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OptionsHouse Review

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  • Pros
  • Low stock trading fees
  • No custodial fees
  • Designed around options platforms
  • Good mobile management
  • Low contract fees and commissions
  • Cons
  • Very little mutual fund access
  • High fees for trading within mutual funds
  • $20 fee to close IRA

OptionsHouse IRA Accounts

OptionsHouse is a good place to open a Roth IRA and unlike mutual fund focused options like Vanguard, it deals heavily with trading. In fact, OptionsHouse offers access to mutual funds and if you want to buy or sell shares in a mutual fund you'll only pay $9.95. As their name suggests, their IRA accounts are designed around options trading. Option Plan trading fees are $4.95 plus $0.50 per contract. Because OptionsHouse is known for its excellent options trading platforms it is a great choice for anyone who is interested in actively trading their IRA in different stocks. If you are willing to accept the hands-on aspect of this account, you'll get the benefit of low trade fees at only $4.75 per trade.

Compared to other online brokers offering IRA accounts, the fees are hard to beat. There are no account maintenance fees or connection charges, no minimum balances and you can have a broker assist you in your trade and still pay only the per trade fee.

IRA Options

OptionsHouse offers several types of IRA accounts. The traditional IRA grows your tax-deferred dollars until retirement, and then you pay taxes upon withdrawal. The Roth IRA is funded with post-tax dollars, where you grow your nest egg, and ultimately withdrawal tax-free. The SEP IRA is a great choice for the self-employed, who can qualify to contribute more each year to their account than they can with traditional or Roth IRAs. There is a $1,000 minimum to open the account, which takes as little as 15 minutes online.

Streaming Quotes for Free

While many online brokerages offer streaming quotes, there is often a fee for this service. OptionsHouse provides streaming quotes for free. Open your account, take fine minutes to fill out the required fields and you are granted access to real time quotes on the range of stocks, bonds and other securities. This is a great feature if you are keeping an eye on a particular stock, or a specific industry.

The Virtual Account Tool

Once you open an OptionsHouse account, you get a $5,000 virtual account to practice with. If you are new to trading, or at least very cautious about trading your IRA funds, you can try your hand first for free with a virtual trading account. Take a stock strategy out for a virtual spin with imaginary money. It's a great way to test the waters at no risk.

Weak on Mutual Funds

The OptionsHouse mutual funds trading fee is great at just under ten dollars. However, the broker offers only about 1,000 no-load mutual funds, perhaps only a third of what competitors like TradeKing offer. Also, all mutual fund transactions need to be made over the phone. Although OptionsHouse is clearly targeting the active trader, they could stand to add more mutual fund options. If you prefer to put your IRA in a mutual fund, a free Vanguard account is a better option. Note that many of the top online brokers allow trades after hours, but OptionsHouse closes daily trading at 5:00 P.M. EST.

Updated Research Features

Since a merger with TradeMONSTER in 2014, OptionsHouse has improved their online research features. They list stock analyst reports, feature competitor news on specific industries and provide charts to allow investors to make informed decisions on specific stocks or funds to invest in.

Good Trading Tools

The online tools at OptionsHouse are very efficient and easy to understand. They are not as sophisticated as the tools at some online brokers such as Etrade, but they hold their own. The stripped down tools were designed at first to appeal to the knowledgable, active trader. As OptionsHouse adds more research capacity to their online brokerage, the scope of their trading tools expands and improves.

OptionsHouse calls their trading process and tools tradeCYCLE. Account holders can begin their trading process in tradeCYCLE by doing homework with research tools. Next, they find or craft a strategy with tools called strategySEEK or spreadMAKER, followed by testing the strategy in tradeLAB. Those ready to pull the trigger on a trade execute it with OMSuite. There are also tools for exit plans and adjusting your trades. The trading process may look a bit like a game, dressed up in this clever bit of marketing, but clients are guided through a logical, intelligent approach to investing that leaves no stone un-turned.

Good Customer Service

User reviews confirm that the OptionsHouse customer service call center staff is knowledgable about investing, a very positive plus in the online brokerage business. This is especially important to the active trader looking for information from a professional in the field, allowing them to proceed with confidence in the OptionsHouse team. There is also an instant chat feature. Some clients have noted that wait times can be long for both phone and chat.

Company Information

The OptionsHouse online brokerage dates to 2005. They are backed by global growth investor General Atlantic. Their 2014 merger with TradeMONSTER expanded their offerings significantly and helped improve their trading platform. Barron's has rated OptionsHouse as a 4 star brokerage, the top rating, for four years in a row, citing them as one of the top companies in their field. Certainly, they are leaders in low-cost trading, and as an active trading platform.

Verdict - Good

This is a good choice if you are looking for an excellent account in which you can trade stocks and options. On the other hand, if you are looking for a simple mutual fund this may not be the IRA provider for you.

Last Updated:

OptionsHouse Consumer Reviews

Average Customer Rating

6 out of 10 rating 6 2 User Reviews

User Rating Distribution

Ratings: 10 - 9 0
Ratings: 8 - 7 1
Ratings: 6 - 5 1
Ratings: 4 - 3 0
Ratings: 2 - 1 0
7 out of 10 rating 7 Good customer service High fees

They may have high fees, but it is a great option. They offer great customer service, which always helps with a company dealing with your money!

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5 out of 10 rating 5 No minimum balance Customer services

Very disappointed with options house. I had been recommended by a friend but whenever I put money in it does not appear in my account, so I have to call and chase and am left on hold for over 20 minutes everytime.

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In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.