Robinhood vs Public


Robinhood vs Public.com—which app is better in 2022? Compare investing accounts, online trading fees, stock broker extended hours, and differences.


Robinhood vs. Public.com Introduction


Robinhood is well-known in the brokerage world for disrupting it. Public.com is trying to carve out its own niche in the industry. Will Robinhood survive this onslaught? Let’s see what we can find.


Public and Robinhood Cost


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Public $0 na na $0 $0
Robinhood $0 na $0 per contract $0 na


Public and Robinhood Services


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


Open Account


Public: Get a FREE stock and $0 commission stocks/ETFs/partial shares.

Robinhood: Up to $200 in FREE stock when you open an account with this referral link.



Category 1: Available Assets and Accounts


Robinhood started in 2013 with just stocks and ETFs. Today, it has those instruments plus cryptocurrencies and option contracts. The broker-dealer no longer offers trading in closed-end funds.

Public.com does offer trading in closed-end funds. It also has cryptocurrencies, equities, and exchange-traded funds. It does not offer trading in options contracts.

Neither brokerage firm offers trading in foreign stocks or over-the-counter instruments.

As for account types, Robinhood and Public only have individual taxable accounts at the moment.

Winner: Pretty close


Category 2: Margin Services


A cash account at Robinhood can upgrade to margin. It’s easy to do on the website or mobile app. On the app, tap on the person icon in the bottom-right corner. Then tap on the three horizontal bars in the upper-left corner. On the next page, tap on the gold icon in the upper-right. Doing so will produce another page, and here you’ll be able to add a Gold membership. This is Robinhood’s premier membership that adds margin to an account along with Morningstar research, Level II quotes, and larger instant deposits. There is a cost for this service. The monthly fee is $5.

Gold’s monthly membership fee pays for the first $1,000 in borrowed funds. The downside is that a Gold account has to pay this fee whether it trades on margin or not. Any margin balance above $1,000 will cost 5.75%.

Robinhood is currently launching a new program that will allow non-Gold members to trade on margin. The projected cost is 9.75%, although this could change as the Fed continues to raise rates. Not all accounts can access this margin service right now as it is slowly being rolled out.

Public.com does not yet offer margin trading.

Winner: Robinhood


Category 3: Websites


Both brokers started out as app-only firms. Today, they have websites with logins and trading capability. This doesn’t mean we will see a lot of powerful tools, but they are there.


Robinhood or Public


Robinhood’s order ticket has the following trade types:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop loss
  • Stop limit
  • Trailing stop
  • Recurring

There are just two trade types: day and GTC (up to 90 days).

Option chains are easy to use on the site. Trades can have up to 4 legs, and there is now a profit-loss diagram on the trade ticket.

Charts on Robinhood’s site can be displayed full screen, although there are only 4 technical indicators and 2 plot styles.

But that’s better than Public. Charts here have no tools at all, and there is no full-screen capacity. Public’s order ticket has three trade types: market, limit, and stop.


Public vs Robinhood


The one feature Public.com does have that Robinhood doesn’t is a community forum where Public users can comment on the day’s market news and communicate with each other.

Winner: Robinhood


Category 4: Mobile Trading


Public’s social networking tools appear again on its mobile app. Besides market news, individual securities have comment pages. The same trade ticket and charting software also appear.


Robinhood or Public


The same account tools on the Public website appear on the mobile app. These include funds transfer and account documents in pdf format. One link we found on the app that we didn’t see on the website was a tool to enable crypto trading.

In the top-right corner of the app is a calendar icon. This is the platform’s economic calendar. During our probing, we found upcoming earnings releases.

Robinhood’s app doesn’t have an economic calendar, although it does have a better order ticket than Public’s app. On Robinhood’s app, we found the same 6 order types the website ticket has. The same duration choices are there, too.


Robinhood vs Public


Option contracts have a separate trade ticket. It has a color-coded P/L diagram, which will really help visualize a potential trade.

Charts on the Robinhood app are slightly better than those we found on Public’s app because there are two plot styles (line and candlestick) instead of just line.

Winner: Robinhood


Category 5: Crypto Trading


Traders at Public can buy and sell 29 cryptocurrencies. Besides the regulars like Ethereum and Bitcoin, there are some adventurous ones like Cosmos and ApeCoin. Public charges no commissions on crypto trades, although there is a markup/markdown built into the bid-ask spread. It is approximately 1% to 2%.


Public.com vs Robinhood


Robinhood has just 14 coins. But it has no crypto commission, and there’s no markup/markdown built into the spread.


Robinhood vs Public.com


Neither brokerage firm has any significant crypto information on its trading software. Public delivers slightly more information, such as current supply and 24-hour trading volume for each coin.

Winner: Subject to debate


Category 6: Research and Education


Robinhood has an extensive library of articles devoted to general investment education. It is located at learn.robinhood.com. The resources cover a lot of territory and include articles such as:

- Getting started with options
- What is a portfolio?
- Understanding the US National Debt

Over at Public, we found another learn hub. Located at public.com/learn, it has fewer articles than Robinhood’s library. Example article include:

- 18 Candlestick Patterns Every Investor Should Know
- Mutual Funds vs. ETF: Definitions
- What is stock dilution?

For security research, neither firm has a stock screener, which is strike one. Public has a single watchlist. Robinhood’s software is able to create multiple watchlists, which is a major advantage over its rival here.

Stock profiles have minimal amounts of data on them at both firms. Public presents trade recommendations with price targets, which of course are really helpful. There is general trade data like dividend yield and volume.

Robinhood has trade recommendations but not the price targets. In the place of targets, Robinhood has snippets from Morningstar reports (full reports are available to Gold members). Key stats show a stock’s P/E ratio, volume, and other particulars.

Winner: Robinhood


Category 7: Extra Services


Initial Public Offerings: Robinhood customers, but not Public investors, can get in on upcoming equity launches.

Cash Management Features: Robinhood has a unique debit card that earns fractions of stocks and cryptocurrencies with purchases. Public doesn’t have a debit card or other banking tools.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Not available at either brokerage house.

Extended Hours: Only Robinhood has pre-market and after-hours trading right now. Public says it has plans for extended-hours trading for customers who sign up for a Premium plan, which will cost $10 per month.

Fractional Shares: Available at both firms.

DRIP Service: Ditto.

Winner: Robinhood


Recommendations


Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Neither broker-dealer has any significant resources here. We recommend Fidelity who does.

ETF & Stock Trading: Public just doesn’t have the trading software to get the recommendation here. Robinhood’s charting isn’t that spectacular, but it does have a good trade ticket.

Beginners: Robinhood Gold, which delivers stock reports from Morningstar, would be good for investors trying to learn the ropes.

Small Accounts: Neither broker-dealer has any on-going fees or minimums.


Open Account


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Public: Get a FREE stock and $0 commission stocks/ETFs/partial shares.

Robinhood: Up to $200 in FREE stock when you open an account with this referral link.



Public vs Robinhood Summary


Yes, it does look like Robinhood will survive this new brokerage firm. In fact, Public has returned a rather lackluster performance, although we do like its community forum.


Broker Reviews


Go to Public Review
or to Robinhood Review


Updated on 8/9/2022.


About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.