Discount online options brokers provide trading opportunities to self-directed traders at discounted prices. With online options trading service you can place options orders, exercise options, satisfy an option assignment, and buy and sell stock. Discount brokers face a highly competitive market, so they are motivated to provide deep discounts to volume traders, incentives to high balance holders and low-priced flat fee trades to all customers.
The best options broker for you depends on how you like to trade, how much you want to risk and how often you trade. If you are looking towards long-term slow growth with occasional stock and options trading, a full-service broker may be a good choice. If you are a volume trader who trades often, consider an online broker that provides incentives to volume traders with a high balance. If you are a dabbler and do not have much capital to risk, a broker with no minimum balance and low fees for orders under 10 contracts is most suitable. The online stock options trading brokers with the lowest fees and commissions are OptionsHouse, TradeKing and TD Ameritrade. To learn more, read articles about online options trading.
Though most options brokers also offer other investment opportunities, in this review we look at option-specific fees, trading platform and research tools. The best brokers give you extensive options education and trading platforms that place all types of options trades with low base and contract fees.
Fees & Commissions
Options traders often trade in volume, which means that small differences in fees and commissions make a big difference in profitability. We looked for brokers that offer low fees and discount rates for high-volume options traders. We also analyzed options exercise and assignment fees, stock trade fees and margin rates. We rated highest those that charge competitive fees to low-volume as well as active traders.
Most brokers offer tools to help with trading options online, from mobile trading platforms to streaming charts. The best online options brokers give you research tools, up-to-date market information and a choice of trading platforms.
Even though they may not provide a specific account manager for you as traditional brokers do, discount brokers should provide educated and courteous representatives for those times when you have a trade question or a question about your account. Consider also the kinds of educational opportunities the broker provides.
If you are an experienced options trader or you are just starting to experiment, you understand the risks and rewards associated with online options trading. However, with a low-priced, online options broker that provides research tools and educational opportunities you can manage your risk and trade your way to mastering the options market.
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