Binary options let traders profit from price fluctuations in multiple global markets, but it’s important to understand the risks and rewards of these controversial and often-misunderstood financial instruments. Binary options bear little resemblance to traditional options, featuring different payouts, fees, and risks, as well as a unique liquidity structure and investment process.
If you want to start trading binary options full-time, a detailed understanding of their origins will help. Binary or ‘digital’ options have been around for decades. Originally though, it was only large institutions and the fabulously wealthy that had access. However, 2008 saw the US Securities and Exchange Commission open the floodgates by allowing binary options to be traded through an exchange.
The internet and technology have since given the whole world access to these ‘digital’ options. As it stands, with low barriers to entry for savvy day traders and a simple to understand preposition, the demand for these digital trades will only increase.
There are a number of different option types to choose from. The most popular types are listed in the brief glossary below.
Another important component of binary options is expiry times. This is when the trade will end and the point that determines whether you have won or lost. These times can range from 30 seconds and 1 minute (turbos) to a full day (end of day), and even up to a whole year.
As an intraday trader though, you will be more concerned with trading 5 and 30-minute binary options. Opt for binaries with 1 minute expiry times though and you have the ability to make a high number of trades in a single day.
Despite the somewhat negative reputation, the reality is binary options are legal. The majority of companies operate fairly. Opinions have been split because there are some out there that operate scams.
Regulation in certain regions has meant binaries have been withdrawn from the retail market. In the EU for example. But professional traders can still use them. In regions such as India and Australia, binary are legal – but traders should make sure they use a reputable broker, and read our section below on avoiding scams.
The binary reputation has suffered from dishonest marketing and cybercrime. Too many unregulated brokers promise quick cash, whilst operating frauds. Regulators are on the case and this concern should soon be alleviated.
Binaries themselves are perfectly legitimate, but steer clear of ‘instant money’ promises, brokers that cold call, and celebrity endorsements, plus any claims that you can ‘start trading binary options for free’.
So it isn’t a question good or bad, it’s simply a question of being alert to the dangers and knowing what to look out for. If you’re unsure about a broker, ask the question in a live trading room to check they’re properly regulated.
Although in some ways similar, there remain some crucial differences between binary options and CFDs. With CFDs, you have potentially unlimited risk. If the price of the asset moves significantly, the value of the trade can grow very large, very quickly – for better or worse.
Whereas binary options work slightly differently. Whilst you are still investing without owning the asset in question, the gain and loss rate is fixed. With a call option, it doesn’t matter if the price rockets, you retain the same percentage as if it rose by just a couple of pips.
Likewise, if the price sinks to zero, you’ll only lose what you put in. So, to define the difference – with binary options you get fixed risk.
Having said that, just as if it was binary options versus forex trading, you are restrained in your profit potential.
If you want to profit trading binary options, you need to first understand both their pros and cons. You need to make sure binary options will suit your trading style, risk tolerance, and capital requirements.
There is a whole host of attractive benefits to trading with binary options. The greatest advantages have been outlined below.
Whilst there are plenty of reasons to delve into trading on binary options, there remain several downsides worth highlighting:
Trading binary options for beginners is straightforward. Simply follow the steps outlined below.
This is one of the most important decisions you will make. You need a broker that meets all your requirements and who will enhance your trade performance. But with so many options out there, how do you know what to look for?
If you’re high-frequency binary trading each day, the commission fees and costs will quickly rack up. You want to maximise your profits so look for brokers with a competitive and transparent fee structure, and remember, different asset classes pay out different amounts.
One point worth investigating is rules around minimum deposits. Whilst some brokers will offer binary options trading with no minimum deposit, many will expect a deposit of close to $50, and some $100. A broker offering low minimum deposits is ideal if you’re strapped for cash. Trading binary with JC and GCI are good choices if you’re looking for low deposits.
Some brokers will specialise in certain assets. If you’re set on crude oil, it may be worth finding a broker that’s geared towards those binaries. You may benefit from relevant news feeds and the most prudent option choices available. Trading binary stocks with 212, for example, is ideal for those interested in stocks.
With scams out there it’s important you check your broker is properly regulated by the relevant financial body, e.g. FCA, CySec, CFTC. Trading with 247 Binary Options, IQ option, and Binary.com are all safe bets.
Binary options platforms are your gateway to the market and where you’ll spend many hours a day. There are now many online trading platforms, so, make sure it’s easy to use and offers all the charts, patterns and tools you need to make smart and accurate trade decisions. For example, will you be trading binary options with candlesticks or more obscure charts?
Both Keystone and Nadex offer strong binary options trading platforms, as does MT4. Before you buy, conduct a thorough trading platform comparison and check reviews.
Any problem could cost you time, and as an intraday trader, time can cost you serious cash. So, check the broker offers reliable support. Some brokers will offer 24/7 customer support through calls, live chat, and in a number of languages. Binary options trading with Etrade and 24 Option are smart moves if you want top quality support.
A growing number of people use mobile devices and tablets to enhance their trading experience. However, software for trading binary options varies hugely. So, it’s worth checking whether your broker offers cross-platform capabilities. Also, check the charting tools you need will work on your iOS or Android device. Binary options trading with IQ Option, for example, offers fantastic trading apps.
Many brokers will sweeten the deal with some useful add-ons. Some may offer free trading plans, courses, and lessons. So, find out first if they offer free courses online to enhance your trading performance. Some brokers will also offer free binary trading trials so you can try before you buy.
You could also benefit from trading bonuses, tips, the best strategy and trading signals reviews, plus free, practice demo accounts. Not to mention some brokers allow for binary options trading using Paypal. However, don’t be put off by no binary options trading deposit bonus, these can be a sign of potential scams.
For newbies, getting to grips with a demo account first is a sensible idea. Funded with simulated money, you can try numerous assets and options. It’s the perfect place to make mistakes and learn before you put real capital on the line. In addition, you’ll find most free binary options demo accounts require no deposit, so you can start practicing whilst you save that initial capital.
There is no universal best broker, it truly depends on your individual needs. Some brokers offer minimum trades of just a couple of pounds, whilst others require hundreds or even thousands. The solution – do your homework first.
For more guidance on making the right choice, see our brokers page.
You can trade binaries in pretty much everything, including stocks, forex, indices, and commodities. You can bet on anything from the price of natural gas, to the stock price of Google. Opt for an asset you have a good understanding of, that offers promising returns.
As a short-term trader, you’ll probably be more interested in 30 seconds, 1 minute and end of day expiry times. You need to balance binary options trading volume with price movement. Whilst the more trades you make means greater profit potential, it’s better to make fewer and more accurate trades. Also, find a time that compliments your trading style.
In the binary options game, size does matter. The greater your investment the greater the possible profit. On the flip side, remember the entirety of your investment is on the line. You need an effective money management system that will enable you to make sufficient trades whilst still protecting you from blowing all your capital.
You will have any number of the options outlined above to choose from. Think carefully about how confident you are in your determination. Consider factors that will jeopardise your investment, and select an option that gives you the best chance of succeeding. Don’t automatically select a ladder trade because you want huge returns, consider which options are the relatively safe bets.
Once you’ve made that decision, check and confirm your trade. Then you can sit back and wait for the trade payout.
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