Binary Options are options that only have two possible values upon expiration. Either the option will pay a predetermined value for being in the money, or will expire valueless in the same way traditional option contracts will. Predetermined payout values normally vary between 60%-85% but may be higher. Binary option times to expiration are typically much shorter than traditional options.
Binary option trading has recently become more popular amongst day traders. Binary options have also have received some bad press lately, mostly for brokerages opening accounts from clients who did not have any risk capital to trade with. Despite some unscrupulous brokerages making a bad name for them, binary options are a legal instrument, and can create extremely nice returns for successful traders.
Compared To Traditional Options
Binary options are not contracts traded over open secondary markets like traditional options. Binary options are a contract between you and the brokerage. The brokerage states a payout if the option expires in the money, at Boss Capital usually 80% but the amount varies, and the option will expire worthless if it expires out of the money.
Usually the two options a trader has are to either buy a put or a call option, and the strike price is the exact price of the security at the time the trade is taken. Essentially a trader is simply betting on whether the security will be higher or lower than the current price at the time of expiration. It does not matter how far in the money a trade becomes, or if it is even only 1 cent in the money, the option payout price will be the same. Because of this it is obviously in a traders interest to take low volatility but highly probable trades.
Who Makes Money
A brokerage makes money over time because with a big enough sample size, they will win about 50% of the time and all traders combined will win about 50% of the time. Below is the payout tree to a trader with an 80% return for each winning trade, a typical payout.
Obviously for a binary options trading strategy to be effective for a trader, they must win on at least 56% of trades, given an 80% payout on winning trades. For this reason demo accounts are a necessity for new traders who need to work on developing a strategy. Choosing only the most probably trades are vital for binary option traders, since it does not matter how far in the money a trade becomes.
Short Time Frame
Binary option contracts have very short time to expiration most of the time. Some brokers offer time frames as low as 1 minute, and may offer as long as a couple weeks. Because the time to expiration is extremely short the vast majority of the time, binary options are very convenient for traders who do not have all day to watch trades. Trading can take place during a lunch hour, or whenever someone has a few minutes. The short time frame also makes it very enticing for traders to trade more often than they should, and traders must remember to maintain a disciplined approach.
Funding and Withdrawing
After the option expires a traders account is immediately credited with the payout amount or loss, and there are no restrictions on when a trader can withdraw money like traditional brokerage accounts. There are also no restrictions on funding accounts, and this means day traders must be cognizant of the amount of money they are putting at risk, as they must with any strategy.
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