There are many binary options to chose from for Australian traders and picking the right one – for you – can have a huge impact on your profitability and overall trading experience. It is therefore advisable to invest some time and energy into the process of selecting a broker. Which broker that is optimal for you will depend on factors such as your trading strategy, platform preferences and risk profile. A broker that is great for one trader can be unsuitable for another, so it is important to compare brokers with your specific trading strategy and preferences in mind. In some cases, it is actually best to sign up with several brokers and use them for different trading strategies (e.g. different option types) instead of trying to find a lukewarm compromise. Below, we will take a look at a few things that are good to be aware of when comparing different binary options brokers for Australian traders. Min Deposit Bonus Demo Account Payout Score £10 $50 Cashback 200% BEST BROKER 2019 $5 $20 Free 90% £5 30% 85% You can find more brokers and find one that suit your needs by clicking here. Regulation As a non-professional trader, it is not possible to select a binary options broker licensed by ASIC, since ASIC no longer licenses the issue and distribution of binary options to non-professional traders. Many Australian non-professional traders that wish to continue utilizing binary options have switch to brokers licensed within the European Union or the United States (e.g. Nadex). Malta is one of the more well-known examples of a European Union country that still permits the sale and distribution of binary options to non-professional traders, but simultaneously has a restrictive set of rules in place to protect the non-professional traders. This includes strict rules regarding how much leverage that can be offered based on the various underlying assets. With Malta, you get the strictness of Maltese law and the European Union legal framework. English is one of the two official languages of Malta (the other one is Maltese), so it is not difficult to find information and legal counsel in English. Traders who wish to use more leverage than permitted by the stricter countries have begun seeking out brokers based in the less strict countries, but this comes at the price of less protection for the trader. One the one hand, you get access to more leverage. On the other hand, the country might not require the broker to keep client money segregated from company money – which means the money in your account could vanish if the company becomes insolvent. Before you select a broker, it is important to you understand the legal situation so that you can risk-manage accordingly. It is also worth remembering that if a broker breaks the law, it can prove rather difficult and expensive for an Australian trader to take (fruitful) legal action against a broker based in one of the less strict countries. Language and cultural barriers may hamper efforts, and some countries do not have a robust and accessible legal system in place to handle complains from non-professional foreign traders. About ASIC The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. ASIC is an independent Australian Government body set up under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001. In May 2021, ASIC banned the issue and distribution of binary options to retail clients. In September 2022, ASIC announced that the ban had been extended until 1 October, 2031, following approval by the Honourable Stephen Jones MP, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services. ASIC has not banned Australians from buying binary options. They have banned the issue and distribution of binary options to retail clients. Trading platforms Before selecting a broker, it is advisable to check out which trading platform or platforms the broker will give you access to. How the trading platform works will have a big impact on your overall trading experience and can also affect your bottom line. You do not want to go through the trouble of signing up and making a deposit only to find out that the platform is clunky, prone to technical glitches, etcetera. It also important that the interface suits your preferences and that you find it easy to place orders, to avoid potentially costly mistakes. Different traders have different needs and wishes. Some do for instance love a sleek, minimalist interface, while others want there to be plenty of data and market info available all over the screen at all times. Some platforms allow you to adjust the interface to make it more suitable for you. There are so many binary options brokers available today that there is really no need to put up with one that makes you use a bad trading platform or one that does not suit your preferences. Below are a few examples of other points to keep in mind when comparing trading platforms. Download or browser-based? Some platforms open directly in your browser window. Others come as a software package that you download and install on your computer. Some platforms are available in both forms, so you can pick and use as you like. If you want a to download and install a platform, it is important that it works with your computer´s operative system. Mobile trading? If your plan is to use your mobile device (smartphone or tablet) for trading and managing your account, it is important that you check out the mobile offering instead of just the desktop version before you pick a broker. Generally speaking, platforms tend to work better on mobile devices if there is a mobile app to download, instead of opening the platform in the browser window. Many platforms are today available as apps for both iOS and Android, but that is not always the case, so check beforehand. Apps developed for other mobile operative systems are much more scarce. Some apps give you access to everything, or nearly everything, from the desktop version, while others offer a more limit version of the platform. If a certain feature is important to you, e.g. a particular binary option type, a technical analysis tool or the ability to make withdrawals from your account, make sure they are included in the app before you commit. Special types of trading Some platforms come with built-in support for special types of trading. Copy trading Automated trading Automated trading with signal service Social trading Technical analysis Some traders use no technical analysis at all, while others have it as core part of their entire trading strategy. Where you fall on this spectrum will impact how important it is that the trading platform comes with integrated tools and support for technical analysis. This is a point where platforms tend to differ a lot from each other. The famous third-party platform MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is for instance renowned for being filled to the brim with complex technical analysis tools, while many proprietary platforms have a much more limited offering or no technical analysis at all. Proprietary or third-party? Many brokers have their own proprietary trading platform developed specifically for them, but there are also brokers that will give you access to one or more third-party trading platforms that are used by many different brokers at the same time. Examples of well-known third-party platforms are cTrader, Meta Trader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5). Some brokers with a proprietary platform will only give you access to that one, but there are also brokers who offer their proprietary platform alongside one or more third-party platforms. An advantage with learning how one of the big third-party platforms work is that it makes it easier for you to use another broker in the future. You can switch to another broker, or sign-up with an additional broker, without having to learn the ins and outs of new platform. An advantage with some proprietary platforms is that they can offer more specialization and less clutter. You can for instance pick a platform specialising in social trading / copy trading, or a very sleek and minimalist platform that is for binary options trading only and isn´t cluttered with anything else. Underlying assets Brokers can vary a lot from each other when it comes to: Which categories of underlying assets that will be available for binary option speculation, e.g. stocks, stock indices, commodities, forex, cryptocurrency, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). How large and varied the assortment of assets within each category will be. Some brokers does for instance provide both the forex category and the cryptocurrency category, but while the former contains 25+ currency pairs the latter is limited to BTC/USD and ETH/USD. Make sure you pick a broker that is not just offering the category your trading strategy is built on, but also offers the right currency pairs, stocks, commodities etcetera within that category. Don´t let the broker push you into abandoning your trading strategy. If your strong card is the Australian stock market, find a broker that caters to that instead of signing up with one that is focused on NYSE and Nasdaq. What are binary options? Traditional binary options are options that pay a predetermined amount of money if they expire in the money. This distinguishes them from ordinary options, where the option holder can not know in advance how large the profit (if any) will be if the option expires in the money. Binary options are called binary since the investor either makes a profit or lose the entire stake – there is no sliding scale. Many investors appreciate this clear identification of risk and possible reward. You know exactly what you stand to lose and exactly how much you can gain. With other types of investments, such sinking your money into real estate, the risk/reward is left open to circumstances until you finally close the position and realize your profit or your loss. You can read more about how different types of binary works here. The website is targeted towards the UK market but all general information is valid for Australian traders as well. Binary option types Pretty much all brokers that offer binary options have the classic High/Low style of binary option. If this is your thing, it will not be difficult for you to find plenty of brokers to chose among. If you are looking fore something more different, e.g. Ladder binary options or Boundary binary options, you choices will be more limited and you might need to compromise on other aspects of the broker. In some cases, you might be better off having one broker for the unusual binary option trading (e.g. Boundary binary option trading only) and another broker for the classic High/Low. While you are in the process of checking option types, also check the terms and conditions. Two brokers might use the same name on their options, but when you dig a little you see that the terms and conditions vary significantly. Lifespan / Expiry It is important to pick a broker where the available lifespans for binary options match your preferences. Some strategies rely on turbo options (5 second options, 10 second options, etcetera) and some require options with longer lifespans (1 hour, 2 hours, and so on). Binary options that last longer than one trading day are more unusual, but there are brokers who offer them as well. If you do not want to close all your positions before the end of the trading day, make sure you look up what it costs with this particular broker, because over-night fees are common. Adjusting the lifespan of an active binary option Some brokers and platforms will allow you to adjust the lifespan of an active binary option. There might for instance be an early close-out feature available, the makes it possible for you to make the option expire right away instead of waiting for its original expiry time. This can be a way to lock in profits, although you would typically be offered a decreased profit since you are eliminating risk. In some cases, the broker may offer you early close-out on an option that is currently out-of-the-money – offering you to realize a smaller loss right now rather than wait and see. There are also options and platforms where you can pay a fee to extend the lifespan of an active option. If you have good reasons to believe it will expire in-the-money if it could just be kept alive for a little bit longer, it can be worth paying for. Binary options payouts It is tricky to compare brokers when it comes to payouts, since the numbers you see advertised are typically the highest possible payout and it might only be available for a small selection of their total offering. Therefore, it is best to check possible payouts for the option you are basing your trading strategy on. Several factors can impact payout levels, including: Type of option Underlying asset Lifespan Market sentiment when you purchase the option. You may be offered a higher payout if you are willing to be contrarian and go against the market. Generally speaking, OTC model brokers (who are your counterpart in the deal) have lower payouts to traders than exchange-model broker (who are middlemen). Pick the right broker for your bankroll It is important to pick a broker that is suitable for your bankroll. Are the minimum trade sizes for various options suitable for your bankroll? Is the minimum deposit size suitable for your bankroll? And is it available for your selected transaction method? Is the minimum withdrawal size suitable for your bankroll? And is it available for your selected transaction method? Are there any fees that would overly erode your bankroll? If you plan on depositing $10 and the deposit fee is $5, you don´t have much left to trade with. Being able to make the minimum deposit and carry out minimum trades are not enough; you need to be able to do it while also employing a suitable risk-management strategy. Do not select a broker where the minimum trade size is so big that you are forced to stake too much of your total bankroll on each trade. Leverage When you use leverage, you are borrowing money from the broker to carry out a trade. This adds a new element of risk to your trading, since you are risking money you do not have. It is extra important to have a great risk management strategy in place when using leverage. In many countries around the world, legislators have curbed the use of leverage for non-professional traders, especially for instruments or underlying assets deemed extra volatile, such as cryptocurrency. Exactly how much leverage your broker will be willing and able to give you for a deal depends on various factors, including legislations, your trader classification (professional vs. non-professional), trade size, the instrument, time lifespan, and the underlying asset. A particular broker might be offering a maximum of 1:1000 leverage, but that does not mean that you will be offered 1:1000 leverage on each possible trade. If you select a broker where you will have negative account balance, make sure you know exactly how it works to avoid unpleasant surprises. Alternative to leverage Some brokers offer alternatives that are similar to leverage but come with special features. You may for instance be able to borrow money for your trades, but only if you accept that stop-losses will be put into place automatically to limit your downside. Exchange binary options brokers vs. OTC binary options brokers Exchange-model brokers work like classical brokers; this broker is actually a middleman connecting two traders. Over-the-counter (OTC) model brokers will instead be your counterpart in each trade, so you are essentially trading against your broker. An exchange-model broker will normally make their money on the spread and/or by charging a commission on each trade. For the exchange-model broker, it does not matter if you make a profit on a trade or not, because they are not your counterpart. As long as trades are taking place, this broker is making money. It is in their interest to boost trading, which they often do by giving higher payouts. The OTC broker is your counterpart in the trade, and make money when traders lose. This makes their position more complicated. Some will even restrict your trading if you are deemed “too successful”. Today, an overwhelming majority of the so called binary options broker available online are OTC brokers. OTC brokers typically have lower payouts on their binary options, since they are taking a higher risk. Still, they are very popular, partly because you never need to worry about finding a matching counterpart for your trade – the OTC broker is only offering trades where they are willing to be the counterpart. If you want to sign up with a binary options broker that is actually a classic broker (middleman), you can for instance take a look at Nadex, which is based and regulated in the United States and still functions as an old-school broker. Deposits and withdrawals Pick a broker that accepts a transaction method that: You are comfortable with using That doesn´t cost to much to use That isn´t overly slow to process deposits and withdrawals There are many brokers available who will accept a wide range of transaction methods, including credit/debit cards, bank transfers, wire transfers, e-wallets, prepaid cards, and cryptocurrency transfers. The two most commonly accepted cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin and Ether (Ethereum). Make sure you double check the fine print, because deposit/withdrawal fees and transaction times can vary depending on which transaction method you are using, and so can the applicable minimum and maximum limits for deposits and withdrawals. In general, brokers will require you to use the same method for withdrawals as you use for deposits. Examples of commonly accepted transaction methods Advcash Apple Pay Astro Pay Bitcoin Transfer Cashu Cheque Ethereum Transfer GlobePay Google Wallet Maestro card MasterCard Neteller PayPal Paysafecard Perfect Money Skrill Sofort UnionPay VISA WebMoney Western Union Wire transfer Account currency Which account currency you pick can impact currency risk for you. With some brokers, only one currency is available (usually USD or EUR). With others, you will have more options, and you might be able to select your own native currency as account currency even if it is not USD/EUR. Customer support Ideally, pick a broker that has a good reputation when it comes to customer service, because if you encounter an issue with your account or the platform, not having it fixed promptly can be costly by preventing you from doing the trades you had planned. Here are a few things to keep in mind: How do you prefer to reach the support, and is this method available? Phone support, live chat support and email support are common options. If only email support is available, you can not expect to get help in real-time when there is an issue. If you want to call the support, will it require a potentially expensive call to another country? Is call-back service or a toll free number available? Do you need to log into the platform to access the live chat support? What happens if you experience problems logging in and that is why you need to contact the support? Some brokers have their live chat accessible from their official web site to prevent this from becoming a problem. Is customer support available in a language you can use, or will you have to rely on automated translation? Is the support open during your typical trading times? There are many brokers and platforms that offer 24/7 trading but only have their support staffed during (local) office hours. Anti-money laundering routines In order to comply with anti-money laundering protocols, many brokers will require you to use the same transaction method for deposits and withdrawals, and they will also require you to complete a know-your-customer check before you can start making withdrawals from your account. The know-your-customer check will often including proving your identity and where you live, e.g. by sending in (digitally) a photo copy of a valid identification (passport, national ID card, driver´s license or similar) and a photo copy of one or two utility bills in your name. Advantages of using more than one broker It can be difficult to find a broker that fulfill all your requirements, especially if you wish to employ several different trading strategies. In some situations, it is better to sign-up with more than one broker instead of accepting a poor compromise that does not really shine in any area. You may for instance find that one broker is best for binary options forex speculation, while another will give you the best terms and conditions for using binary options to get exposure to commodity prices. Trading strategies that involves different binary option types, lifespans and trade sizes can also make it optimal to go with more than one broker. Another advantage with using more than one broker is risk-management. If you put all your trading money in a single trading account, you are putting all your eggs in one basket – and this is something that skilled traders typically try to avoid. If your broker gets into some type of trouble – legal, technical or economical – you will be happy that your bankroll is divided over several different brokers. The same goes for trading platforms; it is nice to have access to more than one. Bonus money Picking a certain binary options broker because the offer a big welcome bonus is not recommended. In the long run, other aspects than the welcome bonus will have a much bigger impact on your profitability and overall trading experience. A big welcome bonus can come with such horrible terms and conditions that it is actually best to turn it down. Some brokers have sane T&C:s, others have not. Always read the fine print before you accept any bonus money. It is better to select one or more brokers based on important factors, and then let any welcome bonus and other bonus offers just be icing on the cake. If the terms are good, you accept – if not, you decline. Trading requirements for bonus money Bonus money usually come with a trading requirement. This makes sense, because the broker does not want you to make a deposit, get a bonus and the immediately withdraw all the money. The bonus money is intended for trading, so it comes with a trading requirement. Regrettably, these trading requirements can be really high. Instead of simply risking the money once or twice on trades, you might be required to risk 20x or 30x the bonus amount. Some traders end up in a situation where they need to make several new deposits in order to fulfil the trading requirement. Do not accept any bonus offer without checking the trading requirement first. How easy will it be for your to clear this requirement while sticking to your normal trading strategy? Do not allow a trading requirement to push you into making larger deposits, bigger trades or more frequent trades than you intended. What happens to my account while I try to reach the trading requirement? This is a point where different brokers vary. Some will look your account completely from withdrawals. You will not be able to withdraw the bonus money, any deposited money nor any profits. Others are more lenient, and may for instance only lock in the bonus amount until you have fulfilled the trading requirement. Bonus money that can not be withdrawn Instead of having a trading requirement, some brokers will instead give you a bonus that can not be withdrawn. You can withdraw the profits it generates, but not the bonus amount itself. Make sure you double check, because there might be a trading requirement attached to the profits. Are risk-free trades really risk free? Instead of the classic deposit bonus, some brokers will give you so called risk-free trades.If you lose money on a risk free trade, it will be replaced with bonus money, so your account balance will look the same. It is not really a risk free trade though, because the bonus money comes with a trading requirement. So, you lost money that was free and clear, and now it has been replace with bonus money that has a trading requirement attached. Make sure you check the terms and conditions before you accept any “risk free” trade. Free Demo Accounts filled with play-money Nowadays, many brokers will let you sign-up for a free Demo Account and they will fill it with play-money. This way, you can check out if you like them and the platform (or platforms) without risking any real money. A few things to keep in mind: A Demo Account without play-money is less useful, because you will not be able to actually experience how it feels to make trades on the platform. Most brokers will allow you to use a Demo Account without making any deposit first, since one of the main points of using a Demo Account is to check out the offering before you decide if you want to deposit. It is reasonable to be a bit suspicious about stingy brokers who refuse to give you a demo account unless you make a deposit first. Is there a limit to how much play-money you can get? Many brokers will give you $10,000 to start with but can refill it for you if you run out. Is there a time limit for how long you can use the demo account? It can make sense to avoid brokers that try to stress you into making a decision by only giving you access for a very short time. If the broker has several different trading platforms, will you get access to all of them with the demo account or not? Is it easy to sign up and get a demo account? Typically, a broker will only ask for your email address. Be suspicious if you have to jump through a bunch of hopes and give the broker a lot of personal information just to get a demo account. After all, it is only play-money.