Out of Business
Strongly not recommended
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OptionsHouse was acquired by E*TRADE in 2016
OptionsHouse may be a discount broker, but it combines low-cost prices with world-class speed and sophisticated trading tools. In Barron’s 2015 review, OptionsHouse came out second: behind Interactive Brokers and above TD Ameritrade. In 2016, OptionsHouse was rated best for options trading.
It has dirt cheap commissions, no account minimums, and an industry-leading fee schedule. All of which make it a no-brainer for fee-conscious options traders.
On the other hand, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles when it comes to educational material or charting tools, and neither does it offer commission-free ETFs or transaction-fee-free mutual funds.
OptionsHouse became a heavy-weight in online trading in 2014 when it merged with TradeMonster. The resulting company combined the best features of both brokers: the low prices of OptionsHouse and the advanced trading tools of TradeMonster.
What You Will Love About OptionsHouse
No account minimum: There is no minimum to keep the account active. Neither is there a penalty for dropping below a certain dollar amount, which is rare. You do need $100 in your account to get access to free real-time market quotes. But other brokers will charge you for access to data, so you can’t call it a penalty.
No penalty maintenance fees: Unlike most brokers, OptionsHouse does not penalize brokers who don’t make a minimum number of trades per year or month. Again, this is rare among brokers like OptionsHouse that mainly cater for active traders.
Allows trading of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, and futures: Even though it specializes in options, OptionsHouse provides access to most trading instruments. Foreign exchange investments are the exception. If this matters to you, go with online traders like OptionXpress and Interactive Brokers that do offer forex investments.
Promotion of 60 days of commission-free trading: This gives traders the chance to test-drive OptionsHouse’s tools and services without paying a cent.
Professional grade tools: As a low-cost broker, OptionsHouse does cut corners with non-essential aspects of its platform, but not when it comes to trading tools. OptionsHouse is well-known for its fast and reliable trading platform. The TradeLAB is a favorite among investors. It allows traders to calculate profit-loss-breakeven points easily and play out any number of scenarios by using current stock price and volatility.
What You’ll Miss
Commission-free ETFs: Although OptionsHouse is by no means alone when it comes to avoiding commission-free ETFs, ETF traders who are cost-conscious may want to go with other brokers, such as USAA, that do offer commission-free ETFs.
Mutual funds: OptionsHouse has one of the cheapest fee schedules in the industry, but its $20 mutual fund fee is just average. If you trade often in mutual funds, $20 a pop can add up pretty quickly.
What Are OptionsHouse’s Fees and Commissions?
- $4.95 for stock trades. Scottrade charges $7, and E*TRADE charges $9.99
- $4.95 for options with an addition $0.50 charge per contract
- Margin rates range from 4.50% (>$25k) to 3.25% (> $1 million)
- $25 for Outgoing Wire Fees (Domestic)
- $25 Brokers Assist Fee
- $20 per trade for mutual funds
(Click on the link above for a complete list of fees)
The Bottom Line
OptionsHouse is a top choice for active traders (particularly options traders) looking for a fast and effective platform loaded with sophisticated trading tools at a discount price.