The world of futures trading can be an intimidating space for beginners. With the ever-growing number of futures trading platforms, it’s challenging to choose the right platform for your trading needs. Therefore, in this article, we will explore the top 10 best trading platforms for futures in 2023. We have carefully selected these platforms based on their features, ease of use, reliability, customer support, and affordability. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader, this review has something for everyone. The platforms we will discuss in this article are Optimus Futures, Interactive Brokers, Generic Trade, Tastyworks, AMP Futures, Tradovate, E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, and others. We will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision and choose the platform that best suits your trading style. From low-cost commissions to advanced trading tools, these platforms offer a wide range of features to cater to all types of traders. So, let’s dive in and discover the best trading platforms for futures in 2023.
10 best trading platform for futures
Here are 10 best trading platform for futures trading:
1. Optimus Futures: A Comprehensive Futures Brokerage for Traders
Optimus Futures specializes in providing exceptional service to traders with their innovative in-house platform, Optimus Flow, available for free to all clients. Their customer support is available 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat and is well-equipped to resolve any issues that may arise. Traders can execute pre-defined automated trading systems and the minimum account requirements are only $2,500 ($500 for Micro Trading). With a choice of various futures clearing merchants, data feeds, and trading platforms, fast executions and the best real-time quotes are assured. Commissions per futures contract start at $0.50 and decrease to $0.20 for traders who execute over 500 contracts per month.
2. Interactive Brokers: A One-Stop Shop for Trading Multiple Assets
Interactive Brokers (IB) offers traders access to a wide range of investment products at discounted prices, including futures trading on over 30 global market centers. Commissions for futures contracts start at $0.85, and advanced traders can take advantage of sophisticated trading tools like ComboTrader, SpreadTrader, and Index Arbitrage Meter. Additionally, investors can trade Micro Futures contracts across various asset classes and use IBKR EventTrader to speculate on yes-or-no questions in key futures markets. Commission rates for regular futures and futures options range from $0.25 to $0.85 per contract, with rates decreasing for higher contract volumes. IB also allows trading in CME Cryptocurrency Futures, E-mini FX Futures, E-Micro FX Futures, Small Exchange Futures, and other instruments.
3. Generic Trade: An Affordable Futures Trading Platform for Everyone
Illinois-based Generic Trade is a beginner-friendly futures trading platform that charges a flat fee commission of $0.59 per side for futures contracts and options on futures. The platform provides 24/7 support via phone and chat, accessible through the Generic Trader Professional platform. There are no minimum account requirements, and no maintenance or inactivity fees. Traders can also use the free Generic Trader Online platform. The platform is reliable, with port-to-port latency under 500 nanoseconds thanks to co-location in a CME Group datacenter. This makes Generic Trade a speedy and dependable choice for futures trading.
4. Tastyworks: A Low-Cost Options Trading Platform for Retail Traders
Tastyworks is a retail-futures broker known for its low-cost options trading commissions. They offer a proprietary trading platform available on desktop, browser, and mobile (iOS and Android). Tastyworks provides a wide range of tradable futures products, from SMFE Futures to various CME Futures, including Equity Index, Foreign Currency, Energy, and Cryptocurrency Futures. The commissions for futures trading are competitive for a retail broker, with rates ranging from $0.25 to $1.25 per side. However, transaction fees for exchanges, clearing, and order routing must be added to this cost. Tastyworks uses Apex Clearing Corporation as its clearing institution, which ensures the segregation of customer account cash balances and positions.
5. AMP Futures: Access to 60+ Futures Trading Platforms for Traders
AMP Futures specializes in providing clients access to over 60 futures trading platforms through its two group entities, AMP Global USA and AMP Global Europe. The US-based broker is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and National Futures Association (NFA), while the European entity is authorized as a Cypriot Investment Firm (CIF) by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. Although AMP offers some of the lowest commission rates in the industry, they don’t provide a direct quote on their site. Instead, they advertise to match or beat any commission rate from other brokers, which requires negotiation. The platform supports over 50 futures trading platforms, including CQG One, CQG Desktop, Trading Technologies Desktop, Jigsaw Trading, TradingView, and Bookmap.
6. Tradovate: Commission-Free Membership for High-Volume Futures Traders
Tradovate’s main strength is its commission-free membership, which allows traders to execute trades without paying any commissions by paying a monthly fee of $199. To make this cost-efficient, traders need to place significantly more than 1,000 trades per month, but those who do can save a lot of money. The account minimum for standard futures is $2,000, while Micro E-Mini accounts can be opened with $250. Day trading margin starts at $50 for Micro E-Mini and $500 for standard futures, while the overnight margin is around $5,800 per ES contract. For more information, check out the detailed Tradovate review.
7. E-Trade: A Stand-Alone Brand with Affordable Commission Rates for Futures
The commission-free trading trend in the retail brokerage industry led to predictions of more mergers among brokers. As expected, Morgan Stanley announced in October 2020 its acquisition of E-Trade for $13 billion, raising Morgan Stanley’s market capitalization to $124 billion. Although E-Trade remains an independent brand, its commissions fall between those of Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade at $1.50 per futures contract.
8. TD Ameritrade: A Separate Brand with Flexible Trading Options for Traders
In 2019, Charles Schwab announced its acquisition of TD Ameritrade for $26 billion. TD Ameritrade continues to operate as a separate brand with its trading platform Thinkorswim. The acquisition boosted Charles Schwab’s market capitalization to approximately $100 billion with an EPS of roughly $2. TD Ameritrade clients can trade a wide range of financial products, including futures contracts. Although the official commission rate per contract is $2.25, active traders can negotiate a better rate.
9. Tradestation: A Multi-Asset Trading Platform for Uncertain Traders
TradeStation is a good choice for traders who are unsure about the financial product they will ultimately trade. While their costs are higher than Optimus Futures and NinjaTrader Brokerage, traders can trade stocks and options in addition to futures from a single account. However, day traders may find TradeStation’s margins to be much higher than those of Optimus Futures and NinjaTrader. Let’s examine the key factors in the decision-making process.
10. NinjaTrader Brokerage: A Popular Platform for Custom Trading Strategies
NinjaTrader is a popular trading platform among traders who prefer to code their own trading strategies using NinjaScript. The platform offers competitive commission rates, and frequent traders can take advantage of higher commission discounts when purchasing the NinjaTrader platform.
In conclusion, choosing the best trading platform for futures trading depends on individual preferences and requirements. Each of the platforms mentioned offers unique features, services, and pricing structures, which may suit different traders’ needs. However, based on the information presented, Optimus Futures stands out as a comprehensive futures brokerage for traders, offering an innovative platform, exceptional customer support, automated trading systems, and low commissions. Other excellent choices include Interactive Brokers for trading multiple assets, Generic Trade for its affordability and beginner-friendliness, Tastyworks for its low-cost options trading commissions, AMP Futures for access to over 60 trading platforms, Tradovate for commission-free membership, E-Trade for affordability, and TD Ameritrade for flexible trading options.