For traders specifically looking to options trading, choosing the best options trading platform can be particularly crucial. Most major brokers have options trading capabilities, but not every platform is geared specifically toward options trading. Below, we're taking a look at the top choices for these trading platforms, from free options trading to paid platforms. You want access to the best financial markets, but you also need online brokers that will make it easy for you to check the strike price of your preferred contract, offer custom options contracts and make your portfolio easy to manage.
Quick Look at the Best Options Brokers:
- Best for Short Selling: TradeZero
- Best for Global Traders: Interactive Brokers
- Best for Fund Investing: Charles Schwab
- Best for Options Spreads: Options AI
- Best for Long Term Investors: Magnifi
- Best for Advanced Traders: TradeStation
- Best for Day Traders: TD Ameritrade
- Best for Options Education: Tastyworks
- Best for Beginners: Olive Invest
Current Promo: 2 Winning Options Trade Ideas for only $7 Your First Month.
Compare Brokers for Options Trading
Low commissions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to choosing the best options trading platform. Traders need to consider hidden fees, such as platform fees and data fees.
Different traders have different skill levels, trading strategies, and needs. Options trading can be complicated, and beginners need to make sure to find a platform with plenty of educational resources and guidance. Advanced traders need to look for professional-grade features and research. Before choosing the right broker, each trader needs to consider his or her trading style and which features are most important in maximizing profitability.
Here’s an overview of some of the top option-trading platforms based on several different criteria.
TradeZero is dedicated to making powerful trading tools as accessible as possible. You can trade for free or step up to more advanced plans when you have more money to invest.
If you need more trading power, paid orders are only $0.0003 per share. Outgoing ACH transfers are just $5, and incoming wire transfers are free. You can read more about the low prices at TradeZero here or check out a full review of the platform here.
2. Interactive Brokers
Did you know that Interactive Brokers’ clients trade 10x more options than at other brokers? This comes as no surprise, as Interactive Brokers offers commissions on options from as low as USD 0.15 per US options contract. IBKR’s recently introduced the Options Wizard in IBKR Mobile, IBKR GlobalTrader and IMPACT. They also offer sophisticated options trading tools through their professional trading platforms such as the Options Strategy Builder, which allows traders to create multi-leg combo orders on the fly.
3. Charles Schwab
Like most of its peers, Schwab charges $0 commission for online stocks and ETF trading and requires no account or trade minimum. There are also no hidden fees, but there are minimal charges for trading options contracts. Plus, you can invest in a broad array of multiple asset types on the platform.
Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned pro, Charles Schwab has you covered. With the app, you can get real-time quotes, place trades, create a watchlist and view your positions and balances. You can also view market indices, breaking news and in-depth charts. The Schwab Assistant, one of the app's top-shelf features, allows you to place trades, get quotes, set alerts and receive clarifications on investment questions.
Equity research reports are available from major providers like Argus and Credit Suisse. You can access daily market reports from Morningstar Morning Notes and Market Edge Daily Commentary. Schwab offers Screener on its web-based platforms, which is highly adapted for mobile views. The Schwab basic account requires zero minimum and is ideal for beginners. For passive investors, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers one of the best robo-advisors.
4. Options AI
If you're an experienced options trader looking for a visual, innovative platform, Options AI may be right for you. Newer investors can also benefit as the platform is great for upgrading to spreads.
Options AI includes Chart Trade, Fast Trade, and Trade Scanner. These features allow you to set a profit zone, generate credit or debit spreads, compare ways to trade any view, filter categories and scan for trades based on probability of profit or expected moves.
Fund your account and qualify for rewards that include commission-free trading and more.
Magnifi is a marketplace that allows you, as the investor, to use common brokerage tools and AI to make the best decisions for your portfolio. Because you can pull up all the information you need on a given asset, you can easily invest in the assets that will give you the results you deserve and better match your options trading strategy.
Search for the investment options that meet your needs, invest in specific categories or scan for assets in a price range that’s affordable for you.
Best for long-term investors and those who require a bit of client support, you can also learn more about investing from this platform, utilize the AI-powered investing assistant, enjoy commission-free investing, try the mobile app and take advantage of over 15,000 possible investment options. This makes Magnifi a good place to trade for both seasoned and novice traders.
TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective, offering full platform capabilities.
7. TD Ameritrade
There’s no better place to get started trading options than TD Ameritrade. Right off the bat, TD Ameritrade’s $0 account minimum makes the platform accessible to every options trader. The Trade Architect platform provides a simple, easy-to-navigate trading environment that isn’t intimidating for new options traders and provides easy order execution.
TD Ameritrade recently completed an acquisition of Scottrade, which will provide options traders with another level of flexibility as well. Right now, TD Ameritrade charges $0 fin options based fess and $0.65 for options per contract.
Tastyworks allows opening of an individual, entity/trust or joint account, and the account type held with the brokerage can be margin, cash or retirement. In margin trading, you are allowed to trade with borrowed capital, facilitating the use of all trading strategies available with the broker, while a cash account requires that you fully fund transactions, and also restricts usage of some trading strategies such as spread and uncovered options.
9. Olive Invest
Olive Invest was designed to make options trading easier for the investor, using AI and machine learning technologies to produce better strategies. You don’t have to do the math when Olive can do it for. Plus, you get recommendations for trades made by professionals, allowing you to take a profitable path so that you can focus on income generation, increasing profits or specific entries into the market.
Best for beginners, anyone can use this platform to refine their options trades. Additionally, there are several educational tools on the site that teach you about the options market—one that’s often misunderstood by the public.
Remember, Olive Invest isn’t a brokerage. You connect through a secure API to your broker and make trades based on the recommendations you get. After a 2-week trial, you can purchase access to Olive for a monthly or yearly rate in an effort to improve your portfolio.
What is Options Trading?
When it comes to the stock market, most people think no further than buying and selling individual stocks. Truthfully, the process of options trading isn't much different than stock trading.
However, an option is simply a contract to buy or sell a stock at a pre-negotiated price and by a certain date. Simple as that. Learn more about how to trade options.
Options traders bet on which direction they think the price of a stock will go. Options contracts can be based on a wide variety of underlying securities, however, and many different types of orders can be placed, which makes them more versatile than stocks.
For example, those trading options can decide whether the prices could go up or down on the following:
- Individual Stocks
- Foreign currency
Make sense? Sure, it does.
Buying and Selling Options
To buy options, you simply choose exactly what you'd like to buy and how many, and then place a buy to open order with a broker. If your order goes up or down in value, you have some options. At any rate, you can:
- Sell at the agreed-upon price
- Sell the contract to another investor
- Let the contract expire
Enter calls and puts, too.
Do all brokers offer options trading?
Not all brokers offer options trading, even the major ones. If you want to trade options, you will have to look for a broker that offers it.
Where can I find brokers that offer options trading?
You can find a list of brokers that offer options trading on the list above.
What kinds of fees will a pay a broker for options trading?
Depending on the broker, you could pay commissions, platform fees, or data fees when trading options.
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