Level 0 options trading?
If you are a Schwab client and brand new to options trading, when you apply for options your account will likely be approved for options level 0, which essentially includes the income generating and/or protective options strategies: covered calls, protective puts (for stocks), cash-secured equity puts (CSEPs), and ...
Level 1 strategies involve risk levels similar to owning a stock since a trader either owns the underlying security or cash to buy it as collateral. For example, you might write a call option against an existing stock that you own to create a covered call.
Most options brokers assign trading levels from 1 to 5; with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. A trader with a low trading level will be fairly limited in the strategies they can use, while one with the highest will be able to make pretty much whatever trade they want.
Level 1: covered calls and cash-secured puts
Trading level 1 is the lowest level and it typically only permits two types of trades: a covered call sold against a long stock position in your account and a cash-secured put, which is selling a put and simultaneously setting aside enough cash to buy the stock.
Level 1 option account investors can sell cash-secured puts to generate income in their portfolio. Level 2 supports options buying strategies – buying calls or buying puts. More multi-leg options strategies are available if you have a Level 3 margin account.
Level 2 options trading offers a bit more leeway in terms of what investors can and cannot do with options. Specifically, Level 2 options approval permits investors to buy calls and puts on stocks that support options, as well as exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Option approval level 3 opens access to trading spreads and the necessary margin trading involved. Access to margin trading means that traders can create positions whose value exceeds that of their total account, which would leave the broker to cover any difference in the case of any excess loss.
Level 1. Covered calls, i.e. short call vs long equal quantity of underlying, are allowed. Level 2. Covered Options Positions as defined by FINRA Rule 2360 are allowed with the additional restriction that the expiration date of the long option must be on or after the expiration date of the short option in a spread.
In conclusion, both Level 1 and Level 2 data provide valuable information to traders in the financial markets. While Level 1 data is widely available and provides a basic view of the market, Level 2 data offers a more detailed view of the market depth and the identities of traders placing orders.
The most conservative option strategies correspond with the lowest numerical level of option approval, with Level 1 being the lowest risk option transactions and Level 6 being the highest risk. Thus, any option account approved for any level higher than Level 1 is also approved for any lesser level.
Is option trading a gamble?
There's a common misconception that options trading is like gambling. I would strongly push back on that. In fact, if you know how to trade options or can follow and learn from a trader like me, trading in options is not gambling, but in fact, a way to reduce your risk.
An example of buying a call option
Calls with a strike price of $50 are available for a $5 premium and expire in six months. In total, one call contract costs $500 ($5 premium x 100 shares).
Intraday trading is all about precise timing and market understanding. A good intraday trading strategy works only after technical analysis, practical execution, using indicators and proper risk management. So here we will intraday trading strategies. This strategy can be used by beginners to start trading.
0DTE options, also called “same day expiring” options, are options contracts with zero days remaining to expiration. This means that when you purchase a 0DTE option, it will either be exercised or expired at the end of that same day. As such, the window of time to manage these positions is narrow.
To learn more details about the terms and conditions of Options Trading on Webull please read the Webull Option Agreement. Level 3 Option Spread Trading and more multi-leg strategies are available now. Option trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors.
For more details, check out Basics options strategies (Level 2) and Advanced options strategies (Level 3). Note that Robinhood doesn't allow selling uncovered options, because there's no limit to the amount of money you could lose with some strategies.
Options Account Trading Level 5
This is where you get to "play banker" to other options traders who are speculating through call and put options buying. Such positions again exposes you to unlimited risk which means that losses accumulate indefinitely when things go bad.
Level three options on Robinhood allow for advanced option strategies, including call and put credit spreads, debit spreads, iron condors, calendar spreads, iron butterflies, and box spreads.
The Bottom Line
Level II stock data can give you unique insight into a stock's price action, supply and demand, and levels of support and resistance. But there are also a lot of things that market makers can do to disguise their true intentions. The average trader shouldn't rely on Level II quotes alone.
With TD Ameritrade, the four levels are covered, standard cash, standard margin, and advanced.
What is a poor man's covered call?
A poor man's covered call (PMCC) is a long call diagonal debit spread that is used to replicate a covered call position. A traditional covered call uses long stock to back up (or "cover") the short call, while a PMCC uses a back-month call option for coverage.
Set Your Option Trading Level
And, if you have a salary, some trading history, and a reasonably funded account, you should qualify for level two strategies, enabling you to buy put and call options. If you are denied these levels, you can usually reach out to your broker for approval.
Level II is a thinkorswim gadget that displays best ask and bid prices for each of the exchanges making markets in stocks, options, and futures. It is essentially a real-time ordered list of best bids and asks of an underlying that allows instant order placement.
Respondent's Level 2 options trading allows customers to engage in the options strategies of covered calls, cash-back puts, long calls and puts, and long straddles and strangles. Level 3 options trading allows more advanced trading such as options spreads.
Day trading relies heavily on volatility, intraday price action, and the market in real-time, therefore it would be impossible to trade without Level 2 market data. It is necessary in order to make trading decisions.