How to Trade Forex using MetaTrader 4
Of all the trading platforms, MetaTrader 4 is considered one of the most popular and widely-used trading systems on the planet. Dive into the details of MetaTrader 4: its features, how MT4 can help you as a forex trader and how to access it with us.
What is MetaTrader 4?
MetaTrader 4 is an online trading system - in fact, it's the world's most widely used trading platform. Millions of people speculate on the markets using MetaTrader 4 (or MT4 as it's commonly known) every single day.
Owned and developed by MetaQuotes Software, MT4 is considered the 'OG' of trading platforms, as it was launched back in 2005 and remains widely used to this day.
Why does it matter?
The real question for most is: what does it matter whether I trade on MetaTrader or on another platform? Why should I care?
Think of it this way: the platform you use contains the tools with which you speculate on markets and open positions and it's also the foundation on which your trades stand. Choosing the right trading platform means:
- It's easy to learn, which is valuable as it results in you being able to begin trading earlier
- A good user interface that's intuitive, so you can trade faster and more confidently
- Fast order entry, so you can time opening and closing your trades just right
- It's versatile, so you can use it for speculating on more than one market
- It's customisable, so you can finetune it over time to really work with your unique trading strategy
Can I trade forex on MT4?
Yes, you can definitely trade forex on MetaTrader 4 – in fact, it's one of the most widespread uses of the platform. According to the MetaQuotes website, MT4 was designed specifically for forex traders. Many brokers, including us, also recommend MT4 as a forex trading interface.
It offers all the major currency pairs, as well as many of the most commonly traded minor, crosses and exotic FX pairs too. Apart from this, it also offers currency indices, cryptocurrencies*, commodities and much more.
New to FX? Find out more about how to trade forex in this guide
Technical Analysis Features of MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 4 isn't one of the most well-known platforms on the planet for no reason. It has plenty of impressive features, including:
- Numerous different chart setups and chart types to view the markets your preferred way
- Instant execution in most market conditions
- Flexible order types so you can execute trades in several ways, depending on your goals
- A whopping 85 pre-installed technical indicators available on the desktop version for greater insight into trends. Among these are all the most widely used indicators, like the MACD, Bollinger Bands, the RSI, Momentum indicators and more
- You can also 'draw'on the charts yourself for your very own custom indicators and notes
- Analysis tools to help you make sense of market data
- If you can't find something in the standard offering to suit you, you can also use 28 additional Smart Trader Tools
- Access to a large marketplace where amateur and professional developers post indicators and expert advisors, among other tools
Another important feature to note is that, and so it's available 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday. This means you don't have to stay glued to your screen around the clock, unlike some forex speculators. Instead, you can use algorithmic trading to automatically execute positions on your behalf whether you're watching the markets or not.
What are the benefits of using MT4 as my forex platform?
Once you get used to it, MT4 is great for beginners. It's simple and there are many guides and resources to help learn its ropes. This means MT4 works for nearly every skill level and trading experience.
Another reason why MT4 is the number one choice for so many traders is that it's highly customisable. So, you can tailor-make the system to work for the forex markets you want to trade and the forex strategies you'd like to use – vital for a flexible trading experience.
But perhaps its single biggest benefit is the fact that it offers automated trading. This, obviously, is a serious win for any forex trader not wanting to watch the charts 24/7 or miss the kind of split-second trading opportunities only automation can capitalize on.
Apart from this, another point in MT4's favour is the fact that it's used by so many brokers, platforms, expert advisors and people. It's like the universal language of trading platforms – if you can 'speak' MetaTrader, you can speak anything. Whichever provider you deal with for trading and whatever computer or smartphone you have, MetaTrader 4 runs the same.
You'll never need to re-learn how to use it if you already know how, saving you valuable time that you can spend diving right back into trading at any time, rather than 're-learning' a system every time your needs change.
What are the downsides to using MT4 for forex?
Once you understand how to use MetaTrader 4 it's easy to use - but it requires work to get there. MT4 lacks the client-centric trader experience active traders are often used to today. It needs to be studied and learned in order to be comfortable on the platform if you're going to get the best out of it - or even understand it at all. This can mean you are spending valuable time learning how to navigate the system, in which you could be trading on it instead.
Another disadvantage to using MT4 is that you can't, unfortunately, set up your own automated trading parameters. So, while you can have orders automatically filled, you can't teach the MT4 system to look for the exact opportunities in the charts that you've identified with your unique forex trading strategy.
Also, while MT4 is very easy to use once you know how, it's not the sexiest-looking trading software around. It hasn't had significant design changes since its inception in 2005, but it could also pass for software far older than that. As a result, some market users find that the MT4 platform feels antiquated. Nonetheless, it's not always a bad thing as some people prefer the simpler interfaces when it comes to trading which also translates to better resource management and lighter software requirements.
How can I refine my forex strategy on MT4?
Every forex trader knows that you're only going to trade consistently if you have an ironclad forex trading strategy in place. For this reason, it's crucial to use a platform that helps you with your strategy.
Fortunately, MT4 has a very useful tool to help with that. It's called the Strategy Tester – an indicator you can use within the platform. It works by taking your chosen currency pair's market history and essentially stress-testing a new FX trading strategy by looking at the chart data to see where and if your strategy could have been applied.
This is highly useful in and of itself, but it really comes into its own when FX traders use it in conjunction with our very own Pepperstone Smart Trader Tool. Together, the two allow you to actually replay historical market movements and evaluate your chosen indicators based on it. Then, you can even take it one step further by placing simulated trades (as in, not live or in real time) based on your new strategy – then review its performance in detail.
This can save forex traders plenty of costly trial and error learning lessons before becoming profitable. Who wouldn't want that?
Read more about refining your forex strategy with MT4
How do I use MetaTrader 4?
While MT4 is the platform, you can't access it directly, for example online on the MetaQuotes website. Instead, you'll use a financial broker like us to access it. This is a good thing, as all financial trading platforms and brokers have to be licensed and authorised, abiding by financial services regulations that keep you and your money safe.
To use MetaTrader 4 you'll:
- Visit the MetaTrader 4 page
- Download MT4 using the guidelines there
- Learn how to use the platform with our MetaTrader 4 course and MetaTrader User Guide ebook
- Create a Pepperstone account or login to your existing one. You'll be able to get started in minutes
- You'll receive prompts to download the MetaTrader software. This will be done via a computer download for the desktop version
- Once downloaded, launch the MetaTrader platform on either your phone (mobile trading) or your computer (desktop trading) to get started
Not ready to start trading yet?
We're not all trading pros, with a team of expert advisors to help make every position profitable. Trading requires learning by trial and error, and if you're still new to forex or to MetaTrader 4, there's no need to trade live too early. Instead, you can test drive the MT4 platform with us for free on a demo account.
We offer a 30-day trial of all our platforms, including MetaTrader 4 and 5, complete with $50,000 in virtual funds, compliments of Pepperstone. Here, you'll be able to simulate your FX positions in a risk-free virtual environment so you can refine your forex strategy and learn the MT4 platform for a solid month before you begin your forex MetaTrader 4 journey in earnest with live markets.
Can I trade forex on MetaTrader 4?
Yes, you certainly can. MT4 was explicitly designed with FX in mind, and you can trade all the most popular currency pairs, including major, minor, exotic and cross currency pairs with MetaTrader.
Is MT4 good for beginners?
Once you know your way around, MT4 is great for beginners, and traders of every skill level can benefit from the platform – even complete financial market newbies.
That being said, MT4 takes some getting used to, in order to know how to navigate it and the commands, system setup and so on. However, there's a wealth of guides all over the web dedicated just to that, so if you're willing to learn, it can be easy to get started even if you're a forex beginner.
Read this guide for all you need to know about trading on MT4
Can I trust MetaTrader 4? Is it safe?
Yes, MetaTrader is a secure platform. This is foremost the reason it's used by so many brokers, including us, and is widely considered the most popular trading platform on the planet. MT4 makes use of some pretty impressive encryption technology to keep your positions, pricing and identity private.
What's more, traders can't add or withdraw any funds from the MT4 platform itself, a feature which can attract cyber criminals. Instead, you need to do all of that through your actual broker (like us or another MT4 host) and financial brokers have to abide by strict regulations to keep you and your money safe.
Is MT4 a good trading platform?
The short answer is that yes, MT4 is a good platform – and it's great for forex. It's a powerful, secure system that has a huge host of features, many of which are customisable. The longer answer is that, while MT4 is universally considered a good platform by millions, it's not perfect. There are pluses and minuses, just as with any trading vehicle. Only you can decide what platform is 'good' by your definition, based on your unique trading goals, strategy, risk appetite and preferences. That being said, if you're a forex trader, it's tough to go wrong with MT4.
What other platforms can I use, besides MT4?
With us, you can trade on multiple platforms to find your perfect fit. Apart from MetaTrader 4, we also offer TradingView (in fact, we were recently crowned as TradingView's Best Broker for 2022) as well as MetaTrader 5 and C-Trader.
Find out more about our various platforms
Footnotes:*Cryptocurrencies are not available to trade on all standard retail accounts. Contact us for further information to see if you are eligible.