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At Binary Options Blacklist, we regularly cull the web for new binary options brokers we can add to our recommended brokers list. As you have probably noticed, the list does not grow too fast. This is because the vast majority of brokers we look at are impossible to recommend. Even when they have great features, they often send up red flags.

One of the biggest red flags is a lack of transparency. Now and again we like to remind our readers of what they should look for in a binary options broker. Instead of talking about features (as we usually do), today I would like to focus specifically on the topic of transparency.

What is Transparency For Binary Brokers?

When we talk about transparency in business, we are talking about a company operating in such a way that it is easy for you as the customer to see what they are doing. A transparent binary options broker provides you with information about their business practices outlined clearly on their website. They respond to customer inquiries openly and knowledgeably. They do not dodge questions, and they provide honest, believable replies.

A business that does not operate with transparency behaves in the exact opposite way. They will avoid answering your questions on live chat or over the phone. They will give you answers that do not make sense. And their website will have lots of gaping information holes that leave you wondering and guessing.

I want to go over 7 things all trustworthy binary options websites should offer you. If you cannot get an answer quickly and easily to any of your questions, you probably would be better off going with a different broker.

Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
200% $50 $10
 
85% $200 $20
 
85% $100 $5
 
85% $10 $1
 
95% $250 $1
 
80% $5 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
95% $250 $1
 
80% $10 $0.10
 
160% - 180% $50 $2
 
95% $250 $1
 
90% $250 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
200% $50 $10
 
95% $250 $1
 
90% $50 $1
 
80% $5 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
200% $50 $10
 
85% $50 $1
 
85% $200 $20
 
85% $100 $5
 
95% $250 $1
 
85% $10 $1
 
80% $5 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
80% $250 $25
 
85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
90% $50 $1
 
85% $100 $5
 
85% $10 $1
 
85% $50 $1
 
85% $200 $20
 
95% $250 $1
 
80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  85% $50 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $250 $10
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  90% $50 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
85% $200 $20
 
85% $100 $5
 
95% $250 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $250 $10
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
200% $50 $10
 
95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $250 $10
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  85% $50 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
95% $250 $1
 
85% $10 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
85% $50 $1
 

 

Who operates the website?

If you cannot figure out who owns the website, where they operate, how long they have been around, and other basic information, that is a big red flag. If you head to the “About” page and you see a blurb that says something like, “We are a team of seasoned investors …” that is not really anything to go on.

Better, check the Terms and Conditions page for the operating company’s name and location. Note that some companies have offices in one location, but operate out of another country. It is common for example for a company to have an office address in London, but operate out of Cyprus or Anguilla. This is generally for regulatory reasons.

If you cannot find out the basic background of a company, you have no reason to trust them with your money. Many binary options companies actually operate multiple broker websites. Look up any company name you see and find out if they run other sites. If any of their other sites have poor reputations, it is time to run the other way. If they have other sites with strong reputations, that is a great sign that you are dealing with a trustworthy company.

Are they regulated or not?

This is one of the biggest red flag areas, and not necessarily because a company isn’t regulated. What should really alarm you is when a company pretends to be regulated when they really are not. If a company tells you up-front that they are not regulated and offers you a reason (for example that they want to keep it easy to accept USA customers), that is not actually a red flag. In fact, it could even be a sign of trust.

If on the other hand a company is not regulated but goes out of their way to mislead you into believing they are, that is a problem. There are multiple ways in which a company could mislead you into thinking they are regulated when they really are not. One way is on the terms and conditions page, front page, or about page. The company may list a license number. When you go to look it up, though, you discover it is only a simple business license, and is not actually a regulatory financial license.

The company may also add that they are “regulated by the laws of X country.” That simply means they are doing business according to the legal restrictions that apply to all companies in the country where they are doing business. This again points toward simply having a business license, not actually being a regulated binary options broker that is overseen by a financial authority.

The other way in which shady brokers will attempt to mislead you is through their customer service agents. You will get on live chat and ask if the broker is regulated, and instead of getting a “yes” or a “no,” you will get some kind of complicated answer which attempts to weave cautiously around the question. Oftentimes this is just a rehash about having a business license, carefully phrased as if it is a financial regulatory license. Other times the question will be deferred entirely.

What is their bonus policy?

This is another area where you absolutely must have a simple, clear answer. If you accept a bonus from a binary options company, you can expect it to come with strings attached. What you do not want is a company that refuses to explain those strings to you in plain English.

Essentially, when you accept a bonus, you will need to reach a certain turnover volume before you can withdraw the bonus from your account. The turnover volume should be stated clearly in the terms and conditions or a separate bonus terms and conditions page. The page should also state clearly whether you must meet the turnover requirement to withdraw the bonus amount or to withdraw at all.

Most binary options brokers will only restrict the withdrawal of the bonus itself, but some companies will merge the two amounts together and will only let you withdraw from your account if you meet the turnover requirement. You do not want this to happen! If you cannot find a transparent answer, there is a good chance that you are going to have issues with withdrawals.

What are the withdrawal procedures, thresholds, limitations, and fees?

For that matter, another area where transparency is vital is when it comes to withdrawals. This is where the majority of binary options scams occur. You go to withdraw your money, and suddenly there is one sort of snag or another. Either you never submitted the paperwork they claim to need to process your transaction, or you are not withdrawing enough money, or you are withdrawing too much money. Worse, they want to charge a fee almost as large as your withdrawal. Where did that come from …?

You always want to know exactly what you need to do in order to get your money (including your winnings) back into your own hands after you make a deposit. Every website should openly tell you the following:

What paperwork you need to submit to process withdrawals.

  • How many days it takes to process a withdrawal.
  • How many withdrawals each month you are allowed, free or otherwise.
  • The upper limit to how much money you can withdraw in a given transaction or within a given timeframe.
  • What methods you can use to withdraw your money.
  • Whether there is a minimum withdrawal threshold, and how much it is (you might for example need to withdraw at least $100 to withdraw anything).
  • How the withdrawal policy and bonus policy are related.
  • What types of fees there are for withdrawals. Is there a fee for using a certain method? For withdrawing more than once per month? For withdrawing at all? Is there any way around the fees?
  • How much are they?

If a site cannot provide this information or dances around your questions, you should be very concerned. Note that simply choosing not to mention fees is not the same as stating that there are no fees! Unless a website explicitly tells you “no fees” apply to your transactions, assume there are fees, and be concerned as to why they have chosen not to state them plainly.

Is there any false information on the website?

Another way that binary options brokers can operate in a non-transparent fashion is by outright lying on their website. While lack of transparency usually just refers to lying by omission, you should be troubled by things like nonexistent awards. This is the most common form of blatant lie I see while researching brokers. On their homepage or about page you see a string of awards, and then, when you Google them, you find that the awarding agencies do not exist or that there are no press release records of the awards that were not written by the broker.

The problem with this kind of false advertising is twofold. Firstly, it is false advertising! That in itself calls trust into question in a big way. Secondly, it is a distraction from whatever it is that the website does not want you paying attention to.

Is it easy to find information on the website?

Content is not the only form that transparency takes. Design can also clue you into a broker’s intentions and trustworthiness. If a broker includes information on their site but makes it really hard to find, that is not a great sign of transparency. Note that this is sometimes indicative of untrustworthiness and other times simply points toward a design team with no talent. Either way, it is not reassuring. Whether the company is trying to hide something or not is hard to guess, but either way, you should not have to guess.

If on the other hand a website has gone out of its way to hire a design team that did a great job, making information easy to locate and readily available, that is an excellent sign that the broker is serious about offering you a great customer experience.

Do customer service agents answer questions quickly and knowledgeably?

One of the biggest red flags with customer service is when you get the runaround. There are countless forms this can take. One of the most common is when someone says to you, “I can’t answer that question, but if you speak to one of our account managers, he can answer your question.”

The goal of stating this is simply to get you on the phone with someone who will give you a hard-sell to open an account, not actually to help you. If you get this answer with really complicated questions, it is not a problem, but you should be concerned if you get this response even to common, simple questions anyone should be able to answer.

When you are planning on sending your money to a company, even a couple hundred dollars, you owe it to yourself to make sure you are dealing with a transparent, trustworthy company. Remember, even a couple hundred dollars is a lot of money, since you have the chance to turn it into thousands through your binary options investments. You want to work with a company that will protect your investment!