What Are Call Options? Learn Basics of Call Options and Strategies With Examples

What are call options: definition of Call Options?

call options in the stock market are a kind of a contract between buyer and seller, where the buyer pays a premium, commonly known as option premium to buy shares at a fixed price, (commonly known as the strike price) on or before a specific date. This specific date is basically the expiry date of the call options contract. Under this contract, the buyer has the right but is not obliged to exercise the contract.

Buying a Call option gives the buyer an option to “BUY” underlying asset at an agreed-upon price with an expiry date on this contract. So the buyer wants the price of an underlying asset to go up. On the contrary, since call option seller has agreed to sell underlying expects prices to fall.

Call Option

Now let’s understand call options with an example

To explain this in a layman’s term lets taken a practical call options example. Imagine you want to buy a house and have shortlisted a house and a price with the current owner of the house. But you need a few days to arrange for the money to complete the purchase. In such a case, buyers often give the sellers, what we call “token money” which is essentially a right to buy the house at the agreed price in a pre-determined period. In case the buyer defaults on his promise to complete the purchase in the agreed time period, then the seller will forfeit the token money and book the same as his income. This token money is nothing but a call option premium.

Example of call options in the context of stock markets

Pooja wants to invest in ABC Ltd Stock and the stock trades at Rs.100. 1-month call option of ABC ltd is Rs.10. Pooja expects the price of ABC Ltd to go up so instead of buying 5000 shares at Rs.50,00,00 (Rs.100/share X 5000) she buys a call option for a premium Rs.10 X 5000 shares at Rs 50,000. Now if the price of ABC Ltd goes up the call option premium of Rs.10 will also go up and probably faster than the share price itself. At this time Pooja will sell her call option at let’s say an option premium of Rs.15. In this example, pooja made Rs.10 (buy price)  -(minus) Rs.15 (Sell price) = Rs.5. per share. Her total profit will be Rs.5 X 5000 shares = Rs.25,000

The above example is only to explain the concept of Call options, now let’s look at how call options work

When a buyer buys a call option he pays a premium to the seller for a particular contract, in this transaction, there are three important elements of call options.

  • Strike Price: Strike price is the price of the underlying stock or share at which you could buy the actual share
  • Premium: Price of the option contract
  • Expiry Date: The date when the options contract expires

How are call options different from put options?

The fundamental difference between call options and put options is that call options give the buyer a RIGHT TO BUY the underlying asset whereas Put options give the buyer a RIGHT TO SELL the underlying asset.

Important things to note about call options

  • Lots: One can trade call option in lots only, Lot sizes are predetermined like 100 shares in 1 lot
  • Fixed Expiry Date: As in India, we have adapted European Options style, the Expiry date is fixed viz. last Thursday of the month (in the case Thursday is a trading holiday previous working day).
  • In the money call option – when the strike price is lower than the price of the underlying asset.
  • At the money call option – when the strike price and price of the underlying asset are identical.
  • Out of the money call option – when the strike price is above the price of the underlying asset.

Just for reference, let’s assume the share price of ABC Company is Rs. 100 and a lot size of 50 units. Trader A has bought a call option for an ABC company of 100 strike price (agreed-upon price). Now if on the day of the expiry share price of ABC Company closes above Rs. 100. Buyer will have a positive payoff as long as the payoff received is greater than the premium paid for the option.

Call Option Profit and loss

As we trade call option or any other stock market instrument with the sole purpose of making money. The important thing to understand is Payoff. Payoff and Profit isn’t the same thing. Pay off means premium of the desired option at the time of expiry. For calculating Profit, one needs to take investment from payoff.

Eg. Trader A has bought a call option of 100 strike price of ABC Company at Rs. 2. A premium of ABC Company at the time of expiry is 10 then, Payoff will be Rs. 10 but profit will be Rs. 8.

In the case of option writer (seller), if call expires below strike price meaning worthless then the payoff is what he collects in terms of option premium.

A Call gives the buyer an option to “BUY” underlying asset at an agreed-upon price with an expiry date on this contract. Whereas, Put gives the buyer an option to “SELL” at agreeing upon a price with an expiry date on this contract.

Call buyer would want prices of the underlying to go up and put buyers would like to see prices of underlying falling.

A call buyer makes a profit when the price of an underlying asset is more than the strike price at expiry. A put buyer makes a profit when the price of an underlying asset is less than the strike price at expiry. You can get a complete visualisation of options payoffs on the Samco Option Payoff Value calculator.

There are some popular call option strategies

  • Long Call Strategy: In Long Call strategy, the trader buys a call option of an underlying which is already in his portfolio.
  • Bull Spread Strategy: In Bull Spread strategy, a trader creates a spread by buying in the money call option and selling out of the money call option.
  • Covered Call Strategy: In covered Call strategy, trader writes at the money call option of an underlying which he holds in the portfolio.

As they say, in trading the most important thing is the price. Likewise while trading call option one must keep in mind what is the fair value of call option? To check the fair value check Samco’s Option value calculator.

Everything comes at a price, like while buying stock we pay the price, brokerage and transaction charges. To calculate the brokerage while trading options, refer the brokerage calculator for options.

While trading call option full-filling margin requirement is necessary. To check what margin is required to trade call option check Samco’s SPAN calculator.

Important Facts for Trading Options

  • Buying Call Options
    • Margin Applicable – None, however, the option premium is payable upfront.
    • Risk – Reward – Maximum Loss is restricted to the premium, whereas the maximum profit can be unlimited.
  • Selling Call Options
    • Margin Applicable – Premium is received by the seller and credited to ledger however margin is payable for holding the short position.
    • Check the Margin requirements for writing options on the Samco Margin Calculator.
    • Risk – Reward – Maximum Profit is restricted to the premium, whereas the loss can be unlimited.

The margin for Options Trading

Samco customers get up to 20X leverage in selling options and 3X leverage in buying options with OptionPlus subscription. Read more about OptionsPlus here

Other Important Links

Learn About Trading Index Options
Trading Options in India
Open a Free Options Trading account

Video Resources: How To Make 130% Returns By Trading One Lot


Share this article

About The Author


  1. Rahul

    Thank you for sharing great stuff. I was searching for the what is the difference between call and put options in trading.

  2. Manali

    This blog is good to get information regarding trading and all the aspects of trading so that a new trader can also trade.

  3. Kesavan Babu

    Samco – This Knowledge Center i s No less than a KAZAN A Box for me.The contents are mostly very useful for a trader like me, who just had hardly any exposure in this field.You are doing great service to the traders unlike other brokers.Other brokers are only interested in filling their stomach and they hardly think of helping investors like you do.You charge much less from us and provide so much of knowledge sharing in a simple way.I simply appreciate your effort and it is a gratuity for me !!!!

Leave A Comment?