Should I switch to Interactive Brokers or stay with Optionsxpress to trade options?

Discussion in 'Options' started by crgarcia, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. So far, optionsxpress has worked fine, altough they charge a bit high commissions: $1.50 per option contract.

    Interactive Brokers charge $0.70 per contract (less than half), altough its said they have a dismal customer service.
    They also charge inactivity fees, and there are some months when I dont place a single trade as Im a "seasonal" trader.

    Which gives better/faster fills on options? IB or OX?
  2. chilty


    I can't speak about OX, but customer service has been mostly responsive to my needs. As far as fills go, the closer you are to market orders, the quicker the fill with MO's being filled virtually instantaneously.
  3. spindr0


    From a cost standpoint, IB is even cheaper because assignment and exercise are free and there's no ticket charge either. So you can trade big or small, scaling in and out. I don't use TOS but I don't know how execution could be faster than at IB. You hit the price, you're done.

    When I faced the decision to switch to IB, I ran a spreadsheet of my annual trading and was stunned at my commission savings... and that was back when it was a $1 commish per contract.

    I'd suggest opening account while keeping IB. You can always close one of them later.
  4. JackR


    Be sure to read about IB's cancellation\modify charge policy on options. They can come as a surprise if you make a number of changes and don't get filled. Depending on the ticket charge at your existing broker, IB is still probably a better deal, especially if you rarely change or cancel. There is no charge for end of day expiration of an order.

  5. Dont move to IB until you really understand what you're doing and how they do it. Spend time reading the whinging threads here by people who didn't do their homework and then blamed IB. You can probably learn a lot from the responses suggesting what they should have done.

    IB isn't going to help too much with solving most problems. It simply isn't their focus and strength. So make sure you're prepared for that and you can benefit from their technology, execution, and pricing.
  6. Go with IB.

    Thanks to some posts by Spindr0 a couple of years ago I changed over from OE and it's been very good for me.

    I still have my IRA with OE mostly because I like their tools and I have some spreadsheets tailored to them.

    Also OE doesn't allow margin cash or, for IRA's, cash for NP's to reside in their MM accounts. They must stay in cash and the associated interest rate is very low. IB pays very good interest on cash except no interest on the first $10k.

    IB software has a high learning curve, but once I learned it I liked it.

    I don't think that IB tools are that good, but because I still use the OE tools I haven't tried very hard to learn about them.

    The lack of a minimum commission rate at IB is a big advantage. You can scale in and out one contract at a time if you want without paying a significant commission penalty.

  7. IB's customer service has come along way and I fnd is now comparable to the other brokers on the market. Lately, every call I make has been answered immediately. They charge inactivity fees, but this is more than offset by their low costs per trade. I find that if I make more than 1 or 2 trades per month, (I trade also stocks), then I am paying less than with any other broker.