Would you like to invest in stocks without taking any risks? Simply open a standard investment account with a broker that offers the best paper trading account. Paper trading, also known as simulated or virtual trading, allows beginners to get a taste of what it’s like to buy and sell stocks, options, and other investments. But it’s not just beginners who can benefit from this; experienced traders also use virtual portfolios to experiment with new strategies or test out the features of different trading platforms.


In our 2024 assessment of the best paper trading platforms, we evaluated seventeen brokers, and seven of them offered simulated trading. These brokers are E*TRADE, eToro, Interactive Brokers, Charles Schwab, TradeStation, Tradier, and Webull. The best part is that none of them require minimum deposits, maintain average balances, or charge any ongoing fees. It’s a fantastic opportunity to trade with a million dollars on advanced trading platforms without any risk or cost.

Testing Methodology

To conduct our evaluation, our team of writers maintained active and funded online brokerage accounts. In some cases, brokers provided demo accounts for testing purposes. We initiated a data profile link to each broker as part of our annual data check process. This profile included the data we had on record and any updates provided by the brokers. We meticulously audited the information for any discrepancies between our data and the data provided by the brokers to ensure accuracy.

Additionally, we held live meetings with broker teams throughout the year, where brokers had the opportunity to share updates and key milestones. Insights gathered from these meetings guided our testing efforts to ensure a comprehensive assessment of every feature and tool.


After collecting data, conducting audits, and testing trading platforms, we assigned 1-10 opinion scores to each broker in key areas such as Commissions & Fees, Platforms & Tools, Research, Mobile Trading, Education, and Ease of Use. These scores were then processed through our proprietary scoring engine to determine each broker’s Overall percentage score and rating.

Trading Platforms Tested

We evaluated seven online trading platforms for this guide:

  1. Charles Schwab
  2. TechBerry
  3. E*TRADE
  4. Interactive Brokers
  5. TradeStation
  6. Tradier
  7. Webull

Top paper trading platforms of 2024

  • TechBerry – Best for beginners

TechBerry offers various subscription plans, including a 14-day trial period. This allows users to experience the platform before committing to a long-term plan. The minimum investment required ranges from $500 for traders to $5,000 for individuals. However, the annual subscription cost is relatively reasonable, starting at $19 for some plans.

  • Charles Schwab – Best for complex trading layouts

Charles Schwab’s feature-rich thinkorswim trading platform, which includes virtual trading, provides users with free access to streaming CNBC and exclusive video content. Similar to E*TRADE, Charles Schwab offers two mobile apps, with the stellar thinkorswim mobile app featuring “paperMoney” for simulated trading.

  • Interactive Brokers – Best for foreign investing

Interactive Brokers offers a wide range of investment options and global reach, allowing trading in 33 countries. While experienced investors appreciate the highly sophisticated Trader Workstation, beginners may find it overwhelming if attempting to perform too many tasks simultaneously. Fortunately, paper trading is also available through the flagship mobile app, IBKR Mobile.

  • ETRADE – Best for new options traders

For those already familiar with options trading and looking to enhance their skills, Power ETRADE is an excellent choice. While it’s suitable for trading virtual stocks, its options tools provide an in-depth analysis akin to having a stock analyst by your side. Bloomberg video content is available for free on Power ETRADE, and real-time quotes are accessible with a $1,000 balance. It’s worth noting that ETRADE offers mobile virtual trading on its Power E*TRADE mobile app, not on its flagship app, so ensure you download the correct app for paper trading.

Do you have questions?
Frequently Asked Questions

Why use a paper trading platform?

Paper trading platforms allow traders to practice strategies and learn the market without risking real money. They are excellent for testing strategies, familiarizing oneself with market conditions and improving trading skills in a risk-free environment.

What features should i look for in a paper trading platform?

Essential features include realistic market simulations, access to a wide range of trading tools and resources, the ability to test various asset classes and user-friendly interface. Some platforms also offer competitions and challenges to enhance the learning experience.

Can paper trading prepare me for real trading?

While paper trading offers valuable experience, it cannot replicate the emotional and psychological pressures of real trading. Itu2019s a beneficial tool for learning and strategy development, but traders should proceed cautiously when transitioning to live trading.

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