Hello, fellow investor! Upon analysing key factors regarding Pocket Option, we do not recommend opening an account with them. There are several red flags that you should not ignore, which we’ll dive into in this review.
Want to know if Pocket Option is legit? Looking for supervised and regulated brokers to invest in the US, European Union or United Kingdom (UK)? Keep on reading!
What is Pocket Option?
Pocket Option is a non-regulated online broker that exclusively offers binary options, a financial product where your payoff is “all or nothing” within a time frame defined by you. Let’s say that Apple is trading at $100, and you believe it will be trading above that in the next 5 minutes. You get your money back plus a premium if the stock is above $100. If it finishes below $100, you lose all your money. That’s it.
Is Pocket Option Regulated?
The biggest red flag: Pocket Option has no regulatory approval. Our first action in any broker review is to assess if reputable financial authorities regulate the platform within the US, European Union and/or the UK, like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a criteria that Pocket Option did not pass.
The company behind the Pocket Option website, Gembell Limited, is registered in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, an offshore tax haven. It is not supervised by top-tier regulators, and there is no guarantee that investors will be compensated if the broker goes bankrupt. Investor protection schemes are reliable within the US, EU or UK financial regulatory environment but not in tax havens.
Indeed, the FCA has already issued a warning stating that the firm is not authorised to provide, promote or offer financial services or products in the UK. The FCA website mentions “PO Trade Limited” and not the name “Gembell Limited”. Both companies seem to be related and from our understanding, “Gembell Limited” is responsible for marketing activities and platform development, whereas “PO Trade Limited” handles the brokerage activity.
The companies listed on the website’s footer change according to your selected language. For “English” and “French”, only Gembell Limited is mentioned. However, the company “PO Trade Limited” is added for the “Portuguese” and “Polish” versions
UK and French versions
Portuguese and Polish versions
Also, please keep in mind that it is common for these kinds of firms to change names regularly.
Pocket Option makes an effort to look secure and reliable by stating that it is regulated by the International Financial Market Relations Regulation Center (IFMRRC). However, this is not an official regulatory authority.
Finally, it was difficult to find any details about the company. There is no LinkedIn company page, no information on the employees… Nothing.
Trustpilot Reviews: Are they fake?
If you search for “Pocket Option” in Trustpilot, you get a 4.4-star classification with 2,000+ reviews. After carefully reading through dozens of reviews, we believe that most of the positive feedback are not trustworthy. We actually think most of these are fake. A lot of these reviews usebroad statements, lack details and use language that is not typical of a genuine customer.
Another thing to note is that most of the positive reviews had been written by people with no other reviews posted on Trustpilot:
Dubious Trust Pilot Reviews
Moreover, Pocket Option has no verified reviews of their platform, which makes us question the validity of how satisfied their customers really are:
Lack of verified reviews
Finally, we can clearly see a pattern of complaints from the negative reviews: difficulties when withdrawing your money, price discrepancies and chart manipulations.
Aggressive Sales Approach
A typical behaviour within platforms that want to take your money as soon as possible is to create a feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Within the homepage, two elements stand out:
- Continuous pop-ups in the bottom left corner of the screen with messages like “David earned $250 in 32 seconds”
- A Registration fill out that is impossible to hide
Unavoidable Sign-up Form
These practices are rarely present, if ever, in regulated online brokers.
As if that weren’t enough, Pocket Option shows a pop-up message that appears after browsing their website for a while (It shows 13:06 minutes since I was exploring other related websites while having their page open). This is clearly an aggressive sales tactic to show that “you are wasting your time” by wanting to know more about the platform before signing up.
Pop-ups that are meant to trigger the fear of missing out
Did you know that they accept deposits from restricted countries?
It is mentioned in the footer that “Depending on the region and payment method. Gembell Limited does not provide service to residents of the EEA countries, USA, Israel, UK and Japan” (our highlight). However, they accept deposits without asking you first where you are located.
Eventually, you will want to withdraw your money. When that happens, Pocket Option will require you to verify your account, meaning they will know you’ve deposited from a restricted country. As such, your Pocket Option withdrawal will likely be denied.
So, is Pocket Option a scam?
At Investing in the Web, we are 99% convinced that you are not safe putting your money in this company. Since it is missing the 1%, we will “control” ourselves and not call it a scam, but it operates very dubiously.
Again, we strongly recommend not investing in companies with so many red flags, no matter how appealing their offering might be (Pocket Option minimum deposit, demo account or even a Pocket Option promo code).
Regulated and Supervised Online Brokers (Our Recommendations)
There is a wide range of brokers where you can feel safe investing your hard-earned money. These options are fully regulated, have low fees, have good customer support, and have an easy-to-use investment platform, among others! Please take a look at the best ones:
- Interactive Brokers: Founded in 1978, IBKR is an online broker based in the US and one of the world’s most trustworthy brokers. It offers an enormous range of financial products (stocks, ETFs, Options,…) and low currency conversion fees (FX fees). Interactive Brokers also launched IBKR GlobalTrader, a modern mobile trading app to trade Stocks, Options and ETFs, ideal for novice investors.
- eToro: A commission-free stock and ETF trading platform (not all ETFs are free). You can also copy other traders/investors. Slick, modern, and easy for anyone to use. It is trusted by over 25 million clients worldwide.
- Webull: Webull is an investment app from the US with commission-free trading for stocks, ETFs and options. The investment platform is easy to use and intuitive, you have access to fractional shares and a demo account to test it out.
- Public.com: Public.com is a US broker that allows users to invest in stocks, ETFs, and crypto, commission-free. You can buy fractional shares starting at $1. Still, not all securities available are eligible for fractional share orders, which only apply to market orders.
What are Binary Options?
Binary options are a complex financial product with only two outcomes: win or lose. Binary options have an expiration date (set by you), a strike price and a specific payoff. Let’s use an example for better understanding: For example, it is Monday morning, and you believe stock X will be trading above $85 at 2:30 p.m. Through a binary option, you can bet that the stock will finish above $85. If it does, you win. If not, you lose the amount you bet. It resembles gambling more than investing. Given the all-or-nothing payout structure, binary options are sometimes referred to as “all-or-nothing options” or “fixed-return options.”
Please note that binary options differ from more conventional options since the latter lets you manage your position (trading the option before the expiration date). While a binary option is an “all or nothing” approach.
How does Pocket Option make money?
Supposedly, Pocket Options make money by providing a lower payout ratio when someone earns. Example: You bet $50 that stock Y will rise above $20 in the next minute. Another person believes it will drop below $20, an opposite view to yours. Pocket Option may pay, for instance, $40 to the winner. So, one of the investors will lose the $50, and the other will win $90 (initial $50 + $40), so Pocket Option keeps the $10 for itself.