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A Guide to Trading Binary Options in the U.S.
Binary options are financial options that come with one of two payoff options: a fixed amount or nothing at all. That’s why they’re called binary options—because there is no other settlement possible. The premise behind a binary option is a simple yes or no proposition: Will an underlying asset be above a certain price at a certain time?
Traders place trades based on whether they believe the answer is yes or no, making it one of the simplest financial assets to trade. This simplicity has resulted in broad appeal among traders and newcomers to the financial markets. As simple as it may seem, traders should fully understand how binary options work, what markets and time frames they can trade with binary options, advantages, and disadvantages of these products, and which companies are legally authorized to provide binary options to U.S. residents.
Binary options traded outside the U.S. are typically structured differently than binaries available on U.S. exchanges. When considering speculating or hedging, binary options are an alternative—but only if the trader fully understands the two potential outcomes of these exotic options.
Now that you know some of the basics, read on to find out more about binary options, how they operate, and how you can trade them in the United States.
U.S. Binary Options Explained
Binary options provide a way to trade markets with capped risk and capped profit potential, based on a yes or no proposition.
Let’s take the following question as an example: Will the price of gold be above $1,250 at 1:30 p.m. today?
If you believe it will be, you buy the binary option. If you think gold will be below $1,250 at 1:30 p.m., then you sell this binary option. The price of a binary option is always between $0 and $100, and just like other financial markets, there is a bid and ask price.
The above binary may be trading at $42.50 (bid) and $44.50 (offer) at 1 p.m. If you buy the binary option right then, you will pay $44.50. If you decide to sell right then, you’ll sell at $42.50.
Let’s assume you decide to buy at $44.50. If at 1:30 p.m. the price of gold is above $1,250, your option expires and it becomes worth $100. You make a profit of $100—$44.50 = $55.50 (minus fees). This is called being in the money. But if the price of gold is below $1,250 at 1:30 p.m., the option expires at $0. Therefore you lose the $44.50 invested. This called out of the money.
The bid and offer fluctuate until the option expires. You can close your position at any time before expiry to lock in a profit or a reduce a loss, compared to letting it expire out of the money.
A Zero-Sum Game
Eventually, every option settles at $100 or $0—$100 if the binary option proposition is true and $0 if it turns out to be false. Thus, each binary option has a total value potential of $100, and it is a zero-sum game—what you make, someone else loses, and what you lose, someone else makes.
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Each trader must put up the capital for their side of the trade. In the examples above, you purchased an option at $44.50, and someone sold you that option. Your maximum risk is $44.50 if the option settles at $0, and so the trade costs you $44.50. The person who sold to you has a maximum risk of $55.50 if the option settles at $100—$100 – $44.50 = $55.50.
A trader may purchase multiple contracts if desired. Here’s another example:
- NASDAQ US Tech 100 index > $3,784 (11 a.m.).
The current bid and offer are $74.00 and $80.00, respectively. If you think the index will be above $3,784 at 11 a.m., you buy the binary option at $80, or place a bid at a lower price and hope someone sells to you at that price. If you think the index will be below $3,784 at that time, you sell at $74.00, or place an offer above that price and hope someone buys it from you.
You decide to sell at $74.00, believing the index is going to fall below $3,784 (called the strike price) by 11 a.m. And if you really like the trade, you can sell (or buy) multiple contracts.
Figure 1 shows a trade to sell five contracts (size) at $74.00. The Nadex platform automatically calculates your maximum loss and gain when you create an order, called a ticket.
Nadex Trade Ticket with Max Profit and Max Loss (Figure 1)
American Traders Guide
The USA is a tricky place to trade binary options from. With regulations and laws continually changing, you may be asking yourself if the information you have is correct and up to date. Firstly, it is “not” illegal to use binary options in the US. However, you may find it more of a challenge compared to other countries.
That said binary options trading is not as regulated as compared to Forex or other trading types so the restrictions are not as tight as they could be. It is essential though to make sure you trade with a reputable, regulated broker whether USA based or as long as they legally accept US traders.
With the recent spotlight on online trading, many US traders now find themselves without a reliable broker. Who can you open an account with and are there are any regulations that you should be aware of? Well, we are here to answer those questions and provide you with advice through our carefully curated list of brokers.
In this article, you will learn:
The brokers best suited to your needs What local payment methods are accepted Taxes and fees that apply to US residents
Traders in The USA
While binary trading in the US is legal, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) classed options trading as akin to gambling and put in place sanctions and legislation similar to those that govern casinos. These rules prevent many international firms from advertising their services and soliciting US traders which then leads them to stop accepting new signups. The limited choice of international brokers available means traders sometimes choose a locally based broker.
While it is difficult to find an international broker that accepts US traders, there are still some good ones to choose. With increased regulations, many brokerages have now decided to move their head offices to locations like London and Cyprus making it hard to find a good USA broker. So, in such a heavily regulated binary options market, what should you be looking for and how do you know which broker to choose? We take a look at some of the things you should be looking out for:
Licensing And Regulation
When something is as heavily restricted as binary options trading is in the US, there will be companies that try and trade under the radar! Exercise caution and make sure you choose a broker with reputable licensing and regulation.
Asset And Trade Types
With a restriction on brokers that you can choose from, you want to make sure that you pick one that offers everything you want. Make sure they provide the range of assets that you are looking for and a variety of trade types.
Mobile Trading Features
Trading on the go has become critical to many of you. Who has the time to be stuck behind a computer in this era of modern technology? Check that the broker offers a mobile app or at least a responsive website trading platform.
Free Demo account
Check out the various demo accounts and the restrictions that apply to use them. Can you use it without making a minimum deposit and is it reloadable? Are you able to carry on using it to complement and enhance your trading skills?
Given the unknown quantity of external brokers and the restrictions of those available to them many people, when faced with a choice, will choose a local broker sadly missing out on some of the great offers available from international sites. Following our recommendations and reviews will ensure that you get a good trading experience whoever you choose to use.
Broker Fees And Tax
USA law states any profits earned from binary options trading are subject to US tax. You must report the income as either capital gains or revenue to the IRS. If you are making a small amount, then the money can be declared as income; however, if it is a significant amount, then it must be reported as capital gains tax.
Of course, your profits can be offset by any losses so you must declare the overall income earned taking into account money lost. As brokers don’t fall under the same category as casino’s, they don’t have to send you a tax form, so it is the responsibility of the trader to ensure they declare the revenue in the appropriate tax year.
Aside from taxes, there are a few other small fees to consider:
Deductions for the commission of successful trades which happens at source Broker fees for processing deposits and withdrawals using specific payment methods e-Banking platforms tend to charge a small commission for each deposit, and certain types of wire transfers will have costs associated with them Currency conversion fees if trading in a different currency
While these fees aren’t huge, it is worth shopping around for the best payment providers and option brokers that don’t charge fees for deposits and withdrawals. Consider making fewer but larger deposits or withdrawals to minimise the set fees.
While some questions surround binary option regulation and the legalities of trading we are here to remove any areas of uncertainty and provide you with fact-based knowledge. It is perfectly legal to trade binary options in the USA, and for traders to register with any broker, but it is illegal for offshore companies to solicit traders unless they have a Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) license.
Because of this difficulty of entering the USA market and the red tape surrounding it, many international brokers do not accept US traders with many leaving for countries like England and Cyprus.
Some big-name brokers are widely known and accepted and can save the trader from having to go looking for an appropriate offshore broker. There are also plenty of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) licensed companies that are allowed to sign-up traders from the USA and are not deterred by the legislation.
Without spending time and effort in researching these companies, many people tend to stick with what they know. We, however, think that the choice should be there for you to make and so we use our expertise and experience to research the market and bring you the best binary options brokers that are licensed to trade in the US.
Exercise caution and make sure you choose a broker with reputable licensing and regulation.
How we Recommend Brokers
For US traders it can be a lengthy process finding an appropriate broker use. The legislation and regulations mean that you can’t just find one that you like the look of to open an account. Not only should you be comparing their offering to that of their competition but you need to check that all binary option brokers are licensed to trade in the USA.
We understand that you don’t have unlimited time to go through a long list of brokers to find the one that offers the best benefits to you then to see that they won’t accept your business. To help you and save you much time we have put together a list of recommendations to ensure that you find the best trading account for you without having to spend hours finding it.
It doesn’t matter what country we’re reviewing when it comes to binary trading; the USA gets the same treatment. Our recommendations and reviews cover many crucial points. These include the benefits such as great bonuses, the quality of the signals service, the usability and functionality of the trading platforms and the payouts on offer. We have a team of experts whose purpose is to investigate the offerings of all brokers to find the best US binary options broker and recommend them to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is binary trading in the USA legal and safe?
It is legal to trade a binary option, but it is illegal for any company to solicit business and trade unless they have a local license. In terms of safety, it is perfectly safe to trade with a reputable broker.
Do I need to pay fees and taxes on my profits?
The IRS requires all residents to declare their income and pay any taxes according to federal law. It is not the responsibility of the brokers to keep a record of traders’ deposits and withdrawals.
Can I test brokers before trading with real money?
A demo account is a crucial feature of any reliable and reputable broker. With a demo account, a new account holder can register and take advantage of this demo feature before they have to use their own money.
Is it easy to make deposits and withdrawals?
As long as you have a way to an initial deposit using a widely accepted debit card, then you can pay quickly. Withdrawals can take between 3-5 days, but some sites offer a quicker turnaround.
Can I trade using my mobile or tablet device?
Many good US brokers offer a reliable mobile site and an app for iOS and Android. If the broker that you are looking at doesn’t provide an excellent mobile service, then we say avoid them.
Jacob has been an author for us since our launch in 2020. He has over forty years’ experience in the financial sector and has held a variety of positions within financial services corporations and venture capitalist organisations.
Top 10 US Binary Options Brokers by TradersAsset
The legal landscape for Binary Options trading in America is somewhat confusing. There are two bodies that license and regulate online financial trading in the USA. These are the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA). Neither of these has shown an interest in licensing the majority of online brokers or putting together a regulatory framework that will allow them to trade in the US. There are however, some regulated and many offshore Binary Options trading sites that will accept you as a customer if you reside in the US.
We suggest that US traders investigate each broker that you are considering signing up with, as not all will operate to the highest standards. With that in mind however, below is a list of approved and tested Binary Options brokers that will accept US traders.
Top 10 US Binary Options Brokers
We can confidently recommend these brokers as they offer their customers a safe and secure trading environment and each operates to the very highest of standards.
Requirements of a US Friendly Binary Options Trading Site
US Binary Options traders should ensure that any US-friendly broker they use meets a certain number of criteria. We have compiled an overview of the items worth checking for your convenience below.
US Binary Options Brokers 2020
It’s not very easy to find binary options brokers, that are actually ready to allow traders from the USA.
Because of their different regulations and restrictions, most of the binary options brokers out there are unable accept US traders.
Our team has done the research, to bring you an updated list of binary options brokers that still accept Americans. We’ve registered on all binary options brokers that still accept US traders and we’ve tested them all. Below you will find the best us binary options brokers and exchanges.
Best US Binary Options Exchange:
Nadex – CFTC Regulated US Exchange
Nadex is the only binary exchange that has a CFTC license. This site is exclusive to US traders.
Nadex is the only regulated binary options exchange in the US. For this reason we think that it’s very safe. If you need more information, you can read our Nadex review.
Alternatives To US Binary Options Brokers
There aren’t many US binary options brokers to choose from. However there are plenty of US brokers that offer other types of trading: CFD, Stocks, Cryptocurrency, Forex etc.
If you are interested in binary options, you will definitely like these other forms of trading.
Here is a list with the best US brokers that offer other types of trading:
Binary Options Brokers That Still Accept US Traders
The brokers in the detailed list below are some of the oldest and best names in the industry. All the brokers listed on this page welcome traders from the USA.
Only the best are viable, and the safety as well as the security of your data on their servers is very high. There are many scams out there, and only a few truly trustworthy brokers.
We have tested all of these brokers. Look at the short reviews below for more information:
Nadex is the only regulated (CFTC regulated) binary options broker that accepts US traders. The broker offers charting and technical analyisis tools, as well as, advanced order types.
The minimum deposit is only $250.
BinaryCent is currently the best US welcome binary options broker. They offer a fantastic deposit bonus, and the trading platform is top-notch.
Binary Mate has a maximum payout of up to 95%. The minimum deposit is $250 and they offer a 100% deposit bonus to all new traders.
WARNING! WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS BROKER ANYMORE VISIT BINARYCENT
CentoBot is a binary options robot that accepts US traders. The minimum investment is only $0.10 and the max return is 90%.
This auto trading robot is 100% free if you sign up and deposit on their recommended broker (the minimum deposit there is $250).
WARNING! WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS BROKER ANYMORE VISIT CENTOBOT
How To Pick A US Binary Options Broker
Overall, you need to be careful when choosing the right US binary options broker for you. There are a lot of scams out there, so you probably should take the advice in this list seriously if you want your investments to be safe. We will update this list as frequently as possible because more and more brokers are closing their doors to US traders.
Please note that Nadex is not a broker, but an exchange.
What customer like about Nadex is, that it has no broker commissions. The US Government requires Nadex to keep the clients’ funds in segregated accounts.
Never deposit on a binary options broker that we (or any other trader) do not recommend. You can also check our scams page to find out which brokers are scams.
Unfortunately US welcome brokers are not regulated by CYSEC or ASIC. Therefore you have to be extra cautious where you deposit your money.
Non-USA Binary Options Brokers
In order to help our American traders find the best brokers and keep them updated, we’ve decided to also list the brokers that used to accept Americans, but stopped later on.
Take at the list below, with all binary options brokers that accepted US traders in the past:
Brokers That Stopped Accepting USA Traders or Closed
FinRally is the newest binary options broker to accept US traders. They have a great payout of up to 95% and the minimum deposit is $250.
Update: This broker closed.
Founded in the year 2020, this broker is owned by Norske Inter LP and Lerona Impex SA. It used to welcome traders from the US, but currently they only accept Europe and most parts of Asia. The broker is based on the SpotOption 2.0 platform, one of the most popular with traders everywhere.
It features over 100 assets to trade in and has some of the highest security measures out there. There is secure trading, as well as speedy 1 hour withdrawals possible. With a return of up to 90% for traders, and signals from over 10,000 traders globally using the ZuluTrade feature integrated into the platform, this broker is one of the best out there for people in the USA.
Update: This broker closed. There were also some scam reports.
This is one of the older brokers out there, having been around since the year 2020. It is owned by Infinicore, a company that is to be found in St. Vincent (offshore). While they aren’t licensed by CySec, this is so that they can support traders from the USA without any hassle.
This broker is not regulated in the US.
The broker has over 100 assets to trade as well as a demo account possible to sample the features before using it. It is popular among traders all over the world, mainly because of the 90% payout to traders.
There is a free social trading feature on the platform as well as unique OTC trades that allow up to 40% more trading time every day.
Update: Tradethunder closed. Opened in 2020, Trade Thunder is still a young company, owned by LGK Industries Ltd., based in the UK.
They offer traders from the US a nice welcome, and have a very unique platform to trade on called the Leverate BX8 platform. It is a platform that is used a lot in Forex trading. The payouts from this broker are up to 90% of the initial deposit, which can be done in many currencies.
With multilingual support and easy trading, this is one of the best US brokers out there.
Update: This broker closed.
This broker opened up in the year 2020, and was one of the best to accept traders from the US (they stopped accepting USA Traders in 2020). They have a great bonus for the first deposit for customers, with up to 10 risk free trades offered to new traders. It is owned by a company based in the UK called Running Forest Partners Ltd., and have 5 different types of US binary options accounts, each of which has its own set of material for learning as well different deposit requirements. Expiry on options expire in any time from 30 seconds to 6 months, and there are multiple currency options available.
Update: This broker closed.
This binary options broker was created in 2020, making it one of the newer options out there. It is owned by FLY Ltd., located in St. Vincent & Grenadines, and has a registered office in the UK as well. It was open to traders from the US without any restrictions but they decided to stop accepting them in 2020.
Returns to traders is about 85%, but some of the trading methods it offers can give bonuses up to 1500% of the deposit. Their platform is browser-based, has a small learning curve, and is very easy. A mobile app is also incoming. The broker offers over 150 assets for trade, with real time updates on the state of the market. It is one of the more feature-filled out there.
Binary Options USA: What To Consider
Please note that most US brokers are unregulated. Therefore please do your own research before signing up and before becoming a binary options customer there. All unregulated brokers are “ok” at best. There is a higher risk of getting scammed by an unregulated broker. Also read their terms and conditions before depositing (check their withdrawal conditions). It is the best to stay away from unregulated brokers.
Binary Options Brokers and Platforms – Reviews and Comparison
We have compared the best regulated binary options brokers and platforms in April 2020 and created this top list. Every broker and platform has been personally reviewed by us to help you find the best binary options platform for both beginners and experts. The sortable broker comparison list below shows which binary trading sites came out on top based on different criteria.
You can sort the list using payout (maximum returns), minimum deposit, bonus offers or if the operator is regulated or not. You can also read full reviews of each broker, helping you make the best choice. Below the comparison list is some advice on how to pick the best trading platform for you, as this will often come down to your personal requirements and needs.
How to Compare Brokers and Platforms
In order to trade binary options, you need to engage the services of a binary options broker. Here at binaryoptions.net we have provided a list with all the best comparison factors that will help you select which trading broker to open an account with. We have also looked at our most popular or frequently asked questions, and have noted that these are important factors when traders are comparing different brokers:
We cover as many of these comparison factors as possible in our list above, but we go into much more depth within each review.
Regulated Binary Brokers
Regulation and licensing is a key factor when judging the best broker. Unregulated brokers are not always scams, or untrustworthy, but it does mean a trader must do more ‘due diligence’ before trading with them. A regulated broker is the safest option.
Leading regulatory bodies include:
There are other regulators in addition to the above, and in some cases, brokers will be regulated by more than one organisation. This is becoming more common in Europe where binary options are coming under increased scrutiny. Reputable, premier brands will have regulation of some sort.
Regulation is there to protect traders, to ensure their money is correctly held and to give them a path to take in the event of a dispute. It should therefore be an important consideration when choosing a trading partner.
Both sign up bonuses and demo accounts are used to attract new clients. Bonuses are often a deposit match, a one-off payment or risk free trade . Whatever the form of bonus, there are terms and conditions that need to be read.
It is worth taking the time to understand those terms before signing up or clicking accept on a bonus offer. If the terms are not to your liking then the bonus loses any attraction and that broker may not be the best choice. Some bonus terms tie in your initial deposit too. It is worth reading T&Cs before agreeing to any bonus, and worth noting that many brokers will give you the option to ‘opt out’ of taking a bonus.
Using a bonus effectively is harder than it sounds. If considering taking up one of these offers, think about whether, and how, it might affect your trading. One common issue is that turnover requirements within the terms, often cause traders to ‘over trade’. If the bonus does not suit you, turn it down.
Binary options demo accounts are the best way to try both binary options trading, and specific brokers’ software and platforms – without needing to risk any money.
You can get demo accounts at more than one broker, try them out and only deposit real money at the one you find best. It can also be useful to have accounts at more than one broker. For example, payouts for two different assets might be best at different brokers. You can shop around, and use whichever account has the best payout for that asset.
Demo accounts offer the best way to try out a brand, risk free. Likewise if we recommend a brand, you can try it first, before risking anything.
Low Minimum Deposits
If you are looking to get involved with binary options for the first time, low minimum deposit requirements may be of interest. For traders just looking to try binary options, a low minimum deposit broker might be best. A small initial deposit keeps risks low. Minimum deposits start at just $5 and there are a growing number of brokers offering low minimum deposits – “low” would be any minimum under $50.
Likewise, all brokers will have a minimum trade requirement or trade amount too. These can vary greatly between platforms. Minimum trade figures range from $1 to $25 – which is a large difference if a trader plans to trade frequently. For some traders, this might be less of a factor in terms of finding the best broker for them, but for others it will be very important. Practice accounts are a zero risk way of learning to trade.
One element many traders use to find the best binary options trading account, is the payout percentage on offer. This is not always a simple comparison however. Payouts will change based on the underlying asset being traded, and the expiry time of the option. In addition, payouts will change as the broker manages their own risk. So if one broker was originally the best price, things may then revert and mean that another now has the top payout.
So the most an investor can do, is to check the payouts for assets, and expiry times they are most likely to make, and judge which brand offers the best terms most often. Demo accounts are good when researching payouts on specific assets and trades.
Exchange traded and over the counter brokers will have different payouts – and they will not be easy to compare. In general, exchange traded options offer superior value. Nadex are one example of an exchange.
So as you can see, finding the best trading account and broker is not always easy – but it is worth noting that you are free to move between brokers whenever you like. So even if an account turns out to be poor, it is easy to up sticks and find a new trading firm. Likewise, a trader could have multiple accounts, and open trades at the broker with the best terms for that particular trade.
US Regulated Brokers
In the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have only licensed two operators – Nadex and CBOE – to provide binary options trading to clients in the USA.
Brokers based in Europe will not generally accept US residents as clients, as doing so can result in large fines. Some off-shore providers will accept US citizens as their regulatory status permits them, but the CFTC may ultimately step in if they deem it necessary.
CFTC regulated brokers:
|Nadex Exchange||$250||100%||» Visit|
Which is the Best Binary Trading Platform?
Naming the best trading platform is not easy, simply because trading platforms and proprietary (bespoke) software are normally a question of personal taste. One user might like a simple layout, while others might need a lot of data on screen all the time.
However, platforms do have different levels of quality, both in terms of ease of use, and features. Broadly speaking, brands which offer Contracts for Difference (CFDs) in addition to binary options, deliver a more feature-rich trading platform or advanced software.
So the likes of Nadex and IQ, will deliver a very professional trading platform. MetaTrader integration is also normally provided at the more professional brokers (Some use both mt4 and mt5 functionality) . This difference in quality is evidence of the maturity of binary options as a product, but binary brands will catch up very quickly.
Intro To The IQ Option Platform
How do Brokers Make Money?
Binary options brokers make money via one of two business models:
- As a counter-party, ensuring an ‘over round’ via payout percentages. Known as ‘Over the counter’ (OTC)
- Via a spread or commission on an exchange traded model
People who have experience of other forms of trading, and are now approaching over-the-counter (OTC) brokers for the first time may find themselves asking the question: “Where is the commission?”.
With OTC binaries however, there is no commission. In theory, the term ‘brokers’, is not correct. Binary firms are not arranging a deal or acting as a middleman, or as a market maker; What they are, is the counter-party to each of their customers’ positions. So there is no fee or commission for the trade. Instead, each customer is essentially betting against the house. Where brokers have both sides of a trade covered, they have a handsome margin. Where they do not, the payout still gives them a level of protection. In certain circumstances, the broker will also hedge it’s own position to mitigate risk.
Those companies (Nadex, for instance) that trade binary options via an exchange operate much more like a ‘broker’. Unlike the OTC market where the platform is the counter party, with exchange traded options, the broker is the middleman – matching buyers with sellers and charging a commission. This charge is normally hidden within the spread, rather than an explicit cost. There is far less risk involved for the broker, and therefore generally better returns per trade for the trader. Brokers can be actively compared using the spread – the tighter the spread (difference between buy and sell prices) the cheaper it is to trade.
Brokers using the spread model often also offer leverage, or trading on ‘margin’ via their software. This increases the trade size for the trader – and profit for the platform.
Should You Use Multiple Brokers?
There are some very good arguments for having more than one binary trading account:
- Brokers suit certain trades. Different brokers will suit different trading styles, or trade types. So one broker might be excellent for shorter term trade types, and have great payouts on forex pairs. But that same brand may be slightly less good when it comes to offering boundary trades or indices payouts. If a rival had a full set of long term expiries with great payouts, and lots of choice of boundary trades – it makes sense to have accounts with both platforms, and place trades with the broker that offered the best deal for each trade.
- Demo accounts. Multiple demo accounts makes perfect sense – you want to try as many brokers and trading platforms as possible before deciding where to trade.
- Reduce risk. Accounts at more than one broker protects you from any issues with a particular firm. From issues as serious as insolvency, to smaller things, like website downtime, software issues or a market being closed – multiple accounts reduces your risk of being affected by any hardship a broker might face.
- Multiple offers. Each sign up can mean a new bonus, so it might be worthwhile taking up more than one account to receive all the offers. As ever, read the terms – and also note that on occasion, larger deposits might mean larger bonuses – so splitting them may not be the best choice.
- Spread winnings. Some brokers may look for winning traders on their books, with a view to restricting their trading, perhaps limiting trade size – or worse. While this threat is thankfully small, multiple accounts means spreading the winnings out. Most brokers will search for “winners” based on total profit rather than strike rate, so hiding the volume across broker accounts can help you stay below their radar.
Exchange versus OTC (Over the Counter) Brokers
A broker that offers an exchange is much closer to a traditional ‘broker’ than OTC brokers. An exchange performs the job of ‘middleman’. They will match a seller of an asset, with a buyer of the same asset, and charge a commission for putting the deal together. The market itself will decide the prices – if there are more sellers than buyers, the price will drift down until demand rises. If there are more buyers than those willing to sell, the option price will rise.
A broker operating an exchange does not mind who wins and who loses. They take no risk on the trade themselves (unless the traders are trading on credit). The broker will make their commission on the trade regardless of the outcome.
Due to this reduced risk for the broker, the returns for a winning trader are generally larger. Commissions are usually small relative to the size of the trade, meaning they do not impact the payout too much. Other benefits include the fact that stop losses can be applied, and also that trades can be closed at any time (to take a profit or reduce losses).
The complications with exchanges, comes from the structure. An exchange traded binary option will “trade” somewhere between 0 and 100. Where 0 is the figure used where an event did not occur, and 100 where it did. If the current price is currently 30, a ‘buyer’ would risk 30 times his trade size, to potentially win 70. A ‘seller’ therefore, would risk 70 to win 30. While not a complicated equation, it is slightly more complex than the straight forward over the counter option.
OTC (Over The Counter) Brokers
The most common type is the Over the counter (OTC) broker, but this type of firm is not really a ‘broker’ at all strictly speaking. They are the counter-party to one side of the trade. So where a trader opens a position, the broker will win or lose money, based on whether the trade wins or loses. Only where the broker has another trader who has made the exact opposite trade, will they have assured profits.
Due to this increased risk, the brokers will offer a lower payout which mitigates some of the risk they are taking. It is therefore likely to be lower than an exchange traded broker. Some firms will also have built in ‘hedging’ mechanisms to reduce risk further. In some cases, one side of trade might be made unavailable if liabilities get too large.
The simplicity of binary options is retained with OTC brokers. They have also made great strides in competing with exchanges by offering ‘cash out’ values for options, allowing traders to close positions early, and set up stop losses. Once those features become common the gap between OTC and exchanges will get smaller. For now, traders are better off trading on an exchange – but might be advised to learn the differences via demo account.
Have you had a problem with your broker? Submit a complaint
Deposit and withdrawal options do vary at each brokerage. Each of our reviews will explain which each firm offer, but below is a list of the most common options.
If you are looking for brokers that support a specific payment method:
- Wire Transfer
- Credit cards / Debit cards
All of the factors covered above will ultimately affect the way a trader plays the market, and therefore, their profitability. The ideal situation is to get a binary broker that offers:
- Several financial assets spread across several markets
- Offers a reasonable bonus with a good payout approaching 90%
- Offers flexible expiration dates without boxing traders into very long expirations.
Trading using a broker’s platform will only be enjoyable, and profitable, if you are using a reputable operator. You also need to choose one that suits your trading style best – only you will know what that is. Read the above binary broker reviews carefully before making that crucial trading decision, but remember you are not tied in to any single broker, and can pick and choose.
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