If you’re looking to play the market but don’t feel ready to invest your own money, there are options for you on the internet. A quick search of Google for “free stock trading games” will turn up 20 million results. (And a lot of them might even be worthwhile.)
We’ve checked out a few of these games to help you weed through our search results. Here are the stock trading games we like best.
HowtheMarketWorks is a fun platform which includes a free stock trading game. You can join an existing game or create your own, and if you sign up for the site using Facebook it’s easy to invite your friends to play.
If you choose to create your own game, you’ll be given a variety of options to choose from. What is your players’ starting cash balance? Is your currency pounds, dollars, rupees or something else? Do you allow over the counter stock trades? You get the idea. There are a number of ways you can customize your game.
How The Market Works has its own contests, too, in which you’ll be playing against thousands of other investors. While most don’t offer cash prizes, there are a few that will reward the winners with Amazon gift cards or other gifts.
Keep in mind that when you’re playing the How The Market Works free stock trading game, the stock quotes are delayed by about 15 minutes. While that’s okay in theory, it can allow players to cheat. But we know you wouldn’t do that.
Investopedia Stock Simulator
We love Investopedia! If you’re tired of being made to feel dumb for not knowing something about trading, come to this site. Investopedia breaks down financial concepts for you, making them simple to understand.
Investopedia has great financial news, a comprehensive encyclopedia and current stock quotes. But it also offers a free stock trading game. Like How The Market Works, you can register with Facebook and play with friends.
There’s a stock simulator and an FX trader, both of which are free to use. You’ll start with a $10,000 account balance, and can trade stocks easily in just a few steps. While you’re playing, you can also add stocks to your watchlist, research companies or view your rankings. And if you’re confused about anything, the site itself is a great resource.
We decided to add SimVest to our list of free stock trading games. Not because it’s so good, but because it’s an example of what you should absolutely not do.
SimVest is wholly terrible. It’s riddled with ads from third parties, and blatantly so. The design itself is comprised of colors you’d see on an Easter egg hunt – very distracting and difficult to read. And there are so many ads that the contests themselves are hard to find.
But if you just want to spite us and use SimVest, you’ll have similar options to the above two games. You can join a game or you can create your own. You’ll set an opening account balance, choose a commission price, and indicate which markets you’d like to include. Orders can execute after hours, so if you’re somehow able to find your contest the next morning, you’ll have an updated portfolio.
SimVest may be a great platform for some, but overall we’d recommend that you look elsewhere. There are so many great free stock trading games that this one shouldn’t even be on your radar. Take one glance and we’re sure you’ll agree.
Wall Street Survivor
The biggest draw to the free stock trading game at Wall Street Survivor is that with your account comes access to clever little courses. As dry as investing and finance can be, Wall Street Survivor has done its best to develop appealing courses, with such titles as “Managing My Life 101” and “Going Deeper with Stocks.”
You don’t have to complete courses in order to play the game at Wall Street Survivor, but we’d recommend it! If you choose not to, go ahead and jump right in to the contests. You can create a league or join one. If you create one, you’ll have all the options we’ve already mentioned: account balance, ETFs, and the like. Option trading, margin trading and short selling are examples of the options you’ll have. You can even choose and upload your league’s logo for fun.
An alternative to creating your own league is joining one of the leagues which are already available. At the time this article was written, for example, Investor’s Business Daily had a sponsored league. The winner will receive a $300 cash prize (as well as a subscription to the publication).
When you’re looking for a free stock trading game, there are two extremes. On one hand, you’ll see games which have a basic and uncluttered interface, offering pretty much nothing but the game. There’s no news, no scrolling ticker, not even a blog. It’s just you and your game.
And on the other hand, there’s SimVest, which sports the type of cluttered nonsense you’d see on a homemade website from the 1990s. Market Watch is somewhere in the middle. It isn’t nearly the eyesore that is SimVest, but it’s not bare bones, either.
As with the others, Market Watch will allow you to create your own game or join an existing game. We like that you can choose between an “normal” game and an “advanced” game. The difference between the two lies mainly in whether you can make limit orders, stop loss orders or trade partial shares.
The Market Watch site itself is a good resource for financial news, stock quotes and opinion. It’s not as comprehensive as sites like Investopedia, but it’ll certainly give you a head start if you’re trying to keep up with news and play the market at the same time.
Because most free stock trading games use real time quotes, they’re going to be fairly similar in what you can do. Some will give you more options than others, but you can usually create your own contests with friends. Check out the games we’ve listed, and find the one you’re most comfortable with. Have fun!