Thanks to smart phones such at the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, mobile spread betting has taken off in its small life span. Traders’ behaviour has altered from using the web/phone to increasingly using mobile trading platform, and this trend is only likely to keep growing in future.
Have you noticed the gradual shift away from traditional PC computers towards iPads and iPhones powered by the iOS operating system and tablets and smart phones powered by the Android operating system? On the back of our research, it’s easy to understand why use of mobile technology is rocketing. Many of us will settle down over the weekend with our favoured device no further away than the TV remote control. We will access and digest anything from the latest news, to research on that fund or stock that has been catching our eye. For many, mobile devices are replacing the trusted desktop.
The spread betting companies have noticed this too, which is why most of them offer an iPhone / iPad or Android mobile trading app. Ignoring these trends would be madness, and most internet brokers are a bright bunch and have launched a range of mobile applications. Since the launch of the first applications back in 2010, many providers have seen mobile overtake telephone as the second most popular method of trading, behind online.
Users of Apple’s iPhone and iPad are well catered for by most of the spread betting companies. Early in 2012 I reviewed the iPhone apps provided by Capital Spreads, IG Index, SpreadEx and ETX Capital for a spread betting web site, and I was largely (but not unconditionally) impressed with them all.
Android tablet and phone users are also catered for, but arguably not so well catered for just yet – which I put down to the fact that “city” types are more likely to sport iPhones than Android phones. I have previously reviewed Android apps provided by IG Index and Capital Spreads.
Android users need not despair if they cannot find a dedicated trading app for their chosen spread betting provider, because the Android web browser is able to run most if not all of the spread betting web interfaces due to the Android support for the Adobe Flash plug-in that is missing from the iOS (iPhone and iPad) operating system and which is crucial to fully utilising most of the spread betting companies’ web sites.
If you can’t find an Android app for your chosen spread betting provider, you might just about be able to operate their regular trading web site in an emergency – albeit rather clumsily if you’re using a small screen smart phone rather than an Android tablet. If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you probably won’t need to as you’ll more than likely find a dedicated app.
Most brokers see mobile technology as a growth area with the Android operating system becoming one of the preferred choices in the smartphone market. The ability to regularly check positions, carry out research and possibly even trade is of huge importance to many traders.
City Index were one of the first mobile trading apps on the market and won “Best Mobile Trading Platform” back in 2009 but they are under increasing competition from others. These apps not only allow you trade but contain real time charting and news feeds keeping you up-to-date with the markets.
IG Index now offer their award winning PureDeal on a range of smart phones allowing you to also do everything you can do on the web. including Stop and Limit Orders, with live data feeds and charts. When most of the platform’s were launched execution time was a concern but generally if you’re trading on your phone execution time of 150 milliseconds isn’t a problem when it’s going to take you 15 minutes to run back to your desk from the restaurant. Having a mobile for checking positions and prices is a must. If you have a full time job and what to spread bet, mobile trading is the way to go and likely to be the future.
It is not my intention here to give a blow-by-blow account of how the mobile trading apps work, because this will differ from provider to provider (although many of them are startlingly similar) and will also change over time. My intention in the following screenshots is merely to give you a feel for what the mobile trading apps look like.
My first example is the Capital Spreads Android app, and in particular the “Positions” screen that lists your “in play” spread bets. In the following screenshot notice how your overall account standing is also displayed on the screen.
LCG Android App “Positions” screen courtesy of LCG (prices are indicative)
My next example is the IG Index “Market Detail” screen that for a particular market (i.e. a financial instrument such as an individual equity) combines a chart with the current buying and selling prices. Dealing in the particular market via the Deal Ticket or Order Ticket is just a screen-tap away.
IG Index Android App “Market Detail” screen courtesy of IG Index (prices are indicative)
Mobile App vs. Web Interface
The mobile trading apps make good use of the more limited smart phone screen real estate, and in general they provide most of the functionality provided by the traditional browser-based web interfaces.
There may be a limited number of functions – such as depositing and withdrawing funds – that can only be accomplished using the spread betting providers’ web interfaces, and the mobile apps are typically “modal” in operation such that you can only do one thing at a time whereas the spread betting web interfaces often allow multiple windows and multiple trading tickets to be displayed simultaneously.
It may not be time to throw out the PC just yet, and the mobile trading apps might best be regarded as a complement rather than a replacement for the spread betting companies’ full-blown trading interfaces, but they constitute a credible complement for those who wish to trade on the move.
At the outset I invited you to think of the “tools of the trade” as the various controls and indicators that help you drive your car. Mastery of those controls is necessary but is not sufficient when it comes to being a better driver, and it’s the same with spread betting too. As well as understanding how to use the tools of the trade you also need to master some of the tricks of the trade.