Robinhood Trading rating

Robin Hood Investing Review

Robinhood: Stock Broker With Free Trades

Robinhood (member of SIPC) is a very new, mobile only, online brokerage that is becoming well known for one thing: no commission fees. Robinhood was started a few years ago by two Stamford roommates who wanted to make investing accessible to everyone. Since then, they have grown in popularity thanks to some great guerrilla marketing campaigns and funding from some major venture capitalist firms.

This article will offer a peak at Robinhood’s product and review their signup process, website and application, finding investments, fee structure, and then wrap it all up with a conclusion. Does offer a compromise-free take on fee free investing? Keep reading this Robin Hood Brokerage Review to find out.

Signup Process

Robin Hood Trading App Sign Up

The account signup process at Robinhood is very quick and painless, made even better by their website’s slick interface. The picture above shows the types of questions they will ask.

After successfully filling out the account application, Robinhood brokerage will take roughly two days to review the application. After review, users will receive an email letting them know they are approved along with instructions on how to download the Robinhood smartphone app to start investing!

Robinhood offers apps for both iPhone and Android devices.

Robin Hood Review: Website

Website and Smartphone Application

Robinhood’s website is very sleek, modern, and responsive. Unfortunately, there is one large flaw: it is only used for account signup and frequently asked questions. That’s right, Robinhood’s website doesn’t even have an area for their users to log in. Despite this extremely light website design, it still holds some valuable information for new users. Consequently, Robinhood’s smartphone application is the only way users can interface with their accounts. Thankfully, the app is very well done: it is responsive and intuitive, making it easy to navigate for even the newest smartphone users.

From the application, users are able to preform a few actions that they could at a normal online brokerage’s website. This includes: checking the account value, linking bank accounts, looking at order history, updating settings, looking up tax info and much more.

While their smartphone application won’t replace a traditional website for most users, it does have a number of useful features and a great interface.

Finding and Purchasing Investments

Unfortunately, this is one of the areas in which Robinhood falls behind their competitors. Robinhood doesn’t have any investment searching tools that the established brokerages offer. This means that customers are limited to a very rudimentary “Enter the company name or ticker symbol here” type of search. Any research into different investments will have to be done using freely available resources on the internet or another brokerage’s tools. Robinhood does offer their customers an investment’s fundamentals after looking it up, but that’s all. This is a far cry from being able to proactively search for fundamentals and sort the results.

This issue could be potentially caused by their platform being entirely smartphone based. As Robinhood matures they may add a more comprehensive search feature, which would go a long way in making them truly competitive.

Below is a series of pictures displaying Robinhood’s simple ordering system. After a user has found a stock they want to invest in, all they have to do is enter a quantity and confirm the order. That’s all they have to do to invest commission free!

Robin Hood Trading Review: Buy Screen Robin Hood Review: Order Summary Robin Hood Review: Purchase Screen

Robinhood Brokerage Fee Structure

As mentioned earlier, Robinhood’s major claim to fame is offering commission free trading with no compromises. There are only a few other companies in the business that offer free trades, but only for a select number of stocks and funds. Robinhood allows users to invest in nearly anything with a ticker symbol without worrying about account minimums, commission fees, or almost anything else. This is especially important to users who can’t invest much or buy in very small amounts. For example, a user who can only invest $100 a month at a traditional brokerage will automatically lose 7% or more of their investment right away due to trading fees. This means they will need a little over a year of average market performance just to break even.

Robinhood does charge fees for a very select number of things that most people won’t use. These include: paper statements, buying stocks listed only on foreign indexes, wire transfers, and overnight deliveries.

After hearing about the incredibly low fees, the question many people ask is “How do they make money?” To answer that question simply, they make money from the interest on cash balances users hold in accounts and from people taking out loans to buy securities “on margin”. On top of that, they have the advantage of building this business based on no fees right from the beginning. Thanks to that, Robinhood was able to proactively automate and cut back everything that would get in the way (namely, they have no brick and mortar buildings and don’t pay a dime in advertising fees). This all translates to Robinhood being a very lean company that can offer no commission fees to the average customer.

List of all their brokerage fees is here: Robin Hood fees.

Robinhood Gold

The broker also recently launched a modified version of a margin account called Robinhood Gold. Instead of a percentage of every dollar borrowed, the firm charges a flat $10 per month for the ability to borrow up to $2,000. Going up another $2,000 tacks on an additional $10 fee. Above $50,000, the broker switches to the regular percentage-based system. Currently, it's 5.0%.

Robinhood Gold also gives members extended trading hours and instant access to fund transfers. As one of the few advanced features on the app, this service gives an investment edge to frequent traders that was not previously available through the platform.

Robinhood Investing Review Summary

Robinhood is an interesting and unique platform which, along with M1 Finance, are the only two companies that offer commission free investing. Robinhood is basically a smartphone application with very simple interface and, most importantly, no trading fees. They are brought down in the rankings by only allowing users to invest on their phones and having a very basic investment-searching tool.

Their primary use of a smartphone application will likely appeal more towards younger generations. Studies show that these people are glued to their cellphones more often than not. For us personally, trusting our money with a company that is not much more than a simple app, is a leap of faith we are not willing to make.

Robin Hood Brokerage reviewed by Rating: 3