Differences Between Binary Options vs Forex Trading

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Differences Between Binary Options And Spreads

You might have been playing with the idea of trading binary options or spreads. If you attended the Trader’s Expo in Las Vegas, you probably noticed there were many booths and classes dealing with trading spreads and binaries.

How are they different? How can you trade them? What if you trade something else? Can you incorporate binaries or spreads into your trading? This article will define the basic differences.

Binary Options

Binary options are traded on many instruments. There are different exchanges or brokerages that offer to help you trade, but the best way to trade is by using a CFTC regulated exchange. North American Derivatives Exchange, Nadex, is a U.S. regulated exchange. This means that member funds are held in segregated bank accounts within the US. They offer full transparency on every trade and you have no need for a broker. You can also open a demo account free and try out trading without risking anything. Nadex offers both binary options and spreads. Visit www.nadex.com and learn more.

A binary option is a Yes/No or True/False statement as of expiration. You are stating that either you agree with a statement or you do not. At expiration, a binary trade settles with all or nothing. If your trade answered the binary’s statement correctly, you get the full payout of $100 minus the amount you risked upon entry. If your trade did not answer correctly, your trade lost and you get zero. You always know your risk/reward before you place each trade. Your risk is capped and you can never lose more than your initial collateral. There are no margin calls.

The image below shows both an order ticket and a screenshot for a USD/JPY binary option. On the ticket, marked by the green arrow, you will see the True/False statement, which in this case says the underlying price of the USD/JPY will be greater than 120.67 at 3 a.m. ET on October 29, 2020. If you agree with that statement, you would buy. If you think the statement is false, you would sell. By selling, you are saying that the underlying price will be at 120.67 or below. The green arrow on the scanner shows the corresponding strike.

To view a larger image, click HERE.

The blue arrows point out the risk/reward and the max profit and loss, all of which are known before you even hit the button to place your order for the trade.

However, winning and losing can come down to the difference of one tenth of a tick. You may risk $80 and that one tenth of a tick can allow you to lose it all. It can be exciting or stressful. You do not have to stay in a trade until expiration. You may exit at any time in order to protect your profits or cut your losses.

Binaries are a statistical trading vehicle, so you need to be familiar with the stats and expected ranges of the markets you want to trade. You cannot blindly trade binaries and expect to be profitable.


If you have been trading Binary options, you have to stop thinking like a binary trader, when you trade spreads. Spreads are not an all or nothing settlement. They are based on one tick difference. With spreads, one tick equals one dollar.

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
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Binaries vs. Spreads

With all the things you may hear about binary options, you might feel they are very exciting. Binary options are easy to understand, but they are harder to trade than spreads without statistical backing of a system for a longer period of time.

Spreads are harder to understand but easier to trade. Once you understand the basics and understand the risk/reward, you will love spreads! Most beginners and even intermediate traders would be better off trading spreads than binaries, especially those with smaller accounts.

It isn’t always easy to find a binary where you can risk $15 to make $15. It is much easier to find that on a spread. There are several markets that have low bid/ask spreads such as Nadex US Tech, Gold, S&P.

Many times when trading binary options, traders will go in and put up $50-80 to make $10-20. When trading spreads, with each tick being worth one dollar, it isn’t hard to get 15-20 ticks of movement, day or night, even without a lot of movement happening in the market. It may be hard to get 80 or 100 ticks of movement, but not 15-20. Don’t let the $15 limit you! You can do more contracts. You don’t need a lot of movement.

How Do Spreads Work?

On a spread, there is a top and a bottom, known as the floor and the ceiling. The floor and the ceiling are defined and set for you by Nadex. You cannot win or lose more than the floor or the ceiling, depending on the direction of your trade. For example, suppose you are trading USD/JPY. The floor is 120.10 and the ceiling is 121.10. The spread is the difference between the floor and the ceiling. Forex pairs move in pips because you have two different currency pairs. Other instruments move in ticks. Each tick/pip is worth one dollar and there are 100 pips in this example. This spread is worth $100.

If you sell at 121.00, your risk is the difference between the ceiling 121.10 and the sell price 121.00, so your risk would be $10. Your max profit would be $90, but the market would have to move 90 pips to make max profit.

It works the same way if you are buying. If you bought at 120.20, your risk would be the difference between your buy price 120.20 and the floor 120.10 or $10. Your max profit would be the difference between your bought price and the ceiling, 90 pips or $90.

Spreads are for simple directional trades. If you think the market is going up, you buy. If you think it is going to go down, you sell. When the spread expires, it will close at the settlement price at the time of expiration. The settlement price is based on the underlying market price. If you bought at 120.20 and the market settled at 120.90, you would make $70. However, if you bought at 120.20 and the market moved against you down to 119.50, you would only lose $10 because it is capped risk. This is a relaxing way to trade.

To make it even easier, you can visit apexinvesting.com where you can use the spread scanner free and find Near the Market spreads, shown as NTM and highlighted in red on the scanner. This will enable you see spreads that are closest in proximity to strike prices thus helping you choose your trades.

To view a larger image, click HERE.

Duration and Expiration

There are Intraday, and Daily spreads available to trade. Intraday expire in as little as two hours. Daily can go up to 22 hours and 15 minutes. The larger time frames will always have a wider range between the floor and the ceiling. Shorter time frames will be narrower. The expiration time will always be quoted in Eastern Time.

Spread Range

The spread range is the distance between the floor and ceiling of the spread. There will be three spreads offered per expiration per range: one in the middle of the range with one above and one below.

To view a larger image, click HERE.

The basics of spreads are easy to understand. They have a floor and a ceiling with capped risk and reward. You can buy and sell having each tick or pip worth one dollar.

Choosing to trade binary options or spreads will depend on the type of trading you want to do as well as the type of trading personality you possess. Learn more about the ins and outs of trading both binary options and spreads by visiting www.apexinvesting.com. There you can also utilize the free binary and spread scanners, a service of Darrell Martin.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Forex trading Vs stock trading: the main differences

Not all financial markets are the same. Knowing the main characteristics of each market can help you choose on which market to focus your efforts if you’re just starting out with trading. The pros and cons of each market can impact the daily routine and also the performance of a trader in the long run, so make sure you understand the main differences of Forex compared to the stock market outlined in this article before deciding whether to trade Forex or stocks. Let’s start our Forex vs equities battle!

Forex trading or stock trading: a comparison

1 – Trading times and open market hours

One of the most important differences between stock and Forex trading relates to the trading hours of the markets. Forex is an OTC (over-the-counter) market, which means that currencies can be traded around the clock during Forex trading sessions. The main trading sessions in the Forex market include the New York session, the London session, the Tokyo session, and the Sydney session. The Forex market is closed only during weekends, but the difference in time zones between the mentioned trading sessions makes it possible to trade currencies even in the midnight hours should you choose.

The stock market, on the other hand, sticks to the open market hours of a stock exchange. Most stock exchanges are open from 8am to 5pm local time, making it impossible to trade stocks outside these hours. When a trading opportunity on the stock market occurs after the market closes, you need to wait for the stock market to open the next morning to place your trade. This is the first point for Forex in our trading equities vs Forex battle.

2 – Tradeable instruments

Next on the list of major differences between Forex and stocks is the number of tradeable instruments. There are only eight major currencies on Forex: the US dollar, the euro, the British pound, the Swiss franc, the Japanese yen, the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar, and the New Zealand dollar. Even if we expand this list to cover all G10 currencies, including the Norwegian and Swedish krona, there are still significantly fewer currencies on the Forex market compared to the stock market. This means traders can focus on a few currencies instead of hundreds of stocks.

The New York Stock Exchange alone has around 2,000 stocks listed. Obviously, it’s far easier to follow a few currencies compared to dozens of hundreds of stocks. While stock traders in this case could have more trading opportunities as they have more instruments at their disposal, it’s almost impossible to keep track of so many stocks at the same time. That’s why stock traders focus on entire industries instead, such as the car industry or tech, and look for trade setups in selected stocks.

3 – Commissions and transaction costs – Forex or stocks for beginners

The growing competition between Forex brokers has reduced transaction costs to record lows. To open a position on Forex, you’ll have to pay the so-called spread, which represents the difference between the buying and selling rate of a currency pair. Major currencies, like the one listed above, are usually very tight spreads in the range of 1-3 pips (the fourth decimal place of an exchange rate), while less liquid pairs and exotic currencies can have significantly higher spreads. However, major currencies are the most traded currencies on the Forex market, and if you’re new to trading you’ll probably focus only on them.

To put the spread into perspective, if you’re trading 100,000 units of the base currency (one standard lot), you’ll usually have to pay around $10 of transaction costs on the EUR/USD pair if your broker’s spread is 1 pip. If you open one mini lot (10,000 units of the base currency), your transaction cost will equal to only $1. With most brokers, there are no commission fees involved in Forex trading.

The stock market, on the other hand, has substantially higher transaction costs compared to Forex. Brokers usually charge a fixed commission to open a trade. However, if you’re trading CFDs on stocks, your transaction costs would be significantly lower and comparable to Forex trading. Still, a stock day trader vs Forex trader could pay way more in transaction costs.

4 – Insider trading

Let’s continue with our comparison of Forex vs stocks. If you have been following the stock market in recent years, you might have noticed insider trading making headlines in the news. Although this practice is forbidden, the large number of listed companies makes insider trading possible. There’ll always be a group of people who know something that the ordinary retail trader doesn’t, whether it’s the financial standing of a company, plans for a new product line, or pending changes in the top management.

How Big is Forex Compared to Stock Exchanges? Large Enough to Withstand Insider Trading.

The Forex market, the largest financial market in the world with an average daily turnover of around $5 trillion, makes insider trading almost impossible. While there is no such thing as a “Forex stock”, currencies are for countries what stocks are for companies. Forex, stocks, and currencies all behave differently due to the size and liquidity of their respective market.

Even if someone knows about some important news in advance, the size and liquidity of the market is able to absorb any buying or selling pressure that could arise from insider trading. Exchange rates of liquid major currency pairs would probably not be impacted at all, which puts the retail Forex trader into an advantageous position compared to their stock trading peer. Another point for Forex in the Forex market vs stock market battle.

5 – The existence of middlemen in trading

Another important difference between stock trading and Forex trading is the existence/absence of an intermediary. As an over-the-counter market, there is no centralised exchange in the Forex market and currencies are exchanged directly between buyers and sellers. Your broker is the only intermediary, making the transaction possible by routing, buying ,and selling orders to match the best possible prices on the market.

If you want to buy or sell stocks on the stock exchange, you can’t bypass an intermediary if you want to make the transaction happen.

6 – The access to leverage – Forex vs stock risks

Exchange rates usually fluctuate less than one percent a day. For retail Forex traders to make a profit on the market, brokers lend them money to open a significantly larger position size than their initial trading account sizes would otherwise allow. This is called trading on leverage.

To open a leveraged position, you have to allocate a small portion of your trading account as the collateral for the position. The available leverage on the Forex market is extremely high – much larger than on the stock market. Forex brokers offer 100:1, 200:1 or even 400:1 leverages, while the stock market is usually restricted with a maximum leverage of 20:1. This is a clear point for Forex in our stock market vs Forex battle.

However, trading on extremely high leverage can also lead to large losses if your analysis shows to be incorrect. Leverage increases both your profits and losses, so make sure you fully understand the concept of leverage and the risks associated with it before trading on high leverage ratios.

7 – Technical analysis for Forex and stocks

Technical analysis is an analytical discipline that involves the analysis of pure price charts. Since one of the basic tenets of technical analysis is that markets like to trend, almost all technical tools are primarily aimed at identifying trends and trend reversals in their early stages.

It’s no secret that trend-following strategies are very profitable. Think about it: you only have to catch a trend early in its development, open a position in the direction of the trend, and ride it as long as it lasts.

The Forex market is famous for its long-lasting trends. Currencies simply like to trend, as they’re influenced by a number of fundamental factors that gradually build up over time leading to strong trends in the long-term. That’s why technical analysis works great on the Forex market, and many retail traders base their trading decisions solely on technical levels.

Technical analysis also works on the stock market. Tools such as chart patterns, moving averages, and trend lines are regularly used by technical stock traders to find profitable trading opportunities, so it’s a draw in this round of our Forex vs stock exchange battle.

Which is better – Forex or stock market trading?

The final question still remains: should you trade Forex or the stock market? In this article, we shed some light on the main difference between Forex and the stock exchange to make your decision easier on which market to focus. There’re actually many traders who trade both the Forex and the stock market quite successfully. However, when talking about Forex vs stock market trading, Forex has a significant advantage with regard to trading times, leverage, absence of insider trading, and intermediaries, and the lower number of currencies compared with stocks makes it easier for beginners to analyse and follow the market. So, if you’re asking whether you should trade Forex or stocks as a beginner and is Forex better to trade than equities, think about starting with Forex first.

So, which is better, Forex or equity? Both Forex and stocks have their own advantages and disadvantages, so if you still don’t feel confident about which market to choose, try to trade both and draw your own conclusions.

Trading binary options vs. Forex

If you’re looking to kick off your trading career, then you might have already seen the various instruments offered by Forex companies. The most popular of these instruments are binary options and Forex trading, and the choice between the 2 will determine how profitable you will become as a trader.

We have already looked at the history of binary options and how they work, but just how does this trading system stack up to its more popular rival, the Forex market. Both of these trading systems are recognized by regulatory bodies, and are the most popular option for the retail trader. Before investing your money with a broker, how about we look at arguments from both angles before making the leap:

In favour of binary options

There are certain reasons that make binary options very lucrative, and why more investors are choosing to invest in this market. Some of these are:

Variety of financial instruments

The Forex market only allows traders to work with foreign currencies, and trade currency pairs like the GBP/USD, EUR/USD, etc. Binary options, though, are not limited to foreign currencies – you can still trade currencies, but also get access to stocks, commodities futures, and indexes. More is always better, because as the trader you get a variety of instruments to work with and maximize your profit by hedging all these instruments.

Specified returns

With binary options, you know exactly how much profit you are going to get from the trade. Every trade you make is merely a speculation on whether the value of the stock, commodity, index or currency pair will either be higher or lower than its value at the time of the trade. Since there are only 2 options, win or lose, you know exactly how much you are going to gain or lose at the time of trade.

The advantage to knowing this information beforehand is psychological. A Forex trader has to spend time staring at real-time Forex charts as the markets oscillates up and down, and close the trade only when they feel satisfied with the result. As for the binary options trader, the stress ends once the trade is placed, and they can move on to another trade or other businesses depending on their trading strategy.

Security of funds

Every Forex trader is wary of the moment they receive a margin call from their broker via email. When this happens, it requires that the trader deposits more funds into their trading account quickly to avoid losing their entire capital. This is a situation many Forex traders find themselves in during moments of financial turmoil like after major financial news announcements are made.

A binary options trader, however, doesn’t have to worry about margin calls because, as we have already seen above, the returns are specified and known. The trader knows right from the start that they are either going to lose their investment or gain the pay-out percentage specified by the broker. Some traders view this as a disadvantage, the idea that you can lose all your investment in a single trade, but it really isn’t.

Consider the period after the Brexit vote, or the time that came to be known as Black Thursday when the Swiss National Bank (SNB) de-pegged the franc from the Euro. These situations led to major losses for Forex traders, most of whom were stopped out. On the other hand, a binary options trader whose expiration date had not been reached would still be comfortable knowing that they were still in the game. Additionally, markets have a way of bouncing back from major market moves, so this provides added security to the traders’ funds.

Did I mention insurance cover for binary options trades? Well, you should know that insurance is also offered by some brokers for every trade, which helps you regain some of your capital, in case the trade is a loser. This takes away the risk of losing all your investment making your finances more secure.

Absence of financial costs

The broker already includes their profit into the pay-out percentage offered for each trade, which is why the pay-out is less than 100% and ranges from 67% to 81%. This crosses out any hidden charges which may be experienced in the Forex market in the form of spreads or commissions, and you get the exact profit you expected.

In favour of Forex trading

Just because binary options are so lucrative doesn’t rule out the Forex market as a lucrative financial investment. After all, why would there be so much volume being traded every day is it wasn’t a great alternative? Here are some of the reasons Forex trading is still so active and popular:

No need for huge initial capital

While binary options require a substantial initial deposit, you can get into the Forex market with as little as $100 or even less. However, this is not recommended because you become more prone to margin calls, but it’s a great start for someone looking to get a taste of Forex trading.

There are many Forex brokers in the world, and this has bred tough competition forcing them to lower their required initial capital and tightening spreads in order to attract investors choosing a Forex broker. Some of the brokers even offer bonuses as high as 100% on top of the capital deposited, essentially doubling your trading capital. These incentives attract first-time investors who would like to give Forex trading a try with as little as $100 initial deposit.

Multiple trades

Even with a small capital, a Forex trader is able to make many trades in a single day. This is called scalping, and enables even a trader with limited capital to earn huge profits. With binary options, this is difficult to do, since the expiration date for the trades is usually hours ahead.

Safety in numbers

Both the Forex market and binary options market are over-the-counter systems, meaning that there is no centralized system to monitor all trades, leaving room for crooked brokers to scam traders out of their money. However, there are still some differences.

The Forex market has been in existence for a very long time, and is monitored by various Forex regulators around the world. It caters to retail traders like you and I, but also to large institutions like hedge funds and mutual funds. Of late, there has been a proliferation of traders from all walks of life, and the Forex market is more robust than ever. The result, people share their experiences through real Forex broker reviews which point to crooked brokers. These networks of rating brokers keep them in check, and they tend to avoid getting a bad name.

On the other hand, binary options were only recognized by regulators in 2008, and there aren’t as many participants. As a result, there have been numerous cases of traders being cheated, and since there aren’t many reviews for binary options brokers, it’s difficult to find reliable binary options brokers. The Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) actually warned investors about binary options because they recognized this risk.

Variety of trading instruments

To make Forex trading even more lucrative, brokers have created various tools on their Forex trading platforms that help you maximize profits. Use of trailing stops, stop losses and taking profits all help to keep your trades manageable and to avoid margin calls.

Chances of huge returns

A Forex trader is not limited by an expiration date, and since the market runs for 24 hours, they can maximize their profits by holding on to winning trades. This is just not an option with binary options, because regardless of how much the markets move in your favour, the returns will always remain constant.

Which system best suits you?

After looking at the advantages of either system, you might still be wondering where you are going to make your stand, and this comes down to your personality. Looking at some of the common mistakes traders make, you will find that it’s got more to do with their personality than expertise, so here’s how you know where you fit in:

Characteristics of a binary options trader

Successful traders of binary options have certain attributes that lead them into this system instead of Forex trading. If you have these qualities, then binary options would be a good option for you:

This is the kind of trader who only makes a few trades at a time, or is involved in another kind of business and trading is merely a side-job for investment. The fixed expiration date for the trade at a particular time in the future is an advantage to this individual because they know exactly when they need to place the next trade.

Trades in the binary options system can be placed as far away into the future as the trader would like. This could be in terms of weeks, months or even years, which makes the system favourable for someone looking for a long-term investment strategy.

Substantial trading capital

Unlike the Forex market where a trader can get started with a very small capital of around $100, you need a lot more to get into binary options.

Characteristics of a Forex trader

About 90% of all Forex traders lose money, 5% of the rest barely eke out a profit, but there’s the last 5% of traders who make tremendous profits. These traders can be identified by the following characteristics:

To succeed in Forex trading, you must be ready to make time to study the Forex charts and Forex calendar. This could mean hours of staring at your computer screen before placing the trade, then following it up with patience as you watch the markets move.

Of the 90% of traders who lose money trading the Forex market, impatience is perhaps the most common flaw. Most of them will close a trade as soon as they notice it’s not going their way, only for the trend to turn around. To become profitable, you have to wait for a trade to ‘mature’, and then hold on to a winning trade for as long as possible.

Watch this animation for a recap of the differences between the two financial instruments:

Binary Options vs Forex

Binary Options have become widely popular during the last two years. The main reasons for this, is that they offer high profit returns and they are easy to trade.

In this article I will try to outline the main differences between Binary Options and Forex, so that you can evaluate which is the better trading method for you. A good way to start is to provide definitions of both and look at an example of a trade.

Guest post by Peter Traychev of ActionBinary.com

After you read this article, please share your views with us! We encourage you to use the comment box at the bottom of this page.

Forex definition: When trading Forex you are speculating that the value of one currency will increase or decrease compared to another, in an attempt to make a profit. For example: The current price of EUR/USD is 1.30850 and you think the price will increase in the future. You buy 1 lot of EUR/USD and wait for the price to increase to the point where you want to close the trade and realize the profit you want.

Binary Options definition: When trading Binary Options you only have to predict if the price of an asset (for example currency pair or stock) will increase or decrease from its current price over a certain period of time. For example: The current price of EUR/USD is 1.30850 and you think the price will be higher in the next hour. So you place a “Call” option on EUR/USD and wait to see its price 1 hour from now. If your prediction is right you can make a profit of 80% of your investment.


Forex: You can use margin to trade Forex. The maximum margin is determined by each broker, and sometimes can be up to 1:200 or 1:500. Margin allows you to increase your investment capital so you can make a larger trade and make a larger profit if your trade is a winning one.

Binary Options: Margin is not used when trading Binary Options. You can still make a large return on your investment (up to 80% or sometimes 400%), so Binary Options are still very attractive for traders. The good news is that you can never get a margin call.

Payouts and Losses

Forex: With Forex you never know what is the maximum profit you can make on a trade. You can set a limit or stop order so that you can be guaranteed a certain percentage profit if the limit or stop is executed. The losses in Forex can be managed with limit/stop orders, the same way profits are managed. The maximum loss with Forex may be all of the money in your trading account.

Binary Options: Before you make your trade you will know exactly what is the payout and loss return percentage that you will get for the particular option, when it expires. Some brokers offer payouts up to 80% or sometimes 400% depending on the option traded. This means that if you invest $500 on an option and the payout is 80%, you will make $400 profit if the option is a winning one. Some brokers don’t offer “loss back”, which means that if your option trade is a losing one, you will lose the amount you invested in the trade, but not more.

Closing a position

Forex: You choose when to close the position. You can close your position anytime the market is open and the broker has to accept and execute the order.

Binary Options: Before you make your trade you have to select when you want the option to expire (example: 1 hour or 1 week from now) – at the “expiry time” your trade will close automatically. The broker offers you different types of options with predetermined expiry times. Some brokers allow you to close your trade early, but you will exit your option at a percentage of the expected return. The “early closure” option is not offered by all brokers, and might not be available during the whole time the trade is active. Another important point to mention is that some brokers allow traders to delay the expiry time, to the next expiry time. This is called “Rollover” and the traders will need to increase their investment by a certain percentage, sometimes 30% in order to be able to do this.

Orders Types

Forex: There are a variety of order types in Forex. The most important ones are the market (Buy/Sell) orders. Also there are more advanced orders such as: Limit, Stop, OCO (One Cancels the Other), Trailing Stop, Hedge orders, and others.

Binary Options: There are about five Binary Options types which you can trade. They include: High/Low (also referred to as: Call/Put or Up/Down), 60 Seconds Options, Touch/No Touch Options, Boundary Options, and Option Builder.

Trade size

Forex: Some brokers allow you to trade micro lots, which is 1,000 units of the base currency in a Forex trade. The maximum trading amount is determined by each broker, and can be up as high as 100 standard lots or $10,000,000.

Binary Options: Each Binary Options broker determines what is the minimum and maximum trading size for its clients. Sometimes the minimum trading amount can be as low as $5 per trade, and the maximum can be up to $1,000 or $5,000 or more.

Trading costs

Forex: When trading Forex you have to consider what are the spreads and rollover/swap, and if there are any commissions.

Binary Options: There are no spreads, rollover/swap or commissions when trading Binary Options.

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
  • Binarium

    The Best Binary Options Broker 2020!
    Perfect For Beginners and Middle-Leveled Traders!
    Free Demo Account!
    Free Trading Education!
    Get Your Sign-Up Bonus Now!

  • Binomo

    Good Broker For Experienced Traders!

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