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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 appropriate to pursue objectives such as:
  • Managing risk
  • Generating income
  • Downside protection
  • Leveraged buying
  • Experienced investors only
Tab One

Simplified strategies to help you invest with confidence

At Merrill, 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 tools and combined them with access to award-winning research.Footnote 2
 
Why Merrill 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 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
 
$0
+
$0.65
per contract
Unlimited free online options trades with no trade or balance minimums.Footnote 3 Options contract and other fees may applyFootnote 1
 
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. Please read the options disclosure document titled "Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (PDF)" before considering any option transaction. You may also 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.
 
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

Getting started is as easy as 1-2-3

1
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.
 
2
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.
 
3
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 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
 
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. Please read the options disclosure document titled "Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (PDF)" before considering any option transaction. You may also 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.
 
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 Three

Simple flat-rate pricing

Get unlimited $0 option trades

Unlimited free online options trades with no trade or balance minimums.Footnote 3 Options contract and other fees may applyFootnote 1

$0
 
per tradeFootnote 1
+
$0.65
 
per contract
Representative-assisted trades
$29.95
 
per tradeFootnote 1
+
$0.65
 
per contract
Exercised/Assigned
 
$0
 
per tradeFootnote 1
 
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. Please read the options disclosure document titled "Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (PDF)" before considering any option transaction. You may also 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.
 
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?
888.637.3343
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
Footnote 
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.
Footnote 
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.
Footnote 
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.
Footnote 
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.
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 rollover specialist at 888.637.3343 for additional information about your choices.

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