What Happens When a Call Option Expires?

There is an opportunity given to traders for buying and selling securities before the option expires. The option contract keeps losing value as it gets closer to the expiration day. The weekly options expire on Friday, and the monthly options expire on the third Friday every month. The option trading is volatile and can take any turns when it gets closer to the expiration date. It is possible to protect the trading account if you avoid the common errors and remain extra careful while engaging in options trading. 

What happens when a call option expires in the money?

If a call option expires, the money trader will pay a higher price to purchase the asset because he has to pay the difference between the strike price and the asset price at the time of expiration. Usually, when the call option expires in the money, the corresponding amount of stock is either sold or bought and then added to the trader’s account.

What happens when a call option expires out of the money?

If the call option expires out of the money, then shares will not be assigned, the absolute position expires worthless, and the money paid for the opportunity is lost. Thus, the position will disappear from the trader’s account, and the call is out of the money and expires worthless only if the stock price is below the strike price at the expiration.

When do options expire worthless?

Call options expire worthlessly or out of the money when the strike price is higher than the asset’s current market price. On another side, a put option increases in value, the premium rises as the price of the asset decreases.

Can you trade options on the expiration day?

Yes, you can trade the option on the expiration day because the expiration will be held after the market is closed. Usually, options expire on the third Friday of the contract month in the US, and you can trade options on Friday. In that case, the options expiration process technology will be on Saturday after Friday option market is closed.

What time do options expire?

Usually, options expire after the third Friday of the contract month when the market closes at 11:59 AM Eastern Standard time on Saturday. So, in theory, the expiration day is the third Friday of the contract month, but practically contracts will expire on Saturday.

Do options expire at open or close?

Options expire after the close. Usually, options expire after the third Friday of the contract month when the market closes at 11:59 AM Eastern Standard time on Saturday.

The most common mistake made by traders is that they forget the expiration date of the options. The expiration date of the contracts varies depending on the type of the option contract. Therefore, they must be kept in mind to avoid any foolish errors. 

Here are some tips that will help you get the most of your trading with options contracts. 

  1. Close the trade before the expiration date: You are engaging in options trading to earn money. People keep the trade open when making good money, even on the expiration day. However, when people face losses, they often tend to take out some of their money early. You must note that the closer the option contract gets to the expiration date, it starts losing value. Therefore, the temptation to earn a little more profit will do you no good. It is suitable to close your trade before the expiration and take out the profits or losses you have made timely before it expires. 
  2. Stay clear of the broker’s margin call: If there is enough money in your stock to make payments, it will work well automatically. However, you might receive a call from your broker if there is less money in your account than the stock price. In such a case, it is best to close out the trade and sell the stock. If the securities get sold lower than the exercise price, the loss gets extracted from your trading account. To avoid this mistake, you must make sure to close your trade position before the expiration day. 
  3. Do not use options to buy stock: Several people buy call options aspiring to own the stock after the option expires, but this is counterproductive. The aim behind this is to purchase call options to gain profit when the stock price goes up. However, if the call options expire before, you will have to pay more money for purchasing the stock compared with the price you would be required to pay for buying the stock outright. Besides this, you will also lose the money paid as commission and the premium cost paid to buy the option contract. Therefore, if you desire to buy the stock, it is best to buy it outright without incurring unnecessary costs. 
  4. Stay updated on the European style Options expiration: You must note that different options expire on other days. The European-style options have their expiration date on the third Thursday of every month instead of the third Friday expiry date of the American options. It is imperative to remember the expiration day to close your options in time, or you will be in losses even before you realize it. You will not even know whether your option contract has expired in or out of money till Friday noon when they announce the settlement price. If you are afraid of forgetting the day, it is best to set up a reminder to make the necessary moves timely and avoid unnecessary losses. 

These are the most common errors that people make. Thus, take note of these errors and refrain from committing the same mistakes to get the maximum profits and keep unnecessary losses away. 

Can you sell options before expiration?

Yes, you can sell options before expiration during the last expiration day, Friday. You can sell options during the whole trading day up to market close on Friday. The traders can sell an option before expiry time if they think this would be more profitable.



Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on: igor@forex.in.rs

Trade gold and silver. Visit the broker's page and start trading high liquidity spot metals - the most traded instruments in the world.

Trade Gold & Silver


Recent Posts