Options Brokers: Which Trading Platforms Offer the Best Choice in 2021?


How & Where To Buy/Trade Call, Put & Other Options
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Risk Warning: Your Capital is at Risk.

Some traders enjoy the high-risk and reward that comes with volatile markets.

These traders often prefer to trade options. This page is a simple guide to understand options trading, along with regulated options brokers to get started with.

If you’re in a hurry, here are popular options brokers available in to consider explore:

Getting Started With Options Trading

Options trading is a type of agreement where two parties agree to carry out a conditional trade within a particular time frame.

One of these parties holds the right to buy (call) or sell (put) within that time frame, while the other party is obliged to hold the order and fulfill it if requested to do so.

Here are the key terms used to understand options trading:

  • Options contract: A formal agreement containing the options trade’s terms.
  • Strike price: The fixed execution price both parties agree on when opening an options contract.
  • Expiration date: The date on which the options contract expires.
  • Option premium: The price the seller or buyer with the right to transact pays. Think of it as a coverage fee, in case the trader chooses to withdraw from the transaction.
  • Call option: An options agreement where a party buys the right to purchase at a fixed price before the expiration date.
  • Put option: An options contract where a party buys the right to sell at a fixed price at the expiration date.

How Call Options Work

Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Call options are profitable when the party with the right to buy can execute the trade at a lower price (minus the options premium) than the price at the time of the agreement.

Here’s an example:

Joanna wants to sell her property, which is valued at $500,000. Frank offers Joanna an options agreement to purchase the property for $500,000 within the next six months, with a 2% up-front premium of $9,000. Joanna agrees and has to hold the property for Frank for six months.

  • Completion Scenario: Joanna’s property appreciates to $550,000, and Frank decides to buy and profits $50,000, minus the $9,000 options fee, making $41,000 in total profit.
  • Withdrawal Scenario: Joanna’s property devalues to $450,000, and Frank withdraws, losing the $9,000 premium. The property is back on the market. Frank avoids a $50,000 loss by paying a $9,000 premium, with which Joanna is compensated for her waiting time.

How Put Options Work

Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Put options are the inverse of call options. With put options, the party with the right to sell can execute the trade at a higher price than at the time of the agreement (minus the premium).

Here’s an example:

Frank desperately wants Joanna’s property that’s worth $500,000. She offers him an options contract where she can sell it to him for $500,000 within the next 6 months for a premium of $9,000. Frank agrees.

  • Completion Scenario: Joanna’s property devalues to $470,000 — she chooses to complete the sale. She is up by $30,000, minus the $9,000 premium, making a total profit of $21,000.
  • Withdrawal Scenario: Joanna’s property appreciates to $540,000 — she withdraws and loses the $9,000 premium to Frank, but has a property on her hands that’s worth $40,000 more than at the time of the agreement.

Options Trading Fees

Options brokers charge several fees that traders should be aware of. The following fees may apply when trading options:

  • Options trade fee: charged for every options trade — most brokers don’t charge these.
  • Contract fee: paid for each contract traded.
  • Other commissions: brokers may negate the terms “options fee” and “contract fee”, and charge a per-trade commission instead.

Options trading fees may vary from broker-to-broker.

What Is An Options Premium?

Brokers charge a fee referred to as the options premium. This sum of money covers the risk that the broker takes while holding a contract for the trader, should the trader decide to pull out of the agreement by right.

The options premium is determined by factors like:

  • Contract value: the premium is primarily determined by the immediate price of the contract.
  • Asset volatility: higher volatility translates to a higher risk/reward potential, resulting in a higher premium.
  • Expiration date: asset prices fluctuate over time, which can result in longer-term options contracts turning from a losing position to a profitable one. This is also referred to as time value.

Popular Options Brokers Compared

Here are four options brokers who offer practical features for traders — we have compared some of the good-to-knows to give a clearer overview.

 Type of OptionsOther ProductsMinimum DepositOur Broker Review
Plus500Options CFDsCFDs Only$\£\€100Read Review
easyMarketsVanilla Options, easyTrade (option-like product)CFDs, Forwards$\£\€100Read Review
City IndexOptions CFDsCFDs, Forex, SpreadbettingNoneRead Review
AvaTradeForex, Options CFDsCFDs, Forex$\£\€100Read Review

Here’s a list of all options brokers we’ve explore on Commodity.com:

Loading table...

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. <b>Between 53.00%-89.00% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.</b> You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

The aforementioned brokers also offer a variety of trading instruments like:

Options Broker Mini-Reviews

We reviewed several options brokers available in . The below summaries include a link to the full broker review where we explore the products, account types, fees, and platform features.

CFD options are different to Vanilla Options (traditional). To understand how Vanilla Options work, refer to this section on How Options Work.

IMPORTANT: CFDs are not available in the USA due to local regulation, and regulated brokers do not accept US citizens or US residents as clients.

AvaTrade: Vanilla and Forex Options

HQ: IrelandMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2006Regulators: CBI, ASIC, FSA, FFAJ, FSCA, BVI, ADGM, ISA, KNF
CFD Options: NoVanilla Options: YesForex Options: Yes
Avatrade's trading dashboard
Avatrade’s workspace.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Robust mobile app
  2. ✅ Customer support available 24/5 via phone, live chat or email in 14 languages
  3. ✅ Up to 400:1 leverage.

Cons

  1. ❌ Demo account only lasts 21 days
  2. ❌ High minimum deposits.
 AvaTrade
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indices, Crypto*, Forex, ETFs, Bond/US Treasuries.
Other Products: Spreadbetting, Buy Shares
FeesOvernight, Inactivity
SpreadsSee our Avatrade review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsAvaTrade Web, MT4, MT5, DupliTrade, MQL5, ZuluTrade
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, Skrill, WebMoney, Neteller
Max Leverage30:1 on major currency pairs
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Demo, Islamic
Social TradingAvaSocial, Copy trading
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesGetting started guide, Strategy guide, Economic indicators, eBooks, video tutorials
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 10+
*Availability subject to regulation

Start Trading Now at AvaTrade

CityIndex: CFD Options With Spread Betting Accounts

HQ: UKMin Deposit: NoneFull Review
Founded: 1983Regulators: FCA, MAS, ASIC, MiFID
CFD Options: YesVanilla Options: NoForex Options: No
CityIndex workspace
CityIndex workspace.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Scored 100 out of 100 on our broker trust rating
  2. ✅ 1-click trading feature
  3. ✅ 30+ years’ experience in global markets and available in 180 countries

Cons

  1. ❌ Demo account isn’t linked to live account
  2. ❌ Card withdrawals take 3-5 days.
 City Index
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indices, Forex, ETFs, Bond/US Treasuries, Options, Interest Rates. Other Products: Spreadbetting
FeesOvernight, Inactivity, same-day CHAPS
SpreadsSee our CityIndex review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4
Other PlatformsWeb Trader, AT Pro, MT4
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, PayPal
Max Leverage200:1 (UK and Australia), 50:1 (Singapore)
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesTrading academy, video tutorials, analytics guide, strategy guide, news and sentiments
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at CityIndex

easyMarkets: Options on Forex and Metals

HQ: CyprusMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2001Regulators: FSA, CySEC, ASIC, BVI
CFD Options: NoVanilla Options: YesForex Options: Yes
easyMarkets workspace and trade ticket
easyMarkets workspace and trade ticket.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Pros

  1. ✅ dealCancellation feature allows traders to cancel and reverse trades
  2. ✅ Over 300 markets in a variety of asset classes
  3. ✅ Scored 85/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ Only 3 major cryptocurrencies available to trade
  2. ❌ Live chat trading unavailable on lower-tiered accounts
 EasyMarkets
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indices, Crypto, Forex
FeesOvernight, dealCancellation
SpreadsSee our easyMarkets review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4
Other PlatformsWeb platform, MT4
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100 (EU + VIP), $200 (outside EU). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, SoFort, GiroPay, iDeal, WebMoney, BPay, Neteller, Skrill, FasaPay, UnionPay, WeChatPay
Max Leverage✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Negative Balance ProtectionRetail, Professional, Islamic, Demo
Special Account Types-
Social TradingGetting started guide, eBooks, video tutorials
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesLive webinars, trading courses (beginner, advanced, intermediate, premium)
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified
*Availability subject to regulation

Start Trading Now at easyMarkets

eOption: Options On Stocks, ETFs, Funds, and Bonds

HQ: Glenview, IL, USMin Deposit: $500 ($25,000 outside US)Visit eOption
Founded: 2007Regulators: FinRa
CFD Options: NoVanilla Options: YesForex Options: No
Video [0:20]: eOption.com mobile trading.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Options on stocks, ETFs, bonds, and funds
  2. ✅ Transparent pricing from $2.09 per contract
  3. ✅ Mobile app on Android and iOS

Cons

  1. ❌ Only overseen by one regulator
  2. ❌ No live chat support
  3. ❌ High minimum deposits outside US
 eOption
ProductsOptions on stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and bonds
FeesBroker assisted orders, option exercise fee, foreign stocks fee, asset-specific exchange fees
SpreadsSee the eOption website for up to date spreads.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, Responsive
Other PlatformsWeb platform
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: 500 (US), $25,000 (outside EU). Payment Types: Wire transfer, ACH, Check, account transfer, stock certificate, securities transfer
Max Leverage
Negative Balance ProtectionRetail, Islamic, Demo
Special Account Types-
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesTrading guides, market guides, options strategy guides
Customer SupportAvailability: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST. Method: Phone, Fax, E-mail

Start Trading Now at eOptions

Forex.com: Futures Options on the Small Exchange

HQs: Cyprus, UK, IsraelMin Deposit: $50Full Review
Founded: 2006Regulators: FCA, MiFID, ASIC, SFC, CIMA, IIROC, FSA, CFTC, NFA
CFD Options: NoVanilla Options: Yes (Futures Options)Forex Options: No
Video [0:17]: Forex.com advanced charting on mobile.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Scored 100 out of 100 on our broker trust rating
  2. ✅ Extensive chart drawing tools and technical indicators
  3. ✅ “Getting Started” tutorial

Cons

  1. ❌ Website available only in English and Chinese
  2. ❌ Demo account isn’t linked to live account
 Forex.com
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indices, Crypto*, Forex. Other Products: Spot Metals
FeesWithdrawal, Overnight, Currency conversion, Inactivity, Borrowing costs for shorting, Same-day CHAPS
SpreadsSee our Forex.com review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsWeb standard, web advanced, mobile
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, PayPal
Max Leverage50:1 on major currency pairs
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Commission, DMA, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesTrading course (beginner, intermediate, advanced), trading theme guides, video tutorials
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified
*Availability subject to regulation

Start Trading Now at Forex.com

Plus500: Options on CFDs

HQ: IsraelMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2008Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FMA, MAS
CFD Options: YesVanilla Options: NoForex Options: No
plus500 dashboard
Plus500 workspace
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Pros

  1. ✅ 2,000+ CFDs in 7 asset classes
  2. ✅ Free demo account for life
  3. ✅ Scored 90/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ No integration with MT4 or MT5
  2. ❌ Withdrawals can take up to 7 days
 Plus500
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indices, Crypto*, Forex, ETFs, Options.
FeesInactivity, Currency conversion
SpreadsSee our Plus500 review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android
Other PlatformsWeb, Desktop, Mobile
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100, $500 (wire transfer). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, PayPal, Skrill, iDeal, BPay, Klarna, Giropay, Trustly, wire transfer
Max Leverage30:1 on forex
Negative Balance Protection
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security2FA via One-Time Password on Google Authenticator app
Educational ResourcesTrader's guide, risk management guide, video tutorials
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, WhatsApp, email. Languages: 10+
*Availability subject to regulation

Start Trading Now at Plus500

Top Options Trading Platform Features

Traders prefer platforms with features that contribute to a practical trading experience. This can include anything from trading tools to educational resources.

Here are four features we found helpful from four different options brokers.

Advanced Trading Information With Plus500

There’s more to trading, of course, than buy and sell prices.

The amount you trade and your risk/reward potential depends on other factors like margin rates, various trading fees like overnight fees, or even maintenance fees.

Plus500 has an “Info” toggle within their trading window that shows us these statistics, including when the next trading session starts.

Plus500 offers CFD options only.

easyMarket Charting Tool

easyMarkets‘ charting feature is loaded with features. These include built-in chart comparisons, templates, and multiple ways to annotate.

easyMarkets charting tool
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

1-Click Trading With City Index

The City Index platform offers 1-click trading to options traders. The 1-click trade functionality lets traders execute a previous trade again in a single click without having to specify the conditions of trading that product again.

On the upper right-hand side of the account menu bar, all traders have to do is switch on a toggle, labeled “1-click trading”.

Once the toggle is on, even options trades can be executed with a single click on a simplified buy/sell screen.

Start Trading Now at CityIndex.com

IG.com’s Draggable Dashboard Layout

When you first log in to IG.com’s dashboard, you’re greeted by a near-empty dashboard.

However, you may customize this dashboard to fit various tabs alongside one another, including the list of markets, multiple trade execution windows, and the position manager.

IG's dashboard
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

What Are ETF Options?

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) trade in a similar way to stocks. Unlike stocks, an ETF represents a basket of multiple assets, rather than a single asset.

ETFs can include stocks; agricultural commodities; precious metals like gold and silver; base metals like copper; international market indices; and bonds.

ETF options are derivative products that allow traders to leverage long and short positions on ETFs. ETF options are standard put and call options contracts where traders speculate on the price of a particular market in a given time frame.

Unlike index options, ETF options can also be subject to early exercise where the options holder can carry out the trade at the strike price on the expiration date.

Brokers also offer leveraged derivatives like CFDs on particular ETFs.

What’s the Difference Between ETFs and Mutual Funds?

While both ETF and mutual funds are assets grouped in one offering, the main difference between the two is the method of management and trading times.

Mutual funds are purchased and sold just once daily and are actively managed by experts — this also results in higher costs. ETFs are passively managed and traded throughout the day like stocks.  

FAQs

How difficult is options trading?

Options trading is a high-risk, high-reward form of trading, so it can be thought of as an advanced type of trading. That said, once you understand how options work and learn how markets of interest tend to move, options can lead the way into the intermediate trader league. Options carry risks like any other trade forms.

Are options riskier than stocks?

Options carry a different type of risk to conventional stock trading. Despite the ability to withdraw from an options agreement, trades must factor in the potential loss of a sizable options fee. Traders holding long positions on assets can also hedge against losses, where covered calls are placed and the options contracts are used as an income stream.

What is the safest options strategy?

There are many options strategies available to traders, but every trade entails risk. Each trader develops a unique process, informed by market knowledge and technical analysis, which allows for more accurate speculation. Another “safer” way to trade options is hedging, where long-held assets are used to generate lower reward, lower risk income.

What types of options traders are there?

Since time frames are especially a key factor in options trading, traders are often considered more active than traders of other, conventional markets. Swing traders tend to trade every few days, while day traders may trade every few hours. Active trading in options doesn’t necessarily mean daily execution of trades, but a constant presence and awareness of the market movement. Options traders tend to track the market at all times for opportunities to buy or sell a contract at a profitable time.

What is the best broker for options trading?

Traders’ preference for a broker depends on factors like platform quality, fees, and markets offered. Platform features are especially important as they may support a trader’s ability to keep up with relevant market statistics and news. A good platform supports the trader in maximizing the chances of a profitable trade.

Are there options trading apps on mobile?

Several brokers offer mobile applications, though AvaTrade stands out with its AvaOptions mobile app. AvaOptions was specifically created with mobile options traders in mind. It is a feature-rich application with advanced trading tools and can be downloaded from the iOS app store, or Google Play store.

Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about what the world of trading and online brokers have to offer, here are a few resources you may find interesting:

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Plus500 is not available in the US

Legitimate CFD brokers, like Plus500, cannot accept US clients by law

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