Contributor, Benzinga
February 24, 2022
Updated: April 16, 2022
2021-Fintech-Awards-Winner-Badge-2

Winner of Benzinga's 2021 Fintech Awards for Best Brokerage for Beginners

Why Robinhood Over Others?

Robinhood makes investing and money management simple, which is one of many reasons it has drawn so many users. While Robinhood might not be the best option for the most advanced traders, it thrives at being the simplest and best for complete newbs to intermediate options traders.

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 — it's a great feature for beginners.
  • No account minimum and fee free trading: FINRA requires a minimum balance of $2,000 in a brokerage account for Margin Trading which is an optional service that becomes available for Gold users. However, not all Gold users trade on margin and therefore don't need to meet that requirement. Other than that, 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. 
  • Debit Card: Robinhood's savings account works seamlessly with your brokerage account allowing you to close a position and spend your gains immediately. Robinhood also makes it incredibly to find and use your ACH and routing number.
  • Dogecoin: With the popularity of meme stocks and cryptocurrencies in 2021, many users choose to open Robinhood accounts simply for access to Dogecoin. Find out more about Robinhood Crypto below.

A Few Things to Consider

Unfortunately, Robinhood has faced controversies in the past related to:

  • Halting trading on meme stocks
  • Regulatory settlements
  • Selling order flow to Citadel

These issues could lead to trouble for investors, especially flash trading that increases your overhead and slows trading. When choosing the best broker for your portfolio, remember to check reviews of the platform (like this one) along with credit ratings and any complaints from regulatory agencies or the Better Business Bureau.

Robinhood Pricing

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.

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. 

Robinhood User Experience

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 may 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 easy. You can browse a list of stocks in different industries and place a trade with just a few clicks. 

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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 could be a good choice for you.

Robinhood Research

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. Your feed will be tailored with news on stocks and ETFs that you’ve placed on your watchlist, as well as trending . 
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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 Collections on Robinhood, REIT, Crypto 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. 

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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.  
  • 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. 
  • Robinhood Debit: Robinhood's money management platform makes it incredibly simple to manage your money, stocks and crypto all in one place. Robhinhood offers 0.3% APY on cash stored on the platform, which gets deposited monthly. While other brokers also offer checking accounts, Robinhood once again wins by making it incredibly simple to use. Robinhood offers a variety of stylish, half-clear debit cards that will attract millennials and zoomers.

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 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 Customer Support

Robinhood lacks a bit in the customer service department. Brokerage account holders have no way to contact the company through live chat but they recently added a phone support option. To request a call, navigate to your account, select 'Help' and then 'Contact Us'. Finish with choosing the 'Phone' option and then 'Request a Call' and a representative will contact you.

You can also submit 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 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 Offerings

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 Options

Robinhood Options are available to all customers on most of their stock offerings. In classic Robinhood fashion, it's really easy for beginners to learn and purchase options. Robinhood has recently rolled out "The P/L chart" which makes it easy for beginners and intermediates to visualize their potential risk and profits when buying or selling options contracts.

Robinhood Crypto

Robinhood offers a basic selection of cryptocurrencies with plans to add wallet capabilities and additional currencies in the near future. Currenty, Robinhood supports the following 7 cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Bitcoin SV (BSV)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
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Crypto Pro Tip:

Robinhood's selection of cryptocurrencies are odd by any modern standard. While Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin are relevant in 2021, the other coins are far from being considered favorites in the crypto community. Robinhood also does not provide you with your own private key, meaning you are reliant on them for security and you cannot send crypto to other wallets or DeFi apps like Uniswap.

Robinhood Mobile App

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. 
  • Variety of safety features: You can choose to protect your mobile app in 1 of 2 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 6-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 vs Competitors

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  • eToro
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  • Moomoo
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  • Webull
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Robinhood Overall Rating

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. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
Is Robinhood Safe?
A
As with any investment app or platform, you trade at your own risk. Do not invest money you aren’t prepared to lose. With that said, Robinhood offers two-factor authentication for all accounts using SMS. You can also use third-party security apps to protect your account, and the company encrypts all sensitive data stored on its servers.
Q
Is Robinhood good for Crypto?
A
There are 7 cryptocurrencies currently available on the Robinhood platform. More notably, they are one of the few platforms that allow buying and selling of Dogecoin (DOGE). However, as of this publication, they have implemented restrictions on some assets. If you're looking for alternatives to Robinhood, you can find a list here.
Q
What do you need to get started on Robinhood?
A

To apply for a Robinhood account, you’ll need to 18 years or older, have a valid Social Security number (not a Taxpayer Identification Number(, have a legal U.S. residential address in one of the 50 states or Puerto Rico (they may make exceptions for active U.S. military personnel stationed abroad) and be a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident or have a valid U.S. visa.

Q
How do you open a Robinhood account?
A
First, submit an application in your Robinhood app. Then, you get an email in one day that either confirms your application’s approval or asks for a little bit more information. Lastly, you may need to verify your identity, including instructions for uploading your documents.
Q
What are the benefits of using Robinhood?
A
Robinhood offers various advantages to include it is user-friendly, you can trade cryptocurrencies and a great mobile app.
Q
What are the drawbacks of using Robinhood?
A
The disadvantages of Robinhood include no retirement accounts, reduced customer services, tools and educational resources.

User Reviews

Lee Price

How do you use this product to boost your finances?

The only thing I can think of is better options to sell during non traditional hours.

David

How do you use this product to boost your finances?

Robinhood stole $350 from me when it shut down NOK. Do not trust them!

Lynn H

Been using this app for almost years now and was happy with the ease of navigation which was great for this beginner. Now I am looking elsewhere because RH does not support very many penny stocks and crypto. It\'s really disappointing knowing they cater to beginners and yet are eliminating penny stocks, seems counterintuitive. Beginners love penny stocks, you get your feet wet without drowning. Their customer service is obsolete. It\'s all automated and takes too many days for anyone to get back to you. I\'m still waiting, 1 week later for a question I asked about disabling stock lending. Overall, good for the newbie who is just getting started but don\'t stay there because you will miss out on the shots you could have taken.

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