It only takes a quick search online to see that MT4 is clearly the more popular of the two, both from a forex traders’ perspective as well as brokers’ offerings.
But why is this the case? After all, MT5 is newer software and has some great improvements over its predecessor, such as more chart timeframes and a greater range of default indicators.
One could argue that the problem lies with the fact that more brokers offer MT4, and that not many have started supporting MT5. This is true, to an extent, but brokers will always offer those platforms that traders are using the most, and so it’s prudent to look at why traders themselves haven’t necessarily been demanding MT5 support.
Perhaps the biggest reason is the programming language called Expert Advisors. Called EAs for short, these are the automated trading systems that MetaTrader is popular for. Programmed code written for MT4 EAs will not work with MT5. This is a drawback for those forex traders that devoted much time and energy learning how to code for MT4 to build their own strategies; not to mention those that have built their preferred library of EAs over time, and do not want to have to trawl the web for those same indicators to work with MT5. Custom indicators tell the same story: those written for MT4 will not work with MT5.
Hedging is another factor. MT5 does not allow investors to have concurrent trades running in opposite directions. It’s a significant omission for those looking to temporarily hedge when the opportunity arises.
The interface also warrants a mention here. Although the same layout is mostly retained between MT4 and MT5, the buttons on the newer platform are slightly larger and therefore take up more precious screen real-estate. A small issue perhaps, but when the focus should be on charts and pricing– the more screen space the better.
Personally, I think traders’ habits play a big part in the popularity (or lack thereof) of MT5. It takes no small amount of time and effort to learn, and customise, a new trading platform and forex traders have enough to concentrate on with their strategies alone. The old saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ rings particularly true in this case.
MT4 is a great platform, especially once you get to know its ways. Until there are compelling reasons to change – with no downsides – I have a feeling that MT4 will remain the most popular for some time.
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