OptionsHouse Review w. 500+ User Reviews

by David Ning · 510 comments

OptionsHouse, OptionsThis and OptionsThat. So many options brokerage houses which means confusing choices for us all. Other than having OptionsHouse promotion codes (see below for them), how does this broker get you to remember them? How about $4.75 per stock trade to start?

For a limited time, OptionsHouse is offering new customers 150 free commission trades in the first 90 days after you fund your account with a minimum of $5,000. Even if they were all stock trades at $4.75, it’s still $475 for free. This is only available through the special link below so don’t use another other one on the page:

Click Here to Sign up for an OptionsHouse Account and type in the promotion code FREE150 to be eligible.

There are also other Optionshouse Promotions below, so check it out after you read the review.

Fees Come First

That’s not a typo. Over at OptionsHouse, stock trades are just $4.75 no matter what. When a company can make money with rates like this, it really makes you wonder how much money other premium stock brokers are making off of us. Recently, OptionsHouse updated its options commission structure to give you two options. Either $8.50 + $0.15 per contract or just $5 for 5 contracts. If you are one of those people who just want to buy yourself some protection, you are very happy with this change.

Other Fees?

Here’s some of the other fees of the options broker.
optionshouse rate and fees
Exactly what I like to see. No maintenance fees, no minimum trade requirements, and if I ever want help, broker-assisted trades are still just $4.75.

OptionsHouse Interface

optionshouse screen
Upon looking into the account, I found that the interface is very much like the professional trading platforms of the higher end brokers for professional traders. Within the main screen, you can see an account summary, quote look up, order statuses, positions, and detailed information on particular securities.

Webinars and Seminars

I’ve begun to really love the education that these brokers provide and OptionsHouse is no exception. It’s obvious that the company’s expertise is in options trading because all the webinars are concentrated in that area but I expect it to expand to stock trading and other subjects in the future.

Don’t Underestimate Them

While many of you may not have heard about this brokerage firm, they seem to have their act together. In fact, Barron’s Online Broker Survey ranked them highly in trade experience, beating out the likes of thinkorswim, optionsXpress, E*Trade and Charles Schwab.

Conclusion

optionshouse transfer feesOptionsHouse really gets my blood flowing because of its extremely low trading fees. Is it SIPC insured? Check. Is there good word out there? Another check. Changing brokers is really a hassle though, but like others, they are willing to reimburse me for up to $100, which is enough to move from pretty much any institution. Hmm… decisions decisions decisions. As for you, there’s really no right answer, but I’d say that $3.95 stock trades is reason enough for you to at least give it a test run.

Click Here to Sign Up for an OptionsHouse Account

OptionsHouse Promotion Code

Here are the current promotions for this broker. When you sign up, type in the promo codes as shown below.

Resources:

Who is OptionsHouse Anyway?

To be honest, one of the first reaction I had when someone told me about OptionsHouse was: “Who?” I then went to do a little research and here’s what I found out:

OptionsHouse is really OptionsHouse, LLC and is owned by PEAK6 Investments, L.P. The company’s headquarters is in Chicago, the home of the Chicago Board of Trade. The parent company have been in the options and derivative trading business for years, and is actually one of Chicago’s 101 best and brightest companies to work for.

Before you take the plunge though, make sure you read up on the issues other people are having before you sign up with them. A few love OptionsHouse, while other reviewers don’t. Take your whole test drive to get a realistic feel for how the broker will work for you, but take note of your peer’s experiences first.

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{ 510 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean P June 19, 2012 at 10:52 am

I just moved my account to Ameritrade. I was attracted for all the same reasons as above, but after I opened an acct and made two naked short trades, these $5 and $7 fees started appearing every day, listed as ‘hard to short’ fees. I didn’t notice it for several months because it is so difficult to use their Website that you don’t know where to find your monthly statement without a mine lamp and a guide dog.

I ended up paying about $1000 over six months just to maintain a position. It was like paying to make a new position every single day!

So watch out for the small print, fellow traders, because what they don’t tell you in the ads will burn you.

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DB June 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

Thanks guys–it’s DB.

Now that OpEx has occurred last Friday, I can say definitively that OptionsHouse’s first FORCED liquidation of half of my account cost me an ADDITIONAL $65,000 over the $54,000 I lost in under two and half months. Had they left the calls I bought alone, I would have sold them at 3:3o on Friday and made $65,000 on them!!! Instead I was forced to sell them for about $1200 dollars a month ago.. .THANKS SO MUCH, OptionsHouse!

And I WILL FIGHT IT. And not only did I send a long email in explanation to Jake Swartz–who requested it–and who acts all nice and kind on this board, but I had to send TWO emails and still received NO REPLY, which I never expected anyway.

I just got an email containing a recent post from SEAN P–and since I can’t find it here, I will re-post it, hoping he understands–but confident he will. ONCE BURNED by OptionsHOSUE, we instantly care about the community of others equally bearing singe marks…

“Author: Sean P
Comment:
I just moved my account to Ameritrade. I was attracted for all the same reasons as above, but after I opened an acct and made two naked short trades, these $5 and $7 fees started appearing every day, listed as ‘hard to short’ fees. I didn’t notice it for several months because it is so difficult to use their Website that you don’t know where to find your monthly statement without a mine lamp and a guide dog. I ended up paying about $1000 over six months just to maintain a position. It was like paying to make a new position every single day! So watch out for the small print, fellow traders, because what they don’t tell you in the ads will burn you.”

Frankly that turned my stomach to read, but I was so grateful to SeanP at the same time. I swear my money was just disappearing–and I can’t find any place on their horrid site to find daily activity except for trades–and FORCED liquidations of trades. But I am going to check and will not stop until I find the money trail.

Also does anyone know where to find a GAIN/LOSS accounting by year on that site? At least I have two years straight of HUGE CAPITAL (realized) losses…and double that in what they would call UNREALIZED loss….oh yippeee!

Thanks guys for the great comments and support. I will not stop until I get reparation and until I’m SURE there is no one left who hasn’t heard my story and yours–in time to stop them from taking a LEAP, shall we say, OVER A CLIFF of loss at OptionsHouse.

DB

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Jake Swartz June 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm

DB,

Thank you for responding to my earlier reply. I passed along your information to our head of Customer Service and Trade and he did try to contact you earlier this week. After being unable to connect on the phone, we sent along an email to the address on file in an attempt to set up a time convenient for you to talk. Feel free to reply to me personally with the best number and time of day to reach you at jswartz [at] optionshouse [dot] com or simply respond to our email from earlier this week.

We look forward to speaking with you. Thanks.

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Mike August 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Hi DB,

I am considering opening an account at OH but the stories like your scare me. I’d like to understand what happened to you and see how to avoid a similar fate.
Could you please explain step-by-step what you did to suffer that huge loss? I understand that you probably over-leveraged and OH forced you to close your position.
But what was your position to begin with?

Thanks

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DB August 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Mike,

First, three things tanked me:

1. I was too aggressive and only sold naked puts that SHOULD have done well, but the company is a GULF oil stock that got crushed after the oil spill–just when they were about to open their enormous new platform, and BOOM…And then the extended and unfair moratorium continued their decline. But I sold the puts then because they were supposed to be READY TO DRILL and bring up oil, but one catastrophe or delay after another…killed them again and the pps went way down instead of UP!

2. I still would have been FINE however, if heinous OptionsHOUSE would have afforded me the same three-day window to close positions after margin calls come–like the FEDS do. But OH often smelled blood and MADE ME CLOSE out on the MOST volatile days when my losses were tripled. AND I HAD NO MARGIN CALLS either, let us NOT FORGET. Their RISK DEPARTMENT charged in like ATTILA the HUN and sliced the last money I had to invest into shreds. WITH NO MERCY. I begged for one more day only because the volatility had soared on the DAYS THEY MADE ME BUY back my puts. Do you know what happens then? And even when I knew I had to buy back my puts for disgusting losses (knowing the put prices would normalize in day…which they did–even if the stock prices continued to slide) and started buying back my puts, GOOD OLD OH was DOING IT TOO and driving the prices higher–and I ended up dumping double the puts I had to. They wiped me out.

3. And even though the RISK barbarians said that the STOCK COULD keep declining and I would be in so much trouble, guess what? The stock IS a nightmare right now–was about $5.25 when I WAS FORCED out of my put positions–and the stock is now only about $1.50. And guess what? Those darn puts retained their value and held tight at the levels I sold them until just very recently. I would have had had ample opportunity to get out with no losses…without OH and its GESTAPO RISK department. DO NOT USE OptionsHOUSE. They will take your money and kick you to the curb!

Mike, I can’t answer you again or post here again–it’s just too upsetting for me. But I wanted to warn you…

DB

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Mike August 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm

DB,

So, you were indeed over-leveraged. If you had enough cash in your account to buy the stock at the strike price OH would not force you to liquidate.
It’s that simple. You put them in a risky situation and they reacted to protect themselves as they should.
Sorry but you are the only one responsible for your mess.
I guess this would not apply to me as I never sell naked puts and never borrow on margin.

Thanks
Mike

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Daniel Yengle October 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Whew. Glad to have cleared this up.

I was scared because I just funded my account. Funds should arrive in my account Monday… And I added them Monday… So they took a bit longer than I wish they would. Made me miss a great deal on VJET’s IPO… Even though their website told me my funds would be there Friday. That was frustrating for sure.

I just started getting into trading and have been using their virtual platform for about a month. It helped me learn for sure. Hopefully my experience picks up from here. The funding issue definitely bothered me, but I’ve been researching a lot and from what I’ve gathered serious traders must be patient and cool. New opportunities will always come and I plan to play smart.

PS: Options are no joke. I would never buy an option I couldn’t afford the risk for. I know that and I’m a beginner. If I’m not mistaken… when short selling, the risk is “infinite”…?

tom June 26, 2012 at 7:17 am

I thought about switching from TD ameritrade. Opened an account with OptionsHouse, and I regret. The ach deposit took 6 days and customer service was no help. Additionally the tools on their website are pathetic. I am closing my account and will look for an alternative to Optionshouse or TD.

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Steve June 4, 2013 at 11:27 am

Tom, If TD Ameritrade is as crappy as TD Bank, steer clear. Scottrade is a better option.

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Kazia June 21, 2013 at 10:53 am

Yes, I had a Scottrade account for years, but recently switched to OH. Getting money to Scottrade is a hassle unless you want to open a Scottrade bank account. The do not offer ACH transfers from outside institutions. The only way to fund your account without a Scottrade bank account is mailing/dropping off a check or a wire transfer. Slow or costly options for funding.

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Tom August 1, 2013 at 6:54 am

Kazia,

Actually, Scottrade DOES allow ACH transfers. I’ve been doing it since I opened my account on June 28, 2013.

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Dennis Steele June 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

Options House are crooks… They sold my shares without my knowledge. They sent a message to my message box about the transfer house not carrying foreign currency stocks anymore. They did not even bother to send out regular mail or email. Take your money and go somewhere else! I was in a buy and hold situation on these stocks. These guy are outright crooks! Go somewhere else! Or better yet buy silver and gold.

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not sure August 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I have an account with scottrade but opened an account with OH. I dont trade options just reg….anyways it seems like the fill time is forever! This constantly happens and I will end up with a partial order fill. I will put in a sell order for a drop less and still wont get filled while its being sold for a higher price! In addition for penny stocks they round up the price so for example a order for .814 is not possible that remains .81 and anything above .815 is .82. Also a lot of the pennys come with a 1/2 cent charge per share, which makes the fee for the trade way more than 3.95!

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Lemon August 13, 2012 at 2:00 am

Buying power and available cash to withdraw just suddenly turned to $0 for no reason! What the hell?! This is what got me Googling “problems with OptionsHouse.” I now have to wake up at 5:00 in the morning (Pacific standard time) to call customer service because I don’t want to miss opportunities once the market opens.

The fills are slow.

Their customer service isn’t that bad, they solve problems and some guys are even very helpful and friendly. Some of the guys’ tone isn’t so nice though, as they can be curt, but they still get the job done.

I think their daily/monthly/yearly gain/loss is wrong. Sometimes on a Saturday afternoon I’d have 2.88% gain for the month, and a few hours later it’d change to 2.13% for no reason.

The cost basis displayed on your main screen does not take into account the commissions paid.

I think for $3.95 per trade for stocks, it’s still cheaper to go with Interactive Brokers, granted that you’re not trading a ton of shares.

I am very displeased about my buying power and available cash to withdraw turned to $0 for no reason on a Sunday evening! It was all good and available just a few hours ago!

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Daniel October 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Dear Christ that’s terrible. I’m seriously scared shitless now.

You had money in your account and all of a sudden it’s gone?!

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Wayne August 13, 2012 at 7:58 am

Just found this site… I am in OH customer and thought I would contribute.
I have not come close to any margin calls, so I cannot respond to their processes on this… but I am aware that their Compliance department is very strick… I would hope they do not break their own rules.
I have experienced some discrepancies with changes in the Daily/Weekly P&L and Account Value… The story I was given is an overnight/weekend alignment with their Clearing House… They did state that an update to their “system” is coming to address this issue… I am waiting. I am very comfortable with their trading platform and have grown to like it (their “Standard”.
I was going to move to TOS and even had them come off of their stated fees for me, but not enough to make the move. I continue considering IB because of what I have heard about their Fees and transaction fills, but their platform keeps me away.
I trade about 150-200 contracts a month… Credit Spreads, primarily in the RUT and NDX.

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Donny August 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Been shopping around for a month now for an online broker, reading everything about every broker that I can find, because somewhere in my head I still think of these guys (brokers) as bankers. I have also talked to people that have used different platforms and I made a decision on which broker to use. Then it hit me. The market has a way of checking out what company is best. I started checking stock prices and reviews and guess what – etrade and OH didn’t make the cut.

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Derrick August 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Donny? Then what did make the cut? I want to trade and I thought that OH was the place to go but now I’m skeptical.. WHERE? PLEASE!!!

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Ferruccio August 16, 2012 at 7:26 am

Donny, how do you “check the stock price” of OH when it’s not publicly traded? It’s a wholly owned subsidiary of PEAK6 (a market maker at the Chicago Options Exchange) which is a privately held firm. This makes your comment totally puzzling to me!

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Donny August 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Ferruccio,

What I did was look up comments from former employees. With PEAK6, and a couple others that were not public, what I did after reading the comments on this thread was look up the company’s business dealings and tried to find folks comments that worked for them. http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/PEAK6-Investments-Company-Reviews-E13323_P3.htm# is one place to look, and there are others, but generally this site seems to attract folks that do serious comment. NOW remember, most folks don’t go online when they are happy, so I expect a certain amount of negativity, but a lot of folks gave them good pros, but the cons seemed to be pretty consistent – A management that doesn’t listen due to a closed system of connected folks and that’s never a good business model. This just wasn’t a company that I felt safe brokering my money. Not saying anyone should care what I think, as this is just an opinion.

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Enyalid August 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I am concerned about the slow withdrawals and they hold your money for 3 business days before you can trade with with. It has been over 72 hours since I made a withdrawal and the money is still not posted to my bank account. On that basis, I will not do business with Optionshouse.

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Jake Swartz August 21, 2012 at 7:50 am

Enyalid,

If you send your contact information to me directly at jswartz [at] optionshouse [dot] com, I would appreciate the opportunity to put you in touch with our Customer Service Manager and see if we can resolve your issue.

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Lala April 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm

It’s nice to see Mr Jake Swartz reading through the posts. I hope the feedback leads to positive changes with the platform/website, policies, cutomer service, etc. As you can see, in this cyberworld, as customers like us shop, honest feedback from current and past users are a big part of how we select merchants

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Ryan A August 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

I’ve been using OptionsHouse for nearly 3 years. Yes, I do find the hold time on ACH transfers to be quite frustrating. When performing an ACH transfer from my Chase Checking account to OptionsHouse, the funds seem to always become available on the 4th business day. For example, if I initiate the ACH transfer on a Monday, the funds will be available on Friday. If I initiate the transfer on a Tuesday, the funds will be available on Monday after the weekend. If any banking holidays occur in the meantime, the date is extended by the number of holidays. This is much slower than I would like. When Penson (the former clearing firm) started to go ‘belly-up’ and OptionsHouse/Peak6 changed over to use their own clearing firm “Apex”, I had hoped that the transfer times would improve for ACH transfers. Sadly, this did not occur, and the transfer times have remained the same. On a positive note, the OptionsHouse website has been changed (at least on the “new” platform) so that it will tell you the date that the funds will be available when scheduling the transfer.

On the whole, I am fairly happy with OptionsHouse. The fee/commission schedule and margin rates are fantastic. I am grandfathered in to the $2.95 rate for equity and ETF trades. The system seems very responsive to me and I have no complaints about execution times or prices. I am a big fan of the “new” trading platform on OptionsHouse. It clearly shows my positions, my watch list, my orders, and information about my account info (account value, buying power, etc.)

There have been brief moments when the website has been down, but these occurrences are very few and far between. This has happened with every single online broker I have used, from time to time. Nothing is 100% perfect.

But on the whole, OptionsHouse is the best broker I’ve used for trading online. Yes, ACH transfers are slow. Is it a minor annoyance? Sure. But it is far from being a ‘deal-breaker’ for me. If I want to initiate a new position before a transfer has cleared, I just buy the shares on margin until the transfer of funds arrives. The margin interest rates are very low.

I actually find that the commission/fee schedule to be so low, that it almost seems too-good-to-be-true that I can make trades and have access to talk to someone on the phone for customer support on the rare occasion that I have a question!

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john August 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

hi Ryan, I just caught your comment. I just joined and was very upset when I was told my ACH funds would not be available for 4 days. This is a major problem with this brokerage. The whole reason we use online brokers is for speed of trades. I was using their site with my iPhone and found it very slow compared to using my current broker Scottrade. It took forever for their screens to load.
Is their app any good? thanks.

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ron M August 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm

@ryan. you must not be much of a trader. slow transfer a “minor annoyance”? well you must not be trading many dollars because I want mine working and i don’t want OH to have the use of my funds for 3-4 days after they’ve been withdrawn from my account. furthermore, your $2.95 is a laugh when you do your research – I pay $.39 per 100 share block. also, I can trade from 2 a.m. et until 8 p.m. et. which really saved my butt on FB IPO

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Ryan A August 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I’m not a trader at all. I’m an investor. My strategy is to just continue to accumulate shares of good quality companies that pay consistent dividends. I don’t generally use leverage, other than when I see an exceptionally good price for a company that I’ve had my eye on — and even in that case, I’ll continue to make regular deposits until I am no longer using margin. I am never in any kind of “cash crunch” when I need immediate access to my funds… and if I did, I could always do a wire transfer in an emergency. I don’t really care about extended hours trading, and I don’t invest in over-hyped companies like FaceBook which have ridiculous earnings multiples. OptionsHouse is a good fit for my investing strategy.

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Daniel October 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I am a beginner starting with OptionsHouse and I’m glad to hear this. However, others are making me feel that as I progress and gain experience as a trader I will have to expand and consider other broker sites. Hopefully, OH fine tunes their business by then.

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Alex February 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I bet you feel dumb for selling your FB now lol.

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Alex February 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I bet you feel dumb for selling your FB now lol.

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john August 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I have a major problem with OptionsHouse. I just signed up using ACH to transfer money and then I was told it will take 4 days to
be able to use the funds!! That is every time I transfer money, which is ridiculous…. This is a major flaw for someone like me who transfers cash from my savings account . Scottrade, my current brokerage, puts the funds in right away as a courtesy.

The customer service is not great either, they are not as professional and they give out conflicting info for new sign ups.

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JEMK August 31, 2012 at 6:16 am

To be honest take your money somewhere else. Yes they do have a good customer service but transfers take up to 7 days! I open my account about 3 weeks ago and it just became eligible for trading! It took OH 6 days to establish a relationship with my financial institution. I’m glad a got out in time.

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Barry B September 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Stay away from these guys, they are not your friends. After awhile all kinds of unnamed extra charges start happening without notice or explanation. I switched to choicetrade and found them very honest and very fast…..And if they can fill you better than your market order you’ll get that price…..Not at OP. STAY AWAT!!!!

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Mike September 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Barry, what kind of fees did you get charged? Were they disclosed in the account opening process or on the OH web sit. Thx

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@TheEmulator23 September 5, 2012 at 8:59 pm

After reading all these reviews it seems that there is a reason they charge only $3.95. I currently have accounts w/ Etrade which I don’t like or use. Scottrade, which isn’t bad, but really isn’t for Traders, it’s for investors. TDameritrade is my favorite for trading Stocks because it’s got solid mobile Apps & it’s not a company you have to worry about going belly up like MFGlobal or PFGBest. I trade Options exclusively through OptionsExpress which is a subsidiary (I believe) of Charles Schwab. I’ve been relatively pleased w/OptionsExpress although they’re trading fee no matter how many contracts is a minimum of 14.95. However if you trade options a decent amount they’ll lower it to 12.95. They tack on an extra 1.50 per contract over the basic fee. Wish I’d read that when I’d bought 25 Contracts @ .05 cents. I ended up paying almost all my profit in Fees! Well you only do that once!

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Jim September 7, 2012 at 7:58 am

I am searching for a new broker as I find IB a pain to deal with.

My question is for those who have an active account with OH as I have not seen any comments about OH reporting.
Are their monthly statements…readable?
Are their end of year reports useable for taxes?
Are their 1099 reports useful?

Jim

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@TheEmulator23 September 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I will not be using these guys. Too many issues. When you see fees so cheaply, there is always a reason or another way they nickel & dime you to death. I’ll stick to TD & Optionsexpress (Which is Schwab) Go to where it works.

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JohnSmith September 18, 2012 at 5:08 am

You get what you pay for. I was lured by all the low fees and traded with them for a couple of years, but each and every transaction had hiccups. Their statements are useless, cost basis calculations were flawed for tax purpose, you name it. The biggest issue is when you want to transfer money. It takes 3+ days (yes, its on their website in fine print) for ACH transfers to clear. Compare that to 24 hrs with Fidelity. How do you think they recouple the low fees. Worse is their trade execution, someone needs to investigate this company and how they deal with customers. I am cutting them loose. Just stay away!!!

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Steve September 22, 2012 at 5:43 am

I am surprised no one has mentioned how they handle Vertical Spreads.
They treat them as two separate trades. Which really requires a ton of Option Buying power.
Example when you sell a vertical put spread with a $ 5 spread their platform does not look at the max risk as the $ 5 but looks at it as if you are selling a naked put.

I called them and they acknowledged the problem and said it is only a problem when placing a trade – that once the trade goes thru it deals with it properly.

But unless you have a large account – or trade only low priced options, maybe 1-2 contracts at a time – it does not allow the initial trade to go thru in the first place.

Am I the only one dealing with this isssue?

Other than that I really like the platform for doing directionals, (Charting is poor – but I have other platforms I use for charting)

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Bill September 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I’ve been dealing with these guys for a couple of years. Went to them because of low stock commissions, but especially enjoy their very low options trading costs. Sometimes it’s a minute or two wait before I get to customer service, but I’ve found their people to be very cooperative and eager to help. I, too, trade mostly credit spreads, and have not had a single problem. I do agree with the writer who complained about values changing slightly on the weekends, due to “aligning with our custodian”. I’m always aware of my buying power, because the platform clearly states it, up to the minute. I don’t sell naked options or penny stocks due to the poor risk/reward ratio. My guess is that a lot of complainers who have written above are denying their own responsibility in trading and either didn’t look at or understand margin and other associated rules PRIOR to trading. And, no, I’m not a shill for OH. Just an ordinary, but very pleased, customer.

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Jarrod September 30, 2012 at 2:42 am

Wow, I’m transferring to TD now. Glad I haven’t transferred all my capital over yet. Terrible that the Phd was forced to sell positions like that.

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Prospective Client October 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I have a quick question that I think explains why OH commission’s are lower than competitors (which is OK) I just want to be sure I’m understanding this right. If I use stop-losses or limits with OH it looks like that will be called a “Good Till Cancelled” transaction and that I will incur a daily charge for that until the order(s) are executed. This is in contrast to other online brokerages who charge $7+ per trade however allow stop-losses with no additional charge. Am I understanding the business model correctly and if so, net/net OH appears to be comparable to other online brokerages from a commission fee structure if you utilize stop-losses and stop-limits regularly?

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Mike October 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Please explain where that daily charge (how much?) is coming from? Is it spelled out on the OH site? I could not find it there.

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Prospective Client October 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I pulled this from the fee structure of the company’s website: “Good-Til-Cancelled (GTC) Orders that do not fill in their entirety and remain open will be subject to separate commission charges for each day’s transactions. Only one commission charge will be incurred if a GTC order is filled in multiple lots during the same day. Standard commission rates apply – plus any relevant per-contract charges.”

Perhaps I initially mis-read the fee structure, it looks like each execution of the GTC triggers a commission charge rather than a daily charge for having the GTC outstanding. Perhaps a better question is, what is the likelihood of getting “nickeled and dimed” by partial fill orders executing over several days to the commission advantage of the broker?

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Mike October 18, 2012 at 6:26 am

That’s a standard procedure for all brokers. Mark an order as All-Or-None and it will either fill entirely or won’t fill at all. This will help to avoid extra charges.

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Jake Swartz October 18, 2012 at 7:19 am

Client,

We do not charge any fees for unexecuted orders. If you were to place a GTC stop loss or limit order and the stock does not hit your price, no daily fee is assessed. Additionally, we do not charge any extra fees for trading different order types or duration. The only time you could see an additional fee is if the GTC order is filled over multiple days. For example, if the order was filled over two days, this would be treated as two separate orders and incur two separate commissions.

Let us know if you have any other questions or contact our Customer Service at (877)653-2500.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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Scott October 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I have a cash account at OH and am considering migrating to a margin account. After reading OH’s margin agreement I have concerns about the arbitration verbiage. I am not an attorney, but it appears to completely remove the ability to sue OH and depend on some arbitration decision.

I would appreciate comments from existing OH customers experiences with their margin practices.

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Jake Swartz October 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

Scott,

The arbitration language contained in our Margin Agreement is identical to the arbitration language contained in our Customer Agreement. This language is standard in all customer agreement documents in the brokerage industry and is consistent with the industry practice and FINRA requirement of resolving all disputes between customers and their brokerage firm through the arbitration process rather than through the courts. Please feel free to contact our Customer Service at (877)653-2500 if you have any more questions involving our Margin Agreement, we would be more than happy to discuss any concerns you may have.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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MSNelson November 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I have had an optionshouse account for 2+ years now and really love it. About six months ago I got a margin account with them and it was worked wonders in helping me make great gains. The customer service I’ve had with them has been second to none. They move my money around with a swiftness. I accidentally put myself into pattern-day-trader status by executing one too many trades in a 5-day period and was given to the option to reset my account back to normal margin-account. I make about 3-5 trades per week and the site has been well worth it with the lowest fees I have seen in the industry even the rate on the margin account. There is no extra fees for buying riskier securities like Scottrade. My only gripes – when selling short some stocks, I sometimes get a message that I need to call first to locate that particular security??? And the interface could be better. My buddy trades with Scottrade and the interface is second-to-none, but you need at least $25K to get I guess what they call a platinum account with that particular interface.

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loner November 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

So i get this message when i try to short Facebook:

Order Messages
In order to locate this security before a short sale, you must contact our Trade Desk. Please contact the Trade Desk at 1-877-653-2500.

You must be kidding me. There are billions of shares out there. I know people shorting with other brokers and are not experiencing fees for daily holdings of FB shorts, nor are they receiving messages like this. What give F=Options House????

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Josh May 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Bet your glad it didn’t let you short it on Nov 28th.

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Daniel October 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

They must’ve known somehow…

Good Guy OptionsHouse

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Bill Place January 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

Optionshouse, what a joke. The option chain with spreads has not refreshed on its own in weeks. Rut, IWM, ect work. Have contacted them alot of times and we are aware of it but don’t know when it will be fxed, lol. I have three accounts when them but they don’t care. If you are looking to open an account do not use them.

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AMFM January 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

To OptionsHouse…or anyone interested in answering my questions,
I am new to online investing and am considering becoming a “Swing Trader” type trader. I would only start out with buying and selling stocks since options seem very confusing to me at this point in time. Which brokerage firm do any of you out there recommend for a newbie like me? Also, what percentage does a trader have to make in order to realize a profit after brokerage fees AND Federal and State Taxes are taken into account? (I live in Oregon) For simplicity sake let’s assume brokerage fees are a flat $10.00 per trade. So, if I make $100.00 on a trade I would in reality only be making $80.00 after I bought the stock ($10.00 trade fee), then sold the same stock (10.00 trade fee) for a total of $100.00 profit minus $20.00 brokerage fees for a grand total of $80.00. Would I get taxed (Fed and State) on the $100.00 or the $80.00? Also, do brokerage firms keep track of your earnings and losses for tax purposes? And can you deduct the brokerage fees for tax purposes? Thank you for your answers.

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Jake Swartz January 10, 2013 at 9:02 am

AMFM,

OptionsHouse is a great broker for the new and advanced traders alike. We offer a comprehensive trading platform along with a stock commission price of only $3.95 per trade, among one of the lowest in the industry. We have ongoing educational webinars and other educational resources meant to help you gain a better understanding of the market and the opportunities that exist.

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide tax advice, you would need to consult a tax advisor in regards to your questions about trading taxation. However, we do offer tools to report gains and losses for the tax year which are included free of charge on the trading platform. If you have any further questions regarding opening an account please call (877) 653-2500 for more detailed information.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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the timinator January 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

love optionshouse; lowest commissions, timely trades & very user friendly trading platform; your margin accounting is generous & straight forward; your order window is versatile; thanks & keep up the good work.

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peekamoose January 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Don’t trade BB or other pink sheet stocks here!!!! Prices are the highest.
If I want to trade these elsewhere, the flat fee is all one has to pay. At Options House the flat fee plus a per share charge is applied. What a joke. I recently entered an order to by a BB stock at 50 cents. The cost OH wanted to charge me for one hundred shares was nearly as much as the cost of the shares themselves. OUTRAGEOUS!!! Schwaab doesn’t do this!!!!

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Jake Swartz January 22, 2013 at 7:45 am

Peekamoose,

Thanks for reaching out. To clarify, our penny stock fee applies to a very specific group of stocks and many clients are unaffected by the charge you are referring to. The only stocks that are assessed a surcharge commission are those with a share price under $2.00 AND do not have options available for the underlying symbol. This charge is disclosed on the order ticket prior to the purchase or sale of these types of shares. OptionsHouse in general does not focus on trading these potentially risky and illiquid stocks.

If you have any questions regarding this charge please call (877) 653-2500.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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peekamoose February 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Schwab doesn’t have any additional fees to buy BB stocks. Your fees cost more than the price of the stock sometimes. I don’t buy your reasoning. Other brokers don’t charge these fees. Why do you?? You are telling me these products are potentially risky and illiquid. So are many options that you deal in. Thank you. Now come up with the truth: We want to gouge your pocketbook somehow.

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Jake Swartz February 19, 2013 at 7:01 am

Peekamoose,

Our core business is centered on providing an edge to active options traders in the market. Our platform and tool set reflect our commitment to being the best value in the market for active options traders. Penny stock trading is not a focus of OptionsHouse as it stands now. As mentioned above, a very narrow subset of stocks is actually subject to this fee and is not a core part of our offering in the market.

If you have any questions feel free to call us at (877) 653-2500

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Bill Place January 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

Ok, I need to update everyone here on Optionshouse. They did what they said they would. Now the SPX updates work on their own, so thanks. I would recommend this broker if you want to save money on commissions. They fixed the problem.

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Philip January 31, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for everyone’s feedback on OH. I almost had a bad experience but thankfully, I read enough of your experiences to know I need to avoid them.
I opened an account about 2 months ago but didn’t fund it. I called with a few questions on their pricing structure and was given a cold, rude response. That made me look for other reviews of the company, and I’m glad I did. The last thing I need to MY money in THEIR hands. It pains me to think how I would feel after being treated like that, had I already transfered my money.

So from reading 2009 reviews about their customer service, it seems that nothing has changed. Very Sad.
Thanks again everyone!

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ThinkTrade January 31, 2013 at 8:03 pm

OptionsHouse is a great broker. I have traded over 87,000 options there over the past 1-2 years.

I think more people need to look at themselves and identify their own needs before blindly signing up with a broker and assuming that every broker will fulfill every one of their needs. In my opinion, many of the complainers on this board are beginners – and their complaints are due more to a lack of self-awareness rather than any shortcomings of OptionsHouse. If these people were to sign up with other broker they would probably have a complaint of a different kind. The people giving them high ratings seem like the more successful traders.

The hold on ACH’s is the only thing there which sticks out to me as something that is sub-par with OH compared to other brokers.

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Bill Place February 1, 2013 at 6:23 am

Yes, agree 100 percent with Think Trade

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Richard February 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I just opened a new account and have discovered that OptionHouse uses a real time data provider OPRA discriminates (intentionally or not) against unmarried adults that have no children and deceased grandparents and parents. Here’s my story: I opened an account in my Revocable Living Trust (very simple and used for estate planning to avoid probate). The beneficiaries are two natural nieces (my sister’s children).

According to an email I received from Options House, they consider a professional investor which I am not simply because my nieces are not: ” person’s lineal ancestors (that is, parents, grandparents, etc.) and lineal descendants (that is, children,grandchildren, etc.), and the spouses (including surviving spouses) of that person’s lineal ancestors and lineal descendants. The term includes step and adoptive relationships.”

The professional account will cost me $100/month to see real time trades instead of the 20 minute delay and since hardly do much trading, it’s ridiculously expensive and puts me at a disadvantage when trading on 20 minute delayed trades.

If this is discrimination, I don’t know what is. My closest relatives are my siblings and their children. Really? So I can’t have a trust to avoid probate and use I think this is outrageous. Don’t you? I’ve had an account at Firsttrade for several years and did experience a similar problem. Go elsewhere for your discount brokerage and avoid this company just for the principle.

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Jake Swartz February 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

Richard,

Thanks for reaching out in regards to our policies around professional accounts. To clarify, OPRA (Options Price Reporting Authority) is the securities information processor for market data gathered from major options exchanges in the United States. OptionsHouse utilizes market data from OPRA. OptionsHouse has no control over the determination of professional vs. non-professional accounts in regard to OPRA quoting. The monthly fee, referred to in your post, is charged by such data providers for this type of account, an account they deem “professional”. Additionally, if an account receives data from OPRA, independent of what brokerage firm maintains the account, the OPRA subscriber agreement still defines professional vs. non-professional accounts. If you have any further questions or would like further clarification, please contact us at (877) 653-2500.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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Richard February 8, 2013 at 10:20 am

But – I can’t open an account where I am subject to a $100/month fee for the bit of trading I do. I’ll keep my Firstrade account which is also a trust account but somehow it is not charging me this enormous fee.

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Bill T February 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm

DO NOT PUT YOUR MONEY HERE! I don’t know where to start with this online broker. The customer service here is awful. I have been a customer here for a couple of years and it has only gotten worse. I consider myself an active trader and make 20 trades per week. The brokers here are not properly trained or educated with margin trading, trading rules, order execution and options in general. They have EXCESSIVE hold times when you try to call in and talk to someone. I have tried a few times in the past week and was on hold for at least 30 minutes +. This is unacceptable and the manager who is in charge obviously does not care. I have tried to get a hold of this company and asked to speak to a supervisor and they always say that no one is available. They are in clear violation of rules. They also get payment for their order flow from the market makers and exchanges that they route their orders too. That is why many have previously said that their order execution is awful. I also have an account at ETrade and their orders route a lot quicker. OptionsHouse has a horrendous trading platform and is very outdated. Their charting is also horrible. I learned the hard way being here. Don’t waste your time with this company.

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jacob February 14, 2013 at 7:28 am

I just want to say that when you keep telling me to keep in mind that it’s a virtual platform, and not real, it is a reflection of your business. When I lose $2000 in virtual from bad platform that doesn’t match others info nor your own for that matter, it is a serious reflection of what to expect from doing business with you.

And to be put off while on a live chat and asked to call after trade day is bull. My time is money too. And I assume you are here to make money off of us and our trades. I would think you would put a little more effort into fostering better communications and rectifying problems in your virtual platform as that is where we learn to play with real money. I’m being really put off by what has happened and I can’t make your numbers add up. I asked a simple question and was told to call after hours.

Well, I guess $4 per trade at 30 trades a day isn’t good enough money for you high class traders. I wonder why you even provide this platform if we are such a burden to your business when I thought we were your business. So please tell me how you intend to rectify this and also how do you expect to garner more clientele, with customer service that blows you off and a virtual platform that you all say isn’t a reflection of the real one. Why isn’t it the same as the real one? I’m loosing confidence in you in virtual platform and your service department. Do you really think I want to put 60k in your hands? I think I’ll send this to others. Maybe you need a peer review.

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Daniel October 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Losing*

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Ryan A (Chicago) February 14, 2013 at 7:46 am

I’ve been a customer of OptionsHouse for several years, and I’ve had no problems with them (other than 5 business day ACH holds which seem long to me.) I can’t even understand what Jacob is talking about in his complaint. So you’re saying you were using their virtual trading platform, and you’re complaining that it doesn’t behave exactly like their main trading platform? So what? Their virtual trading platform uses delayed quotes and it doesn’t use “real” market conditions because there are no actual fills on orders. It is all simulated. I’m not surprised that the OH support people don’t have time to deal with complaints of this nature.

As far as the margin calculations from OH, they seem to be done pretty much the same as with any other broker that I have used. Before trading on margin, you should make sure you THOROUGHLY understand what is involved, what can happen, etc. You are basically agreeing that at any time, any broker can close out your position WITHOUT notifying you, if they deem the position too risky for them (the broker). That is part of the margin agreement you signed. If you do not agree to it, perhaps you should be trading with a cash account instead.

As for the customer support with OH, I have never experienced an excessive wait-time in talking to someone on the phone or chatting with them via online-chat — certainly nowhere near a 30 minute wait. If you need a lot of hand-holding when investing, perhaps a full service broker would suit you better than an online discount broker.

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jacob February 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hi, I feel you need to see something from the point of view of the end consumer.

I represent the consumer, and I am looking for a online trading platform. Let’s say I sign up for optionshouse. It has great rates and a virtual platform to train on, I think I’ll give it a try. I log on, and it’s a little confusing but there’s videos and things to learn from. Ok I’ll fund my virtual account like I would a real account $60,000.00. I’m a day trader so I plan on multiple trades per day roughly $2,000.00 per month in commissions. I start trading allowing for the time delay for the unfunded account, and everything looks good. I’ve done my research and all is in order then bam, before market even opens my stock sells at my stop loss price. I wonder what happened? Look at the charts, figures my stop was .10 below the market and it sold? Hmm? I check other markets and nope, nothing in market even close to what it sold at? Maybe I did something wrong.

I’ll use online chat with customer service. “Please wait” for ten minutes… Hi, can I help you, give order # ask to check what happened. “please hold” 5 minutes “please hold” 5 minutes please call back after the trading day we can look at this, and remember it’s a virtual account. Ok so it is a virtual account granted I haven’t funded the account yet, but isn’t this really my 1st experience with your company? If the virtual is prone to this, then what about the real one?

And customer service pretty much blew me off. I guess a potential customer isn’t that important. 100 clients like me not much but consider a national audience. $2000 commission per month per person = $2,400,000 a year. I know small internet providers that seem to have better service skills. And the fact that your virtual platform, your best marketing tool, is problematic, I wonder how many clients you lose per year before they even fund an account because of their initial exposure to virtual and customer service staff?

From a business prospective I think the gains of setting up a separate company to handle your virtual reality and customer service for new accounts or prospects would greatly enhance your business. And I can’t imagine spending the money to fix the virtual exposure and customer service would be a waste of time. Or even a loss as to the potential revenue it would help manifest. Remember in sales it’s all about first impressions. The more you attract us, the more you help us gain confidence in the marketplace the more likely we will invest. I really think if you crunch the numbers you will see how many open new accounts, how many leave, how many contacted customer service, how many leave unfunded, and how many leave after funding.

I understand you know your business but your business needs better marketing and a dedicated staff to bring those new clients in. That’s something i don’t think your really paying attention to. I may be wrong but I think you can do better. And what would it really cost to fix your virtual platform? Remember this is a client service company and the virtual trading program is the bait on the hook. Crunch the numbers and good luck.

Regards, Jeff Barlow

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Mike February 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

@jacob: what you describe is typical for virtual trading platforms. I had exactly the same issue with tradeMONSTER – my stop got triggered at a price that was never traded.
They fixed it by enabling real time quotes. Maybe you should do the same with OH. Ask them to enable real time quotes on your paper account.

There is another popular glitch: before market opens enter an order to buy an option combo below bid price.
Chances are you may get a “fill” at that or better price when the first bid/ask becomes available.
I’ve seen $1 wide spreads being sold for $1.20 on tradeMONSTER paper trading platform while real bid/ask after the open was .80/.90
The solution is not to enter any orders in the after-hours and check the prices from the real time price source before finalizing the order.

Also, there is no exercise/assignment in virtual accounts. You may leave a short ITM option alone and it will expire worthless creating fake profits.

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peekamoose February 15, 2013 at 3:58 am

jacpb.. That you would have to ask them to put real time quotes in a virtual acct shere they are trying to attract customers is ridiculous. If they can’t think of this themselves, how else are they messing up.

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jacob February 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm

THANKS MIKE I appreciate your insight. I’ll try again to trade tomorrow, but I’m probably going to be a bit leary about those kind of orders now regardless. I guess I’ll have to try it out with penny stocks before I go big. Thanks. I’ll ask if they can allow real time quotes. Appreciate the help.

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Bill T February 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Don’t waste your time trading here. You will be better off somewhere else. This company is horrible.

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jacob February 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I just got off chat with customer service, and they were really nice. I’m sure the heat of the trading day effects them same as it does us. I know sometimes it’s hard to not be negative, but try to offer solutions if you can. We’re are all learning as we go in life, and I’m no exception. I get mad and spew and than think and try again. I’m very satisfied with the service dept in after hours, as they were very helpful. But I still feel like there could be some improvement made to the virtual platform as it is their best self marketing tool.

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Lala April 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I don’t know why either, but I’ve tried a couple other virtual trading platforms. Seems it’s common that some features are limited. Actually, to me this makes sense. 1) if OH or any other brokerage allowed real time quotes on virtual, plus all the features, then what’s to stop a “potential” customer to use the system for free, but actually do the trades elsewhere? 2) Real time quotes take data stream space. Why burden the system and other users that are actually using the platform for trades?

Definitely from what I’ve seen though, the biggest thing they need to improve on is their charting software, and their interface. It’s not customizable and movable to allow you to access everything you want in the layout you need that works for you. It’s template based. Who the heck wants to work with that? They need more charting and indicator tools. It’s what you rely on most when day trading.

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Glenn February 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm

For me, I’ve had no issues with OH. Granted, I’ve only experienced online trading with 3 other companies (and only one other company in the last 8 years or so).
I do not trade penny stocks.
I can find my account activity (including commissions) with two clicks from the main trading window (Quick Launch / Account Activity).

I chop onions with a knife. My wife can let the 4-year-old grandchild chop them with a new-fangled contraption that makes it impossible to cut yourself. What’s the point? OH is like the knife — simple, effective, easy to use, but also dangerous if not used properly (but it’s not difficult to use a knife properly).
By the way, if I cut myself with the knife, I blame myself.

I haven’t had much interaction with customer service (and then it was mostly via live chat). The chat experience was fine, not fast but not slow — about what you’d expect. They provide a phone number to call for trade issues as the chat deal apparently isn’t intended for that.
OH isn’t for everybody. It’s right for me. I’m a reasonably experienced trader who has gotten into options. I have an account with a big-name brokerage, which I will keep. Most of my new monies will be placed in my OH account.
My advice to prospective OH customers is to try it. If you don’t like it, try another one. There are quite a few good ones from which to choose. Others on my short list were TradeMonster and Trade King — I evaluated about 10 brokers. I chose OH and have no regrets.

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herp apple February 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I finally retired after 30 years in the securities business. I owned (past tense) a securities broker dealership (stock brokerage business) with licenses in Series 7, 63, 24, 27, three major insurance licenses, and additional licenses in other money areas.
Two months ago, I opened a stock trading account with O.H. Trading mostly ETFs, all executions were perfect.
However, I have to agree with many mailed in comments. O.H.’s staff is extremely short fused and rude. I have traded for 40 years with various brokers but your staff is unprofessional. Beth, don’t rely on Barron’s. As long as you advertise in that paper, they’ll give you a nice write-up. O.H. has an image problem that creates opportunity costs.
My final question is directed to you Beth: I was told that my unused funds will have to be put into a Money Market fund. If that’s the case, O.H. will have to offer a fund that is riskless, meaning that the price cannot go below one dollar. Even your short-term U.S. Government Securities Fund is not risk free. People want to trade stocks or options. Don’t take their money to gamble with. Use your own funds. This would force me to go somewhere else.

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Jake Swartz February 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Herp,

Thank you for reaching out. With OptionsHouse you have two options for holding un-invested capital. Generally our client funds are held in a DWS Scudder money market (CSAXX). Alternatively, you can choose to opt out of the money market and hold your funds in cash. If you are currently invested in the money market and would like to opt out, or have any further questions please call (877) 653-2500.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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Chris February 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Is it a legitimate practice for a MM to drop the value of an option position simply because a person is trying to sell it? JW as I am fairly new to trading. I bought a few call options recently, originally my few positions were the only ones for the September call (now there are 217). But everytime I’ve expressed interest in selling out of the position it seems that the value of the bid and mid automatically drop with my order placement. Sometimes it has seemed that it was due to the system simply updating automatically d/t the stock price having dropped a bit, however I’ve seen it do the same when the stock price hasn’t moved (or has moved upwards), only to then regain its prior inflated value shortly after I cancel my sell order. Is this legitimate or a form of manipulation?

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Chris February 19, 2013 at 6:24 am

Like I said I’m fairly new to options, but it doesn’t seem like a fair trading practice to me. Technically if somebody held a large position they could just drop the value down to nothing anytime the buyer attempted to sell and the buyer would be automatically screwed over. And it is definitely an automatic process whereby it drops the price as soon as I attempt to sell, even with minimal positions involved. I don’t know if there is some process involved where this is ok and the entire market does this, or if this is some tactic that peak3 is employing itself. But on the other hand there was a day that the price went up over 5 percent and the mid didn’t go up at all. I didn’t take note of if the bid price moved at all, but if it did it was minimal (with a delta of .75 nonetheless). I’m considering filing a FINRA complaint since I figure those people would know better than I do whether or not its legit. If it is I’m sure the complaint would be disregarded anyways. I just get the sense that there are some schenanigans going on with this process. I’ll probably hold off on the complaint as a last resort, but I’m going to closely observe the movement here in the days ahead and if I continue to see things that seem questionable and can’t get a good explanation for it (If so I’ll try the customer support chat feature as well, though I’m skeptical that will be of any help) the complaint will probably be my only good option.

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Jake Swartz February 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Chris,

For any specific questions you have about the options market, how it works, or specific numbers you are seeing within the OptionsHouse platform, please contact customer service (877) 653-2500 and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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Ryan A (Chicago) February 19, 2013 at 6:39 am

Try reading this:
http://www.bigtrends.com/trading-education/working-the-option-market-makers-bidask-spread/
Or read some other articles online about how exchanges work, what market makers are, etc.

If you think the spread between the bid/ask of an options contract is too wide from the market maker, then why don’t you try to work both sides of the spread yourself and see how well that works out for you?

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Gau Gau February 21, 2013 at 11:15 am

They delay sending 1099 again this year until Mar 15. Same excuse as last year. I will close my OptionsHouse account after this tax reason. Not worth it.

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Scott B February 24, 2013 at 7:13 am

Been using Optionshouse for over 3 years now. My thoughts….
They are by far the most conservative brokerage I’ve used when it comes to margin and especially buying power calculations.

Here’s a typical example: on a credit spread, all brokerages are required to hold a margin reserve equal to difference in strikes times contracts. 10 strike difference equals 1000$ reserve held back. When you close out your position, your reserve is released back to you. At OH, not so fast. Every other broker I’ve used releases your reserve immediately upon closing the credit position (tradeking, optionsxpress, thinkorswim, etc). This is key to rolling a credit position or reestablishing a new one altogether. The issue with Optionshouse is they will not release your reserve until the next trading day. You can call them after you close the spread and they will have someone at the margin desk review your buying power, but you have to do this *every time* and depending who you get transferred to they either do it instantly, put it in their to do list where it may or may not get done that day , or on several occasions, tell you that it can’t be done at all.

There is no reason those reserve funds should not be automatically released upon closing the credit spread. It is your money still, it never left your account, the brokerage holds it from your buying power to make sure there is zero risk to them in a Max loss event on your spread. An annoyance for sure.

Similar thing happens with debit spreads that finish both legs in the money. One side gets auto exercised the other leg gets assigned to you, net result is a cash increase in your account equal to the difference in strikes of your spread times number of contracts. Monday morning you are free to trade that money. At OX, think or swim, trade King that’s how it works. With Optionshouse? Not so fast.

They dump the cash in your account true enough, BUT THEN reduce your buying power by the amount of the exercised option for 3 to 4 days until settlement occurs. With a small priced stock it is an annoyance. With a stock like GOOG, this shuts down your account until settlement. While it is true, this can be avoided by closing down your position before expiration for less than max profit, that is not acceptable when compared to the competition.

The griping about length of time to fund accounts, receive distributions, etc are definitely true as well.

Do you sense a pattern here? They like to hold on to *your* money longer than other brokerages. There’s a lengthy or behavioral workaround for nearly every inconvenience OH throws your way.

If you open an account with them you will ask yourself frequently if the super low unbeatable rates are worth the hassle for how you trade options.

For me I’ve stuck with them for 3 years, but mostly on the strength of their mobile app as compared to TRADE KING ‘s non existent one. Optionshouse freeform trade ticket beats the pants off of TK as well.

I plan to investigate moving my accounts back to TK…. I’ll compare commissions on my trades and see if the difference monetarily is worth it. Typing up this review forced me to realize a few things. Namely that with so many options out there, having accessto your own money is more important to me than the absolute lowest rate.

Scott

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TonyB March 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I would be interested in seeing an answer on this from OH. I just opened a small 25K account as a trial, still waiting for ACH to clear, while I maintain much more substantial trading accounts at Fidelity and TD Ameritrade (trying to reduce commissions from $2500-$3000/month). 90% of my trades are selling verticals and iron condors. What you describe simply will not work for me, it is very common for me to close a dozen positions on Thursday and Friday of expirations (weekly and monthly) and establish new positions immediately. If I have to wait a day or have a chat every Thursday and Friday with customer service, this simply will not work. I have read two page of reviews and none of the bad reviews concern me, most are by people who do not understand margin, I only use margin to avoid the settlement period and never have credit balances, so no concern. But your comment is the first one that concerns me. Is it really the case that on margin accounts, closing tramsactions are not immediately credit to your buying power? If that is the case. I will not even begin this trial will move straight to my next target, IB. That is I wait for another three days for the ACH to clear and five days for the ACH out to clear (really OH, what risk are you protecting yourself from on an ACH transfer out)?

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Dan D March 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

Optionshouse low commissions are sort of smoke and mirrors.

Right now as I type this a march 13 weekly 1535-1540 bear call spread – I get .80 credit from optionshouse
The same march 13 weekly 1535-1540 bear call spread from td ameritrade is giving me 1.00 credit.

An April 13 1580-1585 bear call spread – I’m getting .65 credit from td ameritrade.

Optionshouse April 13 1580-1585 bear call spread is not even trading… It shows 0.00

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John March 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Hey, I have a question. It is pretty basic, but I am just starting! :) I sold some stock yesterday, but I was not able to use the money in my account today. I called customer service and they told me I have to wait the day of the transaction+3 business days before my money becomes available again. Is that the case with all brokers, or is this an OH specific issue? How do you work around this if you want to put all your money on a stock, sell everything the same day and repeat every day. This waiting period is really frustrating. Thanks.

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Scott B March 9, 2013 at 7:54 am

Hi John

You are discovering the “joys” of Optionshouse. The key here is that per SEC rules funds from a sale of stock are given 3 days to settle. Options only take 1 day to settle.

Most other brokerages will prevent you from withdrawing that money from your account until funds have settled and in this respect, OH is no different.

Where they do differ is in the buying power calculation. Every other brokerage will release those funds into your buying power to be used immediately or the next day at the latest. Not so with OH as you have found out.

There is only one workaround for the scenario you described and that is to never spend more than 33% of your account at one time at OH.

Well that or switch to another broker with higher commissions but will give you more flexibility with your own money.

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Mike March 10, 2013 at 12:31 am

Isn’t it exactly the same with all brokers? Looks like OP has a cash account and that’s why the funds need 3 days to clear.
Switch to margin account and you can trade immediately after the close of the previous position.

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John March 11, 2013 at 8:49 am

Thank you for the responses guys, even though I am still a bit confused on which one truly is the case. Whether this is an OH specific issue, or whether this is how things work with cash accounts. I will call a few other brokers to ask how things work with them.

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TonyB March 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm

It is the same with all brokers, rules for a cash account. You can avoid this with a margin account.

lala April 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm

This is the same in any brokerage. If you buy then sell stocks, the money will take 3 business days to clear and for the $ to be available in your account to trade with again. If you buy then sell options, it takes 1 day to clear. If your $ hasn’t cleared and you buy, you might get a pass, but they will suspend your account if you repeat. It’s a regulation, and it’s standard.

RickLRMS September 29, 2013 at 7:14 am

No, it isn’t the same at other brokers. I have a brokerage account with Scottrade, and the funds for any stock sold are available for trading immediately after sold. Many times I’ve sold stock XYZ and within minutes (and I mean two or three) bought stock ZYX with the funds from the sell of XYZ. I get a “free ride” warning (which I should) but as long as the funds from the sell of XYZ settle before I sell any of my newly purchased ZYX, I’m okay. Not sure about options, as I’m just now considering options (which is why I’m reviewing various brokerages) but that’s the case with straight equity trades.

As long as I’m posting, a couple of other notes: Scottrade ACH funds are available for trading within a short time of transfer. I’ve made an ACH transfer and used the fund in less than thirty minutes of making the transfer. The only drawback with Scottrade around fund transfer is you can’t go the other direction. If I want money out of my Scottrade account, I would need to request a check. I don’t find this a big deal, as I leave that money alone and add to it, but I think you can open a MM account with Scottrade and write checks on it.

The reason I’m looking around is because currently if I request options trading on my Scottrade account it is limited to buying calls and puts. To get an option account that allows higher level options trading, I have to open an account with their “sister” site Options First. I spoke with a Scottrade rep (easy to do, just call the branch office assigned to my area) and this is supposed to change after the first of the year (this note being written on Sep 29, 2013). Because I didn’t want to wait, I started looking at other options for options (pardon the pun). I’m not an investor of the thirty-year-ago style of buy and hold for five, ten, or twenty years, but still consider myself more an investor than trader making just one or two trades a month. I began looking at options trading as a way to possibly tweak my annual earnings up a point or two. I’ve been very happy with Scottrade, but because of the requirement to move my account I decided to look at what else was available. After reading various reviews, though, I think I’ll just request the Level II options trading until Scottrade makes the change next year and brings the Options First availability into their normal accounts.

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RickLRMS September 29, 2013 at 7:19 am

Should have mentioned in the previous post, my account with Scottrade is not a margin account.

John March 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

After using OptionsHouse for about six months, I can only say it sucks. Yes, transactions are dirt “cheap” (unless you are day trader with many transactions during a month), but you get what you pay for. I’ll list some problems, because certainly there are more
1. Funding does take a long time (but since you are reading this you should expect that and it is similar with other brokers with exception of the few), but getting money out of the OptionsHouse is pain as well.
2. Their “new” platform is really not usable (is worse in every aspect than already bad old one and is more clunky). You have to do many clicks for common operations, or get info you need to have in front of you all the time. Presented info (fonts,space, colors…) is extremely hard to use (or better say not to use). Info (positions, graphs, account value…) is not refreshed in real time, but you have manually to refresh the page. To enter the order you have to do many clicks and confirmations and things are scattered over the pop-up screens. Alerts are not working at all. Tax statements/forms are joke and inaccurate. Only somewhat good thing in old platform is modifying order (sucks big in new platform). Stock screening works randomly. Their platform is not very well cross browser compatible. Only positive impression about platform was that old platform seemed relatively stable. Scottrade seems lighting years in front of them (and it is far from perfect).
3. Order execution is bad. They are routing orders in some weird way and you will almost always get market order executed for worse than current ask price (when buying) and will be unable to find the same transaction at other brokers. I had only luck with limit orders. Since spread orders require market orders, you will lose money on them every time you do so, so them (spread orders) being cheaper will cost you more. Not having quick way to put order in, will cost you additionally.

Screenshot on this page is the old platform (which is still around) but even though bad is still more usable than “new”.

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DANIEL March 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I have quite a few years with OH, I pay 2.99 for stocks and $5 for 5 contracts. However, as I get more active, I was looking for a better broker with superior platform and overall system. You people are all complaining. Does any of you know of a better alternative? Who are you with? Looks like you are just venting out but not leaving. Maybe I should look-up Angie’s list.

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Aaron Cavazos March 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I had to wait over 3 days to see the transactions to my bank in order to verify the upcoming ach deposit. Then another 5 days for my payment to clear and be able to make a trade. Yes the platform is ok and the selling fee is good. But the wait time for my funds to be avaiable to clear is ridiculous. I made a trade on 3/15 for a sell to close on a (good till close duration) that was “created and filled that same day within 5 minutes” yets its 8:21 3/19 and while my cash bal reflects my total value of what should be there my stock b/p hasn’t registered my trade. I understand i made a trade on a friday but for god sakes this is a cash account why hold my money when I want to make additional trades…. which is the only way that your going to make money from me because i would never go to margin. There ability to hold my cash when I want to make a trade is unbearable. Time is money and they suck the money right from you if you consider holding your buying power as money. The only conclusion I could come to is they do not make the majority of their money from the 3.95 fee but from having regular cash accounts become margin accounts and then get them in some option trade and force them to sell early. While I really want to make a trade tomorrow, as a couple of my perspective securities performed poorly today, if my funds clear I am seriuosly and almost positively transfering my money to the bank and looking for another site. I am not looking forward to the 3 day wait I have heard about but this is ridiculous. If anyone has experience with a stock trading company with reseasnable fees for day traders that will trade nearly 100% of their cash porfolio and have that security filled and executed ON BOTH ENDS with funds avaiable immediatly, please let me know. I give optionhouse a C- for their ach waits, stock execution b/p avaiablility, and customer support (tried multiple times to have my funds released and whenever i spoke to someone on chat and asked to speak to their supervisor i found that I was already speaking to one, which is horse shit.) STAY AWAY

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Doris V August 28, 2013 at 11:24 am

The 3 day thing isn’t just with OH. It’s with the other brokerages, too, for cash accounts. That’s just the way it is. If you have a margin account, it just means you have margin, and having margin does not mean that you have to USE the margin. If you had a margin account, then your funds are available immediately after you close the position instead of the wait.

OH, just like all the other brokerages, do have SECC rules and regulations they must abide by. So, your complaint there is not valid.

As for the ACH, I haven’t had an issue. I think their site says 4 days or something like that and that’s what I’ve found from my experienced.

Maybe you shouldn’t be daytrading as it seems that you’re not quite up on all the rules. It’s also poor management of your money to be trading 100% of your cash portfolio. Any seasoned, wise trade will not do that. Well, you probably also shouldn’t be getting a margin account anyway because you’ll probably end up with a margin call and that’s far worse.

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swing trader March 27, 2013 at 1:09 am
TonyBenBrahim April 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

So I am three weeks into trying out OH, and I am in the process of moving all my option trading capital to OH.
The pluses: the commissions. I will save at least $5,000 a year from what I was paying at ThinkOrSwim.
The neutrals: the platform. I have seen much worse, it is useable to place trade (better than TOS), the position display is also better than TOS. The tools are useless. On the positive they side, I got API access and am developing my own platform the way I want it.
The bad: ACH times. put an ACH on Thursday morning, will hit your account the following Wednesday, and be fully usable the subsequent day (one week ACH in effect, not 3 days). The lack of automated ACH (I liked the automatic ACH feature at TOS).
The ugly: the “charts”, if you want to call them that. Better if you pretend they do not have charts.
The maybe: it looks like buying power is accurately calculated overnight, but becomes incorrect (understated) as positions are closed during the day, not sure, I will have to watch more closely, and not an issue as I like to trade a third of the account only….

So nothing unexpected so far. This is a place to place cheap options trades, nothing more. Everything else (charts, scans, etc…), you will have to get somewhere else

A lot of complaints above seem to be from new traders. This is not the platform for new traders, in my opinion, start with something more expensive like TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim, where there are people to hold your hand, albeit you pay for it in higher commissions. A lot of complains above also seem to be from traders who do not understand margin. If you exceed your margin, fully expect any broker to close your position to protect themselves from a loss. It is not their job to protect you from a loss if you traded too big, and it does not matter what your forcibly closed position is worth the next day or a week later. Trade small, and leave lots of cash in your account and monitor your buying power, if you sell naked (66% cash would be a good starting point).

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lala April 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Thank you for that review. Best, fairest, most informative, realistic, experienced user review. It took me reading thru the whole entire list of comments to get to it tho, lol
if only ur review showed up at top, would’ve saved me lots of time

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Doris V August 28, 2013 at 11:18 am

Thank you for putting a fair review of OH. I agree with you.

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green tube April 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

I’ve been in optionshouse for a few weeks, slowly getting my feet wet. I don’t do options. I simply buy and sell stocks. I have no complaints about trades being filled. It’s all good on that front. The actual buy/sell part of the platform is perfectly fine, but I generally don’t love the rest of platform itself. I’m not fond of the layout. I have a schwab account so I do all my homework at schwab, and then do the actual trading on optionshouse.

Hopefully optionshouse can stay in business with these super low rates. My impression is that they are genuinely trying to provide a good product. But it is a discount broker, so you get somewhat of a discount experience. I’m okay with that.

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joachimW April 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm

OH utilizes deceptive trade practices, and their customer service is outrageously poor. It always takes more than 10-15 minutes just to get through to someone. And it seems most have very poor customer service skills.

If you have the chance please complain about Option House to SEC and FINRA and to other sites.

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Doris V August 28, 2013 at 11:14 am

I haven’t found their practices to be deceptive. Have you read through their stuff, because, they do state certain things with different accounts, etc. I disagree that it always takes 10-15 min. just to get through to someone. Yes, that has happened to me periodically, but today I called and my wait time was about 3 seconds and I had a zillion comments and questions to ask the guy and he was very polite to me, and he knew what he was talking about. I found him to be professional, caring and courteous.

Actually, I’ve probably talked to more than 2 dozen different people in all the times I’ve called and everyone is nice, professional and answer all my many questions.

Maybe you are rude, not asking the right questions, make all these assumptions, and just a difficult person to work with, hence you attract such bad energy to yourself.

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Cherie May 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Appreciate the comments…I am a first time wannabe trader and planning to invest 3000 in one stock. I plan to just move my stock options at around every month at most…What online brokerage will you recommend? Thank you!

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TonyBenBrahim May 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Sadly, I must modify my semi-positive review above. Three times this week, while I was being more vigilant, i noticed that the margin requirement for a new position was quite high, and when I entered the same trade on ThinkOrSwim the margin requirement was half that of OptionsHouse. This is not the case for defined risk spreads, only for sales of naked puts and calls.
For example, I was trying to sell 30 contracts of the May 13 5 PUT on GRPN for .28 (with GRPN trading at 5.42). OptionsHouse wanted $9900 in margin, ThinkOrSwim wanted $5300. The $10 I would have saved in commission would have been more than wiped out by OptionsHouse tying up an extra $4600 in margin.
There is no indication anywhere that they are not charging the CBOE Margin Calculation handbook rate, which in my opinion is the worst offense, not the fact that they charge higher margin but that it is not disclosed. This is not the place for premium sellers, unless the premium you sell is only defined risk (then my review above stands).
$9900 covers GRPN going to 1.40 in the next 10 days, a 2 standard deviation move. I am not sure if a 2 standard deviation move is what they charge for all naked call and put spreads, I have lost interest in OptionsHouse and moving on to the next broker. I had high hopes. Oh well…
I will also take back whatever I said about the people complaining about margin above. I understand margin and margin calculations very well and no one at OH can explain how they calculate it, so who knows how their margin was jacked, I was not there so I do not know

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Andrew S July 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm

OH’s “margin requirements” (https://www.optionshouse.com/faq/margin/margin-requirements-short-put/) suggests that this should be 20% – OTM amount + premium, or 10% of the strike + premium; 1.08 – .42 + .28 = .94. The alternate method gives .78c, which is lower. For 30 contracts, that’s about $3000.

TD Ameritrade (Think or Swim) gives a third calculation: $50 per contract plus 100% of the premium, which is the same as the second formula here (10% of the strike = $50 per contract). TOS is currently quoting me $5081 in BP adjustment for a similar trade (30 $9 puts with the stock at $9.139), which seems to fit this standard calculation.

It *is* possible for certain stocks to have higher margin requirements, especially if they’re volatile — and GRPN is.

So I’m not sure what’s up with OH asking for so much in margin (nearly 2/3rds the total value) but it sounds like a serious concern for option writers.

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Don May 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I was attracted by the lower commissions on options. I trade options nearly exclusively, mostly credit spreads. I still have a TOS account and prefer that platform and its use. My problem came last month when I tried to close a losing position and the platform wouldn’t let me. This necessitated a phone call. It was a little slow in being answered. Losing $ by the second made it worse. When I did speak with someone even they had trouble closing the trade, having to put me on hold while figuring out the solution. Just the time I was on the phone with the rep cost me $5k. So needless to say I was none to happy.

I have found OH a little slow to fill orders, but I can’t say its any worse than others.

I have an email to OH inquiring how to roll a position in its platform, I can only hope its as simple as TOS.

We (the investment community) need the OH’s of the world in order to keep the other brokerage houses reasonably competitive. In my perfect world the OH option fees would be duplicated by TD so I could enjoy the best of both worlds.

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Matt May 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I have optionhouse now and this was the worst choice ever. This is with no doubts the worst company I have ever had the misfortune of doing business with. Their unqualified customer service team will hang up on you or disconnect you from chats or not reply to emails when you question something and they are not smart enough to answer. Their software is pathetic, if the name of a company has options in it you would think their software would be able to handle people who trade options. I trade with stops and they NEVER get you the price of your stop, i can live with maybe a penny or two per contract lower sometimes but for options that they will get you atleast .04 below your order price at most 90% of the time. For options that trade in .05 increments they best you will get is .15 per contract under your stop. I took a screen shot once which showed my stop order being open and the bid ask was both lower than my stop and the order had still not been executed. The customer service is the worst I have ever seen they are unqualified and unprofessional.

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Peter Voga May 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

You forgot to mention that you must deposit at least $5,000 with OptionsHouse to claim the 100 free trade promotion. Thanks for the thorough review otherwise though.

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Jesse Ouwens June 8, 2013 at 12:28 am

Yes, it’s true. OH “customer service” does not exist. And I never even got to open my account! After completing their extensive online application, I received a voicemail from “Jeff” on my cell phone the next day. Calling back the next day from my office at work, I finally got put in touch with “Michael” who spoke to me for all of 30 seconds before he put me on hold. After about 40 minutes of waiting I finally had to hang up and get back to work. In the meantime, I also sent them two e-mails on different days regarding my newly opened account. These were both answered the next day with a standard request for me to call them at their customer service phone number, which I tried to do again the following day. Of course, calling their “customer service” number doesn’t exactly mean that you will actually be talking to a live person, and after listening to their recordings for half an hour, had to once again hang up and get back to work. Finally, today I get another e-mail from them telling me that they are sending my personal check back to me in the mail because they “did not receive a response from me.” I GIVE UP! ! !

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Doris V August 28, 2013 at 11:10 am

Wow, seriously, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. It’s not always like that. I’ve opened 2 different accounts also while doing a name change in the process because I got married, changing from one brokerage to another some monies and no issues. There were a few times that I did have to wait awhile on hold, but usually when I call, which is sometimes often, I get through to talk with a live person within 1-5 min.

I have accounts with TD Ameritrade, too, and I’ve sometimes been on hold a long time there, too.

The only places I never have a hold time is with a full service brokerage where I pay a lot more, or with my futures broker. But, I’m really sorry that you had this experience in not being to open your account.

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Jesse September 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Thanks Doris, although I do not understand the POINT of your reply.
I have since opened various accounts with TD Ameritrade and am VERY SATISFIED.
Good Luck with OH!

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Qwiksword June 13, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I am just a regular Joe not affiliated with any brokerage firm. Opened an Etrade IRA account in March and now want to open another IRA for my wife and thought I would explore alternatives. I like the mobile app and the platform from Etrade. Even though it is an IRA account I do plenty of day trading, as this source of funds is not really where retirement funds will come from, so I do speculate. I opened an account with OH and tried to download the mobile app. It does not work on my HTC android. Frustrating!! It does work on my Nexus tablet. I was looking for a brokerage that might save some $ on the trades as my positions typically do not exceed $2000 and the fees start to become relevant to profits. So I am looking at OH and Tradeking. From what I have read in this thread I think I will keep looking. My experience with Etrade customer service has been pretty good. When the account was opened it took some time to get funds available for use. But, I was provided an account handler that I have a direct line to when I have a question. If he is not able to take a call I have left messages which are returned within the same day, even minutes after I leave the message. So, I think the customer service there is pretty good. Although when I opened the account I assumed I would get 60 days of free trades, and started loading up positions only to find this offer was not good for retirement accounts (read the fine print). I took a bath on about $600 in fees that I would have avoided had I known the trades weren’t free for this type of account. My account rep listened and explained why the trades weren’t free, but did not refund my money. They could have done a better job making this aspect clearer in the literature. With the IRA account I am able to use funds from closed positions in 3 business days. A regular account takes 24 hours to clear funds for reinvestmet and a bit longer to be released as cash. Trades at market are instantaneous and at the ask price, and when trades are set at limits typically end up better than where I set them. I use the pro platform and the standard platform, but prefer the standard platform. Although the pro platform can be used for extended hours trading I tried this and could not complete trades because they must match the exact ask/bid price and # of shares. Low $ doesn’t seem to get any attention after hours. I’ll check out Trade King and maybe some others, but may end right back with Etrade. I guess you get what you pay for…

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green tube June 15, 2013 at 10:52 am

Here’s an update to my mediocre (at best) experience with options house:

I bought a stock on Friday morning, and now on Saturday afternoon the details of the purchase have yet to be centrally posted in my account. I say “centrally” posted because I can see the order was filled, but the main page you go to see the complete details of the trade shows nothing. I assume it’s because the trade was made on a Friday. Other days of the week, the details of the trade don’t get posted until several hours after the market closes, which is annoying in and of itself, but a whole day later, and still no confirmation is super annoying.

Complaint #2: The account balance routinely shows an incorrect number. The error is usually 5 to 20 cents, but I have seen it be as much as $4 off. Granted that’s not much, but the fact is, the number is almost never correct. And they have no explanation for it. This does not instill confidence should a bigger issue arise.

Issues like this will keep me from ever having more than $5,000 in the trading account with OH, and tempts me to just close the account completely.

My experience with customer service has been okay. I mention that only because so many people have complained.

It’s a $3.95 a trade service. You get what you pay for. That may be okay, but it’s going to limit the size of my account, and keep me thinking about closing it.

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green tube July 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

uh oh…… the final straw. just found out you cant transfer funds out of your cash account at options house via ACH!!!!!! you’re only options are for them to send you a check or a wire transfer. fuck that!

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Doris V August 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

Yes, you can. Did you set up ACH properly? I don’t have any issues doing this.

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green tube July 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

CORRECTION: disregard the last post. they do allow ACH transfers out. the way the transfer page is arranged confused me. i’m easily confused, i guess. okay then. carry on. nothing to see here.

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VK July 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I am wondering why OH has the lowest margin rates for stocks in the industry? Most of the other brokers funding rates are much high.
Can anyone form OH address this?

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Matt July 16, 2013 at 6:32 am

Optionshouse NOT reccomended.
In an email too them I inquired:
“I recently opened my OH account to evaluate your service. In trying to do a little research, I can\’t find a single review that\’s positive. I find thousands and thousands of reviews that certainly do not look good for OH, in fact in reading them you folks look like demons. So, I bring it straight to you, can you point me to ANY positive reviews that are from legitimate customers? Have you bothered to rate yourself from a customers point of view by researching the reviews that are out there, and how do you respond / have you responded – to all the complaints? Have you tried to improved the quality of your services to address any of the issues? My continued participation on your platform depends on your responses and my being able to verify the validity of those responses. Thank you, in advance, for your honest reply.”

Their response (a week later): “We cannot and do not comment on what people write when they review our services on a third party web site. We have received awards from Barron’s and Stockbrokers.com multiple times in their annual reviews (see link).
http://www.optionshouse.com/awards/

I found them to be extremely slow when dealing with my funds. I transferred funds in on 7/8/2013. It is now 7/16 and those funds still have not posted fully as I can not withdraw them yet. My reply back to them stated that if they are this slow with my funding, I can’t trust they have the ability to execute any other activity in an efficient and/or timely manner and will be closing my account whenever the finally fully post my funds.

I do not recommend Optionshouse. Their message to us is “We don’t care what the customer thinks, and we’re not going to comment on what the customer thinks, the customer is not as important to us as Barrons and stockbroker.com, thus they do not deserve trying to improve our platform for. As long a Barrons and stockbroker.com gives us an award, we’ll not address any customers concerns.”

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Jake July 17, 2013 at 6:38 am

Matt,

We value customers input and consider our customers’ opinions a driving factor for many of our internal decisions. We recognize that building upon our customers satisfaction is not only good for our customers but OptionsHouse as well.

We are sorry to hear you have thus far had a negative experience. We would like to reach out to you personally to address. Please feel free to contact jswartz@optionshouse.com anytime and I will have someone reach back out promptly to address your concerns. Your opinions are important to us.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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Jeremy July 29, 2013 at 8:15 am

I have been using OptionsHouse for about a year now. I only trade stocks with week to months hold times, and some long term holds. I have never had a problem other than the slow 3 days wait period on bank transfers. The software is nice and the recent update to the android app is pretty slick. I think they are a great alternative to the larger advertised brokers.

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Gavin from NY July 31, 2013 at 3:47 am

As a buy and hold trader looking to not pay fees out the damn nose, optionshouse has done me great. I dont need scottrade’s “analytics” – just give me the lowest fees and a reasonable platform.

Optionshouse pros:
Lowest fees
Reasonable platform
Decent margin rates

Optionhouse cons:
When the market is closed my account value plummets by 25%. The first time i saw this i lost my pants. The problem fixes itself an hour or two before the market opens.

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Doris V August 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

I’ve had OH since Apr of this year and though I haven’t traded a lot yet, it’s been fine for how I trade, which is just buy and sell stocks. I’m not doing options, currency, or anything else. The charting software isn’t good and not everything is quite as intuitive for me to use their platform as perhaps BX or TD or OX, but I’m getting used to it.

I think some of the people commenting and leaving bad comments are highly over leveraged, doing very risky things. They are expecting to get Park Avenue services for Wal-Mart pricing. It’s just not going to happen. OH seems for me, a no frills place to trade and as my accounts regrow again to a better size, I will fund my accounts more at TD, BX, and a couple other places that I have because I get more full service at those places to make some of my more complicated trades.

Yes, you have margin, but I think poorly planning your trade and executing it is a huge problem. If you’re trading in such a manner to even possibly getting a margin call, you’re just playing too risky and whining when bad things happen. Believe me, I’ve gotten margin calls in the past and I no longer trade in that manner. Yes, it’s thrilling and fun when you make a ton of money fairly quickly, but what about losing it, too. No thank you.

Growing a small account to huge to lose it all to risky behaviors is no longer for me. I think that’s what a lot of the people are doing.

I have used their ACH and wiring and have had no issues. My accounts got funded easily and quickly (in fact, I thought it would take a lot longer than it did and everything went smoothly and easily).

I don’t see why some are blaming OH for their losses when they may be failing to place appropriate stop losses. Will update again later when I’m trading more.

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Babu September 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

I am using OptionsHouse for stock trading. Getting funds in and out of the account is a 10-12 days process.

ACH transfer is painfully slow.

I like their low fees and mobile app.

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walk September 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I am a beginning investor. I just want to begin by reserching and invesing in some solid dividend paying stocks utilizing a stop loss or trailing stop loss approach. Not much more for the near future. I think I may be somewhat similar to Ryan A, who posted lots earlier (8/2012), but much more of a novice. The low trade cost is what is atttracting me to consider OH vs Ameritrade. I see lots of complaints/concerns but wonder for someone with such a limited focus is OH a good consideration despite much of the criticism which seems to focus on much broader and complex trading issues.

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Doris V September 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Right now with their trailing loss, it only allows you to trail the order right then and there, not set a trigger price amount and then trail from there. Hope that makes sense. And when you trail, you want to make sure to specify if you’re trailing the bid or the ask.

I wish they had a more complex trailing stop order that allows you to set a trigger price to trail from automatically rather than only trail from the point of entry on. That’s inconvenient for me. I’ve expressed to them this and hopefully in the near future, they will have that as a part of their platform.

Ameritrade and some other brokerages allow me to do this, but their fees are higher. Fees make a difference when you are trading smaller traders. The TOS platform is more complex and does more my style of trading, but fees higher, which cut into my profits.

You could open simulated trade accounts at both and see how you like each because every trader is different.

I’ve had no problems without drawing funds from either places, as some others have experienced with OH.

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Shawn October 29, 2013 at 9:54 am

You can place trailing stop orders if you use OH advanced platform not their basic one.

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Shawn October 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! Please talk to a professional.
Dividend plays are mid to long term plays. People often hold a stock for years and years regardless of the stock price as long as the dividends keep coming.
Using stops suggest you are trading for a gain in the stock price.
Which is it?
You sound confused about your goals and what strategy is best. PLEASE GET HELP before doing anything else so you can get on the right path.
13 years trading experience talking.
Good Luck!

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Phil September 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Good Evening Guys,
I am completely brand new to this. I am just looking to buy a specific stock (& this one stock only) continuously pretty much using a the dollar cost averaging method. I would just be putting $200-$300 bi weekly (every pay period) towards this stock purchase. The stock I’m interested in currently trades for around $50 a share. I talked to the OH customer service rep through online chat & he mentioned it would only cost me that $3.95 charge regardless if I bought 1 or 10 shares….Is this the right site for me? When I talked to the broker I work with he suggested a online brokerage account & OH has no minimum account balance…Sorry guys I’m just looking for help.
Thanks, – Phil

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Doris V September 20, 2013 at 7:20 am

OH’s fees are pretty low compared to other online brokers. You’d only be able to buy a few shares at a time and it will cost you the $3.95 for each trade, so if you make 2 trades a month, then it will cost you $7.9 where you’re investing $400-600. Their trading platform is fairly easy and those are easy to put in.

Other places charge $8+ usually per trade online, so you’d be spending about half of what it would cost at some other online brokerages. Would you rather spend the $8 or $16 or whatever? It’s your choice. Only you can determine if the site is right for you or not.

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Shawn October 25, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Hi Phil.
Although they have cheap rates for stock trades they were built to primarily trade options. In my opinion I would use a different broker that is mainly doing stocks and pay the extra. I have heard the fills on stocks can be spotty.

If it’s a matter of not being able to fund an account with more that $2000 then you really have no business trading stocks. Save some money and open an account elsewhere and be prepared to lose ALL OF IT!! If you can’t lose it then you have no business trading. This is 13 years of trading speaking. I also tell newbs to paper (virtual) trade for at least 6 months to see if their strategies work before committing hard earned money. I paper traded for 6 months, then used real money, lost a ton, paper traded another 6 months, and now earn my living trading. Unfortunately most newbs are afraid of missing out and jump in and lose it all. Remember there is always another good stock to play tommorrow, patience is the key to success. Good Luck!

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walk September 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

Doris V, Thanks for the reply. I think I understand what you said about the stop-loss and I think I would prefer to do what you indicate OH is not able to do. Bummer. I may have to give OH a little more thought then as I don’t know if the low trade fee is worth settling for something that I want that it doesn’t do.

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Doris V September 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

Yes, you may, but I still like the low fees because having higher fees cuts more into my profits. I am able to look at the market every day and usually be at my computer during trading hours, so I can place my trailing stop when I want. You’ve got to ask yourself how much this matters. If you had a very large position, this may matter A LOT.

For example, you may have 1000 shares at $50. So, a $1 movement does make a difference because that’s $1K. But if you had 5 shares, that’s really $5 total, a huge difference. The bigger your position (and it has to be big enough), the more this makes a difference as to when you get can get out for a decent profit. If you have fewer shares, you need for the move to be bigger and vice versa, in order to make a decent profit.

It’s perspective and what you are trying to do. If you have a large account (meaning $50K, $100K+) and trading large positions, and you want to do really complex orders, then a higher priced online broker may be the thing. Or, if you don’t plan on looking at the market but every now and then, small orders, then do you really need to nitpick on the price.

Okay, for me, I have a smaller account, making smaller trades. High commissions cuts into my profit margins period. I am able to be at the computer most of the trading day, but I usually make all my trading decisions after hours; I do not daytrade (I don’t think it’s good for inexperienced traders to daytrade) even though I am an experienced trader; and I can adjust my stop losses as well as profit stops during market hours. I have a definite technical trading strategy that I follow and have tested with thousands of trades, I follow my rules. I know why I am at OH and how I can use it to grow my accounts.

Maybe you need to sit down and figure out all these things yourself other than, “I want to make money.” That isn’t good enough. How are you going to make money specifically? Buy low, sell high is not a strategy and does not define specifically how you need to do that.

If your thing is every other week put in $200-300 into that $50 stock no matter what (like whether it’s up or down), then the trailing stop should not be an issue. Putting that amount bi-weekly is not technical analysis. Are you just buying and holding for years? If you’re doing that, that is a completely different thing. That’s more investing, not trading. And if so, then why would you want higher commission fees just because they don’t do the trailing stop that I would like to do? I’m not investing. I am using technical analysis with a defined strategy & rules to create consistent income.

For me, my trades right now are not big enough and my circumstances in a way that the nuisance of OH not being able to do the TS like I would like is more a pain than anything, but it’s not hindering me, just forcing me to do another step that I don’t want to, but for the commission fees of half of what others charge, it’s worth it for me right now.

Hope that makes sense. Sometimes we nickel and dime in cases we don’t need to and other times we need to and don’t.

As far as the bid & ask, just think of it as whichever is the worst price for you, that is what you will usually get, but sometimes you can ask for something in between and get it. So, if you’re BUYing, you want to buy for the lowest price. With the bid and ask, it’s the price that is the highest when you place your order that will be given to you, but you can ask for a price lower. For example, if bid vs ask is (for HIMX) 10.51 x 12.00 right now. The difference between those is called the Bid Ask Spread. Often you can ask for something in between and you may get it. Why pay 12 if you can get it for 11.30 or something like that. That’s where this makes a difference.

When you trail the bid or the ask, it means when it hits whatever the price, if you say trail when the bid gets to 11.00, the order will be triggered to do whatever you have told it to do, meaning execute it, when it hits 11. But, if the bid stays below 11.00, although the ask may be 13.50, the order will not be trigger. I think a $1.50 spread is a lot for that priced stock. Some spreads are very small and it makes less of a difference UNLESS you are trading large amounts of money and/or shares.

When I traded options, the Bid/Ask Spread was very important as I traded fast moving high priced equity options, with large amounts of money. This can be more complex and not something you probably have to worry about unless you want to study and test how to do this yourself (it would be best to do this in a virtual account first).

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walk September 21, 2013 at 9:52 am

Doris V, Forgot to ask…. is there a particular strategy behind “trailing the bid vs the ask.” Is it better to do it one way than the other? Can’t believe how much you can learn from just one post. Thanks.

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Doris V September 21, 2013 at 11:47 am

Oops, Walk, when I replied, I was thinking you were the original poster I was responding to. So, sorry for the references. I should’ve been more aware. Disregard if it doesn’t apply or make sense.

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Phil September 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for the reply Doris, & please bare with me, like I mentioned I am a novice. Yes from what you described I am definitely more looking to invest than trade. Is this still the site for me?

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Doris V September 23, 2013 at 7:15 am

I think I answered this question before Phil, if you want to save money, use them. Their platform is simple and for most people, it’s good enough. Why pay $8+ per trade when you can $3.95? You do the math.

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Shawn October 25, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Hi Doris.
Any kind of trading weather stocks or options IS NOT INVESTING!!! Can’t say that strong enough. I have traded for over 13 years. I always tell people to paper (virtual) trade for a minimum of 6 months before using real money. Being a good options trader takes months just to become a beginner after you have a grasp on buying and selling stock. It is criminal of OptionsHouse to let you trade options if you have little to no experience with stocks first. Good luck, but I think you will need more than that.

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Uttam September 23, 2013 at 7:01 am

It’s been a few years since I posted on this topic, but I’ve been with OH the whole time. It’s time to update my review:

I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about Options House. As a disclaimer, I tend not to over leverage myself and try not to use margin as much as possible.

Their interface is as good as any FREE interface I’ve seen and better than most. And they’re working on a charting option (which is beta) which should be really nice once its up and running.

The few times I’ve had to call them, the wait times have been close to nonexistent and the CR reps, while completely emotionless, have been very helpful.

It’s CHEAP! Come on folks. If your investments are that sensitive to taking a few days extra to ACH, or you’re overleveraging yourself, its not a good idea to use ANY online brokerage. They all have failsafes in place for themselves. With OH, you will just save a tone of money if you trade a lot.

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walk September 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Doris V. Thanks for your responses and insight. Certainly, more to think about and learn.

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Doris V September 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

You’re welcome. I’ve just started on some insights I have on equities (options maybe next yr or later) on how I trade, posting some videos when I have time here and there. Let me know if you’d like the link to the videos. I haven’t done too many yet due to everything on my schedule.

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Doris V September 24, 2013 at 10:37 am

As a side note with regards to ACH transfers, they do actually take longer than having a check cut. I requested a check from one of my accounts on Friday and by Monday, it was in my mailbox. The checks, I believe, are cut in NJ and I live in AZ. I think you do have to meet the 10:00 AM deadline for the day to have it cut that day, which I did, but by 5:00 pm Monday, the check was in my hand, like 36 business hours later.

And with electronic deposits from my phone, I was able to deposit the check from my phone at home to my checking account. Maybe that’s a couple more steps than you’d rather take, but requesting a physical check does come quicker right now than ACH and it’s less than the wire fee of $15, which the check is free.

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Blank December 14, 2013 at 12:57 am

@ Doris, people may wonder, by reading your posts here, if you have any time left to trade your account at OH? Let’s get real. You don’t trade options, you don’t trade on margin, you just buy and sell (right?) stocks. Then why do you feel entitled to spread your knowledge around the web instead of spreading your legs around your boss’s hard “tick”? Give us a break. It’s ok to advertise your business, but you’ve been quite rude to many reviewers so far. Don’t bother to answer back.

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Anonymous January 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Thank you Blank

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Wyat September 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

Why is Optionshouse so old school when it comes to transferring funds or opening new accounts?? They have you fill out an online account transfer form and leave you believe that all is good an in process. Then a week later you find out that they can’t even process an online account transfer request. What kind of business can’t process an online request??

They won’t even discuss it. They just hangup on you when you ask why.

They totally suck.

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Luo October 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I opened three accounts with OH: individual, Roth, and IRA. Done this like three weeks ago. It has been my most frustrating experience with a brokerage ever. At this point only one of the accounts got the transfer started.

If you have not opened an account with OH before this might help you.

At the end of the online application it will ask you to print our your application and supporting documents to finish it off. The problem is they don’t warn you when you start. I used a computer that was not connected to a printer. Bad start. Did create the first account though.

If that is not bad enough read on. I moved to a computer connected to a printer and finished creating the other two accounts. Logged on to print out the first account application. No luck. You can only print the last account you created. Bad system design. If that is still not bad enough for you read on.

I call their customer service. This one happens to be a nice guy. He said he would send the missing one to me. Three days later I received a copy for IRA, not the individual that I requested. I was left with the option of call again or make corrections to the wrong copy: account number, account type, and so on. Got a email back next day telling me that the IRA and Roth accounts were activated. Wondering about the status of the individual account so I called in the second time.

This time a very impatient lady helped me. She basically told me that OH could not accept a modified application. Fair enough. But why they did not inform me until I called? Beats me. Bad service. Alright maybe it is just this time they missed. She promised me another copy and also alerted me that I could email scanned images. Good information. Three days later I received the right copy.

Two days later an email from OH alerted me that the account transfer process had started. I figured the emails for other two accounts should come soon. Three days later (that is today) no emails. So I called the third time. Got me on hold for like 17 minutes. An impatient guy helped me this time. I don’t blame him since it is Friday. He told me that the IRA and Roth account still waiting for the monthly statements to proceed. When I asked about the account images I sent over he said them were not statements. When asked why the individual account transfer got started with just an image he said he did not know. I asked him if the requirements/standards were different for individual vs. IRA/Roth. The answer is that they were the same. Left scratching my head.

I said I had enough, lets stop the application process, stop the individual account transfer, and close all three accounts. I was given a long list of requirements and signature within an hour or the transfer for the individual account will proceed.

Hope you guy have better luck dealing with OH. For me I can’t trust they for my life time savings.

Peace.

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keith October 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm

You cannot specify an exchange for vertical spreads.

The fills are horrific. All my spread trades don’t happen until the price goes substantially through my limit price. AKA as soon as the price gaps I’ll be filled but if it is at the mark or even a tick or two above I won’t be. Awful. For instance, I had a STC at 1.80 and the Mark went to 1.80 then bobbed around then hit 1.85 and then 1.90 briefly and I still wasn’t filled! Not once or twice but was doing this for a while. How can the price be bid up to 1.90 and my 1.80 was never hit? I had a limit order and 10 contracts. Now, my only thought was 10 contracts maybe a lot…maybe not enough demand. But it was on a very liquid stock (most active on the day actually) and on a front month option. I never said All or None on the order so why wouldn’t I be filled partially at least at 1.80 when it hit 1.85 or 1.90? I’m never filled when the mark hits my limit.

My only explanation is OH either sent it to an illiquid exchange or they are matching up orders from other OH members (aka lack of demand). This happens every time I trade verticals.

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SJ October 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

Oh my God, I should have Sticked with Scottstrade. I opened up my account Online, Faxed in the New Application Form, and then Sent my Wire. Immediately I got an email saying they have received the WIRE Transfer, but it’s still sitting in the “Clearing House”, waiting for my account to be approved and funded. ALl the while, I have my new account # sent to me via email.

Great, fast forward 2 business days later, my Account is STILL not funded. They required more documents. I sent it to them via Email so I know when They Received it, talked to someone and said yes, they have all the Documents, just wait till end of day. Called in the next day, STILL NO FUNDING?? Excuse was, it usually takes 2-3 business days for the account to get Funded.

Wow…….so I said, please just cancel the account and refund my $$ back. They said FINE, They are going to charge $30.

WOWWW….Company of the Year. And I still don’t know when they ARE Actually sending my money back. Might even need some kind of REVIEW maybe??

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Jake October 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

SJ,

I sincerely apologize for the difficulty opening your account. We have investigated the matter and found that the $30 was not charged by OptionsHouse or our clearing firm. We would appreciate discussing the matter further and rectifying the lingering bank charges related to your situation.

When your time permits, please send your contact information to jswartz@optionshouse.com and let me know a good time for our Customer Service Manager to contact you.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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Shawn October 25, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I refunded an old account from 4 years ago and started trading Oct 21, 2013. The new platform was an improvement but the charting was still second rate at best, but not a big deal. The problem I had is that 9 times out of 10 when trying to place an order I didn’t get the “Place Order” button. So I had to recreate it again and again, up to 6 times before I could Place the Order. Once in a position the same thing happened and I couldn’t place a sell order. PATHETIC. Impossible to trade on the new platform. I moved my account to Fidelity. They are more stock orientated but have upgraded their options order entries to equal what Options House was claiming they could do. Never Again Options House.

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Mike October 26, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Shawn are you really moving to Fidelity even with their fees? I am with TD Ameritrade and in addition to some bad outages over the past year the 0.75 per contract fee is a killer since I sometimes trade 3000 options in a month. Trying to negotiate them down to 50 cents but they won’t budge.

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Shawn October 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I just checked both companies websites for option trading prices:
Ameritrade: $9.99 per trade plus $.75 per contract.
Fidelity: $7.95 per trade plus $.75 per contract.

So What are you talking about? According to the websites, I’m paying less!

Do you work for Ameritrade or get paid for promoting them?

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Tony October 26, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Mike, that is the shame with Ameritrade. You can negotiate, but you have to be threaten to (or actually) move money. They will not just lower your rates if you ask them, you have to motivate them. You absolutely should be able to do better than .75, but it is up to your negotiating skills. That’s why I still have the OH account, there is nothing like $100-200K moving out of your account to stimulate real negotiations. BTW, the true cost of an option contract to TD is .05, no ticket fees, no assignment fees. So there is a lot of room to negotiate.

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Tom November 1, 2013 at 8:24 am

The Optionshouse trading platform has been down for over an hour. They are NOT able to fill orders and their lines (chat and phone) are not responding!!!

How can you operate a Brokerage house like this!!! Buyer Beware…Beware!!!

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Tom November 1, 2013 at 8:57 am

We now headed into hour number two (where Optionshouse is not able to fill orders)!!!

Below is the only notification…since 9:17:26 AM!!! This is not good. If you need better assurance to get your orders filled. I suggest you trade elsewhere!!!

11/01/2013 09:17:26
System issues.
All open orders have been canceled. We have identified the issue and will be back up shortly

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Wright November 1, 2013 at 9:20 am

This is the first time I’ve seen this type of outage. I haven’t been very active, until a couple months ago. Is this a common thing? Or a one time?

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Richard November 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

Agreed Tom, I even attempted to call in to their customer service line and it was busy. I chatted with a Rachel through their live chat feature and was given no useful information. It’s been out for almost 4 hours with no updates.

How useful is a platform or company if they can’t ever perform their basic functions?

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Ryan November 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

Today was probably one of OptionsHouse’s worst days. Their platform would not allow you to place orders, from the start of market open until after noon (central time.) It seems to be mostly working now. I know things like these happen, but that is an extraordinary amount of downtime for a broker. It would be nice if they gave us some kind of post-mortem details on what went wrong and why it took so long to get back up. I know these kinds of things happen, but I do not like to be left in the dark about these things — especially when there is money on the line!

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Dan November 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I will be leaving OptionsHouse. Period. That’s IF I can get my money out! Note: first thing this morning there were 200 shares sold short in my account that I did not sell. When I checked this I found that trading was disabled. Strange. I thought it was a glitch….waited.

It is now 1:40 central time and my account has been in “view only” mode all day. The alert says “trading enabled”, but I am locked out. I’ve been on hold for an hour and a half…started in position 27 in the queue and am now at position 19.

While waiting on the phone, I was also waiting in chat. After an hour I was able to get “Rachael.” Here’s the chat:

ME: What is going on!? I’ve been waiting in chat and in the trade desk queue for an hour! I have shares sold short in my acct that I didn’t sell…I have positions up that I’d like to sell…and I CAN’T access any positions/make any trades.

Rachael: I understand your frustrations but until the review is complete we cannot unlock the account.

ME: Review…what review!? Am I supposed to sit here with my money held hostage!? I’m still 21 in the queue after 50 mins!!

ME: How much longer?

Rachael: I do not have an ETA at this time.

ME: What can I do…this is unreal! I’m having a great day and helplessly watching profits vanish!!

Rachael: At this time there is nothing that can be done until the account is unlocked.

ME: The OptionsHouse answer then is just: “sit there and hope….”

At 2 pm CST the 200 shares sold short were removed and my account was enabled while I sat in chat with Rachael (still holding on the trade desk line!).

My thoughts:

Somehow, unauthorized trades were initiated and they pulled the plug. Fortunately, I had a very good day today, but this was surely a disaster for those on the other side of my trades. I am gone OptionsHouse!

Your tools are terrible (always use think or Swim for analysis) and your fills are the worst…now this!

AVOID Options House like you would the plague!

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JK November 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I have had an account with OptionsHouse for 4 years. Closing my account FIRST THING Monday morning after I research over the weekend where I’m moving my money to. What happened today was both PATHETIC and RIDICULOUS on an OPTIONS EXPIRATION DAY. Unexcusable. I did not lose any money fortunately but if this had happened the prior week I would have been looking at a huge loss. I bet lawsuits are on the way from other account holders.

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Joey November 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Today was a terrible day to be a member on OH. As soon as I can its over. Love the low option fees but can’t watch $1000 in gains disappear. And I would sue if I had OPEX options expiring today. MAYBE I can sell my options on Monday. MAYBE. I hope we have a class action law suit bring us $1,000 or so in the future. Too scary to trust these turds w my money not knowing I can sell contracts when I won’t.

Also they have screwed up my buying power many times and my day trade #s. Just dumb. Fills are terrible. Stops are not worth it as they fill these under the price everytime. But for quick day trades I was a fan. Until today. Bye bye unless I get like 300 free trades and a discount rate

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RB November 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Wow. This really happened. OH was dead in the water all morning. Fortunately, I had no open orders and wasn’t planning to make any trades today. But now I’m shell-shocked. Options are far more time-critical than stocks. A little change in price can happen quickly and make a big difference in profit/loss.
What really pisses me off is this: I was a happy OH trader. I love the interface. Yeah, they’re a bargain broker but I’ve made good money with them. No major complaints. OH worked for me … and then today happens.
I’m not sure if there is anything OH can do to make me stay. But a good start would be a forthright explanation of what the hell happened, what they are going to do to fix it, and how they will ensure this never happens again. Even then, I’m going to find it difficult to stay with OH.
Crazy. Just freaking crazy.

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Jesse O November 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

I am SO GLAD that their obvious INCOMPETENCE and CORRUPTION revealed itself to me from the beginning earlier this year as they completely BOTCHED UP my initial applications and I ended up going to TD Ameritrade, where I have been happy ever since!

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Ron November 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Hi,
I have been with OH for a number of years. I have been very satisfied.
What happened on Nov 1 was the worst thing I’ve seen, and I had a position that expired worthless as a result. OH refunded my loss and gave me some free trades as well.
I really love their app for IPhone. It is very simple to use, and I can execute trades within seconds while at work.
The best part is their low costs. They are very straight forward and I haven’t seen any gimmicks.

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Amada November 6, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I am going to leave optionshouse, I lost a lot due to the system down, and right now my account value is not correct

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Jake November 7, 2013 at 7:25 am

Amada,

Please send your contact info to jswartz@optionshouse.com, we would appreciate discussing the issues you’re having.

Sincerely,
OptionsHouse

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Truth December 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Good to know. I was trying to choose between Optionhouse and OptionExpress. After reading this looks like OptionExpress is getting my business instead.

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Solomon January 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Do NOT waste your time with Options house.
Reasons why you must avoid these crooks are:
1. The customer service department is 0 (zero) helpful. The wait times could be as high as 40 to 90 minutes and no one is there to reply after 6:00 PM
2. They do not have any secured email feature. For any written communication we have to use our personal email account and them SSN, DOB, Account #’s. These folks are deaf and dump since they don’t understand the security of providing the SSN like information over clear text emails. Email reply is never immediate. It takes more than two days for them to reply and that also their reply is partial
3. Their APP is pathetic (zero helpful) and so is their website.
I was lured by their free 100 trades but I am done with them now and now I will be switching back to Fidelity

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Russell January 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Well, I’m glad I read this website. I was just signing up for OptionsHouse because I wanted to cut my commissions from options Xpress and schwab. I have to say that I’ve never had any of the problems listed here with either Schwab or OptionsXpress, so I’ll just stay there. These types of hassles, especially with platform crashes etc are not worth trying to save a few hundred dollars a year.

I typically make about 10 option trades a month. Customer service at Schwab is great. I haven’t talked with OptionsXpress customer service yet. It was painful to get stuff transferred in, their customer service for that sucked.

I haven’t tried their mobile apps, but am going to now.

I did leave TDAmeritrade after the second mistake on their part which cost me over $2000. I had a couple of times that they didn’t execute trades, but the worst mistake was when they didn’t rollover my IRA into the Roth, and they refused to correct the problem. That cost me about $5000 in extra taxes.

Russell

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James January 22, 2014 at 10:43 am

You will find complaints of some kind on every broker out there. I used OH 2006-2009 with never a problem until I got sick and had to stop trading. Had a problem with the platform when rejoining this fall, but it turned out to be my computer. Last 2 months no problems. Some times phone lines are busy and on hold 15-20 minutes to talk to Customer Service, sometimes I get through on 2 rings. I’ve never had a problem with them. As far as fills go, when you get skipped, go look at a 1 minute chart of the stock price and I bet you will see the stock price was moving fast at your order price or gapped past it. Getting skipped happens all the time on ALL brokers when using limit orders. But hey, gotta go with a broker that meets your needs and you are comfortable with. In my opinion OH is for experienced traders only. Good luck.

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ScottS February 2, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Hi,

I just read this whole thread and I agree with the people that say “you mostly find people with issues posting comments.” and their are still all the other people that are satisfied that have not posted comments. However, there are still some concerns for me like:

1- Placing a vertical spread and the way system treats the trade as two separate trades; valuing the sell side cost/risk separately, which limits account holders with smaller amounts of capital to place these trades. Has this been resolved?

2- Charting, has this improved? is the new OH platform comparable to the Think or Swim Platform in terms of valuing and searching for option probabilities? Are there any 3rd party reviews that compare the leading platforms feature for feature?

Thanks.

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