OptionsHouse Review 2015: Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit
|Stocks and ETFs|| $4.95|
|Stocks and ETFs broker assisted|| $29.95|
|Options||$4.95 + $0.50 per contract|
|Mutual funds|| $20|
The online application for new accounts is easy and fast: usually takes 8 minutes to complete. You start by clicking on their promotion offer
- Trade Free For 60 Days when you Open a New OptionsHouse Account
- than clicking "Open An Account Today" button. To receive 60 days of free trading
you must fund an account with a minimum of $5,000 within 30 days of account opening.
After going through application screens, we had to fax two paper forms to transfer an existing IRA account (not required if you are not
transferring an account) - we would have preferred the option to email scanned forms instead. Customer service called the next day
to make sure everything was in order.
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, Joint With Right Of Survivorship, Traditional IRA and Roth IRA.
Mutual Fund Research
OptionsHouse may not have the biggest selection of mutual funds, but sticking with its high regard for research and tools, the platform does not skimp on its offerings for mutual fund research. The mutual fund ticker comes in a nice and easy to read layout that provides a risk profile as well as relative rankings for the fund. Through other areas of fund research users are able to see a fund’s holdings and past performance. An interesting additional feature is examining a fund’s expenses, where the user is given an easy to read explanation of the expenses for each fund and what they mean. An additional fund screening tool gives users a high-end mutual fund screener, with excellent filtering tools to narrow down a search.
OptionsHouse Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review
Charting functionality on the site is comprehensive and includes all types of views and comparison charting necessary to trade and invest like a pro. One feature that sticks out is the ability to quickly jump to important technical events and even set up alerts for an individual quote to be notified when events occur. These events are analyzed for bullish and bearish signals determined on a desired investing time horizon.
Free Virtual Trading:
Ever want to try out an investing strategy without committing real money? Want to learn how to trade options for the first time? Virtual trading allows users to trade on the platform using virtual money without taking any risk. It is especially nice for beginners who aren’t yet comfortable using the platform to trade and don’t want to take any risks with real portfolio money.
LiveAction: Scanning tool that searches a database of streaming quotes in real-time to find live action and opportunities in the market. Since the scan is done in real-time users don’t have to worry about delayed data.
strategySEEK: For any given symbol input forecasts and risks and strategySEEK will analyze thousands of option trading strategies and optimize for the strategy most appropriate for your given criteria.
EXIT PLAN: Eliminates uncertainty of when to act by setting alerts or orders aligned to investors trading strategy. Establishes pre-determined exit points for every trade based on profit and loss targets as well as time horizons.
Mobile Trading: OptionsHouse has applications for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, and mobile web. The interface is intuitive and user
friendly. Users can place an order, read market news, search for options, and look over account and position data. Investors can even select virtual
trade on the mobile app to practice trading. Unfortunately, right now funds transfer isn’t available, nor is mobile check deposit.
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)
- No surcharges for large orders or extended hours trading
- 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 (including OTCBB, Pink Sheets)
- Short after-hours trading: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
OptionsHouse Review: Summary
Don't let the name fool you - OptionsHouse is not just for options traders. Since 2005 the firm also provides excellent tools and pricing for stocks,
ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds investors. OptionsHouse offers low, flat-rate $4.95 per trade commission on stocks and ETFs; attractive plan for option traders
- $4.95 plus $0.50 per contract; and a below average, $20 per transaction rate on mutual funds. The company does not have minimum account balance,
trading 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 2.00%. The highest margin rate is 6.50% to borrow up to $49,999. The margin rates incrementally decrease from 6.50% to
2.00% depending on the amount the investor borrows over $50,000.
Unlike many other companies, the firm does not have additional fees on IRA accounts, 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 shorter than usual 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 discount brokerage - TradeMonster (review).
The merger is now complete and it placed the firm in top 10 largest online brokerages in the U.S.
In the most recent online stock broker survey, OptionsHouse got score of 5 (out of 5) in Mobile and Portfolio Analysis & Reports
categories as well as some of the highest scores in Research Amenities, Usability, Customer Service & Education, and in Trading Technology categories.
We rated OptionsHouse one of the Best Online Brokers for stock and options trading in 2015.
The firm provides some of the cheapest commissions on many investment products without compromising on customer service, quality of trading tools, or
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Reviewed by Editor and 100+ users.