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Best Options Trading Brokers and Platforms

January 24, 2018
Brokers, Investing

cheatgame.info 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 300 hours reviewing the top online brokers before selecting the best for our readers. And to help you find the one that’s best for you, we’ve highlighted their pros, cons and current offers.

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.

While most of the brokers on our list of best brokers for stock trading would be a good pick for options as well, this list highlights brokers that excel in areas that matter most to options traders. Many of the below brokers also appear on our list of best online trading platforms for day trading.

Unsure what you’re looking for? See our post on how to choose an options broker and our options 101 guide for more on what can make or break an options trading experience.

Best online stock brokers for options trading 2018

cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$6.95

per trade + $0.75/contract

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

500

commission-free trades + up to $600 with qualifying deposit

The bottom line

TD Ameritrade makes up for higher-than-average trading commissions with better-than-average service, research and trading tools that will make everyone from beginner investors to active traders happy.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Large investment selection.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

Cons

  • Higher trade commission.

  • Costly broker-assisted trades.

  • High short-term ETF trading fee.

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$4.95

per trade + $0.65/contract

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

$50

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

The bottom line

Ally Invest’s robust trading platform and lineup of free research, charting, data and analytical tools make it a good choice for active traders. But it’s also appropriate for beginning investors who will appreciate that there is no account minimum and no annual fees.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Low commissions.

  • No account minimum.

  • Strong web-based platform.

  • Robust research and tools.

Cons

  • No commission-free ETFs.

  • No no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$5.00

per trade + $0.5/contract

Account minimum

$500

Promotion

None available

The bottom line

TradeStation is the gold standard among active stock, options and futures investors who rely on the broker’s high-octane trading platform, reams of research and sophisticated analytical tools. The firm offers three commission plans — flat-fee, per share/per contract and unbundled pricing plan (the latter two which will be attractive to active traders). The lack of commission-free ETFs and mutual funds can be a turnoff to some investors.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • High-quality trading platforms

  • Comprehensive research

  • Low commissions

  • Advanced tools

  • Active trader community

Cons

  • No commission-free ETFs

  • Minimum balance requirement for active trading platform

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$3.00

per trade + $0.15/contract

Account minimum

$500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

The bottom line

EOption’s provides an efficient, no-frills platform for active investors who prioritize low costs over a fancy platform. The savings can be significant for advanced stock and options traders who have other sources for the research and data they need.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Deep discount commissions

  • Low margin rates

  • Can serve international investors

Cons

  • Very basic trading platform

  • Limited data and research

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$0.01

per share + $0.7/contract

Account minimum

$10,000

Promotion

None available

The bottom line

Interactive Brokers is a strong option for advanced, frequent traders: The broker offers international trade capabilities, low commissions and a quality trading platform. New traders might be turned off by inactivity fees, high balance requirements and a lack of educational resources.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Low commissions

  • Quality trading platform

  • Advanced tools

  • Low margin rates

  • Wide investment selection

Cons

  • Inactivity fees

  • High minimum balance requirement

  • Complex pricing

  • Minimal educational resources

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$4.95

per trade + $0.65/contract

Account minimum

$1,000

Promotion

$100

cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

The bottom line

Charles Schwab has earned its strong reputation: The broker offers high-quality customer service, two robust trading platforms and a wide selection of commission-free ETFs and no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • No inactivity fees.

  • Two platforms with no minimum or fees.

  • Above-average mobile app.

  • Extensive research.

  • Strong customer support.

Cons

  • Higher trade commissions.

  • Higher account minimum.

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$4.95

per trade + $0.65/contract

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

300

commission-free trades with a qualifying deposit

The bottom line

Fidelity may be known for its retirement accounts, but active traders shouldn’t overlook the brokerage’s low trade commissions, wide investment selection, large scope of research and strong trading platform. It’s a well-rounded broker suitable for nearly all investors.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Low commissions

  • Large selection of research providers

  • Strong customer service

Cons

  • High account minimum

  • Trade minimum for active trading platform

Read full review


Best options trading brokers: summary

Broker
Best
for
Highlights
Commiss-
ions
Promotion
Account minimum
Start investing
TD Ameritrade
Low minimum + trading platform
Top research; two powerful trade platforms
$6.95 + $0.75/contract
$100-$600 cash bonus, depending on account size
$0
Ally Invest
Ally
Low minimum + user-friendly platform
User-friendly platform and free tools
$4.95 /trade + $0.65 /contract
$100 cash bonus or up to $500 in free trades with qualifying deposit
$0
Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab
Overall+ Research + User-friendly platform
Extensive lineup of investor education options
$4.95/trade + $0.65/contract
$100 referral award for first-time clients
$1,000
Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers
Low cost
Low commissions; superior trading tools
$0/trade + $0.70/contract
Special terms for clients 25 and younger
$10,000
EOption
Low cost
Good for active traders seeking low costs
$3/trade + $0.15/contract
None
$500
TradeStation
TradeStation
Trading platform
Advanced research and tools, speedy execution
$5/trade + $0.50 /contract
None
$500
Fidelity
Fidelity Investments
Overall + research
Deep research library and customer education opportunities
$4.95/trade + $0.65/contract
300 commission-free trades with deposit of $50,000+
$2,500

» Need help opening an account? Here’s our guide to brokerage accounts.