Nadex Review

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: June 27, 2022
Nadex
Best For
  • Binary Options Trading
securely through Nadex's website
1 Minute Review

Nadex calls itself the “premier U.S. exchange for binary options” and while bestowing such a title on yourself might be a little much, the company does offer a safe, regulated place to trade binary options, knock-outs and call spreads. Binary options markets are often the breeding grounds for unscrupulous actors, but Nadex is regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and offers U.S. clients security in the often dark world of derivatives. Commissions are fair and the desktop platform is easy to use, but the mobile experience is lacking and Nadex only offers derivatives — no actual stocks, bonds, ETFs or other securities. If you understand the risks of these particular derivatives, Nadex is a solid choice for trading them. But if you lack the knowledge of these complex instruments, you’re better off staying with more traditional brokers.

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Best For
  • Binary options traders
  • Knock-out and call spread traders
  • Advanced traders who understand derivatives markets
Pros
  • Operates as an exchange, not a broker — so no misaligned incentives
  • Regulated and open to U.S. clients
  • Detailed educational materials and helpful tutorials
Cons
  • Derivatives only
  • No mobile app
  • Minimum deposit required

Nadex Ratings at a Glance

Fees and Commissions
Usability
Education
Customer Support
Offerings
Overall Rating

Why Nadex Over Others?  

  • Wide variety of tradable markets: You can’t trade typical securities like stocks, ETFs or bonds on Nadex but you can access plenty of different markets through options contracts. Stock indices, commodities, currencies and macroeconomic events can be bought and sold using binary options.
  • Trustworthy counterparties: Many traders cringe when they hear “binary options” because complex derivatives are often harbored in unregulated areas. This of course results in all kinds of scammers and frauds joining the fray. But Nadex is regulated by the CFTC and clients can rest easy knowing that it’s in the best interest of the exchange to facilitate fair and honest trading.
  • Quality educational tools: The learning center is loaded with quality educational materials, which is a must when trading derivatives that the larger trading public is unfamiliar with. You’ll get a glossary, tutorials, webinars and blog articles explaining everything from the basics to individual trading strategies and market insights.

Brokerage Quick Summary 

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Nadex is an acronym for the North American Derivatives Exchange, which is based out of Chicago and has been in business for more than a decade. Nadex isn’t a brokerage, but an exchange matching contract buyers and sellers. Since Nadex operates as an exchange and not a broker, getting the best possible trade parameters is in the best interest of both the client and the firm. 

Asset ClassesBinary options contracts available for stock indices, forex markets, commodities and U.S. macroeconomic events
PlatformWeb browser platform can be used on PC, Mac, and mobile browsers
Mobile AppNo mobile app is available on Google Play or Apple App Store
Account MinimumInitial deposit of $250 required to open new accounts
Available Account TypesStandard trading account for binary options, call spreads and knock-outs. Free demo accounts are available with a starting balance of $10,000 in virtual cash; business accounts also available

Nadex Fees and Commissions

Nadex’s fee and commission structure are fairly straightforward. You’ll pay $1 per contract when you open or close a position or $1 if you exercise a contract that’s in the money. Contracts that expire out of the money aren’t charged a fee. Additionally, deposits and withdrawals made through the automated clearing house (ACH) will be free and there’s no charge to set up an account.

Binary options commissionsEntry or exit: $1 per contractITM trade expiration: $1 per contractOTM trade expiration: Free
Call spreads commissionsEntry or exit: $1 per contractTrade expiration: $1 per contract
Knock-outs commissionsEntry or exit: $1 per contractTrade expiration: $1 per contract
Deposits and WithdrawalsFree via ACH$25 per wire withdrawal
Account SetupFree

Nadex Usability

You don’t need to be a 20-year veteran of the derivatives markets to open a Nadex account, but you do need to understand how these instruments work and what your own personal risk tolerance is. When it comes to binary options, you either win or lose — there’s no in-between. Thankfully, Nadex does well to ease new clients into the platform and provides lots of help to get them on their feet.

  • Easy onboarding: Signing up for a new account won’t require 1 hour of online forms or tedious web portals. Nadex has a 5-minute, 5-step process for signing up that will get you up and running quickly.
  • One universal platform: This may be a negative for experienced derivatives traders, but Nadex operates on a single browser-based platform; no desktop, no mobile app. Novice traders will appreciate knowing that the person taking the other side of the contract doesn’t have a technological edge.
  • Tutorials and demo account: A learning curve is expected when trading complex instruments on a new platform, but Nadex doesn’t want new clients to feel overwhelmed. A demo account is available for anyone on the fence about signing up and plenty of platform tutorials can be accessed through the Learning Center.

Nadex Education

Here’s where the company really shines. Nadex understands that derivatives markets are often cloudy and nebulous for novice traders, so they’ve launched a comprehensive education suite complete with tutorials, demos, articles, webinars and FAQs. 

The Learning Center is brimming with helpful how-to’s on opening your account, getting started with the platform and forming strategies for your trades. The glossary will help narrow down the definitions of vague and unfamiliar terms and the blog has everything from market news to trading techniques to platform updates.

But the real prizes are the webinars, which are free to join and cover these complex trading instruments in-depth. Topics range from the basics of binary options to current market analysis and new potential opportunities. 

Nadex Customer Support

There’s no phone number listed for customer support on the main Contact page but existing clients can access customer support via phone through their accounts. Prospective clients can either email customer service (customerservice@nadex.com) or use the chatbot on the Contact page to initiate a conversation. 

Nadex Offerings

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Nadex offers 3 different types of trading instruments: binary options, knock outs and call spreads. Here’s a quick rundown on what those are:

Binary options: Contracts with only 2 possible outcomes based on a yes or no question, for example, will the price of silver be above $28 by December 2020? If held to expiration, the contract either expires out-of-the-money (OTM) and you get $0 or in-the-money (ITM) and $100 per share. This either/or outcome is why they’re called binary options.

Knock-outs: Also known as touch brackets, a knock-out contract allows traders to set a weekly ceiling and floor on their trade, which will knock out the trade if reached. This floor and ceiling function almost as a stop-loss or take-profit order. Knock-outs can also be held to expiration or sold early if neither parameter is reached, but only last 1 week at most.

Call spreads: Like knock-outs, call spreads ask you to set a ceiling and floor as initial trade parameters, but there’s no fear of being knocked out of a call spread trade. You can stay in the trade longer than 1 week or close out early if you want to take profits or minimize losses.

Nadex Indices 

Nadex clients can purchase contracts for a variety of U.S. and global stock indices. Available U.S. markets include the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell 2000. For international markets, contracts can be purchased for the FTSE 100, China A50, Nikkei 225 and the German DAX.

Nadex Forex 

Currency trading is always a big part of derivatives markets and Nadex allows customers to trade 11 different forex pairs, including major pairs like USD/EUR, USD/JPY, EUR/JPY and EUR/GBP.

Nadex Commodities 

Nadex supplies traders with lots of different opportunities in commodities through binary options, call spreads and knock-outs. You can trade precious metals (gold, silver, copper), energy (crude oil, natural gas) or agriculture (corn, soybeans). 

Nadex Macro

Did you ever wish you could wager on something like unemployment rates or other economic data? Thanks to Nadex’s binary options, you can trade U.S. macroeconomic events just like currencies or commodities. Contracts are available for nonfarm payroll numbers, weekly jobless claims, the unemployment rate or future GDP statistics. 

Nadex Mobile App (Not Rated)

Nadex has a mobile experience but doesn’t really have a traditional mobile app. NadexGO is a progressive mobile app, meaning it doesn’t require a download and isn’t available through Google Play or the Apple App Store. To access the app, you’ll need to open your mobile web browser and plug in the NadexGO URL. The mobile experience is much the same as the desktop experience, so giving the mobile app its own rating doesn’t make much sense from here. You can trade on Nadex using smartphones or tablets, but it’s not a unique experience and doesn’t add (or take away) anything from the platform.

Nadex Overall Rating

Nadex is a well-regulated trading exchange where sophisticated derivatives can be bought and sold. A brightly-lit market is ideal for binary options and call spreads, which often attract bad actors due to lax regulatory oversight. But Nadex is an exchange, not a broker, so incentives are aligned with its clients to facilitate the best possible trading environment. Commissions aren’t cheap but they’re easy to understand, and Nadex has plenty of educational content to inform customers about its policies and how to trade instruments like binary options.

Just because the market is regulated and on the right side of the law, however, doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone to sign up. The derivatives offered by Nadex are complex instruments and novice traders often have their lunch handed to them by more experienced pros. Indeed, the CFTC states that binary options trades are extremely risky. These aren’t small bets — when you buy a binary option, you’re going all in. Make sure you understand all the risks involved with these types of derivatives before opening an account and try your hand at the demo version first if you’ve never traded binary options before.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
How does Nadex report tax information to the IRS?
A

Once a year, Nadex sends you the Form 1099-B for tax purposes and reports all earnings to the IRS.

Q
What are the drawbacks of using Nadex?
A

The disadvantages include no mobile app, derivatives trading only and a minimum deposit of $250.

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