Options are a type of contract whose price depends on an underlying asset like bonds and currencies. This asset class category has gained huge popularity in recent years.
With a brokerage investment account, the bearer may buy (call option) or sell (put option) an amount of the asset (like a stock) at a pre-negotiated cost by the last date of contract expiry. However, there are no losses incurred if you choose not to buy.
What is Options Trading Software?
Options Trading software provides precise information to investors for making profitable trading decisions based on market changes. They can buy and sell options online from anywhere in the world. The options trading platform provides real-time analytics and quotes, charting and other custom trade functions.
With options trading and analysis software, investors can decide when to trade and how much depending on the exact risk. For example, if you want to buy later when you think the value of an asset will increase, you can lock in a price called strike price for future purchases.
Further, real-time analysis helps traders make correct investment decisions. Option analysis software provides tracking, probability calculations, risk management, 3-D charting, real-time quotes, profit/loss analysis, volatility analysis and more.
Key Features of Great Options Trading Platform
The core features of an options trading software are:
Option chains with data streaming in real-time.
- Quick Analysis
Get deeper insights from profit and loss (P&L) or probability charts directly from the option chain. P&L charts are useful for analyzing an option trade theoretically. Users can also view a P&L summary within the chain.
Greeks are the measure of sensitivity to the metric changes in the market. Several available Greeks (like delta, gamma, theta) can be viewed while analyzing an option chain for an open option position. Moreover, their values can be streamed with data in real-time.
Automatically fill in a trade ticket and easily roll an option position to the next relative contract expiration.
- Probability Analysis
Probability analysis tool to calculate probability and analyze hypothetical open positions with a customizable probability histogram or chart.
- Advanced Analysis
Analyze the value of an active option position with respect to simultaneous changes in factors like stock/ asset price, date, and volatility.
- Enter & Exit Position with less Risk
You can group option positions on metrics like vertical, covered call, and more. You can enter and exit positions quickly to reduce the risk.
- Options Screener
Options screener to evaluate options and generate a list of potential trading ideas depending on chart patterns.
Suggested Read: Best Technical Analysis Software for Stock Trading in India 2021
Advantages & Disadvantages of Options Trading
The purpose of options trading varies as per the investor’s goal. Options offer many advantages like added recurring income and protection against the declining stock market. Another benefit of options trading is the high return potential with lesser risk.
However, options trading involves certain risks that every investor must know before making a trade. For example, options trading often involves lower liquidity with a higher commission of options brokers. Also, its premium value decreases with time.
Given the increasing investors’ interest and the complex nature of options trading, there are numerous options trading software in the market.
Options Trading Software Review
Here, we have compared the 12 best options trading platforms based on options analysis, their fees and the minimum account balance required to start trading. Other factors considered during Options trading software review are Greeks functionality, grouping availability, and streaming data quality.
12 Best Options Trading Software for Beginners in 2021
- TD Ameritrade
- Charles Schwab
- Interactive Brokers
- Tradier Brokerage
- Zerodha Sensibull
- IQ Option Trader
- Olymp Trade Platform
The list of best options trading solutions are:
E*TRADE Options Analysis Platform (For Foreign Stocks)
E*TRADE is one of the first US-based brokerages founded in 1982 and is regulated by financial authorities such as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for safety. It is great for beginners who want to get into options trading.
It provides content to learn options trading. It has a user-friendly interface intuitive for both casual and active traders. In addition, there are recommendations for future key events, tools like StrategySEEK for screening and LiveAction for scanning, among others.
- Low trading fees (only per contract fee)
- Advanced mobile trading platforms for different trading styles
- Prebuilt portfolio for quick investments
- Position management (real-time streaming Greeks, risk analysis, custom grouping, and others
- Simple Risk/Reward translation (with Snapshot Analysis tool)
- Third-party research reports and ratings
- Bloomberg TV on the Web
- Library-based educational content with archived recordings.
- Only US markets, no foreign exchange (forex) market
- Absence of live broadcasting
- Only bank transfer option available.
Minimum Account Balance: None. There is no inactivity or account fee.
E*TRADE Charges/Fees: Options contract fee is INR 47.28 per contract and INR 36.37 per contract for customers who execute at least 30 trades per quarter.
TradeStation – Desktop-Based Options Platform
TradeStation is a stockbroker founded in 1982 and designed by traders. It is a popular choice among active or intermediate-level traders. Traders can choose TS Go for trades via mobile and Web or standard TS Select account for full access via the desktop platform.
For TS select users, it helps design, test, monitor, and automate custom trading strategies for options. TS Go users can create custom watch lists and view chart patterns without creating an account. In addition, there is a trading simulator to test-drive new strategies in real-time and customization options to highlight the most relevant data.
- Great statistical modeling and technical analysis tools
- Fully-functional mobile app
- High-quality educational tools
- Comprehensive research
- Analytics to optimize trading strategies (with Portfolio Maestro)
- High uptime despite surges in trading volume
- Access to a community of active traders.
- No international trading
- The steep learning curve for deposit and withdrawal
- Customer service could be better.
Minimum Account Balance: INR 0 to INR 1,45,482 based on account type
TradeStation Charges/Fees: For Stock options, it is INR 43.64 per contract (TS Select) and INR 36.37 per contract (TS Go). For Futures options, the charge is INR 109.11 per contract, per side.
Suggested Read: Top 15 Nifty Buy Sell Signal Software for Indian Stock Market
TD Ameritrade Options Trading Tool
TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975 for derivatives-focused (like options) active traders, both professional and inexperienced. The navigation is highly dependent on the chosen platform-specific website, mobile apps, and Thinkorswim.
The data, charting, and several tools assist in finding market opportunities. While educational offerings help investors grow their skills. There are Level II quotes, customizable screeners, market heat maps, backtesting capabilities, and other capabilities for making the right options trading decisions.
- Desktop trading platform with advanced features (Thinkorswim platform)
- Well-designed mobile apps to quickly access balance history, positions, and the like
- Extensive research tools
- Unlimited streaming of real-time data
- Automated portfolio building
- Customizable landing page
- Additional support channels using Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Twitter and more.
- Money transfer options like credit/debit cards and electronic wallets unavailable
- Navigation difficult due to extensive content and tools.
Minimum Account Balance: A deposit of INR 1,45,482 is necessary to avail margin and certain options privileges.
TD Ameritrade Charges/Fees: INR 47.28 per contract fee for options trades. There is no exercise or assignment fee.
Charles Schwab – Unique Order Type for Foreign Options Stocks
Charles Schwab was founded by an American investor and financial executive of the same name. The options trading broker’s platform works well for beginners, advanced professionals and those dependent on premium research.
It offers three platforms- StreetSmart Edge, Schwab.com and StreetSmart Central. In addition, there are two mobile apps, namely, Schwab Mobile and StreetSmart Mobile.
The desktop platform StreetSmart Edge is fully customizable and focused on option traders. Traders can view options chains, monitor/ track orders, analyze charts, place orders with auto-adjustable limits, and more.
- Several levels of customization and personalization options
- Large fund selection
- Portfolio Builder tool for diverse financial goals, risk tolerances and time
- Real-time news and earnings reports
- Easy to use mobile apps
- Unique educational resources
- Multi-layer encryption technology for mobile.
- Limitation on available margin
- Low base interest rate.
Minimum Account Balance: To start using the account, a minimum of INR 72,741 is needed.
Charles Schwab Charges/Fees: The charge is INR 47.28 per contract for new and existing clients.
Interactive Brokers for Professional Options Traders Outside India
Interactive Brokers is a customizable and user-friendly platform for options trading in NSE of India and international markets. Users can create their Mosaic layouts, and links to frequently-used tools are saved for easy access.
This options trading analysis software is best for international trading with low margin rates. Interactive Brokers Lite is suitable for casual traders, while the pro version is catered towards experienced traders and investors. Choices like charting and scanners are available to both Lite and Pro users.
- A wide range of trading tools
- Smart order router for optimal execution
- Portfolio Checkup for a visual representation of portfolio over time
- Client Portal trading platform
- Advanced features on a mobile app like 2-factor authentication
- AI-powered digital assistant IBot.
- High forex fees
- Data are streaming on one device at once.
Minimum Account Balance: None. This was recently done to attract more customers.
Interactive Brokers Charges/Fees: The fee is INR 47.28 per contract for options trading.
eOption for Low-Cost Options Screening in Foreign Stock Market
eOption is a global online financial trading platform that enables traders to access, trade, and check the status of options, Stocks, and ETFs. It is targeted to active options traders who want a low commission and fast execution of their strategies.
The layout makes navigation simple, and the drag and drop feature enables an easy setup. This options trading analysis software comes with integrated market data to ensure comprehensive financial research before trade executions. Personal information is secured through SSL encryption in PC and mobile platforms.
- Low trading fee
- User-friendly SaaS platform
- Several indicators and screening tools
- Auto Trading for executing trade alerts
- Live market news streaming
- Customizable interface
- Profit & Loss (P&L) Performance.
- Limited educational content
- No international offerings or forex trading.
Minimum Account Balance: None. INR 1,818,525 equity within 60 days for international accounts.
eOption Charges/Fees: The per-contract fee is just INR 7.27. There is an additional charge of INR 144.75 per trade.
Tastyworks – Supports Mobile Options Trading
Established in 2017, Tastyworks is targeted at active traders and is the brokerage companion to Tastytrade. It offers Web, mobile, and desktop platforms.
Several tools for analyzing and trading options are present in the platform. There are choices for portfolio checking, reading Tastytrade news, know what other traders are up to.
Users can customize color, chart settings, font sizes, and the like. In addition, there are great educational and research materials to improve the trading efficiency of traders.
- Easy onboarding
- Streaming real-time quotes
- Simplified multi-leg trades
- Options-focused charting
- Huge library of pre-recorded videos and shows
- Built-in key analytics for trade tickets
- No demo or paper trading account for beginners
- No credit/debit card deposit options
Minimum Account Balance: INR 1,45,482 to gain margin privileges for buying.
Tastyworks Charges/Fees: INR 72.74 per contract. A maximum of INR 727.41 per leg can be charged for options trades.
Tradier Brokerage – Facilitates Low-Cost Options Trading Outside India
Tradier Brokerage is a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)-registered equity and options trading software founded in 2012. Account settings for management and market data are based in the cloud. It works best for active and experienced traders.
Traders can attach their brokerage account to a third-party platform like Orion Multi Trader, Stockstotrade, Esignal, 1Option, among others. In addition, it has partnered with educators to help traders improve their financial and investing knowledge.
- Affordable margin rates
- Paper trading and Sandbox building mode for customization
- Wide range of available platforms
- Tradehawk mobile app
- Real-time market data
- Great customer support.
- Too many features can be confusing
- Certain securities require a phone for trading.
Minimum Account Balance: There is an inactivity fee for international accounts and those with less than INR 1,45,482 and two trades per year.
Tradier Brokerage Charges/Fees: INR 25.46 per contract.
Zerodha Sensibull – Free Options Trading Advice with Free and Virtual Money
Zerodha Sensibull is India’s first options trading platform. It combines features of a strategy engine with the trading platform that allows execution of the strategy.
The platform is available in Free (14 days), Lite and Pro versions. The Lite plan is suitable for beginners, while the pro version is suited for professionals.
Traders can compare options, Get P&L and Greeks in real-time, generate multileg strategies, analyze multiple positions at once, among other choices. Furthermore, users receive data like volatility, risk, and profit/loss potential with the option chain analysis software before trading.
- Simple interface
- Execution of complex strategy simpler
- Option Analyzer
- Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) market data
- Event calendar for trades with risk notifications
- Option Chain with good visualization
- Reward and risk-based filtering not available
Minimum Account Balance: Lite at INR 480 per month and Pro at INR 640 per month
Zerodha Sensibull Charges/Fees: Only pay the normal brokerage
Optra – Best Options Strategy Builder App
Optra is an options analysis platform that helps traders in building strategies. It comes with numerous tools for traders to discover, analyze and track options trading opportunities.
It provides an option strategy builder online. Traders can back-test their option trading strategies on the live market with virtual money. In addition, there are resources to gain an in-depth understanding of options basics, options strategies, options greeks, and more.
- Options algorithm for better trading
- Volatility skew analysis
- Open Interest charts
- Options Simulator
- Dashboard for an effective overview
- Results calendar of Indian FNO Stocks
Minimum Account Balance: Aside from a free plan, traders can go for an INR 1000 per month subscription for the pro plan.
Optra Charges/Fees: Opstra options trading software’s paid plan starts at Rs 1300 per month.
IQ Option Trader Mobile Options Trading Platform
IQ Option trader is a regulated online trading platform founded in 2013. It is best suited for contract for difference (CFD) trading and binary options.
It offers several tools like economic calendars, stock screeners, multi-chart layouts, volatility alerts and more. Traders can choose from 49 different options.
The proprietary mobile app has all the features of the desktop version. The interface is user-friendly and intuitive. The iOS version adheres to all the latest trading rules by Apple.
- Demo account
- Inbuilt trading tools
- Technical indicators
- Multiple deposit options
- Proprietary mobile app
- Supports 13 languages
- Limits on binary options trading.
Minimum Account Balance: A minimum deposit of INR 727.41 is required.
IQ Option Trader Charges/Fees: The overnight fee for IQ Options Trader is 0.01 percent to 0.03 percent. It depends on the face value.
Olymp Trade Platform – Best for Risk-free Options Trading Practice
Olymp Trade is an international options analysis software founded in 2014 that offers forex, CFDs and digital options trading. There are customized strategies, analytics, news, and more for all kinds of traders.
In addition, users can get tips and experience from professional analysts and expert traders. It has a special training account to help users trade without risking their funds.
The user can register to receive 10,000 currency units and practice. Then, when a trader is ready, he/ she can switch to a live account, deposit actual funds, and start trading.
- Web-based, no install and downloads
- Optimization for mobile viewing
- One-click trading
- Market News and analysis
- 30+ technical indicators
- Multilingual customer support in 19 languages
- Training and educational resources
- Not regulated
- No choice for automation of strategies
Minimum Account Balance: A minimum deposit of INR 727.41 is needed
Olymp Trade Charges/Fees: Brokerage fee lies between 0.8 to 15% of the total investment
- What is the minimum amount required for options trading?
The minimum amount for buying an option is the premium prevailing in the market combined with brokerage and other charges for at least one lot. The number of shares in a lot are variable.
For selling, you need margin money in your account, depending on your broker and exchange. The premium obtained will depend on the future for an option seller.
- Where can you practice options trading?
Traders should be well trained as options trading is quite difficult. You can practice options trading on simulator platforms like Trade Station Mobile, E-Trade, Investopedia, among others.
- Is there any free options trading software?
There are several options trading software like Gatsby, Quantsapp, Sensibull and Robinhood that helps users start options trading with no minimum money in the account.
- Is Robinhood a good platform for options trading?
Robinhood is a good platform to start with options trading, especially for mobile. Options trading for investors on Robinhood comes with no commission, exercise fee, per-contract fee, or assignment fee.
In addition, you can explore more options trading platforms with features like customizable charts and faster real-time response once you have a basic understanding.