If you’re already trading stocks via the app, be aware that options trading may require a different tool. Free apps may appeal but be prepared for limited customer service options.
Protecting Your Assets As an Options Trader
A successful options investor will
- keep an eye on the expiration date
- monitor the prices; things can change quickly
- limit your trades to 3-5% of your funds
You need an app that is quick, extremely responsive and has low fees. You will also want an app that allows you to buy slices of stock, such as Robinhood. Finally, if you’re really interested in digging into options, a targeted app like tastyworks may be a good choice just for those trades.
As an options trader, movement is where you make your money, and tastyworks can help you track this. If you’ve never traded options before, be aware that this app delivers a lot of data; don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Test drive it, and if the visual information coming in is just too much, put this app aside until you are really aware of what you’re looking at.
Free Vs. Fee
There are many free apps out there; there are also apps that are free to install but charge you different amounts per trade. Finally, there are apps that charge a fee with a limit, or charge more for one trade than another. According to the experts at Money Morning, “The best part is that now they are commission-free. That means no extra costs to eat into your profits. And it also means you have a little extra room for error.”
Free apps can be a good way to start, but if you’re interested in learning options, you’re probably a long way past the starting point. For example, WeBull is a terrific free app to start, but it offers short selling, which is not a good activity for a beginning trader to jump into right off the bat. The risks are extreme, and while lightning can strike, a beginning trader is likely to take a serious hit on a short sell trade if they do not know what they’re doing.
When comparing apps, be ready to consider trading on multiple tools. For example, when looking at Robinhood vs WeBull, remember that Robinhood allows you to buy fractions of a stock. You may not have enough for one full Amazon stock, but fractions of one will likely be a good investment and can increase your income over time.
When you’re ready to learn, WeBull is a great addition. This tool offers users the chance to simulate trades. If you’ve been learning the hard way; that is, with your actual money, then an app that gives you the chance to say “What if…?” will hurt less if things don’t pan out with your trade.
Tie It To Your Bank Account?
You can find stock trading apps that will tie directly to your bank account. However, these apps can make it too easy to move money into your investment account. For example, Ally bank has an app that enables you to trade stocks and access savings from one tool.
If you tend to get caught in the rush and crush of an investment frenzy, do not connect your bank account directly to your investment account. Remember that options trades may need you to move quickly; if you miss a peak sale opportunity, you can lose a chunk of your investment in a very small window of time.
Watch Your Consumption
If you’re just starting out in the market, consider an app that will allow you to learn the market as you learn the app. The SoFi app allows you to make very small investments or “slices” of stocks and to learn about what you’re buying as you expand.
Of course, anyone interested in options likely has more than a passing interest in the market, but if you’re new to options trading, the E*TRADE tool lets you test out strategies and do some individual learning as you go. Carefully consider whether you’ll do most of your trading on your phone or your tablet. The phone app graphics are readable on the E*TRADE tool, but the tablet layout is reportedly extremely easy to use and study.
There are some apps that offer expert advice, including videos that give you the basics on the business of trading options and on how to best manage the app itself. There are also apps that have strong community involvement. Stick with the experts; take care to protect your investment nest egg from advice that may be more feeding frenzy than actual data.
The world of stock investments is always growing and options can be a profitable portion of a private investor. If you’re starting out, use an app that allows you to test drive your trade strategies to make sure you understand the trading format and the tool.