Few mobile trading apps have made waves quite as quickly and as universally as Robinhood. Robinhood’s completely free trading and concise, no-frills platform has become the number one name to know when it comes to low-cost trading. However, if you’ve decided that Robinhood isn’t the right choice for you, don’t worry — there are a number of alternatives to Robinhood that provide the same low fees and simple structure as the flagship low-cost broker. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Robinhood alternatives that currently accept new users. Still learning about Robinhood’s low-cost platform? Check out our extensive Robinhood review for a crash course on what makes this broker unique.
Quick Look: The Best Robinhood Alternatives
- Best Overall: M1 Finance – Open an account
- Ally Invest – Open an account
- Betterment – Open an account
- Interactive Brokers – Open an account
What is Robinhood?
Robinhood is a free stock trading mobile app and desktop platform that’s notable because it offers no-commission trading. Robinhood lacks the full-service trading platform and desktop offered by most major brokers but offers an easy-to-understand and aesthetically pleasing free alternative to larger brokerage firms. Robinhood’s paid account, Robinhood Gold, gives you access to pre- and post-market trading as well as options to trade on margin in exchange for an account maintenance fee. Robinhood Gold requires a minimum account balance of $2,000. With a $0 account minimum for regular taxable accounts and over three million brokerage accounts that currently operate from its platform, Robinhood has proven itself to be a powerful new force in the investing sphere. Read Benzinga’s full Robinhood Review
Why Robinhood Might Not Be Right for You
Consider opening an account with a Robinhood alternative if you’re looking for any one of the following features which Robinhood lacks:
Analytic Features and Tools
The best online brokerages want their traders to succeed, so they often offer a large library of trading resources and educational tools to help newcomers make profitable trades. Robinhood’s straightforward and simple platform comes at a price – it lacks a large number of trading analysis tools. Robinhood allows you to create watchlists and view real-time market data but offers very little in the way of trading education, which is an interesting choice considering that Robinhood’s target audience is young investors, many of whom are eager to learn.
Candlestick Charting Options
Though Robinhood’s interface focuses on clean design and aesthetics, its candlestick charting options are difficult to view on mobile. Robinhood uses the standard green and red candle scheme similar to other brokers, but shadows are difficult to see on Robinhood’s white mobile background. Additionally, you cannot adjust candle periods to minutes or hours like on most other platforms.
If you want to save for retirement or open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), start savings with a different broker. Robinhood offers only individual taxable accounts, and you cannot open an IRA or solo 401(k) through Robinhood.
Mutual Fund Purchasing Options
You cannot purchase mutual funds through Robinhood’s platform.
What to Look For in a Robinhood Alternative
If you enjoy Robinhood’s basic functionality but are looking for a little more substance from your brokerage platform, consider looking for the following features:
Low Trading Fees
Though it’s hard to beat Robinhood’s $0 trades, there are a number of brokerages that allow you to buy and sell stocks, bonds, and ETFs for less than $7 a trade. Some brokerages also allow you to invest in mutual funds or index funds with no commission.
An Easy-To-Understand Platform
The best brokerage account in the world is useless if you can’t operate it. Before you commit to a broker, check out a few YouTube tutorials detailing how to use the app or online trading platform to make sure that you’re comfortable with its format. The best investing apps don’t limit functionality on their mobile platform; they offer complete desktop services in an easy-to-understand mobile format.
If you’re looking to purchase stocks for long-term holding, you’ll want to minimize your tax liability by opening a traditional or Roth IRA instead of a taxable brokerage account like the ones that Robinhood offers as its only account type.
Are you the type of investor who knows you want to save for retirement but aren’t sure where you should be putting your money? Robo-advisors offer low fees and commissions and are an inexpensive way to begin saving for retirement, your first home purchase, a child’s college fund or any other future financial goal.
The Best Alternatives to Robinhood
1. M1 Finance
M1 Finance is a free automated investing service that offers you a hybrid platform that’s a cross between a traditional investment management service and a robo-advisor. Unlike other robo-advisors (that take your money and automatically dictate where it will be spent), M1 Finance gives you control over where you’d like to invest using a unique “pie” system. When you sign up, you’ll be asked to complete an interview about your savings goals and financial situation; you will then be offered a suggested “pie,” what M1 Finance calls its division of assets and symbolizes using a pie graph. Each pie can have up to 100 different investment “slices,” which makes it easy to build a diverse portfolio without doing a ton of research. You can then add stocks that trade on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ to your pie.
M1 Finance places a large emphasis on regular and consistent investing, so you’ll be encouraged to set up automatic contributions; M1 will take care of distribution and rebalancing after your deposit has cleared. M1 is not for day traders and the platform does not allow you to buy and sell stocks as quickly as Robinhood, but it does provide a clean, simple way to get started long-term investing. With IRA options and no fee or commission charges, M1 Finance offers a simple solution to long-term saving.
2. Ally Invest
Ally Invest is a discount brokerage firm that acts as an offset of Ally Bank. You don’t need to be an Ally Bank customer to open an account with Ally Invest, but if you are, you can enjoy seamless account integration and management. Ally Invest differs from Robinhood because it offers a host of stock trading analysis tools on its desktop platform, called the “dashboard.” Check out Benzinga’s full comparison of Ally Invest and Robinhood. On the dashboard, you can create a list of stocks you’d like to keep an eye on, initiate buy and sell orders, see your daily, monthly, and annual profits and loss charts and view candlestick charts using a customizable tile format. You can buy and sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and even options contracts through Ally’s all-encompassing platform.
With high mobile compatibility and an organized desktop platform, new traders who are interested in learning more about the market and their savings may be willing to pay the price.
Another robo-advisor that focuses on making investing simple, Betterment is an online investment firm with over $13.5 billion in assets under management. Betterment is one of the only robo-advisors with a $0 minimum deposit, which appeals to Robinhood users who are just getting started and who don’t want to risk too much of their money. Betterment uses goal-based investment tools that allow you to create a unique portfolio from 12 ETF asset classes. When you create an account with Betterment, you’ll be taken through a goal-setting course which will help you set savings objectives. You can adjust your goals and add personalized goals as well.
Betterment also offers an easy-to-use app that does a good job of mimicking website functionality. Betterment isn’t free like Robinhood or M1 Finance, but its fees are very low; you’ll pay just 0.25% of the value of your account if you hold a Betterment Digital account and 0.40% if you are a Betterment Premium account holder with over $100,000 in your account. Whether you’re new to investing or you know exactly what you want and where you want it, Betterment is a top choice when it comes to passive investing.
Wisebanyan claims to be the “world’s first financial advisor” and ditches the fees associated with traditional robo-advising services. Wisebanyan allows users to begin creating their ideal ETF asset mix with no minimum account balance. Wisebanyan makes money through its a la carte products and services that can be purchased to enhance your free Wisebanyan account. While this may sound like the account isn’t actually “free,” paid services are supplementary in nature (for example, tax loss harvesting) and most users can enjoy full usage of Wisebanyan’s robo-advising services without spending anything.
You can open a traditional or Roth IRA, a SEP IRA or a taxable account with Wisebanyan, making it another great Robinhood alternative aimed at users interested in saving for retirement or another long-term financial goal. Wisebanyan’s mobile and tablet app are excellent. Like Robinhood, Wisebanyan’s platform has been designed with the novice user in mind, and its straightforward layout makes it easy for you to navigate. With no fees, no account minimums, and access to a wide range of low expense-ratio ETFs, Wisebanyan is a great passive investing alternative for users who have a low starting balance and who are looking for an intuitive user experience.
5. Interactive Brokers
If you’re a frequent trader who loves Robinhood’s cost-saving structure but who also needs more in the way of research tools and functionality, chances are, you’ll love Interactive Brokers. Interactive Brokers offers some of the lowest trading fees on the market – most users can expect to pay $0.005 per share when buying and selling, which is significantly lower than most other brokerage firms. Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation is an in-depth and comprehensive trading platform, and its candlestick charts are easy to view and analyze. Interactive Brokers also offers an equally impressive mobile app, which is streamlined to mimic the functionality of the desktop Workstation. You’ll find a massive host of asset classes available, including stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, futures contracts and even forex (though this option is limited to users who hold over $10 million in assets).
Unlike Robinhood, Interactive Brokers has been designed with the frequent, professional trader in mind with fees for inactivity and a per-share fee, Interactive Brokers isn’t the brokerage platform for traders who are looking to dip their toes into investing. However, if you’ve been day trading on Robinhood and you’re looking to take your career to the next level with better research and analysis tools, Interactive Brokers may have what you need to up your game.
For simple stock trading, few apps are able to fully mimic the free structure that Robinhood offers; if you’re trying to get serious about your trading, you’ll want to choose a more fleshed-out broker who offers market news, data, and analysis tools so you can continue to make informed trades. These features usually come along with a price tag in the form of commissions and fees, so make sure you do your research before you choose an account and brokerage firm. If you’re only interested in low-cost investing, choosing a robo-advisor can be a simple and low-cost way to introduce yourself to various savings options.