If you’re looking to trade stocks online but want to test the waters first – it might be worth considering a demo trading account. In doing so, you will be able to buy and sell stocks using ‘paper money’ – meaning that you can trade without risking any of your capital.
In this guide, we review the best stock trading demo account platforms for 2021 and walk you through the process of getting started today.
In This Guide
Below you will find the best stock trading demo account providers available in the market right now. You can read our review of each trading platform by scrolling down.
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
76.25% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider.
Your capital is at risk.
83% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Your capital is at risk
The best stock demo accounts will mirror live trading conditions. That is to say, if Apple stocks go from $125.25 to $126.50 – this should be replicated on the demo trading platform.
With that said, the key objective of paper trading is that you will be preparing yourself for real money investing – so you’ll want to do some homework on the broker itself. This should cover core metrics like supported stock markets, commissions, payments, and regulations.
To clear the mist, below we review the 10 best stock demo account providers for 2021.
eToro is a hugely popular online broker that now boasts a client base of over 20 million traders. This brokerage site covers an abundance of day trading assets – including commodities, forex, indices, and cryptocurrencies. However, it is the stock trading department where eToro really stands out. This is because you will have access to thousands of stocks from 17 markets.
This includes NASDAQ and NYSE in the US, as well as the UK’s London Stock Exchange. You can also buy and sell stocks from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and more. You can access these markets via the eToro stock demo trading account – which comes pre-loaded with $100k in paper funds. The demo account mirrors live market conditions, so you can get a real understanding of how stock trading works in a risk-free manner.
You don’t need to deposit any money to use the trading demo facility, albeit, you will need to open an account. This should, however, take you less than a few minutes. If you decide to start trading stocks with real money, you’ll be pleased to know that eToro does not charge any commission or dealing fees. Plus, the minimum stock trade is just $50 – meaning eToro supports fractional stocks. You can easily deposit funds too – as the broker supports debit/credit cards, Paypal, bank transfers, and other e-wallets.
An additional top-rated feature at eToro is its Copy Trading tool. This allows you to browse thousands of successful eToro traders and then copy your chosen investor like-for-like. This is ideal if you want to trade stocks in a passive nature. eToro is also available via an Android and iOS trading app – which also comes inclusive with a day trading simulator. When it comes to safety, eToro is authorized and regulated by ASIC, CySEC, and the FCA. US clients are covered by FINRA registration.
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
eToro is often the go-to platform for new traders seeking a top-rated stock free demo account. However, if you have a bit of experience in the stock trading space and wish to use the advanced features that come with Metatrader 4 – AvaTrade is a great option.
This online trading platform specializes in stock CFDs – meaning you won’t own the underlying shares. This does, however, allow you to trade stocks with leverage. You can also short sell stocks on AvaTrade – meaning you can profit from both rising and falling markets.
In order to use the MT4 demo account via AvaTrade, you will first need to register your personal details. Then, you can start trading stocks with paper money in live market conditions. If you decide to use AvaTrade to trade with real money, the minimum deposit here is just $100. This MT4 broker is regulated in 6 jurisdictions and it is planning to go public later in 2021.
71% of retail CFD accounts lose money with this provider.
If you’re completely new to online stock trading then Capital.com is worth considering. The platform is suited to inexperienced traders and the minimum deposit is just $20. However, you don’t need to deposit any funds to gain access to the Capital.com online trading demo account for stocks.
On the contrary, all you need to do is register. The platform hosts over 2,400 stocks from a wide variety of exchanges. This covers markets in the US, UK, Europe, Asia, and more. Spreads are very tight at Capital.com and best of all – the platform is commission-free.
Most newbie traders use the native Capital.com web trading platform, albeit, MT4 is supported too. You’ll find lots of educational and research tools on this platform – including videos, webinars, and guides. The CFD broker – which is regulated by the FCA and CySEC, allows you to deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, and bank transfer.
76.25% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
If you are planning to day trade stocks from the comfort of your home – Libertex is a great option. This CFD trading platform stands out from the crowd – as it allows you to trade with tight spreads. This is ideal if you typically take a strategy that targets quick and modest gains.
Many of the stocks hosted by Libertex can also be traded without paying any commission. Some stock markets do attract a commission, but this is usually less than 0.1%. When using the Libertex live stock simulator – you can do this via the platform’s web trading platform.
Alternatively, you can also connect the day trading demo account to MT4 or MT5. In terms of safety, Libertex is regulated by CySEC and it has a two-decade track record in the trading space. You can deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank wire – and the minimum is just $100.
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83% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site.
If you are an experienced trader that focuses on technical analysis and chart reading – TD Ameritrade is likely to be of interest. This is because its proprietary platform – thinkorswim, is packed with advanced analysis tools. This includes heaps of technical indicators or signals.
The thinkorswim platform can be accessed online through your web browser. But, to get the full experience, it’s worth downloading the software to your desktop device. Best of all, TD Ameritrade allows you to access thinkorswim via a stock demo account.
You’ll need to first register an account to use the demo stocks facility. In doing so, you’ll have access to thousands of stock trading markets from around the world. When it comes to trading fees, TD Ameritrade offers 0% commission trading on US stocks. There is no minimum deposit – should you wish to trade with real instead of virtual money.
While many trading platforms only give you access to markets in the US – Fidelity takes things to the next level. In fact, this trusted brokerage site allows you to trade stocks from 25 international markets. This covers Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North America, and more.
We like the fact that Fidelity offers fractional stocks – with the minimum trade standing at just $1. You will also avoid paying any commission should you trade a stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. When it comes to its demo online trading account facility – you will be using Active Trader Pro.
This is the native trading platform built by Fidelity from the ground up. This comes pre-loaded with an abundance of tools – including real-time insights, technical indicators and chart drawing tools, and the ability to create up to 50 orders simultaneously. You can download the Active Trader Pro software to your Windows or Mac device – and then start trading with paper funds.
IG is a popular brokerage firm that offers traditional stocks, funds, CFDs, forex, and much more. With that said, if you’re based in the UK or Ireland – you might want to consider IG for its spread betting facility. This will allow you to trade stocks without paying any capital gains tax.
Much like CFDs, by spread betting stocks you will not own the underlying shares. But, you will be able to choose from a long or short position and apply leverage of up to 1:5. Supported markers at IG include dozens of stock exchanges – ranging from the UK and the US to Australia and South Africa.
If you like the sound of tax-free spread betting but don’t have any experience – IG offers a stock trading practice account. This will allow you to get to grips with spread betting stocks in a risk-free manner. If you decide to trade with real money instead of fake money, this heavily regulated broker requires a minimum deposit of £250 – which you can meet with a debit card or bank transfer.
Interactive Brokers is one of the largest trading platforms globally - with millions of investors under its belt. The platform covers a full range of markets - including commodities, futures, options, mutual funds, and stocks.
In fact, the broker supports trading markets across 33 different countries. The stand out feature with Interactive Brokers is that its native IBKR platform is packed with advanced features. This is inclusive of technical indicators, stock screeners, charting tools, flexible orders, and fully customizable screens.
You can also deploy custom trading strategies – which paves the way for algorithmic and automated systems. To gain access to the Interactive Brokers free demo account for stock trading – you will first need to register. Then, once you log in to IBKR (online or through desktop software), you can then select the ‘free trial’ option.
If you are a long-term investor that wants to employ a buy and hold strategy over many years – Trading 212 is worth considering. This top-rated brokerage site allows you to invest in over 10,000 markets. This includes stocks based in the UK, Europe and the US.
There are no trading commissions or ongoing fees at Trading 212 – and you can invest from just $1 per stock. What we really like about the demo account offering at this platform, is that there is no requirement to open an account. Instead, you simply need to download the app and click on the ‘demo’ account option. In doing so, you can start trading stocks risk-free.
If you decide to use Trading 212 with real money, you'll be pleased to know that there is no minimum deposit. You can fund your account with a variety of payment methods - which is inclusive of debit/credit cards, bank transfers. and several e-wallets. Trading 212 - which is regulated by the FCA, also offers CFD markets on stocks, forex, commodities, and indices.
If you’re based in the US and looking to trade stocks on your cell phone – Webull is a great option. This top-rated trading app allows you to buy and sell stocks without paying a single cent in commission. It also supports fractional ownership – so you can trade with just a few dollars.
With that said, many investors will initially use the Webull stock trade demo account before trading with real money. In order to gain access, you’ll need to open an account, download the app, and select ‘Paper Trading’ from the menu.
This comes pre-loaded with $1 million in demo funds – which more than enough to get a feel for the app. Although Webull is commission-free, it does charge $1 per month on its standard account. Other accounts – which come with more features and perks – cost $3 and $9 per month.
Your capital is at risk when trading at this site with real money
With the best online and mobile trading platforms now offering demo accounts – you need to choose wisely. As we noted earlier, you should choose a stock demo account provider that you intend on using further down the line, when you are ready to start trading with real money. As such, plenty of research is necessary to ensure you choose the best stock demo account for you.
The most important factors to consider are as follows:
First and foremost, you need to check what stock markets the demo account provider offers. After all, there is no point going through the registration process only to find your preferred stock, exchange, or market is not offered on the platform. You can easily find this information out by visiting the broker’s website.
If you are looking for the best stock demo account that offers a diverse range of markets – consider eToro. The platform offers access to 17 international stock exchanges. This covers exchanges in the US, Europe, Asia, and more.
When using a stock demo account platform – it will normally come with a fixed amount of pre-loaded funds. For example, Webull offers a paper trading balance of $1 million while eToro offers $100,000. In truth, unless you are planning to trade with a significant amount of capital in the future – you don’t need a demo facility with a 6 or 7 figure balance.
That is to say, you should trade with an amount that mirrors your investment budget. For example, if you’re looking to deposit $500 into your real money trading account in the near future – it doesn’t matter if the demo account facility comes with a balance of $1,000 or $1 million. After all, the overarching objective of using a stock demo facility is to practice for real-world conditions.
While the amount of demo funds on offer shouldn’t be a major priority, the time limit of the facility should. This is because some stock demo accounts can only be used for a certain amount of time – say 30 days. This is somewhat problematic for two key reasons.
Firstly, if you are completely new to the world of online stock trading – then a time limit of 30 days might not be enough for you to get to grips with how things work. Secondly, it is important to remember that demo accounts are not only used by inexperienced traders.
On the contrary, seasoned traders will also use demo accounts to test out new strategies and systems. As such, it’s best to stick with a stock demo account provider that has no time limit policy in place. eToro, for example, allows you to use its demo account facility for as long as you wish. In fact, you can switch between ‘demo’ and ‘live’ mode whenever you wish.
We found that the best stock demo accounts come with full functionality. This means that you will have access to the same markets, orders, and features as found on real money accounts. More importantly, the best stock demo accounts will mirror live market conditions.
This means that what you see on your demo trading screen is like-for-like with what real market speculators see. For example, if you are trading Tesla stocks and the price moves from $700.10 to $700.60 – this will also be the case on your demo account.
If you are a long-term investor that plans to buy and hold stocks for months or years at a time – you likely won’t need access to technical features. However, many stock traders access this marketplace on a day or swing trading basis. This means that the trader will enter a position and then close it in a few hours or days.
Sometimes, a stock trade might remain in play for minutes. Either way, short-term traders rely almost exclusively on pricing charts. This means that you need to ensure that the stock demo account in question comes packed with technical analysis tools. This should include a wider selection of technical indicators and the ability to perform in-depth chart analysis.
Automated trading is getting more and more popular in the online space. However, it’s difficult to know whether or not the respective system is profitable without testing it first. This is where the best stock demo account providers excel – as they allow you to backtest automated strategies in a risk-free environment.
For example, eToro allows you to use its Copy Trading feature in demo mode. This allows you to see how your chosen trader performs over a specific period of time. Then, if you are happy with the results, you might decide to copy the trader with real capital ($500 minimum).
Additionally, if you are looking to deploy a forex EA or trading robot, you’ll want to choose a stock demo account provider that is compatible with MT4 or MT5. This will allow you to run the automated strategy in real-time without risking any funds.
If you’re looking to start using a trading demo account right now – the process at eToro takes minutes. All you need to do is open an account and switch over to a demo portfolio.
Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of what you need to do.
Like all stock demo account providers – you will first need to open an account. As such, visit the eToro website and click on the ‘Join Now’ button. You will then be prompted to enter your email address, name, and mobile number.
On the next page of the registration process, you’ll be asked for your nationality, home address, and date of birth.
As you are only using the stock demo account facility at this stage – there is no requirement to upload any ID. This means that you can start trading stocks in a risk-free and live environment straightaway.
By default, your eToro account will be set to 'real' mode. As such, you need to click on the 'real' button on the left-hand side of the screen and change this to 'virtual'.
You will then notice the colour scheme of the platform change and at the bottom of the screen - you will see that you now have a virtual portfolio balance of $100,000.
Everything that you see in 'portfolio' mode is exactly the same as the 'real' version of the site. As such, you can now trade your chosen stock at the click of a button. As eToro supports thousands of assets - it's best to click on the 'Trade Markets' button followed by 'Stocks'.
This will show you a full break down of what stocks can be traded. You can also filter the results down by the sector the stock operates in or the exchange it is listed on. Alternatively, you can also use the search function at the top of the page – if you already know which stock you wish to trade.
Once you click on the ‘Trade’ button next to the stock you wish to buy or sell, an order box will appear on your screen. You simply need to enter the amount you wish to trade in dollars and cents. This will be taken from your demo account balance – so make sure you have enough to cover the size of the trade.
In our example, we are using $1,000 of paper trading funds to buy Facebook stocks.
Click on the ‘Set Order’ button to place your first demo stock trade on eToro!
Now that you have placed your first trade on the eToro demo account – you simply need to repeat the above steps to access other markets. Crucially, you can use the eToro stock demo facility for as long as you want.
When you eventually get to the point where you want to start trading stocks with real money – the process at eToro could not be easier.
You simply need to:
And that’s it – you can start trading stocks with real money – commission-free!
Irrespective of whether you are a first-time stock trader or an experienced pro – demo accounts are a valuable tool used by investors of all shapes and sizes. They allow you to practice trading stocks without risking capital, as well as try out a new strategy in a risk-free environment.
If you want to start trading stocks from the comfort of your home via a demo account right now – the setup process at eToro takes minutes. You’ll have access to 17 international stock markets and you can use the demo facility online or via the eToro app!
Stock demo accounts are offered by many online brokerage sites and they allow you to trade shares without depositing or risking any money. You can buy and sell stocks like you normally would, albeit, you will be using paper funds.
The best stock demo accounts will actually mirror live market conditions. This includes real-time stock price movements and liquidity levels. You will, of course, be trading with demo funds and not real capital.
If your chosen stock demo account provider offers full functionalities - then you will have access to the same order types. This includes the likes of stop loss and take profit orders.
After reviewing some of the best stock demo accounts available - we found that eToro ticks all of the right boxes. Once you sign up, you will be able to trade thousands of stocks in a risk-free manner. Then, if you decide to upgrade to a real money trading account - you will benefit from commission-free stock trades with tight spreads
This depends on the provider that you sign up with. In the case of eToro, you can use the demo account facility for as long as you wish. Plus, if somehow you burn through the $100k paper fund allocation - you can simply reset your balance. Other brokers in the space will often put a time limit in place - meaning you can only use the stock trading facility for a set number of days.
Yes, when you use a stock demo account you will not be required to deposit any money. As such, the entire process is risk-free. If you do happen to come across a trading platform that requires a deposit to use its demo facility - avoid it.
Kane Pepi is a British researcher and writer that specializes in finance, financial crime, and blockchain technology. Now based in Malta, Kane writes for a number of platforms in the online domain. In particular, Kane is skilled at explaining complex financial subjects in a user-friendly manner. Kane has also written for websites such as MoneyCheck, InsideBitcoins, Blockonomi, Learnbonds, Buysharesand the Malta Association of Compliance Officers.
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