Financial markets continue to evolve, and technology is at its core. Many financial firms resemble a tech company more than a financial services firm, and FinTech drives innovation. Trading with one of the best automated Forex brokers adds to the long-term profitability, and we have identified some excellent choices.
Best social trading platform on the market
Excellent choice of options for crypto traders
68% of retail CFD accounts lose money
CFD service 72% lose money
Best platform for new Forex & Crypto traders
CFD service 72% lose money
High level regulation in multiple jurisdictions
Impressive range of tradeable assets including vanilla options and gold options
Social trading system that works with dozens of brokers
Highly-competitive cost structure
- eToro, Best broker for social traders and crypto traders : 68% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
- Plus500, Wide range of CFDs + trailing stop losses.
- AvaTrade, Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads.
- ZuluTrade, Social trading system that works with dozens of brokers.
- OctaFX, A commission-free broker with a proprietary copy trading service..
5.0/5 in this category
Best broker for social traders and crypto traders : 68% of retail CFD accounts lose money
eToro does not belong to the group of direct automated Forex brokers but is a leading social trading broker who deploys its proprietary CopyTrader and CopyPortfolios, which operate automatized following an initial set-up. As of May 2020, more than 13,000,000 clients trade at eToro, and 71% manage losing portfolios. While traders cannot deploy a Forex trading robot or engage in automated Forex trading, as its below-average trading platform lacks support for it, traders have one of the largest trading communities to follow. Regrettably, neither the MT4 nor the MT5 trading platform is available at eToro, nor any competitive alternative, making a number of traders and potential strategies follow the most significant assets at this market maker.
Active investment community ideal for social trading
Dedicated tools for social trading
Broad cryptocurrency selection
Expanding educational offering for beginner traders
5.0/5 in this category
Wide range of CFDs + trailing stop losses
Plus500 is a global Forex broker founded in 2008. It maintains an excellent regulatory environment provided by the FCA in the UK, the CySEC in Cyprus, the ASIC in Australia, the FMA in New Zealand, the FSCA in South Africa, the FSA in Seychelles, and the MAS in Singapore. Plus500 offers traders a choice of more than 2,800 assets to trade, including nearly 900 options contracts, in a commission-free trading environment. This extremely wide range of choice can make Plus500 an appropriate choice for traders looking to pursue wide diversification of assets. Plus500 is licensed to offer CFDs through ASIC (AFSL #417727), and through the FMA (FSP #486026), for licensed CFDs in New Zealand. Plus500 trading services are also available in South Africa (Authorised Financial Services Provider #47546).
Low leverage for retail traders
Sub-standard trading platform without support for automated or social trading
No research and limited, below-average educational content
Lack of trading tools
5.0/5 in this category
Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads
AvaTrade remains one of the most competitive automated Forex brokers, allowing clients to deploy any Forex trading robot operating on the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms. It also supports social trading via DupliTrade, ZuluTrade, and MQL5 Signal Service. Completing the broad choices of trading platforms are the proprietary WebTrader, AvaOptions and AvaTradeGO. The choice of fixed and floating spreads and a commission-free asset selection above 1,250 attracted over 300,000 clients to this Irish-based broker. Operational since 2006, this well-regulated market maker has excellent technology infrastructure and became one of the most transparent and trusted online multi-asset brokers with a balanced product and services portfolio ideal for all retail traders.
High-quality educational offering via SharpTrader
Excellent choice of trading platforms catering to various trading needs
Broad asset selection and cross-asset diversification opportunities
Well-regulated and trusted broker with oversight from a central bank
4.5/5 in this category
Social trading system that works with dozens of brokers
ZuluTrade is not a broker, but rather a technology provider that partners with brokers. Like eToro, it is not part of the group of automated Forex brokers but caters to social trading, where it maintains a leadership position. All trading-related aspects, such as the trading platform, asset selection, cost structure, leverage, and deposit and withdrawal options, remain broker dependent. ZuluTrade lists 35 brokers that use its copy-trading services, providing traders with the broadest choice of potential portfolios to copy, exceeding 25,000,000. Brokers may increase spreads for accounts connected via ZuluTrade, but all trading conditions are identical to what the selected brokers offer regular portfolios not signed up to ZuluTrade. Trading tools like ZuluGuard, which protects copiers from non-performing signal providers, Automator, which is intended to automate the copying process, and subscription-based Combo Plus which is used for fully automated copy-trading provide clients at ZuluTrade with a competitive edge.
Excellent social trading tools with a distinct competitive edge
Two compensation schemes for profitable signal providers
Superior choice of strategies across 35+ brokers
A licensed portfolio management company
4.5/5 in this category
A commission-free broker with a proprietary copy trading service.
Traders at OctaFX get the out-of-the-box MT4 and MT5 trading platforms, where the former ranks as the leading choice for automated trading industry-wide. With 25,000+ plugins and EAs, MT4 presents an unrivaled selection of algorithmic trading solutions suitable for every strategy, but traders must purchase them within the MT4 Market. Traders get a commission-free pricing environment starting from 0.6 pips or $6.00 per 1 lot for the EUR/USD, while other currency pairs average above 1.0 pips.
The minimum deposit is $100, and OctaFX offers maximum leverage of 1:500 for Forex traders and 1:25 for cryptocurrencies, and negative balance protection exists. Besides EAs in MT4/MT5, OctaFX presents Autochartist, a tool from a trusted third-party provider that scans markets for chart patterns and trading signals for manual traders who seek automated assistance. OctaFX executes traders via ECN/STP, promising access to liquidity, fast order execution, and no slippage, essential for automated trading.
Well-regulated globally, with the Bank of Ireland as the primary regulator
Low minimum deposit and in-depth educational tools
Wide asset choice across seven sectors
Superior mobile trading platform
High maximum leverage
Low asset selection
Minimum Commission for Forex
Scroll horizontally to see the whole table.
Scroll horizontally to see the whole table.
Broad Equity CFD Selection
Regulated by CB of Ireland
Excellent choice of strategies
Superior trading platform
High leverage and rebates
*Note: ZuluTrade is a broker aggregator that works with multiple brokers on their copytrading platform. As such, offerings may vary depending on the broker chosen.
Automated Forex trading accounts for an ever-growing share of daily trading. The evolution of machine learning and artificial intelligence has accelerated this trend, which trails equity trading, where automated trading accounts for 80%+ of all transactions.
What should Forex traders look for in automated trading solutions?
- Consistent performance with verified track records, which are usually very difficult to obtain
- Acceptable risk/reward ratios, sharp ratios, and drawdowns
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence components
The above three criteria form the core of any successful automated trading solution. Unfortunately, retail traders will rarely find them in products available to them. Advertised products lack core algorithmic trading capabilities and usually remain confined to rudimentary aspects relying on technical indicators without sophistication.
Proprietary solutions exist, heavily guarded by companies who developed an edge for internal use only.
What can retail Forex traders do?
Besides developing their automated Forex trading solution, the best compromise remains social trading and creating a well-diversified trading strategy across ideas and sectors.
Many retail traders may feel outmatched in the ultra-competitive global financial system, but technology narrows the gap. Anyone who actively traded Forex manually experienced the exhausting, repetitive nature of analyzing charts, reading economic reports, monitoring price action, and identifying buying and selling opportunities. After placing a trade, emotional decision making displaces the best trading plan for most traders, and the long-term outcome is a loss. Between 70% and 85% of retail traders manage losing portfolios. Automated Forex trading can provide a solution, but it is not as simple as it sounds. Many traders dream of a hands-free approach to trading that delivers consistent profits on autopilot free of charge. The reality is different and consists of using a Forex auto trader that assists in the trading process rather than as a standalone trading robot.
By some accounts, automated trading solutions account for over two-thirds of all global trading activity. Some blame excessive volatility and flash crashes on them, as algorithms without human intervention chase identical trades. Since trading 100% automated is possible, many retail traders rush to acquire a Forex trading robot or an expert advisor (EA), as MetaQuotes labels them on their MT4 trading platform, the most popular one for automated traders. Despite their capabilities and expanding sophistication, traders must understand that automated trading solutions neither guarantee profits nor present a one-stop solution to long-term profitability. They are beneficial but expensive, while the superior ones remain closely guarded by the financial firms who own them. The retail market remains flooded with thousands of Forex trading robots, many free of charge, which fail to deliver results. Some may work for a limited time and just enough for the provider to earn affiliate commissions from their broker. Therefore, traders with a genuine interest in automated trading must conduct proper due diligence, identify their needs, and then seek a solution that delivers. Learning how to trade alongside a trading robot and how to use it effectively will differentiate between profits and losses. Trading with one of the best automated Forex brokers adds to the long-term profitability of any automated trading strategy, and we have identified some excellent choices.
Automated Forex trading remains the fastest-growing segment, followed by social trading, and traders should not confuse the two. Given its popularity, there is plenty of misleading information about Forex trading robots and EAs spread by smart marketing teams. While the technology exists for sophisticated automated trading solutions developed with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) components, all retail solutions remain simplistic and without advanced ML/AI at the core. The majority of solutions available to the retail sector consists of uncomplicated technical analysis components, simple risk management rules defined by the user, and price alerts. The product is wrapped into a futuristic and user-friendly design to mask its lack of sophistication. Marketing teams spin an excellent and intriguing story that connects with retail traders seeking to earn from Forex trading on autopilot, preferably free of charge or for a small one-time purchase price.
One of the most deployed strategies is a moving average crossover. For example, the EA will buy an asset when a fast-moving average will cross above a slow-moving average and sell when it crosses below it. The shorter the time frames of moving averages, the more trades are executed by the Forex robot. The reliability of the signals and the profitability will decrease as trading volumes will spike, generating profits for the developer if granted in association with a broker for a reduced price or even free of charge. It is crucial to ignore marketing and understand that most remain rooted in core technical analyses without sophisticated components. It is why they generally fail to produce long-term profitability. Another fact to consider is that the lower the price, the less likely the profit potential. Automated trading solutions that work as intended require years of development and may cost tens of millions until they are ready to trade financial markets. Nobody will grant free access or any direct access to them, as the more capital chases the same trade, the lower the overall profit potential.
Manual trading relies 100% on the trader who must carry out all aspects by being physically present in front of their trading desk. It requires long hours and repetitive tasks in a high-stress environment, where most allow emotions to direct trading decisions. Most retail traders have full-time jobs and careers to attend to, allowing them to trade at the worst possible times and being absent during peak profitability. Automated trading can bridge the challenges and help retail traders close the existing gap between professional and institutional traders. Alert algorithms carry out the analysis process, and the most sophisticated ones deploy cutting-edge AI components that can read news and adjust trading strategies. Traders may receive price alerts for trade confirmation or under full automation while they are away from their trading desks. Automated trading provides complete cross-asset diversification without employing a team of analysts. One intelligent upgrade can analyze tens of thousands of assets in microseconds depending on the underlying technology infrastructure.
While most retail traders have no access to sophisticated ML/AI-powered automated trading solutions, numerous competitive options allow traders to gain an edge. I recommend ignoring a set-and-forget EA or trading robot, which usually fails over the long-term. Those who favor a 100% hands-free approach will find a better choice with social trading platforms. Retail traders seeking an edge should look for EAs that will work alongside them and help identify trading signals based on their strategy. It will take away repetitive analyses and emotion-based trading decisions while keeping the final decision in human hands. Another smart choice is an EA that monitors existing trades and adjusts take-profit and stop-loss levels after a manual trade placement. Some options will allow retail traders to reduce their time to 30 minutes in front of trading screens spread out over three ten-minute sessions.
Automated trading works, as evident by its use among financial institutions and expanding investment into sophisticated solutions. For anyone trading for a living, professional or private, automated trading, partial or full, remains a requirement in today’s markets. Retail traders who seek to upgrade their trading operations should never listen to marketing teams or reviews but test any solution in a demo account. MT4 offers back-testing capabilities, allowing traders to gather sufficient data during the limited free trial version. Coding your strategy remains the most beneficial option, but many are unable to do so. The MT4 marketplace has almost 20,000 EAs, and retail traders are likely to find what they need. I recommend taking your time to research and test before committing to a purchase. The bottom line is that automated trading works and can be profitable.
Traders must decide which automated Forex trading software suits their needs, as there are several options available. There are fully autonomous ones, semi-autonomous, copy trading and signal providers.
Copy Trading - Copy trading allows traders to copy others. The set-up remains simple, and platform providers offer tools to safeguard, protect and alert traders. It is a low-cost alternative to automated trading.
Broker-Based Automated Trading Platforms - Most brokers provide trading platforms that fully support automated trading. Traders can either code their strategy or acquire an existing solution.
MT4 - MT4 remains the most popular one due to its versatile infrastructure. The MQL4 coding language allows developers to create expert advisors (EA), and many brokers offer APIs that offer more advanced solutions to connect to MT4 for order placement and management.
Trading Signals - There are many signal providers, and most brokers maintain a team of analysts. While some use simple automated trading solutions to derive signals, well-established ones have human analysts for more precise trading recommendations. Traders usually have to place trades manually.
Robots - Trading robots are more advanced and coded in Python, R, or C#. Most operate independently from a broker or trading platform and connect via an API.
Free Automated Trading Software - Thousands of free automated trading software options exist, but most, if not all, fail to work. They only create consistent revenues for developers, and I recommend all traders avoid them.
Automated Trading Apps - FinTech companies churn out automated trading apps to meet the demands of retail traders preferring to use their mobile devices. Many operate in the cloud and can offer simplistic solutions.
While automated trading remains straightforward, here are some pointers to improve your overall trading results. I recommend following them to avoid many of the failed solutions available.
Before moving to automated trading, traders should understand manual trading and spend time on education and gain trading experience.
Always test a Forex robot or EA in a demo account before deploying it in a live one.
Avoid trading 100% autonomously and monitor the robot, tweak settings where necessary, and make sure to remain in control.
Never mix automated trading and manual trading in one account.
Using a VPS can improve trading results, and many brokers offer it.
Finding the right automated trading program remains a daunting task with thousands to consider. Traders must narrow down their search, and I recommend the below four as a starting point.
Define trading needs - Traders must know what they look for and define their trading needs, then find solutions that satisfy them.
Read reviews - Traders should consider positive and negative ones with a healthy dose of skepticism. Rather than focusing on profitability, scanning reviews for operational issues can reveal which Forex robots to avoid.
Consider costs - Traders should avoid free and cheap automated trading solutions, as they are either scams or do not work. You get what you pay for and using common sense must prevail. Since the few that deliver results remain costly, consider the trading account size and if a purchase makes sense. Proper cost-benefit analyses and projected return on capital will provide more in-depth details.
Try a demo automated trading - Traders should always run any automated trading program in a demo account and evaluate the performance carefully, together with potential error messages that point to issues in the code and trading algorithms.
Expert advisors (EAs) are specific to the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms by MetaQuotes, coded in MQL4 or MQL5, and generally less sophisticated. They operate inside the trading platform and often produce trading signals that require manual execution. Forex robots can offer notably more sophistication and include machine learning and artificial intelligence. They run independently from brokers and connect via APIs for order placement and trade management while operating without the trading platform. They generally execute without intervention if desired.
Traders must always consider both sides, which allows them to make an informed and objective decision. Here are some pros and cons to think about before deciding.
No emotional decision making.
Severe reduction of the negative impacts of trading psychology.
Ability to receive 24/7 market coverage, which remains asset dependent.
In-depth cross-asset diversification.
Traders may spend as little as 30 minutes in front of their trading desk per day.
Elimination of repetitive technical analyses.
Reduction in stress levels.
Improved trading speed and advanced order placement.
Retail solution cannot adapt to changing market conditions.
They remain based on technical analyses and fail during fundamental events.
Functioning solutions are expensive and out of reach for many traders.
Most are unprofitable.
All markets are suitable for automated trading software, but each requires a different solution. The three most popular trade markets remain Forex, index CFDs, and cryptocurrencies. Traders must use the appropriate automated trading software with the intended market sector to achieve the best trading results.
Deep liquidity and high leverage.
Volatility that creates trading opportunities.
Availability of the MT4 trading platform.
Low capital requirements to start an automated trading portfolio.
VPS hosting by brokers.
Index CFDs carry less risk than individual equity CFDs.
Tight spreads and low commissions.
Strategies developed for the market open and market close.
Index CFDs provide low-cost diversification and fixed trading times.
Regrettably, the automated trading scene remains littered with Forex robot scams. Using common-sense will prevent traders from falling for them. Scammers provide doctored account screenshots displaying enormous profits. Nobody would sell automated trading solutions that generate those profits. Traders should ask themselves why a Forex robot or EA is available free of charge or even for a few hundred dollars if it makes developers unheard-of returns per month. The answer is obvious. Scammers prey on the fact that up to 85% of retail traders lose money, and all seek to capitalize from the most liquid financial market in their sleep without any effort. Using automated trading solutions properly is beneficial and necessary for committed traders, but asking the impossible will always result in losses. Profit-guarantees remains another red flag to avoid together with set-and-forget solutions, which remain well-known scammer marketing methods.
Professional and institutional traders deploy sophisticated automated trading solutions, which also cleared the path for high-frequency outlets. Retail traders also use them, but a significantly less advanced version, often reduced to the most basic technical analysis aspects without regard for fundamental conditions and economic events, or the availability of alert trading algorithms that can adapt to market conditions.
This depends on auto trading software and its sophistication. Retail solutions remain pure technical analysis versions, and the best times would be when there are no economic releases, central bank conferences, meetings, speeches, or other market-moving events. Another well-suited period for trading robots is on which has high liquidity, like the first and last hour of the Tokyo, London, and New York trading sessions.
Leverage can magnify profits and losses, and many traders fail to understand how to use high-leverage set-ups effectively in conjunction with risk management. Deploying an untested automated trading solution in a high-leverage account without constant supervision exposes the trader to avoidable losses. After testing it in a demo account and performing extensive back-tests, traders should take it into a live version with low leverage and low capital for testing in real market conditions. After enough data and trust exist, both can gradually increase to the desired levels. I recommend traders monitor their account performance and deploy stringent risk management rules during the initial set-up of any automated trading solution.
Although most trading robots tend to lose money, often quickly, there are successful hedge funds which use longer-term trading robots profitably, and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.
Are Forex trading bots profitable?
The long-term profitability of retail Forex trading bots is questionable at best, with many unsophisticated versions relying on scalping using the core aspects of technical analysis. Most result in losses and remain poorly coded.
Is automated trading legal?
Automated trading is not only legal but accounts for over two-thirds of all trading activity.
What are Forex robots?
Forex robots can either trade semi-autonomously or 100% autonomously. They take care of all trading operations from analysis to order placement through trade and risk management. While human supervision is not required, I recommend traders to monitor their Forex robots to avoid unnecessary losses and understand when to use them and when to pause them.
How do Forex robots work?
Forex robots use technical analyses to identify trading opportunities. They then place trades and deploy user-defined risk management. Forex robots can operate without intervention, but traders should monitor the performance throughout the trading day.
Are Forex robots effective?
Some Forex robots remain highly effective, but traders must understand their limitations and how to use them. Those who seek set-and-forget solutions will face losses. Traders generally get what they pay for, and I recommend staying away from free offers and low-cost alternatives.
What is the best automated Forex system/platform?
The best-automated Forex trading software is the one that suits the individual trading style of Forex traders and assists in day-to-day operations rather than replaces the human aspect. The best automated Forex trading platform remains MT4 due to its infrastructure and availability at over 1,200 brokers.
Is automated trading a scam?
Automated trading is not a scam, but the sector includes many scammers prying on retail traders seeking nonexistent shortcuts to profitable trading. Traders can easily avoid scammers by ignoring profit guarantees, excessive profits, free and low-priced versions, and set-and-forget solutions.
How much of the market is automated?
Automated trading accounts for 80%+ of daily equity market turnover, while the Forex market sees a lower number. There is no precise data, but leading algorithmic Forex brokers report more than 60% of their trade transactions as automated.