Choosing Your Binary Options Trading Platform: What to Look For

A wide selection of brokers offering binary options trading platforms is a fantastic positive for traders. It means there is intense competition and that is always a good thing for the client, forcing providers to offer up their game when it comes to the product offered, pricing and service. However, it also means that traders have what can be a bewildering range of choice that can make taking a decision on a broker a daunting task.

There are several aspects to consider when choosing a broker. Is the company a reliable trustee of funds deposited? Is there a clear, simple, prompt and reliable withdrawals process? Is the broker regulated by a reliable financial regulator? Is customer service to a high standard? Do minimum deposits and trade values match your experience level, budget and trading style?

It is crucial all the questions above have a positive answer that fits with an individual trader’s needs and preferences. They should be prerequisites when choosing a binary options broker to give custom to. However, the binary options trading platform itself is also integral. The platform itself is the environment that the binary options trader will be trading in day to day and should provide an efficient and enjoyable experience. As well as simply providing the interface for opening and closing binary options positions, the range of trade types and value-added features such as the kinds of options available, charting and other tools is also important.

The best binary options brokers are all competing for an edge over each other and providing the best trading software is one of the fiercest battlegrounds where traders are won and lost. In this article, we’ll focus specifically on binary options trading platforms and what to look for when making the all-important decision of selecting a regular broker. We won’t rank platforms as, within reason, preference is very subjective and every trader will have their own preferences on functionalities, features and usability style. What we will do is look at the main differentials between binary options platforms to help traders focus their research and consider what is most important to them and their trading style.

 

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White Label or Proprietary Platform

Binary options traders that already have some experience will have noticed that many brokers use branded versions of a handful of popular white label trading platforms. There are, arguably, six big binary options software developers whose white label platforms support a significant majority of the brokers traders can choose from.

As specialist binary options trading software providers whose business lives or dies by offering a top trading experience, otherwise brokers wouldn’t choose them, the big white label platforms are all of reasonably high quality. When it comes to the basics of being able to open and close binary options and charting, all of the major white label platforms are to a high standard and preference will mainly come down to personal taste. Where there are important differentials is in the kind of binary options variations offered on the platforms (which we’ll go into in more detail later) and additional features such as educational materials and social trading.

The most commonly encountered white label software providers and their key characteristics are as follows:

SpotOption: the biggest white label provider, SpotOption provides the trading platform to more brokers than any other white label provider. The platform’s greatest strength is the versatility and variety it provides with a wide range of binary option formats including Ladder Options and timeframes of between 30 seconds and 6 months. The SpotOption platform’s proprietary copy trading functionality (referred to as iFollow Copy Trading and Spot Follow with different brokers) is another USP that appeals particularly to beginner traders.

Tradologic: one of the longer-lived white label platform providers, Tradologic actually started out as a broker with a proprietary trading platform before pivoting its business model and moving from brokerage into offering its award-winning platform to other brokers. The platform has a number of unique binary options trading variations such as its Multi-Trade functionality that allows traders to have up to nine options open at once to take advantage of correlated pairs. Knock In options is another popular Tradologic functionality and facilitates traders setting pending options that activate if pre-set market condition are met.

TechFinancials: the only white label binary options platform provider that is publicly listed has some of the best know binary options brokers among its client base. While most white label platforms do not have any restrictions on the brokers who offer the platform, as long as they pay the licensing fees, TechFinancial’s listed status means that brokers operating the platform must meet strict criteria. As a result, it’s not encountered as frequently as some of the other white label platforms.

The number of markets offered is strong with a particular emphasis on forex. Timeframes from 30 seconds to months and all the most popular binary options variations are supported. TechFinancials’ platform doesn’t have many unique features but focuses on the core options and functionalities that the vast majority of traders stick to.

PandaTS: one of the newer white label software providers, PandaTS also started life as a broker before converting into a white label provider. The platform’s focus is forex day trading and functionalities and features will most appeal to this trader profile. However, markets on other asset classes are also offered as are longer term options formats. The ‘Binary Replicator’ functionality is the most unique feature of the platform and allows traders to choose other traders to copy with their trades being directly replicated in the ‘copy cat’s’ account.

Keystone: the white label platform division of the holding behind broker markets.com, the platform’s defining characteristic is its simplicity. For some traders, especially beginners, this is the platform’s strength and for others its limitation. A smaller ranger of tradable markets and timeframes than most platforms keeps things minimalistic.

Tradesmarter: another of the newer platform providers, Tradesmarter’s strength is in social trading. The social trading functionality shows trades being made on the platform via charting, allowing traders to replicate those they like the look of. Another proprietary functionality is StratigiX allows in-trade adjustment of strike prices. One limitation of Tradesmarter’s platform is a somewhat limited range of tradable markets.

Proprietary Platforms: a growing number of binary options brokers are using their own proprietary trading platforms as they seek an edge over their competitors. While there are too many of these to address one by one, the range of quality is more diverse than with white label platforms. Some are great and offer intuitive usability, a broad range of markets, timeframes, options variations and added-value resources and functionality that at least match the big white label platforms. Others don’t quite hit the mark. Traders should look for the features that most appeal to them and then try out the platform on a demo version to assess usability and efficiency.

Web-based or Downloadable Software

One major difference between binary options trading platforms is whether they are web-based or downloaded software. Some platforms come in both formats and there are pluses and minuses to both approaches.

Web-based: saves the time to download and also load on a computer that software, which can be quite heavy-duty, puts on it. However, the main advantage to a web-based trading platform is that traders are not tied to a particular device(s). As long as the device has an internet connection and is able to support the usually java-run platform, the trader can login and trade from anywhere. This is a particularly valuable consideration for traders who travel a lot. Web-based platforms are also not tied to a particular operating system such as Windows, which can be a problem for Apple users.

Downloaded Software: the plus of downloaded software is that it tends to offer greater depth of functionality such as more advanced charting and other analysis tools that are often too heavy for a purely web-based software solution. Because trading platforms based on downloaded software only need the internet connection to download market data rather than functionality they also tend to be more stable and less prone to losing functionality at crucial moments.

Mobile App

The quality of the mobile version of a binary options trading platform is absolutely key for contemporary traders with the expectation that their broker supports a quality mobile-friendly trading experience a given. The big white label platform providers all have Android and iOS app versions of their platforms, with a couple also offering Windows apps, and web-based platforms also tend to be responsive to mobile devices.

However, there is inevitably a degree of variation as to how successfully different trading platforms have adapted to mobile versions and how much of their desktop functionality has been retained. Sometimes less is also more with mobile apps that attempt to retain all desktop functionality suffering from the attempt to do too much. As such, it is important that traders try out the mobile version of a trading platform as well as the desktop version before deciding to make a deposit and trade with a particular broker.

Binary Options Trading Variations

Most binary options traders still place the majority of their positions using classic up/down (also referred to as call/put options). However, many also like to use other binary option variations in certain market conditions or just to add a little variety to their trading. Which variations a particular trading platform supports is, therefore, important to many traders. We’ve already mentioned some of the unique binary options variations the big white label providers offer and there is huge variety out there, though many are very slight variations on each other. Here are some of the main variations that different trading platforms provide and can be looked for by traders that like to have them available as an option. They are not always referred to by the same names so traders will have to read the descriptions of the different variations available:

Classic Binary Options (up/down, call/put): the trader simply calls whether a market will finish higher or lower than where it is when the option is opened at its expiry.

60 Second Options: work in exactly the same way as classic binary options but have a micro timeframe of up to 1 minute from opening to expiry.

One Touch: rather than the option finishing up or down on its opening level, one touch binary options only have to touch the strike price at some point before expiry regardless of finishing position. So if the strike price was up from the opening price the option will finish in the money if the market touches that price after being opened even if it eventually finishes lower at the point of expiry.

No Touch: the trader sets a price, within the offered range, that the market should not touch at any point before the expiry point if the option is to finish in the money.

Boundary/Range: traders set an upper and lower price level and to finish in the money the market must be somewhere within the boundaries/range at expiry.

Ladder: if a trader expects a market to rise or fall but sees some potentially strong support and resistance levels ladder options allow three or more different strike prices and expiry times. The payout is then staged depending upon how many ‘rungs’ of the ladder the strike price manages to climb up or down.

Tradable Markets

The range of asset classes and instruments available on a platform is important with different traders having different preferences on markets. Some platforms have forex focus and limited or no instruments available in other classes such as individual equities or indices. Most offer at least a good range of forex pairs and the major commodities and indices. Some offer broad choice over forex, commodities, indices and equities (stocks). The choice of trading platform will certainly be heavily influenced by it providing the instruments that a particular trader wishes to have available to them.

Additional Features

The additional features a binary options trading platform offers can also be an important distinguishing factor and can sway a trader’s choice of broker/platform. Here are some of the most popular:

Buy me Out: traders can opt to close an option that is currently in the money early for a reduced pay-out rather than risking the market turning before the original expiry point and leaving them out of the money.

Rollover: if a trader notices the instrument they have an option open on is trending strongly in the right direction, rollover allows them to extend the expiry time by a given percentage and win a bigger payout if the trade is still in the money at the point of the extended expiry time.

Double Up: this feature allows traders to open more than one binary option position on the same instrument at the same expiry point. If a trader has opened a position and is further convinced it will finish in the money a double up position will open a new trade at the current price but with the same strike price and expiry time as the original position.

Social Trading: being able to see and replicate options taken out by other traders. Opting to ‘copy cat’ another trader is usually based on them have a strong winning track record.

Value Added Tools and Resources

Different binary options trading platforms offer varying ranges and quality levels of value-added resources and tools such as educational materials, charting packages, indicators, news feeds and analysis. Educational resources and indicators will be important to beginners and tools like more advanced charting and analysis tools will make a strong impression on more experienced traders.

Demo Account

Last but by no means least, the demo account options offered by a trading platform perform a key role in a trader’s decision on whether to go with a broker. Being able to try out a platform to assess usability, additional features and resources is key. Reading the description provided by the broker and actually seeing things in action are two very different things.

Almost every trading platform offers a demo version to allow traders to trial it before committing real money to an account. However, some platforms put a time or number of trades limit on demo account access or don’t make all features available before a real-money account is open. As a general rule, trading platforms that offer weaker demo account conditions should be avoided. If the platform is great then a trader should be able to see that via the demo account and choose to trade real money when ready. Limited demo account access is a warning sign either of the trading platform’s quality or the broker’s approach to customer acquisition and service.