Top 7 best practice demo trading accounts & apps in 2024

Our experts rate, review & test the top risk-free demo accounts to find the best place to practice trading safely.
By:  & 
Updated: May 8, 2024
Listen

A demo account or virtual trading account is a feature where you can trade with ‘fake’ money. These practice accounts offer a risk-free environment where you can experiment, learn, and refine your trading strategies without the pressure of real financial stakes.

In this guide, we compare the best trading platforms with demo accounts available, meticulously selected to cater to beginners seeking a hands-on approach to understanding the markets.

Our commitment is to provide you with unbiased, expertly curated information. Our rankings are based on rigorous analysis and a deep understanding of what new traders need. Learn more about how we rank and why you can trust our rankings.

Read on for the 7 best demo trading accounts and find out where you can practice stock trading for free.

Best demo stock trading accounts overall for 2024

Copy link to section
  1. Plus500: Best for international CFD trading*
  2. TastyTrade: Best for options trading like a pro
  3. TradeStation: Best for fast & reliable trading with institutional-grade tools
  4. eToro: Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account
  5. Public: Best for sharing beginner trading ideas

What are the best demo trading accounts to practice with?

Copy link to section

Our experts rate Plus500 as the best demo stock trading platform. It offers a realistic trading experience on a large range of assets, with no deposit required.

Here are more top platforms with free demo trading accounts.

Sort by:

1
Min. Deposit
100 €
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
Unlimited risk-free Demo Account
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Debit Card, PayPal, Credit Card, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Trustly, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Discover, Bank Transfer: SEPA, Bank Transfer: FPS, skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, CySEC #250/14

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2
Min. Deposit
0 €
Best offer
User Score
9.9
TastyTrade allows you to buy and sell U.S. stocks without paying any commission fees.
Whether you’re a short-term trader or a long-term investor, TastyTrade accommodates various investment horizons.
Explore over 8,000 U.S. stocks and consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for broader exposure to the market.
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Wire Transfer, Check, ACH
Full Regulations:
3
Min. Deposit
0 €
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Allows commission-free trading of individual stocks and over 2,000 ETFs.
TradeStation’s platform supports options, futures, and futures options trading.
Traders benefit from award-winning software with advanced analysis capabilities and customization options.
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Wire Transfer, Check, ACH
Full Regulations:

Top 7 demo trading platforms, compared and reviewed

Copy link to section

1. Plus500. Best for international CFD trading*

Copy link to section

From 0.08%

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

3,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Free demo account for every user Secure broker, licensed by top-tier regulators Wide variety of CFDs to trade Several good risk management tools
No support on trading information and education Website isn’t brilliantly designed to help users find answers to their questions No MetaTrader trading platform compatibility

Overview

We love Plus500 because it is one of the industry’s most transparent and reliable brokers. Its fees are clear and you’ll know exactly what you will be paying before you make a trade. Its technology driven platform gives access to CFDs on over 2000 stocks.

Plus500 has something for all types of stock trader, no matter what level of experience. Its zero commission and tight spreads make it a top choice for day traders and its trading academy is packed with educational content, perfect for beginners just starting.

For accurate instrument availability, visit plus500.com.

The fees: There are no commission fees on any trades with Plus500 and it makes it money through the Bid/Ask spread. Spread starts from 0.01% and varies depending on the instrument. Additional fees include overnight funding depending on trade size and guaranteed stop orders, which add a minimum of 10% to the spread. There is an inactivity charge of £10 per month for accounts not logged in for three months. 

*Based on a comparison of 60+ leading brokers and trading platforms.

Highlights

Visit Plus500 Plus500 Review

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2. TastyTrade: Best for options trading like a pro

Copy link to section
TastyTrade logo

...

Fees

...

Minimum deposit

20

No. assets

No

Demo/virtual account

Overview

We love TastyTrade because it’s an options trading platform built by market experts. TastyTrade is the latest piece of trading software built by the industry veterans who created thinkorswim, another hugely successful broker that made professional trading accessible to the everyday trader.

While TastyTrade offers stock and ETF trading, its core functionality lies in options and futures contracts. Notably, they recently added the ability to trade spot Bitcoin ETFs, catering to the growing interest in cryptocurrency. However, keep in mind their focus is on US markets; you won’t find international stocks or mutual funds here.

What truly sets TastyTrade apart are a competitive pricing structure and its dedication to options education. They heavily invest in educational content through their platform, tastylive, offering free webinars, tutorials, and resources specifically geared towards options trading. This focus is crucial as options involve a steeper learning curve compared to stock investing.

The fees: There are zero commissions on straight up stock & ETF trades. Stock options are charged a $1 fee to open and zero commission to close a position. Futures start from $0.25 per side. Crypto trades cost 1% of the total position on open and close.

Highlights

Visit TastyTrade TastyTrade Review

3. TradeStation: Best for fast & reliable trading with institutional-grade tools

Copy link to section
TradeStation_Logo

...

Fees

...

Minimum deposit

20

No. assets

No

Demo/virtual account

Overview

We love TradeStation because TradeStation it offers rapid trade execution in a simple, convenient package that’s packed with trading tools. TradeStation is a well-established online broker known for its powerful desktop platform and extensive toolkit for active investors.

Once catering primarily to professionals, TradeStation has expanded to accommodate individual investors seeking a feature-rich trading experience. It now offers a wide range of assets, including stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, and futures contracts. This variety allows users to implement diverse trading strategies. They also recently introduced commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs under a specific share threshold, making it attractive for active day traders.

The true strength of TradeStation lies in its desktop platform. It’s highly customizable, enabling users to design personalized layouts, technical indicators, and even code their own trading strategies. Another huge benefit is the fact that TradeStation offers paper trading, allowing you to test and refine your strategies before risking real capital.

The fees: Stocks & ETFs are commission free. Stock options come with a $0.60 fee per contract, while futures contracts start from $0.50 per contract, per side. Investing in bonds and mutual funds is significantly more expensive.

Highlights

Visit TradeStation TradeStation Review

4. eToro. Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account

Copy link to section

0% commission

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

4,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Great for beginners, simple to set up and get started Competitive, industry-leading commissions Popular ‘Copy Portfolios’ function lets you follow top traders Excellent customer service, with live chat support provided
Comparatively high fees for withdrawals and account inactivity Does not integrate with the MetaTrader platform High spreads on some assets

Overview

We love eToro because you can trade more than 3,000 stocks, commission free. When you buy stocks on eToro, you’re buying the underlying asset, which means you can earn dividends. Or you can trade fractional shares, which means you can invest in even the most expensive stock from just $10.

As well as being a broker that offers lots of investor protection, eToro offers a very social trading experience. You can easily see what’s trending on the stock market every day, browse the latest analyst opinion about every one of those stocks, and copy other people’s trade suggestions from your desktop or the eToro app.

The fees: Stock and ETF trades are commission free. Stock CFDs are charged a 0.15% spread and overnight fees can apply. You can deposit money for free but you have to pay $5 per withdrawal, and there’s a minimum withdrawal of $30. A $10 per month activity fee is charged if you don’t log in for a year.

Highlights

Visit eToro eToro Review

51% of retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.

5. Public. Best for sharing beginner trading ideas

Copy link to section
public.com logo

...

Fees

...

Minimum deposit

...

No. assets

No

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Commission free stock and ETF investing Share and compare your portfolio on a social trading platform Trade crypto, fractional shares, and alternative investments
You can't trade on margin or use leverage No forex, options, funds, metals, or bonds

Overview

We love Public because it’s a social platform where you can share trading tips and get ideas from other people. Public offers 9,000+ financial instruments, including cryptocurrencies and stocks from around the world.

Alongside a community of other investors all sharing their ideas, Public offers real time news and information so that you can see the full picture before you invest. And the assets don’t just include your run-of-the-mill assets; you can make alternative investments in things like handbags and comic books as well.

The fees: There are no fees for investing in stocks during regular trading hours in the US – 9.30am-4pm EST. There is a $2.99 fee for trades outside of regular hours.

Highlights

Visit Review
Cryptocurrency execution and custody services are provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849) through a software licensing agreement between Apex Crypto LLC and Public Crypto LLC. Crypto trading on Public platforms is served by Public Crypto LLC and offered through APEX Crypto. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading.

What is a demo trading platform?

Copy link to section

It’s a financial stock broker or trading platform that offers a way to practice stock trading with fake money. It does this by allowing you to use a demo or virtual trading account, which let you buy and sell virtual stocks in a live trading environment, without putting any real money at risk.

Demo trading accounts are also known as paper trading accounts or a ‘practice account’, so you might see them referred to as such. Paper trading is a throwback term, referring to a time before the internet when you would have to write down the trades you wanted to make and track the performance on paper.

How should I choose a demo trading account?

Copy link to section

Pick a service that offers you the most realistic trading experience, as that’s the best way to learn. Look for demo stock trading accounts that offer the opportunity to do your own analysis and that give you the chance to review your activity to assess what you profit and loss would have been. These factors should also be considered:

  • Realistic trading experience. The point of a stock trading demo account is practice, so look for a platform where the demo account trading experience reflects the real one. That means looking for a demo account where you can properly practice executing trades, using leverage, short stocks, and the ability to put in stop-loss or take-profit orders.
  • Range of supported assets. You want to be able to practice on the assets that you’re interested in, and get relevant information on how well your strategies work. Before you create a demo trading account for stocks, make sure the virtual platform lets you invest in the companies and countries you’re most interested in.
Product Plus500 assets TastyTrade assets TradeStation assets
Stock CFDs 1,800+
ETF CFDs 100+
Forex CFDs 50+
Crypto CFDs 40+
Index CFDs 20+
Commodity CFDs 20+
View more > Plus500 > TastyTrade > TradeStation >

Note that all listed instruments on Plus500 are available to trade as CFDs.

  • Verification and ID required. Almost every real-money account requires some form of verification. Demo accounts can be different, and if you don’t want to supply personal details and ID just to trade digital money then look for a trading platform that allows you to sign up with just an email address and phone number instead.
  • Integrated software. Many traders use specialist software like MetaTrader to make trades and manage their accounts. This is particularly relevant to FX traders and if it applies to you, make sure the day trading demo account integrates with the software so you can practice properly and get to grips with it.
  • Charting and analysis tools. Performing technical analysis is an important part of making good trading decisions. You should trade on a demo account just as you would on the real markets in order to get the best out of it, so make sure you are able to do so.
  • Fees for real money trading. In an ideal world, you would use a free demo trading account with the same broker as you want to use to trade for real. In that case, look for a service that offers low trading fees and which doesn’t charge too much for deposits and withdrawals.
Asset Plus500 fees TastyTrade fees TradeStation fees
Cryptocurrencies From 2%
Commodities From 0.04%
Currencies From 0.8%
Indices From 0.7%
Stocks From 0.08%
View more > Plus500 > TastyTrade > TradeStation >
  • Copy or social trading function. Copy or social trading is a form of trading where you follow the moves of other people. Each trader posts their trades, and the reasons behind them, like they would on a social media platform and you can copy the ones you like best. The best copy trading platforms are a good way to learn and it’s normally available to virtual traders as well as real ones
  • Time limits. Many brokers offer unlimited free demo accounts for trading to allow you ample practice time. However, some may impose 30, 60 or 90-day limits on their demo or virtual accounts. This can be inconvenient if you are not ready to fund a live account before the demo expires. When selecting a broker, check if their best trading app with demo account offers unlimited access or if you must transition to live trading within a set timeframe. Unlimited demos allow you to keep honing your skills until you are fully prepared to trade with real capital.

How does a demo trading platform work?

Copy link to section

It simply swaps real financial markets for a simulated version. In that simulated world, you can use virtual money to buy virtual financial assets, whether that is stocks, currencies, cryptocurrencies, or anything else. 

Stock trading demo accounts are normally activated by just flicking a switch in your account settings. The service assigns you a fixed amount of virtual dollars – usually $100,000 or $1,000,000, though you may sometimes be handed unlimited virtual funds – and you decide what to do with it.

You may not need to sign up to access the demo version. We found a few brokers that offered us demo stock trading accounts without requiring all the ID verification a full account would require.

How should I choose a demo trading account?

Copy link to section

Pick a service that offers you the most realistic trading experience, as that’s the best way to learn. The demo account should be free and should allow you to trade live (or close to live) prices.

In addition, think about other features that might be useful to a beginner, such as copy trading. With copy trading, you can literally copy trades from other users, and this can be a good way to get to grips with the sort of analysis that works for the pros. Not every demo provider offers this, but it’s a bonus if they do.

It’s vital that a demo account allows you to trade all the markets you’re interested within a virtual environment. That way you can test your strategies and get genuine feedback on how they’re likely to fare once you transition to real money. The Plus500 demo account has an excellent range of markets available and lots of educational content, so its easy to learn new skills while you practice.”

Prash Raval, expert trader & Invezz Financial Writer

Then there are features that aren’t as sexy or exciting but are very important when it comes to using a service on a day to day basis. What’s the support system like? Is there a training academy, FAQs, and a customer service line you can contact if you run into problems? And, most importantly, how have other users found the service?

We use verified user reviews as part of our overall review process. It can be helpful to use other people’s experiences to influence your own decisions, particularly if they have a similar level of experience, budget, or investing goals. Reviews from beginners play a big role in our demo account reviews, as that audience is the one most likely to sign up for a virtual account in the first place.

I was a complete beginner when I started on eToro but have found it very user-friendly. Lot’s of information on there and easy to navigate. If ever I’m unsure of anything my account manager Varun is always able to help me out.”

Lindsay C, Trustpilot

Here’s a quick look at how the top demo trading accounts compare when it comes to these foundational features.

Educational resource Plus500 resources TastyTrade resources TradeStation resources
Demo/virtual account Yes
Video tutorials/webinars Yes
Walkthrough guides Yes
Copy trading No
Trading academy Yes
View more > Plus500 > TastyTrade > TradeStation >

What to consider before moving from a demo account to real money

Copy link to section

The leap from virtual funds to real capital carries more risk and responsibility. You’ll need to make sure you are fully prepared before transitioning to live trading. Here are some key points to consider before making the switch. 

  • Profitability. Have you demonstrated consistent profitability on your demo for a reasonable period of time, such as 3-6 months? Don’t rush into real trading until you’ve proven your strategy works. You may want to wait longer to ensure your trading system works in various market conditions. 
  • Psychology.  Demo trading lacks real financial pressures. Be aware of how emotions like fear and greed may impact your real trading. When trading with simulated funds, it is easy to turn a profit, but real trading is a different game.  Take time to work on the mental aspect.
  • Slippage. Demo platforms may not reflect true liquidity. Real price slippage on market orders can be greater, impacting your exits. When you trade a demo account, you will rarely encounter slippage, which can lead to a false assumption that it does occur. When you trade live, slippage can happen so factor this into your strategies.
  • Fills. In live markets, order fills may not be instant. In demo mode, your trade will be filled almost instantly. It’s the same as slippage above; you may assume order fills are irrelevant. Ensure you account for execution delays when planning your risk management.
  • Additional costs. Live trading entails fees like commissions and overnight financing. Account for these costs when determining position sizing and profit targets. Some demo accounts let you access a trading platform for free, but charge for certain services when you’re trading live. 

The goal is to avoid transitioning to live trading prematurely before addressing these key differences. Patience and practising proper habits on a demo can pay off with consistency when you make the switch.

The temptation is rush onto the live markets as soon as you see some profitability on your demo account. Try to resist this impulse, as you won’t know if a trading strategy works until it’s been tested against a range of different economic climates. I love the eToro demo account because it gives you $100,000 virtual dollars to play with over an unlimited time period, which allows for genuine testing with no time pressure.

James Knight, Invezz Editor of Education

Should I use a demo trading platform to practice trading stocks?

Copy link to section

A demo account is a great idea if you’re new to trading or want to test out a new strategy. It’s a way of trading without the risk of losing money, which is always most acute when you first start something new.

Popular trading platforms offer demo accounts that are almost identical to the real thing. You can often even use trading software like MetaTrader to practice for free, and you can learn whether your strategies work best on specific financial assets.

eToro is a great way to reduce the barriers of entry into the world of investing. The ability to interact with others and find useful resources regarding each stock makes for a very positive user experience.”

John Delves, TrustPilot

The obvious drawback to a demo platform is that it doesn’t offer any way to make money; your successful paper trades won’t translate into profits. It requires patience to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as to avoid chasing those profits when you start trading for real.

What are the risks of using a stock trading demo account?

Copy link to section

One of the biggest risks is that a demo stock trading account can encourage a more aggressive trading style. It’s important to trade as if you did have something to lose, otherwise you might end up making reckless trades when you transition to real money.

Similarly, a hot streak on a trading app with demo account can be a frustrating experience. Beware of trying too hard to recreate that performance on your main trading account; if you’ve taken the time to develop a solid strategy then trust it to deliver good results over time. There is a quick summary of other risks and benefits available below.

Benefits

Copy link to section
  • It allows you the space to practice
  • Beginners can learn the ropes and get to know new software
  • Experienced traders can practice new trading strategies
  • Test out new trading platforms for free
  • Work out which assets work best for your style

Risks

Copy link to section

What are the fees for using a demo trading platform?

Copy link to section

There are no fees for using a demo account. Paper trading is free and you normally don’t have to make a deposit first. Simply go to your account settings and switch on the practice trading account, then get started. Click the button below to find the best free demo trading account.

Best demo trading accounts: user reviews

Copy link to section

One of the most important ranking factors in our rating of the best demo apps and accounts was user reviews and ratings. We place a high premium on how real people have found using a particular app, and the pros and cons they highlight about each service.

We regularly gather user feedback about each of the demo trading apps listed on this page. You can compare how Invezz users rate and review each app below.

Review source Plus500 rating TastyTrade rating TradeStation rating
Trustpilot 4
Google Play Store 4.3
App Store 4.1
View more > Plus500 > TastyTrade > TradeStation >

If you have any feedback about a demo trading account on this page or an app you’ve used, contact [email protected] and we’ll use it to help update our rankings in future.

Bottom line

Copy link to section

While we’ve explored several of the best demo day trading apps and practice accounts, the standout winner is eToro’s demo account. Top demo trading apps like those from eToro offer a simulated trading environment, and demo platforms with realistic asset price movements.

Practice trading accounts offer new day traders access to technical tools, live market data, and trading instruments to build strategy skills without worrying about losing capital.

Before transitioning to a live trading account, we highly recommend new traders spend time with the best user-friendly demo accounts from a reliable and reputable broker to understand how markets move.

Sign up to a demo trading account

Methodology: How did we choose the best demo trading platforms?

Copy link to section

Helping people make better financial decisions is at the heart of our mission at Invezz. 

We periodically test more than 63 demo stock trading platforms to provide our users with clear, accessible guidance on the investing options available. All testing is carried out by our panel of stock market experts, analysts, and active traders who sign up to each demo account broker, conduct research, and score each service.

Our tests are designed to find stock brokerages with free demo account that offer a beginner-friendly, secure investing experience at a fair price. To supplement our practical testing and experience, we research each trading platform to gather any further relevant information. We read online customer reviews, app reviews on the Play Store and App Store, and conduct user surveys to get feedback from real people about what works, and what doesn’t.

Each stock market demo account is awarded a final score based on 130+ data points across 8 ranking categories: cost, reliability, user experience, deposit & withdrawals, investing options, range of products/markets, research & analysis tools, and the availability of educational & learning resources.

We work closely with individual brands to ensure all factual information displayed here is accurate. All data is then fact-checked by an independent reviewer. You can learn more about our expert panel and how we test, rate, and review platforms in our review process.

Why trust our ratings?

Copy link to section

The reviews and ratings on this page are provided by James Knight and Prash Raval, and independently fact-checked and verified by our reviews panel. James is Invezz’s Editor of Education and has been covering investing basics on a daily basis for Invezz since the beginning of 2021. He is an active trader and long term investor, with a particular focus on the stock market. He previously worked for CNBC.

Prash is a Financial Writer for Invezz who has spent 10+ years as a professional forex trader. He continues to trade the spot FX market and has a particular interest in micro and small cap stocks. Prior to joining Invezz in 2021, he created his own educational trading and analysis course to help beginners learn how to trade.

You can ask questions of our reviewing panel, or ask for clarifications by emailing [email protected].

FAQs

Copy link to section
What is the best demo trading app?
Which broker is best for demo account?
Is demo trading accurate?
How do I get a demo trading account?
Where can I practice trading stocks?
Is there an app to practice stock trading?
Can I make money with demo trading accounts?
Why do I trade better on a demo trading account?
How long should I use a stock market demo account before switching to a live account?
Can I reset my online trading demo account?
Does every stock broker offer a demo account?
How long do demo accounts stay open?
Can I withdraw the money from my demo account?
Are demo accounts as accurate as real trading?
Can I trade on a demo account on my mobile phone?
What markets can I trade on demo mode?


Sources & references
Risk disclaimer
James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.
Prash Raval
Financial Writer
Prash is a financial writer for Invezz covering FX, the stock market and investing. For over a decade he has traded spot FX full time while... read more.