1) Trade offer
Options broker companies come in all shapes and sizes, and they seem to be popping up all over the globe. However, not all of them will provide you with the same set of services, nor will you get access to the same assets. A good trade offer will open up a world of possibilities for you to enjoy, and almost all international markets could be at your disposal once you sign up with a good brokerage. A range of assets offered by the provider should include derivatives, stocks, commodities, and all other instruments.
However, the quantity of the trading assets can never be more important than quality. In other words, it is imperative that the trade offer includes high-relevance assets, i.e. the ones most traded with. You can use our comparisons for additional reference in this category. Our readers need to have the proper information before voting for the winner of the Options Broker Award US. For instance, they should be aware of the importance of having an extensive supply of underlying assets. Here are some other elements worth keeping in mind:
- Extensive supply of underlying trading instruments
- Access to international markets
- The quality of the available assets
Top 3 Options Broker Comparison
2) Commissions, Fees, and Costs
The above-mentioned access to various trading assets does not come free of charge, and brokerages do not operate on the pro-bono basis, on the contrary. They are also „in it for the money“, and they charge a fee for their services and products. However, the trick is in finding the ones whose costs are lower than others, and if you look hard enough – you will find them. What this means is that options brokerages usually charge a commission per trade, but they take different percentages of your returns. We advise our readers to take that into consideration when choosing the winner.
Since not all fees and costs are the same, novice traders often do not know that you do not have to accept everything that you are offered by the broker. The average trading provider will charge you for maintenance fees, service fees, advisory fees, and there are standard costs for deposits and withdrawals as well. When you calculate all those expenses, your profits will start to look pretty tiny, and that is why it is imperative to find a brokerage with relatively small fees and commissions. Margin rates and spreads should also stay as low as possible.
- The total amount of costs and expenses
- The importance of certain costs
- Low spreads and margins
3) Account and Deposit Models for Different Types of Investors
Binary options trading can give you a lot of excitement and enjoyment, and lucrative returns could easily go your way as well. However, this can only happen if you play the game in accordance with your needs and preferences, i.e. if you feel relaxed and comfortable when investing and monitoring constant fluctuation of prices. Brokerages are fully aware of the fact that investors have different styles, and that is why the majority of dealers offer a couple of different trading accounts and deposit models.
Different trading accounts offer different services, and your trading experience will largely depend on the type of profile you use. For instance, VIP accounts usually come with all the bells and whistles a provider can come up with. On the other side of the spectrum – Beginner accounts will equip you with the basic features and allow you to tip your toes into the financial waters. We advise our readers to look for account models which require the lowest minimum deposits, but every investor should examine what is provided in each of the types on offer.
- How many accounts models are offered?
- The diversity of the deposit models
- Are the accounts suitable for different levels of trading experience?
4) Trading Platform and Mobile Trading
The quality of the trading environment largely depends on the performances of the trading platform, and that is why modern-day brokerages put a lot of effort into the development of their software solutions. By having a sophisticated and high-tech trading terminal, these brokerages ensure the quality of their services. That is why we invested a significant amount of time in the examination of various software packages, and you can read about our findings in the Comparison section. When it comes to the evaluation process for our Options Broker Award US, we advise our readers to compare several aspects of the respected trade platforms.
For example, most investors want to operate on a customizable software, i.e. they want to be able to personalize the features of the terminal according to their preferences. The vast majority of modern platforms are web-based, but some of them require download and installation on your device. Also, a lot of brokerage companies are creating proprietary software solutions. Similar activity is present in the field of mobile apps, and today's traders want to have access to their trading portfolio on the go. Here are some of the key aspects you want to consider when voting in this particular category:
- Web-based or downloadable?
- Mobile version available
- Can you customize the features?
5) Usability of the Website
Trading binary options is a fast-paced activity, and this means that traders cannot afford to lose money because of a lagging website or some similar nuisance. In other words, usability is a highly important category, and we want to emphasize this fact to our readers before they cast their vote for the Options Broker Award US. Order execution is only good if it is lightning fast, and investors who trade in short-term options, in particular, require access to superbly optimized trading terminals.
However, speed is not the only thing which plays a role in the overall usability of the website. The layout of the features is also an important aspect. A clear and functional layout of commands, trading indicators, charts, and similar elements can significantly enhance your overall trading experience. It is not easy to compare brokerages in this regard, but our comparisons and clearly defined criteria can help you with the evaluation process. Additionally, today's global nature of options trading demands multilingual websites, and this means that broker houses need to offer at least a couple of the most prominent languages. Please consider these aspects during the voting process:
- Real-time order execution
- Intuitive and well-organized layout
- Is the software optimized and reliable?
6) Customer Support
Since we want to cover all of the crucial aspects of a brokerage to help you with this evaluation process, we simply cannot skip the element of customer support service. As in any other line of business, options trading companies want to have satisfied clients, and this can only be achieved if their customer service teams are responsive, friendly, and accessible. From our long-lasting experience in the online trading world, we could conclude that every once and a while an issue will come up and during those moments a competent assistant is all you are praying for.
The majority of today's brokerages employ service teams which are available around the clock. Also, they use several most common channels of communication, such as live chat, phone, e-mail, Skype, etc. With the advancements in the world of social media, many broker houses offer contacts via WhatsApp or even Facebook. Unfortunately, not all of those channels are equally functional, nor the teams respond equally fast. That is why our evaluation process will distinguish those who really value the customer's time and money from those who are not interested in having a happy and satisfied client.
- Friendly and polite personnel
- Diverse channels of communication
- Competent and professional help desk
7) Methods of Payment
Deposits and withdrawals are happening almost on a daily basis once you start your voyage through the online trading sea, and that is why it is imperative to use a reliable and efficient payment method. Because of that, we have compared several brokerages and their money-processing services, and that is also why this aspect found its place on our 10-point checklist. Funding your account and collecting your earnings are two essential activities, and we want our readers to perform these tasks without any problems or inconveniences.
However, not all brokerages offer the same level of quality when it comes to payment methods. First of all, some of them do not offer a diverse range of options, which can cause problems for investors. Most brokers will offer several methods which are within the industry standard, such as wire transfer and credit cards, but not much more than that. E-wallet services are a must in today's financial trading, and options trading is no exception. Besides a plethora of available options, modern-day investors want to have instant processing when it comes to transfers of their hard-earned funds. Please take your time and consider all of these factors before voting since your opinion can help novice traders in the future.
- Traditional and modern payment methods
- Convenience and simplicity
- A wide range of available money-transfer options
8) Additional Offers
Options brokers are typically quite generous and they offer all sorts of extras, but some companies do have a superior additional offer than others. That is why we want our readers to carefully evaluate the nature of those freebies and gifts, and to vote for the best options broker. For example, one of the most common types of incentives is a bonus, but they are usually accompanied by an intricate set of terms and conditions. If you just keep on clicking „I agree“ on everything that is being offered, you may find yourself in a situation where it is hard to opt out and your funds are locked in a tight grip.
Another common form of free stuff is a demo account, which offers no-risk opportunities for novice traders and for everyone who wants to try out a certain trading platform. Virtual money can allow you to test various features of the brokerage and to try out different strategies. But, not all brokerage companies offer these accounts, and that is also one of the things which can play a role in the final rankings for the Options Broker Award US. Additionally, broker houses often provide their clients with a bunch of educational material and training, as well as occasional promotions and giveaways.
- Demo trading account
- Occasional giveaways, competitions, and promotions
- The diverse offer of bonuses
9) Regulation & Deposit Protection
Even though some people have certain fears and concerns about the options market, a lot of investors are depositing their money and performing their day-to-day operations without a single safety problem. The secret hides in the fact that you need to sign up with a reliable and legitimate brokerage if you want to have deposit insurance. Geographical location may have some say in this matter, simply because offshore brokers are well-known for their dubious nature and their tendency to engage in frauds and scams. However, regulatory bodies and agencies are monitoring all trading activities in the market, and their efforts are bearing fruit even as we speak. More and more broker companies are complying with the safety guidelines, and this is highly beneficial for the end-user, i.e. you as a trader.
Transparency and integrity are a must in today's financial world, and because of that, we urge our readers to give their vote only to the safest of options brokers out there. For instance, if the trading provider keeps your funds in segregated accounts with some of the most reputable banks in the world then you can feel safe and secured. Also, a sign of approval from a notable governing body, such as CySEC or FCA, is something you want to look for when signing up with a brokerage.
- Is the brokerage licensed and regulated?
- Segregated funds in top-notch banks
- Transparency of operations
10) Opinions of the Trade Press and Awards
Reviews and commentary can make or break a business, and we are all trying to maintain a positive image as much as possible. However, the world of financial trading is a highly volatile and competitive area, and it can be demanding to keep a positive coverage at all times. Negative reviews can be created by dishonest competitors, and that is why we suggest that you carefully examine this category before placing your vote. Since we want to evaluate and compare the brokers in a proper way, their integrity and reputation are a significant factor in determining their overall quality.
The easiest and the most reliable method for assessing the rating of a brokerage is by evaluating the headlines and reviews in the specialist media. Typically, high-authority sites and portals can be trusted in these matters. When it comes to awards – a similar situation awaits us there. The most important factor is pinpointing the actual authority behind the awards, i.e. who gives the awards and why. Some recognitions are simply more valuable than others, just ask the winners of our awards! For that reason, we would like you to once again consider these elements:
- Reviews and commentary in the specialist media
- The ratio of positive and negative coverage
- The value and integrity of the awards received
SUMMARY – HOW TO USE THIS CHECKLIST AND HOW TO PICK THE WINNER
As you could probably notice, our efforts were focused on trying to supply you with all the relevant information you may require before voting for the winner of the Options Broker Award US. Our in-depth guide includes all the categories we find crucial for a pleasant and profitable trading experience, and if you are willing to dig even deeper – please check our options brokers comparison of the respectable brokerages. Your vote can be of great help to other readers and potential traders, and we together can make their first steps through the financial waters significantly easier.
Since AskTrader is an independent and objective portal, we believe that this kind of evaluation process guarantees the selection of the best possible candidate. After all, real people vote for the winner, and this means that their actual experiences and trading expertise will affect the end result.
Now, if you are ready, please cast your vote and help us decide who will win the award this year!