Mobile Trading Platforms and Apps for Commodities Traders

Businessman using mobile phone and holding disposable coffee cup while walking on city street
Maskot/Getty Images

Trading commodities has evolved from placing orders through the landline telephones, to cell phones, to computers and now mobile devices.

I recall back in the early days before the Internet, when it was nearly impossible to keep up on the markets if I was outside the office or away from my computer. I would have to call back to the office or to the trading floor to check on the markets.

Much has changed since then.

Now it is easy to get quotes on the market through your smartphone, as well as current updates through the broker’s websites and Twitter feeds. More importantly, most online commodity brokers have introduced mobile applications to allow clients to place trades through their smartphones.

Using Mobile Apps for Commodity Trading

The applications have some of the bells and whistles of a desktop trading platform, but they are obviously nowhere near the same capabilities. Mobile is not really meant to replace the desktop platform, but it provides traders a much-needed tool to supplement the regular trading platform.

There was a time that I wouldn’t place trades if I had to step away from my computer or leave the office. Now, I’m not too concerned about it. Having the assurance to monitor trades and the markets is very important to a trader. I don’t typically initiate new positions through my mobile application, but I mostly use it for closing positions.

Mobile applications for trading commodities may open the door for attracting new traders. These may be investors who were concerned that they had to be attached to a computer in the office all day. Many people work jobs that don’t allow for trading. These could include people who travel frequently or they are outside the office regularly.

The Best Way to Use Mobile Trading Platforms

I wouldn’t try to make a living day trading futures through a mobile trading app. However, position trading can be done very well through a mobile app.

A good rule is to do your homework overnight before the markets open. Then, you can monitor the markets through your mobile application during the trading day. Traders usually look for specific levels or chart setups to initiate trades. If you know these before the markets open, mobile apps will work fine.

Trading commodities has become fairly sophisticated in recent years. Technical traders use sophisticated algorithms and advanced chart patterns. Fundamental traders are able to access an unprecedented amount of research and data in a short period of time. Mobile trading platforms now make this process more convenient and in some cases quicker.

Mobile Apps Versus Desktop Trading Platforms

Mobile trading apps can certainly fill a gap for traders, but they don’t yet have the capability to replace the desktop platform. However, the rate at which mobile is advancing, it is conceivable that someday in the near future they will replace them.

Most of the online futures brokers have mobile trading platforms.

Tradestation, Interactive Brokers, RJ O’Brien and many other brokers have mobile apps available. I have not tested and used all of them, but most of them have similar features. You can tell some are a little behind the curve and they don’t yet have apps ready for all the operating systems - Android, Apple and Blackberry. I would think in the near future, this will become a priority. It is likely that the best desktop platforms out there right now will eventually have the best mobile trading platforms in the future.