PROS / OptionsHouse has the lowest per-contract fee for options trading of any service we reviewed.
CONS / There are no local branches where you could receive face-to-face assistance.
VERDICT / For active traders who are serious about online options trading, OptionsHouse is the best choice with its low fees and solid trading platform.
Editor’s Note: OptionsHouse has been acquired by E*TRADE. OptionsHouse will continue to be operated as a separate brokerage, with no change to the platform, pricing or accounts. Any future changes that arise due to this acquisition will be reflected in the next update to our stock trading sites. OptionsHouse has updated its mobile app, we will review it when we next update our site.
A leader in online options trading, OptionsHouse has been providing an intuitive and comprehensive platform since 2006 for participating in options and other investment trading from the convenience of home, café or anywhere you can access the internet or have cell phone data service. The platform is online, so you can access it from any computer and smartphone, and there are apps for simplified trading from your mobile devices. Preprogrammed options strategies, custom option chains and tools for research all help you make your options trading decisions. With the lowest per-contract fee in the industry, OptionsHouse wins our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for online options trading software choices.
Fees & Commissions
When it comes to fees and commissions, OptionsHouse is the best options broker. The fee for stock trades is $4.95, and for option trades, you pay a base fee of $4.95 plus a per-contract fee of $0.50. This works out to only $9.95 for 10 contracts, and OptionsHouse is still cheaper than most services when you trade a large number of contracts. For example, if you were to trade 50 options contracts, the average fee for other services in our online options trading reviews would be nearly $47. For 50 contracts with OptionsHouse, your fee is less than $30.
When the time comes for an option exercise or assignment, you also pay some of the lowest fees in the industry. Both an exercise and an assignment are $4.95, which is significantly less than the fees many other services charge. If you need assistance with completing an order, the broker-assisted fee is $25 plus any applicable contract fee. For those also interested in stock trading, OptionsHouse also stands out among its competition with a flat $4.95 rate per trade.
Unlike most online options services, OptionsHouse does not require a minimum balance if you choose to open a margin account. Current margin rates with OptionsHouse are better than with most other services, starting at 7.75 percent and dropping to as low as 3.25 percent for accounts with balances over one million dollars.
Platform & Tools
The online trading platform comes with a toolbox full of useful resources to help you make your trading decisions, and it is customizable. Tabs are laid out for your account, which displays your balances, positions and pending orders. Tabs for options display option chains, and the stock tab lets you research a particular stock, including bid and ask prices and current market news.
When trading options, you can create option chains to watch investments that interest you. You can specify the strike price and expiration date, then keep track of current call and put prices that fall within your parameters using options screeners and call and put scanners. You also can choose from a number of preprogrammed options strategies, including long and short calls and puts, condors and butterflies, and strangles and straddles. Further, you can set up custom watchlists and alerts for stocks and options so you can choose when to pursue a trade.
OptionsHouse provides tools to help you manage your portfolio, including a risk viewer that uses an algorithm to help you evaluate and estimate the risk of your investments. The profit-and-loss calculator figures the potential outcome of trades you are considering ordering. Volatility charts implement implied volatility and the past performance of a stock to help you estimate how a stock will perform in the future. Along with charts, graphs, and streaming news and quotes, the platform provides excellent resources to help you order trades.
For mobile trades, OptionsHouse provides choices to ensure you do not miss opportunities when you're away from your computer. You can access the web-based platform from any smartphone, so you have full control over your account. You can also download mobile apps that allow you to trade stocks and options, view your watchlists, monitor trade orders, and receive streaming news and quotes.
Education & Resources
Should you need any assistance or guidance outside of the platform, OptionsHouse provides some helpful options. Customer service is available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time, and you can contact a representative by telephone, live chat and email. There are no local branches for OptionsHouse, which means there is no option for face-to-face interaction with brokers. However, there is no broker-assisted fee if you need help ordering a trade. For basic information, you can check out the FAQs page or watch video tutorials.
OptionsHouse is recognizable and trusted name in online investment trading. Typical of online options brokers, it offers stocks and options trading among other investments, but it stands out from its competition with the other facets of its business. Its fees and commissions are lower than nearly every other choice in the market. The platform is conveniently online, which allows you to access it from any computer, and the mobile-optimized website and mobile apps ensure you aren't limited to desktop trading.