Range Binary Option explained

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Binary Option

What is a Binary Option?

A binary option is a financial product where the buyer receives a payout or loses their investment, based on if the option expires in the money. Binary options depend on the outcome of a “yes or no” proposition, hence the name “binary.” Binary options have an expiry date and/or time. At the time of expiry, the price of the underlying asset must be on the correct side of the strike price (based on the trade taken) for the trader to make a profit.

A binary option automatically exercises, meaning the gain or loss on the trade is automatically credited or debited to the trader’s account when the option expires.

Binary Options Outside the US

Basics of a Binary Option

A binary option may be as simple as whether the share price of ABC will be above $25 on April 22, 2020, at 10:45 a.m. The trader makes a decision, either yes (it will be higher) or no (it will be lower).

Let’s say the trader thinks the price will be trading above $25, on that date and time, and is willing to bet $100 on it. If ABC shares trade above $25 at that date and time, the trader receives a payout per the terms agreed. For example, if the payout was 70%, the binary broker credits the trader’s account with $70.

If the price trades below $25 at that date and time, the trader was wrong and loses their $100 investment in the trade.

Key Takeaways

  • Binary options depend on the outcome of a “yes or no” proposition.
  • Traders receive a payout if the binary option expires in the money and incur a loss if it expires out of the money.
  • Binary options set a fixed payout and loss amount.
  • Binary options don’t allow traders to take a position in the underlying security.
  • Most binary options trading occurs outside the United States.

Difference Between Binary and Vanilla Options

A vanilla American option gives the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified price before the expiration date of the option. A European option is the same, except traders can only exercise that right on the expiration date. Vanilla options, or just “options,” provide the buyer with potential ownership of the underlying asset. When buying these options, traders have fixed risk, but profits vary depending on how far the price of the underlying asset moves.

Binary options differ in that they don’t provide the possibility of taking a position in the underlying asset. Binary options typically specify a fixed maximum payout, while maximum risk is limited to the amount invested in the option. Movement in the underlying asset doesn’t affect the payout received or loss incurred.

The profit or loss depends on whether the price of the underlying is on the correct side of the strike price. Some binary options can be closed before expiration, although this typically reduces the payout received (if the option is in the money).

Binary Options and Regulation

Binary options occasionally trade on platforms regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory agencies, but most binary options trading occurs outside the United States and may not be regulated. Unregulated binary options brokers don’t have to meet a particular standard; therefore, investors should be wary of the potential for fraud. Conversely, vanilla options trade on regulated U.S. exchanges and are subject to greater oversight.

Real World Binary Options Example

Nadex is a regulated binary options exchange in the United States. Nadex binary options are based on a “yes or no” proposition and allow traders to exit before expiry. The binary option’s entry price indicates the potential profit or loss, with all options expiring worth $100 or $0.

Let’s assume stock Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) is currently trading at $64.75. A binary option has a strike price of $65 and expires tomorrow at 12 p.m. The trader can buy the option for $40. If the price of the stock finishes above $65, the option expires in the money and is worth $100. The trader makes $60 ($100 – $40).

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If the option expires and the price of the Colgate is below $65 (out of the money), the trader loses the $40 they put into the option. The potential profit and loss, combined, always equals $100 with a Nadex binary option.

If the trader wanted to make a more significant investment, he or she could change the number of options traded. For example, selecting three contracts, in this case, would up the risk to $120, and increase the profit potential to $180.

Non-Nadex binary options are similar, except they typically aren’t regulated in the United States, often can’t be exited before expiry, usually have fixed percentage payout for wins (whereas Nadex payouts fluctuate based on the price paid for the option) and may not trade in $100 increments.

Range Binary Options

Binary options are a form of instrument which give the buyer a set cost and payout on a set prediction on whether the price of an underlying asset will move up, down, or sideways, in our outside one or more specified levels. Trading binary options can be profitable when utilised in certain market conditions, though do not always offer better value over trading straight forward spot markets. For those new to the world of binary options, the variety of different types of binary options available may seem complicated or hard to understand. These pages are dedicated to explaining the differences between the various types of binary option. It is just as important to choose the right binary option type is it is in picking the right binary options broker.

In this section we will take a look at range options.

What are range options?

Range options are used by binary options traders when speculating whether an asset will stay within a specified price range over a certain length of time. This type of option is also known by a number of different names, including boundary and tunnel options. To achieve a payout with a range option, the price of the underlying asset needs to stay between two given strike prices (or barriers) over the period of the contract (the expiry period).

How range option trading works

Range option trading has become popular with traders, as they can offer high returns in a quiet or stable market. It is worth noting however, that not all binary options brokers offer this particular type of option. The basic principle behind this type of option is quite simple, but in choosing when to use it and whether it offer better rewards to traditional range trading in FX is the hard part. Not to worry, though, as we will aim to cover all aspects and their advantages and disadvantages. Let us look at the basic structure and explain how range options trading works.

As above, we have stated that a range option is one which looks to profit from an asset price staying within a price range over a set period. First, the trader decides on the limits of the range he believes the underlying asset will stay inside and set the barrier levels accordingly, then he will set the time – or expiry date he believes it will be achieved in. In the retail market, the range prices or limits will usually be fixed by the broker, ie they will offer a number of choices to the ranges one can trade. As with all other binary options trades there are only two final outcomes. The option is either ‘in the money’ or ‘out of the money’. If the price of an underlying asset remains within the specified price range, the option is ‘in the money’ and the buyer will receive a payout determined at the outset. If price moves outside or breaks the set range, then it is ‘out of the money’ and the buyer receives nothing, losing the premium paid for the option. As we will see in other structure, discussed on other pages, brokers can also offer out-of-range options, which will profit if the price breaks out of the preset range within the time or expiry period of the option.

For now, it is clear that if a trader believes an underlying asset is about to enter a quiet period, he can choose to try and profit from this with a range option and depending on the limits set, can achieve a healthy return. This depends on the range set however. If the trader chooses a tight range, then the payout will be higher in percentage terms as the contract will have a higher chance of being breached (or broken). The wider the limits, the less chance of it being breached, so the amount of payout will be lower. It all depends on where the trader decides to set the range.

As such, if the trader does not believe the payout offered by a certain range is enough to justify the risk – in this case the cost of the option (the premium) -, then he/she will be better off with trading the range in the spot markets, setting his stop loss against the limits he would choose either side of the market. There is no premium to be paid, and the trader will also have the freedom to exit the trade at any time, freeing up capital for other opportunities or trades which may come up.

As attractive as some of these options and their payouts may be, traders will have to consider the premium they pay and how much of their capital (trading amount) is tied up on one trade.

There is also one other factor to consider and that is the triggering of limits. It is not unknown that the market can push for certain levels to look for orders. Buying a range option can leave a buyer vulnerable to irrational spot moves, so trading straight forward FX also offers a more flexible approach with this in mind.

AN EXAMPLE OF RANGE OPTIONS TRADING

Using an example is always easier to understand a concept so below is one to show the process and reason for trading a range option.

A trader is focusing on the price of Apple stocks, which is trading at $500 (for example is not a reflection of the real market price). The company’s quarterly returns are about to be announced and he/she believes they will fall as analysts have forecasted. The trader may believe the stock price may fall a little, though the move will be relatively small and remain overall little changed. Your binary options broker offers a range option with a price range of between $485 and $515 and a set payout should price hold this range. The trader can buy this option in the belief that Apple’s stock price will see little change and hold is price over a set period. In paying the broker for this option, if price behaves as the trader expects, the option will pay out a preset amount. If it breaks the range, the buyer receives nothing and he/she loses the premium paid to the broker for the option. As we can see, there are clear risks, and as attractive as the payout can be, there is clear risk in losing the amount paid for the option. The trader will have to determine whether he/she sees value in committing capital to a trade which can come to nothing.

Should the trader decide that the payout is not worth the risk, then trading the underlying stock price after the data has been released can offer a better risk to rewards and also give him the flexibility to trade at any time. Once the option is bought, then it is a case of ‘sit and wait’.

Tips on how to trade range options successfully

If you think that range options are for you, then keep reading, because we’re about to share some important tips. After all, you must be interested in any advice on how to become more successful, surely.

What You Need To Know About Binary Options Outside the U.S

What Do You Need To Know About Binary Options Outside the U.S?

Binary options let traders profit from price fluctuations in multiple global markets, but it’s important to understand the risks and rewards of these controversial and often-misunderstood financial instruments. Binary options bear little resemblance to traditional options, featuring different payouts, fees, and risks, as well as a unique liquidity structure and investment process.

Binary options traded outside the U.S. are also structured differently than those available on U.S. exchanges. They offer a viable alternative when speculating or hedging but only if the trader fully understands the two potential and opposing outcomes.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) summed up regulator skepticism about these exotic instruments, advising investors “to be particularly wary of non-U.S. companies that offer binary options trading platforms. These include trading applications with names that often imply an easy path to riches.” 

Key Takeaways

  • Binary options have a clear expiration date, time, and strike price.
  • Traders profit from price fluctuations in multiple global markets using binary options, though those traded outside the U.S. are structured differently than those available on U.S. exchanges.
  • Non-U.S. binary options typically have a fixed payout and risk, and are offered by individual brokers rather than directly on an exchange.
  • While typical high-low binary options are the most common type of binary option, international brokers typically offer several other types of binaries as well.

Binary options outside the U.S. are an alternative for speculating or hedging but come with advantages and disadvantages. The positives include a known risk and reward, no commissions, innumerable strike prices, and expiry dates. Negatives include non-ownership of the traded asset, little regulatory oversight, and a winning payout that is usually less than the loss on losing trades.

Understanding Binary Options Outside the U.S

What Are Binary Options?

Binary options are deceptively simple to understand, making them a popular choice for low-skilled traders. The most commonly traded instrument is a high-low or fixed-return option that provides access to stocks, indices, commodities, and foreign exchange.

These options have a clearly stated expiration date, time, and strike price. If a trader wagers correctly on the market’s direction and price at the time of expiration, they are paid a fixed return regardless of how much the instrument has moved since the transaction, while an incorrect wager loses the original investment.

The binary options trader buys a call when bullish on a stock, index, commodity, or currency pair, or a put on those instruments when bearish. For a call to make money, the market must trade above the strike price at the expiration time. For a put to make money, the market must trade below the strike price at the expiration time.

The broker discloses the strike price, expiration date, payout, and risk when the trade is first established. For most high-low binary options traded outside the U.S., the strike price is the current price or rate of the underlying financial product. Therefore, the trader is wagering whether the price on the expiration date will be higher or lower than the current price.

Binary Options Outside the US

Foreign Versus U.S. Binary Options

Non-U.S. binary options typically have a fixed payout and risk and are offered by individual brokers rather than directly on an exchange. These brokers profit from the difference between what they pay out on winning trades and what they collect on losing trades. While there are exceptions, these instruments are supposed to be held until expiration in an “all-or-nothing” payout structure.

Foreign brokers are not legally allowed to solicit U.S. residents unless registered with a U.S. regulatory body such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) began listing binary options for U.S. residents in 2008.   The SEC regulates the CBOE, which offers investors increased protection compared to over-the-counter markets. Chicago-based Nadex also runs a binary options exchange for U.S. residents, subject to oversight by the CFTC.

These options can be traded at any time, with the rate fluctuating between one and 100, based on the current probability of the position finishing in or out of the money. There is full transparency at all times and the trader can take the profit or loss they see on their screen prior to expiration.

They can also enter as the rate fluctuates, taking advantage of varying risk-to-reward scenarios, or hold until expiration and close the position with the maximum gain or loss documented at the time of entry. Each trade requires a willing buyer and seller because U.S. binary options trade through an exchange, which makes money through a fee that matches counter-parties.

High-Low Binary Option Example

Your analysis indicates the Standard & Poor’s 500 index will rally for the rest of the trading day and you to buy an index call option. It’s currently trading at 1,800 so you’re wagering the index’s price at expiration will be above that number. Since binary options are available for many time frames—from minutes to months away—you choose an expiration time or date that supports your analysis.

You choose an option that expires in 30 minutes, paying out 70% plus your original stake if the S&P 500 is above 1,800 at that time or you lose the entire stake if the S&P 500 is below 1,800. Minimum and maximum investments vary from broker to broker.

Say you invest $100 in the call that expires in 30 minutes. The S&P 500 price at expiration determines whether you make or lose money. The price at expiration may be the last quoted price, or the (bid + ask)/2. Each binary options broker outlines their own expiration price rules.

In this case, assume the last quote on the S&P 500 before expiration was 1,802. Therefore, you make a $70 profit (or 70% of $100) and maintain your original $100 investment. If the price finished below 1,800, you would lose your original $100 investment.

If the price expires exactly on the strike price, it is common for the trader to receive her/his money back with no profit or loss, although brokers may have different rules. The profit and/or original investment is automatically added to the trader’s account when the position is closed.

Other Types of Binary Options

The example above is for a typical high-low binary option—the most common type of binary option—outside the U.S. International brokers will typically offer several other types of binaries as well.

These include “one-touch” options, where the traded instrument needs to touch the strike price just once before expiration to make money. There is a target above and below the current price, so traders can pick which target they believe will be hit before the expiration date/time.

Meanwhile, a “range” binary option allows traders to select a price range the asset will trade within until expiration. A payout is received if price stays within the range, while the investment is lost if it exits the range.

As competition in the binary options space heats up, brokers are offering additional products that boast 50% to 500% payouts. While product structures and requirements may change, the risk and reward is always known at the trade’s outset, allowing the trader to potentially make more on a position than they lose. Of course, an option offering a 500% payout will be structured in such a way that the probability of winning the payout is very low.

Unlike their U.S. counterparts, some foreign brokers allow traders to exit positions before expiration, but most do not. Exiting a trade before expiration typically results in a lower payout (specified by broker) or small loss, but the trader won’t lose their entire investment.

The Upside and Downside

Risk and reward are known in advance, offering a major advantage. There are only two outcomes: win a fixed amount or lose a fixed amount, and there are generally no commissions or fees. They’re simple to use and there’s only one decision to make: Is the underlying asset going up or down?

In addition, there are also no liquidity concerns because the trader doesn’t own the underlying asset and brokers can offer innumerable strike prices and expiration times/dates, which is an attractive feature. The trader can also access multiple asset classes anytime a market is open somewhere in the world.

On the downside, the reward is always less than the risk when playing high-low binary options. As a result, the trader must be right a high percentage of the time to cover inevitable losses.

While payout and risk fluctuate from broker to broker and instrument to instrument, one thing remains constant: losing trades cost the trader more than they can make on winning trades. Other types of binary options may provide payouts where the reward is potentially greater than the risk but the percentage of winning trades will be lower.

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