What is OptionsHouse?
Established in 2005, OptionsHouse is an online brokerage company that offers both desktop and mobile-based trading platforms and features highly competitive rates, emphasizing that its low commission rates provide more value to traders. Its website also features educational webinars for new and seasoned investors. After merging with TradeMonster in 2014, OptionsHouse developed a more powerful trading platform designed for speedy trade execution.
OptionsHouse boasts an award-winning platform, which ranked second on the “2015 Best Online Broker Ranking” by Barron’s, a registered trademark of Dow Jones and Co. The firm is considered the best options broker by several other prominent reviewers, especially in terms of commissions, fees, and mobile trading.
OptionsHouse also offers a first-rate platform, uses state-of-the-art technology, and offers some of the lowest brokerage fees. Continue reading this OptionsHouse review to learn how the OptionsHouse trading platform works, its fees and commissions, and whether or not it’s the best options broker around.
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How OptionsHouse Trading Works
OptionsHouse features online stock and options trading, letting you access a variety of OptionsHouse mutual funds and retirement accounts as well as Exchange-Traded Funds and futures. However, forex trading is not available. Both virtual and regular trading are possible through the OptionsHouse trading platform.
OptionsHouse definitely lives up to its names: choose from 16 distinct option chains—15 of which are strategy-based—and any strategies or single options you like. Even with monitoring your trades your options abound. There are chart studies, personalized charts, and customization tools, just to name a few. This is not a one-size-fits-all service.
When you click on one of these options, you’ll see a summary window which displays key metrics and links for better analysis. Selecting “Analyze” opens up the tradeLAB Snapshot Analysis tool, which simplifies risk and reward comparisons through smileys.
Spectral Analysis helps you use those smileys and make smart decisions by letting you analyze your strategy, prepare for market moves, adjust volatility to see possible scenarios, update your strategy, and place a trade with a simple click. Clicking on a price-time point on the Spectral map gives you a Spectral Slice assessment of this point and lets you view probabilities as well as a risk profile chart.
OptionsHouse guarantees financial security from brokerage insolvency through its membership with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Registered accounts are insured up to a certain value, including cash claims.
Features of OptionsHouse Trading
- User-Friendly Customizable Platform: Packed with useful features, the intuitive, mobile-optimized OptionsHouse trading platform is completely customizable, allowing you to focus on the most essential aspects to you. With personalized option chain views, it’s quick and effortless to get into your most profitable trades and immediately research, evaluate, and decide on your next action.
- Mobile Trading: You may download the OptionsHouse app for your iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire device to monitor your trades and positions, access streaming data, and trade stocks, options, or spreads wherever you are. Customizations you make on the OptionsHouse app are saved in your profile.
- TradeLAB: Snapshot Analysis provides you with a profit-loss-breakeven screenshot, so you can compare risks versus rewards and determine potential profits and losses. Through Spectral Analysis, you can use a spectral map to evaluate strategies using personalized metrics, letting you play out various potential scenarios and assess trades from different angles.
- Trigger Alerts: It’s easy to make fast trades and place pre-populated orders to get up to speed with fast-moving markets through actionable push alerts. Trigger alerts are an extremely useful feature that give you the opportunity to maximize profits and cut losses. You may access and send saved orders on the web platform or the mobile app.
- StrategySEEK: This feature scans real-time market data for numerous option strategies based on your forecast and trade objectives, enabling you to find new market opportunities and discover winning strategies. Making your forecast involves a single click on a price chart, after which you can immediately view possible price levels. You may match strategies that fit your risk priorities, and then evaluate, change, or trade a strategy using the Snapshot and Spectral Analysis tools. Placing an order is a simple, one-click process.
- Virtual Trading: Virtual trading, or paper trading, means you can trade virtual currency for practice purposes, so you can effectively learn the ropes and familiarize yourself with how the platform works. After opening a real account, you may create a paperTRADE account and trade in a live market environment using all tools and features available in the OptionsHouse trading platform.
- Free 60-Day Trial: Once you create your account and fund it, OptionsHouse lets you trade for free for a maximum of 60 days.
- Free Educational Resources: OptionsHouse clearly demonstrate the expertise of the OptionsHouse team. Topics revolve around platform guides, market outlooks, trading strategies, and other subjects related to options and futures. You’ll have to register to join new live webinars. You may also watch recent webinars instantly from the archives.
OptionsHouse Fees and Commissions
Besides OptionsHouse’s outstanding desktop and mobile platforms, the competitive OptionsHouse fees and rates set the brokerage apart from competition. There are no maintenance fees or OptionsHouse minimum balances. You also don’t have to pay anything extra for using the platform.
The company charges a flat rate of $4.95 per stock trade, which is considerably more affordable compared to the $7 to $9.99 rates offered by other services. The base fee for options is $4.95 plus an extra $0.50 per contract. For 10 options contracts, the rate becomes $9.95, which is significantly lower than other brokerages that charge $15 up to $20.
OptionsHouse emphasizes that it doesn’t charge some fees that other brokerages typically charge. If you need assistance with a trade, the company charges $25 for the Broker Assist fee, but you don’t have to pay the $4.95 commission fee when you opt for this. OptionsHouse also highlights its low margin interest rates, which start at a base rate of 3.25%, to deliver more value to traders and help them make large savings in the long run.
Funding Your OptionsHouse Account
OptionsHouse accepts five payment methods for funding your account: wire funds in, send a check, deposit certificate, transfer assets, or link to bank account. To fund your account, you’ll have to sign in to Account Management, select Funding, click Account Number, choose the account you’d like to fund, and select your funding method from the drop-down menu.
If you want to transfer your account from another online broker to OptionsHouse, you’ll have to submit an online form and email or fax necessary documents. You may open additional accounts under your current username by going to the Account Management tab. Closing your account requires withdrawing all of your assets and emailing OptionsHouse afterward about your account closing request.
- Customization and Trading Tools: An OptionsHouse review praised the customizable platform and impressive collection of tools for options traders. Other OptionsHouse reviews said that the interface is comparable to professional trading platforms offered by more expensive brokerages.
However, some OptionsHouse reviews reported that it may be relatively difficult for new investors to become familiarized with the customization process because of the complex interface. Some users found it difficult to use certain features and experienced glitches when selling options.
- Customer Service: Customer support is available through email, phone, and live chat. If you need assistance over the phone, you may call a trading expert from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday to Friday. Live chat is also open during the same hours.
The main concern of most users who shared their OptionsHouse trading experiences is poor customer service. One OptionsHouse review stated that customer service representatives usually responded promptly within minutes, while others complained that response to emails took days.
Several people noted that they repeatedly tried to send emails to no avail, as their complaints were left unresolved. Another Options House review mentioned that phone support staff frequently put them on hold for long periods and were often unfriendly.
- Funds Issues: Several users expressed that their accounts did not reflect the money they deposited even after contacting customer support. Another Options House review also noted that OptionsHouse took a long time to return funds to users who opted to withdraw their money.
- Hidden Fees: A handful of customer reviews said that certain hidden fees regarding professional real-time data feed were charged even though the users didn’t want or weren’t aware of the data feed service.
Image source: Bigstock
Conclusion: Is OptionsHouse a Trustworthy Trading Platform?
Offering some of the lowest brokerage fees and an intuitive, customizable platform with advanced analytical tools, our review of OptionsHouse concludes that the company is a viable choice for online stock trading. We recommend this trading platform if you’re looking for low-cost commissions and OptionsHouse requires no minimum balance for maintaining an account.
If you’re a price-conscientious options trader who’s looking for the best options broker, OptionsHouse offers sophisticated trading tools and speedy trade execution at a fraction of the cost of other top brokers. The firm offers superior value and rates that are hard to beat anywhere.
Because some users found the interface clunky and confusing, you may benefit from watching the free webinars that talk about how to use the platform and its features before trading with real funds. You may also want to take advantage of the free 60-day trial and try virtual trading to get a feel of how the platform works. Take your time in evaluating the ease of use and functionality of the platform to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.
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