THE GOOD

Industry-leading options tools:

OptionsXpress provides some of the best options trading tools in the industry, designed to help you identify and analyze opportunities, execute trades, and monitor your options portfolio. Xtend, the company's primary trading platform, provides continually updated market information and easy access to a variety of powerful research and analysis tools. The Dragon, an investment search tool, helps you track down the options that best fit your investment criteria. To automate your search, you can use The Screener to continually canvas the market for new trading opportunities. If you're still working out your investment strategy, fire up StrategyScan, a tool that helps you identify an investment strategy that fits your goals, trading experience, and risk level. Whether you're a beginner in options trading or a seasoned veteran, optionsXpress offers a number of proprietary tools to help you take full advantage of market opportunities.

Superior mobile trading app:

The OX Mobile app puts key features of the optionsXpress trading platform in the palm of your hand. Available for all major smartphone platforms, this app allows you to monitor live market data, check your watch lists, execute trades, and manage your account wherever you go. You can even access powerful charting tools and track down investment opportunities with The Dragon search tool. Though the OX Mobile app does not provide a virtual trading function like the apps offered by some other brokers, it still ranks near the top of the industry, garnering very strong reviews from its users.

No minimum to open an account:

One big plus for prospective clients is that optionsXpress doesn't require you to make an initial deposit to open an account. This means you can get right into the company's trading platform to do some hands-on testing and take a look through the research materials without any financial commitment. Whether you're new to trading or just new to optionsXpress, the ability to open an account with no investment is a nice feature to have that not even their parent company, Charles Schwab, can claim.

$25,000 virtual trading account:

In another offering to new traders, optionsXpress will provide you with a fake money account that allows you to carry out trades with $25,000 in virtual cash. With full access to all of the company's trading and analysis tools, research materials, and educational resources, you can really put optionsXpress to the test. This is especially important for new traders, since you are able to build up your expertise and test out your investment strategies without putting any of your money on the line.

Access to quality educational materials:

Strong educational materials are key to learning how to use a new trading platform effectively and to mastering general trading skills and advanced trading strategies. The good news is that optionsXpress has a clear commitment to educating clients by offering resources for traders at all skill levels. The company's online Education Center places an extensive collection of articles, on-demand video tutorials, and webinar courses right at your fingertips. Beginners will really appreciate the video tutorials designed to walk you through the ins and outs of the optionsXpress trading platform, which will help you get started trading in no time at all.

No base fee for trading options:

Unlike some of their competitors, optionsXpress doesn't charge any base fees on options trades. Other leading brokers assess a base fee of up to $9.99 on every options trade, in addition to $0.75 for each options contract per trade. Though optionsXpress only assesses fees on the number of contracts included in a trade, you do have to pay a minimum fee for each options trade you make.

Free Investors Business Daily subscription with account:

A cool added bonus for new optionsXpress clients is a free 13-month subscription to the electronic edition of the Investor's Business Daily newspaper, which is a trusted resource for timely investment news and analysis. Alongside the optionsXpress daily newsletters full of market news and analysis, your Investor's Business Daily subscription will help ensure that you stay on top of important events that may affect your investment positions.

THE BAD

High options contract fee with a required minimum:

If you plan to trade options at a high volume, optionsXpress is not the ideal broker for you. The company has two fee tiers depending on the number of options trades you execute in a quarter. If you make fewer than 35 options trades per quarter, you pay $1.50 per contract with a $14.95 minimum per trade. If you make more than 35 options trades per quarter, you qualify for the Active Trader rate and pay $1.25 per contract with a $12.95 minimum charge per trade. Both tiers can be quite expensive for high-volume traders due to the high price per contract. For example, OptionsHouse, a main competitor, charges a base fee of $8.95 for a trade plus only $0.15 for each contract involved in the trade. For traders who want to trade a large volume of options contracts, the difference in fees can be substantial.

24-hour support only available for futures traders:

Though optionsXpress offers full daytime telephone and online chat support services during the week, only futures traders can access this support 24 hours per day. This makes sense, as many futures exchanges operate around the clock, while U.S. stock and options markets operate only during daytime hours. That said, it would certainly be nice if optionsXpress extended the convenience of 24-hour support to all of its traders.

Lacking some financial resources:

OptionsXpress isn't your best option if you're looking for a broker that offers comprehensive financial resources, like banking and credit or debit cards. To be fair, optionsXpress is a trading specialist and doesn't present itself as a full-service broker. In fact, the company advises clients who need comprehensive financial services to access them through their parent company, Charles Schwab. While this is certainly an option for you, it requires opening a new account with Charles Schwab, which may be more trouble than you're looking for.

THE DETAILS

Trading Costs and Fees
Broker Assisted Trades $0
Futures Contract Fee $3.50
Maintenance Fees $0
Margin Rates 6-8.25%
Minimum Account Balance Fee $0
Mutual Funds Fee - Load $9.95
Mutual Funds Fee - No-Load $9.95
Options Contract Price $1.25 - $1.50
Options Flat Fee $12.90 - $14.94
Stock Flat Fee $8.95
Other Fees
ACH/EFT Withdrawal $20
Bounced Check $20
Check Withdrawal $20
Domestic Wire Withdrawal $15
Forced Margin Sellout $0
Full Account Transfer $60
IRA Annual Fee $0
Partial Account Transfer $0
Stop Payment on Check $15
Telephone Orders $0

FEATURES

Title
  • Bonds You can trade bonds.

  • Easy to Borrow Stocks You have access to easy-to-borrow stocks that you can sell short.

  • ETFs You can trade exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

  • Futures Markets You can trade futures markets.

  • International Markets You can trade markets outside of the U.S.

  • Mutual Funds You can trade mutual funds.

  • Options You can trade options.

  • Pink Sheet and OTCBB Securities Market Access You can trade pink sheet stocks and over-the-counter (OTC) securities.

  • Stocks You can trade stocks.

  • Commission-Free ETFs You can trade commission-free exchange-traded funds.

  • Forex You can trade forex or foreign exchange markets.

  • Android The broker offers an app for Android devices.

  • BlackBerry The broker offers an app for BlackBerry devices.

  • Create Alerts You can create alerts with one or more of the mobile trading applications.

  • Cross-Platform Integration The mobile trading application integrates with your trading account in real time, including watch lists, alerts, and other account information.

  • Favorable App Store Reviews The broker's iPhone application has received three stars or greater from users in the Apple App Store.

  • iPad The broker offers a dedicated app for the iPad.

  • iPhone The broker offers an app for the iPhone.

  • Mobile Deposits You can deposit checks or electronic funds into your account with a mobile application.

  • Mobile Research You can conduct research using one of the mobile applications.

  • Mobile Website The broker offers a separate mobile website for accessing your account on the go.

  • Place Trades You can place trades using your mobile device.

  • Portfolio Tracking You can track your portfolio using a mobile device.

  • Streaming Quotes The broker offers streaming quotes on mobile devices.

  • Watch List You can create watch lists using a mobile app or device.

  • Windows Mobile The broker offers trading on Windows Mobile devices.

  • Other Tablet The broker offers an app for another tablet device besides the iPad.

  • Virtual Demo You can demo the mobile trading platform by using a virtual trading account.

  • Alerts You can set up personalized alerts for your portfolio or other investment products.

  • Automated Trading The broker allows you to place trades by setting automated triggers to execute a trade.

  • Conditional Orders You can place orders that, when executed, immediately triggers or cancels another trade.

  • Customizable Interface You can customize the layout and look of a trading platform.

  • Level II Quotes The broker gives you access to the book order of individual stocks so you can see live buyers and sellers of that stock.

  • Option Chains You can simply find an options premium by following the corresponding maturity dates and strike prices.

  • Options Exposure You can view a detailed display of your options positions' possible sensitivity to key risks using industry-standard greek calculations.

  • Options Tools The broker offers a variety of options trading tools.

  • Platform - Advanced The broker offers an advanced trading platform.

  • Platform - One-Size-Fits-All The broker offers a platform that is fitting for traders of all levels.

  • Quick Order Entry You have the option to quickly enter or cancel orders faster than normal.

  • Real-Time Charts The broker offers access to charting tools that update in real time.

  • Smart-Order Routing Technology The broker sends orders to different market centers that seek to fill your order quickly and at the best available price.

  • Spread Builder The broker offers a tool to build your own spreads between multiple investment products.

  • Streaming Real-Time Quotes The broker provides streaming real-time quotes so you can see up-to-date prices of investment products.

  • Trailing Stops You can set a stop-loss as a percentage below the market price that adjusts as the price fluctuates to help you secure profits and cut losses.

  • Watch List You can create watch lists to keep an eye on investment products that interest you.

  • Account Balances Displayed Your account balances are displayed on the page where you access detailed portfolio information or account reports.

  • Account History Reports You can create reports or view statements of your portfolio or account information.

  • Download Statements You can download your account statements to your computer.

  • Export Data You can export your portfolio or account statements.

  • Gain/Loss You can run reports to view your gains and losses to determine the impact on your taxable income.

  • Order Status You can quickly view your current trading positions and open orders.

  • Portfolio Planner You can view your current portfolio allocation and create a plan to measure against it.

  • Real-Time Updates Your account balances update in real time, adjusting for any open positions.

  • Courses The broker offers educational trading or investment courses.

  • Education Levels The broker offers a variety of education levels based on experience.

  • Glossary The broker has a glossary that defines important investment terms.

  • Live Seminars The broker offers live in-person seminars around the country that you can attend.

  • Webinars The broker offers webinars to help you learn about investment products.

  • Online Community The broker has an online community to have discussions and share advice with other traders.

  • Blog The broker keeps an updated blog that includes company and investment information.

  • Charts The broker offers access to charts so you can conduct research on investment products.

  • Market Commentary The broker offers market commentary from outside experts.

  • News The broker provides daily market news and updates.

  • Research Reports The broker offers a selection of research reports.

  • Screens You can screen investment products to narrow down the type of investment you are looking for.

  • Tailored Research The broker provides you with research tailored to your current portfolio, watch lists, or interests.

  • Third-Party Research The broker offers independent investment research from outside parties for free.

  • Company Publication The broker produces and distributes a company publication to account holders.

  • Upgraded Research The broker offers upgraded research at an additional cost.

  • Email The broker offers email support to customers.

  • Facebook The broker has an active Facebook page where you may be able to post questions and get a response.

  • Fax The broker has a fax number displayed on their website.

  • Live Chat The broker offers live chat on their website.

  • Phone The broker offers phone support to customers.

  • Twitter The broker has an active Twitter page where you may be able to post questions and get a response.

  • 24-Hour Support The broker offers some form of 24-hour support, which is usually phone support.

  • Additional Languages The broker offers additional languages besides English for some aspect of its business.

  • Dedicated Tech Support The broker offers dedicated support strictly for technical issues.

  • Retail Location The broker has a retail location where you can talk to a representative live in person.

  • FINRA Listed The broker is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

  • SIPC Member The broker belongs to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee to recover any missing funds.

  • Asset Protection Guarantee The assets in your account are protected from any unauthorized activity.

  • Special Security Measures The broker offers additional security measures to protect your account.

  • IRA The broker offers access to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that provides tax advantages for retirement.

  • Small Business Tools The broker offers specific services or plans for small businesses.

  • Tax Tools The broker offers tax planning tools to provide tips and help with your investment strategy.

  • Banking Services In addition to trading services, the broker offers online banking services.

  • College Saving Plan The broker offers a college savings account.

  • Credit Card The broker offers access to a credit card through its banking services.

  • Debit Card The broker offers access to a debit card through its banking services.

  • Retirement Planning The broker offers retirement strategies and advice.

  • Wealth Assessment Tool The broker offers an interactive program that calculates your wealth so you can see how these factors will affect your retirement.

  • Free Trading Demo The broker offers a free trading demo so you can try one of the trading platforms.

  • Customer Rewards Program The broker offers a referal program or customer rewards program.

  • Introductory Offer The broker has a special offer for new traders who open an account.

  • FAQs The broker has an FAQ page or pages to answer common questions.

  • User Guides The broker offers some sort of user guide to help understand the product.

  • Virtual Trading You can make trades with a virtual account to test your strategies.

Similar Products


We recently added comments and we're amped to hear your input. Keep it civil and intelligent, and be sure to peek at our Community Guidelines before posting. If you'd like to contact the staff, our inbox is always open.