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Best Options Broker Trading Platform

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For traders specifically looking to trade options, choosing the best options trading platform can be particularly crucial. Most major brokers have options trading capabilities, but not every platform is geared specifically for options trading. Below, we’re taking a look at the top choices for these trading platforms, from free options trading to paid platforms.

Best Options Brokers:

In general, options trading is a very profitable offering for brokers, so there are plenty of great deals out there for traders.

Best for Options Traders

Low commissions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to choosing the best option trading platform.  Traders need to consider hidden fees, such as platform fees and data fees.

Different traders have different skill levels, trading strategies, and needs. Options trading can be complicated, and beginners need to make sure to find a platform with plenty of educational resources and guidance. Advanced traders need to look for professional-grade features and research. Before choosing the right broker, each trader needs to consider his or her trading style and which features are most important in maximizing profitability.

Here’s an overview of some of the top option-trading platforms based on several different criteria.

Commissions
$0
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Investors using Chase banking products
  • Mobile traders
  • Retirement savers

1. You Invest by J.P. Morgan

If you’re already a customer with Chase Bank, Chase You Invest by J.P. Morgan is a no-brainer. You can easily research, trade and manage your investments from your mobile device. You Invest provides online tools to search for investments, track companies and rollover your assets.

Only U.S. clients are able to open a You Invest account but it takes, on average, just a day to open and you’re able to apply fully online. Equipped with portfolio reports and pie charts, the mobile app is simple and user-friendly. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

With Chase You Invest you’ll have access to roughly 5,000 stock exchanges. There are plenty of research and educational tools provided on the app. Overall, we recommend the Chase You Invest platform for stock trading because it’s easy to open and fund an account. It’s also reliable thanks to its strong parent company, J.P. Morgan. 

Commissions
$0
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders
Pros
  • Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools
  • Wide range of tradable securities
  • Fully-operational mobile app

2. Best for Advanced Traders: TradeStation

TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective, offering full platform capabilities.

TradeStation offers 2 distinct account types: its basic TS GO account aimed at new trades and its more in-depth TS Select account aimed at more advanced traders looking for a comprehensive set of tools and research options. There’s no minimum account balance required to open a TS GO account. TS Select accounts require a $2,000 minimum deposit.

If you’re new to trading, you’ll love TradeStation’s Simulated Trading tool. Its Simulated Trading tool allows you to practice entering buy and sell orders, using TradeStation’s suite of charting and analysis tools and using your trading strategy without risking any of your own money.  

Read Benzinga’s Full TradeStation Review.

3. Best for Beginners: TD Ameritrade

Commissions
$0 $6.95 for OTC Stocks
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options

There’s no better place to get started trading options than TD Ameritrade. Right off the bat, TD Ameritrade’s $0 account minimum makes the platform accessible to every options trader. The Trade Architect platform provides a simple, easy-to-navigate trading environment that isn’t intimidating for new options traders and provides easy order execution.

Traders have access to 24/7 customer support over the phone, as well as email support and more than 100 local branches. The platform also offers virtual trading, so beginners can get a feel for the market without putting real money at risk. For more advanced traders, the thinkorswim platform provides professional-grade advances option trading features, such as Options Statistics for identifying trading opportunities and the Sizzle Index for identifying the hottest contracts.

TD Ameritrade recently completed an acquisition of Scottrade, which will provide options traders with another level of flexibility as well. Right now, TD Ameritrade charges $0 fin options based fess and $0.65 for options per contract.

Read Benzinga’s full TD Ameritrade Review

4. Best for Marginal Accounts: Interactive Brokers

Commissions
$0.005 per share minimum $1 and maximum 0.5% of trade value; volume discount available
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Access to foreign markets
  • Detailed mobile app that makes trading simple
  • Wide range of available account types and tradable assets
Pros
  • Comprehensive, quick desktop platform
  • Mobile app mirrors full capabilities of desktop version
  • Access to massive range of tradable assets
  • Low margin rates
  • Easy-to-use and enhanced screening options are better than ever

The Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation provides a comprehensive list of options trading features and has been compared to the look and feel of a commercial airline cockpit. The workstation includes integrated tools such as IB Risk Navigator, Options Analytics and Model Navigator. It has a configurable format, quick-click order entry capabilities, and is extremely customizable.

The OptionTrader Combo tab allows traders to monitor price variations, view all available chains or filter for specific contracts and configure columns to view calculated model prices, implied volatilities open interest and Greeks.

Interactive Brokers also helps active traders minimize commissions and fees as well. Interactive Brokers charges nothing in options based fees but charges $0.65 per contract fee for options.

Read Benzinga’s full Interactive Brokers Review

5. Best for Mobile Traders: E*TRADE

Commissions
$0
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Active traders
  • Derivatives traders
  • Retirement savers
Pros
  • Sophisticated trading platforms
  • Wide range of tradable assets
  • Exceptional customer service

E*TRADE’s Power E*TRADE platform and mobile app are the gold standards of option trading platforms. Power E*TRADE currently offers traders premium-quality tools without the premium price tag.

According to a customer service rep, the long-term plan is to have the Power E*TRADE platform replace E*TRADE Pro as the premium service, but for now, it is free for all E*TRADE users.

Power E*TRADE is the perfect combination of speed, quality, tools, and navigation capabilities. The platform offers virtual trading for testing strategies. The option chain screen provides access to customizable real-time streaming option chains with up to 30 columns. The tradeLAB Snapshot Analysis breaks down risk/reward in an easy-to-understand way, indicating pros and cons as well as key events to watch for and a profit and loss chart. The strategySEEK tool allows users to scan market data and identify potential trading strategies.

For all E*TRADE’s advances option trading features, the broker charges $0 in options based fees and $0.65 for options per contract.

Read Benzinga’s full E*TRADE Review

Commissions
$0 flat rate, includes closing costs
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Options traders
  • Futures traders
  • Advanced traders
Pros
  • Powerful platform inspired by thinkorswim
  • Multiple order types and strategies
  • Cheap options commissions

6. Best Derivatives Only Broker: tastyworks

Tastyworks allows opening of an individual, entity/trust or joint account, and the account type held with the brokerage can be margin, cash or retirement. In margin trading, you are allowed to trade with borrowed capital, facilitating the use of all trading strategies available with the broker, while a cash account requires that you fully fund transactions, and also restricts usage of some trading strategies such as spread and uncovered options.

The web-based trading platform allows access from any computer and gives all functionalities as the downloadable version. Some of the features in the browser version is the Follow page, where you can follow the firm’s curated experts’ trade, Trade Curve, which allows visualization of trades easily and the Trade History option, which helps you analyze your trades.

Though opening an account is fairly easy, a prospective client is required to register with tastyworks ahead of time with an email address, username, and password, as well as:

  • Address and phone numbers,
  • Citizenship status,
  • Personal information such as Social Security Number and employment information,
  • Bank details and
  • Copies of identity and address proofs.

Once an account is registered, it normally takes one to three days to be approved.

Read Benzinga’s full tastyworks Review.

Commissions
$0 per stock trade
Account Minimum
$0 to open an account
Best For
  • Retail investors
  • Traders new to options
  • Social traders
  • Millennial traders
Pros
  • No commissions
  • Simple but stylish platform
  • Social trading features

7. Best for Social Traders: Gatsby

It can be intimidating if you’re not a current follower of trade lingo or a professional trade enthusiast, but that’s why Gatsby has created its platform. Gatsby merges everyone’s resources and expertise to give you the chance to optimize trading strategies. 

Gatsby leaves the commissions for other brokers so that you can begin earning instantly after signing up, and ss a new trader or professional, you’ll have the option to trade for companies and ETFs.

If you don’t want to to trade for companies? You have the choice to trade against them. 

Read Benzinga’s full Gatsby Review

Commissions
$0 for stocks and ETFs broker assited orders an additional $6
Account Minimum
$500 to open an account
Best For
  • Options traders looking for low-cost options contracts
  • Beginner and advanced traders looking for options education
  • Advanced traders who don’t need a lot of platform guidance
Pros
  • Unbeatable options contracts pricing
  • Mobile app that mirrors capabilities of desktop app
  • Free and comprehensive options education

8. Honorable Mention: eOption

eOption provides an industry solution to active traders looking to avoid the high costs associated with their trade frequency.

They specialize in options trading and pride themselves in having some of the lowest commissions and margins among their competitors. eOptions offerings don’t stop there. Investors interested in ETFs and stocks can also benefit from eOption’s low fees.

As for their low margin rates, eOption stands out among the competition. Their base rate for an account with a balance of $49,999 or lower is 7% and comes in at 4.5% for accounts with $1 million and over.

Read Benzinga’s full eOption Review

What is Options Trading?

When it comes to the stock market, most people think no further than buying and selling individual stocks. Truthfully, the process of options trading isn’t much different than stock trading.

However, an option is simply a contract to buy or sell a stock at a pre-negotiated price and by a certain date. Simple as that.  Learn more about how to trade options.

Options traders bet on which direction they think the price of a stock will go. Options contracts can be based on a wide variety of underlying securities, however, and many different types of orders can be placed, which makes them more versatile than stocks.

For example, those trading options can decide whether the prices could go up or down on the following:

Make sense? Sure, it does.

Buying and Selling Options

To buy options, you simply choose exactly what you’d like to buy and how many, and then place a buy to open order with a broker. If your order goes up or down in value, you have some options. At any rate, you can:

  • Sell at the agreed-upon price
  • Sell the contract to another investor
  • Let the contract expire

Enter calls and puts, too.

Compare Options Brokers

Still can’t decide if the above brokers are for you? Check out this side-by-side comparison for a bird’s-eye view. 

JP Morgan Chase
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Compare Brokers securely through JP Morgan Chase’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

Chase You Invest is the retail brokerage arm of JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States. While most of the firm’s products are targeted toward wealthy clientele, You Invest gives novice investors a chance to learn about markets, select the best securities and plan for future goals like retirement. No futures, forex, or margin trading is available, so the only way for traders to find leverage is through options. 

Not all investors will appreciate the basic setup and simplistic trading suggestions, but plenty more want to learn about markets but just don’t know where to get started. Chase You Invest provides that starting point, even if most clients eventually grow out of it.

Best For
  • Investors using Chase banking products
  • Mobile traders
  • Retirement savers
Pros
  • Easy to navigate
  • Functional mobile app
  • Cash promotion for new accounts
Cons
  • No forex or futures trading
  • Limited account types
  • No margin offered
TradeStation
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Get started securely through TradeStation’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective, offering full platform capabilities.

Best For
  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders
Pros
  • Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools
  • Wide range of tradable securities
  • Fully-operational mobile app
Cons
  • Confusing pricing structure to leave new traders with a weak understanding of what they pay
  • Cluttered layout to make navigating TradeStation’s platform more difficult than it should be
TD Ameritrade
Commissions
$0 $6.95 for OTC Stocks
Account Min
$0
Get started securely through TD Ameritrade’s website
Commissions
$0 $6.95 for OTC Stocks
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

This publicly listed discount broker, which is in existence for over four decades, is service-intensive, offering intuitive and powerful investment tools. Especially, with equity investing, a flat fee is charged, with the firm claiming that it charges no trade minimum, no data fees, and no platform fees. Though it is pricier than many other discount brokers, what tilts the scales in its favor is its well-rounded service offerings and the quality and value it offers its clients.

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options
Cons
  • Thinkorswim can be overwhelming to inexperienced traders
  • Derivatives trading more costly than some competitors
  • Expensive margin rates
Interactive Brokers
Commissions
$0.005 per share minimum $1 and maximum 0.5% of trade value; volume discount available
Account Min
$0
Get started securely through Interactive Brokers’s website
Commissions
$0.005 per share minimum $1 and maximum 0.5% of trade value; volume discount available
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

Interactive Brokers is a comprehensive trading platform that gives you access to a massive range of securities at affordable prices. You can buy assets from all around the world from the comfort of your home or office with access to over 135 global markets. Options, futures, forex and fund trading are also available, and most traders won’t pay a commission on any purchase or sale.  

IBKR is geared primarily toward experienced traders and investors but now with the availability of free trades with IBKR Lite, casual traders can also acclimate to IBKR’s offerings.

Best For
  • Access to foreign markets
  • Detailed mobile app that makes trading simple
  • Wide range of available account types and tradable assets
Pros
  • Comprehensive, quick desktop platform
  • Mobile app mirrors full capabilities of desktop version
  • Access to massive range of tradable assets
  • Low margin rates
  • Easy-to-use and enhanced screening options are better than ever
Cons
  • Beginner investors might prefer a broker that offers a bit more hand-holding and educational resources
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Compare Brokers securely through eTrade’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

E*TRADE is an online discount trading house that offers brokerage and banking services to individuals and businesses. One of the first brokers to embrace online trading, E*TRADE not only survived both the dot-com bubble and Recession — it thrived. You can choose from two different platforms (one basic, one advanced). E*TRADE is a suitable broker for traders of most skill levels, whether you want to buy mutual funds and hold them for decades or dabble in options swing trading. E*TRADE offers a library of research and education materials to help you out.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Derivatives traders
  • Retirement savers
Pros
  • Sophisticated trading platforms
  • Wide range of tradable assets
  • Exceptional customer service
Cons
  • Limited currency trading
  • Higher margin rates than competitors
  • No paper trading on its standard platform
Tastyworks
Commissions
$0 flat rate, includes closing costs
Account Min
$0
Compare Brokers securely through Tastyworks’s website
Commissions
$0 flat rate, includes closing costs
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

Tastyworks is a sophisticated options and futures broker aimed toward experienced traders. The platform was designed by the founders of thinkorswim with functionality and precision for complicated options trades and strategies. Tastyworks offers stocks and ETFs to trade too, but the main focus is options. 

Options on tastyworks are only charged a 1-way, $1 commission —  far cheaper than almost all competitors. Commissions on futures and micro futures are also affordable, and there’s no minimum required to open a cash account. It’s $2,000 if you want to use margin.

Best For
  • Options traders
  • Futures traders
  • Advanced traders
Pros
  • Powerful platform inspired by thinkorswim
  • Multiple order types and strategies
  • Cheap options commissions
Cons
  • Advanced platform could intimidate new traders
  • No demo or paper trading
Commissions
$0 per stock trade
Account Min
$0 to open an account
Compare Brokers securely through Gatsby’s website
Commissions
$0 per stock trade
Account Min
$0 to open an account
1 Minute Review

Gatsby Options is an upcoming options trading platform, which aims to democratize the world of finance through its unique API and targeted wealth-building strategies. Similar to Robinhood, Gatsby has done away with commissions, opened up social engagement and leveled the playing field between retail and institutional investors.

Best For
  • Retail investors
  • Traders new to options
  • Social traders
  • Millennial traders
Pros
  • No commissions
  • Simple but stylish platform
  • Social trading features
Cons
  • Little market research
  • Access is via invite only
Commissions
$0 for stocks and ETFs broker assited orders an additional $6
Account Min
$500 to open an account
Get started securely through eOption’s website
Commissions
$0 for stocks and ETFs broker assited orders an additional $6
Account Min
$500 to open an account
1 Minute Review

eOption is a stock, fund and option trading platform that focuses on low-cost options trading. Its options trading is very affordable at just $0.10 per contract and $1.99 per transaction. The broker also offers a comprehensive options trading course that’s free and educational for both novice investors and advanced traders alike. eOption’s platform is less usable than its competitors, especially for new traders.

Futures and forex trades aren’t currently available, daily market updates are full of jargon and the platform includes very few intuitive features and explainers. Customer service options are also lackluster, and mutual fund transactions are expensive. While eOption might be a great choice for options traders, we recommend other platforms for beginner traders primarily interested in stock and ETF investing.

Best For
  • Options traders looking for low-cost options contracts
  • Beginner and advanced traders looking for options education
  • Advanced traders who don’t need a lot of platform guidance
Pros
  • Unbeatable options contracts pricing
  • Mobile app that mirrors capabilities of desktop app
  • Free and comprehensive options education
Cons
  • Confusing platform has limited assistance tools
  • Expensive mutual funds and bond trading
  • Limited stock and general investing education
  • Lackluster customer service options

Want to learn more about options trading? Check out Benzinga’s guides to the best options trading strategies, the best options trading books and the best options trading courses.

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