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Trading with Options

Exercise leverage and work to manage risk with options

Options trading gives you the opportunity to buy or sell a particular asset at a specific price within a set period of time. You can use options to pursue objectives such as managing risk, generating income and increasing your buying power. Options carry a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors.
May be a good move for...
  • Managing risk
  • Generating income
  • Downside protection
  • Leveraged buying
  • Experienced investors only
Tab One

Simplified strategies to help you invest with confidence

At Merrill Edge®, we understand that one of the keys to successful options trading is access to timely information that's both insightful and reliable. That's why we created powerful tools and combined them with access to award-winning research.Footnote 2
Why Merrill Edge for options?
  • Options Strategy Builder to help you pick a stock and generate options trade ideas
  • Powerful screeners to search for options from your portfolio or watchlist
  • Independent research and insights specific to options from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
  • Options chains allow you to quickly find calls and puts to trade
  • Standard, mini and jumbo options are available
  • Stock profiles at-a-glance by open, previous close, 52-week high/low and more
  • Advanced charting by time frame, comparison features, technical indicators and more
  • Customizable alerts based on price and volume changes, ratings changes, news and more
  • Options education to help you trade with more confidence
per contract
Unlimited free online options trades with no trade or balance minimums.Footnote3 Options contract and other fees may applyFootnote1
Merrill Edge MarketPro for active investors
Are you an active investor?
Get more insights, more capabilities and more control with Merrill Edge MarketProFootnote ® 4
Tab Two

Execute your options orders with ease

A stock option is a contract that gives one party the right to purchase or sell a stated number of shares of a stock at a specified price. The price at which the shares may be purchased or sold is known as the strike or exercise price. The right to exercise lasts for a stated period of time, which may be months or years, until the expiration date. The option expires if it is not exercised on or before the expiration date. Trading options offers potential advantages and risks.
Whatever your outlook, from bullish to neutral to bearish, Merrill Edge can help you apply your strategy. Whether you think that the price of a stock will rise or fall, you'll need access to the right tools and research to help you implement your trading ideas.
Bullish outlook
  • Long calls
  • Uncovered puts
  • Covered calls
  • Married puts
  • Bull call spreads
  • Bull put spreads
Neutral outlook
  • Straddles
  • Strangles
Bearish outlook
  • Long puts
  • Uncovered calls
  • Bear call spreads
  • Bear put spreads
Standard, mini and jumbo options let you trade contracts that are the right size for you. Mini options let you trade options on higher-priced equities in blocks of 10 shares rather than 100.
Tab Three

Getting started is as easy as 1-2-3

Open your account
Apply online and open your account in minutes. Be sure to fill out the separate client agreement to apply for options trading privileges. Here's what you'll need to open an account popup.

If you need help, give us a call at 888.637.3343—24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Fund your account
Fund your account instantly in real time from your eligible linked Bank of America bank account, and also by linking to an account at another financial institution. Or, transfer funds to your account by check, by wire transfer, or by transferring or rolling over an existing account.Footnote 5 Learn how to fund your account popup.
Start investing
  • Use the Options Strategy Builder to quickly identify option strategies that match your risk tolerance, outlook and goals for eligible securities in your portfolio and watchlists
  • Provided your options trading privileges are approved, start your search for the right contract with our powerful options screener
  • Use our options chains to search available option contracts for a particular optionable security. Clear, interactive listings include all the put and call option contract details such as strike prices, premiums, open interest and volume
Invest with advice when you need it
Invest with a licensed Merrill Financial Advisor, who can help you pursue your financial goals and plan for what matters most to you.
Tab Four

Simple flat-rate pricing

Get unlimited $0 option trades

Unlimited free online options trades with no trade or balance minimums.Footnote3 Options contract and other fees may applyFootnote1

per tradeFootnote1
per contract
Representative-assisted trades
per tradeFootnote1
per contract
per tradeFootnote1
Merrill Edge MarketPro for active investors
Are you an active investor?
Get more insights, more capabilities and more control with Merrill Edge MarketPro® 4
Ready to get started?
Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
600 dollar IRA offer
Get up to $600 when you invest in a new Merrill Edge® Self‑Directed account.
How to qualify for our 600 dollar offer
Other fees may apply. Free and $0 means there is no commission charged for these trades. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Sales are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit our Pricing page.
Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Certain requirements must be met to trade options. Before engaging in the purchase or sale of options, investors should understand the nature of and extent of their rights and obligations and be aware of the risks involved in investing with options. Prior to buying or selling an option, clients must receive the options disclosure document "Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (PDF)." Call the Investment Center at 877.653.4732 for a copy. A separate client agreement is needed. Multi-leg option orders are charged one base commission per order, plus a per contract charge.
Institutional Investor magazine announced BofA Global Research as the Top Global Research Firm in 2019 based on surveys held throughout the year. The magazine creates rankings of the top research analysts in a wide variety of specializations, drawn from the choices of portfolio managers and other investment professionals at more than 1,000 firms. BofA Global Research is research produced by BofA Securities, Inc ("BofAS") and/or one or more of its affiliates. BofAS is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC popup, and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation. For more information about this award, go to Institutional Investor popup. Rankings and recognition from Institutional Investor are no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a current or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance results and such rankings should not be construed as an endorsement.
Merrill waives its commissions for all online stock, ETF and option trades placed in a Merrill Edge® Self-Directed brokerage account. Brokerage fees associated with, but not limited to, margin transactions, special stock registration/gifting, account transfer and processing and termination apply. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Other fees and restrictions may apply. Pricing is subject to change without advance notice.
Merrill Edge MarketPro® is available to clients who maintain a Merrill Edge® Self-Directed relationship. Not available to investment professionals or for trust accounts and business accounts. Relationship requirements and pricing are subject to change. To learn more, go to Merrill Edge MarketPro®.
Footnote 5 You have choices for what to do with your employer sponsored retirement plan. Depending on your financial circumstances, needs and goals, you may choose to roll over to an IRA or convert to a Roth, roll over to an employer sponsored plan from a prior employer to an employer sponsored plan at your new employer, take a distribution or leave the account where it is. Each choice may offer different investment options and services, fees and expenses, withdrawal options, required minimum distributions, tax treatment and provide different protection from creditors and legal judgments. These are complex choices and should be considered with care. Visit our Rollover IRA page or call a Merrill Edge rollover specialist at 888.637.3343 for additional information about your choices.