Best Options Trading Platforms for 2023

Middle Eastern woman tracking and trading stocks using laptop and desktop computer.
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Right now is a great time to be an options trader. Every major trading platform is racing to reduce costs to as close to $0 as humanly possible — and it’s getting close. Until recently, nearly every platform on this list charged more fees, higher commissions, or both. Today, options trading is accessible to nearly everyone, and many of these platforms offer self-directed traders tools and support that were reserved for pro accounts not long ago. 

5 Best Options Trading Platforms

Here’s a look at the 5 best options trading platforms for beginners and experienced traders.

Ally Invest

  • Best for: Budget investors
  • Cost: $0 plus $0.50 per contract
  • Pros:
    • Lowest per-contract cost
    • No account minimums
  • Cons:
    • No ATM access to get cash

When it comes to brokers that don’t charge a per-trade commission, it’s tough to beat Ally’s $0.50 contract fee. For context, Schwab, Merrill Edge, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity all charge $0.65. Despite the bare-bones pricing, Ally offers a good menu of charts, graphs, calculators and tools.

Charles Schwab

  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate-level traders
  • Cost: $0 plus $0.65 per contract
  • Pros:
    • Premium trading platform
    • Over 300 branches
  • Cons:
    • Additional $25 service charge for broker-assisted trades

Charles Schwab runs with the pack — its per-contract fee of 65 cents is the industry standard for big-name brokers. But with big-name brokerages come big-name resources, and Schwab offers legitimately premium tools — like its StreetSmart Edge platform — that even self-directed investors can use with no-fee accounts.

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  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate-level traders
  • Cost: $0 plus $0.65 per contract
  • Pros:
    • Price improvement
    • Wealth of trader-friendly financial information on the site
  • Cons:
    • Broker-assisted trades tack on an additional $32.95

Like Schwab and the other big-name brokers, Fidelity has the resources to invest in premium trading tools that even self-directed investors can use. Also, Fidelity’s price improvement program can save you money on the price you get on each contract.

Merrill Edge

  • Best for: Experienced options traders
  • Cost: $0 plus $0.65 per contract
  • Pros:
    • Backed by the wealth and expertise of the industry’s biggest full-service broker
  • Cons:
    • Have to pay more to access financial advisors and other full-service features

Tools like Merrill Edge MarketPro let you build your own platform for trading options within the Merrill Edge ecosystem. Options traders who know what they’re doing flock to Merrill Edge because the research and analytics tools are among the very best in the entire industry.

TD Ameritrade

  • Best for: Experienced traders who need excellent tools
  • Cost: $0 plus $0.65 per contract
  • Pros:
    • One-of-a-kind thinkorswim platform
    • Numerous brick-and-mortar branches
  • Cons:
    • No fractional share trading for stock investors

TD Ameritrade adheres to the industry standard $0.65 contract fee, but the tools and tech that TD gives its customers are anything but standard. Even a free brokerage account gives you access to the thinkorswim platform, a package of elite tools to help you develop and execute custom trading strategies.

What Is Options Trading?

Options are contracts between two parties that allow the person holding the contract to buy or sell something — usually a stock or commodity — at a specific price, known as the “strike price,” at some point in the future. “Put” options allow you to sell something at the strike price, whereas “call” options give you the right to purchase it. 

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Beyond these simple examples, options trading can get complicated, invoking such arcane terms as “spreads,” “straddles,” “strangles” and “iron collars.” Selling options that aren’t “covered” by stock positions can result in theoretically unlimited losses. Thus, it’s important to thoroughly understand options before you get too deep into trading. 

Good To Know

Options trading is, of course, not without risk. But contrary to popular mythology, it’s not the same as gambling, it’s not particularly complicated, and the average investor can do it — at least when it comes to the basic buying and selling of calls and puts.

Even the most risk-averse investor can still find value in using a “protective put” — a put option used to hedge their position in a certain stock — or a “covered call” — selling a call option on shares they already own — to create an additional income stream for their 401k or individual retirement account.

The Bottom Line

For the most part, pricing for options trading has normalized among online brokers. All now have free commissions, with a slightly varying per-contract fee. With pricing relatively similar, the right options broker for you will be the one that provides the services and features that best suit your investment style. This is especially true if you’re looking to expand your trading beyond options, as most investors do.


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding options trading.
  • Which platform is best for options trading?
    • Some of the best options trading platforms are:
      • -Ally Invest
      • -Charles Schwab
      • -Fidelity
      • -Merrill Edge
      • -TD Ameritrade
  • Can you get rich from options trading?
    • Yes, it is possible to get rich from options trading. To pull in high earnings will require a great amount of determination, time, experience and a healthy risk tolerance.
  • Which is the cheapest options trading platform?
    • Ally charges $0.50 per contract which makes it one of the cheapest options trading platforms currently.
  • Which app is best for selling options?
    • TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest are two highly-rated apps that are good for options trading.
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Andrew Lisa and John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article. 

Data is accurate as of March 7, 2023, and is subject to change.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.


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