Why Compare with Options?

Even if you never plan to trade options, you will learn the most by seeing how brokerage firms handle option trades.

Stocks vs. Options

Stock trading is much, much simpler than option trading so it's difficult to show the real differences between online brokerage firms using only stock trading examples.  Options trading involves dramatically more data and complexity than stock trading and this separates the great online brokerage firms from the merely good online brokerage firms.

To trade stock in any one company, there is a single ticker and you can only buy or sell at one bid/ask price.  However, there are hundreds of options for each company. Each option has its own unique symbol and may be bought or sold in combination with any number of other options.  Options trading is far more complex and requires much, much more data which presents challenges for all brokerage firm websites.  Some handle this very well while others handle it quite poorly.

By looking at how a brokerage firm handles option trading, you will get a much better feel for the firm's technical capabilities and whether they care about your experience.