To help you find some more info for consideration, I’ll share with you here what I know about my own brokers. I personally use OptionsXpress (OX) and Interactive Brokers (IB). Hope the following info can be quite helpful.
- Good for beginners. The system guides you step-by-step what you need to do when you’re placing a trade.
- Nice charts. They provide real-time streaming chart (powered by Prophet.Net) and real-time streaming quotes & option chain for free. I like their charts. It’s clean and easy to use (e.g. apply indicators / studies). You can use the charts once you apply to open an account with them.
- They have a lot of great tools like Options Pricer, Historic vs. Implied Volatility Charts, Strategy Scan, Trade Calculator, Screener, and many others. I personally like to use their Options Pricer and Historic vs Implied Volatility Charts.
- OX also allows you to do virtual trading (paper trading) even before you fund the account yet. So, you can fund the account when you are ready for real trading.
- Minimum initial deposit to open an account: No minimum deposit is required to open an account, but the account must have enough buying power to pay for a trade before it is placed. And for margin account, a USD 2,000 minimum is required to maintain a margin account. (Check out here).
- Fee and Charges for Option Transaction: USD 1.50 / contract.
Minimum commission charges per order is USD 14.95.
Hence, even though you only buy 1 contract, they will charge you USD 14.95. And when you sell to close your position, they will charge you another USD 14.95.
But if you’re an active option trader, they can charge you less, i.e. USD 1.25 / contract with minimum commission charges per trade of USD 12.95.
For more details, you can check out here.
- OX does not charge any monthly subscription fee or minimum charges. There are no charges when you make any modification / cancellation for your order as well. The only charges you have to pay is the commission charges when your order is filled.
Continue to "Part 2".