OptionsHouse had its plan go into effect on December 15, 2009, and Charles Schwab just saw its new rates go into effect Monday, January 19, 2010.
Previously, OptionsHouse charged a $9.99 flat rate for options trades, which covered unlimited contracts. While this structure was ideal for active traders, it did not directly benefit the more casual investor.
The new structure offers traders a choice, a flat “5 for $5 deal,” or an ultra low $.15 per contract rate. More specifically, OptionsHouse clients can either trade up to 5 options contracts for only $5 ($1 per contract thereafter), or opt to pay an $8.50 base rate and only $.15 per contract. Regular stock trades are still just a flat rate $2.95 per trade.
Charles Schwab previously charged $12.95 per trade, plus additional charges for more than 1,000 shares. Schwab now boasts the following on its Web site: “We’ve reduced all online equity trade commissions for Schwab brokerage accounts to $8.95, a 30% reduction off the former $12.95 price. And it’s available regardless of your account balance, how often you trade, or how many shares you trade.”
The stockbrokers.com view is that Schwab is finally simplifying its commissions structure and removing complicated trade tiers that only confused investors. Most popular brokers today offer flat-rate trades and overall investors demand it (use our chart to compare stock brokers). The KISS — keep it simple, stupid — philosophy is king.