Scottrade vs OptionsHouse

OptionsHouse or Scottrade - which is better in 2017? Compare IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences.


Investors who seek a good value in brokerage services should consider either OptionsHouse or Scottrade. Both are low-cost brokerage firms that emphasize small commissions and quality service. The following stock broker comparison will try to determine which of the two is the better choice.

Trading Tech

OptionsHouse offers an advanced platform for its customers to trade on. The website has no trading capability. There is no charge to use the platform, which appears in a separate web browser. Features include a market calendar, charting, option chains, and strategy testing. In addition to stocks, options, and ETF's, mutual funds can also be traded on the platform.

The Scottrade website has much more material on it. Oddly, customers aren't allowed to create a login ID. There is a handy trade ticket that appears near the bottom of the browsing window. Both research and trading are fairly easy on the website, which was recently redesigned. There is also an advanced desktop platform, ScottradeELITE, which is available for active traders.

The Scottrade website by itself is just as good as the OptionsHouse platform, so Scottrade wins the first category.

Mobile Trading

Investors at Scottrade can use the broker's mobile app on Apple or Android. There is also a site designed for mobile web. Useful features include option chains, mobile check deposit, charting, and market news. There is also a watch list, and account data is available to be reviewed. Unfortunately, there is no live streaming of financial news.

OptionsHouse has a mobile platform that works on both Android and Apple phones and tablets. The broker also has a site for mobile web. There is no charge to use any of these trading systems. Charting is very good, and there is also important data on a stock's financials. Regrettably, there isn't a mobile check deposit feature, nor is there any streaming of business news.

Scottrade wins here for having mobile check deposit.

Mutual Fund Investing

Scottrade clients have access to over 11,500 mutual funds on the broker's website. More than 2,100 of these come with no load and no transaction fee. Scottrade's charge for transaction-fee funds is $17, which is applied to purchases, sales, and exchanges. Funds with loads are always free to buy, although they do cost $17 to sell.

All mutual funds at OptionsHouse cost $20 to trade. The broker doesn't any NTF funds. While the Scottrade website has a great deal of information on mutual funds, OptionsHouse has very little.

OptionsHouse looses again.

Customer Service

An OptionsHouse representative can by reached by phone or through on-line chat any weekday from 8 am to 8 pm (EST). Unfortunately, the broker has no hours on the weekend and no branch locations.

Scottrade does have branch locations. In fact, it has over 500 offices in most states. Phone service is available during the week from 5 am to midnight, CST. Phone hours on the weekend are from 8 am to 6 pm. The broker also offers chat and e-mail service, except they open one hour later on the weekday.

Scottrade wins here, too.

Commissions and Account Minimums

Scottrade clients pay $6.95 to buy and sell ETF's and stocks. A significantly lower commission of $4.95 is available at OptionsHouse. For option traders, Scottrade charges an extra 70¢ per contract, while OptionsHouse customers pay just 50¢. Scottrade was at $1.25 for a long time, so 70¢ is a significant and recent change. Assignments and exercises at OptionsHouse are charged the broker's regular $4.95 commission. Scottrade, on the other hand, charges a much higher $17 for both. Traders can buy and sell securities over the phone using a live broker at either firm. OptionsHouse charges $29.95 for this service, while Scottrade is a little higher at $32. Margin accounts can be opened at both firms. Currently, a loan under $10,000 at OptionsHouse is 7.75%, while Scottrade is a little higher at 8%.

Neither broker maintains any specific account fees. There are no setup fees, low-balance fees, inactivity fees, or annual fees at either firm. To open a securities account at Scottrade, investors must deposit at least $2,500. There is no minimum at OptionsHouse.

OptionsHouse finally takes a category.

Research and Education

Scottrade's website has good information on securities trading. Several articles introduce basic concepts regarding many financial products, including stocks, options, and mutual funds. The broker's clients get independent stock reports at no cost. There is also Knowledge Center, a section of the site with many helpful resources.

Compared to Scottrade, OptionsHouse doesn't provide as much information to its clients. Mutual fund research is virtually non-existent. Information on stocks is available only from optionMonster. There are no educational videos on the OH website. It seems that OptionsHouse is geared toward experienced investors who don't need trading education.

Scottrade is victorious here.


Scottrade (Scottrade review) succeeded in five categories, and OptionsHouse was victorious in just one category. Scottrade wins by a landslide. Nevertheless, OptionsHouse (OptionsHouse review) is a better choice for frequent stock, ETF, futures and options traders.

Updated on 9/20/2017.

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