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Reviews of The Best and Top Binary Options Brokers
December 15, 2020
You can’t read an investment blog without coming across posts about binary options. There’s a lot of money in binary options – for users, brokers, and advertisers – so this won’t change overnight. Binary options trading is legitimate, but incredibly risky. You’ve got to understand the the industry and the risks involved – and you might be better served staying away entirely.
Don’t believe reviewers who pitch binary options as a quick fix for your financial problems. In reality, nothing can be farther from the truth.
How does Binary Options Trading work?
Binary options traders “invest” in the future movement of certain assets, such as gold, stocks, markets, etc. Simply put, binary traders try to predict whether the value of such assets will increase or decrease during a certain time frame.
If your prediction comes true, you will win and earn a commission on your investment. If the value doesn’t change as you predicted, you will lose all the money invested to lock in your prediction.
Presented this way it becomes obvious that binary options trading is more like sports betting than real investing. Binary options is nothing more than betting on financial assets, much like you would bet on the outcome of a sports game.
So, is it a scam?
This doesn’t make binary options a scam. It’s just not an investment.
The majority of binary options brokers are legit businesses. As legitimate brokerage houses, your money will not be stolen and you won’t be defrauded.
The problem is that the majority of brokers promise unrealistic expectations. The average user does not get results like these.
The most common way binary brokers attract new traders is to show them cases where simple people managed to win huge amounts of money by just trading low amounts on gold and other popular assets.
Sure, cases like that do exist, but they are the exception not the rule. The same way some sports gamblers manage to win extremely large sums, skilled/lucky binary options traders occasionally make bank. However, this happens extremely rarely.
Not knowing this, a lot of people sign up with binary options brokers that offer unrealistic winning promises. In the end, lots of people end up losing all of the money they put into the system.
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But can you really win?
The biggest factor in winning at binary options is LUCK. But yes, you can really win.
The thing brokers will not tell you is that you will have to put in a lot of effort and research if you want to win consistently. And even then, luck is the most powerful variable.
Like in sports betting, if you want to win you will have to have a great knowledge about the sport in question and about the teams that are playing. You will have to understand the game, the strengths and weaknesses of the teams, and the skills of the players. You will have to know about historical performance, fitness levels, injuries, and dozens of other variables. Even then, things might not go your way.
If you factor in all these variables then you probably will win in the long run. It’s exactly the same in binary options trading. There are countless variables and risks that you will have to consider in order to accurately predict the future development of an asset.
Issues like time of the year, state of the economy, political developments, economic performance of key market makers, recent business news and events are constantly influencing the movement of stock prices and commodities.
In order to be able to accurately predict the movement of an asset, you will have to be up to date with all of this info. Also, in order to be successful you will have to understand a variety of technical data as well, such as being able to read charts, use technical indicators, understand statistic calculations, and much more.
As you can see, binary options is much more than just investing $100 on gold and then getting $300 back 10 minutes later. If this is your approach, then you will lose 100% of your investment sooner than later.
But that sounds hard!
Yes indeed! That’s exactly what solid binary trading requires. I know most entities advertising binary options make a lot of bold promises, but in reality it’s much more complicated. In order to really make money you will have to invest significant amounts of time in market research and learning about the technical aspects of this business.
No matter what anyone promises, you will never be able to make easy money by placing random bets here and there. Brokers count on you doing exactly this because they know that this way, you will be paying the price of becoming a losing trader (meaning brokers will be making money off of you).
So, this is the truth behind the binary option business. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this form of online trading (or, better said, betting), except that brokers are artificially hyped up and are dishonestly presented as something they’re not.
So one more time, is Binary Options Trading a Scam?
Binary Options trading isn’t a scam, but it’s financial gambling that will only work well in the long term for the most devoted and knowledgeable users.
2020 Update: Binary Options Industry Changes
If you read our thoughts from 2020, you know that binary options is legit, but extremely risky and difficult to take part in profitably. But that was back in 2020. Things have changed quite a bit since then.
As mentioned above, there is still no easy shortcut to binary options trading success – you will still need to learn the basics of this trading form and do lots of market research to make real money. That said, some new developments have appeared in the industry which might make it easier for you to make a living through binary options trading.
More Welcoming To New Traders
For one, social trading has finally become a major aspect of binary options trading. Newbies who would like to start making money without having to fight against a gnarly learning curve can look to the practices of seasoned veterans. Some brokers even offer in-house social trading platforms that let you profit from the trading experience of highly successful binary option traders within the company.
Of course, there is the risk that the trader is going to fail, in which case you risk losing money just the same. So, you will have to choose your signal providers very carefully to avoid disappointment.
We now have binary options robots as well, which purport to automate winning trades for users. Unfortunately, many of these bots are scams, which is why you would be better off avoiding them altogether (unless in cases where your broker is offering their own auto trading services).
Even then, you cannot really count on a broker to give you a highly profitable automated trading tool. Why would a broker give you the tools to take their money? You will have to do your own research first to see if the auto trading system is worth its salt. And should you choose to use an independent binary trading robot company, you will have to be extra vigilant to avoid getting scammed.
More Tools For Advanced Traders
It is easier to access quality financial information needed to make intelligent trading decisions than it was two years ago. Premium binary option brokers now have great platforms that provide excellent data for comprehensive technical analysis on the assets you are trading, helping you to make better trades.
Additionally, there have been cases of brokers introducing robots that scour financial newswires, giving you the latest events so you can anticipate market fluctuations. All these advancements make binary options trading easier (for people willing to put in the time to learn the system inside and out).
Yes, binary options is legit, and growing. But you will still have to jump through lots of hoops to make it in the industry as a beginner. There are also plenty of scams to take advantage of helpless new binary options traders who don’t know how the industry works. At the same time, we now have a broader selection of trustworthy brokers and signal providers than we had a few years ago.
Furthermore, better information and technical analysis makes the industry more lucrative for dedicated users. Even so, you will have to be a lot more watchful of who you get into bed with when entering the industry to keep your money from falling into the wrong hands. If you are willing to put in the work, learn through trial and error, and develop better methods than the average binary options trader, you can actually make money with binary options in 2020.
Why are binary options better than Forex?
Online trading has been growing tremendously over the past few years, mainly because of notable technological strides which have made online trading space more appealing to investors. Unlike in traditional trading which demanded physical presence and lengthy documentation in over-the-counter exchanges, online trading has proved to be convenient since traders can trade financial securities from the comfort of their homes and even while on the go; using versatile mobile apps provided by online brokers. Binary options’ popularity has been soaring over the past few years owing to sky-high returns and simplicity of trading.
However, it may be confusing for a new financial trader whether to venture into binary options or Forex. Well, they both have their similarities but they are very different in most aspects. We have prepared an article on why binary options are superior compared to forex trading. Read on for a clear comparison between binary options and forex and reasons why you should go with the former.
In definition, binary options are fixed contracts which are characterized by fixed payouts and fixed trading durations. Trading binary options are fairly simple compared to other markets since a trader is only required to predict the direction of market price movement. On the other hand, Forex is a financial market where traders seek to leverage on distinct price changes between a currency pair. Forex and binary options have been in existence for a long time with the former outliving the latter
Upsides of trading binary options compared to Forex
No margin trading
Margin trading is common in forex trading and it is used to increase trading capital and consequently increase potential profits. Maximum margin offered varies from one forex broker to another. However, even though margin trading may translate to higher returns on investment, it is worth noting that a sharp decline in the prevailing market price of a currency pair can be disastrous to your bottom line. In binary options trading, margin trading is non-existent and hence you never get a margin call. Binary options traders can still earn up to 90% returns on a single trade. Even better, some high-yield options can have payouts of up to $1000.
Fixed Payouts and Losses
Maximum profits in forex trading are always uncertain. A trader can only use the stop order tool to set the maximum percentage return after execution of an order. Well, knowing the price level to set a limit order can be risky especially if the trader is driven by greed. Also, it is imperative to note that you can only use the stop loss trading tool to define the maximum loss you can make once an order is executed. In the event that the market price of the underlying currency pair, you can only make a loss up to the stop loss value. However, with no stop loss set, the risks are spread to the entire trading account. If the market moves negatively, your trading account can be wiped clean in a matter of hours or even minutes if the market is very volatile. It’s not a big deal in forex trading to go out for shopping to later come back to a negative trading account (if you used margin).on the bright side, a positive sharp price hike can translate to more returns. But is it really worth it?
On the flipside, a binary options trader always knows what he will get or lose from the word go. Binary options brokers offer fixed payouts which are usually a percentage of the underlying investment. High-yield options can attract payouts ranging between 400-1000 percent and normal trades’ payouts range between 65-90%. Additionally, trading risks are strictly restricted to the invested funds. Meaning, funds in a trading account are shielded from the trading risks irrespective of the magnitude of change of the underlying asset.
It’s a proven fact that monotony in financial trading can lead to recklessness when making crucial trading decisions. In forex trading, a trading portfolio is restricted to currencies and unless you are a forex enthusiast, it can be pretty boring. Forex does not offer many options to play around with. Forex traders can only use the Buy/Sell orders. Other orders available include limit, OCO, Trailing Stop, hedge and stop orders.
On the other hand, binary options are more of a hybrid financial market since traders can access a vast selection of assets derived from the four asset classes; currencies, stocks, commodities, and indices. Binary options trading offers traders an exciting trading environment since most brokers offer a variety of trading options. Options offered by most brokers include Call/Put, High/Low, Up/Down, Touch/No Touch, Ladder, Option Builder, Turbo options, Boundary Options, and Tunnel Options. The option Builder trading option allows a trader to customize his own option to fit his trading style.
Less or no hidden trading costs
Forex trading is characterized by commissions and broker fees, not to mention swap and spreads. With some brokers, commissions and fees are astronomically high which in turn “eats” into your profit margins.
Binary options trading is however very different from forex as far as costs are concerned. There are no commissions and hidden fees in binary options. Literally, what you see is what you get. If let’s say a trade attracts a 90% payout, that’s exactly what you will get at the end of a trade.
Conclusion about binary options
For the analogy above, you can clearly see why binary options are better than forex. Binary options trading attracts “lesser” risks, no hidden fees, more flexible and simpler to trade. However, binary options and forex are also similar in some aspects. For instance, both have trading risks, require a starting capital and are traded online. If you want to try binary options trading, don’t hesitate to use our broker reviews section for details on trusted binary options brokers.
Best Options Trading Platforms for 2020
The StockBrokers.com best online brokers 2020 review (10th annual) took six months to complete and produced over 30,000 words of research. Here’s how we tested.
Next to active traders, there is arguably no customer more valuable to an online broker than an options trader. Options trades offer brokers much higher profit margins than stock trades, and, as a result, competition is fierce in attracting these clients. This type of market atmosphere is great for investors because with healthy competition comes product innovation and competitive pricing.
Best Options Trading Platforms
Here are the best options trading platforms, based on over 100 variables.
Best for options overall – Open Account
Promo Offer: Get $100 when you deposit just $5,000 into a new E*TRADE account!
Built as a web-based platform, Power E*TRADE innovates and delivers speed, ease of use, and the tools needed for traders to succeed. Once again, in our 2020 Review, Power E*TRADE won our award, “Best Web-Based Platform.” E*TRADE also took our top spot for options trading. Read full review
Low costs, great platform – Open Account
Promo Offer: Commission-Free Trades on Stocks, ETFs & Options Trades
As a trading technology leader, TradeStation shines. Options trading is a breeze using OptionStation Pro, a built-in tool within the TradeStation desktop platform designed for streamlined trading and robust analysis. Options tool capabilities include custom grouping for current positions, streaming real-time greeks, and advanced position analysis, to name a few. Read full review
Best options tools – Open Account
Exclusive Offer: Get up to $600 and trade commission-free with TD Ameritrade.
Once again, for the ninth consecutive year, TD Ameritrade is number one for trading platforms and tools, thanks to desktop-based thinkorswim. Whether day trading, options trading, futures trading, or you are just a casual investor, thinkorswim is a winner. Read full review
Best for professionals – Open Account
Exclusive Offer: New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate.
Trading tools within the Trader Workstation (TWS) platform are designed for professional options traders. From algo trading to Options Strategy Lab, Volatility Lab, Risk Navigator, Market Scanner, Strategy Builder, and Portfolio Builder, Interactive Brokers is built for professionals. Options commissions start at $.65 per contract with a $1.00 minimum and no maximum. Read full review
Unique order types – Open Account
Current Offer: $0 online stock, ETF, and options commissions at Schwab.
Schwab’s flagship downloadable trading platform, StreetSmart Edge, provides most of the bells and whistles options traders and day traders need to succeed. For options traders, Schwab’s All-in-one trade ticket, alongside the proprietary Walk Limit order type, are both excellent. Read full review
Options Trading Tools Comparison
|Option Chains – Streaming||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Chains – Total Columns||30||37||33||32|
|Option Chains – Greeks||5||4||5||5|
|Option Chains – Quick Analysis||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Analysis – P&L Charts||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Probability Analysis||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Probability Analysis Adv||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Positions – Greeks||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Positions – Adv Analysis||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Positions – Rolling||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option Positions – Grouping||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Platforms & Tools||4.5||4.5||5||5|
Best Options Trading Tools
Platform wise, web-based Power E*TRADE offers all the tools an options trader could want, and displays them in magnificent form. Attention to detail, such as automatic spread groupings, effortless scanning through strategySEEK, and easy-to-understand risk/reward data through tradeLAB, make Power E*TRADE a truly unique experience.
Keeping the spotlight on excellent platforms and tools for options traders, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim and TradeStation cannot be left out. Strategy Roller from thinkorswim enables clients to create custom rules and roll their existing options positions automatically. The number of settings and depth of customization available is impressive, and something we have come to expect from thinkorswim.
Not to be outdone, TradeStation’s OptionsStation tool makes analyzing potential trades a breeze, and even goes as far as including 3D P&L charts. Investors note, however: Popcorn and 3D glasses are not required, and while visually appealing, we did not see any distinct advantage over the traditional 2D P&L chart.
If unique features and functionality matter to you, Charles Schwab offers the “Walk Limit” order type, which will “walk” your order to try to get the most favorable price within the National Best Bid or Offer (NBBO). The broker also offers Idea Hub, which uses targeted scans to break down options trade ideas visually.
For professionals, Interactive Brokers takes the crown. At Interactive Brokers, there is no base charge, and the per-contract rate is just $.70. Additional savings are also realized through more frequent trading. That said, the broker is built primarily for professional traders and requires a $100,000 minimum deposit for margin accounts. Lastly, its trading platform, Trader Workstation, is the most challenging platform to learn out of all the brokers we tested for our 2020 review.
There’s a healthy variety of reputable brokers to choose from in the world of options trading. At a minimum, investors should expect their broker to include scanning, P&L analysis, risk analysis, and easy-order management. Position management functionality and tying the experience together is where platforms such as Power E*TRADE and thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade distinguish themselves.
What is the best platform for trading options?
The best trading platform for options trading offers low costs, feature-rich trading tools, and robust research. Our all-around top pick in 2020 for options trading is Power E*TRADE. The web-based Power E*TRADE platform includes all the tools an options trader could want and displays them in magnificent form. My two favorites are strateySEEK and Snapshot Analysis.
What is a call option?
In its most basic form, a call option is used by investors who seek to place a bet that a stock will go UP in price. Buying a call option contract gives the owner the right (but not the obligation) to buy shares of stock at a pre-specified price for a pre-determined length of time. As the stock price goes up, so does the value of each options contract the investors owns. Each contract represents 100 shares of stock.
What is a put option?
In its most basic form, a put option is used by investors who seek to place a bet that a stock (or other security such as an ETF, index, commodity, or index) will go DOWN in price. Buying a put option gives the owner the right (but not the obligation) to sell shares of stock at a pre-specified price (strike price) before a preset date (expiration). The further the stock falls below the strike price, the more valuable each contract becomes.
What is the minimum amount required to trade options?
Each online broker requires a different minimum deposit to trade options. For most brokerages, the minimum deposit required is less than $1,000. To apply for options trading approval, investors fill out a short questionnaire within their brokerage account. Access to begin trading options can be granted immediately thereafter.
Is options trading risky?
Yes. Options trading is a form of leveraged investing. Any time an investor is using leverage to trade, they are taking on additional risk. Many times, this risk is unforeseen. With options, investors who buy a call or put risk the money they invested in the contract. However, when selling a call or put, if the trade isn’t protected (also known as going naked), then the investor is taking on significant risk. To protect investors, new investors are limited to basic, cash-secured options strategies only.
Options Trading Features
Ultimately, choosing an options brokers comes down to personal preference and weighing priorities, such as cost versus ease of use and tool selection.
On a feature by feature basis, all of our top five finishers this year offer the following features to their options trading customers.
|Has Education – Options||Provides a minimum of 10 educational pieces (articles, videos, archived webinars, or similar) with the primary subject being options. All content must be easily found within the website’s Learning Center. Platform tutorials, FAQs, etc do NOT count.|
|Option Chains – Streaming Real-time||Option chains with streaming real-time data.|
|Option Chains – Greeks Viewable||When viewing an option chain, the total number of greeks that are available to be viewed as optional columns. Greeks = delta, gamma, theta, vega, rho.|
|Option Chains – Quick Analysis||The ability to jump straight from the option chain to a P&L chart or probability chart for deeper analysis. Viewing a summary P&L within the chain itself also qualifies.|
|Option Analysis – P&L Charts||When analyzing a theoretical option trade, a P&L chart is available.|
|Option Analysis – Probability Analysis||A basic probability calculator.|
|Option Analysis – Probability Analysis Adv||A tool to analyze a hypothetical option position. Displays a probability histogram / chart with optional customizations.|
|Option Positions – Greeks Viewable||View at least two different greeks for a currently open option position.|
|Option Positions – Greeks Viewable Streaming||View at least two different greeks for a currently open option position and have their values stream with real-time data.|
|Option Positions – Advanced Analysis||Ability to analyze an active option position and change at least two of the three following conditions – date, stock price, volatility – and assess what happens to the value of the position.|
|Option Positions – Rolling||Ability to pre-populate a trade ticket and seamlessly roll an option position to the next relative expiration.|
|Option Positions – Strategy Grouping||Ability to group current option positions by the underlying strategy: covered call, vertical, etc. Can be done manually by user or automatically by the platform.|
|Level 2 Quotes – Options||Level II options quotes available.|
|Screener – Options||Offers a options screener. Commonly referred to as a spread creation tool or similar.|
Explore our other online trading guides:
For the StockBrokers.com tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.
Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
Still aren’t sure which online broker to choose? Email us a question! Whether you are a beginner investor learning the ropes or a professional trader, we are here to help. Email us your online broker specific question and we will respond within one business day.
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