optionsXpress Review

Updated Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recommended for stock trading only

Company Background:

OptionsXpress was founded in February of 2000 and began accepting online trades via its website in November of the same year.  The service is best known for its powerful options and futures trading platform

Since its inception, optionsXpress has grown both organically and via acquisitions.  In 2008, OptionsXpress acquired the online futures broker Open E-Cry.  The company then purchased investment education provider Optionetics in 2009.

On March 21, 2011, Schwab announced that it was set to acquire optionsXpress.  OptionsXpress shareholders will get 1.02 shares of Schwab stock for each share of optionsXpress stock, valuing the deal at about $1 billion.  The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011.

OptionsXpress is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol OXPS and currently has a market cap of $876 million.  The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois with David A. Fisher as its CEO.  It is self clearing in the US and uses Pension Financial Services, Inc. to clear in Canada.


  • Website: www.optionsxpress.com
  • Advanced Trading Platforms: Xtend and Xpresstrade (Desktop Applications)
  • Mobile Website: No
  • iPhone App: Yes
  • Android App: Yes
  • BlackBerry App: Yes
  • Windows Mobile App: Yes
  • Palm WebOS App: Yes

Review Summary:

OptionsXpress is an excellent all around service.  Both the stock and options trading platforms are well designed.  The Xtend desktop application also offers a good trading experience.  The account opening process, charts and research tools are among the best in the industry.  There is even top flight iPhone and Android apps and an excellent Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP).  So what's not to like?  The commissions are a killer.  Stock commissions, at $9.95, are steep but at least somewhat competitive.  Options commissions are a minimum $14.95 for most customers which is just too much to pay for the typical investor.  If optionsXpress would reduce their trading commissions then we would move the service to near the top of our list.  With the current pricing scheme, we give a lukewarm recommendation of the service for stock traders only.

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