Options trading can be profitable for experienced traders, yet can also present challenges to newcomers. Therefore, selecting an appropriate trading platform and broker is key.
TD Ameritrade provides commission-free trades on stocks, ETFs, and options. Their desktop thinkorswim app provides highly customized functionality more robust than standard mobile apps offered by many brokers.
TradeStation is an excellent platform for active traders, featuring an impressive array of trading tools and research. This platform supports various trading strategies with hundreds of built-in indicators you can customize or create with EasyLanguage feature; additionally it provides technical analysis as well as portfolio-level backtesting with Portfolio Maestro tool.
RadarScreen, which monitors and ranks up to 1,000 symbols with 180 technical and fundamental factors. Matrix app combines price visualization, advanced order entry and precise time and sales into one window for efficient trading. Options traders will appreciate OptionStation Pro’s built-in graphic visualization of profit loss along with real time streaming greeks; included at no extra charge in the TS SELECT desktop platform of this broker.
2. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is well known for its comprehensive tools and resources for experienced traders, but it also provides new investors with plenty of educational material and research to assist in their investing journey. New investors can utilize IBKR’s Traders Academy which offers lessons and quizzes as well as its comprehensive trading journal; other research tools include screeners, calculators and third-party studies – not forgetting its unique Tax Optimizer tool that assists investors maximize tax efficiency for their trades.
TWS, its flagship desktop program, is both complex and full featured; however, tutorial videos exist to help investors navigate it effectively. Global Trader is an easier mobile platform with limited features while Client Portal provides extensive (though not overwhelming) information to investors. Low cost margin loans from this provider also add another draw for advanced traders.
3. TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is one of the top online brokers, providing a full spectrum of services including commission-free trades on select stocks and ETFs, mutual fund screeners, advanced trading tools, as well as extensive educational materials. Their flagship thinkorswim platform was specifically created to cater to fundamental traders with features such as backtesting capabilities, scanning capabilities, complex options trading capabilities and complex options trading capabilities geared toward them.
The platform integrates research from First Call Consensus, CFRA MarketEdge Ford as well as free fixed income reports. Traders can get expert advice free by calling or emailing an analyst during regular business hours; traders also benefit from accessing TD Ameritrade’s mobile app which supports futures trading as well as complex orders (three and four legs), receiving high user ratings both ways and 24/7 customer service support from TD Ameritrade’s customer support services.
4. Ally Invest
Ally Invest has created an engaging mobile platform that’s optimized to run smoothly on mobile phones, as well as being browser-based and accessible from any computer. Their comprehensive security infrastructure features two-factor authentication, premium malware and protection services and biometric login options such as fingerprint and facial recognition for optimal protection and convenience.
Ally Invest provides free taxable brokerage and individual retirement account (IRA) accounts for stocks and ETFs as well as competitive industry commission rates, including an industry-low commission-free option for options trading. They also provide helpful tools such as market overview sections, news from MT Newswires and customizable dashboards with important data; although their charting mobile app only permits trend lines to be drawn or open orders to be seen on charts.
E*TRADE has long been considered an industry leader, making it suitable for beginners as well as active traders alike. Offering no commission for online stock, ETF and option trades; as a member of FINRA who can identify fraud as well as enforce US finance law and take appropriate actions against perpetrators; E*TRADE also boasts an exceptional safety record with no major hacks or data breaches in recent years – making this service highly recommended!
E*TRADE offers two trading platforms – its basic web platform and Power E-TRADE (built off the OptionsHouse web platform it acquired years earlier), both featuring powerful analysis tools like over 100 chart studies and drawing tools and its risk/reward probability tool called StrategySEEK – in addition to streaming quotes, charts, educational resources, research from Moody’s, Thomson Reuters Morningstar Argus research providers.
Experienced traders will appreciate Webull’s commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs. Everyone gains access to Level 2 market data that’s useful for analyzing price action, plus extended trading hours like pre-market and after hours trading. Unfortunately, however, this broker doesn’t support options on OTC Bulletin Board or Pink Sheet stocks and don’t provide retirement accounts or custodial accounts.
The Webull app boasts a user-friendly interface designed not to overwhelm novice investors. However, beginners may wish to upgrade to more advanced platforms after gaining more experience. Unfortunately, Webull doesn’t provide access to sophisticated tools and fundamental research like those provided by more established brokers, although it does allow for $0 stock and ETF trades – perfect for self-directed traders seeking cost savings!
Tastytrade provides an accessible investment platform tailored to experienced traders. There are no minimum account balance requirements, no monthly or inactivity charges and a competitive flat commission rate. Order flow payments on options trades may pose potential conflicts of interest; however they remain open and transparent about this practice with SEC 606 reports available online. Their mobile app offers fast performance with an interface designed to make trading comfortable.
There is a web browser platform, desktop program and mobile app that offer great customizability; they also feature an extensive library of stats-based content and tools geared more toward options and futures trading than your average online broker. Unfortunately for beginners it can be challenging to understand all its functionality; its desktop program features extensive charting features with technical indicators such as delta, theta and vega that may prove more suitable.
StocksToTrade offers new traders a great way to learn trading basics. The podcast features veteran trader Tim Bohen and rookie trader Stephen Johnson discussing topics such as developing trading plans and recognizing patterns.
Paper trading features on this platform allow traders to practice with an initial balance of $30,000 starting balance, helping to build confidence before investing real money in financial instruments.
This software provides real-time information updates and forecasts the potential price movement of individual stocks based on chart patterns, news stories, SEC filings and user watchlists. Furthermore, Level 2 data offers greater insight into stock pricing.
OptionsXpress is an excellent platform for beginners who wish to gain more trading knowledge, offering educational materials in the form of videos and articles as well as outstanding customer support team support.
With its user-friendly web and mobile platforms, Mutual Fund Express makes investing easy. Furthermore, their fees tend to be slightly higher than other online brokers – yet many users consider the additional expense worth their while.
Features and tools offered by CMC Markets include advanced charting and real-time market data. Their user-friendly platform makes identifying trading opportunities simple; and the “walk limit” feature prevents having to adjust spread orders frequently which saves you money. Additional tools such as Idea Hub can quickly and easily generate ideas for potential trades while their risk calculator shows the probability of different profit and loss outcomes.
Reink Media Group may receive compensation from eToro for products or services sold through their website. CFDs (Contracts for Difference) are complex instruments with an inherent high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage; please take your investment objectives and level of experience into consideration prior to trading CFDs.
eToro is an industry leader in social trading and offers an intuitive copy-trading platform where traders can mimic experienced investors or earn exclusive benefits by sharing their own strategies. Furthermore, this brokerage offers its unique Smart Portfolios feature, enabling investors to invest in baskets of assets grouped around themes or geographical regions.
eToro’s web platform is friendly to beginners and features an outstanding array of charting tools suited for multiple types of charts, over 60 studies, 12 drawing tools and advanced technical indicators. In addition, there is also a mobile app with options trading that is tailored specifically for novice traders.