Optionshouse rating

OptionsHouse Review


OptionsHouse Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $29.95
Options$4.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $20
Futures $1.50 per contract

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, ETFs
Optionshouse minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesOptionshouse fees
Promotion and login linksOptionshouse login, Optionshouse promotions and Optionshouse referral


We start this review with the most important information for choosing a brokerage firm - commissions. The company is one of the best priced on the market today, charging just $4.95 for stocks or exchange traded funds (ETF's) trades. The only exception are stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible - there is a half a cent per share surcharge to trade them. Options traders get a great, $0.50 per contract rate. No-load mutual funds are priced at a highly competitive rate as well - $20 per transaction.

OptionsHouse minimum deposit required to open an account is $0 - this applies to both retirement and taxable accounts.


OptionsHouse New Account Application

The online application for new accounts is easy and fast - usually takes 8 minutes to complete. You start by clicking on their promotion offer - Open and fund an OptionsHouse account to get up to $1,000 in free commissions for 60 days. - than hit "Open An Account" button, and fill out a few short forms. 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 from a different broker (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 $100,000 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 as well as for mastering broker's trading tools in a 100% safe environment.

Accounts offered at OptionsHouse include Individual, Corporate, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, Traditional IRA, and Joint.


OptionsHouse Mutual Funds


OptionsHouse does not offer any no-transaction-fee funds, nor does it advertise any selection of no-load funds. All U.S. mutual funds are available through the broker; so any fund that specifies in its prospectus that it's no-load will be. Unfortunately, OptionsHouse does not have a mutual fund screener. There are also no educational materials on the OH website that cover mutual funds. There is a profile page on any mutual fund ticker symbol entered on the broker's desktop platform. Here, users can find a small amount of information on a fund, such as a graph showing a hypothetical growth over time of $10,000 invested in the fund, current NAV, total fund assets, and return history.

The minimum investment amount for a fund purchased through OptionsHouse is determined by the fund itself. This amount is displayed on a fund's profile page on the OptionsHouse desktop platform. There is no charge for mutual funds with low balances. Every mutual fund transaction at OptionsHouse costs $20. It doesn't matter if the fund has a load or not. Since the firm doesn't have any NTF funds, there is no short-term redemption fee for selling quickly. The mutual fund itself, however, could impose a short-term trade fee. There is also the $20 transaction fee on the sell side.


IRAs


OptionsHouse clients can open Roth, Traditional, Rollover, and SEP IRA's. The broker doesn't charge any setup, annual, or inactivity fees. There is no required minimum deposit to open an IRA, and there is no minimum balance requirement. However, the broker does impose a $60 fee to terminate a retirement account.


OptionsHouse Website/Trading Platform/Tools


Website

The OptionsHouse website has limited functionality and is used for account management, such as downloading statements, getting help with taxes, or transferring funds. No actual trading is being done on the website.


Advanced Trading Platform

OptionsHouse has a Java-based platform where all trading takes place. It is launched from the website and generates an independent window from the browser. Charting, order entry, strategy testing and options research are all performed on the platform. The platform is user friendly and easy to learn.

The software has excellent search ability for options. Traders can look through a host of option strategies, such as iron butterflies and diagonals. A simple click on an option produces a user-friendly trade ticket.




A nice feature of this platform is the ability to switch from the regular brokerage account to simulated trading. In this mode, investors can practice trading in the same platform without putting real money on the line. All of the same platform features in the real account are also available in the simulated account. This means that investors can practice day trading or the use of margin.

None of the broker's trading tools have any fees or frequent trader requirements, so all customers can use them.




Mobile Trading

OptionsHouse provides its clients with a very useful app. It can be used on Apple phones and tablets, mobile web, and Android devices. The app's interface was designed with usability in mind. There is a blue section for research and trading. An orange section has market news and a watch list. The third section is a cluster of green choices that shows account information and positions. These color-coded areas make the app easy to navigate. The app also features an area called the Dashboard, where users will find the day's profit or loss, YTD return, market news, and current positions.

Alerts are also available on the mobile platform. A variety of events can trigger an alert, such as order fill or a price movement. Users can set alerts to be sent via e-mail, text message, or push notification.

Investors can also practice trading on the app by selecting a paper trading account. This practice account is an integral part of the app. Investors can learn different trading strategies without the risk of losing real money.

Trading options on the app is simple. An option chain is displayed for any security entered after tapping on the Options menu. Tapping on a call or put creates a trade ticket. Complex option strategies are also available.

The app has good charting tools for stocks and ETF's. Conveniently, the graph rotates horizontally when the device is held horizontally. Technical indicators are also available on the platform. Read OptionsHouse app review.

OptionsHouse Mobile App


OptionsHouse Pros


  • Very 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 on large orders or extended hours trading
  • Low margin rates
  • Free virtual trading


OptionsHouse Cons


  • For stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible, there is a $0.005 per share surcharge 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


Promotion



OptionsHouse is offering $1,000 in commission-free trades to new clients who open and fund a new securities account with at least $5,000. The free trades expire after 2 months. IRA's are also eligible for this special. Current customers are qualified for a different promotion. Referring a friend to the broker earns a $150 Amazon.com gift card. In place of the gift card, clients can choose 30 commission-free trades instead. The friend, who can be a family member, must make a qualifying deposit of at least $1,000.


Recommendations


The broker's standard commission of just $4.95 for stock and ETF trades makes OptionsHouse a perfect choice for investors looking for a bargain. Add in option contracts for an additional 50¢ per contract, and the firm is a great value. OptionsHouse also offers trading in futures, a rarity among securities brokers. Clients can buy and sell futures contracts for just $1.50 per contract, another bargain.


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, and mutual funds investors. Last year it added futures trading to the list of the products. The company does not have minimum account balance, trading volume, or minimum number of trades requirements to get these low commissions.

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 3.50%. The highest margin rate is 8.00% to borrow up to $49,999. The margin rates incrementally decrease from 8.00% to 3.50% 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.

OptionsHouse merged with another excellent discount brokerage - TradeMonster. The merger placed the firm in the top 10 largest online brokerages in the U.S. Last year Etrade acquired OptionsHouse and changed its name to "OptionsHouse by Etrade". Being a part of one of the largest brokerage houses in the United States should ease the fears of anyone who is considering opening an account at the firm but have never heard about it.

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 stocks and options trading in 2017.

To sum up OptionsHouse review: the firm provides some of the lowest commissions on most investment products without compromising on customer service, quality of trading tools, or reliability.


OptionsHouse Promotion Offer




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OptionsHouse reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on . Rating: 4.5




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