PROS / This service offers all of the most popular investment options, including stocks, options and futures.
CONS / Its flat rate for trading stocks and the per-contract fee for options are higher than with many other services.
VERDICT / This service offers a comprehensive platform with more investment choices than the average service, making it a versatile service good for beginning to advanced traders.
optionsXpress is a leader in online stock trading and recognized by reputable financial and investment sources as one of the best online brokers. It offers a variety of investment options – including other investment vehicles that many other services do not offer – and an intuitive platform with a solid lineup of tools and features. While some of its fees are higher than other discount brokers, other fees are lower, and the quality of the platform and the company is worth the extra cost for many investors, especially those looking for riskier ventures with high pay-off potential. With its reasonable fees and commissions and a solid platform, optionsXpress is one of the best online brokers and wins our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for online stock trading.
Fees & Commissions
As mentioned above, some of optionsXpress' fees for trades are higher than many services. Stock trades are set at $8.95, which is relatively high when compared to the top services we reviewed, which charge under $5 per trade. The cost for options trades is $14.95 flat for up to 10 contracts and then $1.50 per contract for any number above 10. The cost up to 10 contracts is average, but when you start trading more contracts than that, it adds up. For example, 100 contracts with optionsXpress is $150 while our top services range from around $24.00 to $70.00 for 100 contracts. If you make more than 35 options trades per quarter, your status changes to active trader, and the fee per 10 contracts drops to $12.95 and $1.25 per contract above 10, so it would be slightly less expensive.
The fee for an option contract exercise or assignment is $8.95, which is less than the average fee on our lineup. However, optionsXpress does not require a minimum balance to open an account, and it offers broker-assisted trades with no extra fee, which is a fee every other service we reviewed charges, some as much as $50.00. Margin account rates are average, starting at 8.25% and dropping incrementally as account balances increase.
Trading Platform & Research Tools
This online platform allows you to customize your windows and your views. It includes the tools and educational resources you need to support your investment style. Those tools include risk and volatility calculators, charts, streaming news, and analyst-research reports. You also have instant access to level I and level II quotes. You can organize your preferred tools and streaming reports on a customizable desktop. You also can set alerts and automated trading.
When it comes to options, optionsXpress has tools for creating simple and complex trade orders. You can use preprogrammed strategies or easily create your own, including butterfly, condor, OCO, combo, straddle, strangle, spreads and contingent orders, among others. If you're new to trading options, the intuitive layout of the platform is beneficial, and if you're an experienced options trader, the order placement tools are exceptionally simple to use.
This online broker offers a comprehensive range of investments, including stocks, options, mutual funds, EFTs and bonds. It also offers international stock trading and forex trading, which not many services offer. You can choose to invest in a number of IRAs for yourself, your children or your grandchildren.
In addition to trading stocks online or even on the phone, optionsXpress also has mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire. From these apps, you can trade stocks and options, get real-time quotes, and create and manage watch lists and option chains. You can also access the website platform from other mobile devices if you do not have one of the before-mentioned devices.
Help & Support
The online help from this service 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. optionsXpress offers webinars that guide you through the functions of the trading platform. If you have further questions about the site or about investments, you can contact customer support through live chat, email and telephone. Customer support is friendly and helpful.
optionsXpress lets you trade stocks, options, futures and forex from one platform using excellent trading tools. You can trade in a number of different ways and from the most-popular mobile devices. This broker offers superb help and education to support you and your financial planning. The costs for trades with this service are higher than with the majority of brokers we reviewed, but you get a solid online stock broker.