Robinhood in a lot of ways paved the way for this handheld stock-trading trend. Not long ago, you would have had to call your investment banker to make any trades, but that is a thing of the past. Even as an industry leader in being first, that doesn’t actually make them the best, but are an easy to use entry level investment platform.
Today I am going to discuss some of the other investment platforms that can help you reach your investment goals. I’m going to use the comparative lens of Robinhood to help us reach conclusions on what may be the best alternative to Robinhood. I’m going to list out the main pros and cons of Robinhood and use those as a point of reference in the following criticisms.
Pros and Cons of Robinhood
- Commission Free Trading
- Easy-to-use interface
- The options trading interface is simple and easy to use
- Continuously adding features
- Mobile app
- System outages
- Gamestop Debacle
- Charting information isn’t robust enough
- No retirement
- Roth IRAs
Much like Robinhood, Webull offers a handful of free stocks, but they suffer the same type of system outages. They offer crypto trading but don’t hold or process crypto wallets. A company like Coinbase would be better for trading crypto.
Webull comes across as a day trading platform with a number of albeit more complicated trading systems, Once you get to know them though, its relatively easy to use. Like Robinhood, they offer no IRA or deferred tax accounts.
This is a viable and useful alternative to Robinhood, but it does suffer from some of the same shortcomings due to its clearinghouse. For the most part, most people will not encounter these problems, unless they are chasing volitile stocks like with the GameStop debacle.
Acorns have three levels of membership, $1, $2, and $3. They offer a Round-Up feature, a subscription to Grow magazine, and a personal finance magazine, though it sounds like something else. The last feature is Found Money where you use the savings on purchases to invest. You can get all of those in the $1 option.
Round-Up rounds up your purchases and automatically invests them.
For the $2 option, you get a feature they call Later Money, which is essentially an acorns IRA account. And last for $3 you get a checking account. There is also a new option called Family for $5, which includes everything the others do but allows you to open multiple accounts as well as youth accounts.
They also plant trees when you signup, which is a noble philanthropic venture from a finance company. This and the retirement account make it an excellent alternative to Robinhood. Also if Round-Up helps you save money where you otherwise wouldn’t that can be a very good feature.
Vanguard traditionally has low fees, mutual funds, index funds, and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), They have good customer service and act like a more traditional investment firm. Setting up auto investments is easy, but their website needs a good makeover to be user-friendly.
If you can get past the clunky website and app this is a good investment program that encourages long-term growth rather than day-trading, it is possible to use in either instance though. Paired with its good customer service it is a viable alternative to Robinhood.
M1 Finance has percentage based investing, and you essentially control a slider to mark how you want your investments to be handled. Its not great for making trades at specific dollar amounts and they only submit the trades twice a day. This could be inconvenient if trading volatile stocks.
It advertises itself as an automatic investment tool. Allowing you to set it and forget it. For someone that doesn’t want to do much management of their stocks, this might be your best option.
The platform is easy enough to use and if you don’t want to spend much time on your investments, but still want to start building longterm savings this is a viable alternative to Robinhood.
Think or Swim charts come with an account, which is helpful when planning investments. You can pay for a broker-assisted transactions as well for a fee. Their website is easy to use, but their phone app could be better.
There are several educational videos and readings on their site to get yourself familiar with investing. This can help you make good decisions when it comes to longterm finance.
They also have good customer service, which can really be a boon when trying to navigate unfamiliar territory making this a good alternative to Robinhood.
A Leader in the industry, has very descriptive charting and this allows you to make a good judgment on your investments They consistently have some of the lowest fees in the industry if not the lowest. Their website is decent as well and their phone app is much easier to use.
Fidelity is the most well-rounded, and probably the best alternative to Robinhood. Although I would say using any of these programs if they help you save more money would be better for you than nothing.
They also fall into the category of having good customer service. I think we all appreciate a knowledgeable and helpful person when we are getting stumped on an issue. This is the best overall system in my opinion.
All of these investment programs are useful, but I recommend probably starting with one and getting familiar with its features in it. If I was opening a new account now, and I didn’t already have an investment portfolio I would probably lean toward Fidelity or TDAmeritrade.
If you are also trading crypto I would recommend something like Coinbase or any of the crypto wallet programs you can use. I will do a later investigation into which is the best.
We talked about alternatives to Robinhood which included:
I recommended Fidelity if you don’t already have investment accounts because of its robust features, and encouragement of long-term investments and savings. Get saving today with one of these great services.