Forex Options Trading: How it Works, Types, Examples

By Dan Miller · April 19, 2024 · 5 minute read

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Forex Options Trading: How it Works, Types, Examples

Editor's Note: Options are not suitable for all investors. Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Please see the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options.

Forex options, also called currency options, are contracts that give the purchaser the option to buy foreign currency from the exchange at a specific price on or before a specific date.

Like stock options, there are two different types of forex options: A call option gives the holder the right to buy currency at a specified price (the strike price), while the holder of a put option has the right to sell a currency at a predetermined price.

Those investing in foreign countries may use forex options as a way to hedge against unfavorable fluctuations of foreign currencies or to speculate on volatility.

What Is Forex Options Trading?

Like options in the stock market, currency options are a derivative instrument. In this case, the underlying asset is a foreign currency pair. Currencies (also known as FX or forex) are generally traded in pairs. One major currency pair, for example, is EUR/USD, which indicates the value of the euro against the U.S. dollar.

Foreign currency options are a way to invest in foreign currency markets without trading in the actual currencies themselves.

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

How Forex Options Trading Works

If you understand how to trade options in the stock market, currency options work in a similar manner. Buying a currency call option gives you the right (but not the obligation) to purchase a particular foreign currency at a specified price (the strike price) at any time before its expiration date.

A currency put option works in a similar way, except that the buyer has the right (but not the obligation) to sell a currency at a given price before the expiration of the option.

You can also purchase combinations of both put and call options at different strike prices and/or different expiration dates, depending on how you think the market will move. You can always close out your position before the options expire. Owning options gives you exposure to movements in the exchange rate without having to actually purchase the currency.

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Types of Forex Options Available

The most basic currency options come in two types: so-called ‘vanilla’ calls and puts.

Vanilla Call and Put Options

A forex call option gives the holder the right (but not the obligation) to purchase a given currency at a specific price, any time on or before the option’s expiration date. You would generally buy a forex call option if you have a bullish outlook on a particular currency.

A forex put option works in the opposite manner. If you hold a put option, you have the right (but not the obligation) to sell a specific currency at a particular price before the options expire.

Purchasing a put option is something that you would do if you have a bearish outlook on the underlying currency.

SPOT Options

Another type of currency option is single payment options trading (SPOT). With a SPOT option, an investor and broker can set more detailed conditions for the option to pay out. These conditions are either met, or not. Because there are only two possible outcomes upon the option expiring, these options are sometimes called binary currency options.

Example of Trading Forex Options

If an investor expects the value of a currency will fall, they may choose to buy a put option to earn the right (but not the obligation) to sell the currency in question at a predetermined price during a set timeframe.

For example, if a U.S. investor expects the euro will fall in value against the U.S. dollar, they may buy a EUR/USD put option. Essentially, the option can help the option holder protect themselves against depreciation of a given currency.

💡 Quick Tip: Options can be a cost-efficient way to place certain trades, because you typically purchase options contracts, not the underlying security. That said, options trading can be risky, and best done by those who are not entirely new to investing.

Benefits and Risks of Forex Options Trading

Here are some of the pros and cons of trading forex options:


Using forex options can be a cost effective way to potentially help hedge an investors’ portfolio against currency risk. For example, an investor who owns foreign stocks may consider investing in local currencies via options to reduce currency risk. Investors may want to weigh the option’s premium, as well as risk against possible outcomes.


Like any investment, trading currency options comes with a set of risks. Options are complex, high-risk instruments that require investors to understand how they work.

Currency values may fluctuate based on macroeconomic events, economic data, or political events. This means that FX options investors must bear in mind the risk profile of particular countries, as well as that of their own portfolio. Because currencies react to interest rates, trading currency options also bears interest rate risk. Traders who use leverage to potentially earn higher profits with less money, also risk losing more than their initial investment.



Using forex options is a low-cost way to potentially hedge against adverse currency moves. The price of currencies can be extremely volatile.
Using leverage, there is the potential for higher profits with less money invested. Political risk as currency markets react to local governments’ policies.
You have many different ways to trade depending on your market outlook. Options may be less liquid than the currencies themselves.

The Takeaway

Trading forex options can be a way for you to invest in the foreign currency market without actually owning the currency itself. You can use call options, put options, or a combination based on how you think the market will perform.

Qualified investors who are ready to try their hand at options trading, despite the risks involved, might consider checking out SoFi’s options trading platform. The platform’s user-friendly design allows investors to trade through the mobile app or web platform, and get important metrics like breakeven percentage, maximum profit/loss, and more with the click of a button.

Plus, SoFi offers educational resources — including a step-by-step in-app guide — to help you learn more about options trading. Trading options involves high-risk strategies, and should be undertaken by experienced investors.

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.


What are some types of forex options?

The two kinds of forex options are call options and put options. A call option allows the holder to buy the specified currency at a given strike price, while a put option allows the holder to sell a given currency at a particular price. There are also SPOT, or binary currency options.

What is a forex call option?

A forex call option allows the holder to buy a specific currency at a specific price, on or before the expiration date.

How are forex options settled?

If you hold a currency option that is in the money at expiration, there are two possibilities for settlement. You can settle the option with cash or by a physical delivery of currency. If you are short an in-the-money option at expiration, you may need to deposit cash into your account to settle your account.

Photo credit: iStock/supersizer

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Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Before an investor begins trading options they should familiarize themselves with the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Tax considerations with options transactions are unique, investors should consult with their tax advisor to understand the impact to their taxes.
Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Claw Promotion: Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.


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