TradeKing vs OptionsHouse

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

Acquisition By ETRADE and Ally


Last year ETRADE acquired OptionsHouse, and Ally Bank bought TradeKing and renamed it Ally Invest. For this reason the most up to date information on these two brokers is in the Ally Invest vs Etrade comparison article.


Investors seeking a very low-cost broker often turn to OptionsHouse or TradeKing. These two firms have commissions lower than most low-cost brokerages. Let's take a look at how they compare to each other, and see if one can be considered a better value than the other.

OptionsHouse vs TradeKing: Fees and Account Minimums

Both brokers charge $4.95 for stock and ETF trades. OptionsHouse charges $0.50 extra per contract for options. TradeKing is a little higher at $0.65 extra. At TradeKing, options exercises are $9.95, while assignments are much lower at $4.95. OptionsHouse charges $4.95 for both assignments and exercises.

Investors can place a trade with a living, breathing broker at either firm. TradeKing charges $24.95 for this service, while OptionsHouse is a little higher at $29.95.

A brokerage account at OptionsHouse carries no inactivity fee or annual fee. TradeKing does have an annual inactivity account fee. It is $50 and is charged to accounts that have both (1) no trades in the trailing 12 months, and (2) less than $2,500 in household assets with TradeKing. Both conditions must be met for the fee to be applied.

Individual Retirement Accounts are available at both brokers. While the IRA is open, neither broker charges any additional fees beyond what a regular trading account carries. However, OptionsHouse charges $60 to close an IRA, while TradeKing charges $50 to close or transfer a retirement account.

Investors who wish to use borrowed money can take advantage of margin with either firm. TradeKing currently charges 9.25% for a loan under $5,000, while OptionsHouse clients pay 8.00% for the same debit.

Overall, this category goes to OptionsHouse.

Fund Offerings

Investors at OptionsHouse pay $20 to trade mutual funds. This charge is applied to both the buy and sell sides. Unfortunately, the broker doesn't offer any NTF mutual funds.

TradeKing customers have access to over 8,500 mutual funds. Fund with loads don't carry a transaction fee. There is a $9.95 charge for mutual funds without loads. This fee is charged to both purchases and sales.

TradeKing wins the category.

Customer Service

TradeKing customers can reach out to a representative anytime during the week from 8 am to 6 pm, EST. The broker can be contacted by fax, snail mail, e-mail, phone, or on-line chat. An OptionsHouse representative can be reached either by phone or by chat from 7 am to 7 pm, CST, during the weekday. Fax and e-mail can also be used.

OptionsHouse wins this category for longer customer service hours.

Trading Tools

TradeKing customers can trade on the broker's website, which is intuitive and simple to use. Alternatively, TradeKing LIVE is a browser-based platform that traders might prefer over the website. The platform displays market indices, the account's watch list, and position information. There are also option chains and a handy trade ticket. There is a requirement of at least one trade per 12 months or an account balance of at least $2,500 to use TradeKing LIVE.

Website trading is not available at OptionsHouse. Instead, trading occurs only on the firm's platform. It has many useful features. These include market news, charting, and options research. The trading system is Java-based and is launched from the browser. One unique feature the platform has that the TradeKing system does not is paper trading. Furthermore, the OH platform has no minimum requirements.

Overall, it's a draw here.

Mobile Platforms

OptionsHouse customers can buy and sell on Apple and Android devices. Mobile web is also available. Option chains can be displayed for ETF's and stocks, and charting comes with technical indicators. Even better, the app has paper trading.

TradeKing also has apps for Apple, Android, and mobile web. Charting with technical studies is available. The account's watch list is shown along with position data and option chains. Vital fundamental analysis information is displayed on the app for a stock under research. These data include stats such as shares outstanding and dividend yield. The OH app doesn't provide this research information.

Too close to call here.

Education and Research

TradeKing customers will find a wide variety of research and educational materials on the broker's website. Free stock reports are available from S&P Capital IQ. There are educational videos on various financial topics. Many articles on investment topics are also on the TradeKing website. The broker has good screeners for all available securities, including options. A great feature that TradeKing customers get is the broker's trader network. This is a forum and blog where investors can connect with each other and TradeKing reps.

Compared to TradeKing, OptionsHouse has less informational tools. There are no free stock reports. There is some equity research on the broker's platform from optionMonster. Benzinga and optionMonster both provide market news. An earnings calendar is available on the platform.

TradeKing wins.

Promotion Offers

Right now, customers who open and fund an OptionsHouse account with at least $5,000 within first 30 days will receive 60 days of commission-free trading.

TradeKing has a simple offer that applies to almost all cients: open new accounts and get $100 in free commissions.

TradeKing vs OptionsHouse: Results

OptionsHouse (read review) was victorious twice, TradeKing (read review) won two categories, and there were two ties. Overall, it's a tie.

Both of these companies are excellent and will please a majority of clients. TradeKing works especially well for mutual funds and buy-and-hold investors, anyone new to investing as well as for those looking for an IRA account, or wanting to take advantage of the online investor community.

OptionsHouse is our recommendation for stock and options traders - the firm provides highly rated trading tools and better options trading commissions.

Our advice is to open accounts with both firms (it takes about 20 minutes) with no obligation (non-IRA accounts don't have account closing fee), and take advantage of OptionsHouse's and TradeKing's unique and valuable features free of charge.

Updated on 9/20/2017.

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