Pros / optionsXpress does not charge a fee for placing a broker-assisted trade.
Cons / The online trading platform lacks the customization options that other platforms offer.
Verdict / This online brokerage offers a comprehensive platform with more investment choices than the average service, making it a versatile choice good for beginning to advanced traders.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Online Stock Trading here.
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 online trading platform with a solid lineup of tools and features.
This online stock trading software 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. While the platform performs well in terms of features, it doesn’t offer the customization that other brokers do. You can’t augment your main dashboard with widgets the way you can with other platforms. Our reviewers also noticed that the charting tools can be difficult to format and edit.
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, spread 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 trading platform has mobile stock trading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire. From these apps, you can buy options and stocks, get real-time quotes, and create and manage watch lists and option chains. One drawback of this online broker's app is that you cannot create or manage alerts.
optionsXpress has lowered its fees for trades. Stock and options trades are set at $4.95. The fee for an option contract exercise or assignment is $8.95, which is lower than the average fee on our lineup. There is no minimum balance to open an account, and the company offers broker-assisted trades for no extra fee, which is something no other broker we reviewed offers.
This trading service offers a variety of resources to teach you about online trading and how to use the platform. These include blogs, webinars and training videos. Simulated trading is another useful feature that can help you test strategies without risking your own money.
While the educational information optionsXpress provides is useful and insightful, it assumes you have some knowledge about trading. Even the glossary assumes that you know other stock terms and doesn't give examples. While the tutorials explain how to use the platform in depth, they don’t explain investing techniques or ideas – which makes them less useful for beginning investors.
optionsXpress lets you trade stocks, options, futures and forex from one platform using excellent trading tools. Its trading platform lacks the customization that other brokers offer, but this broker offers superb help and education to support you and your financial planning. The costs for trades with this service are in line with the majority of brokers we reviewed, and this online stock broker offers a solid feature set.