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Robinhood Review 2019

Best for beginners
· 4.1 4 stars · Dec 2018
Compare to best alternative broker
Robinhood logo

Robinhood is a US zero-fee or discount broker established in 2013. If you don't know what discount broker means, read this overview about the best discount brokers in 2018.

Robinhood is considered safe because it is supervised by FINRA, the US regulator and provides a maximum of $500,000 investor protection including a $250,000 limit for cash.

Best for beginners

Recommended for beginners and buy and hold investors focusing on the US stock market.

Pros
  • Commission-free US stock trading
  • Great mobile and web trading platforms
  • Fast and fully digital account opening
Cons
  • Available only for US and Australian clients
  • Weak customer support
  • Limited product portfolio

Robinhood pros and cons

Robinhood offers commission-free US stock trading without withdrawal or inactivity fee. The mobile and web trading platforms are user-friendly. The account opening is seamless, fully digital, and really fast.

Robinhood is only available for US and Australian clients. The customer support is slow and you can only e-mail them. There are not a lot of products, mostly limited to the US market.

Compare to other brokers

Robinhood review
Fees 4 stars

US stock trading is free at Robinhood. There are no inactivity fee and withdrawal fees. On the flip side, Robinhood has really high commission for non-US stocks.
Pros
  • No withdrawal fee
  • No inactivity fee
  • Commission-free US stock trading
Cons
  • High financing rate
  • High trading fees of non-US stocks
Robinhood Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Low Free
EURUSD fee - Not available
US tech fund fee - Not available
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

To get things rolling, let's go over some broker fee lingo. You need to keep an eye on trading fees, financing rates, and non-trading fees.

We compare Robinhood fees with two Robinhood alternatives, Interactive Brokers and DEGIRO.

Let's start with the trading fees.

Trading Fees

Yes, it is true. Robinhood charges zero commission for US stock, options, and crypto trading. On the flip side, the commission is high on all non-US stocks.

Stock fees

Robinhood offers zero fees on US stocks which can save you a lot. However, there is a very high $50 fee for non-US stocks.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
USA $0.0 $1.0 $0.6
UK $50.0 $8.7 $5.4
Germany $50.0 $4.6 $5.7

Options fees

Similarly to stocks, options trading is also commission-free. 

Stock index option fees of 10 contracts
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
USA $0.0 $7.0 $6.5

Financing rates

Robinhood financing rates are average. 

When you trade on margin, you borrow money from your broker. This has a borrowing cost, called the financing rate you pay for the broker every day based on the volume of your position.

The financing rates differ based on the amount you borrow. Higher the amount you borrow, lower the financing cost you pay. E.g. if you borrow $1,000, you have to pay a fix monthly fee of $6 which is equal to a 7.2% yearly financing rate. On the other hand, if you borrow $50,000, the monthly fee is $200, equal to a 4.8% yearly financing rate.

We compared Robinhood's annual financing rates on $2,000 borrowed money with the competitors.

Yearly financing rates
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
Apple financing rate 6.0% 5.8% 4.3%
Vodafone financing rate 6.0% 3.9% 2.5%

Non-trading fees

Robinhood has low non-trading fees. There are no withdrawal or an inactivity fees.

Non-trading fees
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
Account fee No No No
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

Robinhood review
Account opening 5 stars

Robinhood account opening is seamless and fully digital. Your account will be opened within a day. On the flip side, the account opening is only available for US and Australian clients.
Pros
  • Fast account opening
  • Fully digital account opening
  • No minimum account balance
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • It is only availalbe for the US and the Australian clients

Can you open an account?

Account opening is only for US and Australian citizens. Robinhood is planning to expand its services into Europe and other continents, but not known when. 

Minimum deposit

There is no minimum deposit at the standard Robinhood account. If you upgrade to Robinhood Gold, you have to deposit minimum $2,000.

Account types

When you sign up, you will automatically open a Robinhood Standard/Instant account. After, you can downgrade your account to Cash Account or upgrade to Robinhood Gold.

Robinhood account types
  Cash Account Robinhood Standard/Instant Account Robinhood Gold
Advantages

- Day trading is not limited

- Instant deposit up to $1,000

- Instant deposit up to $50,000

- Leverage up to 2:1

- Extended trading hours

Disadvantages

- No instant deposit, money transfer takes 4-5 days

- No leverage

- Day trading is limited

- No leverage

- Day trading is limited

One main difference is the limitation of day trading, i.e.when you buy and sell a stock the same day. At Robinhood Standard and Robinhood Gold accounts, you can do only three day trades per week. If you do more, your account will be blocked for 90 days unless you have at least $25,000 on your account. The Cash account doesn't have such requirements, you can make as many day trades as you want without a minimum required account balance. 

The next major difference is the leverage. The leverage means that you trade with money borrowed from the broker. At Robinhood, this is called Buying Power. At Cash and Robinhood Standard accounts you can't trade with leverage, while at Robinhood Gold a 2:1 leverage is available.

Thirdly, the accounts differ in the instant deposit.

How to open your account

The account opening is user-friendly, fast and fully digital. It takes around 10 minutes to submit the application, and to be verified can be less than a day.

Opening a Robinhood account in the US requires:

  1. Be 18 years or older
  2. Have a valid social security number
  3. Have a legal U.S. residential address
  4. Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or have a valid U.S. visa

For Robinhood account open:

  1. Give your personal information, like your address, the birth of date, and your social security number.
  2. Answer short questions relating to your experience in trading.
  3. Verifying your identity with driving license / identity card / passport. It is very convenient that you can take a picture of the documents with your mobile.
Robinhood review - Account opening

Robinhood review
Deposit and withdrawal 3 stars

Robinhood deposit and withdrawal are very easy and user-friendly. On the flip side, you can only use bank transfer.
Pros
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
  • Instant deposit up to $1,000 per week
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Lengthy deposit if you don't use the instant deposit

Account Base Currencies

Your account will be denominated in USD in the US, and  AUD in Australia.

Deposit fees and options

Robinhood deposit is free of charge. On the other hand, you can use only bank transfer.

Deposit options
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No Yes

If you use instant deposit, the money will arrive immediately. If you don't, it can take 4 to 5 business days.

However, instant deposit has some limitations. At Robinhood Standard account, you can deposit instantly up to $1,000, while at Robinhood Gold account up to $50,000.

All transfer above the limit will be deposited after 4 to 5 business days. E.g. if you transfer $1,500 to your standard account, $1,000 will be credited immediately, while the remaining after 4 to 5 business days.

Robinhood review - Deposit and withdrawal - Deposit

Withdrawal fees and options

Robinhood withdrawal is free, but you can use only bank transfer. 

Withdrawal fees and options
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

The withdrawal usually takes three business days. There is also a withdrawal limit of $50,000 per day. Another restriction is that if you deposit money but you don't trade with that, you can only withdraw that after 5 business days.

You can only withdraw money to accounts on your name.

Stock transfer

You can transfer stocks in or out your account. Ingoing stock transfer is free, while outgoing transfers cost $75 per transaction.

More funding and withdrawal info

Robinhood review
Web trading platform 5 stars

Robinhood provides a well-designed and user-friendly web trading platform.
Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Clear fee report
  • Looks nice
Cons
  • Customizability is missing
Robinhood Platforms to Choose From
Trading platform Score Available
Web 5 / 5 stars Yes
Mobile 5 / 5 stars Yes
Desktop - No

Robinhood web trading platform was introduced after the mobile platform. Exactly the other way, how most brokers did. It is available only in English. Not a surprise, as it is only for US and Australian clients.

Look and feel

Robinhood's web trading platform is very easy to use, providing great user experience and design.  

You can't customize the platform, but the default workplace is very understandable and logical.

Robinhood review - Web trading platform

You can log in with your e-mail and your password and you can set up a two-step authentication. You can find a clear description of the setup.

Search function

The search function works as you would expect. 

When you click on a stock, you will see some tags, i.e. the company's sector. If you click on one of that, you will see all stocks having the same tag. It is really helpful to make a side-by-side comparison. For example, if you are interested only in the social media companies, you just click on that tag and you will get the full list. 

Robinhood review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use the following order types:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop Loss
  • Stop Limit

If you are not familiar with the order types, read this overview.

You can also set the good-'till-day (GTD) and the good-'till-canceled (GTC) order terms.

Furthermore, you will find an estimated cost tab when you place an order. This is very useful.

Robinhood review - Web trading platform - Order platform

Alerts and notifications

You can set up alerts and push notifications on a lot of things.

  • Dividends payments
  • Price movements
  • Money transfers
  • Earnings announcements
  • Corporate actions
  • Orders

Probably it is not clear what the corporate actions mean. Corporate actions include the events, like a stock split or a merger.

Portfolio and fee reports

You will find a really easy-to-understand portfolio and fee report function. You can see the average cost and the return of your stock. You will also see a pie chart which shows how much your portfolio is diversified. 

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Robinhood review
Mobile trading platform 5 stars

Robinhood mobile platform is great. It is well-designed and user-friendly.
Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Looks nice
Cons
None

Robinhood mobile trading platform is available both on any iOS or Android devices. We tested it on Android. 

Robinhood mobile platform has the same design, user-friendliness, and the same functionalities as the web trading platform. The research is a bit different, the stock screener and the recommendations are missing.

Robinhood review - Mobile trading platform

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Robinhood review
Desktop trading platform

Robinhood doesn't provide a desktop trading platform.

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Robinhood review
Markets and products 1 stars

Robinhood's product portfolio is limited. It offers only stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptos. Furthermore, these assets are mainly limited to the US markets.
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No
Fund No Yes Yes
Bond No Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes
Futures No Yes Yes
CFD No Yes Yes
Crypto Yes Yes Yes

Robinhood does a great job on cryptocurrencies, but, the stock and ETF offers lag behind.

Stock and ETF

Robinhood will give you access to around 5,000 stocks and ETFs. It is much less than at IB or DEGIRO. The majority of the stocks and ETFs are listed on the major US stock exchanges, but you will find some non-US stocks as well.

Usually, we benchmark brokers by comparing how many markets a broker cover. We could not figure out how many exchanges Robinhood covers. If you are planning to trade with small US stocks or with non-US stocks, it is best to contact their customer support first. 

There are some low-priced stocks or “penny stocks”. The low-priced stocks have a price of less than $5 and they are usually issued by small companies. Penny stocks are more volatile, and so, riskier.

Options

Within options, you can trade with only stock and stock index options. Furthermore, these options are not available for all stocks, only for bigger companies. 

Crypto

You can trade with many cryptos. You will find the major cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, and also the minor ones, like Monero or Stellar. 

Cryptos
  Robinhood Interactive Brokers DEGIRO
Cryptos (#) 16 2 2

At the time of the review, cryptos are available only in the following 26 states.

Robinhood cryptocurrencies in the US states
Alaska Arkanzas California Colorado Florida Georgia
Indiana Iowa Massachusetts Michigan Mississippi Missouri
Montana New Jersey New Mexico Ohio Oklahoma Pennsylvania
Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia
Wisconsin Wyoming        

Robinhood is planning to expand cryptocurrency trading in more states.

Robinhood review
Research 3 stars

Robinhood provides very user-friendly, but limited research tools. The news is good quality, and there are a few fundamental data. However, the charts are really basic and there are no recommendations.
Pros
  • Good quality news flow
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Limited interactive charting
  • No analyst recommendations for stocks, bonds, etc.
  • No/limited set of analytic tools

There are some functions only available on the web trading platform: the collections, the price paid, and the analyst ratings.

Recommendations

In the paid price section, you can check the one-year average price paid for a stock by other investors. You will see analyst ratings from experts which also helps you to make a better investment. The ratings show what percentage of the analysts suggest the stock to buy, hold or sell.

Robinhood review - Research - Recommendations

Fundamental data

Both on mobile and on the web trading platform, you can see some basic fundamental data, like P/E, the number of employees, and the market capitalization.

Robinhood review - Research - fundamental data

Charting

The charts are really basic at Robinhood. You can see only the price change of the stock you want to trade with. If you prefer a detailed chart analysis, you have to use another application.

Robinhood review - Research - Charting

News feed

You can read the news when you click on a product. The news has good quality and provided by top-tier third-parties, like Seeking Alpha or Yahoo! Finance. 

Robinhood review - Research - News feed

Other research tools you will enjoy

There is a stock screener feature on the Robinhood web platform.

You can filter the stocks by e.g. price, price change or market capitalization. 

Robinhood review - Research - Stock screener

Compare research pros and cons

Robinhood review
Customer service 1 stars

Robinhood support team provides relevant information. On the flip side, there is no phone or chat support. It is rather slow taking several days until you get an answer.
Pros
  • Relevant answers
  • Professional tone
Cons
  • No phone support
  • No live chat
  • Slow support

Customer support is Robinhood's weak point,  you can only e-mail Robinhood support team, and there is no phone or live chat. When you submit a request, you can select among topics, like account opening or funding.

The support team will get back to you via e-mail. The response we got was really helpful and contained all the information we asked for. However, it took more days until we got a response. 

Robinhood review - Customer service - email

After you choose the topic, you have to write a short description of your problem.

Robinhood review - Customer service - email submit

 

Contact customer service

Robinhood review
Education 0 stars

Robinhood does not provide education tools or a demo account.
Pros
None
Cons
  • No demo account
  • No trading platform tutorial videos
  • No educational videos

Visit broker

Robinhood review
Safety

Robinhood is regulated by the top-tier FINRA. There is also a high, $500,000 investor protection amount. Robinhood is not listed on any stock exchange and does not disclose its financial information.
Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
Cons
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • Financial information is not publicly available

Robinhood is a US broker established in 2013 serving clients in the US and Australia. Is Robinhood safe? To be certain, it is best to check two things: how you are protected if something goes south and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

There are two major entities within Robinhood: Robinhood Financial LLC and Robinhood Crypto LLC. The prior provides the stock and options trading, while the latter the cryptos trading.

Robinhood Financial LLC is the member of the Financial Industry Regulation Authority and falls under the US investor protection scheme, the SIPC. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash.

Robinhood Crypto LLC is not the member of FINRA or SIPC. It means the trading with cryptocurrencies is not protected by any investor protection scheme. 

Robinhood doesn't provide negative balance protection.

Background

Robinhood was established in 2013. The longer the track record, the better. It means the company was able to manage financially through tough times. Robinhood is still quite new.

Robinhood is a private company and not listed on any stock exchanges. It was hard for us to find well disclosed financial information about the company.

Being a US regulated broker is a great sign for Robinhood's safety.

Filter the brokers by investor protection

Robinhood review
Bottom line

Robinhood fees are great. US stocks trading is commission-free, and there is no withdrawal or inactivity fee. Robinhood has awesome, user-friendly mobile and web trading platforms. The account opening is easy, fully digital, and fast.

Robinhood has some drawbacks though. It is available only for US and Australian clients. The customer support is poor, you can only reach them via e-mail and it takes time to get an answer. Most products you can trade with are just from the US market. 

If you want to trade with US stocks for free and prefer an easy-to-use platform, Robinhood is the best choice. 

Robinhood main features and highlights

🗺️ Country of regulation USA
💰 Trading fees class Low
💰 Inactivity fee charged No
💰 Withdrawal fee amount $0
💰 Minimum deposit $0
🕖 Time to open an account 1 day
💳 Deposit with credit card Not available
👛 Depositing with electronic wallet Not available
💱 Number of base currencies supported 2
🎮 Demo account provided No
🛍️ Products offered Stock, ETF, Options, Crypto

Visit broker

Robinhood logo

Robinhood is a US zero-fee or discount broker established in 2013. If you don't know what discount broker means, read this overview about the best discount brokers in 2018.

Robinhood is considered safe because it is supervised by FINRA, the US regulator and provides a maximum of $500,000 investor protection including a $250,000 limit for cash.

Best for beginners

Recommended for beginners and buy and hold investors focusing on the US stock market.

Compare to other brokers

Overall 4 stars

Pros
  • Commission-free US stock trading
  • Great mobile and web trading platforms
  • Fast and fully digital account opening
Cons
  • Available only for US and Australian clients
  • Weak customer support
  • Limited product portfolio

Fees 4 stars

Pros
  • No withdrawal fee
  • No inactivity fee
  • Commission-free US stock trading
Cons
  • High financing rate
  • High trading fees of non-US stocks

Account opening 5 stars

Pros
  • Fast account opening
  • Fully digital account opening
  • No minimum account balance
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • It is only availalbe for the US and the Australian clients

Deposit and withdrawal 3 stars

Pros
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
  • Instant deposit up to $1,000 per week
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Lengthy deposit if you don't use the instant deposit

Web trading platform 5 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Clear fee report
  • Looks nice
Cons
  • Customizability is missing

Mobile trading platform 5 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Looks nice
Cons
None

Markets and products 1 stars

The available asset classes to trade:

  • Stock
  • ETF
  • Options
  • Crypto

Research 3 stars

Pros
  • Good quality news flow
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Limited interactive charting
  • No analyst recommendations for stocks, bonds, etc.
  • No/limited set of analytic tools

Customer service 1 stars

Pros
  • Relevant answers
  • Professional tone
Cons
  • No phone support
  • No live chat
  • Slow support

Education 0 stars

Pros
None
Cons
  • No demo account
  • No trading platform tutorial videos
  • No educational videos

Safety

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
Cons
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • Financial information is not publicly available

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager

METHODOLOGY

Everything you find on Brokerchooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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