OptionsXpress vs E*TRADE

OptionsXpressThis is a real battle of the giants, E*TRADE are one of the largest and best known discount brokerage houses and OptionsXpress are now owned by Charles Schwab the original discount brokerage firm.

But whilst they’re both similar sized brokers they target very different sections of the market. E*TRADE targets experienced investors with large accounts. OptionsXpress is a great all round broker and goes after intermediate traders looking to graduate from one of the smaller brokers.

So which one is the right broker for you? We’ve compared them both for customer service, trading platforms and of course price. Check out the tables below to find which broker is the perfect match for you and your trading style.


Products & Services

Broker OptionsXpress E*TRADE
Rating [rating:5/5] [rating:3/5]
website Visit the OptionsXpress Website Visit the E*TRADE Website
Our Review Read Our OptionsXpress Review Read Our Full E*TRADE Review
Bank Deposits Bank Deposits
Bonds Bonds
Certificates of Deposits Certificates of Deposits
Day Trading Day Trading
Services Extended Hours Trading Extended Hours Trading
Mutual Funds Mutual Funds
Trading Community Trading Community


Services Overview

When it comes to the number of services offered it’s difficult to beat E*TRADE, they offer everything from stocks to regular bank accounts. OptionsXpress on the other hand is more of a traditional broker and offers all the major investment products and services minus the bank accounts.

Both brokers are ideal if you’re looking to manage your IRA, as neither of them charges an annual IRA management fee.

When it comes to broker assisted trades E*TRADE are on the expensive side, so if you require the assistance of a broker to execute trades OptionsXpress is by far the better choice.

Trading Tools

OptionsXpress E*TRADE
Automated Trading Automated Trading
Investor Resource Center Investor Resource Center
Mobile Trading Mobile Trading
Online Advisor Online Advisor
Trading Tools
Profit & Loss Calculator Profit & Loss Calculator
Streaming Charts Streaming Charts
Stock & Fund Screeners Stock & Fund Screeners
Tables & Graphs Tables & Graphs
Training & Education Training & Education
Virtual Trading Virtual Trading


Trading Tools Overview

Both brokers offer exceptional trading platforms, if you’re an intermediate trader and don’t require level 2 access then OptionsXpress have one of the best platforms available from any broker.

It has an endless list of tools to help you trade, no matter what your strategy is. They have excellent live news feeds and earnings reports built in for fundamental analysis and some of the best charting tools around for technical analysis. It all comes beautifully packaged in an easy to use interface which is a joy to use.

If you do require level 2 access E*TRADE offer frequent traders a more professional style platform than the standard one, it comes complete with level 2 data and a set of professional style tools free of charge.

Fees & Commissions

OptionsXpress E*TRADE
Account Minimum $0.00 $1000
Margin Account Minimum $2000 $2000
Stocks & ETFs $9.95 $9.99 (0-149 Trades)
Options Base $12.99 (1- 40 contracts) $9.99 (0-149 Contracts)
Options Per Contract $0.00 $0.75 per contract
Account Management Fee $0.00 $0.00
Broker Assisted Trades $9.95 $45.00
Mutual Funds $9.95 $19.99
Bonds $5.00/bond ($9.95 minimum) $1.00/bond ($10.00 minimum)
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00


To sum up then OptionsXpress are a world class broker, they have exceptional customer service, a world beating platform and some excellent training materials, perfect for intermediate traders. I would highly recommend them to both intermediate and advanced traders that don’t require level 2 data.

If you do require level 2 data then you have two choices, you can either join one of the direct access brokers out there like Lightspeed or you can join one of the few discount brokers that offer level 2 data as an option like E*TRADE.

If you’re a beginner then neither of these two brokers is really suitable. These two are firmly aimed at intermediate and advanced traders and some of their education and training materials are a little too advanced for beginners.

If you’re a beginner you’d be much better off using a broker like Zecco who specifically target their platform and training at rookies. You’ll also save a small fortune in fees as both these brokers are on the expensive side if you make small trades.

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