Although OptionsXpress is a discount broker that focuses on trading options and other derivatives, this discount broker is also worth a look for the more traditional trading of stocks and ETFs as well as investing in an IRA for little or no fees. Right now, the discount broker is working to attract new customers. For a limited time, OptionsXpress is offering a $100 cash bonus for all new account holders.
OptionsXpress $100 bonus
- Make an initial deposit of $500
- Execute three trades within the first six months of opening the account
- Maintain a $500 balance is maintained in the account (minus any losses) for at least six months
Once all three criteria have been met, OptionsXpress will deposit the $100 bonus in your account within 30 days, so it could be seven months after your initial deposit that the company will provide you with the bonus. If OptionsXpress were to provide the bonus before you have met the six month requirement and you fail to maintain your balance, they reserve the right to remove the bonus from your account. The $100 cash bonus is the largest offered by an online discount broker today, so despite the possible seven month wait, it’s an attractive offer.
In 2000, Ned Bennett, David Kalt and Jim Gray founded OptionXpress, headquartered in Chicago Illinois. As the years progressed, OptionsXpress went international, developed new trading tools, went public (Nasdaq: OXPS). The brokerage continues to design and launch new technology, such as mobile applications and a downloadable streaming quotes features, to compete with the lager discount brokerages.
OptionsXpress commissions and fees
OptionsXPress is not the lowest-cost discount brokerage. The fee for trading stocks is $9.95 per transaction, and if your transaction includes more than 1,000, the cost increases to $0.01 per share. For options, the brokerage encourages active trading with a reduced commission: $12.95 flat free for up to 10 contracts or $1.25 per contract when trading more than ten contracts. The fees for dormant traders are slightly higher at $14.95 for up to ten contracts or $1.50 per contract for larger transactions.
Here is a complete list of OptionsXpress trading costs.
OptionXpress trading tools and education
OptionsXpress offers more than 20 different trading tools with an entire section dedicated to teaching investors about trading and how to use their tools. OptionsXpress is a leader in trading technology. These tools help OptionsXpress stand out among its competitors.
The Dragon. Scan for stocks and options that match your chosen criteria, from stock activity to P/E plays to percentage change. The Dragon ranks the top 50 results from your search with convenient links to pre-populated order forms, options chains and charts.
Strategy Scan. Find an investment strategy that aligns with your investing goals, trading experience and risk level. Preview up to three opportunities based on your criteria, complete with maximum potential gain, risk profile and profit and loss characteristics, or view a matrix of up to nine different possibilities.
XpressTrade. Get quick, convenient access to a compact version of their Quote Detail feature, basic order forms, real-time quotes, a variety of charts, and real-time information on account equity, buying power, positions and orders.
Option Pricer. Variables like strike price, time to expiration, and implied volatility are dynamic, making it difficult to understand how a change in only one of them might affect an option’s price. The Option Pricer helps you understand how changing market conditions might affect the price of your option investment.
OptionsXpress customer service
Any good online discount broker will be available during normal trading hours but a top notch broker is available well beyond 40 hours a week. Currently, OptionsXpress offers three different ways to contact them. Whether by phone, email or online chat, you can always expect OptionsXpress to get back to you quickly and courteously. Here are the hours customers can contact OptionsXPress.
- Live Chat. Live Chat is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm ET and on Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET.
- Email. Any questions sent through email are responded to within 24 hours, unless they are sent on a weekend, at which point it can take up to 48 hours to receive a response.
- Phone. General phone support is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm ET, and trader support is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm ET.
OptionsXpress is rated a four star broker by Barron’s based on usability, trade experience, trading technology, range of offerings, research amenities, portfolio analysis and report, customer service and access, and costs. This rating has remained consistent for nine years in a row. Aince 2002, OptionsXpress has won “Best Online Broker” from both Smart Money Magazine and Barron’s on multiple occasions.
Transaction costs can be a determine for those who shop for the lowest fees. After all, any fee eats into the potential profit of your investment. I don’t suggest active trading; for me, this type of investing is more like gambling. But for those who are interested in online trading, OptionsXpress is one of the best discount brokerages thanks to the features and services, despite the price. This $100 cash bonus will offset some of those transaction costs, but it’s only available for a limited time. Consider signing up for an OptionsXpress account today.
Updated March 24, 2011 and originally published January 14, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.