What is Virtual Trading Account: Should You Use a Paper Trading App?


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What’s holding you back from investing in stocks? Is it because — like many of us — you’re scared of “getting it wrong” and losing your hard-earned cash? Stock investing can be a little nerve-wracking at first, but luckily, some brokerages offer a way for you to get the hang of Virtual Trading Account before putting any real money on the line.

A virtual trading account (also referred to as a “paper trading account”) allows you to practice trading with an account that looks and feels real but just uses “play money,” if you will. Beyond this being an exercise in learning how to operate a particular stock brokerage platform, you can use it to figure out and hone your stock-investing strategy. Before you continue you should read from the beggining.

A virtual trading account, such as TD Ameritrade’s Virtual Trading App, uses real-time information to help you gauge your success. That means you can create and test a trading strategy and build a portfolio. The actual performance is reflected in your results.

And if you already have experience buying and selling stocks, you can check out many paper trading services for a test run for making more complicated trades such as options and futures.

You won’t lose any money — and on the flip side, you won’t see any gains. That might have you yelling, “Darn!” when you realize gain that would have made you a decent return. (That and $2 will buy you a cup of coffee, right?)

Once you’re comfortable with the investing process and have a good notion that you’ve got what it takes, you can then switch over and start using a live account, applying what you’ve learned.

Which Brokers Offer Paper Trading App?

A lot of stockbrokers don’t offer paper trading to simulate investing. This is a shame because it’s a handy way to test-drive a broker before committing any actual money. If you’re new to active stock investing and shopping around for a brokerage, whether or not a platform offers virtual trading might be a consideration worth making. Here our favorite apps:

TD Ameritrade Virtual Trading App

Before you start getting your feet wet, you might want to check out TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform. With thinkorswim’s paperMoney feature, you can get “elite-level” trading tools and resources, including insights and information about even really complicated strategies such as options, futures, equities and forex trades.

When you sign up for a paperMoney virtual account, you’ll get both a virtual margin account and a virtual IRA, each funded with $100,000. This lets you test out your trades not only in a taxable account, but also in a tax-deferred account. Click here to try TD Ameritrade Virtual Trading App.


TradeStation is another popular online stock broker that offers a virtual trading account within his app. You can use this to check out platform features that you might not normally use, such as advanced orders, strategy automation or alternate market types.

With this simulator, you can gain real-time, no-cost trading experience — and see the power of fully automated trading firsthand. Ultimately, you can test new markets and new strategies — without risking a cent. Click here to try TradeStation app.

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