2019 Best Online Brokers Awards
eOption focuses on providing active options traders with a no-frills, low-cost platform. While there are tools that are useful for trading options, there aren’t an overwhelming number of bells and whistles. The low commissions and speedy executions are the main draw for fans of the platform. You can sign up for Auto Trading if you want to automatically execute trade alerts issued by an authorized newsletter publisher of your choice.
If you want to check the platform out before opening an account, you can use their Paper Trading toolset for 45 days at no charge. You can also connect Sterling Trader Pro or DAS Trader, premium direct access platforms, to their trading engine. In this review, we look at browser-based eOption Trader and their mobile offerings only.
Great value for frequent options traders
Ability to auto-trade newsletter alerts
Easy to use web-based platform
Limited education offerings
News and research is limited
Some OTCBB trades must be placed with a live broker
eOption has licensed the ETNA trading platform, and customized it for their clients. eOption Trader has the look and feel of a downloadable direct-access platform, but it runs in a browser. Click on the Custom tab and you can drag and drop widgets to set a page up the way you want. You can enter orders from the Trade tab or the Options Chains tab. All the costs of placing a trade, including exchange fees, are shown on the trade verification screen. More brokers should do this.
eOption does not accept payment for order flow for equity and ETF orders. Their order router prioritizes price improvement (a sale above the bid price, or a buy below the offer made possible by how your broker routes your order to be executed), and customers receive, on average $0.01 per share in price improvement.
The customized ETNA platform is fairly simple, and the tab layout makes the available tools easy to find. You can add an options strategy to a watch list, and OptionsPlay is integrated into the platform, which are good features for the advanced options trader.
Mobile and Emerging Tech
The mobile apps look the same as the desktop offering, and all watchlists are synched across devices. Positions and performance are displayed as a heat map, giving you a quick visual of your portfolio. Hands full? You can ask Alexa on your Amazon device for stock quotes.
Range of Offerings
eOption’s inventory of stocks to borrow for short selling is small, and there are no commission-free ETFs. You won’t find international exchanges, futures options, or forex here either. The main reason to become an eOption customer is to trade options strategies.
News and Research
The main amenity is the OptionsPlay suite of tools, which can be used to screen for stock, ETF or options strategies. There are no bond or mutual fund screeners.
Portfolio Analysis and Reports
You can get a picture of how your portfolio is doing during the current trading day on the eOption platform, but any advanced analysis will have to be done by downloading the data to Excel, or by using another tool. The firm is building a portfolio analysis tool, but the deployment date is, at present, not scheduled.
Customer Service and Help
Phone calls are answered quickly. The platform itself is very stable and seldom has downtime.
Education and Security
You can learn about options trading by using the OptionsPlay toolset or by going through the lessons provided on the eOption website from the Options Industry Council (OIC). There are videos available from OptionsPlay as well as from the OIC.
The cost of using eOption is very low. A stock order is $3, and options can be traded for $3 per leg plus $0.15 per contract. Margin interest rates are in the bottom quarter of our survey. There is, however, a $50 annual fee for inactive accounts.
What You Need to Know
eOption offers a great value for options traders who are comfortable selecting their own trading strategies. But if you need hand-holding or a robo advisor, this isn’t the broker for you.
Investopedia’s mission is to provide investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting over 3,000 data points that we weighed into our star scoring system.
In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out a 320-point survey about all aspects of their platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of their platforms at our offices.
Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.