Trusted and regulated UK binary options brokers provide traders with the opportunity to speculate on a range of underlying assets, via both web based trading platforms or mobile apps. Brokers operate in a range of different ways, some develop bespoke platforms, others will use white label sites. Likewise, some are referred to as ‘over the counter’ (OTC) brokers, while others operate an exchange.
Our vetted comparison table below allows you to quickly scan the key points for any recommended broker. Our detailed expert reviews cover in-depth analysis of the platform, deposit and withdrawal options, bonuses, demo accounts and even complaints for a specific firm – and give each a ranking / rating.
Finally, below the broker comparison table list, we explain how to compare online brokers – and why some elements might be more important to you than to someone else. You should therefore, have all the information you need right here, to make the best choice for you when it comes to finding a safe binary broker.
Identifying the best regulated binary options broker depends entirely on the needs of the specific investor. A ‘Top 5’ or even ‘Top 10’, might not contain a single brand that suits your style. A trader needs to consider a range of things when selecting a genuine broker to join. This will include the asset classes, or market, they want to invest in and the size of their average investment, to name but two.
Here at binaryoptions.co.uk we list all the useful facts that will help an individual to select which trading broker they would like to open an account and sign up with. We have also analysed our most frequently asked questions, and know that the following features are important when traders are deciding on a broker;
There is also information on promos such as competitions or contest with cash prizes, or tech.
Our broker reviews will be specific about which regulator is responsible for each broker. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulate a number of brands already – not because they trade binary options – but because they also allow clients to trade Contracts for Difference or forex. Some binary options brokers have chosen to to register with the FCA – but this is not the same as being regulated by them. It is a key point if UK traders in particular want the piece of mind that FCA regulation gives.
Regulation gives traders a better idea if a broker is genuine, and legitimate. In the US, the CFTC regulates the financial sector. Only Nadex and CBOE are officially licensed to offer binary trading. Regulated brands in Europe will not offer services to US traders. CySec is the main European regulator. They have recently clamped down on some of the brands under their jurisdiction – cleaning up a large part of the industry in the process. CySec regulated brokers are permitted to accept UK traders. The MiFID II directives mean a Cypriot licence can be ‘passported’ for UK clients.
In Australia, ASIC (Australian Securities and Investing Commission) regulate financial institutions – including brokers. Their oversight is on par with the FCA. Malta and the Isle of Man also license some binary operators based on a gaming permit. These also offer a strong level of protection.
Sign up bonuses and demo accounts are two factors that are designed to entice new account holders. Both are extremely effective at attracting beginners and new customers and it is easy to see why.
Bonuses are generally paid as a deposit match, or sometimes once a set number of trades have been settled, for a set amount. There are generally restrictions, or terms and conditions that need to be met before the funds are available to be withdrawn. It is worth spending some time understanding those terms before signing up. If the terms are not likely to be met (for example a volume of trades within the first few weeks) then the bonus loses any appeal and that broker may no longer be the best choice. There are also some terms which restrict even the the withdrawal of the initial deposit – not just bonus funds. These are thankfully rare – but highlight the need for checking.
Binary options demo accounts are a great way to get introduced to binary options trading without needing to risk any funds. Investors looking longer term can ensure that the broker is the right one for them once they are trading for real money. Practise or virtual accounts offer a wealth of benefits. They also provide a great way for traders to compare brokers directly or back test trading strategies.
For those investors looking to get involved with binary options for the first time, cheap minimum deposit requirements may be of interest. Traders looking to only risk small amounts, will find a broker with a smaller minimum deposit more appropriate. Low deposit requirements start at £5 or £10. Higher minimum deposits reach £100 or £250. Higher deposits often mean certain benefits, such as improved rates, larger bonuses or access to a higher level account such as VIP or Platinum etc.
All brokers will have a minimum trade requirement too (or minimum investment). These can vary significantly. There will be some investors for whom neither of these are a consideration and if so, these factors do not need to form part of their selection criteria. Minimum trade figures range from £1 to £25 – which is a very sizeable difference if a trader plans to trade frequently. Some newer firms offer cryptocurrency funding options – and a min trade of just $0.1 (or equivalent).
How are brokers paid? It is a popular question. Brokers make money in one of two main ways explained below – both of which are based on easy-to-understand profit models.
Here’s a closer look at how binary options platforms differ from stock brokers, and where the money goes.
Customers approaching over-the-counter (OTC) binary options brokers for the first time are likely to have a question on their mind: “Where’s the commission?”.
The simple answer is that there isn’t one. Although OTC companies are commonly referred to as ‘brokers’, this isn’t strictly accurate. They are not arranging a deal or acting as a middleman; they are basically the counterparty to each of their customers’ positions. So they don’t charge a separate fee or commission for the trade. Instead, each customer is essentially betting against the house.
Here is an example – Let’s say that the broker offers contracts on a particular asset. Of course, there will always be the choice between a Put contract and a Call option. On the binary model, the basic theoretical assumption is always that an equal number of traders will take a contract on each position. It follows that the number of traders in the money will be equal to the losers (in theory).
With this in mind, here’s an illustration of how an over-the-counter broker operates:
For a contract on a particular asset, a return of 80% is offered.
From its customers, the broker receives:
Returns offered vary from platform to platform. The level also tends to vary from asset to asset. A well-established, and stable platform with lots of users is good news from a trader’s point of view. It means that the broker is big enough to withstand a run of heavy losses without running into liquidity issues. It is also more likely to be operating at, or pretty close to the 50:50 binary model – where there is broad parity in terms of the number of customers taking a position on each side of a contract.
This gives a broker greater leeway to offer attractive arrangements to customers. A successful platform has more scope to offer higher returns – and thereby grow its customer base. Some also refund a percentage of losing trades (rebates). These often give customers the ability to opt between reduced payouts on winning trades in return for a higher refund on a losing position. All of this helps to give traders a welcome degree of control in managing risk.
In the UK, a broker trading binaries over an exchange generally offers additional forms of trading too. For example spread betting or CFD (Contracts for difference) trading. These forms of trading are treated differently to OTC binary platforms from a regulatory point of view. For example ETX Capital and IG Index are fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
On pricing, comparing an exchange platforms with a pure OTC platform is tough (because you are not comparing like for like). One way is to look at the margin (difference between buy and sell prices). CMC for instance has a margin of around 4% on binary markets – helping to make it highly competitive, price-wise.
Via one of two ways:
Whichever type of platform you choose, transparency is key – and a reputable platform will always provide clear information on payout rates so you can make informed decisions. For at-a-glance info on payout rates and more detailed information on the pros and cons of all the top platforms, see our comparison list and reviews.
One key element to finding the best binary trading account, is the payout percentage offered. This is not always a straightforward comparison. Payouts will vary depending on the underlying asset being traded, and the length (expiry time) of the option. In addition, the payouts could move as the market dictates. So where one broker was originally the best price, things may subsequently change.
The best an investor can hope for is to check the payouts for the types of trades they are most likely to make, and get a feel for which firm offers the best terms most often. Again, demo accounts can help in this regard. In general, exchange traded options offer superior value.
Traders need a broker that delivers what they need. So if you want to trade 60 second options, or end of day options – you need a broker that provides them. Not every broker offers the same type of trade. Ladder and Touch options are not always available with all firms. As mentioned, expiry choices also vary. 30 or 60 second turbo options might be popular, but they are not listed everywhere. Likewise pairs or end of week options might be restricted to just a few brands.
Early closure of trades might be another show stopper. Or the ability to use software with free signals. Traders worldwide have hugely different requirements. Where a broker operates in a certain part of the world, they may only offer the popular trades in that region. A broker in London may offer different products and assets to one in Cyprus, India or Malaysia.
Some brokers will offer managed accounts. Traders need to tread carefully in this area. There is a conflict of interest for an over the counter broker to operate a trader’s account. It is unlikely that a managed account will be operated in the best interest of the trader. If the trader makes money, the broker losses money. An employee or agent of the broker is therefore more likely to help the broker, than the trader – it is their job!
For this reason we would not recommend using a managed account – but some brokers do offer them, and where this is the case, it will be mentioned in the review.
Software integration might be key for some traders. Where a trader prefers to use their own price analysis software or service, a broker that can integrate with that is vital. The industry standard is MetaTrader 4 (Mt4) – a platform that allows advanced technical analysis, as well as the execution of trades. The majority of brokers use MT4, and allow traders to trade with it.
Many brokers integrate with this service (and others) via a license or plugin. Leading brokers will also add their own features to the platform – in theory, enhancing it. So if a trader is looking for a firm that can execute trades via this platform, it is a huge benefit. Some brokers are also compatible with MT5 (MetaTrader 5) – but this latest version is yet to gain traction. Though those firms that have adopted it, are to some extent, future proof. It is one further thing to consider when checking the comparison list to find the best provider.
As the above demonstrates, finding the best trading platform and binary broker is not always easy – but it is worth remembering that an investor is free to move between brokers whenever they choose, so even if an account turns out to be less useful than was first expected, it is no problem to up sticks and find a new trading firm. Likewise, a trader could have multiple accounts, and open trades at the broker with the best terms for that particular trade. A trader should not be tied down.
Within our website, we provide a wealth of information that can help in choosing the best options broker, here are a selection of articles that will help;
The best brokers for beginners will be those that offer a demo account. These accounts allow absolute beginners and those new to binary options, to try out the trading platforms risk free.
The majority of brokers will offer this facility, as it gives them a chance to demonstrate their platform.
In most cases, a demo account will not require any deposit, and a trader can open multiple accounts at various brokers. Each can be tried out, and the trader can then decide which they prefer.
Another point for beginners is that they should probably focus less on bonuses. This is because it is easy to fall into over-trading, or simply not make best use of the bonus funds. More experienced traders are better placed to ensure any bonus suits their trading style, and will not impact how they trade.
Better comparison factors for beginners might be:
Answering a question like “Which is the best trading platform?” is hard, simply because trading platforms often come down to the preference of a specific trader. One user might prefer a simple layout, another might want a lot of information available all the time.
That said, platforms do differ in quality, both in terms of ease of use, and features. In very general terms, brands which also offer Contracts for Difference (in addition to binary options) provide more feature-rich trading platforms. Likewise, brands that have created their own platforms, will offer superior services than a ‘white label’ that uses a platform provider such us SpotOption.
So the likes of CMC and ETX Capital, all deliver a very professional trading platform. MetaTrader integration is also more likely at these brokers. This difference in quality is simply a reflection of the maturity of binary options as a product, and binary brands are catching up very quickly – while still offering something different. IQ Option, for example, deliver a hugely entertaining experience, illustrating the change in style that some brokers will deliver.
Our scams page provides a list of ways to identify if a broker is genuine and safe. We also provide a broker blacklist of services to absolutely stay away from. With new platforms able to setup quickly, it is not a complete list of brokers, but the tips on spotting a scam should help most traders.
With so many honest and genuine brokers, there is little point in risking using a cheap broker that has attracted a lot of complaints.
The number of binary options brokers offering a low minimum deposit is growing quickly, reflecting an increasing demand for a lower entry level from traders.
Previously, minimum deposits had been quite high, but now Binary.com, Ayrex and IQ Option all offer low minimum deposits of £10 or less. This represents a real confidence from those brokers, that traders will like their trading platform and go on to make more deposits once they are familiar with the brand.
CMC Markets also offer a low minimum deposit, only requiring the deposit to match the trade size the traders wishes to place.
In our demo accounts page, we explain the benefits of using a demonstration account, and also show who provides them.
The majority of respected brands will offer a demo account, or practice account. In theory, it is a great way for them to ‘show off’ their platform. So those brokers that offer this type of account, obviously have faith in their platform and the technology that supports it.
Our comparison table shows clearly whether the broker provides a demo account or not. The in-depth review will inform readers about the specific detail of the account (if a deposit is required, or if the account is time restricted for example).
Cryptocurrency is a booming area for brokers of all types. Bitcoin and Ethereum are currently the most popular, but there are over 15 different currencies already. Whether you consider them a novelty, or the future of finance, brokers now make trading them easy.
With Bitcoin in particular, anyone looking to invest or trade may have thought the process was difficult. Recently however, brokers are giving traders access to these market in a very simple way. The currencies can be traded directly, in a similar way to oil or gold. They can also be traded in a currency pair, with several brokers offering the BTCUSD pair. This can be traded just like any other forex pair.
Some brokers will accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as a deposit method. So traders can deposit, trade with, and be paid in Bitcoin, DASH, Litecoin or any other crypto. So whatever your view is on this new craze, it is now very easy to take a position and profit. Read our guide to trading bitcoin.