optionsXpress is an online stock broker that’s become more popular over the last few years. They’ve also been given a “Best Online Broker” designation by Barron’s for 4 years. Today, I’ll take a closer look at what optionsXpress can do for new customers.
Since many investors have more than one area of interest, optionsXpress seems convenient because you can manage options, stocks, futures, ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds under one account.
optionsXpress Review: Top Broker for Stock & Options Traders
To get you started, there are tools to help you find the right investments for you, a lot of which have interesting names. These tools include The Dragon, which searches the market for top stocks and options based on categories of your choosing. You can also seek out options through StrategyScan, which will pull up to three options based on your preferences. There’s also a calendar section so you can have an overview of your trading schedule, and a screener to narrow down your choices.
For analysis tools, you can track options or stocks with Watch Lists; learn more about particular options or stocks with Quote Detail; use the Options Pricer to determine an options’ potential risk; or use the Trade & Margin Calculator to help try to forecast potential losses or profits.
When you’re ready to trade, you can benefit from the Xspreads Spread Book, which can connect you with buyers and sellers, and free Streaming Quotes, so you can track your progress and view quotes and chains.
optionsXpress Pricing Details
Now that you’ve seen a sampling of their comprehensive tool set, let’s check out their commission rates. So how does the pricing work out? Here’s a quick rundown:
- For 1 to 10 options contracts, you can expect to pay $12.95 if you’re able to make 35 or more trades per quarter.
- For futures, you can drop your rate to $2.99 per contract per side if you have over 1,000 contracts per month.
- For stocks, you’ll pay $9.95 a trade if you make 9 or more stock trades per quarter (for up to 1,000 shares). But you’ll pay more ($14.95 per trade) if you make fewer than 9 trades a quarter.
Some nice benefits include the free broker-assisted trades, account transfers and real-time and streaming quotes. At any other online stock broker, you’ll most likely pay quite a bit for broker assistance. For more information on pricing, do visit the optionsXpress site for specifics.
The TradeWizard and Virtual Trading
Those investors who don’t have a lot of options trading experience might find the TradeWizard particularly appealing. It guides you through filling out a trade ticket in four easy steps — selecting an option, choosing an action, entering your quantity, and picking your price type. If you don’t know your pick’s stock symbol, the TradeWizard can look it up for you. You’ll get to preview your order before you place it.
We’ve also written about the benefits of how to trade stocks without risk, by using a virtual stock trading system. Such a feature is supported at optionsXpress, which makes them a particularly attractive broker to active investors and traders.
When you open an account, you’re given the chance to try your hand with Virtual Trading. By using virtual cash in place of your own money, you’ll be in a position to learn how the platform works and to play with features without risk of losing a cent. You can practice trading options or stocks for free this way. Change your quantities, study your gains and losses, and make adjustments to your virtual trade account, and you’ll be in a better position to understand the market when you shift to real trading.
Over in the Education Center, you can learn more about options, futures, stocks, bonds, and other topics. For the novice options trader, there are webinars on placing options trades, on using chains and on using tools such as the TradeWizard. Intermediate options traders can learn more about spreads, about using screeners and charts, as well as the benefits of quote details. There are also topics for advanced options traders.
Follow Your Account While You’re on the Go
Even when you aren’t at your computer, you can still check up on your account with the optionsXpress mobile application. Download the app to your iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre or Pixi, Android device, or Windows Mobile smartphone or device.
To start with, you’ll see a dashboard with up-to-date market news, an index chart so you know how NASDAQ and other markets are doing, and a trend list. Other features of the mobile app include streaming quotes, watch lists for your portfolio, the ability to place one-click orders, and charts.
And finally, if you need customer service, you can seek it from live online help or by calling customer service. And you can always turn to email, fax, or mail anytime.
Overall, optionsXpress appears to have a user-friendly layout, a helpful set of tools, and moderate pricing options.
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