Is Pocket Option Legal in the UK?

Last updated Mar 8, 2024
Nikolay Zavarov - Author
Nikolay Zavarov
Andrey Bondarenko - Editor
Andrey Bondarenko

The legality of Pocket Option in the United Kingdom is complex due to its status as an unregulated broker. UK regulations require binary options brokers to be authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which Pocket Option is not.

In this article, we will explore the legal landscape of trading with Pocket Option and the overall legality of binary options in the UK, shedding light on the regulatory framework and its implications for traders.

About Pocket Option Broker

Логотип Pocket Option
RegisterTrading binary options carries high risks. You may lose all invested funds
Profitabilityup to 92%
Minimum Deposit$5
Countries of registration:
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compare Pocket Option options types

Pocket Option stands out in the competitive online trading landscape with its specialized focus on binary options. Catering to a broad audience of investors, the platform is engineered to accommodate its user base's diverse preferences and strategies, ensuring that beginners and seasoned traders find suitable options to match their ambitions and financial goals. Broker sets itself apart through its extensive selection of trading assets, including stocks, currency pairs, and cryptocurrencies, available on user-friendly interfaces such as MT4 and MT5. Additionally, the broker strongly emphasises supporting trader growth, providing many analytical tools and educational resources.

Advantages of Pocket Option

  1. Diverse Account Types and Services. Offers a variety of account options, allowing traders to select the one that aligns with their trading approach and objectives.

  2. Multiple Payment Methods. Supports a wide range of deposit and withdrawal mechanisms, streamlining the process of managing funds.

  3. Wide Array of Trading Instruments. Provides access to an extensive portfolio of trading assets.

  4. User-Friendly Trading Platforms. Delivers trading on advanced and accessible platforms, notably including MT4 and MT5.

  5. Extensive Educational and Analytical Support. Features a comprehensive suite of resources for enhancing trader knowledge and market insight.

Disadvantages of Pocket Option

  1. Reliability. The broker operates with limited regulatory oversight, which may raise concerns regarding security and compliance for some traders.

  2. Increased Spreads on Select Assets. Some instruments may incur higher spreads, potentially impacting trading profitability.

  3. Withdrawal Timeframes. Withdrawals can experience delays, taking longer than some traders may find acceptable.

  4. Limited CFD Offerings. Compared to competitors, the selection of contracts for Differences (CFDs) is somewhat restricted.

  5. Lack of iOS and Desktop Applications. The absence of dedicated apps for iOS and desktop platforms may limit trading flexibility for some users.

Is Pocket Option Regulated in the United Kingdom?

Pocket Option, licensed by the Mwali International Services Authority (MISA) under license number T2023322, operates within a recognized legal framework. However, in the United Kingdom, the regulatory oversight of financial trading activities, including Forex and binary options, falls under the Financial Conduct Authority's jurisdiction. The Authority is known for its stringent standards to safeguard traders and ensure market integrity. Pocket Option is not directly regulated by the FCA, which raises essential considerations for UK-based traders interested in binary options.

Can UK Traders Use Pocket Option for Binary Options Trading?

Per the information on its official site, Pocket Option explicitly states that it does not provide services to EEA, USA, Israel, UK, and Japan residents in line with compliance requirements and international financial legislation. This policy means that UK residents are precluded from using its services, a decision that mirrors the stringent regulations imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Therefore, British traders are encouraged to explore other platforms regulated and authorized by the FCA for binary options trading. To aid in this search, we have also curated a list of top Forex brokers in the UK, offering a pathway for traders to engage with secure and legally sound platforms.

The Financial Conduct Authority has officially announced a permanent prohibition on selling, marketing, and distributing binary options to retail consumers in the UK, effective 2 April 2019. This decision, grounded in feedback from a comprehensive consultation process, aims to address the significant risks associated with binary trading and the detrimental conduct of firms involved in this market, which have led to substantial and unforeseen losses for consumers both within the UK and globally.

This regulation measure is consistent with temporary restrictions previously imposed by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) across the EU. The FCA has extended these rules to encompass 'securitised binary options', a product variant not covered by ESMA's ban and not presently offered in or from the UK. Including securitised options underlines the authority's determination to mitigate the same level of risk, as these products may pose a preemptive curb to developing a market for them.

The authority estimates that enforcing this ban could safeguard retail consumers from potential losses of up to £17 million annually and significantly diminish the risk of fraud by unauthorized firms purporting to offer binary trading.

In light of this ban, UK consumers are urged to remain vigilant against options investment scams and to engage only with financial services firms authorized by the FCA. Given that the sale of binary options to retail consumers is now banned, any entity offering such services is likely operating a scam.

How to Trade Binary Options in the UK?

In the UK, retail consumers' trading of binary options is strictly prohibited under regulations enforced by the Financial Conduct Authority. This comprehensive ban encompasses all varieties of binary options products to protect individuals from the significant financial risks associated with these trades. The FCA has warned that any firm offering binary trading to retail consumers is likely engaging in fraudulent activities. Retail consumers are strongly advised to exercise caution and avoid such offerings, as dealing with unauthorized firms can lead to substantial financial losses.

Conversely, the prohibition on binary options trading does not extend to professional traders, who may still have limited opportunities to engage in this form of trading under stringent conditions. Professional traders must satisfy specific criteria affirming their extensive trading experience and financial resilience, enabling them to withstand high risks.

Alternatives to Binary Trading

Given the restrictions on binary trading, UK traders may consider exploring other forms of trading that are regulated and permitted, such as:

  1. FX Trading: Trading currencies in the foreign exchange market.

  2. CFDs (Contracts for Difference): Engaging in contracts for the difference in prices of financial instruments.

  3. Stocks and Shares: Investing in the stock market.


What Are Binary Options?

Binary options are a financial instrument that provides a fixed return based on a simple yes/no proposition. Traders speculate whether the price of an underlying asset will be above or below a certain point at a specified time. If the trader predicts correctly, they receive a predetermined payout; if not, they lose their initial investment. Binary options are known for their simplicity but carry high risks.

Is Pocket Option a Scam or Legit?

Pocket Option is a platform that offers binary and CFD trading, among other financial instruments. It is licensed by the Mwali International Services Authority (MISA). While this provides some oversight, traders must exercise caution, as the MISA is not government-regulated. User reviews and thorough research are recommended to assess the platform's legitimacy for your trading needs.

How to Open an Account on Pocket Option?

To open an account on Pocket Option, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the PocketOption website.

  2. Click on the "Sign Up" button.

  3. Fill in the registration form with your email, password, and currency preference.

  4. Agree to the terms and conditions.

  5. Verify your email address using the link sent to your inbox.

  6. Complete any required KYC (Know Your Customer) process if applicable.

How to Deposit Money to Pocket Option?

To deposit money into your Pocket Option account:

  1. Log in to your account.

  2. Navigate to the "Finance" section and select "Deposit".

  3. Choose your preferred deposit method from available options (e.g., credit card, e-wallet, cryptocurrency).

  4. Enter the amount you wish to deposit and any required payment details.

  5. Confirm the transaction and wait for the funds to be credited to your account.

How to Withdraw from Pocket Option?

To withdraw funds from Pocket Option:

  1. Access your account and go to the "Finance" section.

  2. Select "Withdrawal" and choose your preferred method.

  3. Enter the amount you wish to withdraw and provide any necessary details for the selected method.

  4. Submit the request. Note that verification may be required for withdrawal processing.

Do I Have to Pay Tax on Trading in the UK?

Yes, in the UK, profits from financial markets, including binary and Forex trading, may be subject to tax. The specific tax obligations depend on individual circumstances, including total income and the type of trading. Profits from trading are typically subject to Capital Gains Tax, but in some cases, they might be considered income and taxed accordingly. It's advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand your tax responsibilities.


In conclusion, the legality of Pocket Option in the UK is a nuanced subject, primarily due to its status as an unregulated broker by the FCA. While binary trading is not illegal in the UK, the stringent regulations to protect consumers mean that the FCA must authorise and regulate any platform offering these services to UK residents. Pocket Option, holding a license from the Mwali International Services Authority (MISA), does not meet the authority's criteria for regulation, thus presenting a significant caveat for UK-based traders considering this platform.

The FCA's permanent ban on the sale of binary options to retail consumers further complicates the matter, underscoring the authority's commitment to safeguarding investors from the high risks associated with these financial instruments. As such, UK traders looking to engage in options trading must navigate this regulatory landscape cautiously, ensuring they only deal with fully compliant platforms.

For those in the UK interested in binary trading, conducting thorough research is crucial. This includes understanding the legal and compliance implications and considering the risks involved. Consulting with financial advisors or legal experts can also provide valuable insights into making informed decisions in the trading world. While Pocket Option may offer attractive trading opportunities to a global audience, UK residents must weigh the legal restrictions and potential risks before engaging with the platform or trading activities.

Nikolay Zavarov - AuthorNikolay ZavarovAuthor

Nikolay is an experienced specialist in financial markets and co-founder of IamForexTrader. He has been successfully trading Forex since 2014 and has been actively involved in the cryptocurrency market since 2017.

He develops investment strategies adaptable to any level of experience and has been actively investing in stocks, bonds and ETFs since 2018.