1. OptionsXpress - Brokerage Review – Introduction
  2. OptionsXpress - Brokerage Review – Fee Structure And Tools
  3. OptionsXpress - Brokerage Review – Additional Features

Commission / Fee Structure
Like many brokerages, commissions at optionsXpress are based in part on the magnitude and volume of an investor's business. Those investors who conduct more than 35 options transactions in a month are deemed "active investors." Active investors pay a flat commission of $12.95 for trades involving 1-10 options contracts, while regular customers pay $14.95. Beyond the 10 contract threshold, the commission shifts to a per-contract basis of $1.25 for active investors and $1.50 for others.


Figure 2: Overview of optionsXpress standard brokerage fees.


Spreads, straddles and combos offer broadly similar commissions. Penny options carry a flat commission of $4.95 for up to 10 contracts and 50 cents contract for more than 10 contracts. Stock trades carry a flat $8.95 commission, and the website does indicate if telephone-based or broker-assisted trading is available. Bond transactions cost $5 per bond, with a $9.95 minimum commission. Mutual fund transactions carry a $9.95 commission and any additional loads/fees.

Futures commissions, as well as commissions on options on futures, are based on the number of contracts involved. For futures, the first 40 contracts carry a $6.99 commission which steadily declines to $2.99 on trades involving 1,001 or more contracts. For options on futures, the commissions begin at $12.99 for the first 40 contracts and decline to $5.99 for trades of 1,001 or more contracts. (For related reading, see Paying Your Investment Advisor- Fees Or Commissions?)

Analysis Tools
OptionsXpress customers are given a variety of online tools to help them evaluate, execute, and monitor trades. Strategy scan identifies potential trades based upon an investor's pre-selected criteria and preferences, while an online trade/probability calculator assists in assessing the potential of a trade.

This brokerage also offers advanced charting and real-time quoting screens for stocks, options, and futures. OptionsXpress provides live educational webinars on an ongoing basis and access to free trading specialists. Investors can also test trading strategies with a free virtual trading account.


OptionsXpress - Brokerage Review – Additional Features
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