OptionsHouse Review 2017

Last updated on July 15th, 2017

I first opened an OptionsHouse account more than five years ago. This OptionsHouse review will cover everything that I’ve learned, including the basics of the platform and pricing for individual investors.

OptionsHouse opened in 2005 and immediately disrupted the online brokerage space. At that time, most online brokers were charging $10 or more in commissions per trade. Some were still attempting to get $25 per trade. OptionsHouse introduced low-cost trades for less than $5 and put pressure on other online brokers to lower their fees.

In 2014, OptionsHouse merged with tradeMONSTER to grow the brand and expand the number of available services. In 2016, OptionsHouse was acquired by ETRADE for $725 Million. Through these changes, OptionsHouse improved every dimension of their trading platform and was named a top online broker by Barron’s.

2017 Update: The Optionshouse brand is being eliminated and rolled into ETRADE. Existing Optionhouse accounts are being transferred to ETRADE beginning on August 6, 2017. This is an unfortunate change because ETRADE charges higher commissions and fees across the board.

Instead of paying higher fees, consider switching to Motif Investing for robust, low-cost platform.

Optionshouse Platform and Tools

The merger with ETRADE has allowed OptionsHouse to build one of the most robust web-based trading platforms available today.

The entire platform is designed to work on any device, including your computer, tablet, and mobile phone. You can access your account through any modern web-browser, or download the OptionsHouse mobile app on any smartphone. The result is a lightweight platform that prioritizes reliability, speed and ease of use.

Because the platform is web-based, any customizations that you make are saved in your profile and synced across every device. This ensures that you always have access to the robust tools and trading platform, regardless of your chosen device.

optionshouse-platform-review

The OptionsHouse platform includes a number of important trading tools (at no additional cost).

TradeLAB allows you to quickly evaluate each trade’s potential on a single screen, including the probability of profit, loss or breakeven. It also offers insights on the risk/reward potential of each security that you are evaluating based on the current stock price and recent volatility. Within tradeLAB, you can run “what-if” scenarios for every investing angle that you can think of.optionshouse-reviews

The OptionsHouse platform provides significant automation capabilities, including the ability to create custom orders in advance and pre-populate trade actions. The platform then pushes a customizable trigger alert and you can submit saved orders directly from the alert (on any device).optionshouse-platform

Options traders should consider using the strategySEEK tool, which scans live market data for options strategies based on specific criteria defined by you. After inputting your investment objectives and expectations, the strategySEEK tool will run a number of data calculations to suggest new strategies that you might consider when placing trades.

You can then evaluate each strategy using tradeLAB, modify it, or place a pre-populated order using the customizable settings described above.

OptionsHouse also offers a virtual trading platform, completely free of charge. When you open an account (no minimum funding requirement), you can set up a free paperTRADE virtual account at the same time.

In the paperTRADE account, you can make trades using virtual money and learn the platform’s trading functions in a live market environment. This virtual account functions exactly like your normal account, and includes all of the live trading platform features. The only difference is the use of virtual money.

OptionsHouse Fees:

This continues to be the selling point for OptionsHouse, and the primary reason I chose to use the platform in the first place.

First of all, there are no fees associated with opening or maintaining an account. Unlike the majority of other brokerages, Optionshouse does not require that you initiate a certain number of trades or maintain a minimum account balance. You can open the account and trade on your timing without worrying about ridiculous hidden fees.

In addition, the trade fees are still dirt cheap when compared to other brokerage firms:

As you can see from the chart above, here are the common fees for trading:

  • ETFs: $4.95 flat rate per trade
  • Stocks: $4.95 flat rate per trade
  • Options: $0.50 per contract + $4.95 base rate
  • Futures: $1.50 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $20 flat rate per trade

If you need a broker to assist you in making trades, there is a $25 additional fee.

OptionsHouse Features:

  • Robust Platform for Stocks, Futures, and Options: the OptionsHouse platform is easy to navigate on all devices. You can trade, cancel, or modify orders with one click.
  • Free DRIP/Dividend Reinvestment: You can automatically reinvest dividends on all stocks and funds for free.
  • No Minimum Opening Deposit: You can open an OptionsHouse account without any initial deposit. Most brokers want a minimum of $1,000 to open an account.
  • Free Virtual Trading Account: When you first open an account, you can choose to open a separate account to trade virtual money.
  • Lots of Account Choices: Individual, Joint, Corporate, Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, UTMA, UGMA, Trusts, Partnerships, Investment Clubs, and Educational IRAs are all available.
  • Solid Customer Service: OptionsHouse offers phone, chat, and email support from 8am-8pm Monday through Friday.
  • Low Cost: As I already mentioned, OptionsHouse offers incredible value for investors looking to trade stocks and options.

OptionsHouse Drawbacks:

  • Limited After Hours Trading: Some brokerages allow trading until 8pm Eastern. OptionsHouse allows trades until 5pm Eastern.
  • IRA Closing Fee: Optionshouse charges $60 to close an IRA.
  • Mutual Funds: Mutual funds are $20 per trade, and there are a limited number of no load mutual funds available.
  • Cheap Stocks: If a stock trades below $2.00 per share, OptionsHouse charges an additional $.005 per share on the trade.
  • ETFs: OptionsHouse offers just five commission-free ETFs.

OptionsHouse Review Summary:

If you are looking to trade individual stocks or options, OptionsHouse is a solid choice. The pricing continues to be competitive, and the platform continues to improve.

Mutual fund and ETF investors will be disappointed at OptionsHouse and should look elsewhere – perhaps Motif Investing.

Summary
The Optionshouse brand no longer exists, and all existing accounts are being transferred to ETRADE. This is an unfortunate event because ETRADE charges higher commissions and fees while delivering little additional value.
Features7.6
Total Cost8.8
Ease of Use7.8
Customer Support6.2
Investment Options6.1
Strengths
Solid Trading Platform
Competitive Pricing
Weaknesses
Mediocre Customer Service
Terrible ETFs and Mutual Funds
7.3
Overall
Comments
    • ureminence
    • May 26, 2017
    Reply

    Jacob:
    I discovered your review while searching for Options House new platform reviews. As one who transferred an account from Scottrade due to their limited options for ‘options’, I would like to say that the current platform is best suited for those who have a separate technical analysis software program and simply want to place trades for a lower price.

    • Samantha
    • November 19, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Jacob,

    Which brokerage is best value if you want to have the ability to trade in extended hours?
    Thank you.

      • Jacob
      • November 21, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Samantha,
      Both Optionshouse and TradeKing allow some after hours trading. They are the ones I recommend, and I don’t know about other brokers.

    • Gary
    • October 23, 2016
    Reply

    If you are in a spread say 10 and -10 and you want to leg out is there an addition 4.95 every time you by back a contract or sell to re-balance?

    Thanks
    Gary

    • Clair Benward
    • August 20, 2016
    Reply

    The platform also has significant automation capabilities, including trigger alerts that allow users to pre-populate orders; the platform then pushes an alert to the user when an event is triggered. Investors can then submit already-saved orders directly from the Web or via the OptionsHouse mobile app.

    • Rick
    • July 6, 2016
    Reply

    How long does it take to settle funds after a sell so you can buy again (stocks) on OH?

    Thanks

    • Danielle
    • March 9, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Jacob, please advise. All I want to do is buy occasionally buy more and more of the stock of one company. I don’t have much money, yet. I want to buy $100 of stocks from that company. What is the best way, and most affordable way to do that? And how much would that cost each time, total? Like including all fees? Bank account money transfer, etc. I don’t have a trading account anywhere.

      • Jacob
      • March 9, 2016
      Reply

      Wealthfront is free for up to $15,000 invested. I wrote a review you can read about that.

        • Shannon
        • July 7, 2016
        Reply

        Hi
        Apparently I am considered a professional because my company joined the NYMEX and I trade commodities for my company. I just opened an option house account but I am relegated to delayed quotes not real time quotes otherwise they charge me $150/month. Is there anything I can do? Also I am an active trader probably 5 trades a day on average. I trade VIX related ETF and futures almost exclusively. I did have an interactive brokerage account and might go back, but I like the simplicity of option house. I think interactive brokerage was going to charge me $29/month plus commission is less. Any thoughts for me?

          • Jacob
          • July 7, 2016
          Reply

          I really don’t know in that situation Shannon. Sorry

    • Marine
    • February 27, 2016
    Reply

    Hi,
    I am new to trading and after intense research I decided on OptionHouse because they were rated as the top user friendly for beginners. I don’t believe it to be true at this point. I have finally had my funds transferred and tried to purchase stocks yesterday but I kept getting a message that stated “rejected- buying power is insufficient for this order-check open orders”. I have more than enough funds in the account. What does this message mean and how do I go about purchasing? Please guide me.
    Thanks

      • Al Rognlin
      • March 10, 2016
      Reply

      If you have any limit orders placed that have not yet triggered, Optionshouse will have set aside those funds – even though you’ve not yet bought the stock. So, you may have $1000 in your account but, you have ‘committed’ all or part of that $1000 in a limit order you’re waiting on to trigger.
      If your ‘live account value’ indicates less cash than you KNOW you have available for trading, something is wrong with Optionshouse accounting, which would be quite unusual. OR, you’ve committed part of your account value to a limit order which has not yet kicked in.
      Check “ACCOUNT/ORDERS” for any pending orders. If there is none, call Optionshouse and ask for an account summary.

      • Jacob
      • February 29, 2016
      Reply

      That’s a question for the company.

    • ED
    • January 3, 2016
    Reply

    What is the availability of stock to short with Optionshouse,seems Ameritrade never has any to short.

    • Rhonda Parker
    • September 6, 2015
    Reply

    I’m trying to get a home loan and I don’t want a credit check bringing down my score. Does Options House check credit when you open an account?

      • godsquadgeek
      • September 11, 2015
      Reply

      as far as I know, they do a margin account by default, but do not check credit.

      because what happens if you don’t have 25% of your day trade purchase, it will give you a margin call, and then either force you to liquidate or sell your assets.

      it tells you how much margin you have.

      typically funds take 3 business days to sell and return to a trading status.

      so they let you borrow that ammount in the mean while.

      but you still need 25% of the cost.

      but it’s not a real credit account.

      unless you do full time, or a short trading account.

      then they may very well do a credit check.

      so far it seems that they just want you to go into as much debt as possible.

      I have seen places offer up to 5 million in margin lines.

      crazy.

      But short trading, is the way to go in a negative market.

      you can have your broker lend you 100 shares (10$ each), and when you know that they will be 7.50$ later on, you resell the same shares back to the broker.

      and pocket 250bucks per transaction.

      because it’s not their shares either.

      the shares are in limbo typically, how I see it.

      if no one buys them, they are still there.

      but what you are doing is borrowing them for a short time.

      but if the stock goes up, you lose major.

      and they will require the same shares at a higher cost, which means you eat it.

      but there is a short ratio on yahoo finance, in my stock columns I have the short ratio.

      typically if it’s a high short, it means there is a lot of action.

      short selling increases volume and liquidity.

      which is good.

      but all that is another story.

      you can do all this and more at option house.

      I opened both accounts at TD ameritrade and OH, but if I have a trade question I typically use the TD ameritrade platform, as they email the same day, and answer you. I have seen option house take 3-4 weeks to answer a question.

        • fred
        • December 19, 2015
        Reply

        Is this a block of text or poem or something? Please use paragraphs. This is excruciating to read.

          • Al Rognlin
          • March 10, 2016
          Reply

          And nothing rhymes, either … 🙂

      • Jacob
      • September 6, 2015
      Reply

      No credit check

    • Jason
    • July 17, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Jacob,

    Do you know if Optionhouse requires a miminum account balance in order to trade options? Thanks

    • BEGINNER
    • July 10, 2015
    Reply

    HEY JACOB WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS TO A VERY NEW BEGINNER WITH NOT A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY

    • Reply

      I wouldn’t recommend it to a new beginner with not a whole lot of money. Options house offers zero education. So for experienced traders or at least people who have a little experience it is great because of low fees. I love options house and would recommend it to anyone with experience. But I would recommend using a firm like Scottrade or TD Ameritrade for a year first and watch and read all of their educational materials, even go down and meet with the broker and take in office lessons, for free.

        • Jacob
        • July 15, 2015
        Reply

        The choice of broker should be based on fees, since they all provide the same service – the trading of securities. There are endless amounts of educational materials online, available for free.

      • Jacob
      • July 11, 2015
      Reply

      Yes

    • InvestingDummy
    • June 12, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Jacob, I found a guy saying he will invest my money in optionhouse for me. He says $1000 the first week and if I like it, I will need to add $4000 to the account to continue working with him. He says I can get out at anytime, I have no chance of losing money, and we will split the profit 50/50 once it goes over 10%. I know nothing about any of this…I did look at the option house website. Do you think this is a scam or is the guy some kind of haphazard broker?? Lol

      • Matt
      • July 8, 2015
      Reply

      Anyone who claims that there is “no chance of you losing money” in the stock market is full of sh*t. That my friend is a scam-artist..

      • Jacob
      • June 12, 2015
      Reply

      I would avoid anything like that, without knowing specifics. If you want someone to manage your money, read my Betterment and Wealthfront reviews and pick one of those.

    • Jon Fox
    • May 8, 2015
    Reply

    I am from Trinidad in the Caribbean. Will I be able to us this platform to buy stock form the US

      • Jacob
      • May 8, 2015
      Reply

      Jon, did you email Optionshouse and ask?

    • Devin
    • April 14, 2015
    Reply

    Thanks Jacob! I had a TradeMonster account, which got acquired by OptionsHouse, but just transferred the account to Motif. At Motif you can trade 2-30 stocks at a time for $10, but can also trade 1 stock for $4.95, same as OptionsHouse, I think. Besides cheap options contracts (which I don’t bother with because I don’t understand) and dividend reinvestment at optionshouse, what are the advantages to having an account with a place like OptionsHouse over Motif? Motif is designed for investors with “ideas” and “causes” but couldn’t it also work just as well for a guy that just wants really cheap trades?
    What would be cool to see is a Betterment vs Wealthfront review and a Motif vs Discount Brokers review if you felt inclined. Since they all got glowing reviews, and since I have a hunch that for me Wealthfront and Motif beat Betterment and discount brokers hands down, I’m having a hard time extrapolating whether one is better for some people and the other better for others, or whether OptionsHouse just looks attractive compared to the $10-$20/per trade folks who don’t know about Motif’s possibilities. Thanks!

  1. Reply

    hey Jacob,
    I am kinda new here in optionshouse. I recently open a new acct but can’t find the money transfer tab, I am planning to transfer funds using wired transfer via bank acct however I am having a hard time to find it,so if you can help me out. that would be great. thanks.

      • godsquadgeek
      • September 11, 2015
      Reply

      so you have to add it,

      so you find the section add ACCT transfer.

      or ACT trasfer (one of those)

      then it will ask for your bank info, and then it will deposit an amount of money to your account in the form of micro deposits.

      you must specify this exact ammount.

      then they will allow you to transfer.

      I hope that helps.
      https://www.optionshouse.com/faq/funding/how-can-i-fund-my-account/

      • Jacob
      • April 6, 2015
      Reply

      Hello, it should be located in your account settings after you sign in.

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    • Jakub
    • February 26, 2015
    Reply

    Hey Jacob,

    Is it possible to use Optionahouse from UK?

      • Jacob
      • February 27, 2015
      Reply

      Hey Jakub,
      Residents of the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and Hong Kong are eligible to apply for an International account type.

    • Tim
    • February 22, 2015
    Reply

    Have tried many brokers, and still remain impressed by the price and services offered at Optionshouse. If you’re considering opening account, give them a try.

    • abbie
    • February 20, 2015
    Reply

    Thank you for the review, very helpful.
    Does optionshouse offer options trading on forex, the indexes, the index futures, not just the ETF of the index? I am interested in trading options on the DAX, my current broker does not offer options on any of the indexes or the futures, or forex. Thank you for your time, abbie

      • godsquadgeek
      • September 11, 2015
      Reply

      I think options house specializes in options, so they probably do all that and more.

      their options are cheapest

      • Jacob
      • February 20, 2015
      Reply

      Abbie, I believe so. I’m not currently involved in options trading so I’m not entirely up to speed…

    • David
    • February 14, 2015
    Reply

    Can I buy dividend yielding stocks with options house? and are the dividends send to your account, or a check in the mail?

      • Jacob
      • February 14, 2015
      Reply

      Yes, and they can be automatically reinvested in your account, or you can request a check.

    • ivan
    • February 6, 2015
    Reply

    The customer service is not good. But aside from that I like optionshouse I’m glad I went with them I love the trading platform, and the tutorials are really good. But if you have trouble with your account get ready for a headache dealing with their bad customer service. I signed up 2 weeks ago and still can’t trade I keep bugging but still nothing. I’ve done everything they’ve asked from me too.

      • Jacob
      • February 8, 2015
      Reply

      Ivan, sorry to hear about the issues you are having. I haven’t heard many stories about 2 week delays, so I wonder what exactly got mixed up with your account.

    • Ozzy
    • January 30, 2015
    Reply

    Would you recommend Optionshouse to someone new, with say around $1-2K to invest? There are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming. After months of looking around, I keep coming back to Optionshouse. I also want to setup a Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, so would be best to open two different accounts? One with OH and one with Vanguard?
    Also one the account is open do I have to invest immediately? or can I look around and get familiar with the site first? I am just big on taking my time but doing things correctly.
    Thanks for any input!!

      • godsquadgeek
      • September 11, 2015
      Reply

      1-2 k is hard to trade.

      thats what I am doing.

      commisions take a bunch of your money.

      but I would wait till I had like 5000 or more.

      then you can get like 100 free trades.

      at 4.95, thats a 500 dollar value.

      • Jacob
      • January 31, 2015
      Reply

      If you want to buy an individual stock or ETF, yes Optionshouse is a great option and the cheapest brokerage firm. You could also open up an account at Vanguard for their specific ETFs. In fact, that’s what I have done. I have accounts at both firms. You can also take your time and look around. Best of luck!

        • Ozzy
        • February 3, 2015
        Reply

        Thank you, keep the good articles coming!

          • Jacob
          • February 3, 2015
          Reply

          I’ll do my best!

    • Joshua
    • January 16, 2015
    Reply

    Jacob, can you tell me how I would go about transferring my funds from Scottrade to Options House? Thanks!

      • godsquadgeek
      • September 11, 2015
      Reply

      or if they are in an IRA,

      roll it over.

      what I am doing

      is at the end of year of trading,

      putting my max in Roth IRA – 5500 dollars.

      and keeping the rest in a trading account.

        • TW
        • March 29, 2016
        Reply

        You can automatically transfer your funds without liquidating your positions if you request an ACATS transfer from Optionshouse and provide the information for your current account.

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    • Mister Desperate Investor
    • November 1, 2013
    Reply

    Automatically reinvesting dividends is a nice thing to have but it ultimately depends on the fund or ETF or stock, not the brokerage. If (example) an ETF does not optionally issue stock for the dividend (like SDIV) instead of cash, you can only get cash, not much the brokerage can do about it.

    My experience with OptionsHouse has been pretty good though the outage today had me spooked (and just after Halloween!) so a pretty scary Halloween after all…

      • godsquadgeek
      • September 11, 2015
      Reply

      you can use the ex dividend date,

      hold the dividend stock for a few weeks.

      and sell after the payout.

      (but most high dividend stocks are paid up this year already)

      but I haven’t checked in about 60 days so I could be wrong.

      I think the ex dividend date is the date you must be holding the stock, and then you can sell it

      the end of the day I believe.

      then the payout happens 30-90 days later.

      but they don’t post their dividend payout dates until last minute.

      go to nasdaq and search for dividend calander.

      easy way to make money.

      • Jacob
      • January 2, 2014
      Reply

      Thanks for weighing in. You are right, it’s dependent on the stock or ETF.

 

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