Top Mobile Options Trading

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Best Stock Trading Apps 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.

Many online brokers are wagering that mobile investing isn’t just about viewing a portfolio, maintaining a basic watch list, and placing simple trades. Instead, brokerages are working to bring the full trading experience to their mobile apps, including trade tools, advanced order types, detailed charting, complex options, cloud syncing, screeners, and much more.

No single broker has “cracked the code” to the ultimate mobile investor experience yet, but our top finishers this year are certainly close. With 42 different features being assessed for mobile trading alone, scoring high marks is no walk in the park. We conducted all our tests on iOS devices, and focused primarily on the iPhone.

Best Stock Trading Apps 2020

  • E*TRADE – Best for Options
  • TD Ameritrade – Best Trading Tools
  • Fidelity – Best for Everyday Investors
  • Interactive Brokers – Best for Professionals
  • TradeStation – Best for Traders

E*TRADE Mobile, Power E*TRADE – Open Account
Promo Offer: Get $100 when you deposit just $5,000 into a new E*TRADE account!

In our 2020 Review, E*TRADE once again placed first because its apps, E*TRADE Mobile and Power E*TRADE Mobile, are easy to use and feature-rich. Both apps are supported in iOS and Android, while E*TRADE Mobile also supports the Apple Watch. Unique app features include streaming live Bloomberg TV, customized stock screening, third-party research ratings, and a customizable dashboard, among others. Read full review

TD Ameritrade Mobile, Mobile Trader – Open Account
Exclusive Offer: Get up to $600 and trade commission-free with TD Ameritrade.

Like E*TRADE, TD Ameritrade offers not one, but two smartphone apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile (everyday investors) and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader (active traders). Looking at mobile apps specifically, Mobile Trader is my top pick for traders in 2020. Upon login, you are taken straight into your watch lists, which sync with thinkorswim. Charting includes all 400+ indicators from the thinkorswim desktop platform, and chart preferences sync in the cloud. Read full review

Fidelity Mobile – Open Account
Trade Commission-Free: No commissions to trade online U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options. 1

Fidelity’s mobile experience is cleanly designed, bug-free, and delivers a phenomenal experience for investors. While active traders may be left wanting more, for the majority, Fidelity delivers, winning our award, No. 1 Investor App, in 2020. Read full review

IBKR Mobile – Open Account
Exclusive Offer: New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate.

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
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  • Binomo
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Mobile trading with Interactive Brokers is well supported across all devices. From lightning-quick streaming data to full-featured order entry and portfolio management, Interactive Brokers includes everything professionals require to go trade on the go. Read full review

TradeStation Mobile – Open Account
Promo Offer: Commission-Free Trades on Stocks, ETFs & Options Trades

TradeStation’s mobile app is meticulously designed and provides the functionality active and professional traders alike need to succeed. Full day trading functionality is incorporated, thanks to Matrix (ladder trading) and complex options trading support. Read full review

Mobile trading with Alexa, Facebook, Twitter, and more

On the innovation front, TD Ameritrade was one of the first brokers to offer an Alexa Skill, and in August 2020, it became the first broker to integrate with Facebook Messenger, embracing the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with its own chatbot. Next, in 2020, Apple Business Chat, which I am using more and more frequently to grab quick stock quotes. Then, in 2020, TD Ameritrade for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both rolled out. All in all, TD Ameritrade is the undisputed leader in mobile and can be found everywhere you are.

Speaking of Alexa, for the millions of Americans who own an Amazon Alexa device, TD Ameritrade, alongside Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Interactive Brokers, all have approved Alexa Skills. Our testing this year did not incorporate testing specific Alexa features; however, based on Amazon’s ratings, it appears TD Ameritrade has the lead in delivering a diverse quality experience.

Mobile trading apps comparison

The process of placing orders continues to become easier for customers, thanks to innovations with order entry functionality. Placing regular stock trades and single-leg options trades is now a breeze, regardless of the broker used, and for brokers who offer complex options trading, it is mostly painless.

Feature E*TRADE
Open Account
TD Ameritrade
Open Account
Fidelity
Open Account
Interactive Brokers
Open Account
iPhone App Yes Yes Yes Yes
Android App Yes Yes Yes Yes
Apple Watch App Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trading – Stocks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trading – After-Hours Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trading – Conditional Orders Yes Yes No Yes
Trading – Mutual Funds Yes No Yes Yes
Trading – Simple Options Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trading – Complex Options Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trading – Option Rolling No Yes No No
Touch / Face ID Yes Yes Yes Yes

Mobile trading app features comparison

Across the industry as a whole, although some functionality such as real-time streaming quotes, charting with multiple indicators, and synced watch lists are now pretty much industry standards, other functionality remains less common. For example, less than 50% of the industry supports basic stock alerts.

Feature E*TRADE
Open Account
TD Ameritrade
Open Account
Fidelity
Open Account
Interactive Brokers
Open Account
Watch List Syncing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stock Alerts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charting – After Hours Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charting – Drawing No Yes No No
Charting – Study Customizations Yes Yes Yes Yes
Heatmapping No No Yes No
Stream Live TV Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barcode Lookup Yes Yes No No
Mobile Trading 5 5 5 4.5

The world of mobile trading continues to evolve rapidly. While online brokers have come a long way from where they were even a year ago, there is still room for innovation.

What is the best stock trading app for beginners?

For beginners in 2020, the best stock trading apps are TD Ameritrade and Fidelity. Between the two brokers, TD Ameritrade has the edge for educational resources and trading tools. Meanwhile, Fidelity offers a more comprehensive research experience for casual investors.

What is the best free trading app?

The best free trading app is TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade offers free trading for stocks and ETFs. TD Ameritrade offers two smartphone apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile (everyday investors) and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader (active traders). Between both apps, Mobile Trader is my top trading app pick for 2020.

How do I choose the best stock trading app?

For traders looking for the best stock trading app features, focus on watch lists, charting, and the order tickets. For example, while all apps support stock and ETF trading, not all brokers offer real-time streaming quotes. Instead, watch list quotes refresh every few seconds or more. Also broker apps like TD Ameritrade and TradeStation do a terrific job with their stock charting tool and alerts functionality. Both brokers offer traders access to several hundred technical indicators, and placing trades is a breeze.

Explore our other online trading guides:

Methodology

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.

About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/20/2020 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

TD Ameritrade, Inc. and StockBrokers.com are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. View terms.

1 $0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and options (+ $0.65 per contract fee) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). There is an Options Regulatory Fee (from $0.03 to $0.05 per contract), which applies to both option buy and sell transactions. The fee is subject to change. Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® are subject to different commission schedules.

Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors. Certain complex options strategies carry additional risk. Before trading options, please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Supporting documentation for any claims, if applicable, will be furnished upon request.

Advertiser Disclosure: StockBrokers.com helps investors across the globe by spending over 1,000 hours each year testing and researching online brokers. How do we make money? Our partners compensate us through paid advertising. While partners may pay to provide offers or be featured, e.g. exclusive offers, they cannot pay to alter our recommendations, advice, ratings, or any other content throughout the site. Furthermore, our content and research teams do not participate in any advertising planning nor are they permitted access to advertising campaign data. Here is a list of our partners.

Disclaimer: It is our organization’s primary mission to provide reviews, commentary, and analysis that are unbiased and objective. While StockBrokers.com has all data verified by industry participants, it can vary from time to time. Operating as an online business, this site may be compensated through third party advertisers. Our receipt of such compensation shall not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation by StockBrokers.com, nor shall it bias our reviews, analysis, and opinions. Please see our General Disclaimers for more information.

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All rights reserved.

Mobile Trading Apps

Check Reviews of Mobile Trading Apps

Mobile trading apps (or Demat Apps) have become a necessity in the stock market trading space in India. It is not a luxury anymore but more of a basic expectation from a stockbroker.

Let’s find out the Best 6 Mobile trading apps that are doing relatively much better than their respective counterparts.

Best Mobile Trading Apps

Natasha Sinha, a 35-year-old employee in one of the leading eCommerce companies in Bangalore started trading in the stock market as a hobby. By time though, this hobby slowly turned into a new money-making stream in her life.

However, since most of her day goes into the office work – she gets minimal time to trade regularly and more importantly to enter her trades at the “right” time i.e. when the price is right.

Rakesh Patel, a businessman from Surat has to leave his factory site every time his stock price changes lucratively to quickly reach his cabin where he has the trading terminal installed. However, most of the times, he misses out on the potential profit he could have made if he had traded at the right moment.

You understand what they are missing in their lives, right?

A mobile trading app!

In the recent 3-4 years, mobile trading has gained amazing heights in terms of coverage and usage. As per one of the reports from NSE, mobile trading increase by more than 130% from ₹50,800 Crore in 2020 to ₹116,800 Crore in 2020.

Numbers for 2020-21 are even more staggering with an increase in mobile trading by almost double.

And this is precisely why a lot of leading and upcoming stockbroking houses have been launching their mobile trading apps in such a hurry. More than a comfort, it has become a basic expectation of potential trading clients now.

Best Mobile Trading Apps In India

Recently, we did a research study on the best mobile trading apps in India. This research included:

  • Inputs from active clients of different stock brokers in terms of ease of use, app speed, trading experience and usability of the app.
  • Number of installs from Android and iOs play store
  • User ratings
  • App Features

Based on a qualitative and quantitative analysis, these are the top 6 mobile trading apps in India (in no particular order):

1. 5Paisa Mobile App

The mobile app from 5Paisa is one of the best performing mobile trading applications in India when it comes to performance, the speed of order execution and user experience. With this mobile app, you can trade across multiple segments and also invest in mutual funds as well as Insurance. Pretty exhaustive in kind of features offered, in a sense.

The best part is that even though 5Paisa is a discount broker, it provides quick tips at a technical level and fundamental calls within the mobile app for its users. The app comes with a guest login as well, thus, providing potential users with an insight into the features the offers.

Some of the features of the app are:

  • Auto Investor feature provides users with information with the kind of entities one must trade/invest in with the time limit as well.
  • Heatmaps, technical indicators, charting feature allows users to perform a quick technical analysis.
  • The app is known for high security and is thus, one of the reliable applications in the industry.
  • Multiple communication channels offered when it comes to customer service.

Some of the concerns at the same time with this mobile app are:

  • Charts loading may take some time with lower internet connection bandwidth.
  • 5Paisa has a history of average applications on mobile so this will need some time to gain prominence.
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Number of Installs 1,000,000+
Mobile App Size 16 MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 19.9%
Overall Review
Update Frequency 3 weeks
Android Version 4.1 and Up
iOS Version 9.0 and Up

2. Fyers Markets

Fyers is one of those stockbrokers in India that has shown immense focus when it comes to technology and offering optimal user experience to clients through its platforms. Their mobile app is no exception and has consistently performed well at multiple levels.

The best part is that Fyers is most likely one of the youngest companies within discount broking space in terms of time but they are already been counted as one of the best ones when it comes to technology and performance of their trading platforms.

Some of the positives of Fyers markets are:

  • Offers multiple features for technical analysis with a wide range of data options
  • Works fine at low internet connection bandwidth.
  • Integration with 25+ prominent stock banks for fund transfers.

At the same time, a few concerns around the app are:

  • The update frequency cycle can be improved to under 4 weeks per update.
  • Historical charting for fundamental analysis not available
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Number of Installs 5000 – 10000
Mobile App Size 14 MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 20%
Overall Review
Update Frequency 5 weeks

3. Zerodha Kite Mobile App

Kite is a mobile app recently introduced by Zerodha, one of the top discount brokers of the country. The app is known for its interactive user experience and ease of use. Some of the features the app comes up with are:

  • Multiple market watch provision with detailed live market information
  • Advanced technical charts with more than 100 indicators for quick analysis along with 6 different chart types and 19 drawing tools
  • Smart search box functionality that instantly searches hundreds of thousands of instruments and contracts across exchanges

Kite is known for its lightweight and in fact, is one-third the size of a lot other mobile trading apps.

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Number of Installs 100,000 to 500,000
Mobile App Size 10.6 MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 13%
Overall Review

Some of the concerns raised about the app are:

  • Network disconnection error for few mobile service providers has been noted quite a few times
  • Minor issues in deleting or editing scrips from market watch were reported
  • Frequent lags during chart loading

Check out this video that explains how to use Kite and some of its features:

4. IIFL Markets

IIFL Markets was one of those mobile trading apps that got the most positive responses from the users in our research. This mobile app was launched by the financial services veteran IIIFL.

Its unique features such as ‘One Swipe Trading’ considers the time aspect related to trading and allows the clients to place the order with just a single swipe. Some of the other features are:

  • Clients can apply for IPOs or OFS through their smartphones.
  • Comes with a guest login that allows non-clients to browse through some of the basic features to understand how the mobile app works
  • The Stock Watch feature allows the user to keep the user’s selected stocks right in front of the home screen.

Another unique feature of this mobile trading app is that it allows multiple Stock Watchlists with each one of those allowing the user to accommodate up to 50 Stock market scripts at one point in time.

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Number of Installs 500,000 to 1000,000
Mobile App Size 38.2MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 7.3%
Overall Review

Some of the concerns raised about the app are:

  • Regular issues are seen after every app update, however, were fixed with quick turnaround
  • Occasional issues with market and price alerts and notifications
  • Few issues around OTP delivery were observed

Here is how the IIFL Markets app works:

5. Kotak Stock Trader

This mobile app from Kotak Securities has an integration with feeds from Times of India, Money Control and Economic times that it shows to its clients within the mobile app based on their preference. Some of the other unique features of Kotak stock trader mobile app are:

  • Live Bloomberg TV integrated within the app that users can watch 24 X 7
  • A unique feature ‘My Investments’ for investors helps the users to show all investments made other trading platforms of Kotak i.e. KEAT Pro X, KST or Website within the single UI.
  • Features such as Live market updates, market watchlists etc. can be accessed without any Upstox login details from the users.
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Number of Installs 500,000+
Mobile App Size 15 MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 16.2%
Overall Review
Update Frequency 12-16 Weeks
Android Version 4.4 and Up
iOS Version 10.0 and Up

Some of the concerns raised about the app are:

  • Quite a few issues reported on the user experience of the mobile app making it tough for the users to identify different features
  • Needs a good internet bandwidth to operate smoothly. A lot of issues seen in 2G mobile networks.
  • No list available for stock selections, users need to type the scrip to select stocks.

Here is one of the demos of the Kotak stock trader App:

6. Upstox Pro

Upstox Pro mobile app by Upstox (or RKSV), a leading discount broker – is one of the most advanced trading platforms. Some of the unique features of the app are:

  • Different chart types such as Candlesticks with various drawing tools that users can directly use and customize as per their analysis
  • Historic data available for the last 10 years
  • Alerts and notifications of stock prices available as per-user settings.
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Number of Installs 50,000 – 100,000
Mobile App Size 14 MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 12.2%
Overall Review
Update Frequency 3 Weeks

Some of the concerns raised about this app are:

  • No option to check linked bank account details in the app
  • Search option missing in the guide.
  • Back Office app not available

To simplify the process the Upstox has offered, Upstox 3 in 1 account that offers trading, Demat and banking services in one bundle.

Check out this video that explains how to use Upstox and some of its features:

Apart from these top mobile trading apps, here are some other mobile apps that have been launched in the recent past and has shown decent promise among the user base:

This mobile trading app from the full-service stockbroking house of Motilal Oswal is getting traction over a period of time. The broker has set up different trading apps for traders and investors respectively.

Thus, depending on your trading style, you can pick the corresponding mobile trading app.

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Number of Installs 100,000+
Mobile App Size 10 MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 12.5%
Overall Review
Update Frequency Cycle 4-6 Weeks

This is one of the highest-rated mobile trading apps on the Google play store and has been liked by the users installing the app as well. However, the app needs to bring in features for its experienced set of traders to make it among the top apps in the country.

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Number of Installs 100,000-50,0000
Mobile App Size 37.4 MB
Negative Ratings Percentage 10%
Overall Review

You can read this review in Hindi as well.

With huge innovations and disruptions happening across the mobile applications space to go along with deep penetration of smartphones within 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier cities of India, Mobile trading is here to stay.

Thus, the stockbroking companies looking to expand and grow don’t really have an option but to make sure, they bring regular implementations within the mobile space.

These features and aspects, at the same time, need to be user-friendly and should make sense for the users to use.

At the same time, with limited time left in the day, people would prefer a mobile device rather than an installable software or a web-based terminal. This brings in value add-ons such as convenience and trading at the right time where users can ripe in maximum profits.

Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Still, have more questions to get clarified?

Why don’t you send your details and we will arrange a Free call back for you!

Best Options Trading Platforms

The best options brokers have a wealth of tools that help you manage risk

Investopedia is committed to rigorous editorial standards to provide our readers with the best advice and recommendations. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products we reviewed. Learn more about our methodology and review process.

We recognize that we all are living through a particularly volatile time as we deal with this global crisis, and financial markets have also seen unprecedented change, impacting all investors. Our mission has always been to help people make the most informed decisions about how, when and where to invest. Given recent market volatility, and the changes in the online brokerage industry, we are more committed than ever to providing our readers with unbiased and expert reviews of the top investing platforms for investors of all levels, for every kind of market.

Options trading has become extremely popular with retail investors since the turn of the 21st century. Our best options brokers have a wealth of tools that help you measure and manage risk as you determine which trades to place. They also include valuable education that helps you grow in sophistication as an options trader.

Best Online Brokers for Options Trading in April 2020:

  • tastyworks: Best Options Trading Platform
  • tastyworks: Best Broker for Advanced Options Traders
  • tastyworks: Best Broker for Mobile Options Traders
  • E*TRADE: Best Broker for Beginning Options Traders
  • eOption: Best Broker for Low-Cost Options Trading

Best Options Trading Platform, Best for Advanced Options Trades, and Best for Mobile Options Traders: tastyworks

  • AccountMinimum: $0
  • Fees: $0.00 stock trades, $1.00 to open options trades $0.00 to close

Tastyworks says that more than 90% of the trades placed by its customers are derivatives, so they naturally spend their time designing a lot of tools specifically for options and futures traders. Everything is designed to help traders evaluate volatility and the probability of profit. Tastyworks’ entire platform is geared towards making decisions and taking action. Tastyworks opened its virtual doors in 2020, so it isn’t saddled with legacy systems that bog down many of the older online brokers. This has helped it tremendously in keeping the options trading experience to the essentials. Tastyworks’ executions are fast and the costs are low, with commissions capped for opening orders for options on equities and futures at $10 per leg.

Watchlists are a key component of the tastyworks platform, and they are the same on mobile, web, and download. The look and feel of the mobile platform is very similar to the desktop versions, though you’ll find price wheels and ways to define trades that minimize the possibility of making a mistake. As you build a position from a chart or from a volatility screener, a trade ticket is built for you. There’s also a video viewer embedded so you can keep an eye on the tastytrade network. Though a newcomer to options trading might be initially uncomfortable, those who understand the basic concepts will appreciate the content, features, and focus apparent throughout tastyworks’ platforms.

All of the tools you’ll need for analyzing and trading derivatives are built into the platforms.

The charting capabilities are uniquely tuned for the options trader. If you have multiple positions on a particular underlying, you can analyze the risk profiles of the combined position.

There are hours of original video from tastytrade every weekday, offering up-to-the-minute trading ideas, plus a huge library of pre-recorded videos and shows.

Newcomers to trading and investing may be overwhelmed by tastyworks at first.

There is no fixed income trading (outside of ETFs that contain bonds) for those who want to allocate some of their assets to a more conservative asset class.

Any additional portfolio analysis beyond profit and loss requires setting up a login on a separate site, The Quiet Foundation, which is also part of the tastytrade empire.

Best for Beginning Options Traders: E*TRADE

  • AccountMinimum: $0
  • Fees: No commission for stock/ETF trades. Options are $0.50-$0.65 per contract, depending on trading volume.

New options traders need some help in understanding how trading derivatives can help improve portfolio returns. E*TRADE’s more advanced platforms are elegantly designed and guide you along the way. When you graduate to options and derivatives, the Power E*TRADE website and mobile app can help you learn. The Power E*TRADE site and app can be set up to put the functions you use most often front and center so you don’t have to dig around for them. The platform has all the features inherited from E*TRADE’s acquisition of OptionsHouse technology, which includes a wealth of helpful educational resources for the developing options trader. Watchlists are integrated across E*TRADE’s platforms, and the full range of tradable assets is accessible on the mobile apps. The workflow is very smooth on the mobile apps. We also found that using Power E*TRADE on a tablet is quite pleasant.

Mobile apps are extremely well laid-out and easy to use and are among the most comprehensive and extensive apps tested.

Spectral Analysis on Power E*TRADE is a visually stunning tool that helps you visualize maximum profit and loss for an options strategy and understand your risk metrics

You can test strategies using the paper trading capabilities of E*TRADE Pro’s desktop platform, which uses delayed data so you won’t think you’re placing real trades.

On all platforms, you’ll find a ubiquitous trade ticket with streaming real-time data.

Tiered commission schedule for options trades, charging $0.65 per contract for less frequent traders and $0.50 for those who place more than 30 options trades per quarter.

Investors who would like direct access to international markets or to trade foreign currencies should look elsewhere.

You cannot consolidate your externally-held accounts to form a complete picture of your net worth on E*TRADE.

Best for Low-Cost Options Trading: eOption

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0 per stock/ETF trade, $1.99 base per leg plus $0.10 per contract for options trades

eOption charges $1.99 per leg for options trades, but the per-contract fee is significantly lower than its competitors, making it great for heavy options traders. eOption also offers commission-free stock and ETF trading so those who are options-oriented traders but also want access to other assets at a low cost will have no issues here. Clearing and exchange fees, typically a fraction of a penny per share, are spelled out on the order confirmation screen and are passed through to customers. eOption also scored highly for its relatively low margin rates.

eOption offers great value for frequent options traders.

The browser-based eOption Trader platform is easy to use.

Newsletter subscribers can auto-trade their alerts.

Limited education offerings.

News feeds are limited.

Any OTCBB (penny stock) trades must be made with a live broker.

Other Options Considerations

The commission structure for options trades tends to be more complicated than its equivalent for stock trades. Until the commission cuts that swept the industry in the fall of 2020, most brokers charged a fee for each leg of an options spread plus a commission per contract being traded. The per-leg fees, which made 2- and 4-legged spreads expensive, have been eliminated industry-wide, for the most part. We are also seeing some brokers place caps on commissions charged for certain trading scenarios.

Investors with fairly large portfolios can also take advantage of portfolio margining at some brokers. This is a practice that assesses the total risk inherent in a portfolio that contains stocks and derivatives. Investors with large portfolios can use portfolio margining to reduce the size of the margin loan.

What Kind of Options Trader Are You?

The first and most important piece of information to consider before selecting an options trading account is what kind of trader you are. What is your trading style and risk appetite? Which tools would you like to have handy?

Options are complex products to understand and trade. All of the brokers listed above allow customers to build complex options positions as a single order. Some brokers, such as Vanguard, only allow one position per order, leaving it to the individual trader to place multiple orders one at a time to create a combination position. Merrill Edge lets you place two-legged spreads, but anything more complex will require an additional order.

If you’re just getting started with options trading, the quality of education and help offered by your broker is important. Frequent traders and those who trade a large number of contracts will be more sensitive to commissions and fees, so check out your prospective broker’s charges and make sure you understand them.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on its platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting thousands of data points that we weighed into our star-scoring system.

In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out an extensive survey about all aspects of its platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of its platforms at our offices.

Our best options brokers have a wealth of tools that help you measure and manage risk as you determine which trades to place. These brokers include valuable education that helps you grow in sophistication as an options trader. Investors with fairly large portfolios can take advantage of portfolio margining at certain brokers, a practice that assesses the total risk inherent in a portfolio that contains stocks and derivatives, and can reduce the size of your margin loan.

Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
  • Binarium
    Binarium

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