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Binary Options: The Facts And The Fiction

Binary Options: The Facts And The Fiction

Binary options are a rapidly growing business. More and more brokers with more and more regulations are popping up every day. The problem is that the industry is still operating on the fringes of the internet with regulatory agencies operating on a very localized basis. This, along with the high propensity for scams, has led to a lot of confusion about what binary options are, where they come from, and if you should be trading them.

The good news is: I have been tracking the industry for many years and am here to fill you in on the facts and the fiction surrounding this simplified form of trading.

Fact – Binary Options Are An Easier Way To Trade Financial Markets

As a tool for speculation they are easier to use than most. When compared to equity investing, standardized options, futures and forex it is better described as a simplified form of trading because the account requirements and mechanics of trading are much different. Futures, forex, commodities and standard options all require margin accounts and can expose you to unlimited risk. Depending on the type of trading, leverage can be as low as 10:1 and as high as 250:1 or more at some forex brokers.

Margin accounts are highly levered accounts that can make you a lot of money really fast, but can also completely wipe you out of the market at the drop of a hat. The most difficult aspect of trading futures, forex or options is taking profits. These types of positions are subject to every move of the market, many are affected by the passage of time and all are impeded by slippage. Positions that move as predicted don’t always generate profits.

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Trading binary is much simpler than that. You pay a set price at the open of the trade, are only exposed to that amount of loss, and have a fixed return upon expiration of the contract. All that is required is to move the underlying asset in the direction of choice.

Fiction – Binary Options Trading Is Easy

Let me rephrase that, successful binary options trading is easy. It’s easy to trade binary, all you have to do is do it, but being successful is not easy. By reading the average run of broker homepage, you’d think all it takes is to pick an asset, choose a direction and reap the profits but the reality is that more than 90% of all traders get washed out of the market. The same can be said for other forms of trading as well, it’s pretty easy to buy and sell securities, all it takes is an account with a broker and you are in business. Doing it successfully, making consistent profits, is very hard.

Profitable speculators spend years, if not decades, learning the market in which they trade. They have an in depth knowledge of market mechanics, as well as technical and fundamental analysis that allow them to form educated opinions, thus positioning their accounts to take advantage of these opinions. Just because binary trading is simplified in terms of account mechanics, margin and profit structure does not mean trading them is any less hard. The underlying market, fundamental and technical analysis are the same, requiring the same knowledge and experience to produce profits

Fact – All Binary Options Are The Same

In essence it’s true that all binary options are the same. Binary options are a fixed return investment vehicle with a fixed price, a fixed set of conditions to be profitable. and a fixed payout upon expiration. Regardless of the style of trading, all that is required is for the preset conditions to be met.

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In the case of call/put and high/low style trading, if a trader buys a call or high position all it needs to profit is for the price of the underlying asset to move higher than the strike price at which the option was bought. The same is true for puts, just in reverse. Prices must fall or move lower than the strike price to profit. One touch options require prices to touch a set strike only one time, while range options require asset prices to remain in a range.

Fiction – All Binary Options Are The Same.

The basic structure of all binary options is the same – if yes, then you profit; if no, then you lose. The reality is that not all binary options are the same. There are at least two major classifications with some smaller categories within those two. The most important difference to understand is the method of trading. One style is based on spot prices, the other is based on strike prices.

The first category is best represented by the CySEC style of trading which is popular in Europe and other international locations. This style has only one strike price, the price of the underlying asset at time of purchase. The price of the option is whatever amount the trader chooses, with payout equaling investment plus a set return.

The second style, found primarily in the United States, is based on strike prices and often referred to 0-100 options. This style utilizes a list of set strikes whose prices range between 0 and 100 depending on whether they are higher or lower than the spot price. Traders choose strike and expiry. If the asset spot price closes above/below that strike they receive $100 and profit the difference between purchase price and pay out.

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Fact – You Can Make Fast Money Trading Binary

It is true, payouts for most types of binary options start around 70% and go up to over 500% depending on what type of options you are trading. Believe it or not, US regulated exchanges like NADEX and Cantor Exchange have some of the highest payouts for standard call/put style binaries. An at-the-money option may cost $50 and pay $100 at expiration for a return of 100%, higher than the average 80% return you find at a CySEC/EU style broker. On top of high returns is a high speed of return. Some binaries expire in as short as 60 seconds, others range from 5 minutes to 1 hour, 1 day or 1 week.

Fiction – You Can Get Rich Quick Trading Binary

It is possible to get rich trading but it is not likely. First of all, trading is risky and difficult to do successfully. If it was possible to get rich quick then everybody would do it and no one would be able to make money with get-rich-quick-schemes. The speed of trading is also working against the average trader. It is possible to lose money just as fast as it is to win it. On top of that many brokers brokers have stops in place to prevent any wild successes. These are often found at off-shore style brokers. The most common way is to limit the size of the trades. If you can’t make a big trade then you can’t make a big win. Some will limit trade size to a percent of your account, so any trades above that amount won’t count toward your balance. This is an often overlooked fact that has caused confusion for many would-be traders in the past.

Fact – There Are A Lot Of Scams In The Binary Options Industry

You have to be extremely careful when looking at any broker, offer or service. Scams range from fake brokers to fake regulators and can include complex sales funnels, shady account managers, auto traders, trading software, robots, signals and just about anything else a crafty marketer can think up. One reason is a lack of international standard or regulation. The industry came to life in the gray areas between countries and regulations. Since the industry exists almost entirely on the internet regulating it is very difficult. Anyone with a URL and the money to buy a trading platform software package can open a new broker or signal service in a matter of days.

Fiction – All Binary Options Brokers Are Scams

This is not true. There have always been brokers operating legitimately and the number of those is only growing. At the same time, regulators around the world are stepping up and taking control of the situation in their region. The US was the first to adopt such rules and is the strictest of any jurisdiction. At this time there are only two places to trade, NADEX and Cantor Exchange – although Cantor Exchange is working with top technology providers to create opportunity for even more brokerages to begin business.

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Cypress started regulation in Europe when CySEC recognized binary as a financial tool and not just gambling. Since then, several developments have helped to cement this form of trading in the EU including a recent Dutch ruling on binary as well as impending regulation from Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Other nations which have adopted regulations include Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The trouble for would be traders is two-fold. First, there are more website offering scams than there are fighting them and new scams appear every day. The second problem is how the lack of centralized regulation causes as much confusion as it solves. This 24Option scam review is a good example. This broker is well known (more on this below), has been in operation for many years, is CySEC regulated, and yet still receives warnings from the US and Canada.

Fact – Binary Options Is Here To Stay

Many have doubted the longevity of this style of trading but sources show it is only gaining momentum. In Europe, TechFinancials has become the first technology provider and broker to become a publicly traded company. This move shows the public’s acceptance of binary as a viable business model, if not a legitimate form of trading. At the same time, 24Options (the flagship brand of TechFinancials) has partnered with leading sports teams for mutually advantageous advertising, as well as having dozens of other brands. In the US, trading volume at NADEX grows rapidly and Cantor Exchange is on the cusp of opening the market wide open. Cantor is focused on bringing the same type of white label access to the US as is currently seen in Europe. This will allow new brokers to open up shop and provide binary alongside their proprietary products. Three technology providers are part of the process thus far: SpotOption, Tradologic and TechFinancials.

The Bottom Line In Binary Options

Binary options are here and they are gaining in popularity and safety. They are embraced by the worlds financial communities, entering the purview of regulators. Cantor Exchange and NADEX are leading the charge in the US, while at the same time others are making moves to solidify the industry in Europe. CySEC paved the way there and now other countries within the union are getting on board. The decision of the Dutch court to uphold CySEC, the MiFIB and EU Financial Passport is a landmark event and one that will have positive repercussions throughout the EU and possibly the rest of the world. This affect is already being seen in England where regulators and legislators are making plans to establish London as a hub of binary trading.

Meanwhile, the industry is still plagued by scams so it is very important for anyone pursuing this avenue to do their due diligence. There is a lot of gray area in which scammers and shady brokers can operate. There’s no end to depth of scams these people will perpetrate. The only true protection is to stick with reputable brokers that are regulated in the country in which you reside.

Featured photo credit: www.vpsi.org via commons.wikimedia.org

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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