My OptionsXpress OX Online Stockbroker Account Review

OptionsXpress Logo
OptionsXpress Logo

Intro

OptionsXpress (OX) is an online stock brokerage that offers low cost options trades and reasonable stocks trades to its investors and active traders. Known for being an online discount brokerage, OptionsXpress also provides low cost stock trades and other financial services for its customers. Client can trade stock online for $14.95 per trade and trade option for $1.50 per contract with no options fee or ticket fee using web based platform or software based platform. OptionsXpress also provides variety of investment education resources for beginner or advanced traders and offers a virtual trading platform for its traders. You can access the online website at www.OptionsXpress.com.


History

OptionsXpress was established on 2000 by Ned Bennett, David Kalt and Jim Gray. The current headquarter is located at Chicago, IL USA. OptionsXpress also has over 368,000 customer accounts and over $7.2 billion in client assets. OptionsXpress is an online brokerage firm that listed in Nasdaq with ticker: OXPS

It currently uses its own clearing service to hold the client asset in USA. It uses Penson Financial for Canadian customer. OptionsXpress, member of FINRA & SIPC, holds and clears all client trade. All OptionsXpress accounts are insured under SIPC up to $500,000 ($100,000 cash). The funds in deposit accounts are insured since your funds will be swept into Deposits Accounts at up to eleven (11) banks. These funds will be eligible for at least $2.5 million in coverage for individual account ($5.0 million for joint). These funds are insured by FDIC up to a total of $250,000 principal per bank.

The current OptionsXpress main office is at the following address:

311 West Monroe Street, Suite 1000
Chicago, Illinois 60606 USA


OptionsXpress Main Page
OptionsXpress Main Page

Products & Pricing

The following are the products and pricing details of OptionsXpress account:

  • Products: Stocks, ETF, fixed income or bonds, mutual funds, options, futures
  • Market Orders: $14.95 per trade
  • Limit Orders: $14.95 per trade
  • ETF Orders: $14.95 per trade
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $14.95 per trade
  • Mutual Funds: $9.95 for NTF funds + Load
  • Options: $14.95 per trade
  • Bonds: $9.95 per trade ($5.00 per bond)
  • Futures: $6.99 (up to 40 contracts)
  • Minimum to Open: $0, $2000 for margin
  • Account maintenance fee: $0.00
  • IRA Account Termination: $50
  • Some Other Fees: Wire Transfer outgoing: $15.00 per transfer.
  • ACAT Out: $50.00.
  • Maximum Margin Rate: Based on proprietary base rate

Note: Above pricing is for standard pricing. More details will be explained below.


Inside OX Online

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Account BalanceAccount Balance OverviewTrading ViewOption Trades
Account Balance
Account Balance
Account Balance Overview
Account Balance Overview
Trading View
Trading View
Option Trades
Option Trades

Open OptionsXpress Account

Opening account is straight forward; you just need to fill the online application through OptionsXpress website. You can open individual, joint, trust, custodial, business, and Individual Retirement accounts (IRA). They may require you to submit some identification as well. The application only takes about 5-15 minute. Once you completed the application, you’ll need to wait for their approval. To link your checking account to your OX account, you can setup during the application process. It took 1 business day for OptionsXpress approval. You will receive email approval the next day. Once done, you will receive an email or voicemail regarding your checking account linkage. Your checking account would soon register two micro deposits; you will need to verify these deposits in your OptionsXpress (OX) account.

You will need to provide some additional information for any typical brokerage accounts such as:

Personal information such as Name, Date of birth, Social Security Number

A valid email address

Employment information (Company Name & Start Date)

General financial information include annual income and household net worth

There are 4 different ways to fund your OptionsXpress account:

  1. Wire Transfer – usually can be done same business day
  2. Transfer an account from other brokers .This will take more than 10 business days
  3. Mailing a check will take 5-7 business days
  4. Electronic Transfer (ACH transfer) will take up to 3 business days.

For International or Foreign investor or non US resident, you can apply optionsXpress (OX) account through the website. It will direct you to your international website. Typically, you will need to submit some information by mail. You will need to submit W-8Ben and ID or Passport along with your application.


The Goods and Bads

Pros

  • Support mobile trading
  • Offers low cost for option trades for high volume investor
  • No Account Maintenance fees
  • No Minimum initial deposit required
  • Offers various investment education
  • No extra fee for broker assisted trade
  • No IRA maintenance fees

Cons

  • No Forex (Foreign Exchange) trading
  • Commission fees are high for small investor


Sample Stock Trades Fee

(click column header to sort results)
# of shares  
0-8 Trades/Quarter  
9+ Trades/Quarter  
1
$14.95
9.95
100
$14.95
9.95
500
$14.95
9.95
1000
$14.95
9.95
5000
$75.00
$50.00
10000
$150.00
$100.00

Commissions Details

OptionsXpress is an online discount brokerage with a more complex tier commissions structure. It is known as one of the more pricey discount brokers. OptionsXpress offers lower commissions rates for active traders or investors that trade more often. There are added fees though depending on the size of the order, amongst other situations. The following is the details.

For Stock Trades, there are 2 types of pricing structures to buy stock and sell stocks online. If you trade 0-8 trades per quarter, you will pay $14.95 per trade (up to 1,000 shares). If you trade 9+ Trades/Quarter, you will be charged $9.95 per trade (up to 1,000 shares).

For investors trading more than 1,000 shares per order, the rate is $0.010 per share (0-8 trades/quarter) and $0.015 per share (9+ trades/quarter). For penny stock traders, commissions are capped at 5% of total purchase price with a $14.95 minimum per order. There is no additional fee for broker assisted trades; this means the cost for buying stock online is only $9.95 per trade or $14.95 per trade (up to 1,000 shares).

Investor can place the following stock orders:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop Loss
  • Stop Limit
  • Trailing Stop Loss $
  • Trailing Stop Limit $
  • Market on Close
  • Conditional


Sample Options Trades Cost

(click column header to sort results)
# of contracts  
Standard  
Active Trader  
1
14.95
$12.95
2
14.95
$12.95
5
14.95
$12.95
10
14.95
$12.95
15
$22.50
$18.75
50
$75.00
$62.50
100
$150.00
$125.00

For Options Trades, optionsXpress charges $1.50 per contract if <35 options trades per quarter with a $14.95 minimum. Otherwise it is only $1.25 per contract with a $12.95 minimum. The broker does not charge any options base fee or ticket fee. Thus, based on the $1.50 per contract rate, a 3 contracts order would cost $14.95 (the minimum) and a 25 contract purchase would cost $37.50 (25 x $1.50). Whether you want to buy call option, sell call option, buy put option, or sell put option or covered call, please check above commission structure.

Exercises and Assignments are an additional $9.95 for currently active options traders (see above for designation), and $14.95 for non-active options traders. To buy-to-close penny options (contracts under $.05), the rate is $4.95 + $.50 per contract. Note: Active option trader customers must maintain 35 or more option trades per quarter.

For Mutual Funds Trades, optionsXpress charges $9.95 per trade plus any additional loads or fees charged by the fund itself.

For Futures Trades, optionsXpress charges $6.99 (1-40 contracts), $5.99 (41-100 contracts), $4.99 (101-300 Contracts), $3.99 (301-1,000 Contracts), and $2.99 (1000+ contracts).

For Bonds Trades, customer will be charged $5.00 per bond with $14.95 minimum.


Final Thought

OptionsXpress offers variety of great features for its client base. The stock and options trading platform is well done. OptionsXpress also offers a large number of ways to trade such as web based trading platform and desktop software applications. The two desktop applications are Xpresstrade and Xtend. OptionsXpress also offer a mobile trading platform using iphone, blackberry, Android phone, Windows Mobile phone and Palm web OS platform.

The account opening process is quick and among the best in brokerage industry. The charts and research tools also provides additional tools for investors or active trades to have an edge in trading. One of the disadvantages especially for small investor is the commissions are a little bit too expensive. Stock commissions, at $9.95, are steep but at least somewhat competitive. To trade options, customer will be charge a minimum of $14.95 for the trades which is just too much to pay for the typical investor. I would only recommend using OptionsXpress for stock trading and not option trading. Though, I think active option traders may find OptionsXpress commission to be very competitive.

Last Updated: 2/4/2011

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3 comments

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

What energy and knowledge it takes to be a trader. The more I read about OptionsXpress, the more it seems like "The House" is the sure winner. Thank you for your hard work, and professional Hubs on trading.Voted up and shared chan0512!


chan0512 profile image

chan0512 5 years ago from Camarillo, CA Author

Thanks Lilly for your thought on OptionsXpress (OX)! Glad your like this article, more to come about online discount brokerage review.


TheDigitalOption profile image

TheDigitalOption 2 years ago from Everett

One of the better reviews I've come across while looking about today. Nice job.

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