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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    Founded in 2002 in Poland, XTB now serves more than 935,000 clients. The forex and CFD broker combines a heavily regulated trading environment with an extensive selection of 5,600+ assets and a commitment to trader satisfaction, featuring an intuitive in-house platform with superb tools to support aspiring traders.

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    Eightcap is an award-winning, FCA-regulated broker offering industry-low trading fees. They are also the highest-rated brand by TradingView’s 50 million-strong users, who can trade directly on the platform. UK traders can sign up for a live account with an accessible £100 minimum deposit.

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    FXCC is an established broker that’s been offering low-cost online trading since 2010. Registered in Nevis and regulated by the CySEC, it stands out for its ECN trading conditions, no minimum deposit and smooth account opening that takes less than 5 minutes.

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    Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage for experienced traders, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.

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    IC Markets is a globally recognized forex and CFD broker known for its excellent pricing, comprehensive range of trading instruments, and premium trading technology. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Australia, the brokerage is regulated by the ASIC, CySEC and FSA, and has attracted more than 180,000 clients from over 200 countries.

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    City Index is an established and award-winning forex, CFD and spread betting broker with top-tier global regulation, including in the UK (FCA) and Australia (ASIC). With 30+ years in the industry, 13,500+ instruments and 24/5 customer support, City Index is a solid pick for aspiring traders.

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    DNA Markets is a forex and CFD broker established in 2020. The broker operates two entities in Australia and the offshore jurisdiction, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Traders can access 250+ markets, with a Standard account for beginners and a Raw account for experienced traders. The reliable MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms are available, alongside Signal Start.

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    Founded in 1999, is now part of StoneX, a financial services organization serving over one million customers worldwide. Regulated in the US, UK, EU, Australia and beyond, the broker offers thousands of markets, not just forex, and provides excellent pricing on cutting-edge platforms.

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    eToro is a top-rated multi-asset platform which offers trading services in thousands of CFDs, stocks and cryptoassets. Launched in 2007, the brand has millions of active traders globally and is authorized by tier one regulators, including the FCA and CySEC. The brand is particularly popular for its comprehensive social trading platform. Cryptoasset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in the UK and some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

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    RoboForex is an online broker, established in 2009 and registered with the IFSC in Belize. Traders can choose from five accounts (Prime, ECN, R StocksTrader, ProCent, Pro) catering to different needs with trades from 0.01 lots and spreads from 0 pips. RoboForex has also enhanced its offering over the years, adding CFD instruments and launching its stock trading platform, plus the CopyFX system.

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.