Robinhood at a glance
Features you’ll love
Intuitive mobile app: While investors can also use the web-based interface to trade, Robinhood just feels like a mobile-first company, and so its most recognizable trading platform is their mobile app. The app is stripped-down, making it simple to navigate, especially once you understand how the app’s icons function. You can quickly move from screen-to-screen, investigating stocks and placing orders.
From a convenient search bar at the top of the screen you can pull up a stock and see the stock’s chart over any time frame. It functions smoothly and without delay, so you’re not hanging around waiting for it to load. You’ll get the stock’s vital statistics – its highs and lows, market cap and dividend yield. It also provides a news feed, a composite of analysts’ rankings, and a brief profile. If you’re ready to buy or sell, a trade button scrolls with you down the page, allowing you to submit an order at any moment.
A simple order entry allows you to type in the number of shares or options contracts you want and shows how much buying power you have. From there, just swipe up to place the trade. You can place market orders, limit orders and stop orders.
Beyond placing trades, you can also quickly maneuver around the app to find your portfolio, account value and access a number of account management options.
Where Robinhood rocks
Free trading: Stocks, ETFs, options, cryptocurrency. Check, check, check, check! You can trade them all for free on Robinhood, and that’s a huge boon to investors, especially options investors. While go-getter investors can find free stock trades at Merrill Edge, as an example, and commission-free ETF trading at Fidelity and Schwab, the real differentiator for Robinhood is its free options trading.
As options traders know, it’s easy to rack up a huge bill if you’re trading in and out of the market. That’s because brokers usually charge a base fee and then an additional fee for each contract. That structure quickly piles on the costs. But at Robinhood? Zilch. It’s a great choice for options investors looking to get into the market.
And while other brokerages have a few hundred fee-free ETFs, Robinhood offers more than 2,000. Given the abundance of choice, Robinhood seems like a top contender.
Of course, beyond all these freebies, Robinhood allows you to trade some cryptocurrencies commission-free, too. The service is available in most states, and the company is adding more.
Account minimum and quick funding: With no account minimum, Robinhood is super-friendly to investors, but it’s funding process is even better. If you’ve ever tried to fund a brokerage account before, you know it can take a while to get the funds into the account, even if you move the cash right as you’re opening the account. That’s why Robinhood’s funding stands out.
Robinhood gets some money into your account immediately. By using instant verification with major banks, Robinhood allows you to avoid the hassle of traditional verification of reporting tiny deposits into your bank account. This means the app can move up to $1,000 of any deposit into the account immediately, with the rest following a few days later. It gets you in the game faster.
Robinhood Gold: Robinhood Gold is the company’s program to allow you to buy securities with borrowed money, or margin. It takes an unusual approach, though investors may like it once they understand how it works. Robinhood Gold can increase your account’s buying power by up to two times. However, instead of charging you on a daily rate as most brokers do, Robinhood charges you a flat monthly fee for the loan based on how much you borrow, with no extra fees.
If you don’t have cash in the account to pay the monthly fee, it’s rolled into your margin balance. The broker charges loan interest to your account every 30 days. The program also gives you immediate access to funds after you sell any stock. Potential borrowers should note that any margin account must have at least $2,000 in it, per industry rules.
Robinhood isn’t perfect, but investors who know what they want will likely be able to overlook these faults in exchange for the overwhelming positive of making free trades.
- Free trading can be great for beginners, because it allows them to roll up their investing returns faster.
- However, newer investors may want more support, research and education.
- Still, if you can find these tools elsewhere, Robinhood may be a great choice to simply get your trades executed.
Investors who need research and support at a fair price, however, should check out Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments. Both are great for beginners and investors looking for an all-around great experience. Those on the hunt for extensive research and education should take a look at Merrill Edge, which gives you access to Merrill’s analyst reports — and with enough deposited at the broker (or parent company Bank of America), you can get free trades anyway.
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