It's a well-known secret that trading in the stock market, whether you're brand-new to the system or old hat, can cost the trader up to $10 per transaction, or even higher. However, with modern technology, the actions that these fees cover are almost entirely automated these days, leading to stock market traders paying fees that are now completely unnecessary, though these fees still exist due to them being long established in the stock market field.
One app, called Robinhood, is taking out these fees entirely and opening up the world of the stock market to any players who might be interested, both young and old, for early investors and the moderately wealthy alike. While there are a large number of stock market brokers available to the public, on your phone or laptop, or even tablet, Robinhood is setting out to open the stock market industry to the younger generation, especially millennials.
We think it is important to get more than just a star review of an app when considering using it to improve your financial future. That's why we are bringing you detailed information on how the app works, how to get started in the program, and even some discussion on popular opinion and other similar options that exist on the market today.
What is Robinhood?
This app, which intends to let potential investors to buy and sell stock for $0 each trade, was first launched back in December of 2014, and started off with a waiting list of 500,000 people hoping to give the app a shot. It is geared towards opening up the start market to hopeful millennial investors, which had previously been entirely untapped for stock trades.
Today, Robinhood has been successful enough that it is beginning to expand internationally, allowing citizens of countries such as Australia to join in fee-free investing and trading. They are continuing their dedication to inspiring the next generation of financial investors and expanding their reach around the globe.
Most users find this service appealing for the simplest reason that Robinhood is completely free to use. You won't find yourself dealing with hidden fees or costs, and the give is that the app limits trading options to stocks and ETFs only.
In short, if keeping costs of trading stock low is your primary concern, and you're willing to do a little effort on your own for research and education, then Robinhood is the way to go.
How Robinhood Works
There is a reason Robinhood is able to work so successfully while offering its users trades for only $0. They focus their efforts on taxable accounts, and make sure to only offer stocks and ETF investments, or an exchange-traded fund, for the user.
They keep their overhead costs of running a business low, to ensure their thin margins of profit remain profitable. In this way, they are able to target new and millennial-aged users by offering popular mobile interfaces, $0 minimum for an investment, and even keeping the service as a whole entirely free.
Robinhood also offers several features that are highly desired by its users, such as scheduled deposits and advanced order support. In this way, users can plan ahead to deposit their money and even get assistance in how to use the system.
If you want to double your buying power, and access after-hours trading as well, you can pay a fee of $6 each month to access an upgraded account called Robinhood Gold, but even with this account, trading is still 100% free from commission fees. Users can also take advantage of Robinhood Instant, which is absolutely free, and allows the user to immediately access stock funds for reinvesting, as well as use as much as one thousand dollars of pending bank deposits.
Commissions and Fees
Most stock brokers on the market have fees, and are designed for high rollers who are individually wealthy and able to invest large amounts of money into the market. These brokers, such as Charles Schwab and E*Trade, levy fees onto the user to help pay for their expertise, while Robinhood seeks to offer something different altogether.
As mentioned, Robinhood can be used entirely free as an online stock broker, which makes it one of a kind. However, if the user desires some upgraded features, such as trading after hours, they can pay an extra monthly fee starting at $6 per month for a service called Robinhood Gold.
Steps to Get Started
Getting started with Robinhood is simple, provided you have your bank account information on hand.
- Download the app “Robinhood – Stock Trading”.
- Sign Up
- Enter your email address
- Create strong password
- Enter your legal first and last name
- Enter your phone number
- Input checking account information
- Watch the video on how to use Robinhood.
- Input initial investment amount from your bank into your account.
- Begin to buy and sell stock!
Pros and Cons of Robinhood
- No trading commissions
- $0 Account minimum investment
- Mobile interface
- Streamlined interface may lack details on the stock
- No retirement accounts available
- No available trading platform
This app gets amazingly positive reviews overall, and it features 4.5 stars on both the App Store for the iOS and Google Play. This is largely because it does its job by offering a gateway for newcomers who want to start investing in the stock market with no additional fees.
In short, this app is widely liked and well-regarded by beginners in trading and the stock market, but may not offer all the features that would be desired by more advanced traders who need different kinds of stock to trade other than ETFs.
The competitors to Robinhood almost universally cater to a wealthier and more advanced and experienced group of investors, leaving the market Robinhood is aiming for largely untouched. For mobile-based investors, other major options include Charles Schwab, Scottrade, and Ally Invest, among others.
Charles Schwab has fees to use the service, but they invest their fees in order to create an impressive stock trading product. The mobile app is available on practically every device, from iPads and Androids to the Kindle Fire. Their fees vary, and up to five fees can be placed on your trades depending on ETFs, commissions, managing portfolios, and more.
If you are already working with Scottrade for investment purposes, you will probably prefer their mobile app, which offers real-time and streaming quotes alongside amazingly detailed market research at your fingertips. However, due to low usability, it has only a 2 star rating on the App Store, and just over 3 stars on Google Play.
Ally is a bank that will also help you to invest your money with their mobile app. They offer the largest variety of options and packages for new and experienced stock traders, and their fees start as low as $4.95 per trade conducted.
Should You Get Robinhood?
At this point, if you are the target audience for Robinhood, you will know if this app is right for you. For any individuals who want to break into stock market trading, learn how it works with minimal risk, and of course do it all without spending any extra cash on fees, then Robinhood is the right choice for you.