- Review: OptionsHouse
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OptionsHouse was founded in 2005 and started with the goal of being one of the cheapest and most advanced trading platforms. In 2014, OptionsHouse and tradeMONSTER merged. With the merger, they took the best of both platforms: OptionsHouse’s cheap trading fees and tradeMONSTER’s advanced trading platform.
Scoring second place with Barron’s 2015 brokerage review, OptionsHouse has one of the lowest fees in the online brokerage industry. One of the benefits of OptionsHouse is their simple pricing structure. In addition, they do not have any annual maintenance fees or any minimum deposit requirements. So they are great for small and large investors alike.
|Options Trades||$4.95 + $0.50/contract|
|Accounts Available||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover, IRA, SEP IRA, Coverdell, Trust, Individual, and Joint|
|Mobile App||Yes — Apple iOS and Google Android|
|Customer Service||Phone, Live Chat and Email|
|Promotions||Trade Free for 60 Days|
- One Click Trading — Execute trades with just one click.
- tradeCYCLE — A six-step process that includes researching, testing, executing, adjusting and exiting trades.
- tradeLAB — Gain the insight to profit from market moves with a profit/loss/breakeven snapshot. Use an advanced spectral map to analyze strategies with customized metrics.
- Monitor Your Positions — Configure your positions page and customize settings for quicker views of your performance and for faster trading. Get alerts via popup, mobile or email.
- Options Chains — View 16 different options chains, including 15 that are strategy based, so you can find all the quotes, implied volatility and deltas in no time.
- Paper Trading — Get $100,000 of virtual money to practice your trades before trading with real money.
- Trade Journal — Use this feature to log trade tags or notes about the strategy behind the trade.
- Autotrade — Automatically buy/sell based upon a number of investment newsletters.
With the veritable sea of online discount brokerages available, it’s difficult to make your mark on the trading market, but that didn’t stop OptionsHouse. Owned by General Atlantic, OptionsHouse offers one of the most powerful and technologically advanced trading platforms available to the general public.
OptionsHouse’s trading platform is fully customizable and is very close to what a professional trader would have access to. You can rearrange, remove or add anything that might be happening on the trading floor into your OptionHouse trading platform.
All the activity in the trading platform is streaming and real time so you won’t miss a thing. It’s also quick and responsive. The other advantage with their trading platform is there is no software to install on your desktop. The mobile versions of OptionsHouse are pretty close in feature set to the desktop version.
In my tests it worked on all major web browsers on both Windows and Macintosh.
Some of the best research tools I’ve ever seen are on OptionsHouse’s powerful platform. The list of tools is extensive and includes strategySEEK, Exit Plan and adjustTRADE resources.
strategySEEK and spreadMAKER can be used to better understand and estimate potential risks in your portfolio. The adjustTRADE section allows you to adjust your trading based on your performance.
There is also the tradeLAB, which allows you to test your strategy and produce hundreds of options trades to choose from that match your exact criteria.
Virtual Trading Platform
But the most powerful tool OptionsHouse has to offer, which is hard to find anywhere else, is the Virtual Trading Platform.
This Virtual Trading platform is available to you upon account creation even if you haven’t funded your OptionsHouse account. In this virtual environment, you are given access to a fully functional duplicate of the OptionsHouse powerful trading platform but with virtual parameters that mirror the live market.
You’re also given $100,000 in virtual cash to trade with however you want. In this virtual environment, you can trade options and stocks while honing your skills and building your strategy without any of the risk of trading in the live platform with real money. You can fund your virtual account with more virtual currency as you go, and there are no barriers to what you can do.
This is an extremely powerful tool for the beginning investor to build confidence and learn how trading is done. The weathered investor can use this tool to experiment with new business sectors or to build strategy.
Apart from these impressive tools, OptionsHouse also offers free web tutorials on using their platform and investment coaching, as well as free web seminars on a plethora of investing topics.
With the merger of tradeMONSTER, OptionsHouse put even more emphasis in mobile trading.
OptionsHouse has mobile apps for Apple iOS devices (which include iPhone and iPad) and Google Android’s platform, so you can trade anywhere.
From the app itself you can access streaming quotes and charts, search companies and symbols, trade stocks, options, spreads and chain options, monitor positions and orders and even use the virtual trading platform.
For other mobile devices, OptionsHouse has a fully functional mobile website where you can do everything that is possible from the desktop browser–based OptionsHouse website. This mobile version of the OptionsHouse website requires a modern mobile web browser.
- Low Fees — At $4.95 per stock or options trade, fees are among the lowest in the industry.
- Low Margin Rates — OptionsHouse has some of the lowest margin rates in the industry.
- Customizable Alerts — Many options for creating and receiving alerts.
- Paper Trading — Get $100,000 in virtual money to test your trades.
- No Commission-Free ETFs — Unlike a few other discount brokerages OptionsHouse does not offer any commission-free ETFs.
- Not for Beginning Investors — If you aren’t an active trader or trade options, OptionsHouse might not be right for you.
- Customer Service Needs Improvement — According to comments on Investor Junkie, OptionsHouse customer service needs improvements.
Summary – Is OptionsHouse Right for You?
It would be an obvious guess, with a name like OptionsHouse, they would be great at trading options… and you would be right.
OptionsHouse’s target audience is active traders and traders wanting to trade options. In my opinion, beginning investors and investors who infrequently trade might want to look elsewhere.
For the targeted traders OptionsHouse appeals to, the trading platform and research tools provided by OptionsHouse are unparalleled and pretty advanced.
Opening an account just to take advantage of these tools could give you the edge you’ve been looking for to breathe new life into your old portfolio.
If you’re still shopping brokerages, seriously consider OptionsHouse, based on their competitive rates and impressive barrage of tools, to cut through the confusion of online stock and options trading.