Ally Invest versus Robin Hood

Ally Invest vs Robinhood


Ally Invest or Robinhood - which is better in 2018? Compare IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences.



Overview


Ally Invest and Robinhood are two brokers that offer securities trading at bargain basement prices. However, reducing fees to such a very low level can come at a cost. Let's take a look at these two firms and try to determine if one is better - Robinhood or Ally Invest.

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Ally Invest $4.95 $9.95 $4.95 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Robinhood $0 na $0 $0 $0

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Ally Invest
Robinhood


Fees and Commissions


Robinhood can proudly boast that it has the lowest stock commission of any broker on the planet, offering an amazing $0 for stock and ETF trades. It's able to do this by charging for paper statements ($5) and trade confirmations ($2), passing on regulatory and exchange fees, and not providing option or fixed-income trading. Placing an equity trade with the assistance of a human broker costs $10.

Despite being outdone by Robinhood, Ally Invest's commission is still very low by industry standards—just $4.95. Options are available and cost 65¢ extra. Clients who make 30 or more trades per quarter or have $100K+ account balance get $3.95 stock and ETF trades and 50 cents option contracts.

The broker charges $4 for paper statements and $2 for hard copy confirmations. Using a live rep to execute a trade costs $24.95.

Although pricing can't be compared on some products, because the broker doesn't offer them, we'll award this category to Robinhood.


Technology


Robinhood's website has little material on it. It is used mainly for advertising and account sign up. Users will find no educational or research tools on it. Trades can't be placed on it, either. There is a Robinhood mobile app for Android and Apple devices, where trades can be placed. The broker also has an app for Apple Watch. Charting on the app is fairly rudimentary. There are no drawing tools or technical indicators. A chart also can't be rotated, and the only option for graph style is line. Without charting on the website, the mobile app's charting capability is a real disappointment.

The Ally Invest website can be used for a host of functions. There is a trade bar at the bottom of the browser where orders can be placed for stocks, options, and ETF's. Charting is available on the site, with technical studies and more. A web-based platform named Ally Invest LIVE is free for all customers. More advanced desktop software is available for active traders. The broker does not offer a platform for Apple Watch; but it does have a mobile app, where charting is more advanced than on Robinhood's.

Ally Invest wins here.


Ally Invest vs Robin Hood


Funds


All U.S. exchange-traded funds can be traded at either broker. Robinhood does not offer any mutual funds, however. Ally Invest has over 8,000 mutual funds that are open to new investors. If a fund is no-load, the broker charges $9.95 per transaction.

Ally Invest wins here, too.


Customer Service


A Ally Invest representative can be reached over the phone 24/7. On-line chat is also available during customer service hours. The Ally Invest website has a customer forum where traders can post questions that can be answered by other traders or a company representative.

Robinhood can be reached over the phone during market hours. Unlike Ally Invest, the broker does not have a toll-free number. There is a Robinhood Twitter account, and the firm has an e-mail address; although it took two days for the company to respond to one test e-mail.

Ally Invest wins here.


Investment Research


The Ally Invest website has a lot of good material devoted to security research and education. Several videos and articles are devoted to essential investment topics, such as how to place a stop loss order. Future webinars are posted on the site as well. Stock reports from S&P Capital IQ are free. Screeners for securities are also available. Neither the Robinhood site nor the mobile app has any research or educational materials.

Obviously, Robinhood loses this category.


RobinHood Stock Trading Fees


Cash Management Options


Ally Invest clients can have a debit card and checks added to a securities account. Although there are account requirements for these additions, the broker's policies are better than those of Robinhood, which does not offer any cash management features.

Ally Invest wins again.


Promotions


Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + commission free trades for new accounts.

Robinhood: Open account and get FREE stock.



Alternative Investments


Ally Invest customers also have access to the forex market. The broker has a dedicated currency platform that is free to use. More than 50 currency pairs can be traded, some with spreads as low as 1-2 pips. The firm has forex specialists who can be reached by phone 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Robinhood, by contrast, does not offer any forex trading; nor does it offer any access to the futures markets. In fact, the broker does not even offer mutual funds.

Ally Invest wins once again.


Ally Invest vs Robinhood Results


Ally Invest (Ally Invest Review) won six categories, and Robinhood (Robinhood Review) succeeded in just one. Ally Invest is the winner by a mile. Clearly, free trades (on only some products) come at a price. With very little besides free trades, Robinhood is difficult to justify. With a very low equity commission, especially for active traders, Ally Invest is definitely the better value.