11 APIs For Futures Data

11 APIs For Futures Data

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When it comes to trading on the market, data is king. Data provides the context and insights necessary to trade effectively and efficiently, and the quality of this data can significantly impact long-term success. This data is especially integral to the futures market. Below, we’ll look at a few core offerings in the marketplace for futures data.

1. Barchart

Barchart is a solution with variety as the focus of its value proposition. It provides the APIs and endpoints you might expect, such as futures, options, and real-time, delayed, and historical data on various market products. It also provides substantial data across forex, cryptos, secondary markets, and more. This data is further enriched through tertiary data such as weather information and USD grain cash bids, allowing adoptees to form a holistic picture from a mountain of variables at hand.

Comprehensive data can lead to better insights and market analysis, and Barchart has these in spades. They offer enrichment to help contextualize these data points and lead to more informed decision-making. That said, this amount of data can be overwhelming. For users seeking more limited data sets, the actual value of Barchart might be missed in your particular use case.

Barchart at a Glance

  • Barchart has iterated significantly on its product due to consumer response, providing much data with little friction.
  • Enriched context around this data is the strongest value proposition, as it gives substantial insight and long-term guidance.

2. TickAPI

TickAPI offers a highly customizable source of data with deep history. It separates its offerings into a few distinct buckets, varying depending on whether you need the historical data streamed, downloaded, or hosted. Notably, TickAPI supports a wide range of languages and offers flexible access to data in the way users want it — as they declare in documentation, “without human intervention” and with “no software installation required.”

TickAPI at a Glance

  • TickAPI offers substantial data without many of the framing and software requirements of other vendors, which makes it more flexible.
  • This flexibility does come with a cost, however. Access to its data source must be licensed directly through its sales team.

3. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers, or IBKR, is a big player in the industry and offers several different APIs for specific use cases. Perhaps its most useful API for futures data is the Trader Workstation (TWS) API. The TWS API is open source and provides access to a large amount of enriched market data.

Notably, IBKR itself is listed on the market, and works closely with large partners. While this is not necessarily a guarantee of quality, the fact that IBKR is so widely used and institutional can be of some benefit to users looking for a market solution with security and privacy baked in.

Interactive Brokers at a Glance

  • Most of the benefits of IKBR come from all the services that are wrapped around historical data. Therefore, you might miss out on some value additions unless you’re an IKBR client or platform user.
  • IBKR is, in many ways, a legacy player in this space. This certainly has its own pros and cons, but IBKR has a long-term history of steady updates and a large body of documentation that makes it a solid consideration.

4. TradeStation

TradeStation is a widely used solution that has made a name for itself as a usable platform. The API is principally useful for traders who want to automate their trading and leverage TradeStation’s futures data for specific and time-limited plays.

TradeStation at a Glance

  • TradeStation is designed for simplicity, and its API echoes this ethos. It’s pretty easy to use and build into your own data use case.
  • The TradeStation community is pretty extensive, and this, paired with a substantial customer service backing, means you’ve got additional help at your fingertips.
  • To get the most out of TradeStation’s API, you must use its entire platform, which can result in serious vendor lock-in. Although their free plan is generous, you must fund your account before getting significant data access.

5. YCharts

YCharts has an interesting offering via their API. While the API is robust, its use as a commercial product requires a substantially different license than the license required to use it as a regular consumer. For this reason, YCharts is powerful but beholden to relatively opaque licensing processes. Nonetheless, YCharts has an incredible amount of data, and if you can work out a good license agreement, they’re a strong contender in terms of quality and depth of history.

YCharts at a Glance

  • YCharts has extensive data on securities, mutual funds, and other financial products and provides substantial historical data on specific companies on demand.
  • It may not be the best option for quick and cheap self-service data. That being said, the quality of the data set is quite high, so there’s certainly a tradeoff argument to be had.

6. Databento

Databento offers access to both live and historical data via a very simple API. The API is lightweight, efficient, and super low-latency. While all of that is pretty good, Databento’s main value proposition is its pricing model. Databento uses a pay-as-you-go model that is credits-based and has a flat-rate “unlimited access” plan. For this reason, Databento is a strong option for those wanting both stable cost plans as well as variability for new products and initiatives.

Databento at a Glance

  • Databento is incredibly flexible in its pricing, making for an attractive offering in an industry that often prizes transparency and cost efficiency.
  • Beyond the pricing argument — which is quite strong — Databento also offers incredibly granular data in the form of live packet capture (PCAP) support. This support delivers raw transaction data accurate to nanosecond resolution, which can significantly boost efficiency and long-term success for traders operating on the margin.

7. Polygon.io

Polygon.io is an interesting company trying to modernize the financial industry. Polygon offers standardized data access modalities that promise easier access for more people. Beyond their RESTful API, they also offer a WebSocket API, an S3 interface to access the raw dataset, and an SQL query option for more granular searches. Polygon seems focused on making financial data access more accessible, and they seem to be doing it well!

Polygon at a Glance

  • Easy to access and customize, and ultimately low-friction with a large (petabyte) amount of data on hand.
  • The pricing model is quite transparent, with separate pricing depending on the required data set. Access is free to start, allowing you to test before you buy. Business data access is similarly clear and easy to understand with flat fees and a 50% first-year discount for startups.

8. thetadata

thetadata is, at its most basic, an aggregator of market data. It specifically touts this aggregation as merging “all exchanges.” Perhaps most attractively, it offers this in a relatively robust pricing model and free tier, offering end-of-day data as well as general ticker information for all users. At more expensive user tiers, the data on access gets broader and deeper, allowing for customizability in both the volume and specificity of data for a given use case.

thetadata at a Glance

  • The offerings from thetadata are highly customizable, meaning it’s a great solution for startups and individuals who aren’t quite sure what data they actually need yet.
  • thetadata and its pricing model are relatively new in the space, but their focus on opening up institutional-quality data to more traders is lofty — and seemingly being achieved.

9. Pitchbook

While a lot of vendors provide more general historical data, one of the biggest holes in these datasets is often private market data. Public market data can help provide a lot of information for trading and evaluation purposes, but less than 1% of companies in the US are publicly traded. And it is the 99% of other businesses that can often impact the market in invisible ways, especially when considering industries such as shipping or international processing.

Pitchbook gets around this by offering both public market data and a proprietary data set focused on the private markets. By combining these data sets into a singular API, Pitchbook’s offering gets an edge in terms of total market awareness that is hard to beat.

Pitchbook at a Glance

  • Pitchbook has a complete data set of public and private market information, which is vital for contextual business decision-making.
  • A lot of Pitchbook’s value comes from how its API is used internally as part of its product — while the API is still quite powerful, those looking for a vendor-less data provision solution may find Pitchbook to be “too much” for their use case.

10. Binance

In the early days of cryptocurrency, there was a large divide between crypto and the larger financial market. In 2024, this is no longer true, and this decade has seen a massive migration to support more market tools that provide the same sort of functions, futures data, and trading mechanisms that have long existed in traditional markets.

Binance has been a leader in this effort, and its API demonstrates this. The Binance API is a fully featured market data and analysis platform with ample systems to facilitate small-scale and institutional trading. While Binance isn’t a great choice for users looking to access the “traditional market,” it does fill the need for tools that investors may be familiar with in the burgeoning crypto market.

Binance at a Glance

  • The Binance API is super focused on crypto, and while this is a huge part of the market, it is nonetheless still only a segment of the market. That said, Binance is a huge player in this field, so it bears consideration as an option for crypto futures data.

11. AlphaSense

AlphaSense takes a very different approach to futures data. While it does not offer as direct access to futures and market data, it does offer access to market reports, document analysis, event transcripts, and thousands of other qualitatively significant data sources that stitch together a picture of the companies on the market. What AlphaSense ultimately offers is an AI-driven, multisource insights engine that helps provide a significant amount of context to current and historical data.

AlphaSense at a Glance

  • AlphaSense may not offer as robust a data set for historical and current futures data, but it does offer significantly more context than any other provider on this list. For this reason, it’s a good option as an addendum, even if it doesn’t quite succeed as a primary data source option.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, these solutions all offer something unique for a given use case, and their appropriateness will depend heavily on your specific implementation and need. All of these options are strong contenders for inclusion in their specific data stacks and are constantly iterating and improving. To that end, you should periodically re-review this list and evaluate your current needs based on the reality of each product at that time.

Have we missed any major APIs that provide futures data? Please let us know in the comments below! We do not add products upon request, but we will consider the tools mentioned when updating these lists.