform refers to a simulation tool used by individuals who wish to practice online financial trading without risking real money.

These platforms are also referred to as paper trading apps, and are very popular in forex, cfd and stock trading.

They mimics the functionalities and environment of a live trading platform, allowing users to execute trades based on real-time market data. However, the trades are only virtual, and no real capital is at stake. This allows traders, especially beginners, to gain experience, develop strategies, and build confidence before diving into the actual stock or forex market.

In recent years, with advancements in technology and an ever-increasing interest in trading, the competition among paper trading apps has reached new heights. As a result, traders now have access to a wide array of platforms that offer realistic simulation experiences to sharpen their skills without risking any real funds.

In this article we’ve assessed dozens of trading platforms that offer paper trading, and come up with 10 with the most comprehensive offer that will prepare you for real money trading.

Table of Content

Round-up

Paper trading apps Time limit
eToro Unlimited
IC Markets Unlimited
XM Unlimited
XTB Unlimited
FBS 30 days
Markets.com Unlimited
HF Markets Unlimited
CMC Markets Unlimited
Plus500 Unlimited
FxPro Unlimited

What are the best paper trading platforms?

Below our curated list of the paper trading platforms and apps, showcasing their features and characteristics to practice trading.

Since its establishment in 2007, eToro has emerged as an exceptional option for novice traders seeking a reliable and user-friendly platform. With their paper trading account, clients are granted access to a range of essential features that allow them to explore the full functionality of eToro’s trading platform.

Why eToro?

  • eToro provides an extensive range of CFDs, more than 1,000 in a range of asset classes including stocks, indices, commodities, ETFs, crypto and blends.
  • At eToro, spreads on 47 forex pairs start from 1 pip.
  • The proprietary platform offered by eToro for paper trading is specialized in social and copy trading.
  • The paper trading account provided by eToro has no expiration date and offers unlimited usage.
  • When you open a paper trading account with eToro, you will have a virtual balance of $100,000.
76% of retail CFD accounts lose money

IC Markets is best-known for its trading algorithms, and is widely regarded as one of the best algo-trading platforms out there. If you want to explore algorithmic trading for free, IC Markets’ demo account allows you to engage in paper trading with all of the features of their main platform.

You can practice trading as long as you wish with this platform, as their demo account does not come with an expiry date. With a wide range of currencies, stocks, and CFDs to choose from, it has everything you need to learn how to trade effectively, without any risk involved.

Why IC Markets?

  • IC Markets offers spreads starting from 0 pips on over 60 currency forex pairs.
  • You can choose between the MT4 and MT5 platforms for the IC Markets Standard demo account and among MT4, MT5, and cTrader platforms to try the IC Markets Raw demo ECN account.
  • Clients of IC Markets can set a substantial virtual balance of up to $5,000,000.
  • IC Markets offers a paper trading account for both of its account types: the Standard and Raw ECN.
  • With IC Markets, you have access to a diverse range of over 1700 CFDs in stocks, commodities, futures, indices, and bonds, including cryptocurrency trading.
  • The paper trading account provided by IC Markets has no expiration date.
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Just like IC Markets, XM offers paper trading accounts to its users for free, without an expiry date. On top of that, they make a wealth of educational materials available on their platform.

Paper trading is a great way to learn about the workings of the market. However, supplementing your experience with theoretical knowledge will help you understand the processes that guide your decision-making, and XM is one of the best places for that.

Why XM?

  • With a paper trading account offered by XM, you can experience trading on various account types, such as Micro, Standard, XM Zero, and XM Ultra Low, based on your geographical location.
  • As an XM client, you will begin with a generous opening balance of $100,000 in virtual money.
  • Explore a wide range of forex pairs through XM, with spreads starting from as low as 0 pips.
  • Beyond forex, XM also provides other asset options, including Stocks CFDs, Commodities CFDs, Equity Indices CFDs, Precious Metals CFDs, and Energies CFDs.
  • Experiment with different trading platforms in the XM demo accounts, including the popular MT4 and MT5 platforms.
  • To ensure unlimited access, XM allows you to have an ongoing paper trading account, but you might have to renew it if you haven’t traded in 30 days.
72,82% of retail investor accounts lose money

XTB, a leading CFD broker globally, has gained immense popularity thanks to its state-of-the-art xStation platform, offering users the opportunity to explore and test it out at no cost through a paper trading account.

Signing up for this account is a breeze, and what sets it apart is that it doesn’t come with any predetermined time constraints. However, it is important to note that if the account remains inactive for 30 days, it will be closed and require reactivation.

Why XTB?

  • The XTB paper trading account has no expiration date. However, if you haven’t traded for 30 days, it may be closed.
  • You’ll have $10,000 in virtual money when you open an XTB paper trading account.
  • XTB offers a starting spread of 1 pip on over 45 forex pairs for paper trading.
  • At XTB, you have a choice of more than 5200 CFDs across different categories like indices, commodities, futures, ETFs, and even 25 cryptocurrencies.
  • Experience the xStation platform offered by XTB on your paper trading account to explore different trading options.
79% of retail investor accounts lose money

FBS’ paper trading account is a nearly identical version of their actual platform. One way in which it stands out from the competition is the fact that FBS has a “cent account” option, which is the perfect middle ground for traders who want to start experimenting with real money trading, but aren’t confident enough to put big sums on the line.

With FBS, you can transition from paper trading into the real market smoothly, as the cent account gives you the opportunity to better explore the emotional and psychological aspect of trading that come into play when you invest your own, actual money.

Why FBS?

  • Customize the virtual balance of your FBS paper trading account to suit your trading preferences.
  • With FBS, you can explore forex trading with a wide range of 35 forex pairs, starting from a competitive spread of -1 pips.
  • Experience the FBS paper trading account for a trial period lasting between 30 and 90 days, depending on your location and chosen account type.
  • If you decide to continue using the FBS paper trading account after the trial period, simply reach out to the dedicated support team for assistance.
  • Expand your trading horizons with more than 40 assets available in stocks, commodities, cryptos, indices, and ETFs.
  • FBS offers a selection of 5 different accounts, all of which come with paper trading options.
  • Choose between MT4, MT5, and FBS Trader as your paper trading platform.
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

One of the standout features of Markets.com is its extensive offering of over 2,200 tradable markets. This diverse range ensures that traders have a wide selection to choose from, enabling them to explore different investment opportunities. Additionally, the paper trading account is equipped with a generous virtual currency balance of $10,000, providing ample capital to simulate real-life trading scenarios.

Why Markets.com?

  • The MT4, MT5, and proprietary Markets.com platform are all available for trading.
  • With Markets.com, you have access to over 2,000 global stocks traded as CFDs, including commodities, indices, stocks, ETFs, bonds, blends, and crypto (depending on your location).
  • Practice forex trading with Markets.com’s demo accounts, which offer more than 70 currency pairs and a spread starting from 0.8 pips.
  • A paper trading account is available for both retail and VIP accounts with Markets.com, providing an opportunity to test the platform risk-free.
  • Clients who open a paper trading account with Markets.com receive an opening virtual balance of $10,000.
  • The paper trading accounts of Markets.com are unlimited and will only expire if there is no activity for 90 days.
79,90% of retail investor accounts lose money

Creating a paper trading account with HF Markets is simple. All you have to do is provide your phone number and email to gain access to an account with an unlimited trial with up to $100,000 of virtual money. Traders can operate across 140+ tradeable markets on MT4, MT5, or HF Markets’ mobile platform.

They also provide access to training videos for faster learning, as well as a copy-trading feature, which lets you follow the moves of expert traders and see how they play out in a simulated environment.

Why HF Markets?

  • HF clients have access to a wide range of assets including stocks, indices, commodities, cryptos, futures, and bonds (availability may vary based on location).
  • Choose from over 45 currency pairs with spreads as low as 0 pips at HF Markets.
  • Start your HF demo with up to $100,000 in virtual funds.
  • HF Markets provides a variety of account types for traders based on their location, with the option to open a paper trading account for each type.
  • Trade using the popular MT4 and MT5 platforms offered by HF Markets.
  • HF paper trading accounts remain active indefinitely, but will be closed if inactive for 29 days or longer
70.51% of retail investor accounts lose money

If you’re a novice in the forex trading world and looking to experiment with unique currency pairings without taking any risks, then CMC Markets offers the perfect solution for you. With their extensive range of over 330 currency pairs, you can immerse yourself in the world of forex trading in a secure and risk-free environment. The best part is that you can continue using their platform for as long as you wish, even if you haven’t been active for an extended period.

Why CMC Markets?

  • Trade a wide selection of more than 330 forex pairs with spreads starting from 0.3 pips at CMC Markets.
  • Explore a diverse range of 11,500+ assets including stocks, crypto, commodities, futures, and indices at CMC Markets.
  • Begin your trading journey with $10,000 virtual money in the CMC paper trading account.
  • Enjoy the benefits of an unlimited paper trading account, which never expires.
  • Enhance your trading experience by utilizing both the MT4 and CMC Markets proprietary platforms provided by the broker.
  • You can access CMC Markets’ CFD trading and corporate accounts through a paper trading account.
78% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider.

The Plus500 trading platform offers a comprehensive paper trading account that replicates all the features and tools available in the live trading account. This allows traders, regardless of their level of experience, to practice with over 3,000 tradable assets and apply leverage as they wish. The sign-up process is quick and hassle-free, taking just a few minutes to complete, and best of all, it is completely free.

Why Plus500?

  • With over 1,000 assets available, Plus500 provides a wide range of options for traders, from indices and commodities to cryptocurrencies and ETFs.
  • Experience trading with Plus500 on their proprietary platform, available to test through the paper trading account.
  • Start with $40,000 virtual money on the Plus500 paper trading account, allowing you to explore trading with a substantial amount.
  • Trade more than 70 CFD forex pairs on Plus500, with competitive spreads starting from 1 pip.
  • The Plus500 paper trading account offers the same trading account type as their live traders, providing an accurate representation of the platform.
  • Unlike other demos, the Plus500 paper trading account is unlimited and does not expire, even if you remain inactive.
77% of retail investor accounts lose money

The FxPro paper trading account is a user-friendly and intuitive platform designed for traders at all levels of experience. Additionally, it offers a wide range of analytical features that cater to the needs of more seasoned traders, allowing them to make informed trading decisions.

One of the significant advantages of the FxPro paper trading account is its compatibility with popular third-party software like MT4, MT5, and cTrader. Traders can seamlessly integrate these platforms with the FxPro account, enhancing their trading experience and accessing additional features that can further assist in analysis and decision-making.

Why FxPro?

  • Experience the functionality of the FxPro MT4, MT5, cTrader, and Edge trading platforms with their respective demo versions.
  • Trade more than 200 CFD assets at FxPro, including indices, commodities, futures, and even cryptocurrency.
  • With over 65 currency pairs available, FxPro offers competitive spreads starting from 0.1 pips.
  • Access an impressive opening virtual balance of up to $100,000 when you use the FxPro demo trading account.
  • Enjoy unlimited duration with the FxPro demo trading account, but be aware that it will close after 30 days of inactivity.
  • Choose from a variety of account types at FxPro, including MT4, MT5, Edge, and cTrader, each offering demo trading accounts.
72.87% of retail investor accounts lose money

What Is Paper Trading?

Paper trading is a form of simulated trading of commodities, currencies or stocks in a way that does not involve any actual funds. Paper trading accounts are used to learn and understand how to operate in the financial markets without risk.

The name is derived from the way up-and-coming traders would learn how to operate in real markets decades ago. In the past, traders without much prior experience would practice trading on paper, recording every single hypothetical transaction by pen. Then, they would track their positions against the actual market to see whether they would profit or not, as well as plan their next move.

Nowadays, these pieces of paper have been replaced by electronic market simulators. At first glance, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart from real money trading platforms – they have the same interface and follow the same market patterns. The only difference is that all trades carried out on these simulators are done using virtual funds, and traders can’t make any actual profits off of them.

Are paper trading apps actually risk-free?

Paper trading apps are genuinely risk-free. These platforms allow both new and experienced traders to engage in market trading without any actual financial exposure as everything within these apps, from the gains to the losses, is entirely virtual.

Paper trading apps are not only devoid of real-world monetary risks but are also devoid of obligations. This means a trader can experiment and practice without any pressure or time limit to transition to a real trading account.

Furthermore, the beauty of these platforms is the inherent privacy and security they offer. They don’t require you to provide sensitive personal information like your full name, address, or bank details to brokers.

The registration process is simple; typically, all you need is a username, email, and password. Occasionally, some apps may ask for a phone number, but that’s often the extent of it.

Is paper trading simulation accurate?

Paper trading accounts are designed to simulate live trading environments as closely as possible. They provide a real-time price feed, mirror the interface of a live trading account, and even simulate broker commissions.

However, there are certain limitations when trying to simulate slippage, requotes and the psychological aspect of trading.

Slippage and Requotes occur when there’s a mismatch between a trader’s order and available orders in the market. In a real account, if someone tries to purchase an Apple stock at $100 and no one’s selling at that price, the broker may execute the order at the closest available price, like $101. This disparity is called slippage. In paper trading, such events don’t occur because all transactions are virtual.

The psychological aspect is a key aspect of trading with real money. In a simulated environment, even though the setting mirrors the real market, the trader is aware they’re using virtual funds. This knowledge often alters trading behavior. Real-world trading brings with it emotions like the thrill of gains, the dread of losses, or the pressure and the rush that can lead to a bad trading decision, which simply can’t be replicated in a paper trading scenario.

How long should a trader practice with paper trading accounts?

The duration of paper trading is subjective and varies from trader to trader. 

Its primary purpose is to allow users to grasp the fundamentals of risk management and market analysis. Once a trader feels they have a solid understanding of these basics, they might consider transitioning to real trading.

However, transitioning doesn’t necessarily mean diving headfirst into high-stake trades. A prudent approach would be to start with micro or cent accounts.

These accounts require minimal deposits, often less than $10, providing an opportunity to experience real trading while still being safeguarded from significant financial implications.

This approach ensures that the trader gets a taste of the psychological aspects of real trading without risking large sums.

How Can I Open a Paper Trading Account?

In order to open a paper trading account you have to provide an email and a password to your broker of choice. The broker will then give you access to the trading account where you will be able to buy and sell assets with the virtual money provided.

Keep in mind that the brokers we’ve listed here are not the only platforms you can use to practice trading. Popular websites like Investopedia or MarketWatch also have their own paper trading sections that allow users to dip their toes in the world of trading.

They’re a good starting point, but as opposed to the demo accounts offered by live trading platforms, they do not recreate the interface and all the intricacies of real money trading apps. This is why, if you’re determined to move onto live trading at one point, you might want to do some paper trading on an actual brokerage platform.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Allows you to simulate trades in a risk-free environment
  • Offers a significant virtual budget to try out various strategies
  • Good way to compare and contrast different platforms

Cons

  • Does not reflect the emotional and psychological factors that play a role in live trading

filippo ucchino

About The Author

Filippo Ucchino
Co-Founder - CEO - Broker Expert
Filippo is the co-founder and CEO of InvestinGoal.com. He has 15 years of experience in the financial sector and forex in particular. He started his career as a forex trader in 2005 and then became interested in the whole fintech and crypto sector.
Over this time, he has developed an almost scientific approach to the analysis of brokers, their services, and offerings. In addition, he is an expert in Compliance and Security Policies for consumers protection in this sector.
With InvestinGoal, Filippo’s goal is to bring as much clarity as possible to help users navigate the world of online trading, forex, and cryptocurrencies.

Trading CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies involves a high degree of risk. All providers have a percentage of retail investor accounts that lose money when trading CFDs with their company. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money and whether you understand how CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies work. Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. Your capital is at risk. The present page is intended for teaching purposes only. It shall not be intended as operational advice for investments, nor as an invitation to public savings raising. Any real or simulated result shall represent no warranty as to possible future performances. The speculative activity in forex market, as well as in other markets, implies considerable economic risks; anyone who carries out speculative activity does it on its own responsibility.
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