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OptionsHouse Review – Trade Free For 60 Days!

Optionshouse is a good low-cost broker to consider for your investing. Read my Optionshouse review to see how to trade free for 60 days with a new account!

OptionsHouse is a good brokerage to consider if you’re looking for a low-cost option for your investing needs. I write this Optionshouse review as someone who has been using the platform for three years – which has provided me a good feel as to how the platform performs as a whole. I’m not a terribly active trader, though OptionsHouse is a good brokerage to look at if you’re interested in investing in options or are a somewhat active trader.

I’ve reviewed other brokerages in the past, like with my Scottrade review and am doing a review of OptionsHouse as it’s the other main platform I use alongside Scottrade to manage my investment needs.

I love talking about investing in the stock market, especially with beginners. As I worked in the brokerage industry for a number of years I have seen firsthand what many retail investors bring to the table and often times it boils down to learning how to invest and needing assistance with where to get started.

With the number of online brokerages available, it can be difficult for many investors to know where they should start, especially when so many seem alike. With that in mind, I have had a great experience with OptionsHouse ever since I opened my first retirement account with them about three years ago.

There are dozens of brokerages in the industry and many will claim to be the best available, though it’s not always the case. Ultimately you need to find what works best for you and what will meet your needs as an investor.

OptionsHouse just recently finished a merger with TradeMONSTER which expands their offerings quite a bit as well as boasting a more robust trading platform. OptionsHouse has also been rated by Barron’s as a 4 star brokerage (out of a possible 4 stars) each of the past four years as one of the top brokerages in the industry. The ratings, along with the TradeMONSTER merger, has allowed OptionsHouse to gain more steam as one of the top brokerages to consider for those looking for either low-cost trading or a active trading platform. With all of that out of the way, we’ll move on to the Optionshouse review.

OptionsHouse Features

 

Streaming Quotes: Many brokerages offer streaming quotes, but are not always free. This is not the case with OptionsHouse. Once you open your account and fill out the required paperwork you have access to free real time quotes. If you’re someone that likes to keep a pulse on a specific stock, or the stock market in general this is a good tool to have. The paperwork itself takes about five minutes and once done you’re good to go.

The Trading Platform: The Optionshouse platform is straightforward and robust, while also being fairly simple to use. If you’re looking to place stock trades it is a flat $4.95. Yes, you read that right…a flat $4.95! If you’re looking to trade options, which is their bread and butter then the commission is the $4.95 plus $.50 per contract. These are VERY competitive rates as most brokerages will charge at least $7 per stock trade, if not closer to the $8 or $9 range. In terms of options pricing, since most brokerages are charging $7+ per trades plus $1 or more for the option contract you’re easily saving $4-5 per option trade.

Free Virtual Trading: I LOVE this feature and do not use it nearly enough. Do you have a stock strategy you want to try but aren’t quite ready to invest your own money? OptionsHouse gives you, with each account you open, a $5,000 virtual account, which you can use to test-run trading strategies.

Futures Trading: This is a feature new to OptionsHouse thanks to their merger with TradeMONSTER. I’ve honestly not tested it out much but love that they’re able to offer it now as most brokerages do not. The commission for Futures at OptionsHouse is $1.50 per side which is definitely on the competitive side.

New Research Function: This feature has taken a step further since their merger with TradeMONSTER. OptionsHouse has  a centralized spot that lists analysts reports, technical events and competitor news (just to name a few) on specific companies. This feature, along with their excellent charting functionality, allows you to make a more informed decision when comparing companies or funds to invest in.

Advantages of OptionsHouse

 

Fees Fees Fees: I am a firm believer that you should not choose an online brokerage based off of commission prices alone, but it’s hard to look at OptionsHouse and not like their fee structure. They have no hidden fees and their commission structure is hard to beat – TradeKing is the only one that comes close, which is the same $4.95 stock commission. In addition to the low fees, their margin rates are very hard to beat. With that in mind, this allows you to keep more of your money working for you in the market as opposed to their pockets. See below for a comparison of the stock commission at OptionsHouse vs. other major brokers:

 

Optionshouse

 

Customer Service: Every time I have contacted their customer service center I get someone that actually knows what they’re talking about. Let me shine some light on call centers for some online brokerages – you will not always find people who know what they’re talking about. It’s sad, but unfortunately true. If you’re an active trader, or a buy and hold investor, you’ll come to appreciate this as you get the answers you need as well as the confidence that they know what they’re talking about. OptionsHouse also offers an instant chat feature which is very easy to use.

No Initial Minimums: If you’re looking to open an account with OptionsHouse, there is a low barrier to entry – $0! That said, they do suggest opening an account with at least $1,000 to start. If you’re looking to trade on margin, it’s a minimum of $2,000, as it would be with any other brokerage per industry regulation.

Efficient Trading Tools: While OptionsHouse doesn’t boast the trading tools that you’ll find at places like Etrade, they’re still very efficient and can hold their own. Their tools started out as more along the active trader bent, but with the addition of the new research functionalities mentioned prior they now offer more of the traditional tools a less active trader would be looking for.

Disadvantages of OptionsHouse

 

Light on the Mutual Funds: If you’re looking to trade mutual funds with OptionsHouse, you’ll have few options available. While the $20 commission is reasonable and competitive, the selection is limited. They offer roughly 1,000 no-load mutual funds. While it is good that they offer no-load funds, I would still like to see a more expansive offering from OptionsHouse. With their focus being on the more active trader, I can understand the reasoning behind the limited offerings though.

Limited After Hours Trading: Most online brokerages allow you to trade in the after hours (the stock market is open for trading after the normal market is closed, but on a much more limited basis) until 8:00 P.M. EST. However, with OptionsHouse, they only allow trading until 5:00 P.M.

Optionshouse is a good low-cost broker to consider for your investing. Read my Optionshouse review to see how to trade free for 60 days with a new account!

OptionsHouse review – my take

 

If you’re looking to invest in the stock market, there are many options to choose from. Each of the players have things that set them apart and the case with OptionsHouse is that they offer unbeatable rates and a solid platform. That being said, I think OptionsHouse is a good brokerage to consider for many.

I prefer to have several brokerage accounts as I can trade in one if the other platform is down as well as having different strategies for certain parts of my portfolio. This allows me to bring enhanced focus on my investing without spreading myself too thin.

The other thing it allows me to do is trade a little more actively in one and do more options trading in one and do my more long term buy and hold type strategy in the other.

Regardless of your investing bent, OptionsHouse is a great choice and you can open your account online and be ready to go in as little as 15 minutes. OptionsHouse sweetens the deal by offering a standard promotion of free trades for the first 60 days after account opening. Make sure to check out my Optionshouse promo code post to see what their current promotions are.

 

Open an OptionsHouse account today and trade free for 60 days!


Trade Free For 90 Days when you Open a New OptionsHouse Account!

 

Where do you handle most of your investing needs? What are you paying per stock trade?

 

Summary
Reviewer
John Schmoll
Review Date
Reviewed Item
OptionsHouse
Author Rating
5
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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Credit Karma and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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35 Comments

  • Thanks for the review John. I haven’t used OptionsHouse…only Scottrade. I’ll have to check it out.

  • I also haven’t used OptionsHouse, but it sounds like a great platform (especially for trading options). Learning more about investing is a goal of mine this year, so I definitely would find some benefit from the virtual trading account.

    • John says:

      It really is a good alternative if you’re looking to get into options trading. The virtual trading account is worth it in my opinion.

  • AverageJoe says:

    That’s an awesome rate on options trades. Thanks for another thorough review. I’m surprised I’ve never even run across OptionHouse before.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Joe! I agree, the options rates are a steal if you ask me. I have a small Roth I am looking to move and just may move it there to take advantage of the rates. They’re newer, so it doesn’t surprise me all that much. That said, I think they’re growing quite well.

  • Thanks for the review. I hadn’t heard of Optionshouse, but sounds like a fair commission structure if you are looking for those type of investments.

  • Jake Erickson says:

    I’m with Kim, I hadn’t heard of Optionshouse before, but it sounds like a decent option. When I begin investing in the next 6 months I’ll probably stick to mostly mutual funds. Optionshouse doesn’t sound exceptionally great at this, so I may have to look around a bit more. Thanks for the review!

    • John says:

      It is a fairly good option, especially if you’re looking towards trading stocks, etfs or options. If you’re looking mainly towards mutual funds, then someone like Scottrade would be a great choice.

  • Thanks for the quality review John. I have been looking and seeing this company around getting some love, but haven’t seen a good review like yours. I appreciate the information.

  • Boris says:

    I use fidelity. Thanks for the review. Does optionshouse provide good tax statements at the end of the year?

    • John says:

      Fidelity is definitely a good option to use. I only have an IRA with them currently , so do not have any experience on the tax statements. Their monthly statements are just fine and have had no issues with them and have heard no complaints about their tax forms.

  • Brian says:

    Do they allow you to DRIP shares of stocks? I know Scotrade has been slow on this front and it drives people a little crazy.

  • Is there a time-limit on the free trades? That is how eTrade got me. It turned out those free trades were only in the first 30 days of the account, so in reality I had ONE free trade. Of course, free isn’t actually free, either. I had to pay the trade fee which they refunded at the end of the 30 day period. If I had taken advantage of all of the free trades, I would have had to pay several hundred dollars extra and wait for the money to be refunded.

    • John says:

      Ugh…I hate it when brokerages do that. Why charge you for something and then “credit” it back to you at the end of the term?

      For most of their promotions it’s a 60 day window you have, though I believe a few of them go as high as 90 days. The free trade is free, so no funny accounting. It’ll just show on your trade confirm that it was free.

  • I have an account with Optionshouse, although I don’t currently use it. The flat rates are very good but I’m not currently picking stocks so Vanguard gets all my attention…

    Great review John!

    • John says:

      Thanks Jacob! I agree that the rates are very good. What are you investing in at Vanguard? If it’s ETFs you can find any of those and for cheaper at OH.

      • Brian says:

        Trading Vanguard ETFs is commision free with a Vanguard brokerage account… so I don’t see how that would be cheaper at OH….

        • John says:

          That’s great Brian! However, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that it only applies to Vanguard ETFs. Which, if “you” are fine with only investing in those then that is fine. I was speaking in generalities as Jacob was not specific in what exactly he is investing in at Vanguard.

          • Brian says:

            That is true. If you are investing in other ETFs the fees are pretty awful at vanguard (I want to say is is pushing $20 a trade like an old school broker). There are also a few possible fees for account minimums if you don’t sign up for their e-delivery package too so I would agree that if you don’t want to only invest in vanguard ETFs then OH looks like a clear winner!

  • I have actually never traded options. I always considered myself too naive or too risk averse to even tackle the topic of options. I have had for a number of years accounts at TradeKing and TD Ameritrade. I like both because they are easy and I don’t get bothered with countless emails or physical mail all the time. Some business, as you know will plug your inbox and mailbox.

    • John says:

      Options are definitely something you want to steer clear of if you’re more risk averse. I am with OH & Scottrade and thankfully they do not fill up my inbox.

  • All sounds great, besides the lack of mutuals. I would guess that they will build up this option in the future, though.

    • John says:

      I do think it’ll hold some back. However, I do not see them going in that direction as that’s not really their client base…not to mention the fact that ETFs are dealing a very decent blow to many mutual funds.

  • I love the idea of trading options. I was just never that great at it during my early years of investing and it created too much stress for me. So I pretty much gave it up for the traditional long term investing approach.

    • John says:

      They definitely can be stressful, especially if they do not line up with your risk tolerance. I think for many they should stick with the basics unless they educate themselves appropriately.

  • Jim says:

    Thanks John, I haven’t ever heard of OptionsHouse, will check it out. I really love the ability to virtual trade, as I want to learn about options but dont want to start with my own money. This would be great. Looking forward to your review on T.D Ameritrade before I make my decision.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Jim. The virtual trading aspect is really nice, not to mention the commission pricing.

      I’ll likely not be running a review on TDA, though if you have any questions on them just shoot me an email and I can answer any questions you may have.

  • Corin says:

    Great review! Do you know if optionshouse makes you keep your money with them for a certain period of time ? For example, if I opened an account and closes it 3 months later is there a fee?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Corin! Good question. They don’t require you keep your money there for any amount of time, it’s free for you to withdraw at any time. The one thing to keep in mind though is that if you receive a promotion from them that they often require you to keep funds there for a certain amount of time or when you withdraw the value will be deducted from your funds.

  • leo says:

    Huge question for you. Do they have a platform for the mac and how is it?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Leo! I’ve had a Mac for the past 6 months or so and I’ve not seen any real differences in functionality between using it on a Mac vs. my old PC. I’ve been able to do everything I did in the past without any disruptions – hope that helps.

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