OptionsHouse – reviews and review of the trading platform

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
  • Binarium
    Binarium

    Top Binary Options Broker 2020!
    Perfect For Beginners and Middle-Leveled Traders!
    Free Education How To Trade!
    Free Demo Account!
    Big Sign-up Bonus!

  • Binomo
    Binomo

    Good Choice For Experienced Traders!

Contents

OptionsHouse Review: Pros and Cons

Is OptionsHouse a Smart Choice for Beginner Investors?

OptionsHouse is one of the lesser known online brokerages, but we think it deserves attention. Read our in-depth review to see if it’s right for you.

12/8/2020 Update: OptionsHouse is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new customers.

Overall Score

Stock Trading

Options Trading

Mobile App

Commissions and Fees

Ease of Use

Research

Trading Platform

4.0

5-point scale

Pros and Cons

  • Low fees
  • Trading platform
  • Extensive options tools
  • Limited mutual fund selection
  • Limited in-depth research
  • Complicated for novices

Bottom Line

Cost effective trading platform for experienced investors

OptionHouse’s fee structure is among the lowest around, and the platform offers great support for investors wanting to get into options. This more complicated investment type is often overlooked or marginalized by some of the more mainstream platforms.

But beginners beware: the site isn’t as user friendly for anyone without a solid background of investment experience and knowledge.

Benefits: Why We Like It

    Low Fees: Most trades on the OptionsHouse platform will cost you $4.95, which is on the low end of the spectrum for transaction fees charged by online brokerages. For those looking to trade options, there is an additional 50 cent fee per contract, but that’s still lower than competing low cost brokerage Ally Invest’s 65 cent fee per contract.

Mutual funds trade at $20, but the broker doesn’t provide any mutual funds with no transaction fees.

Opening an account with OptionsHouse is also easy and cheap. There are no required minimum deposits for trading, although the company recommends at least $1,000. Opening a margin account does require a minimum deposit of $2,000 to get started.

Virtual Trading Platform: Beginning investors can take advantage of the Virtual Trading Platform and virtual broker bucks immediately upon signing up for an account. This feature lets you pretend-invest up to $5,000 in securities to learn the ropes of investing before risking real money. It’s a nice way to get introduced to the world of investing.

Options Trading: Given its name, you’d expect OptionsHouse to be particularly useful for options trading, and for the most part that’s true. There are a number of investment tools on the site to help you track investments you’re interested in and execute trades, and the comparatively low cost per contract for options investing makes this an attractive brokerage.

Low cost IRA Accounts: When it comes to individual retirement accounts, OptionsHouse provides one of the lowest cost solutions around. Investors can choose between a Traditional, Roth, SEP, or Educational IRA, all with no setup or maintenance fees. However, the broker will charge you a $60 fee if you decide to close your account.

An OptionsHouse IRA makes sense for investors who plan to fund their retirement primarily through stock and options trading. Those who would like to build a portfolio with mutual funds should consider another broker.

Disadvantages: Why You Might Want to Look Elsewhere

    Research: There’s not much in the way of research tools. The tools provided by OptionsHouse are fine if you already have a general idea of the type of security you want to purchase, but if you’re looking for more guidance or need the input of investment professionals, you’ll probably have to look to third-party sources like Morningstar and Bloomberg.

The broker does offer webinars on investing, and users can take advantage of OptionsHouse’s sister site OptionsMONSTER and its ResearchLAB platform, but it lacks significant third-party research. Also, it doesn’t make it straightforward for an options newbie to get up to speed. New investors may be better off using another online brokerage that caters to them with in-depth “how to” videos.

Limited Availability of Mutual Funds: OptionsHouse doesn’t have a great selection of mutual funds available for purchase through its site.

  • Not Beginner Friendly: Despite the Virtual Trading Platform and $5,000 in virtual dollars, there’s not much else in the way of assistance for new investors. They can test whatever knowledge they do have in the Virtual Trading Platform and start playing around with trades, but those who feel a need to read up on the basics before getting involved might find the platform unhelpful and perhaps even intimidating.
  • Who It’s Best For

    OptionsHouse is a great choice for investors with experience, and it’s an especially good choice for those who want to get involved in options investing. It has low prices and no hidden charges that are going to eat up the money you earn.

    Beginners should be wary, though – to get the most out of the platform, you’ll need at least a basic understanding of the different types of securities, an idea of what you’re looking to invest in, and a list of third-party financial sites that you trust for reference.

    TRADING PLATFORM

    OptionsHouse uses a customizable trading platform that can show as much – or as little – information as you want. This flexibility will be helpful for first-timers who might be overwhelmed by the amount of real-time information flying across their screen.

    The platform comes with a number of proprietary tools meant to help traders quickly find and purchase new investments. Unfortunately, several of these tools (like the Trade Generator) are more for trading options than for stocks, ETFs or mutual funds.

    These tools are mostly intended for investment tracking as opposed to discovery. They’re useful in helping you evaluate a specific stock or ETF or deciding between two similar companies, but they are not as great if you’re doing more general research and don’t yet have a clear idea of the stock or ETF that you’d ultimately like to invest in.

    MOBILE APP

    The OptionsHouse free mobile app is available on Apple and Android devices and lets investors make trades, set order quantities and get real-time information. The app is well designed, easy to use, and was rated four and a half stars by Barron’s.

    CUSTOMER SERVICE

    OptionsHouse provides customer service on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Standard Time. During those hours, you can call, email or live chat. During other times, customer support is limited.

    How it Compares

    TradeKing (now Ally Invest): Another lesser known online brokerage with a very similar fee structure, Ally Invest has some more support for beginning investors and more robust research tools. A big point in OptionsHouse’s favor, though are lower per contract fees on options trades (50 cents vs. 65 cents at Ally Invest).

    OptionsHouse vs Scottrade: Scottrade charges more to trade stocks and options, but you get an easier to use platform, banking services, and over 500 branch locations to help you out.

    No review of OptionsHouse would be complete without taking a look at two of the most popular online brokers: E-Trade and TD Ameritrade.

    BOTTOM LINE: Why OptionsHouse

    To review, here are the pros and cons when considering OptionsHouse:

    • Low fees
    • Virtual trading platform
    • Extensive options trading tools
    • Limited mutual fund selection
    • Lack of in-depth research/education
    • Options trading might be too complicated for novices

    When it comes to costs, few can compete with OptionsHouse. This discount broker is built around the idea that it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep. This low-cost emphasis has helped OptionsHouse stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace of online brokers.

    Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
    • Binarium
      Binarium

      Top Binary Options Broker 2020!
      Perfect For Beginners and Middle-Leveled Traders!
      Free Education How To Trade!
      Free Demo Account!
      Big Sign-up Bonus!

    • Binomo
      Binomo

      Good Choice For Experienced Traders!

    The broker offers some of the lowest rates on stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and retirement accounts. It’s also one of the largest options trading firms in the country, so you can get a lot of investing done through its site.

    OptionsHouse’s lack of research and limited range of offerings make it hard to recommend as your sole brokerage account. Instead, OptionsHouse works best as a companion to a larger broker like E-Trade or Scottrade, which will give you access to significantly more investments for higher commissions.

    Still, for a new trader, OptionsHouse is great way to test the investment waters, especially with the Virtual Trading Platform. And as you learn more, you’ll likely want to explore other, well, options for your investment future.

    12/8/2020 Update: OptionsHouse is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new customers.

    Ross Frasier is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a stock broker comparison and reviews website. Write to Ross Frasier at [email protected]

    Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

    TD Ameritrade has not influenced the content of CreditDonkey. CreditDonkey may earn compensation for accounts opened at TD Ameritrade.

    IQ Option Review

    ​IQ Option is an online trading platform that allows you to trade a variety of financial instruments including binary options, stocks, forex, ETFs, commodities, and cryptocurrency.

    This broker was founded in 2020 and is operated by IQ Option LTD. IQ Option has rapidly become one of the most popular trading platforms for traders across the world with over 48,000,000 registered users and over 1,000,000 transactions per day. IQ Option accepts traders from over 213 countries including India, Nigeria, South Africa, The Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

    IQ Option is based in Cyprus and regulated by the CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission).

    In this IQ Option review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this broker to help you decide whether or not this company is right for you.

    ​​​​​​Custom-built Proprietary Platform

    ​iOS, Android, ​Windows, and MacOS

    ETFs, Digital Options, Binary Options, Forex, Cryptocurrency, Commodities, Stocks

    ​Countries Not Accepted:

    ​United States, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Belgium, Russian Federation, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain.

    ​Credit Cards, Debit Cards, ​Maestro, Skrill, WebMoney, Cash U, Neteller, and Moneybookers

    ​Processed Within 1 Business Day.

    Table of Contents

    IQ Option Trading Platform

    Unlike other brokers that use a standard trading platform, IQ Option has a proprietary custom-built platform to cater to the needs of its users. The platform is very easy to use and is well-designed. It has many useful features including multi-chart layouts, technical analysis, historical quotes, volatility alerts, market updates, stock screeners, economic calendars, and more. It’s also available in 13 different languages.

    ​Within the IQOption trading platform, you can trade a variety of assets and financial instruments including stocks, digital options, binary options, forex, crypocurrencies, ETFs, and commodities. However, it should be noted that binary options are prohibited in the EEA.

    ​In the image below, you can see that the chart is in the middle. The Buy and Sell boxes are on the right-side. Your account balance and the asset you’re trading is located at the top of the screen.

    ​On the left-side of the platform, you’ll see a drop-down box which allows you to choose which financial asset you want to trade. Your available assets to choose from include Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Stocks, ​Options, Forex, Indices, and Commodities. You can browse assets by category or use their search function to find a specific asset.

    ​On the right side of the trading platform interface, you will have the option to enter the amount you wish to trade and whether you want to Buy or Sell. You can also enter a multiplier if you wish to multiply your potential profit by a coefficient. However, a multiplier increases the risk as well. You also have the ability to close the trade automatically if the asset reaches a certain threshold that you set forth.

    ​Video Demo of How To Trade With IQ Option

    What Assets Can You Trade With IQ Option?

    IQOption originally started off as just a binary options broker, but they now offer clients the ability to trade Contract For Difference (CFDs) on Cryptocurrency, ETFs, Forex, Stocks, and a variety of binary option contracts.

    Stocks

    As of this review, IQ Option allows you to trade CFDs on 169 of the best-performing stocks without opening fees. The minimum investment is $1 for Stock CFDs with leverages up to 1:20. Their list of stock assets include some of the biggest companies in the world such as Apple, Tesla, Amazon, Boeing, and many more.

    Forex

    FX trading is one of the most popular trading markets on IQOption. This broker offers competitive spreads and a wide range of currency pairs including EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, USD/CAD, AUD/USD, NZD/USD, and USD/CHF. Currently, there are 50 Forex Pairs on the IQ Option platform.

    IQ Option gives you the ability to trade CFDs on Exchange-Traded Funds, also referred to as ETFs. An ETF is where many different assets are combined into one basket. There are 25 ETFs currently available to trade.

    Cryptocurrency

    IQ Option allows you to trade CFDs on 27 different cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Ripple, Neo, Cosmos, Binance Coin, Litecoin, Cardano, ZCash, TRON, Stellar, Iota, Dash, EOS, and Bitcoin Cash. You can expect great margin trading leverge and short selling options with quick deposits and easy withdrawals.

    Commodities

    IQ Option currently offers CFDs on 5 commodities including Silver, Crude Oil Brent, Crude Oil WTI, Gold, and Platinium.

    Trade Types and Payouts

    Binary Options

    Binary options is a financial instrument that pays a fixed return for a correct market prediction on the price of an asset within a predetermined time-frame, or expiry time. Correctly predicting an asset’s price movement (up or down) can result in a profit of up to 95%. Trading binary options on IQ Option has a $1 minimum investment, $0 brokerage fees, and expiry times ranging from 60 seconds until the end of the month.

    Digital Options (CFDs)

    Digital Options is a financial instrument that allows you to speculate on the extent of the price movement of an asset. Payouts for digital options can go as high as 900% if the asset reaches the threshold specified by the trader. The minimum investment for digital options is $1 and the expiry times range from 60 seconds to 15 minutes.

    Technical Indicators

    IQ Option offers over 15 different technical indicators to help you identify trends and to spot profitable trades. The 15 technical indicators that are available to you include: MA, Volume (exchange), Bollinger Bands, Alligator, RSI, MACD, Parabolic SAR, Stochastic Oscillator, Awesome Oscillator, ATR, ADS, Fractal, CCI, Ichimoku Cloud, KDJ, DPO, and Belkhayate Timing.

    ​Charting Tools

    ​In order to help you get the most benefit from trading with IQ Option, the broker offers a variety of charting tools that can help you formulate a successful trading strategy. The 5 charting tools available on IQ Option include Area, Line, Candles, Hollow Candles, and Bars.

    Mobile Trading

    IQOption offers clients the ability to trade options and CFDs using their proprietary mobile application. The mobile app works on Android and Apple iOS operating systems. It is available for download via the Apple Store or on Google Play.

    The app is very easy to use and has a very clean and intuitive graphical interface. It has the same charting options that you can find on their regular web-based platform as well.

    By using the IQOption mobile app, you can:

    • Execute Trades
    • Check Account Status
    • Stay Updated With Market Developments
    • Use Charting Tools
    • Setup Customizable Alerts and Push Notifications
    • And More

    ​Account Types

    ​IQ Option ​has 2 different types of trading accounts to choose from: Standard and VIP.

    For a standard trading account, just a $10 minimum deposit is needed. Unlike other CFD providers, there are no restrictions on trading functionality. You get access to over 350 ​assets to trade as well as 24 hour withdrawal​ processing. You also get access to several trading competitions that are held on the IQ Option platform (only applies to customers outside of the EU).

    A VIP trading trading account is only available for clients that deposit $1900 or more within a 2-day period. A VIP account includes a personal account manager, monthly reports on your trading records, and 3% in additional returns. VIP accounts are only available to customers outside of the EEA.

    IQ Option Demo Account

    ​Like many brokers, IQ Option offers a free demo account that includes $10,000 in virtual money. There is no limit on how long you can use the demo account for. This offers you the ability to test different trading strategies and to get familiar with the platform before investing real money. If you run out of virtual funds inside of your demo account, you can have them replenished so you can continue practicing.

    You don’t have to register or give out your personal information in order to access the IQ Option demo. This is not always the case with other brokers, as a lot of companies require you to provide at least an email address in order to gain access to their demo.

    Cryptocurrency Multiples

    IQ Option has recently came out with a product known as “Cryptocurrency Multiples”. The product basically works the same as a leveraged trade, where the price movements of an asset is magnified by a multiplier. Cryptocurrency multiples was originally produced with the idea of Bitcoin X 100. This essentially increased the price movement by 100X times, which created a large opportunity, as well as risk, for traders.

    Due to the popularity of Bitcoin X 100, IQ Option has expanded the concept to IOTA, Ethereum, Ripple, and other cryptocurrencies. The multipliers you have to choose from include X20, X50, and X100. However, the cryptocurrency multipliers are only available for citizens outside of the EU.

    FX Options

    IQ Option is one of the only brokers that offer a product called FX Options. Currently, this product is only available for the 5 main currency pairs.

    FX Options are available in regulated markets inside the European Union. They are similar to binary options because they offer a fixed-risk investment. You understand the potential profit and risk upfront. Each FX Option has an expiry time and the potential profit depends on the asset’s price. Payouts can reach up to 2000% and there is a minimum trade amount of $30 for FX Options.

    It’s also important to know that FX Options can be sold at any time, even before expiry time is reached. This is a useful feature that can help you lock in profits or cut losses.

    ​Order Types

    ​IQ Option offers its traders a variety of order types and stop loss tools to help minimize losses and maximize profits on binary option trades.

    Stop Loss Orders – This feature allows you to set a maximum loss that you’re willing to accept on a trade. When this order type reaches the amount you specified, the trade automatically closes to limit your loss.

    Multiplier Orders – This feature allows you to improve your return on investment via a multiplier. If you set a multiplier, the price movement of the asset will increase by 20X, 50X, or 100X. This feature can dramatically increase your profits as a result, but it can also expose you to more risk as well.

    Take Profit Orders – This feature is the exact opposite of a stop loss order. You can close a trade early and take your profit when it reaches your specified amount.

    Pre-Order – This feature allows you to enter the market when an asset reaches the exact price that you specify. Once the asset reaches that price, the trade will be executed automatically.

    Regulation and Security

    Over the years this binary option broker has been operational, it has won multiple awards praising it’s quality of service and reliability for customers. IQ Option is recognized as one of the best brokers in the industry by many millions of traders worldwide.

    IQ Option is regulated by the CySec and is registered in Cyprus under the company name “IQ Option Europe LTD”. ​ This means that they are able to service clients within the EEA. ​

    For traders that reside outside of the European Economic Area, their trading accounts are managed by a sister company known as “IQOPTION LTD”. This company is registered in St. Vincent and Grenadines, and this entity is not regulated.

    Deposits

    The minimum deposit for opening a real account with IQ Option is $10 USD/GBP/EUR. This broker does not charge any processing fees for depositing funds. In order to make your first deposit, you will have to go through an account verification process which might require photo identification. Some countries will have different requirements than others.

    For your convenience, IQ Option offers many different ways to deposit money into your account including credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) and wire transfers. This broker also accepts many different E-wallets including Skrill, Maestro, WebMoney, Neteller, Cash U, and Moneybookers.​ IQ does not accept Paypal as a payment method.

    ​Withdrawals

    The minimum withdrawal amount for IQ Option is $2. ​In order to make a withdrawal request, you will need to use the same payment method as your deposit because the transaction is processed as a refund. Afterwards, you can choose whichever payment method you want for withdrawals. Bank transfers may incur a small processing fee.

    In order to withdrawal funds from IQOption, you’ll need to verify your identity. This verification process can take up to 3 days and is necessary to prevent fraudulent activity and to secure your account from unauthorized use.

    All withdrawal requests are processed by IQ Option within ​1 business day​. If you request a withdraw to a bank card, it may require additional time depending on your bank.

    Is IQ Option Safe?

    Yes, IQ Option is safe. This company is one of the biggest and most successful binary option brokers in the industry with over 40,000,000 registered users. They are also licensed and regulated by the CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) and the FSA (Seychelles Financial Services Authority). All client funds are held in segregated bank accounts for further security. IQ Option is also a member of the Investors Compensation Scheme, which protects client funds up to a maximum of $20,000.

    Can You Really Make Money With IQ Option?

    Yes, of course you can make money with IQ Option. In order to make a profit, you have to correctly predict an asset’s price movement by the time the trade contract expires. IQ Option offers short-term trades that allow you to make money within 60 seconds if you predict the market direction correctly. Binary options pay up to 95% profit, while digital options pay up to 900% profit.

    Bonuses and Promotions

    Due to regulations set forth by the CySec, IQOption.com doesn’t offer any type of deposit bonuses.

    However, this broker does offer trading competitions that allow you to compete against other traders for prizes ranging from $100 all the way up to $100,000. Unfortunately, these trading tournaments aren’t available for citizens within the EEA. Standard accounts can join the competitions for a fee, while VIP accounts get free entry.

    ​​Countries and Languages

    ​Countries NOT Accepted:

    Unfortunately, IQ Option is not able to accept traders from the United States, Russia, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Belgium, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. The countries listed above have stricter restrictions and regulations, making it difficult for IQ Option to provide trading opportunities to their citizens. ​

    Countries Accepted By IQ Option

    IQOption accept traders from over 213 countries including Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Germany, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Macedonia, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

    Related Content:

    Customer Support

    IQ Option ​has various forms of customer support including email, telephone, and online chat. There are currently about 90 customer service support representatives available to assist you.

    For your convenience, IQ Option has toll-free phone numbers available in the following countries: United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, India, Singapore, Thairland, Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, and Chile.

    For online chat support, the average wait time is an impressive 38 seconds. For email support, the average response time is 14 minutes.

    ​Is IQ Option A Scam?

    ​Absolutely not! As of 20​20, this broker has over 41 million registered users from over ​213 countries worldwide. The number of active traders is growing every year and there’s no signs of that changing. They also process more than 1 MILLION transactions per day.

    IQ Option is a legit broker and one of the most reputable companies in the industry. Their ​intuitive trading platform is the best around and we highly recommend IQ Option to traders of all experience levels, beginner to advanced.

    ​* CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

    Robert Wolfe is the founder and chief editor of Impact Investing Collaborative. Robert is an expert trader with over 10 years of experience trading binary options, Forex, and CFDs. He prides himself in providing accurate and in-depth reviews in order to help others find a trading platform that fits their needs. When Robert isn’t actively trading or managing Impact Investing Collaborative, he enjoys spending time with his 3 kids, playing golf, and spending time outdoors.

    Welcome To Our Site!

    My name is Robert Wolfe and I’m an online trader with over 7 years of experience trading financial instruments such as binary options, CFDs, forex, and stocks. I created this website to share my knowledge of the industry so you can avoid the same mistakes I’ve made.

    What are the Best Brokers for Options Trading?

    In two simple trades, a man recently turned $766 into $107,758. Those kinds of trades spark interest from all kinds of investors, big and small.

    All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. See more information here about how we make money.

    Options trading gained significant traction over the past five years, particularly with retail investors. In response to the increased demand, the best brokers now offer features once only available to the pros, combining amazing trading tools with low commissions and high-quality research tools.

    Beginner investors and advanced active traders can now trade with options confidently thanks to risk management analysis tools that many brokers offer. We’ve looked into the best brokers for options traders and found the following platforms offer the most value to investors. With options trading, brokers earn a much higher profit margin than on a stock trade, but competition is intense, which offers more opportunities for investors.

    This guide reviews each of the best brokers for options trading based on commissions, tools, order types, and incentives. While each of the apps offers unique features and benefits, all of them provide more than adequate tools to help you figure out how set up and execute anything from simple puts and calls to complicated, multi-leg bull and bear spread combinations.

    As the famous investing champion of 1984 Martin Schwartz said, “A lot of people get so enmeshed in the markets that they lose their perspective. Working longer does not necessarily equate with working smarter. In fact, sometimes is the other way around.”

    Let’s see how much smarter your trades will be when working with our top options brokerage firms.

    Best Brokers for Options Trading

    The commission fees for options trades have a different structure than stock trading. They may be higher and a bit more complicated. While some brokers have removed the base fee, there is typically a commission for each contract being traded.

    There are several base charges for each trade and because options strategies often include 2 to 4 legs or more, the costs of placing a trade are more expensive than stock trading. Options also require a margin account rather than a cash account.

    However, investors with bigger portfolios may be able to use portfolio margin minimize the risk of a margin call by offsetting netting gains in one option trade with losses in another.

    1. Interactive Brokers – Overall Best for Options Traders

    Interactive Brokers ranks high in most reviews because of its variety of smart, and easy-use-tool tools for investors interested in global investing trends. Although the firm once catered specifically to active and advanced trading, they have expanded and evolved their offerings to suit less active and less experience traders.

    Here’s a quick list of what we love and don’t love so much about the broker when it comes to options trading:

    Pros

    • $0 account minimum and zero per-leg fee
    • Lowest margin rates in the industry
    • Comprehensive selection of options-based lessons

    Cons

    • Unable to view quotes on more than one screen at a time
    • Customer service is not on par with competitor brokers

    Impressively, Interactive Brokers clients can access any electronic exchange around the globe to trade options, equities, and futures.

    We have ranked them as best overall broker for options trading because of its interactive mobile app, customizable Trader Workstation platform that includes OptionTrader, and cool spread set-up.

    Clients can download Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) app, or access it on the website. The platform has become increasingly more user-friendly and customizable, helping traders of all levels strategize and implement a winning plan.

    The TWS OptionTrader feature displays market data, and allows you to easily create and implement more complex strategies such as combination orders. A favorite feature of the app is that it’s designed to be used through voice command, with minimum typing – sign us up!

    A slightly inconvenient downside, however, is that traders can only see option chains on one screen at a time, so if you have the app open on your phone and then try to get a better picture on your laptop, one platform will become restricted.

    Another downside is that anyone with less than $100,000 in assets in their account will pay a fee of $10 per month and may be charged other fees to receive data in real-time.

    Finally, you will have slightly less features in the app compared to others. However, we don’t think any of the missing features will materially decrease your performance. Your watchlists and alerts will all remain synced.

    Now for more of the good stuff.

    Newer traders will especially love Interactive Brokers’ IBot feature. This feature has been designed to understand and reply to questions asked in simple, plain English. This means that you can ask questions in your own words, whichever way suits you best, and IBot will understand.

    For example, you can ask, “Give me a 1 hour line chart of AAPL”, or “Close all my positions” without any need to know specific financial terms.

    Last but not least, we’ve chosen Interactive Brokers’ as the best broker for options trading because it gives clients the ability to set up a spread in no time and then move it to a future expiry with just a few quick clicks. For traders who use options as a way to supplement their monthly income, being able to easily roll their positions really helps to keep things simple!

    To help you make the best decision, the brokers’ Probability Lab lets you see the probability distribution for any market and try out the trade virtually before betting any real money.

    Overall, if you’re looking for a broker with a bank of smart tools, a great app, and maybe even want to learn more about options trading, then Interactive Brokers might be the perfect match for you.

    2. Ally Invest – Best Budget Option

    Ally Invest comes in second place, and is our top pick for the best low cost options broker because of their low fees and beginner friendly yet robust tools. The broker offers no account minimum, an excellent web based platform, and commission-free trades on options, stocks and ETFs. Here’s what Ally Invest does best, and where it falls short:

    Pros

    • $0 options, stock and ETF trades
    • $0 account minimum
    • Excellent web platform
    • Advanced research and tools

    Cons

    • Mutual funds incur a transaction fee
    • Fully online service with no branches

    “An informed trader is a smart trader” – Ally Invest

    Think you might benefit with more education on options? Ally Invests educational material on options are top quality. Learn everything from the basics of what is options trading to an introduction of understanding option greeks and dividends. Have a browse through their well-laid out options articles to see if they might help improve your trading.

    But fees is where Ally really stands out. If you’re on a budget and/or want to minimize the impact that high expenses can have on your returns as much as possible, then hop on the Ally Invest offers wagon.

    The broker offers affordable, transparent, competitive fees, that won’t slow down your financial targets. Take a look at Ally’s Straight Talk Fees Guide for an upfront and straight-forward run through of fees including; regulatory fees, credit interest, individual retirement, and service fees.

    In a comparative list of fees against some of the biggest names in the business, Ally Invest comes out on top. You can see how they compare in the table below:

    Brokers 10 Contracts Standard Pricing No Account Minimum
    Ally Invest $0 commission fee + 50c per contract
    Schwab $0 commission fee + 65c per contract
    TD Ameritrade $0 commission fee + 65c per contract
    Merrill Edge $6.95 commission fee + $.075 per contract
    Fidelity $0 commissions + $.065 per contract

    This can all seriously add up to expensive costs and if you’re looking to stick to a budget then these can really throw you off, making it an important factor in your decision making; especially if you have, or plan on creating, a larger portfolio. This table shows that while almost all competitors have moved to $0 commission fees, Ally Invest have the lowest per contract fee at $0.50 per contract in comparison to Schwab’s, TD Ameritrade’s, and Fidelity’s $0.65 per contract.

    Not only this, but Ally Invests options tools are pretty on point. Some of them include:

    Profit/Loss Calculator

    This tool helps you “crunch the numbers” to get a better understanding of a trades potential value before making any decisions.

    Probability Calculator

    Options traders can use Ally Invest’s probability calculator to help you determine how close (or far) you are from reaching your goals by using implied volatility.

    Options Chains

    Easily view what readily available to you and place trades with Ally’s intuitive display.

    Research and Market Data

    The importance of quality and up-to-date research can’t be underestimated, and Ally Invest know that. The broker offers customized market stats, news and comprehensive metrics on the companies you have your eye on. This feature will show you company quotes, charts, high/low prices, news, peer performance comparisons, among other things, to help you get a better picture of a company’s current climate.

    As you can see, Ally’s low fees, beginner-friendly education options, and suite of tools make them the best budget friendly option. But, before you make your decision, check out Ally Invest’s options playbook where you’ll see examples of strategies get your creative juices flowing, while also taking into consideration your experience, risk tolerance, and goals.

    3. TD Ameritrade’s ‘thinkorswim’ Platform: Best for Options Tools

    Are you new to options trading? You can easily get started on TD Ameritrade’s app or website by using its intuitive thinkorswim platform. With amazing tools and educational content, traders also have access to live coaching for options as well.

    Pros

    • Free per-leg options trading with no commissions in the US
    • Charges $0.65 per options contract
    • Incredible webcasts available for options on TDAmeritradeNetwork.com
    • Use trading simulator to practice trades
    • Educational tools for learning complex spreads
    • Thinkorswim offers tools for options strategies, rolling spreads, and assessing risk

    Cons

    • Pretty high margin interest rates
    • Some features difficult to use on thinkorswim without coaching
    • Two different platforms for options trading makes it a bit confusing

    If you are an advanced trader, the thinkorswim platform offers a lot of new tools and research options for options traders. You can select from hundreds of different options and look at risk management tools.

    You can also build your own studies with over 500 signals on the downloadable platform or the mobile app. However, the two platforms offer different experiences so learning one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll intuitively understand the other.

    Options traders use the thinkorswim platform to study options strategies, set up rolling spreads to future expiration dates, and assess risk. For inexperienced traders, you can use the site to access education tools for understanding more complex spreads. If you check what you want to learn, TD Ameritrade will customize an education menu for you.

    4. E*Trade: Best Learning Platform for Options Trading

    E*Trade started off as the only online broker, and it has a long history of supporting beginner investors with educational tools and courses. However, expert-level traders can use its OptionsHouse platform to find more data and research on the latest spreads.

    • Options are $0.50 to $0.65 per contract, depending on how much you trade
    • Charting and forecasting tools available on Power E*Trade platform
    • Customizable trading ladders and options chains
    • Multi-leg spreads have an additional base commission charge
    • Very high margin rates

    If you are an options trader, E*Trade offers some of the best research tools and spread options. Recently, the company bought OptionsHouse and then relaunched as Power E*Trade.

    Now, this platform offers access to streaming strategy options chains, which is pretty different from many other platforms. The abundant amount of education content that helps you grow into more advanced spreads and strategies.

    E*Trade lets you work on complex spreads and customized options. For example, you can set up an iron condor strategy and define the strike width of your option spread. Only the data relevant to your options spread will stream for you.

    There’s also a performance risk tool on the side that shows you the risk on any individual holding, but you can also see what it says about your entire portfolio. You can use six different risk ranges to stress test your portfolio.

    Technical Insights is another analysis feature that gives you access to spectral analysis charts and shows you how your spread might perform in the future. With other tools like LiveAction scanners, you’ll see all of the potential trades based on the criteria you set in real-time.

    5. Charles Schwab: Best for New Options Traders

    For an all-around professional options trading platform, Charles Schwab offers great tools with full-service options. You can open a new account and get commission-free options trading in the US. However, they do charge a base fee of $0.65 per options contract.

    • Use the Idea Hub with StreetSmart Edge platforms to see new trading ideas
    • Access options trading lessons that allow you to grow your skills
    • Check out a wide array of asset classes that can be traded on a variety of platforms
    • Excellent research tools for all options spreads
    • Unique trade orders
    • Options trading tools spread between too many apps
    • Clumsy dashboards make it difficult for portfolio analysis on just one platform, web or mobile
    • Typically higher margin rates than average

    Charles Schwab offers tools like StreetSmart Edge, which you can access via your browser or download to your computer. This platform is based on optionsXpress, which Schwab took over in 2020.

    In addition, the All-in-One Trade Ticket gives you access to spread tools that let you select the type of trades you want from a drop-down menu. From there, you can select the legs through the options chain display. If you are familiar with options, this makes it very easy to set up your trades.

    The Idea Hub also lets you look at all of the options contracts available sorted by their market activities or projections for profit in four categories specific to options. These include covered calls, premium harvesting, big movers, and earnings. You can analyze any of the ideas presented by Idea Hub and then click on “Trade” to simply fill the order.

    If you like emerging options or need more education on options, you can use Charles Schwab’s intuitive tools to get more familiar with options spreads. The fees are pretty low, but for more savvy options traders, the tool helps you spot transactions that will negatively affect your margin balance.

    6. Tastyworks: For Specialized Options Trading

    This DIY discount brokerage started from the founders of TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform. Launched in 2020, Tastyworks is a run by Tastytrade and offers an online financial network. It’s a niche trading platform that caters specifically to options experts.

    • Conveniently trade all kinds of options and spreads through different platforms
    • Offers expert tools and options for active traders
    • $1.00 open options trades and $0.00 to close
    • Fast, accurate executions
    • Very stable and fluid tools on the web browser platform
    • Focused on derivatives in particular
    • May be challenging for newcomers to understand
    • Not all asset classes are available
    • Does not include a strong portfolio analysis

    Tastyworks is suited for active options traders who want more advanced options for specialized trades. While the platform has some educational content, it’s mainly used by experienced traders. There are three ways to access and use Tastyworks including the website, mobile apps, and a downloadable application.

    The downloadable version has the most bells and whistles for active options traders. All of the tools help traders with probability, volatility, and liquidity. Much of the education revolves around understanding volatility as founder Tom Sosnoff believes that it’s the best way to understanding profitable trades.

    Executions are typically fast on this platform, and the costs are lower than average with equity option trade commissions set at $10 per leg. Though beginners might be uncomfortable at first, those who enjoy options and understand the basics can use the niche features and content to their advantage.

    7. Robinhood: The Best No Commission Platform for Options

    Robinhood is a newer platform that changed the game when it came out with a no-commission approach to stocks, ETFs, and options trades. You also don’t need to have an account minimum to sign up for Robinhood, and it’s completely mobile-first.

    • No commissions ever on options
    • Streamlined mobile app
    • Great for new investors who only want specific options
    • Easy and low cost margin trading
    • No retirement accounts
    • Only individual taxable accounts
    • Very limited in education resources and online tools
    • Does not support mutual funds and bonds
    • No phone support

    Investor Warning: Carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of any investment company before investing. All securities trading, whether in stocks, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), options, or other investment vehicles, is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss. Robinhood Financial encourages its customers to invest carefully and to use the information available at the websites of the SEC at http://www.sec.gov and FINRA at http://FINRA.org.

    This minimalist stock trading app gained notoriety for being the first stock trading platform to offer commission-free trading. In fact, it could be the reason that many stock trading apps removed fees in October 2020.

    Robinhood is the bare-bones options trader for mobile. It doesn’t have many of the bells and whistles of larger brokerage apps like TD Ameritrade or E*Trade, but it doesn’t have to.

    Being successful on Robinhood simply means knowing how you want to trade options and doing it in a very minimal style. Without any fees whatsoever and low margin rates, you can save a lot of money when it comes to trading options.

    However, you won’t get any spread intelligence tools or portfolio testing tools. You simply use the mobile app to make your trades and check on your portfolio.

    While professional traders may find it limiting, hobbyist investors looking to make some extra money with options can benefit from Robinhood’s no-fee structure and minimalist platform.

    8. TradeStation: The Best Options Trading Platform for Experts

    TradeStation started as an advanced software just for traders. Now it has more options and a mobile app to help those expert traders who love stocks, options, and futures.

    • Fast, highly successful trade executions
    • No fees per trade (but not on ETFs)
    • $0 base on TradeStation Go app with $0.50 per contract
    • $1 per option contract
    • Comprehensive research and charting tools
    • Very active trader community
    • Minimum balance required
    • Highly customizable but also overwhelming for new traders
    • No phone support if you are not a full-service client

    TradeStation really shines for options traders because it does not charge any commissions. Options traders also can use the OptionStation Pro platform, which has a preview mode on the mobile app. You can also create custom watch lists, view charts, and review trends in real-time.

    For research, TradeStation also earns high marks with more than 150 indicators to include in your test strategies. The platform includes over 90 years of stock trading data and also has over 40 years of intraday data.

    While you will love access to a plethora of options research tools, there are some drawbacks to this platform. It’s made for advanced users, so when it comes to trading, you’ll need to go through some tutorials first. There are also additional fees and a subscription to access some of the “pro” features.

    TSgo is the company’s commission-free offering. However, if you want a regular trading account which includes access to TradeStation’s downloadable platform on your computer, you’ll be charged a $5 flat fee for commission schedules.

    If you plan on using TradeStation’s TSgo plan with their mobile app, then you won’t have to worry about fees. You may need to get involved with their community to get some tips on how to use their options tools, but otherwise, it’s pretty straightforward and experienced traders love it.

    What Type of Options Trader Are You?

    Have you thought about what type of trader you want to be? If you already trade-in options, you probably have a strategy to mitigate risk and reap the awards. However, some platforms have different tools and offer more complex spreads.

    Options can be complex, and while all of the brokers above offer different options tools, some are built for more complicated positions. You may be able to take only one position per order, which means that you will need to place several individual orders at one time to create your position.

    If you are a beginner to options, you may have studied how options control a fixed amount of a security. Typically this means you can buy one option that controls 100 shares of stock.

    Options are also broken down into calls and puts. “Calls” state that you have the right to purchase the underlying security, and a “put” means that you have the right to sell it. Options decrease in value as their expiration dates draw closer. When you buy a call or put option, you restrict your risk to the option’s original buy price and any fees charged by your broker.

    While most stock trades are straightforward, there is a learning curve with options trading. There are generally four main types of options orders.

    Buy to Open

    Do you want to buy a call or put option? You’ll use buy to open. This is probably the most common type of options trading. Traders use the buy to open order when they want to establish a short or long position on an underlying security.

    If you anticipate that a particular options contract will surge in price, then buy to open orders are perfect. You can buy call options to open a long position and put options to open a short position. When buying options, your downside is limited to the price of the contract. When you want to exit your position in the future, you would place a sell to close order.

    Sell to Open

    In this options trade, the trader wants to open a trade and sell off the option by making “naked calls” or “naked puts.” If you think an option is likely to fall in value and you want to take advantage, then you can set up a sell to open order to sell call options that would create short position in that option.

    You can use a sell to open option to profit when you believe the price of the underlying security is going to rise by selling a put. This means that you’ll be going long on the option’s underlying security by allowing you to buy that appreciated security at a lower price in the future. When selling options, your downside is unlimited and you can lose more than the amount you have invested.

    Buy to Close

    If you want to close out an existing option trade, you would use the buy to close option. In this case, you opened a trade that was originally a sell to open transaction. You sold a call or put through this option, which placed you in a short position on an underlying security.

    Once you establish that you’re ready to exit the trade, the buy to close option concludes your short position. For a put trade to profit in a buy to close option, you need the underlying security price to fall enough that it drives the put option price below your break-even point. If you had a call trade to profit, then the underlying security price must remain under the sell to open price of the option.

    In most cases, as you establish a short position with an option, you are given a credit called an option premium. The short position opens you up to some risk as you could incur a large loss if the trade moves swiftly against your position.

    If an underlying security’s price continues to trend upwards, then your losses will be much greater. In this case, it would cost you a lot more to buy an option that is trending upwards quickly.

    Sell to Close

    If you want to close an existing long option, then you would use the sell to close trade. This occurs when a trader who bought an open order to go into a longer straddle decides to close out the position.

    Traders use these types of orders to gather profits after the option you own goes up in price. You can also use the same type of order to get rid of options contracts that are dropping in value to cut your losses.

    Combination Orders, Market Orders, and Limit Orders

    In options, there are a lot of strategies. You can use education tools on most trading platforms to understand them, but it can be difficult at first for beginners.

    Combination orders happen when you combine put and call options to enter into a trade. For example, one strategy is called an iron butterfly and allows the trader to combine a sell to open and buy to open.

    The thing to remember is that whenever you are setting up a trade, you are using a buy to open or sell to open. When ending a trade or closing out, you use a buy to close or sell to close option.

    Market orders tells the broker that you want to buy or sell the option at the current market price. However, your broker will make the purchase some time after you instruct to purchase or sell, so you could have the order filled at a bad price if the market suddenly drops.

    In most cases, your market order is filled instantly, and you won’t have any issues. However, you may pay more to the broker if the order is quite large but the trading volume is thin.

    Limit orders allows you to specify a buy or sell at a certain price point. This helps you avoid issues with the market dropping at the time of a broker’s purchase or sell off, but it also helps if you know current stock trends and want to take advantage of a stock you think will fall or go up in price in the near future.

    Which Vertical Option Spreads Should You Use?

    These are advanced options strategies, but there are typically four types of a vertical spread including bull call, bear call, bull put, and bear put. Options spreads are commonly used on trading platforms to minimize risk and place bets on different market outcomes with two or more options.

    With a vertical spread, a trader can purchase one option and sell another at a higher strike point at the same time just by using both calls or both puts available.

    Bull vertical spreads only get profits when the underlying security price rises. A bear vertical spread earns more money when the price falls.

    Wrapping Up: Are Options Trading Platforms for You?

    Options are pretty advanced for most traders, but they can be quite lucrative if you know how to bet and spread the market.

    As you learn more about options, you should pay attention to platforms that don’t charge too many fees and have several education tools to help you learn more about options trading, bull call spreads, and so forth.

    As you become more familiar with options combinations, you can use testing strategies and simulators on certain trading platforms like TD Ameritrade and E*Trade to see how your trades could possibly earn you more money.

    Still interested in more trading platforms? See our complete platform reports for forex brokers, robo advisors and day trading platforms.

    About Author

    Tim Fries Tim Fries is the cofounder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim is also the co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital ( protechcap . com ).

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