Don’t want to read the whole thing? Here’s the ultrashort version: XTB is the best overall day trading platform in Europe, Interactive Brokers is great for advanced day traders, and Kraken is the winner for crypto day trading.
Day trading is a fast-paced game of buying and selling assets in the same trading session, with the aim of making quick profits – but a high chance of losing everything you put in. The best day trading platforms in Europe offer all the features you need to day trade stocks, currencies, cryptos or commodities: Speed, competitive pricing, charting tools and the ability to go long or short on almost anything.
Best brokers in Europe for day trading
These are the best day trading platforms in Europe in 2023:
- XTB – Best overall, best for crypto CFDs
- Interactive Brokers – Best for advanced traders
- eToro – Best for beginners, best for social trading
- AvaTrade – Best for options, best for mobile trading
- Kraken – Best for real crypto trading
Before you jump in head first, make sure to practice with a paper trading account and never trade more than you can afford to lose.
Best for: Overall, best for crypto day trading
85% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider
Best for: Advanced traders
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is our top pick for the broker with the best day trading platform in Europe for advanced traders. We chose IBKR for its powerful Trader Workstation platform and GlobalTrader app, which provides access to 150 market centres in 33 countries and 24 currencies.
The broker’s Smart Routing technology, which ensures that orders are routed to the best ECN or market centre for optimal execution, is another attraction. Traders and international investors will also appreciate the number of unique research tools, including the Fundamentals Explorer, multiple options tools, model portfolios and GlobalAnalyst.
A major benefit of IBKR is its rock-bottom trading commissions and spreads. IBKR Pro’s tiered pricing plan offers better rates for direct access trading than other leading trading platforms in Europe. We also found lower commissions for futures and options trading and the lowest margin rates of any platform we looked at.
IBKR GlobalTrader also offers a new mobile app that enables global trading of stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrency ETPs and fractional shares. It also allows users to deposit in local currencies and trade stocks on all major exchanges in the US, Europe, Canada and Asia.
IBKR GlobalAnalyst is also a free tool that allows investors to search for undervalued stocks around the world and access financial metrics such as PEG ratios.
With over 2 million client accounts, 2.17 million average daily trades and $10.6 billion in equity capital, it’s hard not to like IBKR.
Best for: Beginners, social trading
77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider
Best for: Cryptocurrency trading (w/ underlying assets)
Our criteria for comparing the best day trading platforms in Europe
We considered the following criteria to work out which platforms in Europe are the best for day trading:
- Range of markets
- Number of tradable asset classes
- Customer reviews
- Trading experience and tools
- Actual testing with live or paper accounts
There are a lot of online brokers out there for European day traders, but we consider the above ones as best in class based on these criteria.
Most of the best day trading platforms in Europe offer a paper trading (or demo) account with virtual money that can be traded risk-free. With these, you can test the platform’s functionality and different trading strategies before you commit any real funds.
What about day trading apps for traders in Europe?
Professional traders don’t use their smartphones for day trading. However, using a trading app can be beneficial for retail traders to keep an eye on the markets during the day or to manage positions. Some of the best day trading apps available in Europe include Interactive Brokers, eToro, XTB, AvaTrade and Fusion Markets. The best app in Europe for trading cryptocurrencies is Kraken.
What platform is best for day trading options?
European traders don’t have a great deal of choice when it comes to platforms for trading options. But there are a few platforms out there, but their availability and pricing models vary from country to country. Currently, the best ones are Interactive Brokers, Tastyworks, DEGIRO, and Firstrade. None of them are particularly friendly towards beginners, so prepare for a steep learning curve no matter which one you pick.
Day trading explained
Day trading means buying or selling stocks within the same trading day. Day trading can also be done with other assets, such as cryptocurrencies. A trading day is when the market is open. For example, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the most traded on exchange in the world, is open from 9:30 AM Eastern Time to 4:00 PM Eastern Time. People who day trade on the NYSE typically do so right after the market opens and just before it closes because that’s when the price swings are the highest. Other markets, like the forex and cryptocurrency markets, never sleep and can be traded around the clock.
Unlike long-term investing, day trading aims to profit from small price fluctuations within a short period of time. Day traders use various techniques, such as technical analysis and chart patterns, to identify opportunities to buy and sell. That is also why traders employ to leverage their bets, as the profits would otherwise be quite meagre. Where regular investors always buy to sell later at a higher price, day traders can also short a stock if they believe it is going to fall in price. Shorting a stock means borrowing the security and immediately selling it in the hopes of buying it back later at a lower price.
What are the risks of day trading?
You’ve probably heard it before, but day trading is not for the faint of heart. Far too many new investors toss themselves into highly speculative trades with no practice at all and go on to lose all their money. Successful day traders have years of experience and a clear strategy that they stick to. They only trade specific markets, are able to manage their risk, and know when to cut their losses when a trade or trading day goes against them.
One of the most obvious risks is that the markets are highly unpredictable and can turn upside down out of nowhere. Human impulsiveness is another critical risk factor, as many are prone to trade on impulse or emotions. For example, it’s often seen that traders who have lost money on trade will try to recapture those losses with new trades.
However, what is probably the most significant risk for retail traders is the use of high leverage. Leverage, also called margin, is essentially money traders borrow from a broker to multiply their positions. In both long and short trades, leverage will magnify the potential gains and losses. If not used properly and with caution, leverage can be a dangerous tool as you can lose not only your own capital but also the money you borrow, which still needs to be paid back.
Day trading stocks
Stocks are the most popular asset class to day trade because they have the best liquidity and are tied to real-world companies. Day traders use a variety of technical analysis tools and conduct in-depth research on these companies to find profitable trading opportunities. Traders will try to guess what’s going to happen with a stock such as Tesla or Apple based on some specific information they have, like a press release, a Tweet, or macroeconomic factors. Among the world’s markets, the U.S. stock market, particularly the NYSE and NASDAQ, is the most popular market for day trading stocks as it has high liquidity and volume thanks to the number of participants and market makers.
Many day traders will also trade stocks in other markets, including the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE), and the Asian markets, such as the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). Traders from different countries typically trade stocks in their domestic markets because these are the most accessible from a language, political, and cultural point of view.
Day trading crypto
Like forex, the cryptocurrency market is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offers high risk and high reward for traders who can handle extreme volatility. Day trading crypto offers great potential for traders to make quick profits, but it also comes with its own set of extreme risks. One of the biggest attractions of crypto trading is the presence of so-called ‘shitcoins’, or low quality coins based on thin air. These can skyrocket in value (or “moon”) one day, only to plummet to nothing the next. Crypto day trading often involves an unhealthy amount of leverage and risk, and day traders should be aware of these dangers.
What is the best broker for day trading in Europe?
XTB and Interactive Brokers are our top picks for the best day trading platforms in Europe. XTB’s xStation web and mobile platforms are intelligently designed, easy to understand for beginners and offer a seamless cross-device trading experience. Interactive Brokers, on the other hand, is the best choice for advanced traders, as the broker’s industry-leading TWS platform offers access to more markets, currencies and trading tools than any other.
Is day trading illegal?
We’re not aware of any European country that has completely banned intra-day trading. Some do have restrictions on what kind of products retail traders can access or how much leverage they are allowed to use. Others have banned domestic cryptocurrency exchanges from offering derivatives. Interestingly, CFDs are not banned in the EU as they are in the U.S. On March 18 2020, during the pandemic, Austria, Belgium, France, Greece and Spain temporarily banned short-selling on a number of their domestic stocks; however, these were lifted only two months later, on May 18 2020.
Why is day trading so hard?
Day trading is hard because it requires a good deal of technical expertise and emotional fortitude. Trading is also a waiting game. Good traders don’t trade just to get in on whatever action there is. Successful day traders must be able to navigate the volatility of the markets, swiftly cutting losses when a trade goes awry, all while maintaining a keen understanding of technical analysis, chart patterns and market dynamics to identify profitable opportunities. The technical aspect of day trading does get easier with experience; however, the risks do not go away.
Can you live off day trading?
The reality is that day trading is a full-time occupation. The best day traders do not do it as a side gig but treat trading as their job. It requires a high degree of dedication, a lot of training, and a significant amount of time spent monitoring markets and analyzing data day in and day out. So yes, you can technically live off day trading, and successful traders are typically employed by large institutions.
Can you day trade with €/£/$ 100?
While technically possible, day trading with a small sum of capital, such as €/£/$ 100, isn’t very common. More capital is usually necessary to withstand market volatility and to gear up a position. Trading with a demo account, even if it doesn’t feel exciting, is the best way to practice if you don’t have any money.
Can you day trade with no money?
Yes, you can day trade with no money by using a demo account (also called a paper account). With a demo account, you can practice your skills with zero risk of losing any real funds. Real day trading, by definition, requires capital to open and close trades.