Optionshouse Review 2014: Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit
|Stocks and ETFs|| $4.75|
|Stocks and ETFs broker assisted|| $4.75|
Plan 1. Up to five contracts for $5; each additional
Plan 2. $8.50 + 0.15/contract (great if trading over 10 contracts)
Plan 1. Up to 10 contracts for $10; each additional
Plan 2. $12.50 + 0.15/contract
|Mutual funds|| $9.95|
|U.S. Treasury bonds and listed corporate bonds||Orders are accepted by phone|
|Investments|| stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs|
|Optionshouse minimum deposit to open account|| $1,000 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account|
The online application for new accounts is easy and fast. Customer service called the next day
to make sure everything was in order. We had to fax two paper forms to transfer an existing IRA account,
and we would have preferred the option to email scanned forms instead.
A new account is immediately funded with $5,000 of virtual money, and customers can start practice trading right away.
This virtual trading feature is a great learning and testing tool for trying and developing trading strategies without risking hard-earned money.
Accounts offered at OptionsHouse include Individual, Corporate, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, Traditional IRAs, Joint, UTMA, UGMA,
Trusts, Partnerships, Investment Clubs, and Educational IRAs.
OptionsHouse.com Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review
Optionshouse offers lots of trading tools: Risk Viewer, Stock Screener, The Trade Generator, streaming charts and news, volatility charts,
Spread Investigators and much more. All of them are customizable, fast and easy to use.
Volatility Charts - track changes in both implied and historic volatility to help you analyze volatility trends. This is huge for options traders
as these charts help tell you if the option has a high or low premium attached to it. We love using this tool to find good options candidates to sell
naked puts and calls on and keep the cash. The current, 52 week high and 52 week low of each volatility measurement is also given which is really helpful data to have.
The Probability Calculator - enables you to enter price targets for a given symbol and find the probability of an underlying symbol reaching these targets on a
future date. One of the most important things in options trading is to make sure you’re right 70-80% of the time. This tool really takes
the guess work out of it.
Risk Viewer - using proprietary algorithms, the Risk Viewer can help you better understand and estimate the potential risk in your portfolio.
Trade Generator - the proprietary technology in the Trade Generator scours the market for options trades and finds new trade ideas that match up with your inputs
and sentiment. This is like having a personal assistant that hands you trade ideas that fit your strategy, only it’s free.
The trading screen has presets designed for basic, intermediate and advanced settings. Each setting gives you more data than the last. The basic screen gives you just dates,
strike prices, bid vs. ask and the options symbol. The intermediate setting adds volume and open interest. The advanced setting adds Greeks to the intermediate setting. You
can also make your own customized screen with just the data that you want to see. Executing trades is very easy. A lot of trading functions are simply point and click. Many
other functions are drop down based, making navigating the trading tools pretty fast and simple. In our experience, trade execution is also very fast. Real time risk and account
values continually update as your investments change. The main trading platform also calculates daily, monthly and annual returns for you in real time so there’s no doubt about
what your returns are.
One of the annoying things about their platform is that when you sign in, it opens the platform in another pop up window. As you open other tools like the volatility chart
tool, it also opens in another pop up window. You can end up with many pop up windows open and it can make navigating between research screens monotonous. We hope they
improve this as they continue to innovate the way their platform works.
The firm's iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire Apps allow customers to access and manage their account in real time, regardless of where they are.
The company revamped its browser-based platform, which now provides almost as much versatility and customization as a
stand-alone application. Additionally, OptionsHouse offers virtual accounts in which people can trade and practice strategies before they use their real money.
Optionshouse Review: Company Pros
- Low commissions
- Free streaming quotes
- No fee IRA accounts
- No volume requirements, or maintenance or inactivity fees
- Free check-writing privileges
- Free DRIPs/Dividend Reinvestment (complete, non-fractional shares only)
- Very low margin rates
- Free virtual trading
Optionshouse Review: Company Cons
- For stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible, add $0.005 per share for the entire order
- Shortened after-hours trading: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
- Basic charts
- NTF mutual funds are not offered
- Very limited research
- Few educational resources
Optionshouse Review: Summary
Optionshouse offers low, flat-rate $4.75 per trade
commissions on stocks and ETFs, two attractive plans for option traders, and a great $9.95 per transaction rate on mutual funds.
The company does not have minimum account balance, volume or minimum number of trades requirements to get these low commissions, either.
OptionsHouse’s margin rates are some of the best in the industry. Currently if a trader borrows over $1 million, the margin
rate is only 1.5%. The highest margin rate is 4% to borrow up to $49,999. The margin rates incrementally decrease from 4% to
1.5% depending on the amount the investor borrows over $50,000.
Unlike many other companies, the firm does not have additional fees on broker-assisted trades,
extended hours trading, or large orders. There is, however, $0.005 per share surcharge for stocks priced $2 or less that are
not options-eligible. Optionshouse also has a shorter than normal after-hours trading
period: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST.
Optionshouse offers its customers Maxit Tax Calculator, which helps investors with tax liabilities, gains tracking, and Schedule D reports.
In May of 2014 Optionshouse announced that it is merging with another excellent brokerage - TradeMonster (review).
The merger will create the seventh largest discount broker in the U.S. which most likely is going to be the cheapest among big brokerage houses.
We believe that Optionshouse is one of the best online brokers
for options trading in 2014 and we highly recommend the firm to options and stock traders.
We don't see any reason to overpay a brokerage to buy or sell stocks, options or mutual funds. Optionshouse provides some of the cheapest commissions on all
investment products without compromising on customer service, quality of trading tools, or reliability.
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