TopTenREVIEWS - Gold Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

Barron’s, Forbes, Kiplinger’s and Smart Money have recognized optionsXpress as a leader in online stock trading. We also distinguish this broker as the best and give it the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award. The service includes the tools necessary to implement investment strategies. optionsXpress has an easy-to-understand fee schedule, a good collection of trading tools and a low fee. optionsXpress offers tools to help you learn the stock market. With low commissions and no minimum account balance requirement, this online broker is affordable. optionsXpress provides a good balance between research, education and pricing. It works with most cell phones, so you can buy and sell stock or check your balance from almost anywhere.

Fees and Commissions
Compare
9.6/10
optionsXpress
OptionsHouse
TradeKing
Scottrade
Fidelity
E*TRADE Financial
Charles Schwab
TD Ameritrade
ShareBuilder
Firstrade
9.6
9.6
10
9.4
7.5
8
7.5
8.8
8
7.8

There is no minimum investment to open an account with optionsXpress. The commission is $9.95 or $15 on all orders, including broker–assisted orders. This is excellent considering most brokers charge for assistance. optionsXpress charges $1.50 for each options contract. If you make more than 35 options trades in one quarter the fee goes down to $12.95.

Investments Offered
Compare
9.4/10
optionsXpress
OptionsHouse
TradeKing
Scottrade
Fidelity
E*TRADE Financial
Charles Schwab
TD Ameritrade
ShareBuilder
Firstrade
9.4
10
8.1
8.4
7.5
9.4
9.8
9.4
8.8
7.5

optionsXpress began in 2000 as a service focused on options and a limited selection of equities. Today the broker offers investments including stocks, mutual funds, exchange–traded funds and bonds. It does not offer CDs or some of the less popular investments such as mortgage–backed securities and unit investment trusts. Additionally, the service offers IRAs to secure retirement and education savings plans.

Ease of Use
Compare
10/10
optionsXpress
OptionsHouse
TradeKing
Scottrade
Fidelity
E*TRADE Financial
Charles Schwab
TD Ameritrade
ShareBuilder
Firstrade
10
9.4
8.8
8.8
10
9.4
9.8
8.1
8.8
8.8

This is an easy–to–navigate website divided into sections by tabs. It is no problem to find tools, educational materials and account information. The basic trading tool is easy to use and the trading platform is powerful yet simple to use. optionsXpress offers webinars that guide you through the functions of the trading platform.

Trading and Investment Tools
Compare
10/10
optionsXpress
OptionsHouse
TradeKing
Scottrade
Fidelity
E*TRADE Financial
Charles Schwab
TD Ameritrade
ShareBuilder
Firstrade
10
10
8.8
7.5
10
8.8
8.8
7.5
8.8
10

This online broker provides the tools and educational resources you need to support your investment style: calculators, charts, streaming news and analyst research reports. You’ll also have instant access to level I and level II quotes. In comparison with level II quotes, level I quotes withhold the number of shares that the market maker is seeking, which makes it easier for the market maker to manipulate your order to your disadvantage. So access to level II quotes is a big deal.

You can organize your preferred tools and streaming reports on a customizable desktop. You can also add alerts and automated trading. Through automated trading, the broker will automatically buy or sell securities according to your instructions.

Once you are ready to trade, you can do so by telephone or internet. If you aren’t sure about a trade or just want to test the waters before jumping in, you can practice trading in a virtual environment with play money. The virtual market follows the real stock market so you can see what you would have made or lost had you invested real money.

optionsXpress works with cell phones that can access the internet. This mobile service can help you check your balances and positions and place orders from anywhere your phone can access the internet.

Customer Service
Compare
10/10
optionsXpress
OptionsHouse
TradeKing
Scottrade
Fidelity
E*TRADE Financial
Charles Schwab
TD Ameritrade
ShareBuilder
Firstrade
10
10
10
10
10
8.8
8.8
10
8.8
8.8

Online help is superb. You have access to a number of tutorials and tours that guide you through the site and introduce you to the tools and features. It also offers 24-hour support for futures trades. If you have further questions about the site or about investments, you can contact customer support through live chat, email or the telephone. Customer support is friendly and helpful.

optionsXpress Summary:
9.8/10

optionsXpress lets you trade stocks, options, futures and forex from one platform using excellent trading tools. One tool is the Idea Hub, which helps you to explore ideas and identify potential trades that fit your style and assumptions. Another tool is Trading Patterns, which clues you into what the market is doing. You can find options strategies that conform to your willingness to tolerate risk. You can use a trade-and-probability calculator to figure out risk vs reward for a particular options trade. If you want to test strategies before committing, you can establish a virtual trade account loaded with $25,000 of play money. There are licensed specialists available for conversations with you and the customer service team is available even after the markets close. Ongoing education is yours for the asking: live events, on-demand training and newsletters.

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optionsXpress

Pros
optionsXpress requires no minimum account balance.

Cons
optionsXrpess clients do not have access to international trading.

The Verdict
: 9.78/10

optionsXpress is the best online stock broker because of affordable fees and useful trading tools.