This Optionshouse review will cover the basics of the platform and pricing for individual investors.
I first opened up an Optionshouse account more than five years ago. The platform opened in 2005 and disrupted the online brokerage space by offering low-cost trades. At that time, most online brokerages were charging $10 or more in commissions per trade. Some were still attempting to get $40 per trade. (Crazy!) Optionshouse introduced low-cost trades for less than $5, and put pressure on other online brokers to lower their fees.
In 2014, Optionshouse merged with tradeMONSTER. This allowed Optionshouse to grow the brand and expand the number of available services.
In 2016, Optionshouse was acquired by ETRADE for $725 Million. The brands still operate separately, but the new trading platform is more robust with new several new features being added. As a result, Optionshouse has been named by Barron’s as the best options trading platform for a few years in a row (source).
This continues to be the selling point for Optionshouse, and the primary reason I chose to use them in the first place. Fees are still dirt cheap here when compared to other brokerage firms.
As you can see from the chart above, here are the common fees for trading:
- Stocks and ETFs: $4.95 flat rate per trade
- Mutual funds: $9.95 flat rate per trade
- Futures: $1.50 per contract
- Options: $0.50 per contract + $4.95 base rate
In addition, there are no real fees associated with having an account and you don’t have to maintain a minimum balance. If you need a broker to assist with trades, there is a $25 additional fee.
Optionshouse Review Pros:
- Robust Platform for Futures/Options: Trade, cancel, or modify orders with one click.
- Free DRIPs/Dividend Reinvestment: You can automatically reinvest dividends on all stocks and funds for free. This is a really nice feature.
- Low Minimum Opening Deposit: It only costs $1,000 to open a standard OptionsHouse account.
- Free Virtual Trading Account: When you first open an account, you can choose to fund a virtual account. Yes, it’s like monopoly money and you can spend it however you want. It’s not terribly useful, but I thought it was good training before I had any real money to invest.
- Decent Customer Service: Some have reported good results with their phone support service, and the representative on the other end actually knew enough to be helpful. Email and online chat can be tedious, which seems to be the case anywhere these days. Overall, they are available to talk if you need help with anything, but some readers have mentioned long wait times.
- Lots of Account Choices: Individual, Joint, Corporate, Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, UTMA, UGMA, Trusts, Partnerships, Investment Clubs, and Educational IRAs are all available.
- Free Streaming Quotes: This isn’t groundbreaking but some brokers charge for it.
- Platform Usability: I find the platform fairly easy to navigate and use. It’s not difficult to search, make a trade, etc.
- Low Cost: As I already mentioned, Optionshouse is still the lowest priced brokerage.
Optionshouse Review Cons:
- Limited After Hours Trading: Some brokerages allow trading until 8pm Eastern. Optionshouse allows trades until 5pm Eastern.
- Research and Charts: The information available to the investor is limited on Optionshouse.
- Funding Period: If you transfer money to your brokerage account, the transfer usually takes 3 business day. People love to complain about this but it’s standard for financial transactions and you shouldn’t expect immediate trades.
- Mutual Funds: Mutual fund trades are expensive, and there are a limited number of no load mutual funds available. Beyond that, all mutual fund transactions must be made over the phone. If you want to trade mutual funds, open an account at Vanguard for free.
- Cheap Stocks: If a stock trades below $2.00 per share, you’ll need to add an additional $.005 per share on the trade.
Optionshouse Review Summary:
If you want to buy a few individual stocks or ETFs for your portfolio, Optionshouse is probably your cheapest option. They offer a great service for the pricing. Not perfect, and not a one stop shop for me, but a good brokerage platform to have and use.
Right now, OptionsHouse is offering a limited time deal to our readers – free trades for the first 60 days after funding and opening an account.
If you’re interested, grab an OptionsHouse Account to receive your free 60 day trade offer.
What’s your take on my Optionshouse review? Have you used the service?