OptionsXpress vs SpeedTrader

OptionsXpressChoosing a new broker is up there with moving house or going for a job interview in terms of the amount of stress involved, sometimes I think it’s a lot more stressful than it needs to be.

Fortunately if you do make a mistake you’re not stuck with it for life, you can simply cut and run, although you’ll have to pay some pretty hefty transfer charges in the process.

So to save you the trouble of trying out every broker in town, we’ve compared two of the best, OptionsXpress and SpeedTrader to see which one is the most suitable for your trading style and experience. Take a look at the tables below and you should get a pretty good idea which broker is right for you.


Products & Services

Broker OptionsXpress SpeedTrader
Rating [rating:5/5] [rating:3/5]
website Visit the OptionsXpress Website Visit the SpeedTrader Website
Our Review Read Our OptionsXpress Review Read Our SpeedTrader 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

Where services are concerned there isn’t much to choose between them. Needles to say they’ve got all the basics covered, stocks, ETFs, mutual finds and options etc, that’s not really surprising since they’re both stock brokers after all.

SpeedTrader also offer day trading services to frequent traders; this is complimented by level 2 data which is supplied in their SpreedTrader Pro platform for a small fee. SpeedTrader Pro is a professional level direct access platform which is used by many proprietary traders.

The real difference between these two brokers comes down to their trading platforms and tools.

Trading Tools

OptionsXpress SpeedTrader
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

There is little doubt about the kind of traders each broker is trying to attract here. OptionsXpress despite what the name suggests is a great all round broker with an excellent all round platform. In fact I’d go as far to say this is my favorite platform of all the platforms I’ve used, and I’ve used a lot.

SpeedTrader offer a much more specialized platform, in fact they offer three platforms depending on your requirements. SpeedTrader 2 is the basic platform, it’s a web based platform suitable for smaller traders. SpeedTrader Pro is a full direct access platform which includes level 2 data and finally Sterling Trader Pro is similar to SpeedTrader Pro but with some added bells and whistles.

SpeedTrader Pro and Sterling Trader Pro require a monthly fee to use. But this is reduced the more you trade. So if you trade frequently this isn’t going to be a problem but if you’re a smaller investor you’ll need to factor in the extra cost.

Of course both brokers offer full mobile trading platforms so you can execute trades whilst on the go. SpeedTrader only offer their mobile platform via the iPhone which is a bit limiting if you have a blackberry like me. The OptionsXpress mobile platform is available for Blackberry, iPhone and Android devices which is much more helpful.

Fees & Commissions

OptionsXpress SpeedTrader
Account Minimum $0.00 $0.00
Margin Account Minimum $2000 $2000
Stocks & ETFs $9.95 $6.95
Options Base $12.99 (1- 40 contracts) $0.00
Options Per Contract $0.00 $1.00 per contract
Account Management Fee $0.00 $30.00 Quarterly Inactivity Fee
Broker Assisted Trades $9.95 $6.95
Mutual Funds $9.95 $50.00
Bonds $5.00/bond ($9.95 minimum) $50.00
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $35.00


In summary then OptionsXpress is an ideal all round broker, they offer award winning customer service a full portfolio of products and one of the best trading platforms around.

SpeedTrader on the other hand is much more focused on the big ticket traders. They’re not interested in beginners or investors who trade one or two times a month, as proved by their $30 inactivity fee.

So if you’re a specialist day trader with a sizable account SpeedTrader are a better option than say E*TRADE due to their much more competitive fees. But for every other kind of trader OptionsXpress is the way to go.

One word about beginners before I finish, neither broker is particularly suitable for you if you’re just starting out. Their training is aimed at a more intermediate level and a little too advanced for all you rookies. If you’re a complete novice you’d be much better served by either Zecco or TradeKing.

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