How to Start Trading Options

With the ability to leverage and hedge, options can help limit risk while offering unlimited profit potential. If you don’t have a Fidelity account already, open and fund an account now.

Support

For help setting up your options trading account, please call us.

Apply online or by phone

If you have an account, you can apply onlineLog In Required or call an investment professional at 800-353-4881. Please be ready to provide the following:

  • Yearly income
  • Options trading experience
  • Net worth and liquid net worth

Apply by mail

Approval time

We'll let you know which options level you're approved to trade—either by email in 1 to 2 days or by U.S. Mail in 3 to 5 days—based on your delivery preferences. Or call us after 48 hours at 800-343-3548, and we can provide you with your approval information.

Getting started

To learn more about trading options, or to trade using our powerful Active Trader Pro® platform, please refer to the following:

Features

  • What are options levels?

    Options trading strategies involve varying degrees of risk and complexity. Not all strategies are suitable for all investors. There are five levels of options trading approval, and the approval requirements are greater for each additional level since there's more risk for you and Fidelity. Your financial situation, trading experience, and investment objectives are taken into consideration for approval. If requesting options Level 3 or higher, you’ll also need to apply for margin on your account.

  • What are the different levels of options trading available at Fidelity?

    The options trades allowed for each of the five options trading levels:

    • Level 1 is a covered call writing of equity options.
    • Level 2* includes Level 1, plus purchases of calls and puts (equity, index, currency and interest rate index), writing of cash covered puts, and purchases of straddles or combinations (equity, index, currency and interest rate index). Note that customers who are approved to trade options spreads in retirement accounts are considered approved for Level 2.
    • Level 3 includes Levels 1 and 2, plus equity spreads and covered put writing.
    • Level 4 includes Levels 1, 2, and 3, plus uncovered (naked) writing of equity options and uncovered writing of straddles or combinations on equities.
    • Level 5 includes Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4, plus uncovered writing of index options, uncovered writing of straddles or combinations on indexes, and index spreads.
    * Retirement accounts can be approved to trade spreads. A new options application and a Spreads Agreement must be submitted at the same time and approved prior to placing any spread transaction.
  • How do I establish an Options Agreement?

    An Options Agreement is part of the Options Application. When you complete the Options Application, you also confirm that you’ve read, understood, and accepted the terms of the Options Agreement. After you log in to Fidelity, on the Margin and Options page, select Add to complete the Options Application.

  • Am I authorized to trade options on margin?

    To trade options on margin, you need a Margin Agreement on file with Fidelity. After you log in to Fidelity, you can review the Margin and Options page to see if you have an agreement. If you do not have a Margin Agreement, you must either add margin or use cash.

  • What is a multi-leg option?

    Multi-leg options are two or more option transactions, or "legs," bought and/or sold simultaneously in order to achieve a certain investment goal. Typically, multi-leg options are traded according to a particular multi-leg options trading strategy.

  • What are call and put options?

    With a call option, the buyer has the right to buy shares of the underlying security at a specified price for a specified time period. With a put option, the buyer has the right to sell shares of the underlying security at a specified price for a specified period of time.

  • Where can I go to learn more about options trading?

    You can access Fidelity's Options Trading Agreement on the About Options Trading page in Fidelity.com's online Brokerage Handbook. Also, Fidelity.com offers comprehensive options educational material in the Learning Center, under Learn About Options and from the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE).

Note: While options can offer diversification in your portfolio, they’re not appropriate for everyone as they can carry substantial risk. Visit our Learning Center to learn more with our introduction to options video.

Next steps

Open an account If you don’t have a Fidelity account already, you can open and fund an account now.
See all account types

Apply online To trade options you’ll first need to complete an options application and get approval on your eligible accounts.