Optionshouse review

Brokerage Review: OptionsHouse


by

9 April,2013

Investors who are a little more experienced with DIY investments, and who are interested in options, can get a great deal by using OptionsHouse.

OptionsHouse specializes in options, and offers access to discounted stock trading as well.

Fees

If you are looking for low, low prices on your investing, OptionsHouse is a great choice. First of all, there is a $3.95 flat rate for trading stocks. This is a lower price even than the $4.95 transaction fee charged by TradeKing.

You will have to pay according to a different scale for transactions on very large orders (more than 50,000 shares), or on OTCBB trades ($0.005 per share) or shares that are less than $2 apiece. Overall, though, this is a great deal for those investors that like to regularly invest in stocks, and trade stocks, especially since they don’t charge extra from after-hours trading.

When it comes to trading options, you have a couple of different plans to consider, depending on how often you trade options:

  • Less frequent traders: You can trade up to 5 single-leg contracts for $5 and then you pay $1 per contract for each contract beyond that. You can also get up to 10 spreads for $10.
  • Frequent traders: If you trade more frequently with larger orders, you pay a flat fee of $8.50 plus $0.15 per contract on options, and $12.50 plus $0.15 per contract on spreads.

It’s possible to change your plan through the platform daily, so you can adjust your pricing structure to fit your trading plan for the day.

The main drawback to the pricing structure is that you have to phone in buy and sell orders on mutual funds. Mutual funds are fairly inexpensive, as trading goes, at $9.95 apiece. However, the fact that you have to call in to accomplish the trade is somewhat off-putting and inconvenient.

Other Features

One of the biggest weaknesses is in terms of its other features. The trading platform is simple and straightforward, but isn’t very advanced. On top of that, there isn’t a lot of research or third-party reports. It’s especially hard to find reliable information on ETFs and mutual funds at OptionsHouse.

Instead of focusing on fundamental research, they take a look at technical analysis. You can see quite a few good charts for different equities, making it a great tool if you are a day trader, interested in frequent trades and using technical analysis to determine when to enter and exit positions.

When placing orders, be aware that even equity orders are done in legs, so you have to get used to trading stocks a little differently than you would with other discount brokers. For options traders, though, the order ticket system is intuitive and easy to use.

Bottom Line

OptionsHouse really isn’t for the novice investor. While the customer services via phone is good during its regular business hours, the rest of the time it’s not the best. If you need hand-holding, OptionsHouse probably isn’t for you.

However, if you are a seasoned options trader, and you want to save money on fees as you execute your trades, OptionsHouse might be just the ticket.