Barrier Option

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DEFINITION of 'Barrier Option'

A type of option whose payoff depends on whether or not the underlying asset has reached or exceeded a predetermined price. A barrier option can be a knock-out, meaning it can expire worthless if the underlying exceeds a certain price, limiting profits for the holder but limiting losses for the writer. It can also be a knock-in, meaning it has no value until the underlying reaches a certain price.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Barrier Option'

Barrier options are considered a type of exotic option because they are more complex than basic American or European options. Barrier options are also considered a type of path-dependent option because their value fluctuates as the underlying's value changes during the option's contract term. In other words, a barrier option's payoff is based on the underlying asset's price path.

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