OptionsHouse Account Review: Brokerage Fees, IRA Investing, Pros and Cons, Mutual Fund Offerings
OptionsHouse Review - Pricing
- Stocks/ETFs: $4.95 per trade
- Options: $4.95 + $0.50 per contract
- No-load mutual funds: $20 per transaction for no-load mutual funds
- Futures: $1.50 per contract
- Call customer support to buy U.S. treasury bonds and listed corporate bonds
OptionsHouse Important Fees and Surcharges
- Extended hours surcharge: $0
- Large order surcharge: $0
- Penny stocks surcharge: $0.005 per share on stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible
- Options exercises or assignments: $5
- IRA setup fee: $0
- Annual IRA fee: $0
- Maintenance fee: $0
- Inactivity fee: $0
- Hidden fees: $0
OptionsHouse Account Advantages
- Very low, flat-rate commissions, with only exception being stocks under $2
- Award winning trading tools and charts
- Free streaming quotes
- No account fees (including IRAs)
- Free automatic reinvestment of dividends
- Virtual trading is available
- Free check-writing
- Low margin rates
OptionsHouse Account Disadvantages
- $0.005 per share surcharge on stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible
- 2x margin (many brokers offer 4x margin)
- NTF mutual funds are not offered
OptionsHouse Account Types
- Roth IRAs
- SEP IRAs
- Traditional IRAs
- Investment Clubs
- Educational IRAs
Since 2005 OptionsHouse (OH) has been providing investors with low prices and a high-tech trading platform. Founded by PEAK6 Investments, a leader
in developing high-tech tools to manage the risk of options trading, OptionsHouse began as an options trading platform exclusively before expanding
in to virtually many other investment areas.
In 2014 the holding company of OptionsHouse, OptionsHouse LLC, completed a merger with competitor and fellow Chicago based online trading firm
tradeMONSTER, making way for an expanded customer base and brand new trading platform. With this merger, the new firm is now in fierce competition
with the industry giants like Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade.
Last year OptionsHouse was acquired by E*TRADE and is now a part of one of the largest brokerage firms in the world.
OptionsHouse Fees and Account Minimums
OH introduced itself in to the trading world by being a low-cost provider and it continues to live up to that expectation. Stocks can be traded for
a $4.95 flat fee, significantly lower than more established firms like E*Trade and TD Ameritrade whose fees are $6.95. Options are traded at the
same $4.95 flat fee plus $0.50 per contract (making it a total of $7.45 to trade 5 options contracts), which once again makes the platform a market
leader in options trading fees. Mutual fund trade fee of $20 is also cheap compared to many other discount brokers.
There is no minimum to open an account, and the minimum to trade on margin is $2,000 which compares favorably to other industry competitors.
OptionsHouse is constantly running generous new account promotions. The current promotion is 60 days of free trading (maximum 150 free trades; minimum
$5,000 deposit required within 30 days of account opening). Promotion link: Open and fund an OptionsHouse account to get up to $1,000 in free commissions for 60 days.
The brokerage firm also has a refer-a-friend program offering current clients $150 cash or 30 free trades when someone they refer to the broker funds an account.
Starting out as strictly an options trading platform, it is no surprise that OH provides investors with almost every options trading choice
available under the sun. ETFs and stocks, including those on the pink sheets, are also available for trade. There are thousands of mutual funds
available including Fidelity and Vanguard funds. Last year the company added futures trading.
As discussed previously, with the merger of OptionsHouse and tradeMONSTER, users can now access a wide range of investing tools. Seasoned investors will love all of these features, but to the novice, these tools will be much too in depth to understand and quite unnecessary. Here are some highlights:
Trading Platform Layout
Upon logging-in, users are presented with a tri-fold layout of account information, investment positions, and a market overview. This layout can be customized to include charting, options chains, and other useful features. From this screen users can navigate to other resources throughout the site.
As its name indicates, OptionsHouse goes far and beyond other online brokers in the realm of options trading. Options chains are given in a clear layout and users are able to switch between expiration dates with ease. The ability to filter through the chain is a useful tool for investors who invest though given parameters. After drilling down in to a specific option contract details such as real-time trades and risk profiles are available to present users with the most information possible.
Bond Trading Tools
To no surprise, resources for trading bonds are just as in depth as stocks and options. There are not many other online platforms that give such an array of research tools for bond trading as OptionsHouse. The bond ticker is in a layout similar to that of stocks and gives real-time updates on bid and ask prices. Drilling down in to a particular bond quote, in-depth information about the bond issuance, current bond offer, and issue size are presented. There is even a bond calculator tool in which the user can simulate various prices and yields for a given bond and examine the yield curve for those simulations. This is a very useful tool and should help investors prepare for future events before purchasing a bond outright.
Mutual Fund Research
OptionsHouse may not have the biggest selection of mutual funds, but sticking with its high regard for research and tools, the platform does not skimp on its offerings for mutual fund research. The mutual fund ticker comes in a nice and easy to read layout that provides a risk profile as well as relative rankings for the fund. Through other areas of fund research users are able to see a fund’s holdings and past performance. An interesting additional feature is examining a fund’s expenses, where the user is given an easy to read explanation of the expenses for each fund and what they mean. An additional fund screening tool gives users a high-end mutual fund screener, with excellent filtering tools to narrow down a search.
OH offers a suite of award-winning trading tools for stock traders. Below we list some of them:
Charting functionality on the site is comprehensive and includes all types of views and comparison charting necessary to trade and invest like a pro. One feature that sticks out is the ability to quickly jump to important technical events and even set up alerts for an individual quote to be notified when events occur. These events are analyzed for bullish and bearish signals determined on a desired investing time horizon.
Free Virtual Trading:
Ever want to try out an investing strategy without committing real money? Want to learn how to trade options for the first time? Virtual trading allows users to trade on the platform using virtual money without taking any risk. It is especially nice for beginners who aren’t yet comfortable using the platform to trade and don’t want to take any risks with real portfolio money.
LiveAction: Scanning tool that searches a database of streaming quotes in real-time to find live action and opportunities in the market. Since the scan is done in real-time users don’t have to worry about delayed data.
strategySEEK: For any given symbol input forecasts and risks and strategySEEK will analyze thousands of option trading strategies and optimize for the strategy most appropriate for your given criteria.
EXIT PLAN: Eliminates uncertainty of when to act by setting alerts or orders aligned to investors trading strategy. Establishes pre-determined exit points for every trade based on profit and loss targets as well as time horizons.
The mobile trading platform for OptionsHouse is comprehensive and trades can be made quickly and easily on the platform. Mobile trading is available
for all Android and iOS devices, tablets, and phones. Most features such as charting and research can be done via mobile, making the app one of the
best on the market for active traders.
OH customer service is available from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central time, Monday through Friday. Members can additionally utilize live chat sessions to engage with customer representatives with troubleshooting, or contact the company directly.
What do the Experts Say?
While other online brokers such as E*TRADE, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity have the budgets for big nationwide marketing campaigns, OptionsHouse is seen
as a top online firm even according to the experts. In financial newspaper Barron’s ranking of the best online brokers
OptionsHouse was right at the top of the list. OptionsHouse scored the highest in usability, mobile trading,
and portfolio analysis and reporting.
OptionsHouse Review Summary
OptionsHouse is one of the lowest cost brokers on the market right now. With a great new platform and tons of research available, it stacks up well
with any of the big online brokerage firms. Those interested in stock and options trading will be especially pleased with the resources available.
OptionsHouse Promotion Offer
Open and fund an OptionsHouse account to get up to $1,000 in free commissions for 60 days.
Reviewed by Savings-Secrets.com on