OptionsHouse Review w. 500+ User Reviews

by David@MoneyNing.com · 598 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 $4.95 per stock trade to start?

For a limited time, OptionsHouse is offering new customers up to $1,000 in free commission trades in the first 60 days after you fund your account with a minimum of $5,000. That’s a lot of free money. 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 AccountThe Offer Code is: 1000 and you may have to type the promotion code in 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 $4.95 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. The trades are now $4.95 + $0.50 per contract. 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 $25.

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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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Vegas says:

    Does anyone here facing issues with how optionshouse calculates stock buying power and max allowed portfolio value ? Per optionshouse faq section, margin requirements are as follows:

    =======
    The maintenance margin requirement for long stock above $5 is based on a comparison of the stock position’s value to the absolute value of all marginable stocks in the account. This includes long and short stock.
    Stock position less than 25% of absolute value of portfolio: 25%
    Stock position 25-35% of absolute value of portfolio: 30%
    Stock position 35% or more of absolute value of portfolio: 40%
    =======

    Let’s assume all my positions are long stocks above $5 and each stock position is less than 25% of my total portfolio. In this scenario, if I have $100K in my account, I should be able to have a portfolio value of upto $400k if I were to take full advantage of maintenance margin requirements. That is, 4 times the cash in my account. But, I noticed that I’m only able to get upto around 3.17%.
    Anyone else noticed this ?

    Any help to demystify Optionhouse’s calculations in this regard would be really appreciated.

    Thanks .

  • Mr.Funsocks says:

    OptionsHouse is alright for me, I recommend it.

  • marketmaker says:

    I got to tell you guys, I have been in the biz for a while and am considered a “active trader”. OX was okay, but TOS was truly above the rest in execution; fees; and customer service. I was appalled as to how long it took for their cust service to get back to me, and frankly, you NEVER experience more then a 3-5min wait for a response at TOS. Its really hard to beat the cream of the crop and I, along with other professionals, have found OH confusing with their fee structure. Why they don’t smarten up and listen to the crowd, is beyond me. They don’t hold a candle to TOS.

  • Erin C. says:

    Recently moved to OH for the cheaper commissions. Yes, they seem to put more effort into the magically slick web 2.0 interfacing, etc, but I have had at least two execution problems. The first time I called customer service I felt like a nuisance, the guy promised to call me with the information I wanted, and never did. More recently, had some very strange execution issues with share #s being wrong, and later corrections, and no notice of the corrections in the activity or anything. Very shady. Totally worth the cost to me to go to Fidelity or some place with actual customer service, I don’t trust OH at all at this point. Wonder if it actually is run out of someone’s house.

    • the capitalist says:

      I am sorry you had a problem with CS @ OH. I had some problems with CS’s at some brokers. The solution is to stay on the top of the situation and escalate the matter if CS can’t solve it.

      I hate to say this but the “american” cs reps are ruder than “foreign” cs reps. I am a US citizen would like our people to do better.

      On the whole OH is a lot better than Zecco.

    • Beth Moon says:

      I apologize for the difficulties you have experienced with your account. We would like the opportunity to help correct your situation.

      Please contact customer service at 1-877-653-2500 or email me at bmoon [at] optionshouse [dot] com so that we can work on the problem you mention.

      Beth Moon
      Senior Manager, Online Content
      OptionsHouse, LLC

  • Aashiq in Dallas says:

    I have used OptionsHouse for a year and I do have accounts with Fidelity, Scottrade, Zecco, TDAmeritrade. Of all my accounts, I plan to consolidate all my personal accounts at OptionsHouse. I plan to leave my IRAs with Scottrade as they are good for IRAs 9no fee IRAs, NTF Mutual Funds etc.)

    Without hesitations I recommend OptionsHouse for all your equity and options trading.

    • ron miller says:

      Shill.

      • Aashiq in Dallas says:

        “shill” you said? No sir. OH does not pay me to say that nor do I have any wested interest. I was just trying to help.

        Zecco just raised their rates and many customers are going to other brokers.

        I am looking at LightSpeed in addition to OH to move my Zecco accounts. I like Fidelity and TD Ameritrade but they are more expensive. I am trading with OH, Scottrade and Zecco accounts. Zecco will soon be gone though.

  • Dinu C. says:

    I had OH for about 2 yrs now. Earlier this yr that I had one issue I thought would never be resolved, (never with any other firms), BUT, I was surprised to see that they are willing to work hard to keep their customers.If its their fault they fix it. So I would recommend that you try them and see how cool they realy are and their trading platform is so simple, even an inexperienced person (wife) can learn quick to trade. Tried others and platforms are too complicated. I’m satisfied.

  • glen says:

    I have a new account with Options House, and I tried to use the ACAT 100 promotion. I moved my account from another bank, but I’m a very small investor with a little over a thousand dollars in the account. My old bank charged me $50 for moving the account, and I expected Options House to honor the promotion by giving me $50 back as a promotional rebate.

    I was surprised when Options House refused to give me the $50 back. I called to complain and the phone rep politely directed my attention to tiny footnote #6 on the promotions page. I scrolled down to the bottom of the page to read note #6, which stated that the size of the account must be $3000 or more.

    I complained that this footnote was unfairly hard to notice, while the $3000 minimum is an important detail for a tiny investor like me. Options House agreed to give me ten free trades over a period of six months (valued at $29.50 in commissions), but refused to help me any further with my complaint.

    The phone rep mentioned that he would see if the $3000-minimum detail could be made more noticeable on the web page.

    I am unhappy with this service decision. After all, fifty bucks mean a lot more to me than to Options House. I think I will move my small account to Just2Trade.

  • Investing says:

    Everyone has an opinion as to what they expect from their broker and that is to be expected as you are paying for their services. In my opinion you should do your research and probably are if you are reading this blob. Try a couple of brokers and pick your favorite to stick with they all vary and have different tools. Make sure you call customer and see how helpful and friendly they are, and make sure you read the fine print they all have it.

    In my own experience I have had or have accounts with Scottrade, OptionsHouse, TDAmeritrade (before it and TD got together), ETrade and USAA.
    In my opinion and I am not looking at getting beat up with comments but here we go. I find that price does matter but take your own trade level and plans into account. Scottrade is good with their commission and customer service you get a local branch to call when you have questions down side is that at the time I had the account they only offered level 2 trading for options (buying call and puts, covered calls) If you want to do more with them go to optionsfirst.com its scottrade also but they have different page. TDAmeritrade is great all around lots of features and the best place if you trade penny stocks. ETrade at the time I had the account had a higher commission than they do now and also charged an inactivity fee. USAA is great but very plane jane not really made for a day trader but I don’t day trade anyway so they worked ok,

    OptionsHouse in my opinion worked great. I trade on my phone most of the time and they have a nice mobile page. When I do it on my computer it always works great (I use a MAC with Firefox, my phone is a Nexus one from Google) the page always loads quickly and I love that I can trade from the options chain. The commission has changed 2 times since I opened my account in 2009. It was originally 9.99 unlimited contracts which was very cheap compared to other. Then they changed it and gave 2 options, I don’t trade a large number of contracts so the 5.00 for 5 works for me and saves me money. The stocks recently went up but they did grandfather existing customers which was a great move love the 2.95. When I have called customer service, chatted with them or sent an email it was very fast and they were very helpful.

  • OH are criminals!! says:

    I recently did a ACAT transfer to OptionsHouse and guess what happened..

    They LOST over 10,000 of my shares during the transfer, between two desperate holdings …

    They also did a COMPLETE transfer when the ACAT form clearly shows it should have been a PARTIAL transfer.

    My other broker that I transfered from shows clear records that the holdings were transfered (as opposed to liquidated) to OptionsHouse, but they somehow two of my holdings never made it over to my OptionsHouse account …
    And my other 7 holdings transfered it just fine ..

    OptionsHouse are horrible and unethical people. I hope they resolve this ASAP or a lawsuit will promptly follow

    • Beth Moon says:

      I sincerely apologize for the obvious frustration you are experiencing. I believe one of our representatives spoke with you early yesterday morning about how this issue is being corrected. We are researching the causes of this situation further and will be responsible for any associated fees if it is determined our error caused the issue you describe.

      We cannot discuss account specifics in this public forum, so I would suggest you contact customer service at 1-877-653-2500 if you have any additional information. Thank you.

      Beth Moon
      Senior Manager, Online Content
      OptionsHouse, LLC

  • Jeff D. says:

    Good evening,

    I am in my mid 20’s and starting up my very first “portfolio.” Other than some general advice from my uncle I have little experience trading on the internet. My plan is to simply buy a few thousand dollars worth of common stock and let it “grow” (hopefully haha) for a few years. I am confused as to what option I should chose when I am executing my purchases. Under “price” I’m assuming I would chose “market” meaning I want to buy the stock at the market price. However I’m confused as to what “duration” is referring to. “Day”, “Good till Cancel” and “Immediate or Cancel” are my options. How about “Until I sell the stock” being an option……I am confused. Help.
    Thank you in advance and if anyone has any advice feel free to e-mail me at jdufault1[at]hotmail[dot]com.

    • Credit spreads 4 life says:

      Jim Cramer says: Never buy at market. Always set a limit price.

      Better yet, I say, if you are willing to wait for the stock(s) to come down to your price, sell a put at that price, worst thing it may happen is that the put expires worthless and you keep the premium.

      Duration is the time you want the order to stay open, so choose “day” for a day, GTC for “Until I buy/sell the stock”.

  • Credit spreads 4 life says:

    Hi there, I have been using OH for almost a year and have experienced some of the good and bad features described in the foregoing. Overall I am happy. I still keep a TD Ameritrade account open mainly to take advantage of its analysis resources. As my screen name suggests, my investment style is credit spreads, bull & bear, for income. I typically open them 10-20% OOTM, targeting 4-5% monthly return, then I sit and wait for them to expire worthless. The low commissions charged by OH and the trading platform suit my investment style so far, every mistake I made (and paid for) was due to my impatience, greed and stupidity, not to any shortcomings of the OH platform.

    The platform could be improved in several ways, many of them described in previous posts. One thing that needs urgent improvements is the ‘research” tab, since the reported information is often unreliable, even the earnings dates are frequently wrong (access to my TD Ameritrade account helps compensate for this huge problem).

    I am currently considering opening an account with Lightspeed due to their low commissions and – hopefully – good trading platform. Any opinions/experiences with Lightspeed?

    Thanks & ciao

  • John says:

    Option House rates are ridiculously high if you happen to own or want to deal in penny stocks. I own a few penny stocks in my Ameritrade account, one of them CWLC is trading between 1-2 cents, and I own one million shares. To sell it all at Ameritrade it will cost me $7.00 At Option House, it will be $5000.00 …
    Ameritrade has the true and honest flat fee. It is higher at $9.95, but if you have a larger account, say$20,000 plus, you can negotiate and get a flat $7 rate.
    But Ameritrade option rates are higher: $7 per trade plus $0.75 per option.

    • Beth Moon says:

      John,

      The extra charge at OptionsHouse for penny-stock trades is for non-optionable securities only. For all stocks trading above $2 (and all 3,300 or so optionable equity names, regardless of price), our rates are extremely competitive – for example, $2.95 for stock trades (up to 50,000 shares per order). For a look at how our rates stand up overall to competitors, visit our rates page: http://optionshouse.com/rates.

      Beth Moon
      Senior Manager, Online Content
      OptionsHouse, LLC
      bmoon [at] optionshouse [dot] com

  • Tyler B. says:

    One thing I have realized is that, you get what you paid for and OH is by far the worst when it comes to how long it takes just to set up an account. It takes about 3 weeks just to set up an account. My experience with OH thus far is 3 out of 10.

  • Gilbert says:

    In regards to my last post I opened a joint account.

  • Gilbert says:

    I have just opened an account with OH, and find it difficult to add my children as beneficiaries to my account. I have spoken to customer service and they informed me that it was not possible, because I live in Texas. I have other firms that have done it with no problem. Can anyone explain why? Doesn’t make any sense to me. Thanks…….

  • Sammi says:

    I have a account with Scottrade with more than 130K. Each month I do trade 100-150 (i.c. appox. $700-$1050). most of the stocks are >$2.00 . If I move to OH, I could save $400-600. OMG , that’s a great save but scottrade’s research(s&p) and option tools, etc are great.
    So far going through all the reply and responses above, I’m not sure about switching to OH. Let’s hope to see more positive comments.
    Thanks guys for all comments.

    • Ferruccio Fortini says:

      I can’t give any personal reference here to meet your “positive comments” request, but I hear from my acquaintance Alex (we’re both Italian professionals, both living in Silicon Valley — of course we’re acquainted, even though my background in accounting and his in engineering could hardly be more different;-) that he’s pretty happy so far with his early experiences on OH — I don’t think he’s mentioned that yet, but he plans to, soon, on his new investing blog at mutnemom.blogspot.com

      Foreshadowing likely “shill” accusations…: Alex is a pretty credible person, at least in the technical field — check out his wikipedia entry, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Martelli — sure looks fine to non-techie me, despite his weird walrus mustache. — though I don’t believe he still quite GETS double-entry book-keeping and other “advanced” accounting concepts… *just kidding* Alex, in case you happen to read this.-).

      Me, I have no dog in this particular dogfight (detesting all cheap online brokers roughly equally) — so, just a thought…:

      most people overtrade (individual investors as well as “professionals”) — typically by chasing the latest, hottest candidate rather than (as they should) sit on their hands and wait out the follies of Mr Market. So, why do you want CHEAP trades? You’ll be telling yourself “hey, one more trade is just 3 bucks” (or whatever) and trade once (or thrice) more often than you KNOW you should. So, do you really WANT cheap trading? Is it GOOD for you?

      If you had a weight control problem, would you WANT to have cheap, convenient access to a McD (overloading you with cheap fat), a Domino (ready to pump you up with cheap carbs) AND a Dunkin Donuts (for more fried fats AND plenty of sugar) to “help” you?. Or, on sober consideration, would you rather be living somewhere where — while fixing yourself a healthy, slimming salad is cheap — all the too-many-calories options get discouraged by being costly and inconvenient…?

      Traditional, far-from-cheap brokerages are good for you if, like most everybody, you’re prone to overtrading — like a cent-per-calorie tax would be if you were obese and desperately needed to slim down: they visibly restrict your choices and nudge them towards healthy-for-you preferences (do read Thaler’s “Nudge” if you haven’t yet.).

      Cheap, convenient brokers like OH are “enablers” (in the normal sense this word is used when discussing co-dependency) like McD is if you’re obese and love their cheap, wonderful-tasting fries. Pick the costliest and LEAST convenient broker, and you’ll be nudging yourself towards the simplest, best investing strategy — buy and hold after exhaustive research on the stock you’re buying.

      OK, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but, hey, I *AM* a contrarian investor and proud of that, so let me be a contrarian “picker of brokers” too, OK?.-)

  • MK says:

    I tried to do business with OptionsHouse.

    The New Accounts Dept rejected an IRA beneficiary form for not having SSN for the beneficiaries. No problem, I had a new one witnessed and mailed to them the next day. Two days later, the Operations Dept, w/o any warning, email or phone call, emailed me that they were returning my IRA check. Even though I was in constant contact with their New Accounts Dept, and was told everything was fine, the Operations Dept obviously wasn’t in contact with the New Accounts Dept.

    A classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing.

    But I really suspect OptionsHouse did me huge favor by giving me a preview of their customer service.

    • Beth Moon says:

      MK,
      I believe our brokerage supervisor spoke with you yesterday and this issue should be resolved. Please reach out to customer service or contact me at bmoon [at] optionshouse [dot] com if you have any other concerns or questions. Thank you.

      Beth Moon
      Senior Manager, Online Content
      OptionsHouse, LLC

  • Beth Moon says:

    Robert,

    I’m extremely sorry this happened to your account. Our customer service team has informed me that this issue has been remedied and I have contacted OptionsHouse CEO George Ruhana about your situation. George would like to speak with you directly to ensure you are comfortable with the resolution.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please reach out as soon as possible to bmoon [at]optionshouse [dot] com.

    Beth Moon
    Senior Manager, Online Content
    OptionsHouse, LLC

  • Robert says:

    This just happend today. I really hoping to get it resolved. Yes, it is Option House.

    I still have the paper trail, so I will get money back. It is probably a mistake; cuz I have large position in other companies that haven’t had anything happen to it yet. I hope it is the last time something like this happened.

  • Manoj says:

    This is really scary. What is CS? Do you mean OH (OptionsHouse)?

  • Robert says:

    I am basically a college student interested in stocks. I have an account with scott trade, but opeedn an account to try things out with OH. Everything was great until a month later, when I was reviewing my positions. I bought 8 shares of XLU on 9/14/2010. It is not a lot, but I am just a beginner learning my ropes with investment. Somehow, my position in XLU just vanished. Lucky I still have a paper trail–the site still says I have bought the shares on 9/14, and I’ve never sold it. But on my list of positions, XLU is not on it somehow and its values is not accounted in my balance.

    I talked to a few CS agents. They were puzzled as well and one promised to call me back but never did. I am not pleased at all. I know the odds are that I will get the money back, but how can I trust a company that may lose your money somehow? The CS experience left much to be desired. I really hope a manager can explain this to me, somehow.

  • Chaim says:

    I have been using optionshouse for the past six months i switched from scottrade I am happy with them they have the best prices and their interest rates for their margin accounts are 4.5 percent which is amazing compared to other brokers out there they have fixed many of their issues that they used to have i haven’t really dealt with customer service to often but they are better then the avg consumer company

  • Bobby says:

    Honestly, OH is probably ok for some people. If you don’t mind a 3-day hold on your ACH transfers and don’t mind below-avg customer service and don’t mind a rate of 0.01% on your cash balance, then OH may be right for you. Afterall, their commissions are only $2.95 per stock trade.

  • Pete says:

    I had a really unpleasant with OH. Basically, there was a duplicate order when I was requesting electronic funding from my bank. Not only did I have to pay a NSF funds to my bank, but again had to pay a $30 fee to OH when they charged the duplicate order. In the end, any money I could have saved from their lower commission rate was offset by their unfair fee schedule, and problems with duplicate ACH processing.

    I anticipate that I will most likely be leaving OH in the near future, due to their substandard customer service, and their attitude towards customer satisfaction. I felt like they couldn’t care less, and it is no surprise after reading that so many above customers have had unpleasant experiences with OH. I have only made a handful of trades with OH, but cannot say that the experience was pleasant.

    I guess in the end, you get what you pay for; and with such low trading fees, they need to make money using any dirty tricks they can pull. BUYER BEWARE..

  • Manoj says:

    Bobby, regarding your 12b-1 fees, I asked OH questions regarding fees and I got following reply. I opened account with them couple of weeks ago.
    —————————————————————————-
    Here is a link to all of our Rates & Fees:
    http://www.optionshouse.com/rates/fees/
    There is no fee to keep Cash in the account nor are there any inactivity or maintenance fees.
    The cash in your account does earn interest as it is swept into a Money Market Account (the symbol is CSAXX). The current yield is .01%
    —————————————————————————-
    From your blog, it is not very clear (other than UI) on what points you are not happy with them. I am analyzing all the points and won’t hesitate to close the account with them if things don’t work well.

  • Bobby says:

    OK, so now I’m learning more about OH and yes, it really is a low-budget, crummy place to trade stocks/options. But I have to share something with the public. I had an acct with Ameritrade and in Nov 2008 they forced me out of several positions at the market which cost me more than $50k. For years I’d had an acct with Ameritrade, and even with Datek before it became Ameritrade, and they always called me when they were thinking of forcing me out. And in Nov 2008 I had a margin call, and as always I asked them to call me if they feel it’s necessary to trim my positions. Unfortunately they did not call me on the day of the bottom and chose to force me out at the market. Because of this I HATE Ameritrade and will never recommend that firm to anyone. And to add insult to injury, the bastards raised my negotiated commissions last year. I went with OH because of the very low commissions, but now I see that you really do get what you pay for. But deep in my heart, I HATE Ameritrade for what they did to me. If they had picked up the phone and spoken with me, I could have made things right by trimming some of my positions and then wiring funds to my acct. But they had a young moron working the margin desk that day and chose to ignore my wishes. So now when they say, “We value your business”, I tell them to F*ck off. I mean really, all these firms are scum-sucking parasites who will do anything to take advantage of you. So pick your poison, firms like Ameritrade or OH.

    • Jeremy Dunbar says:

      I THINK THE MORAL HERE IS THAT ALL THE SELF-DIRECTED TRADING PLATFORMS REALLY SUCK. IN FACT, I HOPE THAT SOMEDAY USERS WILL MAKE ENOUGH NOISE TO THEIR SENATORS ABOUT THEIR BULLSHIT THAT LAWS WILL BE ENACTED.

      TRULY THIS IS AN INDUSTRY THAT IS NEGLIGENT, INCOMPETENT, AND EVEN FRAUDULENT WHO KEEPS GETTING AWAY WITH THEIR CRAP BECAUSE CLIENT’S 1) JUST JUMP TO ANOTHER PROVIDER OR 2) ARE AFRAID THEY’LL GET NOWHERE BECAUSE OF THE MASSIVE CONTRACT AND ARBITRATION PROVISION.

      I HOPE OTHERS WILL TAKE NOTE THAT THEY SHOULD PROBABLY CONSIDER THESE CONTRACTS TO BE UNCONSCIONABLE. AS YOU SAY, TD SUCKS, BUT SO DO THE OTHERS. H O W E V E R, OH IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PILE.

  • Bobby says:

    I’ve had an acct with OH for a few weeks and I must say that I’m disappointed. I knew there would be disadvantages given the very low commissions, but the disadvantages seem to outweigh the advantages. I haven’t even made a trade and already OH is costing me time and money. Their order entry screen is a complete joke and there are so many other issues. The 3-day hold on ACH transfers doesn’t seem like a big deal until you actually attempt to transfer money and then 3 days seems like an eternity. I also noticed their Penson money market fund has a WHOPPING 12b-1 fee. Now that I have an acct with OH, it’s obvious to see how they compensate for the low commissions. But hey, you get what you pay for. I’ll probably close the acct.

    • Jeremy Dunbar says:

      Another satisfied OH customer. Yes, they are a joke. Sorry you had to experience that. BTW, are they now saying 3 days for ACH? It was 5 days when I had my account (now lets see how long my post last. despite the negative posts that you now see, clearly this blog is being censured by someone friendly with OH because many negative posts have been removed).

      Ron Miller

  • Jonathan says:

    I am 19 and am currently learning how to trade options. I was wondering which online brokerage firm I should use and any other helpful advice anyone has for me.

    Thanks.

    • Ferruccio Fortini says:

      I’d go with OptionsHouse and a *VIRTUAL* account — by all means fund a *REAL* account with the smallest reasonable amount and plonk that into something safe, so your virtual account gets full service, but *DON’T* risk real money while you’re LEARNING how to trade, especially since you have such a long time in front of you (weird: old people, with few years in front of them, are more patient than the young, with many more years… why is that?.-). An OH virtual account (with virtual funds of course) will let you experience and learn without losing (or, of course, gaining.) a single penny in the process. I wish we had that kind of thing when I was your age… I had to build my own experience from trading (and more often losing than winning, sigh) REAL money — mostly Other People’s Money, admittedly, but my employers and clients were NOT too happy at my rookie mistake (one BIG piece of advice from that early experience: ESCHEW COMMODITIES — unless you’re trading for a wheat farmer or a baker who wants to shed risk, commodity futures and options are a mug’s game… if you HAVE to gamble like a madman, go to Vegas, you’ll get better odds AND free drinks on the house…-).

      BTW — I’m biased, since that’s MY educational background — DO get a college degree in accounting. I know it sounds incredibly boring, but (whenever we’re talking stocks, bonds, or derivatives thereon — I don’t know anything about commodities, real estate, art, &c;-) those boring courses on how to read financial statements (and, if you’re lucky in your college choice, how to WRITE and AUDIT them.) are going to be the most valuable (in $$$ terms.) hours of your life as an investor. (If your plan is for split-second day-trading as a get rich quick scheme, I have nothing to contribute about that: MY style is get-rich-slow trading based on deep fundamental analysis, while ensuring one doesn’t get-poor-fast, by means of appropriate hedging and timing….-).

  • Bob Rudolph says:

    The commissions are very low so it’s unreasonable for anyone to expect good customer service from these guys. If customer service is what you’re looking for, then this firm probably isn’t for you. But if low commissions are most important, then OH may be for you.

  • Larry says:

    I buy maybe 5 to 10 stocks a month… ATT….McD…Emerson…..GE…… Companies like that…… would optionhouse be good for small investor as me… ??? Thanks for any advice…Thank you

  • Michael says:

    I decided to switch from optionsXpress to OptionHouse because of their email response. OptionHouse responded to my $25 wire rebate email while optionsXpress didn’t, about the free trade they said they would give me when signing up with them.

  • Manoj says:

    I have open question:

    Suppose I have a margin account with $10,000 in cash, and I sell uncovered puts to open covering stock worth $15,000; would margin interest be charged by OptionHouse before puts are assigned to me?

    At least TDAmeritrade and E*Trade don’t change any margin interest as long as there is some cash in the account. I am not sure about OptionHouse.

  • rafael says:

    what should i do??? where to start =(((

  • rafael says:

    Ok, OH is for US only? i was registering and i found out this:

    At this time, we cannot open accounts for nonresident aliens.

    :O

  • rafael says:

    First, what is sharebuilder, second what is FWIW, third can’t i trade forex? Forex works with small amounts =)

  • rafael says:

    Ok, i have a question.. I am like the most beginner you can imagine in stock market and still very young (18 years). I wanted to start an account, i searched a lot and i picked up Optionshouse because i simply loved their interface. However i don’t have much money to invest. I want to invest between 20€ and 100€.

    Will i be able to trade? And which broker is best for this amount of money.

    OptionsHouse, zecco, think or swim or optionsxpress?

    • Thecapitalist says:

      Rafael,

      Let me help you FWIW. You can not trade for a small amount like that. get a little bit more like atleast $1000. Try sharebuilder or something like that.

  • Othello says:

    I have had an account with OH for about 5 months — switched from TD Ameritrade. OH is much better in terms of commissions of course, but they are also great with providing a simple format and better approval levels. I have made much more money trading options @ OH than I have trading stocks and limited level 2 options trading at td ameritrade (what a rip off @ td ameritrade). The live chat @ OH has also been sufficient for my needs as well — I would definitely recommend OH.

    • TED says:

      What do you mean by “approval levels”? Are you talking about execution price? If you are, I never once received a better execution that my BID/ASK whether limit or market order. In fact, on one occasion when I placed a limit ASK which was lower than the actual Level ll ASK, it executed at my ASK rather than the market as the market continue to trade at that higher ASK.

      Othello? Are you a real trader? I mean other than Shakespeare, I didn’t know there was any other. Also, if you trade actively, how could you give up the tools at TD and be successful at OH? I’m just saying … (see above for other discussion on primitiveness of OH tools)

      • Othello says:

        Wait a minute — what’s my name have to do with me being a “real” trader? Are you trying to be insulting or are you really that ignorant that you don’t know that Shakespeare didn’t invent that name and that there are people named Othello??

        Besides that, I am glad you shared your “one” good experience about TD. When I was with them, they used to nickel and dime — charge for Level II trading, charge for real time news, etc. As far as approvals, I meant in regard to options trading — I don’t trade stocks anymore. OH has been a better match for me in terms of lower rates as well. As for trading, I might trade 4-5 times a week, and do more closer to the monthly options expiration week.

  • Saeed says:

    Just opened an account with Eoption and moving all my accounts from OH to it IRA and all other. thanks for OH if you can’t beat the price eoption has I’m not coming back, not the same 3 +.10 but you have to do better than that to get my business back

  • localguy says:

    Michael,

    OptionsHouse may not be very beginner friendly, but it definitely does have a lower comi$$sion, which will help you out on your prof margins. Another alternative is TradeKing which I believe a bit more beginner friendly, but costs $4.95 a transactions for stocks.

    • ted williams says:

      “beginner friendly”. sorry, but i’ve got to laugh at that one because that is exactly who OptionsHouse is good for. as has already been discussed, any active trader has to make up for OH elementary tools by utilizing other platforms’ tools. and anyone who is trading some hefty cash on a regular basis is going to have minimal percentage effect on their profit “margin” from OH lower commission.

  • Craig says:

    My experience(although not yet a customer) was actually quite excellent. They have online live help and the person answered every question to my satisfaction. They actually have some really great features that many deeply discounted brokers do not(DRIP and short interest rebate). They have been very helpful for me so far. It has been a while since this post, so maybe things have changed…

  • Michael says:

    I’m new to trading, and have an idea what I want to invest in. I have been following an online (fake, see what you could do) trading site. I am looking to jump into the real online trading gig soon, but with very small start up (about $3,000). I would be buying mostly stocks, (Google, Apple, CMG, NFLX) and would mostly be leaving them in long term (year+).
    My question is this, looking over these reviews, and seeing E*TRADE on TV ads all day, what would your advise be to fit a broker for my needs?

    I have scottrade office blocks from my house, and have thought about just using them (real people, real close). Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mike.

    • Thecapitalist says:

      I trade with Fidelity, Scottrade and OH. Perhaps Scottrade is right for you. They have been good to me. But I like OH rates which are probably some of the lowest. Do not know about penny stocks, though.

  • Anthony StJean says:

    $0.005 per share if the stock price is $2.00 or less and the stock is not options eligible. I don’t understand what that mean and when I do the calculation. I am seeing bad thing about it for ex. 10000 shrs x 0.005 =$50 other borker are not like that. Can you please enlighten me. That could be a deal breaker for me if your cost of trading is higher then TD Ameritrade because I don’t have to think about those things when I am with TD and I trade 20000 shrs and up on a regular bases. The fee is flat and sample. Thank a potential customer.

  • Jes says:

    Ron…I use my other broker’s tools and streaming data to monitor level 2/charts technicals/real time quotes, plus they have an immediate alert system which will flash on my screen and email/text me the second a certain condition on a stock that I have set is met. Then I just switch back and forth from that broker’s platform to OptionsHouse’s platform to place the trades.

    But as far as handling multiple day trade positions in the middle of a market selloff like Friday’s when things turn against you, it really depends on how you have protected yourself and your assessment of the situation. It’s obvious though that many day traders who went long that morning that weren’t adequately hedged would possibly want to close out of everything they jumped into, and quickly go short on everything, so it is definitely a problem that you can only pull up one order ticket at a time on OptionsHouse to make adjustments on each position, instead of opening several order tickets at once. I hope they address that soon. Additionally I think that once OptionsHouse finally adds the one-cancels-other orders so that you can submit an order that specifies both the price you’d take profit at and the price you’d dump the position at for a loss, you won’t have to monitor everything quite as closely.

    • RON MILLER says:

      thanks for the response. the one thing that i think really adds value to this REV thread is the fact that OH works, under limited circumstances,for the purposes of placing a trade at a low commission BUT that in order to access tools really necessary for a trader to make a trade decision, you really MUST utilize another platform.

      i did the exact same thing as you but with 42 free trades left, i withdrew my funds because of several different problems, most of which have already been addressed here beforehand. thx jes for your input.

  • Ron Miller says:

    Jes. I don’t trade options so I don’t know how they are different for stock trading, but with the macro-market trend over the last couple years where virtually every stock is trading with the indices, how can you manage 5-10 day trade positions (considering OH’s trading limitation) when the market takes a plunge?

  • Jes says:

    I know the options quotes on their options chain page doesn’t refresh every second (I think there’s like a 3 second delay or something like that), which is why I use log into my other broker at the same time for that data, but I don’t see what it is that makes you guys claim the platform is a snail. The only aspect I could see where you’re coming from is the time it takes when you’re pulling up the symbol and the chain and initially establishing a position. Typing in the underlying symbol, scrolling to the desired expiry/strike on the chain, clicking on the bid/ask and the popup, filling out order ticket, and finally clicking place order…all that probably takes me 15 – 20 seconds at the most. Part of the problem is that for some reason the platform takes 2 – 3 seconds to load up the order ticket every time, which is something I think they should look into addressing. But overall even if you’re a bit slower I doubt any of that would take more than 20 – 25 seconds max to accomplish, especially if you already know exactly what you want to buy to open/sell to open along with quantites and all that. When you’re already in a position though or you have an order placed, I’d say it takes 5 seconds max to adjust/cancel them and that’s the part I love. But as a tip…usually when I know ahead of time that I’m probably going to want to get into something, I’ll place an order early on which I know won’t get filled, just so that option will appear on the orders screen, and then I’ll immediately cancel it. Now that I have the cancelled order right on the main screen, I can quickly replicate the ticket and place in the real order when the time is right. That’s one of the ways I deal with the issue of being able to get into something faster instead of having to reload the underylings on the option chain page all the time. Definitely a drawback there but it doesn’t kill me.

    Speaking of which, if you’re managing multiple positions at once, this platform only lets you open up 1 order ticket at a time, which obviously could set you back if you want to trade all of them really quickly. That is a negative obviously, but I personally haven’t had too many circumstances where that has been a big issue, since I don’t really get into more than 5 – 10 day trade positions at once. I do see how the 1 order ticket at a time could be a problem for more active traders though, since I mostly buy leaps and run spreads…with some occasional scalping here and there on days like today. They should look into that too.

    Hopefully they will improve the interface over time to make the initial order process faster (like giving the option of being able to go straight to the order ticket once you click the bid/ask from the chain, instead of first having to click through that mostly useless popup menu and also make the order tickets load up faster), but unless you are a professional trader or you day trade for a living, I still think that their system is very decent and gets the job done. Just saying

  • Christopher Dumas says:

    I’ve opened accounts with optionsXpress, TradeKing, & Think or Swim. I’m modestly funding all 3 to see which works best for me as primarily an options trader. At first glance, optionsXpress has a great platform. It also has the best mobile platform for Blackberry that I’ve seen. This is a plus for me as I’m on the road quite a bit and need to monitor/trade while I’m away from my office. Once I’ve decided which one (or two) I prefer, I will likely liquidate and/or transfer, then close my OH account. Being the cheapest isn’t the only criteria that traders look for.

    • Uttam Kumar says:

      Hi Chris,

      I agree, cost isn’t the only factor for most traders. And in your case since you are mobile, the OH mobile platform might not suffice if you need to make quick trades. I was just expressing my opinion that I think the OH platform is an excellent value for me.

      Also, I’ve used TradeKing for many years… its a very decent site with great education… but no trading “platform” as you will.

  • Richard Mazur says:

    try trademonster. Blows away OH.

    • Uttam Kumar says:

      I looked at trademonster. Its a LOT more expensive than OH. Again, I go back to my point… for the price, I have yet to find a better value. The trade platform destroys most mainstream brokers REGULAR trading platforms. Trademonster might be a better platform (I have not seen it, this is based purely on Richard’s comment). BUT this comes at a pretty hefty price. For my purposes, OH provides an awesome, fast platform for FREE with the lowest commissions around.

  • Uttam Kumar says:

    I’ve been using OH for a few weeks now and I absolutely LOVE it. Its cheap (although, I’m still using my 100 free trades), its REAL time, the platform is easy to use and pleasing to the eye. My only complaint about the platform is that it makes it tough to trade at work as anyone can look over my shoulder and actually tell I’m trading (read.. this is not a real complaint.)

    I do have a suggestion for the platform and thought maybe someone on this forum could pass this along: I am able to highlight individual rows on my portfolio… I wish that I could select a few rows… right click and then automatically send it to a profit/loss calculator. This and similar integration features would, in my opinion complete this platform 🙂

    • ron miller says:

      are you trading options or stocks? at this point i don’t want to accuse you of being a shill, but i am suspect; particularly if you’re trading stocks because the platform is anything but “easy to use and pleasing to the eye”. Then again, maybe you are inexperienced and aren’t familiar with the many other platforms that have floating windows so that you can move your tools around and aren’t always bound to a single page or order entry screens that have fields large enough that you don’t have to have super-human dexterity to make your entries when in a hurry.

      Obviously you have also not interacted much with their CSR because you’d have to be a fool to consider that 15 live chats to accomplish minimal objectives is simply too long.

      • ron miller says:

        *15 minute live chats to accomplish …

        • Uttam Kumar says:

          Hi Ron, I’m not a Shill (whatever that is.)… I agree I do not have the experience with advanced trading platforms, but that’s mainly because other companies (i.e. Scottrade, etc) either charge for them or have high account value requirements. My account value is under 25K, and I have yet to find such a nice platform (for free) which supports such an account. I run an Investment Club account with Scottrade… and trading there is EXCRUCIATINGLY slow. I spend all my time waiting for pages to load. Comparatively, OH is AWESOME.

          As for what I trade.. .I do both stocks and options. I agree with your floating window point.. i forgot to mention that.. but it hasn’t hindered me much yet. In spite of this, I stick to my opinion of ease of use. I do a little research.. click on the symbol.. put in my trade… Same with options. I do a lot of complex options trades, and adding options legs is quite simple. If you’re having a hard time with the font size.. a simple + will increase the font size. I guess pleasing to the eye is a personal opinion… and I do like the way it looks.

  • Christopher Dumas says:

    I concur. GOOG & BIDU were my big misses over the course of the past few days. I also was going to buy calls on the UDOW, UPRO, & TQQQ. All 3 indices were flying today. Here I sit…..

    • big moe says:

      Use wire transfers.. don’t be foolishly cheap. In this case, your opportunity cost apparently far exceeded the $25 wire fee that would have allowed you to trade during the next business day. That makes you out to be a cheap fool, spending a dollar to save 15 cents.

  • Christopher Dumas says:

    Thanks for expanding on what I believe to be an unacceptable practice. The reality is that the unavailability of funds yesterday & today has cost me money. I had trades planned that are bearing fruit in front of my eyes while I’m sitting on the sidelines during the first week of earnings season. I don’t accept the overall rationale referenced in many of the responses that many of these policies are in the spirit of providing a competitively priced product. Does that warrant and justify such policies? I am strongly considering liquidating after OE on Friday and moving to another institution. Some of the competition may be slightly more expensive, but seem to have a more competent CSRs and user-friendly policies.

    • "annonymous" from above says:

      Ditto on lost money. I have stuck through the financial and primarily C as they have lagged the market. Today they moved like wildfire and here I sit by idled just as you are. It sucks. Based on my trading habits, it appears that I am out about $3k today.

  • Christopher Dumas says:

    I have been a customer of OH for 3 months and have had several disappointments that have led me to consider changing institutions yet again. The level of customer service certainly has something to be desired. When all my positions were transferred into OH, the P/L info showed the entire amount of my positions as a loss. In addition, I had to take the time manually with customer service to add cost/basis to each and every position. I have given up on emailing/chatting with customer service concerning correction of the YTD P/L info. It still shows the inaccurate loss. The last email concerning this issue advised me that technical support would address the problem. That was 6 weeks ago.
    I also take issue with an ACH taking 5 business days. I initiated a transfer on Monday morning, 4/12 and was just advised by customer service that the funds would not be available in my OH account until after 3PM on Friday, 4/16. The funds cleared my bank account on Tuesday, 4/13 and the status @ OH is listed as “complete”. I am accustomed to my previous brokerage house’s transfer protocol of 1 business day. I was advised that OH holds all ACH’s for 3 business days to avoid “bounces” and to keep their rates competitive. Sounds fairly ridiculous to me.

    • "annonymous" from above says:

      Thanks so much for substantiating, though indirectly, what I said about ACHs. I took my problem to OH CEO George Ruhana who thumbed his nose at me that they would take advantage of the float (I’m presuming his inferencewas that any single deposit would be insignificant) . Firstly, if they do this to each and every client, the compounded float could be substantial BUT secondly, it is the absolute use of your funds, which are essentially fungible for those 3-5 days, that gives them adding buying power when you have none.

      Furthermore, their assertion that everyone does this is incorrect. OptionsXpress is the only other account that I have that has a 3 day hold but if you show them that the funds have cleared (a copy of your bank statement), they’ll place them in you OX account right away. That 3 day hold is nothing but a sham particularly when you and OptionsHouse bank at the same institution.

      Chris, you may have already seen George Ruhana’s email address above, but he corresponded with me through gruhana@optionshouse.com. I also sent copies to what I presumed was the email address of Peak 6’s CEO at mhulsizer@peak6.com; that email went somewhere because it never came back as undeliverable. Start sending them emails and keep copies; stick to your guns. As it appears many have experienced, their CSRs are highly incompetent and in my case when I first started, even disconnected from Live Chat when I pressed them to reconcile what I was certain to be incorrect information.

      And I would strongly encourage you to disregard their efforts to “buy” or otherwise coax you into your good graces. Bottom line: these guys are pathetic.

  • Nancy says:

    I’ve just had my account a couple of weeks and already I feel dissatisfied with Optionshouse. I was told that I would get reimbursed $25 for my wire of funds to Optionshouse to open my account. I was told it would be put into my account, but it’s still not there. Told different things by different customer service reps, including “it will be in your account this afternoon” (not) to “I will call you back today” (not) to “It will take a few weeks .. ” (why?). It just gives me a bad feeling about them — if they can’t reimburse within a reasonable time as stated, then I feel a bit queasy about trading with them in general.

    • Shannon Paul says:

      Nancy,

      I’m sorry for the trouble you experienced. I am glad to help you resolve any issues related to your OptionsHouse account, but I would need you to email me directly at spaul[at]peak6[dot]com in order to communicate the specific details to others on our customer service team.

      Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

      Thank you,
      Shannon Paul
      Community Manager
      PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

      • annonymous says:

        Isn’t it amazing.. Shannon Paul always jumping up there to “apologize” about their god damn shitty service. OptionsHouse will lie straight to you and then try to cover up. I made an ACH which wasn’t credited to my account until 5 days after they admitted they received it.. THAT IS CALLED CONVERSION.. They have your money in hand and then use it for their own purposes for FREE for 3-5 days. THIS IS PURE BULLSHIT and is civil tort. These guys are ASSHOLES and i can’t wait until they are brought down (preferably to where they have to cease doing business).

        • annonymous says:

          UPDATE: THEY SENT ME AN EMAIL SAYING THEY ARE CLOSING MY ACCOUNT AND NOW WON’T SEND MY MONEY BACK TO ME UNTIL 4-9-10. REMEMBER, I JUST MADE AN ACH DEPOSIT, THEY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY RECEIVED THEM, MY ACCOUNT STILL DOESN’T REFLECT THE DEPOSIT SO I CANNOT TRADE, AND NOW THEY WANT TO HOLD MY FUNDS UNTIL 4-19-10 BASED ON A CONTRACT THAT THEY HAVE CANCELLED AND DESPITE THE FACT THAT THERE ARE NO TRADES TO “SETTLE”. WHAT ASSHOLES.

          • annonymous says:

            CORRECTION: *WON’T SEND ME MY MONEY BACK UNTIL 4-19-10. SO THEY HAVE USED MY MONEY, FOR 10 DAYS, FOR FREE, AND THIS DOESN’T EVEN CONSIDER ALL THE LOST $$$ I WOULD HAVE EARNED MY TYPICAL TRADES IN C.

          • Annonymous says:

            You need to contact your state A.G. with supporting documentation. I’ve done that with NYS A.G. Cuomo and get fast assistance each time. (and I might add the ONLY representative that does so with re to any issue).

  • Joe says:

    I have been with OptionsHouse for a little over a year. They have been great and were very helpful when I called once about an issue. There appears to be a lot of misinformation regarding their pricing scheme for stocks.

    What most reviews fail to mention is “For stocks priced $2.00 or less that are not options eligible, add $0.005 per share for the entire order.” Quoted from their website.

    This can be quite substantial for certain stock trades.

    For example, I purchased 15,000 shares of a stock the other day. Fees and commissions ended up being $77.95. That is going to be possibly $156 out of pocket round trip. I am not complaining since I was told in advance and I agreed to pay it, but I just want to make people aware that the bait of $2.95 as advertised on various “review” sites is not true for all stock trades with OptionsHouse.

    I am moving my OTCBB habit over to Ameritrade where it is only a straight fee of $9.99 regardless of the price of the stock or the exchange the stock is listed.

    I will keep my optionshouse account to trade stock that fall within the $2.95 trade range.

    Their platform is okay and is not that intuitive for new users. Everything is wrapped and contained in a javascript window and looks cluttered and slow. This is personal opinion of course and is really no big deal since I primarily just enjoy the low fee and do not expect that many bells and whistles. I do like their online webinars/conferences with guest speakers. This is a nice little niche.

    For options, I primarily use optionxpress. You cannot beat their speed and trading tools.

  • Phillip says:

    found out the reason my account was delayed receiving funds from sell was because I have a cash account….after two weeks of trading I am still impressed with the platform.

    • Alberto says:

      Phillip

      Give it a few more weeks or start trading actively and that feeling will soon go away.

      • Jes says:

        Alberto

        Not sure what you’re talking about as far as the platform not being impressive. I’ve been using OptionsHouse for almost a year now, and the only complaints I have about the platform are that they haven’t added more advanced orders yet (like order triggers order/order cancels order/etc.), and customization on the streaming charts tool is a little limited. They are slowly but surely improving though, as a trade alerts system was just added last month that will send you an SMS/email if a stock reaches a certain price (though they don’t let you do this with options yet), and at the end of last year they added a more advanced research section now that shows you analyst sentiment/earnings dates/technical analysis and so on. But the main reason why I continue to trade with OptionsHouse is because you can create/modify/cancel orders in seconds on their platform, nearly as fast as you can with the platforms of the more expensive brokers. Oh and, you’re only spending 15 cents a contract.

        Sure, you can compare their platform to those of more expensive brokers (like Fidelity/Ameritrade/Scottrade/OptionsExpress and so on) and obviously see where the limitations are with OptionsHouse. They don’t have level II, they don’t show you how much an option’s volatility has increased/decreased throughout the day, nor stream it as fast as other brokers do, and their tools aren’t as advanced as other brokers…and I’m sure there a bunch of other minute details you can find that this platform lacks. The problem is that trading on those other platforms is far more expensive. Yes, OptionsExpress, for example, has a fantastic trading platform that can show you a lot more detailed information and data on options than this broker’s platform can, but they charge you $1.25 – $1.50 per contract compared to OptionsHouse’s 15 cents a contract. I don’t care how advanced those broker’s tools are because that’s highway robbery right there no matter how you look at it.

        • Alberto says:

          Jes,

          What I am referring to is an interface where
          1) the display does not resize correctly
          2) no matter what you try does not fit on a netbook screen. Many of us have occasion to travel and need to function while on the road.
          3) the display does not expand or fit correctly on a 15.4 inch laptop screen either
          4) does not automatically display the major indexes as standard
          5) has poor choice of default columns to be displayed in basic mode. i.e. does not display the underlying security price which should be a no-brainer.
          6) The displayed data is almost instantly stale and requires constant manual refresh to stay abreast of movement.
          7) times out if you don’t refresh.
          8) Only performs “adequately” Internet Explorer which BTW is the single browser most prone to virus/hacking attackes. Does not perform satisfactorily or reliably on other browsers.
          9) is basically an embarassingly amateurish design. Yes, I have designed many interfaces in my career and I am an authority in this area.
          10) is backed up by atrociously bad, arrogant, self-righteous and unfriendly customer service
          11) is the front-end for an organization who practice bait-and-switch tactics with their rates, which if you had bothered to read my postings in depth before gallantly running to their defense would have been clearly evident to you as the major cause of my discontent with this company.
          12) Optionsxpress is no longer any more expensive than OH in most instances, and where it does happen to be their far superior platform, service and professionalism more than make up for any small difference. What ultimately matters most in a trading platform is their reliability and your confidence that they can be trusted. OX for example has that, OH does not.

          If you have not been impacted by any of the above then I can only surmise that you are a very low volume / non-professional trader, in which case you need to get out more and do some due diligence research before throwing your hat into the ring to champion in defense of OH regardless of how they choose to reward you for doing so.

          Optionshouse
          In future when you choose to encourage either one of your own employees or a “coached” client to shill for you on this site in a battle of wits with me, you should really try not to send them in so obviously unarmed.

          P.S. Highway robbery can also be where a company lures clients in with one set of rates and then bait and switch them into a rate plan that is effectivelt 1000% higher.

          • Jes says:

            Alberto,

            If YOU had bothered to read any of the posts I made above before I responded to your last comment, you would be aware that I am not a “coached client” or an employee with OptionsHouse, as I already complained about the broker before on the last post I made on here when they raised the commissions. They already explained why they raised the rates and it’s clear you’re still all upset about it, but they still have the best rates out there (for now). But honestly I really don’t give a damn if you hate this broker just because the interface can’t fit on your little notebook or whatever. And the list of excuses for what you claim is so bad about their platform sounds more like little nitpicks from a prude. That’s how I interpreted it anyway.

  • LUKE says:

    I have been with OptionsXpress for a few years now and have a Schwab Savings account. If you are new to options I would recommend OX due to there training materials and their tools. Their customer service is top notch and have been always willing to help me out if I had a question.
    After you start trading a large amount of contracts OX can get VERY expensive and that is why I just opened a OptionsHouse account to trade spreads, mostly credit spreads. OptionsHouse just recently jacked up their flat rate to .15/contract + fee, however If you do the math its still a lot cheaper than OX.

    The OptionsHouse layout impressed me, I liked how the options pricing guide was laid out with both calls/puts and for every month on one single screen, also you can trade directly from that screen. Very nice.

    Now for my experience with OptionsHouse..

    I opened a margin account with them 1 month ago with $3,000 to get a feel for the trading platform. On the application to open the account, it specifically asks what you
    are going to trade, I put spreads/credit spreads, however when I got my account
    cleared and funded I went to make my first trade and a error box came up and said my
    account is not allowed to trade at that trading level. Keep in mind I have been trading options, spreads, credit spreads for years with OX. I then presented my case to their team for account approval and they said they would NOT upgrade my account trading level to trade a credit spread and that I could re-apply in 90 days. So now at this point, I was getting a little anxious and I sent a message to their customer service team and said basically this is what happened, I am very disappointed and this is what I want Ect…if I cannot get access to trade a protected spread with limited risk I need to cancel my account. I waited a few days for them to respond back to me and they never did, I just checked my bank account and they direct deposited all my money back to my bank account and that was it…there was no, we are sorry blah blah blah, nothing. I guess they do not like business and making money, now I understand $3k is not a whole lot of money however there would have been a lot more in there within the year. I would not recommend OptionsHouse to anyone due to their customer service.

    If someone has some insight about my experience and has an explanation why I was treated the way I was, that would be great. My OptionsXpress account allows me to trade credit spreads, iron condors, Ect… I guess I will put some money back with them…however I wish their rates would go down.

    • Ravi says:

      Luke

      I have had the opposite experience. OX did not give me level 5 trading privilege,but OH did right away. You have to mention that you will be usisng the account for speculation on the application. I originally did not mention this and did not get the privileges.When I called customer service,they told methis and asked me to send an email mentioning that I will be using the account for speculation.Then I got approved.

      Ravi

      • Luke says:

        Ravi,

        hmm, thats very odd, maybe I just caught a customer service rep on a bad day… It’s too bad, like I said they completely cancelled my account without hesitation. I really wish I could trade with OH, it would save me alot of money compared to optionsxpress.

        • Greg says:

          No, it’s pretty typical of their responses. They only have 3 CSR’s and they are the same by phone or live help.

    • Shannon Paul says:

      Luke,

      I’m very sorry this happened to your account. I just want you to know I
      forwarded your comments to OptionsHouse CEO George Ruhana, and he is
      interested in speaking with you directly so we may figure out a way to
      remedy your situation.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Please reach out as soon as
      possible to spaul[at]peak6[dot]com.

      Shannon Paul
      Community Manager
      PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

      • LUKE says:

        I wanted to do a quick follow up on the comment I previously left above. The CEO of OptionsHouse George Ruhana got in contact with me about my concern and reopened my account with credit spread trading access.

        As I mentioned before, the OptionsHouse platform is going to work very well, along with the great commission stucture, now with the customer support I think this brokerage is a very good option for investors.

        Again, Thank you Mr. Ruhana for your time and attention.

        Luke Cole

        • annonymous says:

          Luke, Luke, Luke. It’s all a ploy. Too much bad press here and they are always behind the eight ball. Why is it that there is so much bullshit going on only to be addressed after a person complains online. Doesn’t that really say that the just don’t give a shit and will keep doing what they do only to correct problems of the particular individuals that post reviews? Come on. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the bottomline with these people is deception. Furthermore, if it is true that they only have 3 customer service reps., what does that say? I’ll tell you what it says, it currently takes 15 minutes on Live Help to take care of simple problems that don’t effect your pocketbook (like changing your email address or finding out about ACH deposits). AND I have found out the hard way that when money is on the line and there is an issue, the 15 or more minutes it takes them to deal with your issue is going to cost you $$$$$.
          These guys suck and I’m sad that they have deep enough pockets to be able to continue to provide such crappy service. I just hope people will start taking this to the next level of contacting FINRA and sending copies of documents to the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

  • Phillip says:

    I have been using OH for only 1 week, but have found the structure very easy to use for a complete novice. up 20% in my first week. my only complaint is I have sold some contracts on monday that I haven’t received credit for. This is preventing me from buying more contracts late monday evening. Also, a second ACH processed on 3/2/10 was accepted on 3/4/10 is still pending. I am still waiting to see how that ends up. overall, I look forward to continuing to use OH if you ever receive my money.

  • The Ascension says:

    I found Optionhouse’s (Virtual) rate pricing too vague in my account info and 15 min behind market ticks. (Maybe a virtual thing but understand the 15 min behind)

    Ex. I had a 0.03 buy and 0.0398 sell in an OTC stock. At the end of the transaction this OTC stock had a 7.54% increase in profit.

    Optionhouse only showed a 0.03 open and 0.03 closed account summary.
    It appears like Optionhouse is showing a -% activity (including fees).

    In any case I bought in low and sold high but somewhere, somehow, I am missing more than the brokerage, and misc. fees. ($500 worth)

    Ex. I started with $12,291.16 and put a $1,500 buy trade @ 0.03. Minus the broker and misc fees, I should of had roughly a 7.54% increase in activity. My final account balance is now $11,785.26. Not sure where it all went to. Further more I could not find my confirmations and account statements anywhere to verify expenses.

    Because of that I had to approximate these figures. I know for fact I made a profit above and beyond the fees when I closed. As I watched a Level II OTC quote chart in real time before and after that trade.

    My Optionhouse account summary shows that I made profit somehow. This would not be a very comforting platform to switch to, from another broker account in light of this. In defense they claim that trading may not accurately reflect the actual market in trades. (But is this virtual or real?)

    In the meantime I would still like to find out where the missing $500 went and how to find my confirmations and account statements to verify this.

    • pensionplanner says:

      Did you ever get your $500 yet?

    • Shannon Paul says:

      I’m sorry for any confusion you experienced, but yes, the OptionsHouse virtual trading platform quotes are delayed by 15 minutes. However, once you fund your OptionsHouse account, both your real, and virtual accounts will provide quotes in real time.

      It’s difficult to tell from your comment whether you also have a real OptionsHouse account and if that’s where you experienced a $500 discrepancy. I’m sorry I missed this earlier, but for me to research this, I would need to understand what kind of trade you were trying to execute in your real account in order to track any money you cannot account for.

      My email address is spaul[at]peak6[dot]com. I’m happy to help you find the answers to your questions with our customer service team.

      Thank you,
      Shannon Paul
      Community Manager
      PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Andrew,

    Thanks for reaching out – I apologize for the delay posting my reply, but I wanted to do some checking around internally to make sure I could understand what was happening for you.

    Fees are estimated for the ticket/confirmation, but the clearing firm calculates them overnight. Typically, any discrepancies are only slightly different than the calculation at the time of the trade and may be off by a couple pennies either way — lucky for you this discrepancy tends to work out in your favor 🙂 Recently, exchange fees have been in a state of flux, but we are constantly working to ensure accuracy on our end. However, if there is ever a large discrepancy or something doesn’t seem right, please don’t hesitate to call customer service right away.

    On the second issue you bring up regarding the extended hours trading platform. Issues like this are very rare, but I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. In this particular instance a vendor was having problems routing orders through before the market opened that day. The issue was fixed almost immediately and has been functioning without issue ever since. If you ever receive an error message while making a trade during the extended hours period, the trade desk is available to help you over the phone at (877) 653-2500.

    Best,
    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

  • Andrew says:

    Shannon,

    Just a question for the miscellaneous fees charged to each trade:

    I am a very meticulous person, every night I enter the trade detail info based on OH’s confirmation for each trade. And, after receiving my monthly statement, I reconcile the balances. It seems to me, at least for some trades, there are always a very small difference in net proceeds, often in pennies. I must point out that all of which are in my favor, which means the fees are LESS than what stated in the confirmation. I just want to know why there is the difference.

    Plus, Shannon, the extended hours platform is NOT work due to the “vendor problem”, as I was told this morning. Do you have any timeframe it would be fixed? It is just a little annoying that I would need to call to place the order.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Mexx,

    Thanks for taking the time to review the dialogue here. I hope the exchange shows what we’re doing to respond to customer concerns and implement suggestions and improvements to the platform and processes when possible.

    Again, the pricing structure may make it difficult for some of our customers to adjust, changes in how the market handles payment-for-order-flow made flat rates unsustainable for OptionsHouse to continue. This is an industry-wide change and the only reason many of our competitors were not affected is because their fees were already well above where they needed to be in order to accommodate for this change.

    The new rates structure was also selected as a long-term solution. With so many symbols trading in the pennies, it is likely that payment for order flow will continue its current downward trend. Changing rates as a broker is obviously not an easy decision to make. In this case, it absolutely had to be done.

    I know I’m not powerless, but I appreciate your concern. I apologize when people share a negative experience because I am truly sorry. I do feel their pain and I think we all know what it’s like to have a negative customer experience or an unwelcome change in circumstances. Just because I work for the company doesn’t mean I don’t have empathy for others’ negative experiences. I’m still quite human. Also, I have provided my direct contact information above in other comments in order to help the customer service process along. My email address is posted here as a point of contact. In this case there are laws and guidelines that prohibit me from doing anything that could be interpreted as solicitation of an account or acting as a customer service representative. My email address is spaul[at]peak6[dot]com and you (as well as anyone else here) is welcome to reach out to me any time and I will connect you with the appropriate member of the team.

    Jes,

    The information you share here is fair – a lot of people seemed to think the flat rates at OptionsHouse were too good to be true. However, many industry analysts agree that flat rates from any broker will be a thing of the past due to the industry changes to how payment-for-order-flow is handled. We have a very ambitious product roadmap and intend to make several improvements over the next few months.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Alberto,

    The change in OptionsHouse rates is a reality, but the current rates structure was decided upon precisely because we didn’t want to have to make a similar change any time soon. Although nobody knows exactly what the future holds, the change was, and still is, intended to be a long-term solution. We were also one of the only brokerages to ever pass along savings to customers by accepting payment-for-order-flow even though it is a common practice – even among brokers that are not as competitive from a rates perspective. I think this alone speaks to the intentions of the team at OptionsHouse even if a few others might think differently.

    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online – parent company of OptionsHouse

  • Jes says:

    I have been using OptionsHouse since the summer of 09. I obviously do not like the new commission structure like the rest of you (who wants to pay more when they were paying less?), and it does make me worry in the back of my mind…”great, I wonder what future negative changes they will have in store for us next.” And to be honest, I have also cut down on the number of option trades I’ve been making ever since they killed off the flat rate trading. However, I did look around for another broker this past month, but even with OptionsHouse new commission structure, I still haven’t found a better deal anywhere else (yet).

    I checked out eOption like others mentioned on here, and while they are less expensive than OptionsHouse, they need to make significant improvements to their trading platform before I’d even consider switching. I still haven’t found anything better for the value that compares to OptionsHouse’s “3 clicks and you’re done” trading platform, which I find very seamless and impressive for a web based platform. Plus eOption has a separate platform for realtime quote information, which is not directly connected to their trading platform. That’s a waste in my opinion.

    The only brokers I have traded with in the past that have faster and more effective trading platforms (in my opinion) are those that charge you between 3 and 5 times more per contract, like Ameritrade/Schwab/Fidelity. TradeMonster is a decent alternative, but a little more expensive than OptionsHouse, and their platform is a little bit of overkill.

    But anyway, it’s really a shame that OptionsHouse’s low price strategy didn’t work out. They clearly were counting on traders to come running over from the more expensive brokers in droves, but it obviously never happened, otherwise they’d still probably offer flat rate options trades. I’m a little confused about why there weren’t more traders who transfered over. I guess some just didn’t mind paying more. I didn’t recall ever seeing any commercials on tv either that advertised the less expensive commissions…that might have helped. Perhaps another broker will offer flat rates again one day.

    For now though, I am still trading with OptionsHouse, and I am waiting for them to add more advanced orders (like order-triggers-order, order-cancels-order, etc.), which they have pushed back due to the new commission change. I will probably post another update again in the summer, unless I find a new broker before then (which I doubt).

    • Alberto says:

      Jes, What I have found to work successfully, and you may want to consider, is to split your trading across more than one platform deploying trades according to the different strengths of each platform. Pick the optimum horse to run the specific course. My suggested combination would be Optionsxpress.com and Eoption.com.

      If what you are looking for is an extremely sophisticated, user-friendly and powerful platform with every research and analysis tool you could probably wish for then please take a serious look at OptionsXpress with whom I’ve had accounts for 7 years. ( I only recently had switched 2 of my trading accounts to Optionshouse specifically lured there by the rates on multi-leg trades).

      If you compare the OptionsXpress and Optionshouse platforms on the basis of features and professional performance then Optionsxpress unquestionably beats Optionshouse hands down.

      It is a far more sophisticated platform, higher reliability and availability, superior analysis features and tools, better front-end user experience, better browser compatibility, better mobile compatibility etc etc etc. (If you happen to travel regularly try using Optionshouse on a standard sized netbook to see one example of what I’m referring to. Optionshouse’s response was “well you could phone the trading desk and we’d place the trade for you.”)

      On the basis of features there is simply no comparison. Optionsxpress comes first and but I suspect Optionshouse would be much further down the list than second. And in 7 years no unreasonable nasty surprises.

      I still conduct most of my analysis and research as well as a considerable portion of my trading on Optionsxpress because in most instances their fees work out to be no higher than Optionshouse.

      When I decided to start deploying some Iron Condor stategies Optionsxpress fees for these types of trades were admittedly prohibitive which is why I very recently had switched 2 of my accounts to Optionshouse, lured their by their flat-rate pricing.

      What I however cannot accept is a “service provider” drastically and unreasonably (600%-1000% fee increases) changing the rules after the game is well underway.

      The major reason for my anger at this point is that I must now rank Optionshouse alongside all the other sleazy bait and switch operators out there. If I really wanted the agravation of dealing with that kind of underhanded practice then I’d go buy a second-hand car from a guy in a loud plaid blazer at a dealership in a low-rent neighbourhood.

      EOption might be less sophiticated as a platform but their prices seem to make some of the stategies which I want to deploy more feasible.
      As long I conduct the remaining half of my trading on Optionsxpress it will continues to provide me with access to their far superior research tools and between those two platforms I will have the best of both worlds.

      It also gives me the tiny satisfaction of having reacted appropriately to Optionshouse’s bait and switch practices by taking my business elsewhere, and by continuing to spread the word among fellow traders , friends, colleagues and online sites not only of their technically average/mediocre platform but also of their proven tendency to spring unpleasant and disproportionately unreasonable surprises on their client base.

      Once bitten, I now have no confidence that they won’t pull another similarly unpleasant stunt with little notice at any time in the future.

      Newsflash for Optionshouse, active traders as a general rule don’t like surprises, neither from the markets nor from their service providers.

      Shannon, please don’t bother to respond to this posting with your usual patronizing and empty platitudes. Words are cheap. Any significant action however to address your clients’ disgruntlement has been highly conspicuous by it’s total absence.

  • Mexx says:

    Shannon,
    As someone who is in the business of advising corporate clients with customer service and operational issues, there are three things that you need to address ASAP based on the hundreds of comments above.

    1- You need to send a SWAT team to hear out your customer service calls, fire those a…holes that don’t have any customer service skills and train the heck out of those worthy of keeping. The comments from customers above are absolutely horrific and certainly gave me pause in moving forward with opening an account at OH.
    2- The dual options price structure while perhaps ideal in concept because of the so called “flexibility”, it is a complete detractor from what your customers really want: to make money trading, not having to think about their commission structure each trading day. There are plenty of suggestions above on how to make it seamless for a customer to get the best price if trading 10. Don’t argue with the customer, just get rid of this silly price scheme, it is distracting, confusing, and annoying.
    3- Lastly, quit apologizing. It makes you sound powerless. Don’t tell people you feel your pain, you don’t. If someone has an issue on this board, empower them by calling you directly or have them call the customer service center and get them transferred to you directly. Deal with the issues head on. Apologizing simply gets people more annoyed.

    Good luck.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Ravi,

    Thank you so much for providing such detailed insight into your experience as an OptionsHouse customer. I’m also glad to hear you appreciate our efforts to listen to our customers and respond. The feedback you provided here is extremely helpful and I will definitely include your suggestions to others on the team.

    Please feel free to reach out to me directly with feedback or suggestions at any time so I may pass them along. My email address is spaul[at]peak6[dot]com.

    Thanks again.

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the input. Your point about streaming quotes is definitely noted. If you have other suggestions or feedback you think would improve your experience as an OptionsHouse customer, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

    Michael,

    I’m very glad to hear that you appreciate our responsiveness to OptionsHouse customers online. Thank you for the kind words and all the best to you with your new account.

    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

  • Andrew says:

    Michael,

    Just a recommendation, and I am not in any way trying to make fun of you.

    If you have 1k, do NOT trade frequently. Guys (like me) trade more just because we make pennies but for big chunk of shares.

    I would buy something and write covered calls (that is what I do for IRA accounts).

    Just my two cents.

  • Michael says:

    I have come to an conclusion and I am going to go send in my copy of driver ID and SSN to complete my new account application because Shannon Paul actually answer people back instead of hiding, Optionshouse is always trying to improve, and they have the option to withdraw through an ACH online. Their commission seem alright I guess, better than Fidelity, I can tell you that. I don’t know how I ended up trading 48 time with Fidelity last year with a 1k starting balance account and now its only at about $850. They made about $960 commission from me in 2009. Options trading, here I come, more leverage than those 3x ETFs.

  • Andrew says:

    Different brokerage firms has pros and cons.

    For Optionshouse, I would have to say it is a very fine broker. In addition to Ravi’s comments, I would have to add one more:

    Streaming quotes, which are very important to me.

    Sogotrade has streaming quotes and the cost structure is ok. But they charge ludicrous margin rates: 7.25% versus 4.25%.

    Personally, I like Eoption more, but do not trade after-market.

    I used to have just2trade account, everything is NOT bad at all. However, if you have a day-trading call and not meet that call (I did not get any communication that my account fell below $25,000.00.), your account will be restricted for one-year. Other brokers have 3-month policy. Therefore, I moved out.

    Now, just so you guys know, as of 1/12/2010:
    Sogotrade’s streaming quotes are NOT working.
    Eoption has order entering issues for “e-spreads”. (They told me that I can call and do it with the broker, but I will need to call to modify or cancel the existing order.)

    My point is that every broker has its problems here and there.

    Optionshouse is not so bad, but could be better.

  • Ravi says:

    I have been with Optionshouse for about a year and now have 6 separate accounts with them. I am surprised at the number of negative imnpressions about OH and thought I should speak up. I have been very satisfied with OH so far. I trade quite frequently, although not a daytrader and I think I saved quite a bit on commissions. I mostly trade call options, spreads and stocks usually under 20 contracts. For this requirement I found OH to be quite inexpensive. I used to have (still have) Optionsxpress account. It has a fantastic platform but the commissions are much more expensive. Stocks cost 14.95 and options cost 15 per 10 contracts. That is much more expensive thanOH.

    Other specific things I like about OH:
    -Easy to get approved for level 4 option trading. I am still not approved for that at Optionsxpress.
    -Same price for broker assisted or online trades. I am relatively new at trading options and needed help in setting up a spread one time and a synthetic long another time. Both times, I was helped right away by the customer service and they guided me step by step in placing the order. She even asked me if I was sure about the strategy. In fact, I have contacted customer service several times for other things and have never had a rude response.

    However, I do have issue with some things which are very basic but are not available.

    -There is no way to set alerts linked to stock movements.
    – I cannot transfer money between different OH accounts. I have to email customer service, and they will transfer. I have never seen that with any other brokerage.
    -I cannot differentiate accounts by using nick names
    -I cannot change cost basis of a stock on the platform. I have to email customer service to do it for me. That is archaic.
    -Mobile platform is very rudimentary. I love the Optionsxpress app.
    -Already discussed issue of executed trade alert not being sent.

    But overall, the cost structure is very favorable and as I just realized, there is someone from the brokerage who is actually listening and responding to issues. I will support this kind of company any day.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Andrew,
    Sorry for the delayed reply – yes, there was a problem with options pricing in our system on January 4. I apologize for any problems you experienced and I will definitely pass along your feedback regarding earlier notification to others on the team. Thank you.

    Kai-Chih Chang,
    Thanks so much for weighing in – it’s always good to hear from happy OptionsHouse customers.

    Alberto,
    I understand you’re unhappy with the recent rates change at OptionsHouse, but as I stated in a previous comment, not only are we still very competitive from a rates perspective, the decision to move away from flat rates was due to changes in the industry with respect to payment for order flow. Broker News Blog has a well-reasoned explanation about how pressure on margin rates and bid/ask spreads are affecting how brokerages will continue to charge for trades: http://www.brokernewsblog.com/index.php/20091207262/Broker-News/News/OptionsHouse-Pricing-is-The-New-Normal-SCHW-OXPS-AMTD.html

    For future reference, please note that a four leg, 100 Iron Condor at OptionsHouse would only cost $72.50 (not $94 as you suggested above). And, this same trade at EOption would actually cost $52, not $32 ($3 per leg plus $.1 per contract). At OptionsXpress this trade of a four leg 100 Iron Condor would cost $500 with their Active Trader rate and $600 at their regular rate – more than five or six times what it would cost at OptionsHouse.

    I hope this helps provide some insight. If you ever need any clarification about how OptionsHouse stacks up against others in the industry, please feel free to contact customer service directly.

    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

  • Andrew says:

    Alberto,

    I am actually considering transferring to Eoption. I have been thinking that they would probably raise the commission, but so far there is no such indication.

    I do not trade a lot in Eoption though, because it is an rollover IRA. I would have to say they are good for order execution. They do have java-based streaming quotes, but it looks that they do not allow you to leave the streaming quote open and simultaneously enter orders. But that is ok for me since I use E*Trade for streaming quotes anyway.

    The biggest down side for Eoption is that their extended-hour commission is $25. If they lower it to standard commission or even a little bit more, I would transfer all of my accounts to them.

    Just2trade is another good option, I like them a lot. They used to have big issue with their clearing firm – North American Clearing Corp. But after that firm went bankrupt, everything seems fine with their new clearing firm – Legent Clearing.

  • Alberto says:

    Kai-Chih Chang

    I suspect that as a happy client of OH you might be in the minority.
    Please read some of the other entries regarding the outrageous exponential increases in fees and the irritating dual rate system which is very painful to deal with.
    You’ll find it difficult to ignore so many people complaining about the same thing.

    OH commisions are now barely average/fair as long as you trade fairly infrequently and under 5 contracts.
    If however for example you trade Iron Condors which have very tight margins then they have gone from the best option around to being totally impractical.
    Paying 25% to 50% upfront of what are only POTENTIAL profits just to initiate the transaction is simply bad business for active traders.
    A four leg Iron Condor of 100 contracts per leg used to be $14.95, now the same trade costs $94. An overnight 650% increase.
    EOption.com commission for the same transaction is $32.

    And OH please don’t respond to this with the childish “but XYZ are even more expensive”. That’s an argument as juvenile as I would hear from my children when they were four years old and trying to justify their misbehaviour by bringing their sibling down with them.

    Compare yourselves instead to your most realistic competitor and not to the worst horse in the race because then all you’d have to be is a just minutely less than Fidelity’s fees.

    Between them my 2 accounts only amount to approximately $200K which is insignificant for OH to even notice but if enough of us leave it may get their attention …….

    Optionsxpress where I still have another account has a fantastic platform and tools and I have traded there quite successfully for about 6 years.
    I only recently moved 2 of my accounts to OH for the great rates which they had at the time.
    4 months later that competitive advantage is completely gone. Optionsxpress is now competitive in terms of rates and has a far superior trading platform.

    Its a good thing I hadn’t yet gotten around to transferring that account (~110K) over to OH. It would just have been yet another account which I’d now be forced to move.

    BTW Any suggestions regarding alternative brokers, that might be a competitive alternative to EOption.com in terms of platform/execution as well as having reasonable commission rates, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and I wish you all successful trading in the new year.

    Alberto

  • Kai-Chih Chang says:

    Recently, I have been making investment at Optionhouse, I am very happy with them. If you buy and sell often (even I am not a day trader, sometimes I had to sell once I think I made a bad decision), the fees make it possibly for you to get out (or in) without hurt. Their fees on options is also very great.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Ron Miller,
    I think I understand the miscommunication here.

    The email you reference is an entirely different piece of communication. You’re right; the price change email did not communicate anything about extended hours trading.

    The alert I was referring to above was something you would have seen upon logging into your account on 12/2/09. When you logged into your account on this date, the alert would have shown instead of the regular home page inside your account. In order to access your account on this date, you would have had to click on a button to acknowledge receipt of this particular communication.

    The time-date stamp I reference in my previous comment is in relation to this alert – not the email about the pricing change at OptionsHouse.

    Again, I apologize for any confusion and would be glad to connect you with a customer service representative who could provide a screen shot of the particular alert intended to communicate the details around extended hours trading.

    Richard,
    I’m not sure it’s fair to say that 90% of OptionsHouse reviews are negative. In fact, most are very positive. However, I am sorry the process to open your account has been so frustrating. I did some checking with customer service on the items you shared. You do have an account with us, but I cannot post the details here due to our customer privacy policy.

    I would be happy to connect you with someone who can assist you directly. My email address is spaul[at]peak6[dot]com. Again, I apologize for any difficulty you’ve had with this process.

    Michael,

    Again, thanks for sharing what you think would be an ideal price structure. However, please know that not all of our customers are upset with the price change. Many customers report being very happy with the recent changes and our number of new account applications has been very strong since making the announcement.

    I’m happy to pass along your suggestions to others on the team.

    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

  • Andrew says:

    Marc,

    First of all, let me suggest how to “reconcile” your positions with OH. Forget about “gains or loss”, only reconcile the cash – usually is the option buying power, and review for positions only. This way, regardless of how they calculate the gains or losses for you, regardless of how they price it, you will get the value consistently.

    Now, talking about OH’s trading experience, I would have to say, I am a little disappointed. Today, it looks they did not get the options pricing right and I did get a message from them, only later. It says that this is due to “exchange error”, but my other brokers reported correct prices, therefore, I don’t know this is “really” an exchange error. If I use OH as my only broker, I would have made bad decision about my trades, Shannon, you need to tell them to communicate earlier when this issue happens.

  • Michael says:

    Wait, you are actually going send my ideal to the team, well then, I am going to take my time and actually come up with a competitive price structure then.

    Since everyone seem so mad about the flat rate changes…
    and to be fair to Options House…

    $2.95 + $0.40/contract (1 – 10 contracts/trade)
    $4.95 + $0.20/contract (11 – 50 contracts/trade)
    $9.95 + $0.10/contract (51-100 contracts/trade)
    $14.95 + $0.05/contract (101 – 500 contracts/trade)
    $39.95 Flat Rate (500 – unlimited contracts/trade)

    0r

    $2.95 + $0.40/contract (1 – 10)
    $4.95 + $0.20/contract (11 – 50)
    $9.95 + $0.10/contract (51-100)
    $14.95 + $0.05/contract (101 – unlimited)

    0r

    Up To 5 for $2.95; Each additional contract: $0.50
    $4.95 + $0.15/contract

  • ron miller says:

    I really hate liars and people who try to cover up their errors. This is the email I received on 12-2-09; it say NOTHING about extended hour trading..

    “To Our Valued Customers,

    OptionsHouse has implemented a new pricing structure with two distinct rate choices: “$8.50 + .15/contract” or “Up to 5 for $5” where five contracts are only $5, plus $1 per contract over five.

    With this new, tiered pricing structure, you’ll not only get one of the lowest rates available, you’ll also get the flexibility to choose the rate that works best for you. Plus, you can change your rate once a day. For more information on our new pricing structure, please visit our Rates Page. Please be assured – even though our rates are changing, our commitment to providing competitive prices and a solid value is not.

    You can choose your new rate immediately. If you do not choose a new rate by December 15, 4:30 pm CT, OptionsHouse will automatically default your account to the $8.50 + .15/contract rate. So please note: your account will remain at the previous flat-rate structure until either you select a new rate, or OptionsHouse automatically defaults your account to the $8.50 +.15/contract rate on December 15, 4:30 pm CT.

    Here is how to select your new rate:

    Click the “Manage Accounts” button in the upper right hand corner of the screen

    Select “Manage Account Preferences”

    Go to the “Rates” tab and select your new rate

    After making your selection, click the “Save” button in the bottom right corner of the screen

    If you have multiple accounts, you will need to select the rate for each account individually. If you have already selected your new rate, you can change it once per day using the same instructions above.

    Please don’t hesitate to call Customer Service toll-free during regular business hours (Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm CT, except exchange holidays) at 1-877-653-2500. You can also use our live help feature while you are logged into your account, which is at the bottom right hand corner of the screen, or email us any time at customerservice@optionshouse.com and we will respond promptly during regular business hours.

    Sincerely,

    OptionsHouse Customer Service”

  • Richard Mazurowski says:

    It seems to me that something is definately wrong when 90% of the reviews are negative. I’ve been a ‘reviewer’ of reviews for a long time and that is generally not the case at all. I stated to open account with Options House and let me tell you, what a hassle. I have 5 other brokerage accounts (all I assume have to adhere to similiar guidelines to open an account and all are well known). First, Options House says for my personal account they ‘could not identify me by my social security number’. So i had to provide a bunch of other stuff which I don’t have. I just opened an account on Trade Monster, have not traded yet as I am waiting for my funding transfer and they have no problems at all. I then tried to open a corporate account for my business and again Options House says they can not verify my FEIN number (which i’ve had since 1996). They direct me to form SS4 which is a form to APPLY for a FEIN. Well, i already have one and I have never been asked for that form in 14 years, don’t know where it is and certainly don’t need it as I can assure you that the government knows my FEIN and it is correct. In the past two years I’ve opened accounts ad TD, Fidelity, Thinkor Swim, TradeMonster and never had a problem with any of them until Options House. It’s a shame to. I understand platform development and expansion is an ongoing process and they seem to have a lot to offer and understand the needs of their customers to a point. There is potential there which is why I wanted to give them a shot. But, they are making it so hard to even get the account open I’d doubtful I will be able to use them.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Ron Miller,
    I just hope we can discuss your concerns in a calm manner. I am actually not a sales person at all. In fact, my only exposure to a sales environment was watching the Glengarry Glen Ross film adaptation (sorry, bad joke).

    My goal here isn’t to minimize any negative experience you, or anyone else here, have shared, but to acknowledge your concerns and communicate these things back to the team in order for OptionsHouse to continue to improve.

    I apologize for the delay, but I was able to check with our operations team to see if there was any glitch in our system that might have resulted in a lack of communication regarding the details of extended hours trading.

    Our system reports that you confirmed receipt of the notice on 12/2/2009 at 8:40:49 Central Time. I can have a customer service representative send a screenshot of the notice if you would like to view it. Please contact me at spaul[at]peak6[dot]com if you would like me to have customer service contact you.

    Marc,
    I am very sorry for your negative experience with OptionsHouse customer service. I appreciate the feedback and will definitely pass along the details you have shared here.

    Amkr,
    I’m glad your experience at OptionsHouse has been positive. Thanks so much for the suggestions. I will gladly pass them along to the team.

    Alberto,
    I understand your frustration over the rates change, but please know this decision was not made lightly. The reason for the change at OptionsHouse is due to recent changes in the market that caused payment-for-order-flow to decline significantly this year.

    Since I’m not sure how familiar you may be with this practice, payment-for-order-flow is the securities industry practice of providing a monetary incentive for brokers to route their orders through a specific market maker. While OptionsHouse closely monitors order execution quality, when things are equal, we accept payment for order flow in order to pass on savings to our customers.

    OptionsHouse was not alone in this practice, but we were one of the only brokers to pass on this savings to its customers. However, since more symbols are trading in pennies, the downward trend in payment-for-order-flow will likely continue, making our old flat-rate structure unsustainable.

    Michael,
    Thank you. I really appreciate the trouble you went through to outline what you feel would be a better pricing structure. I will certainly pass along your input.

    Thanks again,
    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

  • ron miller says:

    I would suggest that anyone who communicates with OH record their phone calls and keep screenshots of your livehelp chats; I have and can support any and all of the negative reports I’ve stated or would state. I’d like to add that I have pulled my money and stopped trading with them DESPITE the fact that I still had 45 free trades – they just aren’t worth it.

    FURTHERMORE, for those want to trade extended hours, the money that I could have profited had they provided realistic extended hour trading (pre-market 8:30 ET to 9:25 ET; after-hours only 4:00 ET – 5:00 ET) far exceeded any commission saved verses other online brokers.

  • Michael says:

    How about

    $2.95 + $.65/contract (1 – 10 contract)
    $7.95 + $.15/contract (11 – 100 contact)
    $17.95 + $.05/contract (101 – unlimited)

    -You will get more small player to switch over, you will be very competitive with e-options since the extra 55 cent/contract cover the quality of your trading platform and several of the other fees associated with maintaining an account.
    -The guys trading 11 – 100 contract won’t get affected since they are already with you to begin with, and are alright with your fee change from the $10 flat rate already.
    -You will attract the big account plus the big guys who were use to the $10 flat rate will probably stay and say “now it seem fair”.

    Its a win win situation. Enjoy the holidays. Finger cross, hope optionshouse approve of this new fee structure for options trading.

    If not, than the least you could do is this:
    $2.95 + $.65/contract (1 – 10 contract)
    $7.95 + $.15/contract (11 – 100 contact)
    $12.95 + $.10/contract (101 – unlimited)

  • Alberto says:

    Optionshouse have changed their rates so dramatically, in some circumstances by in excess of 1000%, that all the wonderful stuff you read above no longer applies in any way shape or form.
    4 months after joining them for their rates I have to move again because many of the startegies which I apply have become totally non-profitable.

  • amkr says:

    Other than the change in commissions, I find OH to be a good broker. There used
    to be a problem with doing an ACH transfer, but that is now corrected. I also just transfered some money between accounts, and it went off fine.
    I have been looking at eOption as a broker, but their interface is rather primitive, as you have to type in the option symbol.

    There are two comments I would like to make:
    1) On the order entry ticket, I would like it to give the price of the spread at the
    mark rather than the market. I usually do much better than the market price….
    much closer to the mark price.
    2) I trade some of the indices that have weekly options listed, such as the OEX and SPX. I would like to use OH for this as my other broker (TOS) is very expensive for commissions.

  • Marc says:

    I open an account with optionshouse around late October. It was done after looking at positive reviews from this website and few others. Since I am a day trader, I also love the fact that each trade only costs 2.95. Now you’re wondering how was my experience? It was exactly like Ed’s.

    I rarely ever called customer service. However, I called the one time in my whole life because there was a GLITCH in their platform. The total account value DOES NOT match to my realize gain/loss and unrealized gain/loss. There was a difference of $500 dollar. I immediately called customer service to sort this out, but the guy was extremely rude and flat out told me “he does not have time for me”. I was shock the live support would say something like that. I decided to call to confront them and also to fix my issue. Guess what happen? Another guy said the same thing. He told me I’ll have to send in an e-mail so they can look into it. I told them that’s fine, but give me a timeline as when it’ll be taken care. Then comes the irritated voice, just send an email (repeat 3x) which completely ignores my questions. Then he said, are we done? I have other customers I need to help. At this point I am mad, because there is a missing $500 in my account with OH and he isn’t doing anything about it. I told him what do you mean other customer? you can even help the one you are talking to right now. Then I paused, knowing I had over $40k with them I don’t want to piss HIM off, because he might end up holding MY MONEY hostage. So I end up politely told him I’ll send an email to get this fix. Total conversation time was LESS THAN 2 minutes.

    So what happen? They email me saying nothing is wrong with my account, without giving me any reason. They refer me to the maxit tax calc program (which shows your realize and unrealized gain/loss), that was completely pointless because I had been looking at that the whole time. I end up spending almost 2 hours, calculating all the buy&sell activities to figure out why I am missing $500 dollar. It turns out, the “GLITCH” was that an order was process at an correct price, but showed an incorrect account value. How that happen was I made a limit order for xyz stock at $15.20 but then I cancel it, then I input a limit buy order at $15.25 for the same xyz stock. The stock was executed at $15.25 like it should, but my account value was calculated from the $15.20. Hence when the price of my stock drop, there was an additional missing negative $500 dollar on top of what I had loss.

    After using OH for barely 2 month, I am planning to close my account. I understand since a trade only cost $2.95, the customer service couldn’t be that great. But seriously, they are even worst than Sogotrade (and they are already bad), I am planning switch back to use them for my day trading (at least they don’t flat out tell me they do not have time to fix my issue). I also uses Scott trade & Tradeking for my long positions, I would recommend them for better customer service, but they are in a different price range. For anyone that wants to use OH PLEASE STAY AWAY. The $2.95 per trade is not worth it when when customer service treats you like TRASH. I have never been treated so badly by any online discount broker and I’ll be sure to tell all my friends to stay away. Long waits when calling customer service is one thing, but flat out telling you they do not have time to help or listen to you is another.

  • Ron Miller says:

    Per Shannon Paul. You are a salesperson; your job is smooth the waters. You say “The extended hours trading announcement in particular was communicated via email and included an alert in the trading platform that customers had to acknowledge before proceeding into his or her account.” Bullshit stinks whether out of the mouth of a crusty old sailor or the sweet petite girls are spice and everything nice. I call BULLSHIT. If such a notice was developed, it did not reach all accounts.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    @Tyler D,

    I apologize for the delayed reply. I understand your frustration about the recent changes to the OptionHouse rate structure. The decision to modify the structure was not a decision anyone at the company took lightly.

    Many brokerages offer different rate plans for different types of customers with different trading activity. Unlike many of our competitors, we do not require a minimum balance or minimum activity level to qualify for a different rate, so in that sense, the structure is still flexible. The ability to switch rates in real time may be something worth exploring and I will pass that idea along to the team.

    @Michael,

    There are a lot of great resources out there for beginning investors. There are webinars on OptionsHouse and a lot of great news and information specific to options traders on ONN.tv (OptionsHouse is affiliated with ONN.tv through its parent company, PEAK6 Online). Investopedia and CBOE also have a wealth of information on their websites. Virtual trading might also be a good idea before risking real money. OptionsHouse has a virtual trading platform and there are other virtual platforms like We Seed (affiliated with OptionsHouse through its parent company, PEAK6 Online), and Kapitall.

    @Andrew,

    You’re correct to point out the other fees beyond basic rates for trades. Sometimes people forget about the other costs associated with maintaining an account when they shop for brokers.

    Thanks also for the suggestion regarding streaming quotes. This one is definitely on our radar and included on a list of future improvements we hope to make soon.

    @Ron Miller and Mark,

    I’m very sorry each of your experiences was so unpleasant and I will definitely pass along your sentiments to others on the team.

    With regards to changes and other important information, OptionsHouse uses a few different outreach methods to communicate with its customers including email, account message center updates and by voice. For new features, it’s customary to send an email announcing the feature along with additional information on the company website as well as an alert inside the trading platform. The extended hours trading announcement in particular was communicated via email and included an alert in the trading platform that customers had to acknowledge before proceeding into his or her account. This approach was selected specifically because of additional risks associated with extended hours trading for investors.

    As far as recommended changes to the trading platform, I’m glad to pass along the feedback to the team and appreciate you taking the time to articulate specific ways to make things better.

    @DHBandler,

    That is definitely a great idea. We just launched a mobile trading platform that works very well and we are exploring other ways to improve mobile account access, including native applications for the iPhone, Blackberry and Droid.

    @Ed Meshechek,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I think it’s probably safe to say we have all had that kind of interaction and know how exactly how frustrating it can be. I am very sorry you had this kind of experience with OptionsHouse.

    I would really like the opportunity to connect you with George Ruhana. He is the CEO at OptionsHouse, and I know he is very interested in hearing feedback from investors like you. Please let me know if you are interested and I will connect you with him directly. My email address is spaul[at]peak6[dot]com.

    Everyone,

    Thank you for continuing the conversation about OptionsHouse and for providing so much great feedback on how we can make the experience better for everyone moving forward.

    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

  • Ed Meshechek says:

    Directed mainly at Shannon Paul, but everyone take a look.
    I have also experianced a rude and put off attatude with a phone conversation this morning. I am totally new at purchasing stocks on line. For that matter, I have not been involved in the stock market for about 5 years, since my local stock broker died. I have just retired and wanted to start playing the stock market again, since now I have more time than I know what to do with, and happly opened the internet and searched google for online stock brokers, coming across all listed. I was impressed with the 2.95 pricing listed with OH so I thought it would be necessary to call with my question ( never buying on line has it’s concerns). My call was answered and I explained I was totally new to the online purchasing market and after asking 4 direct questions on stock terms and pricing, the man cut me short by assuring me he was a stock broker and didn’t have time to educate me on stocks. Total time of this conversation was 1 minute 14 seconds. He asked if he could direct my call to another department and I agreed ( annoyed at this for sure ). The second man answered my call and I explained and asked if he had time to answer my questions. He said he did have time, but also seemed irritated to answer question about on line trading. So I thanked him for his help and we hung up. Total time of the second conversation was 1 minute 27 seconds. Thats when I thought I’de better research Option House a bit more to see if the pros in this busikness agree that the customer service is terrible and degrading, and I can see that it in fact is.
    As for that, I think I’ll keep looking to find a broker that is more friendly and has more than 2 minutes to talk to a customer.

  • DHBandler says:

    Any thoughts on having an iPhone app for trading? ToS and Ameritrade have it, and it’s a pleasure to be so connected.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Ron Miller and Mark,

    I’m very sorry you both had such negative experiences as OptionsHouse customers. I noted the concerns each of you expressed here and plan to do a little research internally. I will get back with a more detailed response very soon.

    Thanks for posting your feedback.

    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

    • Alan says:

      they are right, crappy customer service and they are RUDE, specially Scott( in financial) two times they transfered me to Scott because they had no answer for my question and both time he(Scott) was very rude and had no answer for my question, when i politely asked him to transfer me to a supervisor or somebody who can help me he hanged up on me just like that, i will transfer my whole account to somewhere else i don’t care if i pay few dollar more as long as they take care of their customer.

  • Ron Miller says:

    What good is it to pay low commissions if the service is crappy. They don’t email you about changes to your account or their policies (e.g. They never let me know that they were now allowing extended hours trading online or that I had been determined to be a “pattern daytrader”). furthermore, their premarket hours don’t beging until 7:30 a.m. ct and afterhours only runs from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ct. and as for customer service, they are the rudest i’ve run into and they won’t hesitate to give you a wrong answer and then try to blow you off if you question them. Their stock trading platform can get you into trouble since they only offer the option of “buy” and “sell”. If you are accustomed to buying 100 shares but for some reason only buy 70 and then forget and sell 100 shares, you’ve just purchased 30 short shares. the platform is just way too elementary. it definitely is not a platform for serious stock traders.

    • Mark says:

      Ditto on everything you said. I’ve talked to a guy named Ray a couple of times who is a complete jerk. When I first opened the account I asked him via livechat whether OH had a tool that would provide me the same info. that Level II would provide and he said “yes”, pointed me to the “ratio” field, and told me that was total volume of BID and ASK. Comparing that to Level II on the platform I was going to be giving up to go to OH, I told him he was incorrect. Well that was a mistake because when I pressed to get the correct information, he terminated the chat. On another ocassion when we spoke by phone, he kept asking me if there was anything else he could help me with despite the fact that he kept refusing to answer the questions I had asked him.

      On several occasions I entered BUY/SELL orders and they weren’t processed. I’m not saying that I entered them and they weren’t filled, I’m saying that they never went into OH system, i.e. they never showed up as an order or in their “activity” field. Here I would be expecting a fill only to look and see that there was no order.

      Also, for daytrading, I find their trade ticket to be awkward. The BID/ASK automatically populates with the best price at the time you first opened the ticket. Firstly, if you want to change that price, the field is very small as are the up/down arrows. Secondly, since the field does not refresh, until you have your first negative experience, you may not realize that the ASK has dropped since you first opened the ticket and you end up buying a stock $.5 – $2 more than what the current ASK was. Which brings me to this point. Other platforms will notify you that you are out of range of the current BID/ASK, OH does not.

      I will be closing my account.

  • Andrew says:

    I have both OH and Eoption accounts. I have to say that both offers good value to the customers. While Eoption does charge less ($3 plus 0.1 per contract is a lot less), they do charge you $25 for extended-hour trading. Now, in OH you still get $2.95 for after-hour trading, which I like to do. Therefore, depending on what you trade most, the choice is yours.

    Now, for some areas that need improvement, Shannon, I think OH should at least have streaming quotes. Unless I am mistaken, although you can create your watchlist, the quotes are NOT streamed. (Of course you can refresh them, but it is really a pain.) I would recommend OH develop some similar features ASAP.

    Regards.

  • Michael says:

    I just open an account with them yesterday, hope they approve a college student with no job, of being able to buy call and put. If they do, I will stick with them after I graduate and can trade with more capital when I get a job. 🙂

  • Shannon Paul says:

    Jumbo Jug,

    Thanks for the words of encouragement – we are doing our best to listen and respond to conversations that are happening online. 🙂 I also understand that finding our recent price changes might be surprising to someone in your shoes.

    Please know that the changes in our price structure didn’t happen overnight. The previous flat pricing structure worked fine for OptionsHouse for 3 years since the brokerage opened to the public, however, recent changes in market dynamics caused the company to re-evaluate its pricing. The new rates will go into effect beginning December 15, 2009.

    OptionsHouse has always been up front about accepting payment-for-order-flow in order to pass savings onto its customers while monitoring order execution quality. However, payment-for-order-flow rates declined significantly this past year. With more symbols trading in pennies, this trend will continue into 2010. In light of these changes it became necessary to revamp the pricing structure to continue offering low pricing to our customers.

    Without getting too technical, payment-for-order-flow is the securities industry practice of providing a monetary incentive for brokers to route their orders through a specific market maker. While OptionsHouse closely monitors order execution quality, when things are equal, we accept payment for order flow in order to pass on that savings to customers.

    The reason we are one of the only online brokerages to change rates in response to these market dynamics is that most brokerages maintain margins so big that they don’t need to change prices. During the last three years, this practice of passing on savings to OptionsHouse customers has saved them millions of dollars in commissions compared with many of our competitors.

    While the new pricing structure is no longer flat, it is flexible, and based on trading behavior. With our up to 5 for $5 rate, customers will actually pay 50% less than before with our flat rate pricing for trades with 5 contracts. Our other plan caters to the active trader who routinely trades more than 10 contracts per ticket. Customers can also switch between plans in order to accommodate occasional high volume trades.

    Plus, OptionsHouse will continue to provide the same flat rate of $2.95 for stock trades.

    The decision to change the pricing structure was not an easy decision to make, and while no one can predict the future or how the market will change, at this time there are no plans to modify the pricing structure again in the near future. Rates at OptionsHouse have held steady – and we’ve even lowered pricing on spreads and stocks over the last 3 years. The goal at OptionsHouse has always been to provide a solid value for all its customers.

    I hope this helps explain why some things are changing right now at OptionsHouse. We do our best to be as transparent as possible and welcome all feedback.

    Thanks so much for your questions.

    Shannon Paul
    Community Manager
    PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse

    • Tyler D says:

      The 2 rate plans “sound” flexible but if you change the rate plan in the middle of the day, the new rate won’t be effective until the following trading day. Here is the FAQ from Optionshouse:

      04 Can I change my commission plan in the middle of the day, and when does it take effect?

      Yes, you can change your commission plan at any time (24 hours a day) and the change will be applied to the account on the next trading day beginning at 7:30 am CT. For example, if you change your commission plan at 6:00 am CT, the change will take effect at 7:30 am CT the same day. If you change your commission plan at 8:00 am CT, the change will take effect at 7:30 am CT the FOLLOWING day.

      This means if you want to trade in high volume in the middle of the day, you’ll need to pray that the market does not change dramatically the following day so that you don’t miss the boat. If you can do that, then yeah, it is FLEXIBLE.

    • Tyler D says:

      Shannon, I have one suggestion.

      Why bother with 2 rate plan when it doesn’t make any sense for customers who trade less than 10 contracts to use the “$8.5 + .15/contract” rate and customers who trade more than 10 contracts to use the “$5 up to 5 contracts + $1/contract after” rate.

      Instead, just use this structure: $1/contract up to 10 contract with a minimum of $5 commission, and $8.5 + .15/contract with 10+ contracts. The commission charge stays the same and customers don’t have to bother to switch between the 2 plans and don’t have to “plan ahead” if they want to trade high volume, since switching plan in the middle of the day won’t take effect until the next trading day.

  • Don says:

    Yeah seriously what’s the big deal having to sit on $100 bucks… Not like they’re stealing it from you, if it helps keep commissions low I’m for it.

  • Jumbo Jug says:

    Shannon,

    Thanks for the reply. I like the fact that somebody is monitoring and listening to our comments. That is great thing. Trust really increases that way as we can see that you are trying to do better. I decided to join OptionsHouse immediately, I went to the site to open account, but now to my surprise, price structure is changed. When is that price structure going to be effective? If I join today, will I get the old price structure for 6 months to 1 year as promotional. I agree that you are still the best around but feels bad to see when I wanted to join things changing.

    Thank you,

    • Tyler D says:

      Don’t bother with OH Jumbo. Even old customers don’t get to keep the old flat rate. If you want low commission for option trading, you might want to try eOption. Their regular rate is $3 + .10 per contracts, and if you call them 1-888-793-5333, they will low the rate to $3 + .05 per contracts. OH can’t beat that.

      http://www.eoption.com/index.html#

    • Tyler D says:

      Another alternative if you trade less than 15 contracts is Interactive Brokers. Commission is only $.70/contract and cheaper than OH if you trade less than 15 contract. And their SmartRouting will get you much better price than Optionshouse IMO.

  • Tyler D says:

    OH is now crap to me. Eoption offer better pricing.
    I believe it’s $3 + .10/contract

  • amkr says:

    New commission rates are really going to hurt for Iron Condors or other multi-leg strategies. After I received the message this morning, I checked around and they still have the best prices around. Thinkorswim has the best software, however.

  • Shannon Paul says:

    David,

    I hope you don’t mind my weighing in again in the comments. I really do appreciate all of the insight your readers have shared here in the comments about OptionsHouse and we are definitely listening. The latest one from Jumbo Jug is one I would like to address:

    I consulted with our product team and we are unaware of any issues on our end that could be causing your friend’s browser to freeze; especially as frequently as once in an hour. This may be a problem with his connection or hardware, but anyone who has any technical issues or difficulty connecting is welcome to contact our customer service department at customerservice@optionshouse.com or call 877-653-2500 to see if there is anything we can do to assist with the troubleshooting process.

    As far as confirmation emails are concerned, you’re correct; we do not automatically generate a confirmation email at the time of the trade, but we do send out an email after the close of the market to alert customers that a confirmation is in their OptionsHouse account message center. We send the actual confirmation to the account message center in order to keep the information secure for our customers. However, I did pass along your idea to the product team and they will definitely keep it in mind for any future enhancements to our current system.

    The last scenario you outlined where you describe putting in an order for qty:50 options and seeing only qty:1 of those contracts execute. There is always the potential for this to happen in a market scenario, but our trading platform has a built-in feature that allows you to do an exchange look-up before you trade. This shows the bid, ask and size on every exchange at that given moment. After the trade, execution reports are also available for every fill posted to an OptionsHouse account. As a firm, we do not engage in filling any trades for a single contract in order to exact commissions for modifications.

    I am happy to connect you, or your friend, with someone on our team that can address all your questions and concerns about OptionsHouse, or please feel free to contact customer service directly.

    I hope this helps you and your friend as well as anyone else here considering an account at OptionsHouse.

    Thank you,
    Shannon Paul
    Communications Manager
    PEAK6 Online – Parent Company of OptionsHouse

    • Richard Mazur says:

      I can not believe there are no email confirmations to be honest. All brokers do this and there is no privacy issues with it. Simply emailing and saying this order got filled and at what price and qty is really no big deal and does not give away any personal information. I actually just sent in two accounts to open (one peraonal and one corporate) and really am suprised to hear about this lack of confirmation. If place and open order and am away from my system (have email on my phone) it’s nice to know if it got placed. Or if I am working I can check email, see order was placed or an alert was sent about a stock. now that I am thinking about it, the system may not even let me set up alerts about a product?

      • Ferruccio Fortini says:

        “All brokers do it”: nope, big names like Vanguard and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management do it just like OptionsHouse (for their online “self-directed investors” service) — you just get a mail after end of trading, with no details about exactly what happened, and directions to log in into their site in order to read the detailed message securely.

        I’m an accountant, not an expert on computer security, but I’m told by people who _are_ such experts that most email can be considered fairly insecure — very few people use encrypted, secured services all through their email-delivery chain (I know I do when I access my gmail account, since I use “https” for that — but, on its way to gmail [or whatever you use for the final leg of your email delivery], there is just no way for anybody to guarantee that all delivery legs will be perfectly secure, because no single organization controls all such “legs”).

        Remember to never mail (unencrypted) any information that would make you uncomfortable if your email ended up published on some hacker’s website, just like you should never put in email (or otherwise in writing — whether encrypted or not) any information that would make you uncomfortable if it got subpoenaed in some lawsuit that possibly doesn’t even involve you except maybe peripherally. Accountants and auditors are VERY aware of this issue (as no doubt is any other profession which isn’t legally protected against such disclosure — few professions have the equivalent of “client-attorney privilege” that lawyers have, or doctors’ and priests’ protection in such matters) regarding potential subpoenas — surely potential accidental leaks are AT LEAST as bad (or, surely, much, much worse).

        As for alerts on your phone, I believe (but don’t know for a fact: I’m not an OptionsHouse customer, more of a “buy and hold” curmudgeon with a strong bias in favor of doing my very rare trades by interacting with a broker who’s a human being… just like I prefer to buy my books as well-printed, hard-bound, high-quality paper at a local bookstore… sure, it will cost me a few more bucks, but I don’t buy enough books, NOR do enough trades, in a year, for this to make any material difference to me.-) that OptionsHouse has a new trading application designed specifically for “smart” phones — if that’s what you’re after, you should look into it.

  • Jumbo Jug says:

    My friend is a big fan of OptionsHouse. But he has few good points and skepticism about the way trading happens in OptionsHouse.

    Good things:
    1. Charges low fee for options. They get 100 out of 100 Marks there.
    2. Real time update of price .

    Bad things:
    1. Browser freeze on you once in an hour. You have to kill the browser and restart new browser.
    2. There is no way you get confirmation about any order execution unless you are logged in and watching interactively. They will not send any confirmation e-mail. Looks scary to me here. To give an example, let us say you put an order and it is executed today, 2 days or few days later, there is no way you know it is executed. However, you get an e-mail that something happend in your account at the end of the day without specific trade information. That means if you are not logged in let us say the price goes up, OptionsHouse can sell your options and you do not even know. He is not saying they they are doing it or they will do it. But not providing e-mail confirmation makes me think so much.

    Another example he gave was, let us say you put order for qty:50 options, once in while you see only qty:1 option getting executing (buy or sell). That means if you cancel the order you are paying $9.99 for one option. He does not know somebody really bought that contract or OptionsHouse is executing to make money.

    That is the reason I did not open account until today. I told my friend to let me know when they provide e-mail confirmation to me of every executed trade.

    There are more things like this he mentioned and he is not sure everything going great or not if you are logged in and watching all the time.

    Hope this information helps other people decide whether to join OptionsHouse or not.

  • stella says:

    I am considering moving my account to option house and decided to read customers review of this company. The reviews are very encouraging, so I will open account with this company.

  • Lou says:

    I’ve been trading mostly stocks for over a year with OH. I’ve enjoyed the trading experience and low fees. I did call customer service twice and received satisfactory outcomes. I would like to see features added like position percentage gain/loss, electronic monthly statement access, account self maintenance (ie–change phone number), after hours trading, and the trademonster’s “Exit Plan”.

  • Jes says:

    I have had no complaints whatsoever with this broker. I used to believe that the only way they could charge such low commissions was from weak fills…but that has not been the case at all…as my fills have been great. The trading platform has also grown on me significantly as far as speed is concerned. You don’t really appreciate how quickly you can adjust your orders on optionshouse until you’re caught in the middle of some intense trading activity and you only have but a few seconds to cancel or make changes to your orders so that you can get in or out of a position at a better price. Then once you realize how fast you were able to accomplish all of this with their platform…it’s just empowering. The quick little one-two-click pop up system they employ for filling out order tickets and editing existing orders is just great. I used to trade with other discount brokers…but none of them offered such quick order editing ability, especially with the amazingly low commissions you get here.

    The only problem I have had with the platform was a case where I modified an open order on a trade that was partially filled, and got confused because I thought the platform was telling me that the new replacement order had been completely filled right away, when it actually hadn’t. I believe it was a rare technical glitch, but to make a long story short, after calling tech support and informing them about the problem I had experienced, they credited my account for the additional commission charge I had incurred from the confusion. You call that terrible customer service?

    What’s more, by the end of this year, I heard that optionshouse is going to add more advanced order types (like one cancels other, one triggers other, etc.) which is really going to make my trading experience even better.

    One last thing I wanted to mention: do you know how amazing it is to actually be able to buy 100 options contracts, for example, and then sell them 1 cent higher than you bought them for, and still manage to make a profit? Or how about getting into an options trade with 100 contracts that doesn’t go your way, and ending up having to sell the contracts at the same price you bought them for, but only losing $20 (the commissions) on the round trip deal? I don’t know of any other brokers who offer commissions low enough for those two conditions to be possible. In my opinion you’re losing money if you’re trading with anyone else.

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