How can Mac users find a forex trading platform? | Cult of Mac

How can Mac users find a forex trading platform?


You, too, can become a forex trader using your Mac.
You, too, can become a forex trader using your Mac.
Photo: Joshua Mayo/Unsplash License

This forex trading post is brought to you by Compare Forex Brokers.

“Forex trading” refers to trades of national currencies on the foreign exchange market, aka forex or FX. Most forex trading platforms for average investors were built for Windows computers, however. So what are Mac users who want to get into forex trading supposed to do? We describe some options below.

The forex market

Changing one currency into another is crucial for commerce of all kinds, all over the world. So a huge, liquid-asset marketplace has grown up around currencies, taking advantage of exchange rates that fluctuate due to a variety of factors. A staggering $6.6 trillion turns over daily (.pdf) in the forex market.

Forex trading used to be the domain of large, institutional investors, like multinational corporations and hedge funds. But the internet changed things. A retail trading market for individual investors sprang up, so now you can trade right from your computer or mobile device. And because the FX market has no centralized location, you can trade anytime.

Investors trade in the forex market for a variety of reasons. They may do so to hedge against international currency and interest rate risks, to speculate on geopolitical events and to diversify their investment portfolios.

And now it’s easy for practically anyone to get involved and make money. But Mac users have a few extra hurdles to jump.

Forex Mac apps for trading

“Not every forex trading platform has compatible software for Macs,” said Justin Grossbard of Compare Forex Brokers. “[Our] team looks at the best forex brokers and platforms with trading solutions for Mac traders.”

So if you’re a Mac user, you have to be careful which trading platform you choose. Fortunately, some forex Mac apps exist.

With a few adjustments, you can use your Mac rather than having to invest in a new computer just for trading.

MetaTrader limitations

One issue is that the most popular forex trading software, MetaTrader by MetaQuotes Software, is built for the Windows operating system. You can get it for Mac, but its functionality is limited in some ways. MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 are both in wide use. A direct MetaQuotes download of MetaTrader 5 for Mac is available.

To use the Windows version of MetaTrader on a Mac, the first thing you’ll need to do is download and install either Parallels Desktop or PlayOnMac (which is based on the open-source Wine compatibility layer) to imitate Windows on your Mac and run MetaTrader 4 or 5.

The imitation’s not perfect, however, and bugs can occur. Not every feature may be available. Automated trading may be limited. And the popular Expert Advisors feature may not function.

For some forex traders, those limitations might be deal-breakers.

MetaTrader for Mac apps

Fortunately, many forex brokers have their own native MetaTrader for Mac software, which is a big help. However, access from some areas, like the United States, can be blocked or limited, and you still may not get full functionality.

If you pick a broker offering a MetaTrader for Mac program, you should do a little homework about the broker to determine if getting access to the program is worth it.

Here are some questions to consider: How much money do you need to open an account? What are the fees and commissions on trades? What limitations are there on the types of trades you can execute?

You’ll need to learn a bit about forex trading methods, of course.

Popular alternatives

In addition to brokers’ Mac-directed MetaTrader software clients, two popular alternatives for Mac users are cTrader and NinjaTrader.

The Compare Forex Brokers website lists various forex platforms and the Mac software they support. The site lays out its experts’ criteria for choosing the most suitable forex platform for your needs. (Some platforms also offer iOS and Android apps for mobile trading.)

In addition to detailed descriptions of positive and negative attributes each forex platform brings to the table, prominent link buttons take you to each platform’s website. That way, you can get a more direct look at the Mac software they support.

Forex educational materials

The Compare Forex Brokers site also provides plenty of educational materials for investors who want to get into forex trading. You can learn a lot from a section of the site specifically aimed at beginners, for example.

In addition, a comprehensive forex trading guide helps define all the terms and practices involved in actively trading foreign currencies.

Finally, a broker reviews section gives you even more information about which platform can help you out with the best forex Mac apps. The brokers are broken out by ECN Foreign Brokers, No Commission Brokers and Brokers for Beginners.