Use optionsXpress Virtual Trade to Practice Stock and Options Trading
- Discount Stock Broker:
optionsXpress offers a wide range of tools that let you learn how to trade stocks and options for beginners. Virtual Trading is one of the free tools that you can use to practice stock and options trading with virtual money, thus it's risk free, before putting your own money into the stock market. Once you become confident with your trading strategies, you can then use real money to trade stocks and options.
I opened a brokerage account with optionsXpress, now part of Charles Schwab, a few years ago when they ran a promotion that gave $100 bonus for a new account. Since then I have been running an optionsXpress referral program for people who want to receive some incentives to open an account with the broker (you can get $100 bonus, which is the highest bonus payout as far as I know). I have kept my account alive since then, but I didn’t do much with it except referring people. The reason is mainly that I already have enough broker accounts (Scottrade, TradeKing, and Zecco, and the latest OptionsHouse to name just a few) for me to trade stocks, some that are cheaper (see Discount Brokers Comparison for a list of discount brokers) than what optionsXpress charges for online stock trades, which is $8.95 per trade right now.
Though I don’t trade with optionsXpress, I do think that among those brokers I am using, optionsXpress probably has the most tools available, to help me research stocks and learn how to trade stocks or options. Among the tools optionsXpress offers, Virtual Trading is one that I particularly like. It’s a practice platform that lets beginners to learn how to trade stocks and options, but it looks and functions like the platform you are going to use when you trade with real money instead of the fake one from the virtual account.
The virtual account gives each account owner a default $5,000 virtual money to trade stocks and options. With that amount of money, the stock buying power is $10,000 (looks like this is a margin account so the stock purchasing power is twice the cash account0 and the option buying power is $5,000. If you think the money isn’t enough to practice, you can add whatever amount you like into your virtual trading account
The virtual stock trading interface is exactly the same as the one used in real trading. By simply providing the stock symbol, shares you want to purchase, and order types, you can experience the process as if you were buying a stock with real money, except that the money isn’t real. Since I have been trading stocks for years, I don’t know how much I can improve my trading with this tool. However, for beginners who have never bought a stock before but want to trade, it is a nice tool to get a feeling of the stock market and making or losing money from trading stocks before trying it with real, hard neared money. The stock market sometimes seems to be intimidating, especially when you don’t know much about it. With this virtual trading tool, you won’t have to worry about losing money because you are trading with virtual money. With that said, however, it’s better that you still treat it as a real account with real money when practicing, even though you know it isn’t. And to get the best result from the practice, you will need to follow the process what people usually do before buying a stock: Do your homework to find out what to buy. Of course, this is all too easy said than done. Even though more practices won’t necessarily make a person a good stock trader, a practice trade at the beginning is always better than a real trade with real money
What I am more interested is the virtual options trading. I have mentioned before that I am learning options trading myself, slowly. I haven’t made any real options trade yet, but I like to use this virtual tool to try some techniques first before playing with my real money.
The virtual trading tool is free. However, you do need to open an account with optionsXpress in order to use it. If you are interested in getting an account, use the Contact form to request a referral link and receive $100 bonus.
- $8.95 per trade
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