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Robinhood vs Public


Robinhood or Public.com - which app is better in 2021? Compare margin accounts, online trading fees, stock broker extended hours, and differences.



Outline of Robinhood and Public.com


Both Robinhood and Public are known for their low-cost mobile app trading services. But is one better than the other? If you read this article, you’ll have the answer.


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 FREE stock and $0 commission stocks/ETFs/partial shares.

Robinhood: Get one free $2-$7 value stock when you open an account.



Available Securities


Robinhood offers a small selection of tradable instruments: just equities, ETFs, closed-end funds, options, and cryptocurrencies. The equity group includes penny stocks and a small assortment of OTC securities.

At Public, the investment range is even smaller. The brokerage firm offers stocks, closed-end funds, and ETFs. There are no options or cryptocurrencies, and just forget about penny stocks or over-the-counter instruments.

Robinhood is definitely our pick in the first category.


Investment Education


On Public’s website, we found several articles on the basics of investing. Topics include retirement (although the broker doesn’t offer IRAs), stock market myths, earnings calls, cannabis stocks, and surviving bear markets.

Robinhood has its own learning section, with articles covering Keynesian economics, home equity lines of credit, the globalization of the economy, debentures, and how to do a cost-benefit analysis.

Robinhood has more material, so it is awarded the victory here.


ETFs and Closed-end Funds


Neither broker has an overwhelming fund service. Although ETFs and closed-end funds are available at both firms, we didn’t find any notable fund resources.

Robinhood’s fund profiles show trade data such as volume and 52-week low. The broker doesn’t have a fund screener; although it does offer lists of funds by category, such as 100 Most Popular and Index ETFs.

Over at Public, the broker offers Themes. These are lists of funds (and stocks) that qualify by category. Examples include Cash Cows for companies sitting on big piles of money and Fighting Disease for medical research firms. Fund profiles have limited data.

We will take Public here.


Stock Research


The situation is slightly better for stocks at Robinhood. Profiles have news articles, analyst trade recommendations, earnings histories (with misses and outperformances), and option chains.

Public doesn’t have any options chains because it doesn’t offer trading in derivatives. But it does have news articles, trade stats, earnings history (with actual and expected numbers), upcoming company events, and trade recommendations.

Public wins here, too.


Trading Software


For actual trade placement, Robinhood offers a website with a login. Charts can be expanded full screen. Notable features include technical studies (4 of them), 2 graph styles, and up to 5 years of price history.

Robinhood’s order ticket offers market, limit, stop loss, stop limit, and trailing stop orders.

Although Public has a website, the system has no trading capability.

Victory for Robinhood.


Mobile Trading


Without a website, Public clients use the broker’s mobile app to submit orders. Charting is atrocious with no horizontal mode, no technical studies, and only one graph format (line). The software’s order ticket offers market, limit, and stop orders.


Public vs Robinhood


Public is one of the few broker-dealers to provide a community forum on its app. Customers can chat with each other about trades.


Public.com Social Trading


Robinhood fails to deliver a social networking service; but it does provide 2 graph styles on its charting program. Other charting features unfortunately are on par with Public’s software.


Robin Hood vs Public


One major highlight on Robinhood’s mobile app is cryptocurrency trading. Another is trade recommendations from analysts like Morningstar with brief justifications. And a third is options trading.

Overall, Public is the better choice.


Other Services


DRIP service: Both brokerage houses in this competition offer free dividend reinvesting.

IRAs: Neither broker offers retirement accounts.

Whole-dollar investing: Both firms offer fractional-share trading in stocks and ETFs.

This one is a tie.


Our Recommendations


Stock and ETF Trading: With Robinhood’s computer platform, it’s a no brainer.

Beginners: With social investing, Public is our recommendation.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Neither broker offers IRA's and mutual funds. Our pick is TD Ameritrade for its Individual Retirement Accounts and mutual funds selection.

Small Accounts: Neither broker has any account minimums or fees.


Open Account


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

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

Robinhood: Get one free $2-$7 value stock when you open an account.



Public vs Robinhood Summary


Robinhood and Public are two very evenly matched brokers. Public revealed multiple strengths, including whole-dollar investing and a community forum.