Thinkorswim simulated trading demo account. Thinkorswim paper money trading. Can you use Thinkorswim without account?

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Overview of Paper Trading on Thinkorswim

Charles Schwab’s popular trading platform, thinkorswim, is one of the industry's most popular paper trading services. Several platform choices, a long list of tools and services, and access to all of Charles Schwab’s available assets make thinkorswim a great platform to practice trading on.

Getting Started

Getting started with thinkorswim's paper trading service is easy.

Charles Schwab provides one of the best paper trading services in the industry. They make it even better by allowing customers to try their software with or without a brokerage account.

To register for paper trading and to download the software, you simply create a free Charles Schwab account.

Charles Schwab collects some information from new investors before allowing access to the downloadable trading platform.

If you already have a brokerage account, there is nothing that you need to do to enable paper trading as it comes standard with every account.

To access the paper trading environment from the thinkorswim platform, you must choose paper trading when logging in.

thinkorswim paper trading

Thinkorswim Paper Trading Platforms

Since Charles Schwab’s Paper Trading service is a feature of the popular trading platform thinkorswim, you’ll need to download and install thinkorswim on your PC or smartphone.

Once downloaded, you’ll be prompted to use the login credentials you created during the previous step. Alternatively, you can use your Charles Schwab account login information.

You can use any one of the three thinkorswim platforms. There is a mobile app, a browser-based platform, and the main desktop trading platform.

Your platform choice will largely depend on the type of paper trading you plan to do. If the strategies you want to practice require complex charting tools and access to Charles Schwab’s full suite of services, the desktop solution is the best choice.

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Get Thinkorswim and $0-fee trades at Charles Schwab.

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TOS Paper Trading Cost and Fees

One thing that makes paper trading so popular on thinkorswim is the cost structure. It does not cost anything to use the software. That means using the paper trading service is also free.

In addition to free access to thinkorswim, there are no account minimums to keep up with. Membership fees are also a thing of the past.

Thinkorswim Demo Account Market Data

Live market data at Charles Schwab is always free. The thinkorswim platform provides all the data one would need to make informed decisions based on current market-generated information. For paper trading, that ability is undoubtedly valuable.

Included in the complimentary market data subscription is NASDAQ Level II data. That means you do not need to subscribe to additional data feeds if you want to learn or practice using Depth of Market or any of the other Level II-related trading tools.

If you want to subscribe to Charles Schwab’s market insight services, Market Edge Daily, you will pay extra. However, for Paper trading, these subscriptions are not necessary.

Benefits of Paper Trading on Thinkorswim

There are many benefits to using thinkorwim’s Paper Trading service. Some traders use it to get accustomed to the trading software, others to practice trading in a live environment, and others to hone their skills.

Here are some of the ways thinkorswim’s Paper Trading service can help you as an investor.

thinkorswim paper money

Strategy Testing (Backward and Forward)

When it comes to successful trading, consistency is vital. Many would argue that trading is nothing more than a numbers game that is highly dependent on probable outcomes.

Understanding the probability of a successful trading idea is crucial if that is true. Paper Trading offers investors a safe environment to test trading ideas (edges).

Thinkorswim has a backtesting engine baked right into the software to help you see how an idea would have historically performed.

For many, backtesting is only the first step.

Acting on signals (edges) as they present themselves is paramount. To practice doing that, using a service like thinkorswim’s paper trading can be very beneficial.

thinkorswim paper money

Traded Many Asset Classes

Another benefit to the broker’s paper trading service is the fact that you can trade all of Charles Schwab’s available asset classes.

Unlike many other paper trading services, you're not restricted to trading stocks. At thinkorswim, you can trade stocks, futures, Forex, commodities, and derivative securities. You can even practice more advanced trading techniques, such as trading Forex pairs, futures spreads, and more.

Practice Scalping on Thinkorswim

Some investment strategies require practice and skill. One such strategy is scalping.

Without the required experience, making mistakes and losing money is too easy. Whether you want to practice scalping stocks, ETFs, futures, or Forex, having a paper trading account to hone your skills can certainly be helpful.

Research Tools

Other useful features available in thinkorswim are the education and research tools.

Thinkorswim offers a full education suite covering a depth of topics ranging from margin trading to position management to knowledge of the financial markets.

Thinkorswim also offers many research tools, such as analyst reports, sector comparisons, live news feeds, and analytical tools for risk assessment.

thinkorswim paper money


Screeners are another helpful addition to the Paper Trading service. You can practice locating trade ideas based on predetermined criteria. Then, with the paper trading toolset, you can put your ideas to the test.

Account Types

Thinkorswim's paper trading also allows you to practice with multiple account types. You can set up standard brokerage accounts and retirement accounts to see what kinds of trading are permitted for each account type.

Thinkorswim’s Paper Trading Pros and Cons

Thinkorswim has many pros regarding paper trading, but it is also good to consider the potential cons.


  • Free platforms to practice with
  • Free live market data
  • Full library of research tools
  • Professional charting tools
  • Analytical tools to assess potential risk/reward
  • Fully customizable screeners
  • Fully-featured mobile app


  • Desktop software takes time to learn
  • Position manager feels dated
  • Browser version of thinkorswim can be sluggish

Can You Use Thinkorswim Without an Account?

You can use thinkorswim without an account at Charles Schwab. However, it is easy and free to open a Charles Schwab account, and you don't need to deposit money to keep it.

Get Free Thinkorswim Platform

Get Thinkorswim and $0-fee trades at Charles Schwab.

Open Thinkorswim Account

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