OptionsHouse Review: An Online Discount Broker with Professional Grade Trading Tools

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What distinguishes one online discount broker from another? As more and more online brokers enter the low-fee arena, they each try to distinguish their trading services and cost structure from all the others. OptionsHouse has two features that set it apart from other discount brokers: (1) professional grade online trading tools, and (2) stock trades for a flat fee of just $4.75.

At $4.75 a trade, OptionsHouse offers one of  the lowest cost discount brokers I can find. As important as cost is, though, it’s not the only factor to consider when selecting an online discount broker. So let’s take a look at what OptionsHouse has to offer.

OptionsHouse Basics

Since 2005, OptionsHouse has been leveraging technology to make it possible for investors to make trades online. Its goal is to take professional grade software trading tools and make them accessible and efficient for traders in conjunction with Internet technologies. With OptionsHouse, investors can trade and manage accounts online with the following financial instruments:

  • Equities
  • Options on Equities
  • Mutual Funds

OptionsHouse Features

OptionsHouse has a variety of features that make a top consideration for online investors:

  • Flat-Rate, Affordable Pricing: Investors at OptionsHouse can count on a regular low fee that makes it easy to calculate commission payments. Stock trades are just $4.75 and options are $5. These affordable rates stay the same, regardless if you are making just a few trades or a massive quantity.
  • Expert Training and Tutorials: Investors who choose OptionsHouse will have access to a variety of outstanding educational resources, tutorials, and even webinars with experienced traders. The goal with the expert training tools and tutorials is to transform novice investors into knowledgeable traders. Many of these educational resources are available to anybody, even if you don’t have an account with OptionsHouse.
  • Financial Protection: Like many other leading brokerages, OptionsHouse is a member of SIPC, which offers $500,000 in account protection. OptionHouse’s clearing firm maintains additional SIPC Insurance, which protects another $900,000 per customer.
  • Streamlined Platform: OptionsHouse runs on The PEAK6 trading platform, which is popular among retail and institutional investors alike. One of the most beneficial elements of OptionHouse’s platform is its integration of trading tools, which helps traders to easily manage real-time prices with trends. In addition, the platform makes trade execution incredibly fast and easy.

Virtual Trading

OptionsHouse offers account holders the ability to “try before you buy,” so to speak. Called virtual trading, investors can “trade” with virtual money to test out OptionsHouse’s trading platform and their own investing strategies. Virtual trading allows investors to:

  • Enter virtual orders
  • Track your account’s hypothetical performance
  • Use the full suite of OptionsHouse idea-generation and risk-management tools, including streaming charts and news and volatility tools

Here’s a screen shot of the OptionsHouse trading platform that a virtually trader would use:

virtual-online-options-trading-account-optionshouse-brokerage-20_1248864683789

OptionsHouse Account Types

OptionsHouse offers several different account types. In addition to standard cash and margin accounts, OptionsHouse offers the following types of accounts:

  • Individual
  • Corporate
  • Roth IRAs
  • Sep IRAs
  • Traditional IRAs
  • UTMA/UGMA
  • Trusts, Partnerships
  • Investment Clubs
  • Educational IRAs

OptionsHouse Drawbacks

As with any new financial management endeavor, it is important to read and understand the fine print, and OptionsHouse is no exception to this rule. There are certain limitations to trading with OptionsHouse. For example, investors may trade up to 50,000 shares or 4,000 option contracts per trade. Beyond these amounts, additional charges will apply. While OptionsHouse will cover account transfer fees associated with switching from a different broker, they will only cover a maximum of $100 in transfer fees. The minimum funding amount to open an account is $1,000. In addition, to execute a trade, you must have enough money in your account to cover the trade plus $100 to cover trading costs

From top to bottom, OptionsHouse is an excellent choice for online trading.  With its low trading costs and technology platform, this online discount broker is one of the best.  To complete an application online, visit OptionsHouse.  Happy trading!

Published or Updated: January 18, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    The only drawback to optionshouse, for me, is the platform performance. It is BRUTALLY cludgy. I wish they would take their trading platform to the next level, maybe offer a desktop version. It’s great, and has some killer features, but can be painful to use. Otherwise it’s great. I switched from Scottrade ’cause of price, and their entry level platform just flat out sucks. I can’t believe Scottrade uses that archaic Java based platform.

  2. Jim says:

    Optionshouse is terrible. There is always leakage in trades. I’ve lost numerous trades due to leakage and failed executions. Their interface is a pain. It requires a few clicks to process transactions. Which is horrible for day trading and market orders. You’re also unable to type in a symbol and press enter in the orders section (very sad). They also do not have short sell access to all stocks. A lot of stocks are restricted from short selling. You’ll have to call them if you want to short sell and they have a high interest rate commission on these stocks. I won’t be using them anymore. I rather pay $7 at Scottrade for a smoother interface, less leakage and wider variety of stocks. This is the worst experience I’ve ever had. The $4 commission is not worth it for frequent traders.

  3. Bill T says:

    DO NOT PUT YOUR MONEY HERE! I don’t know where to start with this online broker. The customer service here is awful. I have been a customer here for a couple of years and it has only gotten worse. I consider myself an active trader and make 20 trades per week. The brokers here are not properly trained or educated with margin trading, trading rules, order execution and options in general. They have EXCESSIVE hold times when you try to call in and talk to someone. I have tried a few times in the past week and was on hold for at least 30 minutes +. This is unacceptable and the manager who is in charge obviously does not care. I have tried to get a hold of this company and asked to speak to a supervisor and they always say that no one is available. They are in clear violation of rules. They also get payment for their order flow from the market makers and exchanges that they route their orders too. That is why many have previously said that their order execution is awful. I also have an account at ETrade and their orders route a lot quicker. OptionsHouse has a horrendous trading platform and is very outdated. Their charting is also horrible. I learned the hard way being here. Don’t waste your time with this company.

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