Robinhood vs Fidelity


Compare Fidelity Investments versus Robinhood - which is better for fees, IRA/Roth accounts, online stock trading, and mutual funds investing in 2021?



Fidelity vs Robinhood Comparison


Robinhood shook up the brokerage world by introducing $0 commissions in 2015. Fidelity followed Robinhood’s lead by eliminating equity commissions from its own pricing schedule. Does that mean Robinhood is the leader and Fidelity the follower? Here’s the answer:


Commissions


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Fidelity $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Robinhood $0 na $0 per contract $0 na
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 per contract $0 $0


Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Fidelity
Robinhood
Firstrade


Promotions


Fidelity: Get $0 stocks commissions.

Robinhood: Get one FREE stock when you open an account.

Firstrade: Get 2 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades!



First Category: Investing Choices


Robinhood:

Robinhood customers can open individual self-directed accounts. As of right now, Robinhood does not offer any other type of brokerage account.

As for actual trading, Robinhood offers these asset classes:

- Cryptocurrencies
- Stocks on the major U.S. exchanges
- Option contracts
- Funds (exchange-traded and closed-end, but not mutual)

Fidelity:

Investors at Fidelity can open individual self-directed accounts, plus a long list of other account types, including joint, custodial, education, and business accounts. These can be established as either self-directed or managed.

Fidelity’s portfolio management is available in both automated and traditional formats. The latter is of course more expensive but offers greater variety and investment selection. The robo program costs no more than 35 basis points per year.

The digital advisor trades a small selection of Fidelity mutual funds. The broker’s self-directed accounts offer much more, including:

- Fidelity and non-Fidelity mutual funds
- ETFs
- Closed-end funds
- Stocks, including OTC and foreign listings
- Option contracts
- Fixed-income
- Annuities
- Life insurance

Winner: Fidelity


Second Category: Margin Borrowing


Robinhood:

Robinhood likes to try to do things differently, and this philosophy goes well beyond free trading. The company has rolled out a different type of margin account. The company charges $5 per month to have a margin account, and this fee pays for the first $1,000 in borrowed funds. After that, it’s a flat 2.5% for a loan.

Fidelity:

Fidelity is the traditional brokerage house in this contest, and as such it has a traditional margin system. It is tiered with the lowest rate at 4.325% and the highest rate above 8.325%. Unlike Robinhood’s system, borrowing nothing at Fidelity costs nothing.

Winner: Robinhood


Third Category: Websites


Robinhood:

During our testing of Robinhood’s website, we found it easy to use, although it is somewhat lacking in resources. For example, graphs only have 2 formats (line and candlestick), and there are just 4 technical indicators. A chart can be displayed the full width of the monitor, but there are no other advanced features, like comparisons or company events.


Robinhood or Fidelity


There is no right-click trading on Robinhood’s site, although there is a trade button at the top of a graph. The order form delivers 6 trade types, including stop and trailing. There is no ability to enter a short trade at Robinhood, a glaring weakness.

The Robinhood site has a default watchlist, and others can easily be created. But there are no alerts.

Fidelity:

Fidelity’s site has both watchlists (an unlimited number can be created) and alerts. Security profiles have both sell and buy buttons on them. Either one can be used to create an entry order.


Fidelity or Robinhood


An older pop-up trade ticket has been discontinued. In its place is an order form that appears on a discrete web page. There are 8 order types on Fidelity’s trade ticket, with trailing types making up half of these. There are many duration choices, including on-the-open and on-the-close.

Fidelity’s site has other web-based trade tickets, including a simplified version (it has fewer options) and a Trade Armor ticket, which includes some really advanced order types, such as bracket orders.

Charts on Fidelity’s site can be displayed in full-screen mode. There are several graph styles and tools.

Winner: Fidelity


Fourth Category: Desktop Platforms


Robinhood:

Robinhood customers have been waiting on a desktop program for quite some time. They are still waiting.


Robinhood versus Fidelity Investments


Fidelity:

Fidelity has offered Active Trader Pro for several years. The latest version is 10.7.227.0. It delivers many effective tools, including the following:

- Color-coded Level 2 quotes at no charge
- Basket trading (multiple orders sent to the exchanges simultaneously)
- Time & sales data
- Streaming video news
- Direct-access routing
- A notebook to record notes about a security
- Advanced charting with right-click trading


Fidelity versus Robinhood


Winner: Fidelity


Fifth Category: Mobile Apps


Robinhood:

Although Robinhood failed to deliver anything at all in the desktop category, it does succeed here. Its mobile app is easy to use and in fact has the same basic interface and tools as its website cousin. The app’s watchlist syncs with the website, and the trade ticket delivers the same order types.


Robin Hood vs Fidelity Investments


Charting unfortunately is on a much lower level. A graph cannot be rotated horizontally, there is only one graph format (line), and there are no tools of any kind.

During our research, we hoped to find video news, mobile check deposit, and other valuable mobile features, but didn’t find them.

Fidelity:

On Fidelity’s app we did find mobile check deposit and streaming financial news. Other highlights include bill pay and a great deal of market news.


Fidelity Investments vs Robinhood


Charts on Fidelity’s app can be displayed full screen in either horizontal or vertical format. Tools include comparisons, several graph styles, linear and logarithmic axes, and 8 technical indicators.

The simplified trade ticket from the website makes another appearance on the app, and Fidelity is testing a beta version of the app (tap on the More icon and turn the toggle switch on for Beta experience).

Winner: Fidelity


Sixth Category: Research and Education


Robinhood:

Security profiles at Robinhood come with news articles from a variety of sources, trade recommendations from multiple analysts, earnings stats, and a few price ratios. Amazingly, the broker does not have a stock screener in the traditional sense; instead, Robinhood composes Trending Lists, which are groups of ETFs and stocks by themes, like cannabis and technology.

For general investing education, Robinhood has a library of articles that include topics such as:

- What is a Stock?
- Getting started with options
- What is a dividend?

Fidelity:

Fidelity’s library of educational materials goes further than Robinhood’s. Fidelity delivers videos, infographics, podcasts, and coaching sessions. The company also hosts in-person events when there’s not a cataclysmic virus outbreak.

On Fidelity’s website, there is an enormous amount of information on stock profiles. Examples include:

- ESG data
- Social sentiment
- Analyst reports in pdf format (12 for General Motors)

Winner: Fidelity easily


Seventh Category: Options Trading


Robinhood:

Robinhood started out in derivative trading by offering just call and put options. Today, its mobile app (but strangely not the website) has several multi-leg trades installed for easy order entry. We counted 7 of them. Although the website doesn’t have spreads, it does have the ability to create custom multi-leg orders. It also has profit-loss diagrams, a recent addition.

Fidelity:

All three of Fidelity’s platforms have pre-installed option spreads. The mobile app has 11 of them. Although the app has no profit-loss diagrams, the website does; plus, it has a lot of other excellent derivative tools, including a probability calculator and Greek values, which aren’t available on Robinhood’s platforms.

Winner: Fidelity


Eighth Category: Additional Services


Dividend Reinvestment Program: Both Fidelity and Robinhood offer dividend reinvesting free of charge.

Fractional-share Trading: Available at either brokerage house.

Extended Hours: Both firms have early-bird and late-night trading periods. Fidelity has lengthier sessions.

Banking Tools: Fidelity has an account that comes with a debit card and a checkbook. Robinhood only offers the former. But Robinhood’s account pays more interest (currently 0.30% versus 0.01%).

IPO Availability: Both brokerage firms in this analysis offer access to forthcoming Initial Public Offerings. Fidelity has account minimums, while Robinhood does not.

IRAs: Only Fidelity offers retirement accounts.

Automatic Mutual Fund Investing: Available at Fidelity.

Winner: Fidelity


Our Recommendations


Mutual Fund Traders: Fidelity is the only choice in this survey.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Does Robinhood offer IRAs? No. Does it deliver solo 401(k) plans? No. Does it provide access to target-date mutual funds? No. Does it offer annuities? No. Does it provide financial-planning services? No. Fidelity offers all of these and more.

Small Accounts: Fidelity’s digital advisory program would be a good choice for small accounts because there is no charge on the initial $10,000, and there is no minimum to open an account. Neither brokerage house has account minimums or fees for self-directed trading.

Beginners: With its stellar customer service and very good educational resources, it is Fidelity hands down.

Stock and ETF Trading: Fidelity by far is the better pick.


Promotions


Fidelity Investments: Get $0 stocks commissions.

Robinhood:

Get one FREE stock when you open an account.

Firstrade: Get 2 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades!



Robinhood vs Fidelity Results


Although Robinhood changed the investing world with zero-dollar commissions, it remains far behind Fidelity in many areas. Anyone looking for $0 commission trades not just on stocks but also on mutual funds and options will find a better deal at Firstrade.


Updated on 8/20/2021.