Case in point: they’ve collected at least 4 stars from Barron’s Annual Online Broker Review in each of the last 10 years, and Kiplingers recently gave them 5 stars for costs and called them a “Mecca for options buffs”. Plus, they’ve recently made come pretty significant price improvements. The question is, do they deserve to be your next broker?
In this optionsXpress review, I’ll cover some of the pros and cons of optionsXpress, go over the important account features, and hopefully help you figure out whether or not they should be your broker of choice this year.
Pros - Top notch mobile trading apps, great education resources for all levels of traders, fast order fills, wide range of investment products outside of just stocks and options, very powerful trading platform with professional level tools.
Cons - Even at their new lower price points, they still come in slightly higher than most discount brokers for equities and options.
Best For - Active, self-directed investors looking for ease of use, and arguably the best retail trading tools and technology available, options & derivatives traders (there are a huge range of derivatives available), and people who want to improve their trading skills via OX free education resources. Excellent all around service.
Minimum To Open Account - $0
OptionsXpress Review Continued…
Browser or Software/Mobile Apps - Browser, Software (Xtend), iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Palm WebOS
Fees & Commissions
Equities: $8.95 flat
Options: $1.50 per contract ($14.95 minimum)
Mutual Funds: $9.95 + load fee
Bonds: $5.00 per bond ($9.95 minimum)
Broker Assisted: $8.95
Penny Options: $0.50 per contract ($4.95 minimum)
Futures: Tiered, starting at $2.99 per contract
Platform Fees: $0
Margin Rates 6.25% – 4.0%
Mutual Funds: YES
FOREX: 18 Pairs
International Exchanges: 9 futures exchanges
One of the drawbacks of optionsXpress for some people is the inability to access a wide range of international investments. You can get foreign ADRs, but you won’t be able to buy or sell on foreign exchanges. However, with the recent acquisition of optionsXpress by Charles Schwab (which offers access to 30 different international exchanges via their live brokers) there could be a change soon. I wouldn’t count on it, and right now it’s just speculation on my part, but it is something that I hope to see in the future.
Research & Tools
Free Live Streaming Quotes: YES
Breaking News: YES
Market Commentary: YES
Research Reports: YES
Market Analysis: YES
Trader Community: NO
optionsXpress gives you access to many very powerful trading tools that are tailored to be simple to use and effective. A few examples…
The Screener – The technical patterning tools and screeners at optionsXpress allow you to sift through potential investment options and pick those that are best suited to your portfolio.
Xtend – Xtend is an all-in-one order center that provides a plethora of sophisticated trading options. It’s streaming interface swiftly adapt to any changes in the market and gives you one-click access to strategies, ladders and watch lists.
Strategy Scan – The advanced charts and tools for pricing available at optionsXpress allows you to break down potential strategies for trading and analyze all upcoming and potential trades in all possible ways.
Watch Lists – Want to organize a personal list of trades and investments to look out for? Sure. OX Watch Lists let you set up your own alerts and provides statistical breakdowns of the performance of your trading strategies.
Another great feature (not really a tool) is their XpressRouter Technology, which doesn’t just adhere to the SECs National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO) guarantee, but always attempts to route your order the quickest way possible. OX mentions on its website that it helped save it’s members over $2M last year alone with this feature.
OptionsXpress Video Tour (4:31)
Free Tutorials: YES
Free Webinars: YES
Free Workshops: YES
Options Trading: YES
Futures Trading: YES
Stock Trading: YES
Bond Trading: YES
Mutual Fund/ETFs: YES
optionsXpress has developed their own innovative education training method known as Xpress Method, which aims at providing you with all the information that you need in order to become a confident (and I hope profitable) trader. Through various live events and webinars, the Xpress Method will help you become a better, self-directed investor.
24/7 Support: YES
Live Chat: YES
Branch Offices: 4 branch offices located in Chicago, IL, El Paso, TX, Houston, TX, South Euclid, OH.
optionsXpress is renowned for their strong marks in customer service and support. Thanks to their LiveChat and 24/7 support offerings, you never have to wait long to get a rep on the line.
Types Of Accounts
Virtual Trading: YES
No Fee IRA: YES
Commentary In The News
“Best For Options Traders” – Barron’s 2011
“Best For Costs” – Kiplinger’s 2011
“2010 Broker Of The Year” – Options Insider 2010
“5 Stars (Highest) For Trading Tools” – Smart Money 2009
When it really boils down to it, picking a broker is about more than just commissions. It’s about getting the tools, education and technology behind you that you need to succeed. So while they aren’t the cheapest of the discount brokers on the block, if you care about your trading experience, my bet is you won’t regret choosing optionsXpress as your broker.
Do you have an account with optionsXpress? If so, please add to the community here and leave your own review below.