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Options trading is complex, and your trading platform plays a pivot role in the returns you generate. Online trading platforms offer various types of instruments, including stocks, ETFs, forex, futures, and options. If you are a non-US trader who wants to trade in the U.S. markets, you can if you have the necessary paperwork. So if you are a U.S. resident but not a citizen or a non-US citizen living outside of the U.S., you can open an account with an international or U.S.-based broker that accepts applications from your country of residence.
When selecting a platform, choose one with a stronger international presence, which means they give you access to international exchanges. International trading platforms may charge different fees and commissions for international trades along with currency exchange fees. Secondly, look at the portal’s security, its customer service, and its industry reputation.
Here is a list of the top five platforms non-US traders can use to sell options:
Top 5 Platforms Non-US Traders Can Use To Sell Options
Interactive Brokers is an ideal platform for professional traders who want to execute sophisticated high-volume options strategies. It gives you lucrative pricing and equips you with sophisticated analytical tools and educational material. It gives you access to 135 markets in 23 different currencies. You can convert your domestic currency at market rates from within the platform to trade outside your domestic market.
Interactive Brokers offers a robust trading platform with complex tools like Trader Workstation (TWS) app and OptionTrader that help you create and implement complex options strategies like multi-leg trades and spreads. It also offers Probability Lab, where you can virtually test your strategy and see the probability distribution before putting in real money.
Interactive Brokers offers two pricing models; fixed fees of $0.25 to $0.50 per contract for infrequent traders and tiered fees of $0.10 or less for active traders. It has a $0 account minimum and no inactivity fees for individual accounts. It also has the lowest margin rate (50% lower than competitors) in the industry.
Charles Schwab is an ideal choice for options traders at all levels from beginners to professionals. It offers good futures trading education for new traders and powerful tools for advanced traders. With Charles Schwab, you get access to the U.S. equity and options markets and 30 more international markets.
Charles Schwab has several tools like StreetSmart Edge for desktop. Idea Hub provides new trading ideas from available options contracts, making it easy for beginners to execute the trade. All-in-One Trade Ticket allows professionals to select options spreads and legs through the options chain. One drawback is too many apps that make it difficult to analyze your portfolio on a single dashboard.
Like most online traders, it has a $0 commission and no account minimums, but it charges $0.65 per options contract. The drawback on the pricing front is its margin trading which is higher than average.
TD Ameritrade is an ideal choice for new options traders, as it offers good educational content and live coaching for options. It has an intuitive thinkorswim platform designed for derivatives-focused active traders.
The platform is easy to use, and new traders can execute orders with ease. It is ideal to study options strategies with over 500 signals. You can set up rolling spreads to future expiration dates and assess risk with TD Ameritrade. There is a trading simulator tool to test your options strategies virtually before putting in actual money.
TD Ameritrade has a $0 account minimum, commission-free broking, and free per-leg option trading. It charges a flat fee of $0.65 per options contract but no data or platform fees. However, its margin interest rates are expensive than other discount brokers.
E*Trade is a good option for new traders as it offers good educational courses, research tools, and spread options. It has a Power E*TRADE platform that helps you research complex spreads and customized options. It provides access to streaming strategy options chains, which means only the data relevant to your options spread will stream for you, so you don’t get confused.
It also offers a performance risk tool, where you can stress test your portfolio at six different risk ranges and even assess the risk of a single trade. It also offers other analytics tools like technical insights and LiveAction scanners. However, its standard platform does not offer paper trading.
E*Trade has a $0 account minimum with $0.65 for options per contract. If you take the plan of 30+ trades per quarter, the option contract price reduces to $0.50. However, E*Trade charges a commission for multi-leg spreads. It also has a very high margin rate.
TradeStation is ideal for serious options traders who know their play and are looking for a comprehensive platform that offers a wide range of analysis tools and effective implementation of complex trades. Its OptionStation Pro platform allows you to create custom watch lists and view charts and trends in real-time. A preview of the same is available on the mobile app. The platform allows you to test your options strategies from over 150 indicators and execute trades fast.
However, TradeStation charges a $0.6 fee per options contract plus a $5 per trade commission for an international plan. TradeStation also has a minimum balance requirement that makes it apt for professional traders who can recoup all these charges with their trade profits. Its benefit is that it is customizable. But it has no phone support if you are not a full-service client.
Options trading is customized, and every trader has his/her level of understanding. It takes strong research and learning to make a profit from options. Choose a platform that suits your trading level and is also light on the pocket.