4-star brokerage firm rating

OptionsXpress review

4-star brokerage firm rating

Thinkorswim review

Thinkorswim vs OptionsXpress

OptionsXpress vs Thinkorswim 2015: Account Pricing, Commissions, Fees


TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

  • Stocks and ETFs: $8.95
  • Options: $14.95 for up to 10 contracts, $1.50 per contract for over 10 contracts
  • Options Active Traders: $12.95 for up to 10 contracts, $1.25 per contract for over 10 contracts
  • Mutual funds: $9.95
  • Bonds: $5 per bond, $9.95 minimum
  • Futures: $3.50 per contract
  • Options on Futures: $3.50 per contract
  • Forex: No commissions. optionsXpress receives compensation through the bid/ask spread.
  • Spreads, Straddles & Combos: 2-10 contracts - $12.95 flat (active traders) $14.95 flat (non-active traders); 10 + contracts - $1.25 per contract (active traders); $1.50 per contract (non-active traders)
  • Investments: stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, options on futures, covered calls, forex, ETFs
  • OptionXpress minimum deposit to open account: $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
  • All OptionsXpress fees

  • Stocks and ETFs: $9.99
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $49.99
  • Stocks and ETFs interactive voice response (IVR) telephone system: $34.99
  • Options: $9.99 + $0.75 per contract
  • No-load mutual funds: $49.99
  • Treasuries at auction: $25
  • All other bonds and CMOs, CDs: on a net yield basis
  • Futures: $2.25 per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees)
  • Forex: Non-commission currency pairs trade in increments of 10,000 units (and do not contain a "#" symbol suffix). There are no additional fees or charges.
  • Investment products: stocks, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures, and forex
  • Thinkorswim\TOS minimum deposit to open account: $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
  • All Thinkorswim fees

OptionsXpress vs Thinkorswim: Pros


TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

  • Very cheap mutual fund commissions at $9.95 per transaction
  • Best customer service
  • Many well-designed trading tools and cutting-edge trading technology
  • Free streaming quotes
  • 50 free trades bonus for opening new account
  • No fee IRA accounts
  • Great research
  • Free virtual trading
  • Helpful investor community
  • No money down to open new account
  • Free account transfers
  • Free instructor-led online classes
  • Free broker-assisted trading
  • Free DRIP: dividend reinvestment plan (contact customer service to set up)
  • Access to financial advice and additional brokerage services through Charles Schwab

  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • Large and well-known company with 126 local branches
  • Two excellent trading platforms: Thinkorswim and Trade Architect
  • Users can practice trading without risking real money using PaperMoney virtual trading
  • Easy access to myTRADE trader community
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Free streaming quotes, including Level II
  • Rich selection of independent, third-party research from 12 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, etc.)
  • 100+ ETFs with no commissions
  • Large number of mutual funds - over 13,000 available; 2,500 NTF (no-transaction fee) funds
  • Free DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan)

OptionsXpress vs Thinkorswim: Cons


TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

  • Higher than average commissions on stocks and ETFs

  • High commissions on all investment products
  • High margin rates

Thinkorswim vs OptionsXpress: Comparison Summary

OptionsXpress by Charles Schwab (OptionsXpress Review) offers slightly lower commissions on stocks and ETFs than Thinkorswim/TOS (Thinkorswim Review): $8.95 and $9.95 per trade respectively. Unadvertised secret is that Thinkorswim's pricing is negotiable for active traders. Both investment companies don't have maintenance and inactivity fees. Unlike many other online brokerages, they also don't charge additional commission on penny stocks (stocks priced under $1), large-size orders, and extended hours trading.

Thinkorswim and OptionsXpress provide excellent customer service, investment research and powerful trading tools. They offer free virtual trading where investors could test different trading strategies, and improve their skills without risking real money. At OptionsXpress beginner investors can also improve their knowledge about investing by taking advantage of free online instructor lead classes.

Thinkorswim and OptionsXpress do not charge annual IRA and IRA setup fees, and TD Ameritrade (Thinkorswim's parent firm) is included in our Top IRA Companies list.

Thinkorswim is now part of TD Ameritrade: accounts at both firms are identical and customers enjoy all the benefits of both online brokers.

In summary, Thinkorswim and OptionsXpress are great! OptionsXpress will work better for options traders. Thinkorswim is a better choice for beginners, IRA account, forex and futures traders, and buy-and-hold investors.

OptionsXpress Promotion - none
right now:

OptionsXpress review

Thinkorswim Promotion - trade free
for 60 days + up to $600:

TDAmeritrade review

This article was updated on 8/4/2015.

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