About Us » Frequently Asked Questions

From funding your account to trading futures, we’ve got your questions covered. Find the answers you need here.

    • Learn more about our company and how we can assist you with all of your trading needs.

    • What is optionsXpress?
      optionsXpress is a pioneer in online stock, options and futures brokerage service to the self-directed investor. We were founded by an experienced management team dedicated to providing investors with an innovative, leading-edge trading environment.
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      How long have you been in business?
      We were founded in February of 2000, and we opened our web site on November 22, 2000.
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      Where are you physically located?

      Our main office is at the following address:

      311 West Monroe Street, Suite 1000
      Chicago, Illinois 60606
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      How are accounts protected?

      optionsXpress is a member of SIPC, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which protects against losses caused by the financial failure of the broker-dealer, but not against losses resulting from depreciation in a security’s value. Your optionsXpress accounts are protected by SIPC up to $500,000—including up to $250,000 for cash claims.

      Additionally, on our own initiative and at no additional cost to you, optionsXpress has secured excess SIPC coverage offering your account additional account protection beyond the standard SIPC limits. optionsXpress’ excess SIPC policy covers in the aggregate up to $100,000,000 subject to a maximum limit of $24,500,000 per customer, $900,000 of which may be cash.

      Futures traders can take comfort in the fact that we have taken appropriate actions to help give you peace of mind about the security of your futures trading accounts. Learn more.

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      Are the funds in the Deposit Accounts insured?

      Yes. Your funds will be swept into participating Deposit Accounts and eligible for deposit insurance by FDIC up to a total of $250,000 principal and accrued interest per depositor in most insurable capacities (e.g., individual, joint, etc.) when aggregated with all other deposits held in the same insurable capacity at a Bank. For example, funds in the Deposit Accounts at a Bank held by an individual are insured up to $250,000, and funds in the Deposit Accounts at a Bank held jointly by two or more individuals are insured up to $250,000 per joint owner ($500,000 per account).

      For IRAs and certain other self-directed retirement accounts, funds in the Deposit Accounts are eligible for deposit insurance up to $250,000 principal and accrued interest per depositor in the aggregate. For more information, please see our Cash Features.

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      How do I contact optionsXpress during business hours?
      You may call us at 888.280.8020 or 312.629.5455. You may also chat online with customer service or trading staff using our Live Help.
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    • Trade from your computer at home or on the go, and follow your securities in real-time.

    • Do you offer any trading advice?
      No. Our accounts are for self-directed investors. We employ brokers to assist you with technical questions, as well as other general questions relating to strategy and trading. Additionally, our representatives may provide educational assistance, and FREE broker-assisted trades, but they do not provide any trading recommendations.
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      What trading products does optionsXpress offer?
      We offer trading in futures, mutual funds, stocks, equity and index options, ETFs and bonds—all on ONE platform.
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      What types of educational services are available?
      In addition to a full range of FREE curriculum-based tutorials and on-demand webinars, we also offer live webinars and occasional on-site workshops.
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      Can I get streaming quotes?
      Yes. optionsXpress customers have access to unlimited tick-by-tick streaming real-time quotes for equities, options and futures.
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    • Opening an account is easy. Find out all you need to know before you begin.

    • Is there a minimum amount required to open an account?
      We have no minimum deposit required to open an account; however, the account must have enough buying power to pay for a trade before it is placed. Please review your trading strategy and fund the account to the appropriate level. Again, no minimum is required to open a cash account, but a $2,000 minimum is required to maintain a margin account.
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      How do I transfer an account into optionsXpress?
      An Account Transfer Form will need to be completed and returned to us with a copy of the most recent statement showing the title of the account, the account number, and an asset list. A signed account transfer form is required for each account being transferred to us. For more detailed information on transfers, please see the Account Transfer FAQ.
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      Do you open accounts for people outside the U.S.?
      Yes, upon our review and at our discretion we accept unsolicited accounts from non-U.S. residents. Although our account opening process is geared toward opening accounts for persons with a U.S. domestic address, we will review and open foreign accounts depending on the country of residence and at our discretion. Please note that we are a U.S.-based broker. We offer only U.S. exchange traded products and we accept only U.S. currency in our customer accounts.
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      Why do I have to disclose personal information to open an optionsXpress account?

      Due to regulatory requirements and the United States government’s efforts to fight terrorism and fraud, U.S. brokerages have been required to obtain, verify and record information about persons who open accounts and certain individuals related to them, including account signatories (in the case of entity accounts) and persons authorized to trade on behalf of accounts (LTAs).

      For more information please see the Customer Identification Program Notice from FINRA.

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      What are the requirements when I provide a government photo ID?

      All three of the following requirements must be met when providing a photo ID:

      • Valid non-expired government ID
      • Evidencing nationality or residence
      • And bearing a photograph or similar safeguard
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      What is the difference between a cash account and a cash/option account?
      The “Cash Account” does not permit options trading. The “Cash/Options” account will allow options trading, but only fully-paid-for options, like long calls or puts, cash secured puts, spreads, etc. Any IRA that trades options would be a cash/option account.
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      What level of options trading will a customer be approved for?

      Clients will be authorized to trade options after being reviewed based on experience and financial background among other criteria. Accounts will receive one of the following option trading levels:

      Trading Level Basic Definitions
        -1 0 1 2 3 4 5
      Trading Disabled ×            
      Trading Stocks / Bonds / Mutual Funds   × × × × × ×
      Covered Call Writing / Short Stock Sales     × × × × ×
      Buying Calls and Puts / Covered Put Writing       × × × ×
      Debit Spreads         × × ×
      Credit Spreads / Equity Put Writing           × ×
      Naked Equity Call Writing / Naked Index Put & Call Writing             ×
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      How are accounts protected?

      optionsXpress is a member of SIPC, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which protects against losses caused by the financial failure of the broker-dealer, but not against losses resulting from depreciation in a security’s value. Your optionsXpress accounts are protected by SIPC up to $500,000—including up to $100,000 for cash claims.

      Additionally, on our own initiative and at no additional cost to you, optionsXpress has secured excess SIPC coverage offering your account additional account protection beyond the standard SIPC limits. optionsXpress’ excess SIPC policy covers in the aggregate up to $100,000,000, subject to a maximum limit of $24,500,000 per customer, $900,000 of which may be cash.

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      If I open an account online, do I still need to send in paperwork?
      optionsXpress does not currently have a paper application. The initial account process begins online and will prompt you to print out and sign the application at the end. Please note that optionsXpress may request additional information, such as a photo ID, to set up your account. On October 1st, 2003, new U.S. government regulations came into effect requiring that we verify your identity.
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      Can I fax or email my account paperwork?

      Most of our account documents are accepted via fax. Certain forms may require originals:

      Accounts – General
      Account Overview (Account Application)
      Account Transfer Forms (ACATs)
      Non-ACAT Transfers
      Affidavit of Domicile
      Birth Certificate
      Death Certificate
      Divorce Decree
      Identification Cards (Photo IDs)
      IRS W-8
      IRS W-9
      Letter of Instruction (LOI) & Letter of Authorization (LOA)
      Letters Testamentary
      Margin and/or Option Updates
      Marriage License
      Statements (for Account Transfers)
      Transfer on Death Agreement
      Business – Entity Accounts
      Articles of Incorporation
      Corporate Resolution
      Trust Agreement
      Trust Certification / ERISA
      Cashiering
      Bank Statements
      Check Writing Application
      Letter of Authorization
      Limited Power of Attorney (LTA) & Full Power of Attorney (FPA)
      Stock Power of Attorney
      Verification of Deposit
      Retirements
      5304 – SIMPLE
      5305 – E (for Coverdell Education Savings accounts)
      5305 – SEP
      Coverdell Education Savings
      Designation of Beneficiary
      IRA Distribution Form
      Roll-Over Certification
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      What types of accounts do you offer?
      The three main types of accounts available for trading at optionsXpress are cash accounts, margin accounts, and futures accounts. We also offer multiple types of retirement accounts, including traditional, Roth, SEP and simple IRAs.
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      When will an account be ready for trading?

      An account is ready to trade when the account number and appropriate trading level has been assigned, and funds and/or assets have settled in the account. Domestically, most US persons can qualify for Electronic Signature applications for personal and retirement accounts, meaning they can be opened that same business day. Otherwise, accounts are generally opened within one or two business days of our receipt of the signed new account application documentation.

      It is important to note that while funds from an incoming bank wire, cashier’s check, or bank draft check are made available the next business day after they’ve been deposited, personal checks and ACH deposits are subject to a three business day hold. The cut-off for any deposit is 12:00 PM Eastern. Please see the Transfer Funds FAQ for more information.

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    • We offer quick and easy ways to deposit or withdraw funds from your account.

    • How do I deposit checks into an account at optionsXpress?

      We accept personal checks where the registration on the check is the same as the optionsXpress, Inc. account.

      We accept cashier’s checks where the remitter’s name is pre-printed on the check by issuing bank only. The remitter’s name must be the same as the optionsXpress, Inc. account.

      Please note that we do NOT accept certain forms of deposits including (but not limited to) cash, credit card or line-of-credit checks, starter checks, traveler’s checks, money orders, third-party deposits such as United States Treasury Tax Refund checks, or checks payable in foreign (non-U.S.) currency.

      The name on the check to be deposited must match the registration on the optionsXpress account. We do NOT accept third party deposits (i.e. We do not accept checks payable to optionsXpress from non-account holders or checks where a recipient makes an endorsement over to optionsXpress).

      Please make sure the account name and optionsXpress account number are printed on each check. For an IRA check deposit, please indicate contribution year.

      If your check is for a new account, please attach your signed Account Application and any applicable supporting documents.

      If you already have an account number, Printable Deposits Slips are available (login required).

      Once the check is received by optionsXpress, an e-mail confirmation will be sent with deposit details.

      Certified funds will be available next day. Personal checks are normally available in 3–5 business days. However, deposits may be held up to 10 business days or longer depending on various circumstances.

      Check deposit mailing address:

      optionsXpress, Inc.
      Attn: Cashiering
      P. O. Box 2197
      Chicago, IL 60690-2197

      Delivery by courier service which requires signature or delivery confirmation:

      optionsXpress, Inc.
      Attn: Cashiering
      311 West Monroe Street, Suite 1000
      Chicago, Illinois 60606
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      How do I do a wire transfer into an account?

      General Instructions

      Please note before wiring funds, a new account application must be received, processed, and an account number assigned.

      We do NOT accept third-party wires or wires from third-party money transfer services. Wires must be generated from a financial institution at which you have an account where the registration matches to your optionsXpress account.

      Funds may NOT be wired into an IRA account.

      Funds must be in USD ($) only. Applicable instructions, depending on currency and country of initiation, are noted below.

      Funding will generally be available same day after wire receipt.

      Please note the wire instructions cannot be used for ACH transactions.

      Wire Instructions

      Wire Instructions for accounts that clear through optionsXpress, Inc.:

      JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA
      ABA # 021000021
      A/C 707660205 optionsXpress, Inc.
      F/C/T [your name here]
      A/C# [your 8 digit account number]
      Bank Address (wires only—do NOT mail funds)
      1 Chase Manhattan Plaza
      New York, NY 10081
      Swift Code
      CHASUS33
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      How do I establish ACH service for accounts at optionsXpress?

      The ACH set-up process can be initiated by clicking the Establish ACH link on the Transfer Funds page. Once we receive the signed ACH application, we will notify you through a series of e-mails of the steps needed to verify your link. The final email will also supply you with more detailed instructions on how to use the service.

      Once ACH is established, a request to deposit funds can be made on the Transfer Funds page under the Account tab.

      All ACH deposit requests must be received by 3:30pm ET to be processed same business day. All other requests will be processed on the following business day.

      ACH deposits will be available for trading on the third business day after processing.

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      How do I use on-line billpay to deposit funds at optionsXpress?

      Please note before transferring funds, your optionsXpress account application must be received, processed, and an account number assigned.

      You must enroll for On-line Bill Pay at your bank or financial institution. Once you have signed up, you may use On-line Bill Pay to complete electronic funds transfers to optionsXpress. Please note that the bank account registration must match to your optionsXpress account.

      Log into the bank account you wish to make your transfer and input optionsXpress as the Payee and address or zip code if required of 311 W. Monroe, Chicago, IL 60606. In the Payee account number field, input your optionsXpress account number in the following format 1111-1111. For an IRA contribution, please add the year directly after your account number with no spaces or dashes (ie. 1111-11112009).

      It takes 1-2 business days for funds to be available in your optionsXpress account when you use electronic Bill Pay. Please note your Bank may initiate your first online billpay to a new payee as a check sent through the U.S. postal system. Please allow up to 10 business days for the billpay to reflect in your account.

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      How do I deposit a security certificate into an account?

      To mail a stock certificate for deposit into an account, follow the instructions below:

      1. Sign your name on the back of the certificate exactly as it is spelled on the front of the certificate. All names listed on the certificate must endorse the back. View sample stock certificate.
      2. You will then need to appoint our clearing agent, optionsXpress, Inc., as the attorney to transfer on the back of the certificate, where it states “… I do hereby irrevocably constitute and appoint __________ Attorney to transfer …”
      3. Write the optionsXpress account number under your endorsement. For new accounts, please include your username. Please note: everything else on the certificate should be left blank.

      For added security, we recommend that you send your certificate(s) using a method that can be tracked (e.g. FedEx, UPS, Registered or Certified Mail). Please mail your certificates to:

      optionsXpress, Inc.
      311 West Monroe Street, Suite 1000
      Chicago, Illinois 60606
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      How do I withdraw or transfer funds from an account?

      You have several options when withdrawing or transferring funds from optionsXpress.

      By Check
      You can request a check simply by logging into the account and clicking on the Transfer Funds link under the Account tab. From there you will see a Check link below “Withdraw from optionsXpress” where you can select to have a check mailed to the address of record.
      By Wire Transfer
      A wire can be initiated by logging into the account and going to Transfer Funds under the Account tab. Clicking on the Wire link under “Withdraw from optionsXpress” will lead you to the Wire Requests form. All required information will need to be completed.
      By Check Writing
      U.S. resident accounts may apply for check writing, providing the account has been active 6 weeks, has both elected and qualified for a money market sweep vehicle, and has a valid Social Security number or Tax ID. Once the checking form has been received, it takes approximately 1–2 weeks to receive the checkbook.
      Automated Funds Transfer (ACH)
      If you have a U.S. bank account, you may establish a link between an optionsXpress account and a bank. You will need to complete the ACH Application, sign it, and return the original to us. Once we receive your signed ACH Application, we will notify you through a series of e-mails of the steps to verify your link. The final email will also supply you with more detailed instructions on how to use the service.
      Internal Funds Transfers
      These can be requested via the Transfer Funds link under the Account tab between individual and joint accounts with common Tax ID’s. All other internal transfer requests require a Letter of Authorization.
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    • Find out all you need to know about IRAs before you begin.

    • What types of IRAs does optionsXpress offer?
      optionsXpress offers U.S. customers the ability to trade options, stocks, indexes, bonds and mutual funds in Individual Retirement Accounts. Customers may choose from a Traditional, Rollover, Roth, SEP, SIMPLE or Educational IRA.

      Open an Account

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      How do I set up an IRA with optionsXpress?

      To open an IRA. Visit here or click on the "Open Another Account" link at the upper right of your optionsXpress account. The "New Account Application" screen will appear. Under "What Kind of Account", click on the appropriate account entity type.

      • The system will prompt you through the steps to create your account. (Select the specific type of IRA that you want to create)
      • Upon completion, you will be prompted to submit your documents electronically (and if applicable) or to print the forms. A SEP IRA requires form 5305-SEP, a Coverdell IRA requires form 5305-E, and a SIMPLE IRA requires form 5304-SIMPLE Articles I through VII.
      • If you have to print the forms or you choose to print the forms, please be sure to sign the IRA Account Application on the "X CUSTOMER SIGNATURE" line, and sign the IRA Designation of Beneficiary form on the "IRA HOLDER" line.
      • After printing the application, you may fax the application and all required documents to us at 312-629-5256 to expedite your application.
      Please feel free to contact us at 888-280-8020 should you have any other questions regarding this process or if you need further assistance.
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      What is a Traditional IRA?

      A Traditional IRA is an Individual Retirement Account in which the contributions are tax-deductible if eligibility requirements are met. Please check with your tax advisor because your income, filing status, and other retirement plans may affect your eligibility. Earnings within a Traditional IRA are tax-deferred until withdrawals begin.

      Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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      Who is eligible for a Traditional IRA?

      You (or, if you file a joint return, your spouse) received taxable compensation during the year.

      Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more information.
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      When can you withdraw from a Traditional IRA?

      Age 59 ½ or later. A 10% penalty will apply for non-qualified withdrawals. Eligible withdrawals will be taxed at the current tax rate.

      Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more information.
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      What are the key advantages of a Traditional IRA?
      • Contributions are tax-deductible if eligibility requirements are met. Please check with your tax advisor because your income, filing status, and other retirement plans may affect your eligibility.
      • Trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and options. To learn about trading futures in an IRA, click here.
      • Trade covered calls, cash secured puts, debit spreads, credit spreads, purchase calls/puts, purchase straddles & strangles.
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      How do I setup a Traditional IRA?

      Step 1. Create an optionsXpress account.

      Step 2. Fund your account with one of our four funding methods; Check, wire, ACH and online bill pay are the funding options. View more important information about Funding a Traditional IRA.

      Step 3. Start trading. Once funds cleared.
      Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day.
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      How do I make a regular IRA contribution to my Traditional or Roth IRA?

      There are several options available to deposit your yearly contribution each of which is detailed below.

      1) Deposit via ACH with an established ACH Link. You must specify the contribution year when making the request. To set up an ACH link, please select Establish ACH. ACH Deposit requests must be received by 3:30 PM ET for same day processing.

      2) Deposit via on-line billpay. For details how to add optionsXpress as a Payee at your Bank, please refer to the On-line Billpay FAQ. Please note the contribution year must be specified in the account number field by adding the year directly after your optionsXpress account number with no spaces or dashes in between. Any contribution without a year designation will be deposited as current year.

      3) Internally transfer a contribution from your Individual or Joint account to your Traditional or Roth IRA with a matching Tax payer I.D. Log into your Individual or Joint account and proceed to the Transfer Funds page. Select Internal Transfer option and enter your request. You must specify the contribution year upon entering. Requests must be received by 12:00 PM ET for same day processing.

      4) Send a personal check specifying contribution year on check. Check deposits will be processed as current year contributions if year not specified on check deposit. Please refer to Check FAQ for further guidelines on depositing checks.

      Check deposit mailing address:
      optionsXpress, Inc.
      Attn: Cashiering
      P. O. Box 2197
      Chicago, IL 60690-2197

      Delivery by courier service which requires signature or delivery:
      optionsXpress, Inc.
      Attn: Cashiering
      311 W. Monroe Street, Suite 1000
      Chicago, Illinois 60606
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      Can I make a contribution to my Traditional or Roth IRA account from my business account?
      We only accept checks from a sole-proprietor or DBA account where the business is operating under your SSN. You will be required to provide a copy of your recorded business license and/or tax filings verifying the business is operating under your SSN in order for the deposit to be processed. Regular contributions from a business operating under a separate Tax Payer I.D. are not acceptable and will be returned.
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      What is a Roth IRA?

      A Roth IRA is a retirement account in which initial contributions are subject to taxes but offers the opportunity for federal tax-free growth. Withdrawals in a Roth IRA are tax exempt subject to certain Internal Revenue Service rules. As with all IRAs, there are specific eligibility and filing status requirements mandated by the Internal Revenue Service. Please consult with your own tax advisor regarding your individual situation.

      Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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      Who is eligible for a Roth IRA?

      You (or, if you file a joint return, your spouse) received taxable compensation during the year.

      Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more info.
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      When can you withdraw from a Roth IRA?

      All earnings and principal are tax free if rules and regulations are followed. There is no mandatory distribution age.

      Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more info.
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      What are the key advantages of a Roth IRA?
      • Initial contributions are subject to taxes but offers the opportunity for federal tax-free growth.
      • Withdrawals in a Roth IRA are tax exempt subject to certain Internal Revenue Service rules.
      • Trade stocks, ETF, bonds, mutual funds and options.
      • Trade covered calls, cash secured puts, debit spreads, credit spreads, purchase calls/puts, purchase straddles & strangles.
      • Withdrawals, subject to certain rules, are tax exempt.
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      How do I setup a Roth IRA?

      Step 1. Create an optionsXpress account.

      Step 2. Fund your account with one of our four funding methods; Check, wire, ACH and online bill pay are the funding options. View more important information about Funding a Roth IRA.

      Step 3. Start trading. Once funds cleared.
      Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day.
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      How do I request a Roth IRA conversion?

      Beginning in 2010, there is no gross income limit for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. You may request a partial or full conversion of your retirement account. Please be aware a conversion is a taxable event in the year the conversion takes place.

      • Please review the IRA calculator page for additional information to consider. Please consult your tax advisor if you have further queries.
      • Please ensure both the Traditional and Roth IRA accounts are open with account numbers assigned.
      • Please complete an IRA distribution form available on the Transfer Funds page under Related Links. Please select Conversion as the Distribution reason and complete form.
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      What is a SEP IRA-Simplified Employee Pension Plan?

      SEP IRAs are retirement plans for self-employed people or owners of small companies. SEP IRAs permit employers to make tax deductible contributions on behalf of themselves and their employees without complicated administration and with lower cost.

      Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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      Who is eligible for a SEP IRA?
      • If you are self-employed, you can make contributions based on your earned-income compensation with maximum contribution levels designated by the IRS.
      • If you are an employer, you may start a SEP for your employees.
      • If your employer offers a SEP plan you may participate.
      Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more info.
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      When can you withdraw from a SEP IRA?

      Age 59 ½ or later. 10% penalty will apply for non-qualified withdrawals. Eligible withdrawals will be taxed at the current tax rate.

      Refer to the IRS Pub 560 for more information.
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      What are the key advantages of a SEP IRA?
      • Available to self-employed people or small business owners.
      • Plan defers taxes on investments intended for retirement and withdrawals, subject to certain rules, are tax exempt.
      • Trade covered calls, cash secured puts, debit spreads, credit spreads, purchase calls/puts, purchase straddles & strangles
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      How do I setup a SEP IRA?

      Step 1. Create an optionsXpress account.

      Step 2. Print your completed optionsXpress application.

      Step 3. A SEP IRA also requires form 5305-SEP.

      Step 4. Send us your completed optionsXpress application along with form 5305-SEP. Please visit here for fax and mailing instructions.

      Step 5. Fund your account. View more important information about funding an SEP account.

      Step 6. Start trading. Once funds cleared.
      Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day.
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      How do I make a contribution to my SEP IRA?

      If you are self-employed and are making contributions1 based on earned compensation, you may send funds directly to optionsXpress. Please notify us (in writing or via email) that you file taxes as a business in your own name. If you are not self-employed, your employer may send contributions for you. In this case, please ensure that the employer's name is on the check and that your optionsXpress employment profile is current.

      The maximum compensation on which contributions can be based is $220,000 for 2006 and $225,000 for 2007. For self-employed individuals, compensation means earned income.
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      What is a SIMPLE IRA?

      A SIMPLE IRA is designed to make it easier for small business owners (usually less than 100 employees) to offer a tax-advantaged, company-sponsored retirement plan. Plan allows employees to make salary deferral contributions.

      Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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      Who is eligible for a SIMPLE IRA?

      If your employer offers a SIMPLE plan you may participate. If you are an employer, you may start a SIMPLE for your employees.

      Refer to the IRS Pub 590 for more information.
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      When can you withdraw from a SIMPLE IRA?

      Age 59 ½ or later. A 10% penalty will apply for non-qualified withdrawals. Eligible withdrawals will be taxed at the current tax rate.

      Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more information.
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      What are the key advantages of a SIMPLE IRA?
      • SIMPLE plans are funded by employer contributions and can be funded by elective employee salary deferrals without complicated administration and with lower costs.
      • Trade Stocks, ETF, bonds, mutual funds and options.
      • Trade covered calls, cash secured puts, debit spreads, credit spreads, purchase calls/puts, purchase straddles & strangles.
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      How do I setup a SIMPLE IRA?

      Step 1. Create an optionsXpress account.

      Step 2. Print your completed optionsXpress application.

      Step 3. A SIMPLE IRA also requires A SIMPLE IRA requires a completed 5304 form. If you are naming a beneficiary, the Designation of Beneficiary form will also be required.

      Step 4. Send us your completed optionsXpress application along with form 5304-SIMPLE. Please visit here for fax and mailing instructions.

      Step 5. Fund your account. You may fund your account with personal check if Self Employed or Business Check Employer is listed (check must match employer in system).

      Step 6. Start trading. Once funds cleared.

      Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day.
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      What is a Coverdell Education Savings Accounts?

      A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is an account created as an incentive to help parents and students save for education expenses. Contributions to a Coverdell Education Savings account are not tax deductible.

      Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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      Who is eligible for a Coverdell Education IRA?

      If your child is under 18 yrs, you may make tax deferred contributions.

      Refer to the IRS site for more information.
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      When can you withdraw from a Coverdell Education IRA?

      Distribution may begin any time for qualified education expenses and the entire account must be disbursed prior to the beneficiary’s 30th birthday. Any withdrawals after this date will be subject to income taxes and penalty.

      Refer to the IRS site for more information.
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      What are the Key advantages of a Coverdell Education IRA?
      • All earnings accumulate on a tax-deferred basis and can be withdrawn from the account tax-free for qualified education expenses.
      • Can trade stocks, ETF, bonds, mutual funds and options.
      • Trade covered calls, cash secured puts, debit spreads, credit spreads, purchase calls/puts, purchase straddles & strangles.
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      How do I setup a Coverdell IRA?

      Step 1. Create an optionsXpress account.

      Step 2. Print your completed optionsXpress application.

      Step 3. A Coverdell IRA also requires form 5305-E.

      Step 4. Send us your completed optionsXpress application along with form 5305-E. LINK. Please visit here for fax and mailing instructions .

      Step 5. Fund your account. You may fund your account with check, wire or online bill pay.

      Step 6. Start trading. Once funds cleared.

      Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day.
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      What is a Rollover IRA?

      Generally, a Rollover IRA is a tax-free distribution of cash or other assets from one retirement plan to another retirement plan. The contribution to the second retirement plan is called a "Rollover contribution."

      There are a number of situations where it potentially makes sense to roll your old 401(k) assets into an IRA.
      • You don't know what to do with your old 401(k) and need a Rollover IRA after a job loss.
      • You have multiple 401(k) plans from previous jobs.
      • Your previous 401(k) isn't performing to its potential.
      • Your previous 401(k) is overly dependent on one company.
      Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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      Who is eligible for a Rollover IRA?
      A Rollover IRA is usually used by those looking to move their employer qualified retirement plan to a self directed IRA. This Rollover IRA should be used to segregate the contributions made to another self directed IRA. Visit the IRS Rollover Chart for Rollover restrictions on different IRAs.
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      When can you withdraw from a Rollover IRA?
      Age 59 ½ or later. 10% penalty will apply for non-qualified withdrawals. Eligible withdrawals will be taxed at the current tax rate.
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      What are the key advantages of a Rollover IRA?

      Can trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and options.

      Trade Covered calls, Cash secured Puts, debit spreads, credit spreads, calls/puts & strangles.
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      How do I setup a Rollover IRA?

      Step 1. Create an optionsXpress account.

      Step 2. Contact your 401(k) plan administrator for the distribution paperwork.

      Step 3. Complete the paperwork from your plan administrator.

      Step 4. Your plan administrator will then distribute the funds payable to your optionsXpress IRA (your employer may mail the check to you as proof that the plan was paid out).

      Step 5. Start trading. Once funds cleared.

      Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day.
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      Can I roll over an existing 401K into an optionsXpress IRA?
      If you are changing jobs or retiring, you can roll a 401k plan (403b, PSP, MPP) into an optionsXpress Traditional or Rollover IRA account. To facilitate the rollover of funds, contact the 401k plan administrator for the distribution paperwork. Your fund administrator will then distribute the funds payable to your optionsXpress IRA. The trustee of the optionsXpress IRA will be Delaware Charter, but the plan administrator should make funds payable to optionsXpress for the benefit of (FBO) your name and mail it to us. If the check is made payable directly to you, a Rollover Certification form must accompany the check.
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      Can futures be traded in an IRA?
      Futures accounts are limited to accounts coded for margin. Since optionsXpress IRA accounts are prohibited from trading on margin, these accounts are not eligible for futures trading.
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      Where do I mail or fax my application or supplemental documentation to?

      You may fax or mail your completed IRA application and additional paper work to.

      Fax documents to:
      ATTN: New accounts
      312-629-5256

      Mail documents to:
      (Delivery by courier service which requires signature or delivery)
      optionsXpress, Inc.
      Attn: Cashiering
      311 W. Monroe Street, Suite 1000
      Chicago, Illinois 60606
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      Do you allow equity and index options trading in optionsXpress IRAs?

      Yes, we allow trading of equity and index options in IRAs based on the trading level assigned to an investor. Trading in IRAs includes call buying, put buying, cash-secured put writing, spreads, and covered calls. Please refer to our futures FAQs for questions regarding futures and futures options trading in IRAs.

      Anyone considering trading options in a retirement account may wish to read the CBOE's publication on options trading strategies in IRAs and Keoghs.
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      Do you offer Margin in an IRA account?

      We do allow for more advanced equity and index option trading based on the trading level assigned to each investor. The following restrictions do apply to all IRA accounts:

      • Cannot borrow funds creating a debit cash balance.
      • Cannot short a stock.
      • Not allowed to sell naked options.
      • Cross margining of stock and options not allowed.
      • Day trading is restricted to start of day buying power.
      • Portfolio Margin is not available for IRA accounts.
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      How long will it to take to transfer an IRA from another firm to optionsXpress?
      An account transfer can take anywhere from 7 to 30 business days. Most transfers take approximately a week and a half once paperwork has been received.
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      What are the IRA contribution limits for 2011?

      Please note these are maximum contributions dependent on both your modified Adjusted Gross Income and Tax Filing Status.

      2011 Limits Under age 50 Over age 50
      Traditional IRA $5,000 $6,000
      Roth IRA $5,000 $6,000
      Simple IRA $11,500 $14,000
      Sep IRA* Lesser of 25% of compensation or $49,000 (2009 and 2010)
      Education IRA $2,000  
       
      *Employer contributions only
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      What is my required minimum distribution (RMD) for tax year 2011?
      RMDs are generally minimum amounts that a retirement plan accountholder must withdraw annually starting in the year when age reaches 70 ½. To calculate your RMD, the December 31st 2010 year-end balance of the retirement plan account is needed along with consulting the Life Expectancy Tables provided in Publication 590 at www.irs.gov.
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      Do you have IRA calculators available?
      IRA calculators can be accessed through our IRA Trustee Principal Trust at http://www.principaltrust.com/tools/calculators/rothtransfer.htm
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      How long does it take to fund my IRA?
      Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day. Before sending a wire, please notify optionsXpress and let us know how to classify the contribution year. Contributions for the prior 2010 Tax Year can be made until April 18, 2011 – the Contribution Year must be designated. Contributions made in 2011 with no designation will be classified as a contribution for Tax Year 2011.
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      This information should not be construed as providing individual tax or legal advice. Every investor is different and the best type of retirement account depends on your taxable income, age, family status and meeting IRS eligibility requirements. Please consult with your own tax or financial advisor to help you determine which type of retirement account(s) will work best for you regarding your own individual situation.

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