NerdWallet offers financial tools and advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions.
The guidance we offer and info we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent. We spent over hours reviewing the top online brokers before selecting the best for our readers. Who is the best options broker today? The answer depends on whom you ask and what they value. For some investors, the best broker for trading options is the one with the cheapest commissions.
Others prioritize trading tools, platform design, research, customer service or all of the above. See how to choose an options broker for more on what can make or break an options trading experience.
Our top picks cover all the option trader needs — access to high-quality research, analytical tools, a user-friendly platform — at reasonable prices. TD Ameritrade handily serves option traders no matter where they are on the learning curve.
Get details in our TD Ameritrade review. For cost-conscious, active options traders looking for low costs and a platform with a lot more meat on its bones, Interactive Brokers may be more your style.
Its Trader Workstation platform with an options strategy lab is considered one of the best and most sophisticated around. But watch other fees to ensure that the lower commissions pay off. Both brokers allow prospective clients to test-drive the goods without putting any real money on the line. TD Ameritrade offers a paperMoney virtual trading account to test out the thinkorswim platform. These brokers offer competitively priced options trading commissions and have eliminated or dramatically capped minimum trading fees.
In early most of the mainstream online brokers slashed commissions to levels once reserved for their deep-discount peers. Platform, data and other fees can quickly cancel out what you save on commissions.
These brokers offer some of the most powerful trading platforms available for a reasonable price. The trading platforms at Ally Invest and TradeStation offer a wide variety of analytical tools, provide stable and speedy trade execution, and allow investors to customize the tools and design to best suit their needs.
The browser-based platform resembles the offerings of its pricier competitors and comes with free options trading tools for screening and advanced charting. Navigation is easy and streamlined. Customers can create a custom dashboard with movable modules with the data and features they want to use.
The setup extends to what users see across all devices, including mobile and tablet. TradeStation is best left to more experienced, tech-savvy investors who want to experience options trading using the same tools as pro traders. The broker provides all the tools needed to design, test-drive, monitor, automate and speedily execute the most complex trades via direct-market access no pesky middleman to slow down the process.
But in March TradeStation eliminated the service fee, lowered its trade commissions for stocks and options and tossed in free real-time market data and free access to its market-monitoring and portfolio-level back-testing tools. Educational tools and platform tutorials are plentiful, which is a plus: Because of the sophisticated nature of the platform, it may require some time to become familiar with all that it offers.
See more in our TradeStation review. Both offer extensive research and data for free, as well as live classes and webinars for beginning and advanced options traders. In October Schwab re-launched its online platform under the StreetSmart name, with both web-based and mobile functionality, though for now only former OptionsXpress clients have access to the new platform. In the first quarter of , Schwab will begin rolling out the new platform to all clients.
These brokers provide ideal conditions educational resources, user-friendly platforms, customer support and low minimums for investors just learning the options trading ropes.
TD Ameritrade — one of our top overall brokers — ranked highest in this category, too. Many of the brokers on our list require no money to open an account. Scottrade and TD Ameritrade: On-call help is particularly handy when starting out. Scottrade is known for its standout customer service and huge physical presence of branches. So is TD Ameritrade, with around-the-clock phone and email support and branches where clients can attend seminars and meet with investment associates.
And both Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade have multiple platforms customers can use to start learning the ropes, then graduate to more sophisticated tools and trades if desired. We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines , and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers.
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Top research; two powerful trade platforms. Good for active traders seeking low costs. Advanced research and tools, speedy execution. Extensive lineup of investor education options. Deep research library and customer education opportunities.More...