Robinhood vs Firstrade


Compare Firstrade versus Robinhood - which is better in 2021? IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences comparison.



Rivalry Outline


Robinhood isn’t the only $0 broker in town anymore. Should the firm’s customers jump ship and head to Firstrade? Let’s have a look.


Services Comparison


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


Cost Comparison


Broker Review Promotion
Offer
Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Firstrade Get 2 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades! $0 $0 $0 $0
Robinhood Get one free $3-$7 value stock when you open an account. $0 na $0 na


Tradable Assets


Firstrade clients can buy and sell the following investment vehicles:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs, closed-end funds, and mutual funds
  • Bonds and cash equivalents
  • Option contracts

The equity category includes IPOs, penny stocks, and OTC investments.

Robinhood doesn’t offer bonds, mutual funds, or access to IPOs. It does have a small selection of over-the-counter instruments. It also offers cryptocurrencies, a noteworthy accomplishment. There are in total 7 currencies that can be traded.

Winner: Firstrade


Security Research and Financial Education


Firstrade clients get three screeners (for ETFs, stocks, and mutual funds). There is also an option trade tool we’ll look at shortly. These resources provide trade ideas based on underlying search criteria. During our testing, they were easy to use.

Firstrade’s website is almost a Morningstar clone. Security profiles are pulled straight from the analyst and even have the exact same look. The advantage of this setup is that there’s tons of information from Morningstar, including free stock analysis and price targets.

For general education, Firstrade’s site hosts brief articles and a glossary.

Robinhood’s site has a lengthy list of FAQs. Answers are divided into categories, and there’s a search field to make combing through the broker’s responses a little easier.

Unfortunately, Robinhood doesn’t offer any screeners like Firstrade. For stocks and ETFs, there are categories that traders can search through; although these pale in comparison to Firstrade’s tools.

Asset profiles at Robinhood once again fail to deliver very much. There are news articles with thumbnails and brief information on earnings histories. One highlight is analyst ratings with buy, hold, and sell recommendations.

Winner: Firstrade


Cash Management Tools


Both companies in this survey have promised to provide banking tools for their customers. Only Firstrade has come through completely. Robinhood has a waitlist for its debit card. If you manage to obtain one, you’ll get:

- Free ATM withdrawals at MoneyPass and Allpoint machines
- Interest on idle cash (currently 0.30%)
- $1.25 million in FDIC insurance
- No forex fees

Firstrade doesn’t have a waitlist. If you want a debit card, you can easily get one, assuming you have $25,000 in account equity, which is the broker’s minimum. In return, you’ll get free checkwriting, a service Robinhood doesn’t offer. Firstrade provides one 0% forex transaction per month for clients who have at least $25,000 in assets.

Winner: Draw


Website Trading


When you have completed your security research and have your cash management tools up and running, it’s time to get down to business.

Both brokerage firms in this survey offer website trading. Neither has a desktop platform or any other type of advanced trading software.

Firstrade’s website is clutter-free and easy to navigate. There is a trade bar at the bottom, and this is the tool we recommend for trading options, ETFs, closed-end funds, and equities. Mutual funds and bonds can’t be traded on it.


Firstrade vs Robin Hood


There are several order types on the tool, including:

  • Limit
  • Market
  • Stop
  • Trailing

Duration options include:

  • Day
  • GT90
  • Pre Market
  • After Market
  • Day+EXT

Charting on Firstrade’s site doesn’t quite extend the full width of the screen. But there are many tools and 9 display styles.

At Robinhood, charts can be displayed the full width of the computer screen. But there are only 2 graph styles. There are just 4 technical indicators, which far underperform Firstrade’s 20+.


Robin Hood or Firstrade


Robinhood’s trade ticket offers the following order types:

  • Limit
  • Market
  • Stop
  • Trailing

While this is the same as Firstrade’s list, Robinhood offers fewer duration options (just day, GTC, and extended hours).

Both brokers offer multiple watchlists, but only Firstrade provides alerts.

Winner: Firstrade


Mobile Trading


Robinhood and Firstrade both have mobile apps. The former broker’s is almost a clone of its browser-trading software; while the latter’s is a new experience altogether.

Firstrade’s app offers a watchlist and limited security research. The order ticket has the same order types and duration choices as the broker’s trade bar. Many other features found on the Firstrade website are sadly missing on the company’s app.


Firstrade or Robin Hood


Over at Robinhood, we have another user-friendly interface. But with this one, virtually all of the website tools are available on the mobile platform. The one exception is in the realm of charting.


Robin Hood vs Firstrade


A graph on Robinhood’s app can’t be rotated horizontally, and there are no technical indicators. On Firstrade’s app, a graph can be shown in horizontal mode. Plus, there are several graph styles and technical studies.

Winner: Firstrade


Funds


Firstrade customers can trade over 15,000 mutual funds, one of the largest lists we have ever seen. As already noted, Robinhood doesn’t offer a single mutual fund.

As for ETFs, Firstrade has profiles with lots of data points (courtesy of Morningstar). For example, for SPY, one of the most famous funds in the U.S., there are:

  • News articles
  • Performance history
  • Portfolio composition with holding style, ownership zone, asset allocation, sector weightings and other portfolio tools
  • Ratings & Risk
  • And more

On Robinhood’s site, ETF profiles have far less data on them. There are trade details, such as volume and 52-week low. There are also news articles and a list of similar funds that Robinhood customers have recently bought.

Winner: Firstrade


Promotions


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

Robinhood: Get one free $3-$7 value stock when you open an account.



Options Trading


For options trading, Firstrade offers multiple tools on its website. The first is the trade bar, which offers the ability to trade calls and puts plus a few strategies, such as:

  • Straddles
  • Calendars
  • Vertical spreads
  • Greek values can also be accessed on the trade bar.

Moving to a higher level of sophistication, the Firstrade website also has OptionsPlay. This really useful tool presents trade ideas based on bullish or bearish sentiment or an entered ticker symbol. Multiple trades are presented with profit-loss diagrams.

On Firstrade’s mobile app, it’s possible to trade calls, puts, butterflies, and condors. It’s not possible to create your own multi-leg order on the company’s app, but it is possible on OptionsPlay.

Robinhood’s website offers trading in calls and puts only. Somewhat oddly, the mobile app is on a higher level, offering multi-leg strategies, such as:

  • Straddles
  • Strangles
  • Call/put spreads

Winner: Firstrade


Miscellaneous Services


Dividend reinvestment program: Both brokers have a DRIP.

Fractional-share trading: Firstrade fails here, but Robinhood doesn’t.

IRAs: Robinhood doesn’t offer retirement accounts, but Firstrade does.

Automatic mutual fund investing: Firstrade offers periodic mutual fund investments.

Winner: Firstrade


Our Recommendations


Stock and ETF trading: We like Firstrade’s trade bar better than Robinhood’s site. And with better research tools, Firstrade definitely gets our seal of approval.

Beginners: While Robinhood tries to achieve an elementary trading experience, Firstrade also does a good job of keeping things simple. OptionsPlay is especially good for new traders. We pick Firstrade.

Small accounts: Neither firm has any account requirements.

Long-term investors and retirement savers: With Firstrade’s IRAs and very long list of target-date mutual funds, it’s an easy choice to make.


Promotions


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

Robinhood: Get one free $3-$7 value stock when you open an account.



Firstrade vs Robinhood Results


Robinhood is the more popular brokerage firm of these two, but Firstrade is the clear outperformer overall. The one advantage that Robinhood has is in cryptocurrency trading.