OptionsXpress Review: Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit
|Stocks and ETFs||$14.95 (if 0-8 trades per quarter); $9.95 (if 9+ trades per quarter)|
|Stocks and ETFs over 1,000 shares in the order||$0.015 per share (if 0-8 trades per quarter); $0.01 per share (if 9+ trades per quarter)|
|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/contract for over 10 contracts|
|Mutual funds|| $9.95|
|Bonds||$5 per bond, $14.95 minimum|
|Futures||click to see|
|Penny Options||1-10 contracts $4.95 flat; 10+ contracts $0.50 per contract|
|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|
OptionsXpress by Charles Schwab has a blazingly fast new account application that doesn't sacrifice security:
the checking account we linked used a deposit verification process, and the next
day we got a phone call from customer service to verify our account information.
OptionsXpress offers most account types: Individual Account, Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship,
Joint Tenants in Common, Trusts (Regular, Keogh, Profit Sharing Plan Trust, Money Purchase Plan),
Corporate and LLC, Partnership, Investment Club, Custodial Account, Coverdell (educational IRA), Minor Roth,
Minor Traditional, Custodial Traditional IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and SIMPLE IRA.
OptionsXpress.com Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review
The OptionsXpress.com website is visually pleasing and easy to navigate.
The firm offers 18 powerful trading tools, some of which are as easy to use for
beginners as they are for experienced investors.
The most popular trading tools are:
- Chains: all-in-one screen for real-time quotes, intrinsic and time values, and complex spread construction.
- Chart PatternsSM: up to 20 stocks ranked by how closely they meet your interests and spending limits.
- XpressCharts: mix and match technical studies until you find a picture that best suits you.
- FleXCharts: streaming charts let you customize your view of the market.
- Xspreads Spread Book: view open spread orders by underlying security, month of expiration and strategy type.
- XTend: downloadable trading console for sophisticated traders.
One of the tools is colorfully named “The Dragon”. It is a screener totally geared toward options and short term trading. It can screen stocks and options
based on a number of parameters. A few of them are high open interest, high put/call ratio, and substantial change in volatility. These are important metrics
for options traders and give deep insight into market functions.
Another great tool is called “StrategyScan.” It allows you to
pick from six screening options to pinpoint certain kinds of trades. You start with the stock symbol, then pick your time horizon and direction.
Direction is bullish or bearish: you can pick anywhere from strongly bullish through shades of neutrality into strongly bearish. Next, are trading
level and investment risk. This keeps you from picking trades you can't afford. Finally, you pick a specific strategy. The screener will scan all trades from
buying stocks to selling options and other, more complicated strategies like butterfly spreads. As complicated as trading can be, it is easy to see
just how beneficial are tools like these.
One of our personal favorite features is the charting. OptionsXpress uses super-fast streaming charts powered by Java. You can pull up any chart
on any stock or option traded in the U.S. The information is as quick as the floor of the exchange. The charts can be set up to display seven
different price patterns including bar, area, percent and candle. We prefer candle: it makes it easy for us to see the price movement.
You can focus the charts down to pinpoint movements of price, such as 1 day/1 minute charting.
You can also zoom out and chart the Dow (DIA) from the late eighties into the present.
Feel free to apply any tool you use to the charts: Fibonaccis, channels, Bollinger bands, MACD, stochastics, and
dozens of others are available.
OptionsXpress Review: Pros
- 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
- $100 bonus for opening new account
- No fee IRA accounts
- Great research
- Free virtual trading
- 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)
OptionsXpress Review: Cons
- Very expensive commissions on stocks and ETFs
- Surcharge on orders with over 1,000 shares
- Complicated commissions schedule
OptionsXpress Review Summary
OptionsXpress by Charles Schwab offers great customer service, and professional trading tools and is rated Best in
Trade Experience, Technical Trading Tools, Usability, Research and Customer Service Access
in online broker surveys by major financial magazines.
There are no IRA setup or annual IRA fees and no account inactivity, maintenance, or platform fees. OptionsXpress does not have surcharges
for stocks below $1 (penny stocks) or extended hours trading. But the firm does charge more on stock and ETF orders with over 1,000 shares
which makes these trades really expensive.
Beginner investors could educate themselves by taking free instructor-led online classes.
They could also call and place broker-assisted trades with no additional charge. OptionsXpress offers free virtual trading,
which allows users to practice trading with fake money. In fact, the firm was rated #1 Easiest to Use by Barron's magazine.
OptionsXpress is one of the cheapest brokerages in the industry for mutual fund investing - commission is very low $9.95 (plus the load fee if buying a load fund).
The firm also does not charge IRA fees and therefore is a good option not only for mutual fund investors but also
for a no-fee IRA account.
In 2013 OptionsXpress increased its pricing on equities and it is now one of the most expensive online brokers for investing in
stocks and ETFs for non-active investors. If you are looking to trade or invest mostly in stocks and ETFs we do not recommend OptionsXpress -
TradeKing is a much better choice, charging just $4.95 per trade
In 2011 OptionsXpress was bought by one of the largest, oldest, and best-known brokerage houses in the country - Charles Schwab - and
is now a part of this firm. This acquisition should ease the fears of those prospective clients, who are worried about trusting
their money with a less-known company.
Investors can open a new account with no money down and no commitment and see for themselves whether they
like the company as much as we do. New customers get $100 free for opening a new non-IRA account by using OptionsXpress promotion code below.
They also get transfer fees
reimbursed if they are transferring an account from another institution -- just email customer service after it's done.
Reviewed by Brokerage Review on
Reviewed by Editor and OptionsXpress customers.