Changing brokers can be a real nightmare, there’s a never ending list of things for you to worry about.
Do they have the tools I need to trade? Are there any hidden charges I need to know about? Do they even offer the products I trade? Are just some of the questions you need answers to.
Fortunately we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve compared two of the best known brokers, OptionsXpress and tradeMONSTER to give you an idea what kind of traders they’ll suit and why.
Products & Services
|website||Visit the OptionsXpress Website||Visit the tradeMONSTER Website|
|Bank Deposits||Bank Deposits|
|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|
It’s pretty difficult to separate brokers’ purely on products and services these days, there was a time that brokers were a lot more specialized offering only options or stocks and mutual funds. But today most brokers offer all the major investment products, so there’s little to choose between them in terms of services offered.
There are two things to look out for though, firstly do they offer after hours trading and if they do is there a surcharge for it? And secondly do they have a surcharge for penny stocks?
OptionsXpress offer after hours trading at no extra charge, neither do they apply a surcharge to penny stocks. tradeMONSTER on the other hand charge both penny stock and after hours surcharges of 1.5 cents per share for after hours trading and 0.0005% per share for penny stocks.
So if you check your portfolio after hours OptionsXpress are the way to go. Penny stocks are not such a big deal because even after the surcharge tradeMONSTER will still work out cheaper.
|Automated Trading||Automated Trading|
|Investor Resource Center||Investor Resource Center|
|Mobile Trading||Mobile Trading|
|Online Advisor||Online Advisor|
||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
Anyone who’s used the OptionsXpress platform will be aware what an amazing piece of work it is. Beautifully simple and yet packed with tools it’s one of the best trading platforms around.
It has everything the intermediate trader will need. There are over twenty powerful tools to choose from including Volatility View and Spread Book which helps traders look for potential spread trading opportunities by accessing liquidity information.
On top of all that it’s one of the easiest platforms to use with true one click trading. Trades can literally be executed from anywhere within the system with just one click.
tradeMONSTER’s platform is not quite so accomplished. It still has a bewildering number of tools but it’s not as intuitive as the OptionsXpress platform. To get the most out of it you really need to spend a day going through the manual.
Fees & Commissions
|Margin Account Minimum||$2000||$2000|
|Stocks & ETFs||$9.95||$7.50|
|Options Base||$12.99 (1- 40 contracts)||$0.00|
|Options Per Contract||$0.00||$0.50/ contract $12.95 minimum|
|Account Management Fee||$0.00||$0.00|
|Broker Assisted Trades||$9.95||$15.00|
|Bonds||$5.00/bond ($9.95 minimum)||$15.00|
|IRA Annual Fee||$0.00||$0.00|
So if you’re an all round intermediate trader looking to trade up from one of the smaller brokers, OptionsXpress are the way to go. With an amazing platform and excellent customer service they’re hard to beat.
It’s difficult for me to recommend tradeMONSTER to any kind of trader, yes they’re cheaper but price isn’t everything and the OptionsXpress platform more than makes up the difference. Once you’ve tried it you won’t want to use any other broker.
One final point, if you’re a beginner I wouldn’t recommend either of these brokers to you. As a rookie you really need to give priority to your training and education and whilst both of these brokers have some excellent training it’s set at a more advanced level.
A beginner would find greater value joining a broker that specializes in helping rookie traders, a broker like Zecco or TradeKing would be much more suitable.