Demo Accounts

Demo accounts are an excellent way to practice trading forex, CFDs, stocks and cryptos. They present an opportunity to trial strategies, explore new markets and test trading platforms in a risk-free environment. So if you are looking to open a live trading account with the likes of IG, eToro, Oanda, or Plus 500, it could be worth opening a demo account first.

This article runs through the range of markets, platforms and features available at top demo accounts. We also run through their benefits and explain how to open demo accounts with leading brokers in the UK.

Best Demo Accounts

  1. XTB

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    XTB is one of the largest stock exchange-listed forex and CFD brokers in the world, offering access to over 5800 instruments on their xStation platform. They boast 700,000 active traders, 20 years experience and authorization from tier-one regulators, including the UK's FCA.

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    FXCC is a trustworthy trading broker regulated by the CySEC. The brokerage offers ECN trading executions, spreads from zero pips and no commissions. The brand is also well-known for its welcome bonuses and trading deals, including a free VPS.

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    Interactive Brokers is a leading global brokerage that provides access to a comprehensive offering of stocks as well as forex, futures, metals, bonds and cryptos. The firm has over 40 years experience in the online trading industry and is heavily regulated by SEC, FCA, IIROC, and SFC. Traders use the proprietary Trader Workstation and can access powerful tools and data feeds as well as comprehensive educational resources.

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    IC Markets is a respected multi-asset broker offering premium trading technology, highly competitive pricing and 24/7 customer support. The broker provides various social trading features for beginners whilst experienced traders can enjoy advanced charting and analysis tools. Over 180,000 clients from more than 200 countries have signed up with the heavily regulated and trustworthy brand.

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    Eightcap is a forex and CFD broker founded in Australia in 2009. The brand is popular for its raw spreads on 1000+ instruments and advanced MetaTrader platforms. With five global offices and ASIC regulation, Eightcap has built a strong reputation. New traders can also sign up for a live account in just a few minutes.

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    Kwakol Markets is a Nigerian headquartered broker with strong regulatory oversight in Australia and Canada. A great selection of asset classes are available, including synthetic products that simulate realistic market activity. Clients can trade on the MT4, MT5 and cTrader platforms, as well as a copy trading solution whereby a fee is only paid on profitable trades.

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    Forex.com boasts a global reputation with multiple awards and 20+ years experience. Regulated in the US, EU, UK and Canada they provide a huge range of markets, not just forex, and offer competitive fees on a cutting-edge platform. The brand also provides a suite of additional tools, from performance analytics and SMART Signals to advanced charts and strategy builders.

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    RoboForex is a global broker launched in 2009. The firm offers more than 12,000 instruments spanning 9 asset classes with trades from 0.01 lots and spreads from 0 pips. The broker's advanced copy trading tool is also home to thousands of active traders.

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    OANDA is an award-winning global broker, established in 1996. The hugely respected brand offers competitive trading accounts and serves clients from 196 countries. It has proven a popular option with both beginners and experienced traders thanks to its user-friendly and sophisticated web platform, no minimum deposit and premium currency products and services. The company is also overseen by reputable regulators, including the FCA, ASIC and CIRO.

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    LQDFX is a straight-through processing (STP) broker based in the Marshall Islands. The offshore trading firm offers competitive spreads from 0.0 pips, free deposits, 24/5 support and access to the hugely popular MetaTrader 4 platform. LQDFX also runs a competitive bonus program with welcome incentives.

What Are Demo Accounts?

A demo account is a free, market simulator offered by brokers as an introduction to their trading services. They replicate real market conditions and volatility and let traders experiment with a broker’s features and tools before setting up a real-money trading account.

Practice accounts are bankrolled with virtual cash, the value of which varies from broker to broker. Some demo accounts can be used indefinitely while others expire after a fixed period. Again, this varies between online brokers.

Demo Account Markets

Demo accounts can be used across a multitude of instruments and markets:

  • Forex – FX trading is available with most demo accounts. Trade major global currencies including ZAR, USD and EUR.
  • Stocks – Trade thousands of single shares and stock CFDs, along with penny stocks across global indices such as the NSE, S&P 500 and NASDAQ.
  • Cryptocurrencies – Demo accounts offer a great opportunity to explore cryptocurrency trading including on Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple.
  • Commodities – Practice trading futures and options on commodities such as gold, silver, oil and wheat.

Plus500 Demo Trading Markets

Why Use Demo Accounts?

Broker Testing

Demo accounts offer an easy way to test a broker’s services, including, charts, indicators and online platforms, prior to investment. From customer support and account types to leverage and bonuses, demo accounts offer a comprehensive insight into all aspects of a broker. They also offer traders the chance to test new day trading strategies, try ECN account conditions, or explore a different market, such as forex or binary options.

Leading Software

The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platforms are popular amongst demo accounts in addition to proprietary platforms such as TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim solution. Limitations may apply but there is a good pool of technologies to explore and the simulated market conditions accurately reflect those of live accounts.

MT4 Demo Account

Demo Accounts vs Live Accounts

The key difference between a demo account and a real or live account is that a demo account is a simulation. The conditions of a demo account accurately reflect live markets but there is no exchange of money, meaning zero risk and zero cash profits.

Demo accounts often have limitations that live accounts do not. There is usually a set period for which they can be used, whereas a live forex account offers unlimited use. Some demo accounts also have a reduced trading platform and instrument offering. Having said that, not all demo accounts operate in the same way – you can open some forex and futures demo accounts without time limits, for example.

Benefits Of Demo Accounts

The primary benefit of a demo account is that it is risk-free. They are also normally free to open and operate. Most brokers credit accounts with virtual funds and there is usually no sign-up charge. In addition, demo accounts are quick to set up and traders can easily upgrade to a real account when ready. Given their simplicity, they are also great for beginners looking to develop strategies and get to grips with the financial markets before putting money on the line.

How To Open Demo Accounts

Registering for a demo account is quick and simple:

  1. Find a broker that you would like to open an account with
  2. Head to the demo account tab on the broker’s website
  3. Enter your personal details including name/username, email, telephone number and country of residence
  4. Once you’ve received registration confirmation, use the login credentials to open the platform and start trading

Note, the details needed to open a demo account in the UK vary.

MetaTrader Demo Account

Best Demo Account Reviews

Finding the right demo account largely depends on what you’re looking for. With that said, there are a number of popular demo accounts offered by leading online trading brokers:

  • eToro – A multi-asset platform offering $100,000 in virtual cash to trade stocks, forex, CFDs and cryptos
  • IC Markets – The demo account supports a range of instruments along with the MT4, MT5 and cTrader platforms. The broker also offers demo contests and competitions with real cash available for withdrawals.
  • iFOREX – $5,000 in virtual funds is provided to test the broker’s trading tools, including the iFOREX analytics mobile app.
  • IG – Access 17,000 markets, including leveraged CFDs and spread betting. The key difference between the demo account vs the live account is that demo trades are not subject to slippage, interest or dividend adjustments. Also, trial chart packages are free and demo trades aren’t closed to cover margin and running losses.
  • XM – Simulate trading on forex, stocks, easy equities and commodities. To open a demo account with XM, head to the ‘open an account’ tab on the broker’s website and follow the setup and login instructions.
  • NinjaTrader – Open a free demo account with NinjaTrader to access futures, forex, equities and more. NinjaTrader works alongside supported brokers including Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade and data providers such as TradeStation, IQ Feed and eSignal. You can also trial the proprietary NinjaTrader 7&8 platforms.

While not built into the list above, other good options include 24Option, Olymp Trade, HYCM, Questrade, FXCM, Exness, Tickmill, Saxo, InstaForex, Binance, Videforex, Hantec, ETrade, Degiro, FxPro, HotForex, Hugosway, Trading 212, FBS, OctaFX, XTrade and AvaTrade.

Demo Account Support

For any issues, such as you’ve forgotten your demo account password or for problems with servers that are not working, contact the respective broker’s UK customer support team. For issues with MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or MetaTrader 5 (MT5) downloads and setups, speak to the MetaTrader support team if the broker’s customer services cannot help.

Final Word On Demo Accounts

Demo accounts are a great, risk-free way for traders to explore a broker’s services. They also offer a hassle-free means to refine forex strategies, test stock ECN trading, or practice leveraged Bitcoin trading. However, not all demo accounts are created equal so do your research.

When you’re ready to upgrade to live trading, check out our list of the best brokers.