Robinhood is one of the most popular online brokers for a reason — it’s user-friendly, has zero fees, and you can use it on your mobile app, making it a viable alternative to the traditional trading platform offered by your broker. But since it launched in 2013, many worthy competitors have burst onto the scene. It only makes sense to consider whether it’s the best choice for your stock trading or if you should consider one of the many Robinhood alternatives instead.
If that’s the case, you’re in the right place. We’ve assessed the top trading platforms on the market to find the best alternatives. Whether you’re a swing trader or buy-and-hold investor, whether you prefer cryptos to stocks or trade price breakouts over momentum, you’ll find something here to suit your needs.
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Why Reconsider Robinhood?
Robinhood has had its fair share of controversies over the years. Back in 2019, a few users realized that a glitch in the system allowed them to trade with almost unlimited leverage — some traders managed to claim up to $1,000,000.
At the start of 2021, another scandal hit again due to Robinhood’s involvement with the Gamestop fiasco. The app decided to freeze trades involving the stock, leaving many traders upset, given Robinhood’s status as one of the most popular and accessible trading apps.
More recently, Robinhood has suffered from slower growth after cryptocurrency trading on the platform declined, which it had become heavily reliant on. As a result, the app’s transaction revenues dropped 41% between the second and third quarters of 2021, leaving its future hanging in the balance.
But even if these problems don’t bother you, there are many other reasons why you might be questioning if Robinhood is the right choice. It might not quite hit the mark for more experienced traders due to its lack of more sophisticated tools. You also can’t trade mutual funds or open tax-advantaged accounts (like IRA accounts) for now.
Best Robinhood Alternatives
With all this in mind, let’s get straight into platforms for you to consider instead.
E*TRADE: Best for Non-Crypto Trading
Minimum balance: $0 or $500
Investment types available: Stocks, Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), options, futures, mutual funds
Like Robinhood, ETRADE doesn’t charge a fee for trading stocks or ETFs — but unlike Robinhood, it lets you trade mutual funds (also with no commissions). It also offers other asset types, like futures and options trading, but these involve fees. Plus, you can open a range of tax-efficient accounts, including Roth and traditional IRAs.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t support any crypto products.
ETRADE is an option worth considering for beginner and advanced traders alike, thanks to its combination of educational resources and more sophisticated trading tools, such as charting capabilities for risk analysis.
You can open a simple brokerage account or a Core Portfolio, which offers automated investment management if you have a little more money. The Core Portfolio automatically builds a diversified portfolio for a 0.3% fee (as a percentage of your total balance) and a $500 minimum balance.
- Zero-commission trading
- Trade mutual funds
- Tax-efficient accounts
- No crypto products
Webull: Best for Extended Trading Hours
Minimum balance: $0
Investment types available: Stocks, options, ETFs, cryptocurrencies
Webull is what you might call a genuine Robinhood replacement. Webull is another app-based trading platform that lets you start trading without fees and requires no fixed minimum balance.
The platform lets you trade outside of usual trading hours, running “extended hours” for a few hours before and after typical sessions. You can also open an account like an IRA on the app, which differentiates it from Robinhood.
A disadvantage is that you can’t invest in stocks and ETFs directly. Still, as an alternative, you can invest in ADRs: securities issued by American brokers or banks consisting of foreign shares.
- Offers IRAs
- No fees
- Extended trading hours
- Can’t trade international stocks and ETFs directly
TD Ameritrade: Best for Forex Trading
Minimum balance: $0
Investment types available: Stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, forex, cryptocurrency
TD Ameritrade might be a more traditional platform, but that doesn’t mean it can’t make for an excellent alternative to Robinhood.
In addition to the usual suspects, TD Ameritrade lets you trade a diverse range of assets, including forex, futures, options, cryptocurrencies, and more. The diverse range makes TD Ameritrade an excellent choice for more advanced traders., especially given the more sophisticated features it boasts.
There are also no fees for stocks, ETFs, or options.
- Wide variety of investment assets
- No fees for stocks, ETFs, or options
- Advanced features
- Might not be suitable for beginners
Acorns: Best for Automating Saving
Fees: $3 a month
Minimum balance: Stocks, ETFs, bonds
Investment types available: $0
Acorns made its name for being a platform that makes it easier for you to save and invest by rounding up your purchases and investing it on your behalf. It’s not necessarily the obvious Robinhood alternative, but it’s well worth considering if you struggle to put money aside for investing.
For a $3 a month fee, Acorns will invest your spare change through “round-ups” (aka you spend $3.60 and it invests $0.40 for you) into a diversified portfolio using a mix of stocks, bonds, and ETFs.
It also has options for sustainable investing with an ESG portfolio, tax-efficient investment for retirement, and investing on your kids’ behalf.
Acorns are, therefore, an excellent choice for those who’d like to sit back and know their money is being used smartly and efficiently on their behalf — but it’s not so much of a good choice for anyone who wants to have a little more control. There’s also a limited range of asset classes, with no crypto on offer.
- Round-ups feature makes it easier to invest
- Sustainable investing
- Creates portfolio for you
- Limited control over portfolio
- Not many asset classes are available
Gemini: Best for Cryptocurrencies
Fees: Up to 1.49% (depending on platform)
Minimum balance: $0
Investment types available: Cryptocurrencies
If you’re primarily interested in trading cryptocurrencies, Gemini is an obvious choice. It has more than 52 different cryptocurrencies available for trading (including 21 pairs), and there’s something for traders of all levels.
You can use ActiveTrader for advanced features like charting and block trading. It even has a dedicated Gemini Wallet where you can securely hold your crypto — a convenient option for active traders.
However, unlike other platforms on this list, you’ll be hit with a trading fee of up to 1.49% per transaction.
- Store cryptocurrencies in the Gemini wallet
- Sophisticated trading features
- Lots of cryptocurrencies are available
- Only for trading crypto
- Trading fees
Charles Schwab: Best for Online Investing and Retirement Planning (IRA)
Minimum balance: $0
Investment types available: Stocks, bonds, options, futures
Charles Schwab is another of the traditional financial brokers, but don’t dismiss it based on that. You can’t trade cryptocurrencies on the platform, but there’s a vast range of other assets, including futures, options, fractional shares, and more. And even though you can’t access cryptocurrencies directly, you can still trade financial products containing bitcoin (e.g., bitcoin futures).
An advantage of using an established platform like Charles Schwab is the access to advanced trading research tools and sources, including Reuters and Moody’s. It’s also a good option for those looking to open retirement accounts due to the tax-efficient accounts and its status as a leading retirement planning platform.
However, beware that there’s a small fee to transfer your funds out of your account on the platform.
- Lots of assets available
- Advanced research tools
- Good for retirement planning
- The fee to transfer out your funds
- No direct crypto access
M1 Finance: Best for Automated Investing
Minimum balance: $100
Investment types available: Stocks, ETFs
M1 Finance is a tool that specializes in automated investing, making it an excellent choice for those who want to invest passively. However, unlike some other platforms, you won’t have to pay a management fee for the robo-advisor to take care of things.
You can also choose between many different portfolios depending on your needs, allowing you to keep some control. Just tell M1 your goals and select the fund that best matches them.
The basic plan has no management fees, but if you upgrade, you’ll pay a fee in return for various extra features, including borrowing and high cashback rates.
Although the minimum balance of $100 is higher than many of the other platforms on this list, this is still low in the scheme of things.
- Automates investing
- No management fees
- Maintain some control
- Slightly higher minimum balance
- Have to pay for advanced plans
Stash: Best for Learning To Invest
Fees: $1 a month
Minimum balance: $5
Investment types available: Stocks and ETFs
Like Acorns, Stash was originally established as a platform designed to make investing more accessible. How? It charges a nominal fee to help users make plans for investing, and budgeting gives them advice and allows them to earn stocks as they spend (which it calls “stockback” rather than “chargeback”).
Stash is, therefore, far more than a Robinhood alternative — it’s a tool to help you manage your finances better, with the option to receive personalized advice and more depending on the plan you choose.
Monthly fees start at $1 a month but can go up to $9. While this might not be much for what you’re getting, those strapped for cash might prefer to go for one of the free trade fee options on this list.
It also doesn’t offer a variety of asset types; you can only trade stocks or ETFs.
- Earn stockback from spending
- It helps you with personal finance management
- Different plans available
- Charges monthly fees
- Limited assets available
Public: Best for Young People
Minimum balance: $0
Investment types available: Stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies
Public is a beginner-friendly mobile trading app aiming to make it quick and easy to trade stocks and cryptocurrencies. It’s similar to Robinhood, but it does offer something a little different: the layout works similarly to a social media site, with a feed that lets you see what more advanced traders are doing and learn from them.
That makes it a good choice for young people learning to invest, especially with the cryptocurrency offering. However, it might not be ideal for more experienced traders, mainly due to the lack of trading options other than stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies.
- Trade cryptocurrencies
- Easy-to-use app
- Social trading features
- Not as suited to advanced traders
- It doesn’t offer a wide range of asset types
Feeling Spoiled for Choice?
You’re not obliged to stay loyal to your existing platform if there’s something that suits you better, and it’s good to know there are so many great options. Whether you ultimately decide to ditch Robinhood or stick with it, hopefully, your eyes have now been opened to just how many similar platforms there are on the market.
If you’re struggling to know where to start, why not take advantage of the low or non-existent minimum balance requirements by signing up for a few different platforms and testing them out?
Thanks for reading this article. Please visit us at The Cents of Money for more articles of interest.
This post originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Tim Thomas was born in Guildford and now lives near Southampton, the UK with his family. Tim started his career in the financial markets and has traded and invested in stocks, options, forex, futures, crypto, and real estate for over 20 years. His website, https://timthomas.co/, is dedicated to teaching swing trading strategies for profits, helping traders reach their wealth and financial freedom goals.