UPDATED: Apr 25, 2016
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We Recommend OptionsHouse
Established in 2005 and backed by one of the countries largest options trading conglomerates, Peak6 Investments, Chicago-based OptionsHouse is considerably new to market. Having established itself while riding in on the technology wave, OptionsHouse from the start has positioned itself as a market leader with its powerful platform offerings and sophisticated trading tools.
Following the adage “it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep,” OptionsHouse has priced it’s services for the active trader. Competitive commissions and low per-contract fees ensure a win-win situation in that the more you trade the more you save and conversely the more you trade (and save) the more OptionsHouse takes.
Much like the Canadian online brokerage firm Questrade, OptionsHouse offers flexible pricing for options, enabling investors to tailor their pricing strategy to their trading propensities.
Compared side-by-side to other discount and full service brokerage firms, OptionsHouse is cheap.
It cost $4.95 to trade stocks.
No frills, no hoodwinks, no hidden fees, just $4.95. $4.95 stock trades are cheap for even the discounted brokerage firms. Often times we see with cheap pricing comes sacrifice, whether its poor customer service, lacking research tools and/ or dated and slow platforms. With OptionsHouse you get a great price and industry leading technologies.
OptionsHouse is called OptionsHouse for a reason: because of their competitive commission plans for options trading and options contracts.
OptionsHouse offers two different pricing models:
- For the less-active trader- the 5 for 5 plan.
- Single-leg options, $5 bucks for the first 5 and a dollar a contract thereafter.
- Active options trader- the high volume plan.
- $8.50 & $0.15 per single-leg contract order.
OptionsHouse offer two (2) price commissions on spreads as well:
- The 10 for $10- and $1/ contract thereafter
- $12.50 + $0.15/ contract
**Important to note that OptionsHouse does support thousands of mutual funds, so only about 30% of them can be traded on the platform without redirecting to a third party vendor.
Mutual funds trade @ $9.99.
OptionsHouse just finalized its merger with TradeMONSTER, and the trading platform has migrated over to TM. Existing account holders will see the same fee structure and options, just on the TradeMONSTER Platform. For the sake of this section, TradeMONSTER and OptionsHouse can be used interchangeably.
OptionsHouse trading platforms are superior in many ways to the competition for the following reasons:
To the dismay of some expert traders, OptionsHouse offers only a browser-based version of their platform. If you require advanced desktop options, you may have to look to other brokerage firms, however its probably worth giving it a shot.
With features like all-in-one ticket orders, OptionsHouse platform is intuitive, customizable and efficient.
What separates their user experience from many others? Its fast.
Everything in OptionsHouse is designed to execute with precession and speed. This is the reason they offer only a web-based architecture. Plus it makes it easier to maintain and control from their end.
Streaming quotes, data, market news and an integrated trade ticket ensure that everything needed to make decisions and physically execute trades is a click or two away.
How else is it fast?
Its customizable, meaning the interface is designed by you to fit your needs. Fully changeable layouts, flexible views, multiple chains and adjustable widgets give you the user a personalized experience.
If it sounds like I’m selling their platform, its because its that good.
Ok, so the platform is powerful and accelerated, how about their trading tools? After all, the entire portal can be well designed to allow for perfect flow, but if access to information is bogging you down, then what’s the point?
Lets take a look at OptionsHouse plethora of powerful trading assets:
- Volatility Charts – implied and historic analysis
- Probability Calculators – Enter a symbol, place a target price and calculate probability
- Stock Screener – Personal criteria selections enable stock screener to recommend investments that may fit your style
- Profit and Loss Calculator (P&L)
- Live stream – Charts, market data and news
- OptionsHouse Risk Score – proprietary algorithms designed to assess and analyze your portfolio risk
- Different types of risk
- Risk mitigation
- 1-10 rating system
- Valuable risk management even for the laymen
- Risk Viewer – More risk algorithms
- Spread Investigator – Scans equity options for call and put options with high theoretical returns
And if you are new to trading, test your skills, learn strategies and execute trades at no risk with OptionsHouse’s Virtual Trading.
Barron’s 2014 gave OptionsHouse 4 ½ out of 5 for their mobile applications.
OptionsHouse reign of platform superiority does not end with their web portal. Stay connected to your accounts while executing trades on the go with OptionsHouse mobile applications available for iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android phones and Android tablets.
A very similar user experience found with the web portal can be felt on the OptionsHouse mobile applications.
Although seemingly kept on the backburner, OptionsHouse does offer the usual retirement accounts just as the full service brokerage houses do. Just because a major emphasis isn’t placed on their retirement options, OptionsHouse does provide most options you would seek.
It is important at this juncture to keep things in perspective. OptionsHouse is a lean trading machine, and to revert too much attention to other “full-service” aspects of the financial sector would be to stray away from its fundamental core competency.
What does this mean to you, the investor?
If you are an active trader, looking to capitalize on OptionsHouse low trading fee structure and want to keep some other retirement accounts under the same roof, then OptionsHouse will be perfect for you.
If you are NOT an active trader, looking primarily to find a financial institution to start plugging money away for the long-term, and have very little interest in actively trading stocks or options, then OptionsHouse is not for you.
Here is where OptionsHouse is seen separating itself from its full-service counter part, banking.
Basic banking services like checking and saving accounts are available, however require account minimums of $10,000. In addition, the accounts must hold at all times that minimum of $10,000. If you are able to comply with these standards you are able to save, write checks against and transfer monies from investment accounts to bank accounts. If not, you will need to bank elsewhere.
Not much to say on OptionsHouse customer service. The web doesn’t have an overwhelming vendetta against and them, and that says a lot.
I conducted some research to determine my own opinion on OptionsHouse customer service…
I fired up their live chat functionality, which is not reserved strictly for account holders. Within seconds someone by the name of Mike had greeted me and asked how he could assist. I struck up a conversation as if I had basic retirement account and trading questions. The more I asked ridiculous questions, the more polite Mike got, and by the end of it had intelligently answered all of my questions.
So, in conclusion, OptionsHouse live chat capabilities, even for non-account holders, did not disappoint.
OptionsHouse provides a steady stream of available, free webinars, again not reserved only for account holders. Without being logged into my account I was able to register for upcoming webinars as well as simply watch past webinars right on the OptionsHouse website.
In addition to live webinars, access to live chat and email, OptionsHouse is of course available by phone (7am-7pm Central Time).
- Dial Toll Free – 877-653-2500
- Outside the US – 1-312-279-9970
All things considered, OptionsHouse provides customer service to back its superior product offerings.
OptionsHouse is often called a discount brokerage house, which makes sense when reviewing price. However upon close inspection, they seem to behave more like the full-service competition (like TD Ameritrade and Fidelity).
If you’re an active trader you should consider OptionsHouse as your home base.