1 Minute Review
Robinhood is the broker for traders who want a simple, easy-to-understand layout without all the bells and whistles other brokers offer. Though its trading options and account types are limited, even an absolute beginner can quickly master Robinhood’s intuitive and streamlined platform. On the other hand, more advanced traders might be frustrated by Robinhood’s lack of technical analysis tools, a feature that’s now nearly universal across other platforms.
- Beginner traders
- Mobile traders
- Streamlined, easy-to-understand interface
- Mobile app with full capabilities
- Can buy and sell cryptocurrency
- Almost no trading analysis tools available
- Only taxable brokerage accounts available
- No option to open a retirement account
- No access to mutual funds, forex or futures trading
- Limited customer service
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Why Robinhood Over Others?
Thinking about choosing Robinhood for your brokerage account? Let’s take a look at some of the features that current Robinhood traders love in this in-depth Robinhood review.
- Easy-to-use web platform: Robinhood’s biggest strength is an easy-to-use, convenient mobile platform. You can quickly access your tax documents and account statements through the app, and you can create an account and begin funding it in as little as 10 minutes. Placing a trade is also equally simple. Brief explanations of every buy and sell order beside each option help you learn — a great feature for beginners.
- No account minimum: Though Robinhood does require a $2,000 minimum balance to access its Robinhood Gold features, there’s a $0 minimum required balance for standard accounts. Combined with the broker’s new fractional share feature, Robinhood is a great option for new traders who only have a small amount of money to invest.
- Intuitive and responsive mobile app: Robinhood has one of the most well-designed mobile apps of any brokerage. The app mirrors the full functionality of the desktop platform, and it also adds candlestick charting options not available online.
Brokerage Quick Summary
|Tradable assets||Stocks, options, ETFs|
|Platform||Beginner-oriented; few tools but easy navigation|
|Mobile app||Fully operational, mirrors desktop web-trading platform|
|Account minimum||$0 to $2,000, depending on account type|
|Available account types||Taxable|
Robinhood first made waves in the trading world for its $0 commission trades, a policy that continues to this day. You’ll pay $0 commission when you buy or sell any one of Robinhood’s tradable assets.
Most Robinhood users enjoy $0 account minimums. If you choose to become a Robinhood Gold member, you’ll be required to maintain a balance of at least $2,000 in your account.
You’ll need to be a Robinhood Gold member to access margin trading. The first $1,000 of margin that you use is included with the monthly $5 fee to maintain your Gold status. Any margin you use beyond $1,000 is charged a 5% annual percentage rate (APR). Interest is calculated on a daily basis.
Designers streamlined the platform on both mobile and web, resulting in an incredibly simple and intuitive trading system. Getting signed up with Robinhood is exceptionally easy — you should be able to get your account started on your mobile phone or online in as little as 10 minutes.
Placing trades through Robinhood is also exceptionally easy. You can browse a list of stocks in different industries and place a trade with just a few clicks.
Robinhood’s streamlined interface lets you see a snapshot of recent performance and current market price before you make a purchase.
Navigating other areas of Robinhood’s site is just as easy. Need access to monthly account statements or tax forms? They’re conveniently labeled and downloadable through Robinhood’s documents tab.
Need to change your account information? You can do so with a few clicks through the broker’s account tab. Your history tab organizes and keeps a running record of your buying and selling history.
You’ll be asked to link a bank account for direct debits when you fund your Robinhood account. Transferring funds from your bank account to Robinhood takes about a week. Robinhood also offers an instant deposit feature that allows access to up to $1,000 of your deposit instantly — the rest is deposited when your bank account clears the deposit and the transfer is complete.
New traders will find Robinhood’s streamlined interface exceptionally easy to use and navigate. There aren’t too many tabs or folders, so it’s easy to find what you need. If you’re searching for a broker and you value convenience above everything else, Robinhood will be one of your top choices.
Robinhood only offers basic research tools. Though the brokerage has been making an effort to improve its options in recent months, the level of fundamental and technical analysis tools still pale in comparison to almost every other competing broker. Some of the education and research tools that Robinhood offers include:
- Native news feed: Robinhood’s native news feed generates and services news articles to you from your dashboard or mobile app. However, your feed will only be populated with news on stocks and ETFs that you’ve already placed on your watchlist.
Once you add a stock to your watch list (or you buy a share), Robinhood will serve you daily, select news articles from sources like Benzinga or the Washington Post.
- Collections: Looking for a new asset to invest in? Robinhood’s collections feature organizes stocks and funds by industry or other special features, like upcoming earnings reports or when they were added to the Robinhood platform.
Some collections include Popular on Robinhood, REIT, Aerospace and Entertainment. This feature can be an asset if you want to add another level of diversification to your portfolio but don’t know how to find stocks to buy on your own.
Prepping to invest in a new industry? Robinhood’s Collections feature makes it easy to explore.
- Limited candlestick trading: Robinhood offers candlestick charting on its mobile app. Click the candlestick icon in the corner of the chart you want to view to flip between line and candlestick charting. This feature isn’t available on Robinhood’s desktop platform.
Enjoy using candlestick charts to inform your trading? You’ll need to be logged into your Robinhood app — the brokerage doesn’t offer candlestick functionality on its web platform.
- Robinhood Learn: Robinhood Learn is a free educational center available to both Robinhood users and the general public. Articles available through Robinhood’s education touch on topics like common trading lingo, the differences between asset types and the types of orders available to trade. These offerings are basic but may be useful to the most inexperienced traders.
The majority of Robinhood’s more in-depth research comes through its Robinhood Gold options. You can become a Robinhood Gold member for $5 a month, which gives you access to the following additional education tools:
- Morningstar research reports: Morningstar is an independent market research firm that issues stock and asset reports that help inform traders on predicted price movements. Robinhood partners with Morningstar to give its Gold members unlimited access to over 1,700 Morningstar stock reports.
- Level II market data: Level II market data shows multiple bids and asks for any given stock or asset instead of an overall consensus that combines all bids and asks within a select period of time. Level II market data can help traders gain a fuller picture of how assets move in price. Robinhood Gold members receive unlimited access to level II market data powered by NASDAQ TotalView.
The bottom line? Robinhood is an excellent choice for traders who already know what they want to buy and sell — but it doesn’t offer a native platform for learning or selecting assets to complement your portfolio. If you do decide to use Robinhood, we recommend an additional source for news and technical analysis.
Robinhood lacks in the customer service department. Brokerage account holders have no way to contact the company by phone or through live chat.
Currently, the only way you can get in contact with Robinhood’s customer service team is by submitting a complaint form through the brokerage’s contact section. To submit a complaint or help request, log into your Robinhood account, click on the account tab and scroll down to the Contact Us button.
The only other way to contact Robinhood is via social media. The Twitter account Robinhood Support offers limited assistance if you’re logged into a Twitter account. However, the social media channel is limited and often overwhelmed by responses — especially during major outages.
There are currently no viable methods of contact for users with sight limitations or users who prefer to access customer service offline.
Robinhood Stocks, ETFs and Mutual Funds
Robinhood gives traders access to the U.S. equity markets, so you can buy and sell over 5,000 individual stocks and ETFs. You can also buy and sell over 250 stocks listed on foreign exchanges — though the platform doesn’t give you access to full foreign markets like some competitors. All trades are made with $0 commissions, whether you’re using Robinhood Gold or a standard Robinhood account.
Robinhood currently doesn’t support the purchase or sale of any type of bond or mutual fund.
Robinhood has recently introduced options trading, but only users with older accounts will receive early access. There’s no fee or commission associated with buying and selling options contracts, and you don’t need a Robinhood Gold account to begin.
Not every stock available on Robinhood is currently open to options trading. Robinhood doesn’t offer options contracts on stocks with low average trading prices, stocks with low average daily volumes and stocks with low market caps. Robinhood doesn’t currently offer a complete list of stocks that have options trading available.
One of Robinhood’s strongest assets is its mobile app. Like the desktop platform, Robinhood’s mobile app is streamlined, so even new traders can quickly buy and sell on the go. Some of our favorite features of Robinhood’s mobile app include:
- Simple order placement: Placing a buy or sell order on the Robinhood app is just as easy as on the desktop platform. Simply locate the stock or fund you want to buy, choose which type of order and finally enter the number of stocks. Then, swipe up — Robinhood will confirm your order has been placed and send you an email when and if your order has been executed. Simple, effective and perfect for quick trades — the Robinhood app is easy to master.
- Daily news feed updates: Robinhood updates its news feed with daily articles on the stocks you own or are watching. Swipe through the day’s news offerings to learn more about market movements and inform your trades.
Description: Swipe, tap and flick through news articles to read more about the assets you own.
- Variety of safety features. You can choose to protect your mobile app in one of two ways. First, you can enable standard two-factor authentication, which requires a unique code to be entered from one of your linked contact methods every time you use your account. You can also enable PIN access, which requires you to enter a six-digit PIN each time you open the app.
Robinhood’s app is comprehensive and intuitive, allowing traders the full functionality they expect from the broker’s desktop platform. The Robinhood app even improves on the desktop platform in a number of areas — for example, easy candlestick charting and a fun swipe-to-order feature.
Robinhood is a brokerage built for beginners. If you’ve never traded before, you’ll likely find that Robinhood is quick to master and easy to operate. However, the brokerage’s focus on streamlining means that you’ll miss out on some charting and analysis tools common among competing brokers. If you’re looking for in-depth technical analysis or a stock screener, you won’t find it through Robinhood. If you already know what you’d like to buy and sell, you’ll love the brokerage’s simple and intuitive order system.
Robinhood’s claim to fame is its $0 commission trades. The broker was one of the first to ax trading commissions, which led to its rise in popularity. However, as more and more brokerages follow Robinhood’s lead and switch to $0 fee structures, the company has lost some shine. With no access to futures, forex or even mutual funds, many traders will be disappointed with Robinhood’s offerings. You can’t even open an IRA through Robinhood, a feature that nearly every other brokerage offers. Customer service options are equally disappointing.
So, should you open an account with Robinhood? The answer depends on your skill level and needs as a trader. If you’re a frequent and active trader who needs a wide swatch of trading tools, Robinhood isn’t for you. However, if you’re a new trader overwhelmed by larger brokerages, Robinhood’s simplicity and clean design can be a comfortable way to dip your toes into investing waters.