With no commissions and no minimum deposit required, Robinhood is one of the best apps for new investors to begin trading stocks, crypto, ETFs, and even IPOs in some companies starting with as little as $1.
Since 2006, our editorial team has researched and published reviews on the top personal finance products, updating our assessment as these products change (like the evolution commission-free trading). We know what you’re looking for, including ease of use both for beginning and casual investors, plenty of investment tools, low or no account minimums, a pleasant app interface, and info on fees.
Robinhood is a popular stock trading and investing app that offers zero-commission trades on thousands of investments, including stocks, starting with as little as $1.
With beginner-friendly features and easy-to-read charts, Robinhood is great for new investors and there's advanced features even more seasoned investors can appreciate.
- Commission-free trading
- Easy to use, well-displayed dashboard
- No obligation or minimum account balance
- No bonds or mutual funds
- Crypto fees can be more transparent
What is Robinhood?
Robinhood is an intuitive stock trading and investing app that offers zero-commission trades on thousands of investments. The slogan behind Robinhood’s increase in popularity was “We’re on a mission to democratize finance for all,” which speaks to the company’s continued obsessive focus on keeping investing approachable. This shows with the low-fee trading choices and $1 minimum investment, unheard-of back when Robinhood launched in 2013.
Robinhood also offers no-fee options trading, as well as access to cryptocurrencies, and has become one of the most popular crypto trading apps in the U.S. While there has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the trading app, it continues to deliver on the essentials: low-fee trading, easy-to-use mobile app, and access to digestible user education to help make users smarter traders
- Minimum deposit: The minimum deposit is $0 for Robinhood. There is no account minimum or minimum deposit.
- Trading fees: No commission fees on stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto trades.
- Account fees: $100 transfer out to other brokerages (partial/full); $5/month for Robinhood Gold.
- Tradeable assets: Stocks, ETFs, options, American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), IPOs (for certain companies), cryptocurrency.
- Account minimums: $0.
- Mobile app available? Yes, both iOS and Android.
- Education: News feed, basic articles, and videos.
- Customer service: 24/7 email, social media, and the ability to request a phone call within the app.
Pros & cons
- Commission-free trading — Save money on fees and commissions with Robinhood.
- Visual dashboard — The interface is easy to use and understand, making it easy to keep updated on the status of your portfolio.
- No-obligation signup — You can invest as much or as little as you want (starting for as little as $1), with no minimum account balances required.
- Investment option limitations — You can’t invest in mutual funds or bonds with Robinhood.
- Lack of fee transparency for crypto trades — While Robinhood claims free crypto trading, they historically applied a spread fee, and currently generate revenue through volume rebates from trading venues on crypto.
How does Robinhood work?
Robinhood is a free online app that can be downloaded for either iOS or Android. You can quickly sign up with a username and password, and then provide personal information (just like opening a bank account) to complete your account creation.
Robinhood offers a free stock to all new users who sign up and link a bank account or debit card. You’ll receive a specified cash value reward amount between $5 and $200 (Robinhood notes 98% of people get a value between $5 to $10), which you can then use to purchase your gift stock or fractional share of a stock from a list of 20 of America’s leading companies. If you’re not happy with the list of the companies provided, you can sell your gift stock three trading days after you claim it. You can then use the proceeds to invest in another company you prefer or even withdraw the proceeds (after a 30 day window). Terms and conditions apply.
To fund your account, you will need to link a bank account and initiate a transfer. Linking an account is easy; just select your bank from a list and enter your login details. If your bank isn’t on the list, you may need to manually enter the details and verify the account by confirming two micro-deposits.
Once the account is linked and money is transferred, Robinhood offers up to $1,000, depending on your transfer, instantly to begin trading while waiting for the rest of the transfer to clear.
Pricing and fees
Robinhood offers “commission-free” trading on stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto trades. However, that just means Robinhood doesn’t collect a commission on trades. There are third-party fees associated with trading, including:
- SEC fees: $22.90 per $1,000,000 of principal (for sells only).
- FINRA trading activity fee: $0.000145 per share (equity sells) and $0.00244 per contract (options sells) to a maximum of $7.27.
- ADR fee: $0.01 to $0.03 per share.
Overall, these fees are less than 0.01% for most trades, which is extremely low.
That being said, Robinhood may charge some type of fees for crypto, noting customers may ask Robinhood if additional fees apply when placing crypto trades.
As for account fees, there are no fees to maintain your account or transfer funds back and forth. If you upgrade to Robinhood Gold, you’ll pay $5 every 30 days in addition to the applicable interest on your margin trades.
Features to know about
Robinhood is one of many great apps out there that make trading easy. Here are some features that set Robinhood apart.
Taxable and IRA accounts
Robinhood offers both taxable investment accounts and IRAs, both traditional and Roth IRAs.
If you choose to transfer an IRA or rollover a 401(k) with Robinhood they will sometimes match 1% of your contributions, which is pretty amazing. That means you’ll automatically get an extra 1% on every dollar you contribute every year, up to the annual IRA contribution limits set by the IRS. That percentage is not counted toward your annual contribution limits.
Trading on Robinhood
Robinhood offers a simple and intuitive trading platform, with simple line stock charts and easy-to-read information about the stock, ETF, or crypto you are looking at. Its great for beginners and casual investors.
Orders can be placed quickly, with shortcuts to buy $1, $10, or $100, and prices are displayed prominently for each asset. Advanced traders can access more order types, called “conditional orders,” with access to limit, stop, stop-limit, and trailing stop orders for buying or selling an asset.
Trades are executed quickly, and you can jump to the homepage to view your portfolio. Robinhood even shows you a simple pie graph that represents your holdings, split between stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto.
Overall, Robinhood offers a simplified trading experience that’s good for beginners, but lacks more sophisticated trading tools and choices of the traditional top online brokers.
Robinhood has access to thousands of stocks for trading, including over 650 international stocks for globally-listed companies that are available via American Depository Receipts (ADRs).
Stocks can be searched out manually, or users can browse certain sectors, such as tech, pharma, or real estate.
Each stock listed has a news feed with the latest updates on the company, and users can browse through the financial details of a company, including trading volume, market capitalization, price-to-earnings ratio, and more.
Among over 5,000 securities offer for investment, Robinhood offers thousands of ETFs, which are tradable funds that typically own a mix of stocks and other assets. The ETFs listed can be sorted by asset class and sector, and are typically much less expensive than their mutual fund counterparts.
ETFs have become popular over the past decade as a more approachable way to build a long-term more passive investment portfolio that is well-diversified. Add to that Robinhood’s minimum $1 investment and the ability to buy fractional shares of ETFs and they are some of the best assets on the platform.
Robinhood offers fractional share investing, which allows you to purchase partial stocks, ETFs, and crypto with as little as $1. This is great for those looking to invest with little money. While some stocks cost hundreds of dollars (like TSLA), Robinhood allows you to buy less than a single share, letting you invest in your favorite companies without needing to fork over huge piles of cash.
Orders can be placed both by share amount (0.20 of a $100 share would result in ~$20 invested) and dollar amount (you can just type in $20 and it’ll adjust). Most stocks worth over $1 per share with a market cap over $25,000,000 are eligible for fractional share orders.
Fractional share investing is pretty standard in the industry nowadays, but there are still some brokers that may not offer this to all account holders and on as many stocks. And while most require at least $10 to invest, Robinhood makes it even more approachable with the $1 minimum.
Robinhood offers dividend reinvestment (DRIP), which automatically reinvests dividends in the underlying stock or fund that distributes it. You will need to elect dividend reinvestment for your account through Robinhood app or website. Each individual stock or ETF that offers dividend reinvestments will allow you to turn the feature on or off in your account settings.
Fractional shares receive dividends just as whole shares would according to the amount held.
Robinhood stands out as one of the lowest-cost options trading platforms on the market. While most platforms still charge a per-contract (or per-leg) fee for each trade, Robinhood does not.
Robinhood has made margin access to average investors, for better or worse. If you have a $2,000 balance or 100% of the securities purchase price (whichever is less) on the platform as regulated by FINRA, you can access margin within your account, though there are margin maintenance requirements to keep your account from getting margin called.
Margin investing can be a great way to boost returns, but losses are amplified as well, so it should be used with caution. You can limit the amount of margin available on your account to prevent yourself from going overboard. Margin interest is charged daily.
Robinhood has become a very popular place to invest in crypto, allowing users to access over a dozen different cryptocurrencies for trading with real-time market data for some not offered for trading. Robinhood originally only supported a handful of coins, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, but has added more as demand has increased over the past few years.
While Robinhood says there are no commission fees, this applies to a commission charged to you to buy and sell crypto via the app and/or website. Historically users pay a “spread,” which is the difference between the bid and ask price for a cryptocurrency. Robinhood is not very transparent about all that goes into their revenue-generation from crypto trading but they currently note that they generate revenue through volume rebates from trading venues on crypto.
Robinhood added the ability to take custody of your crypto assets, meaning you can transfer them off the platform and onto your own crypto wallet. There are some network fees involved in transferring crypto assets, which are displayed before the transfer is executed.
Robinhood gives you the opportunity to access IPOs at the initial price right before it begins trading on the secondary market. You can request access through the app, but this does not guarantee you can purchase IPO shares. Users are subjected to eligibility requirements and may be limited on shares received.
You can quickly navigate through IPOs through the app by selecting “IPO Access” in the search menu, and select “I’m interested” if you find one you like. The advantage of IPO access is buying shares at the listed price, which (ideally) is lower than the trading price after launch, but carries risk.
Robinhood makes it easy to invest regularly, offering recurring investments for stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. You can find the investment you want to buy regularly, select “buy” and navigate over to conditional orders (upper right corner).
This reveals recurring investments, allowing you to purchase on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. There are no additional fees for recurring purchases, and you can customize the dates on which the investments are made. This is ideal for long-term investments where dollar-cost-averaging is preferred to help build an investment position over time.
Robinhood Gold is a premium service that offers lower margin interest rates, access to more investment research, a notable APY on your uninvested cash, and bigger instant deposits. Robinhood gold costs $5 per month and you can quickly upgrade your account directly from within the app.
Robinhood Gold is ideal for active traders who want more market data to read through, want to earn more on their cash not currently invested, as well as access to lower rates for margin trading (ideal for options trades and high-leverage trades).
Robinhood offers a rewards debit card called the Robinhood Cash Card. This no-fee card is offered by Mastercard®, and pays out rewards up to 8% cash back at select retailers that can be converted to investments on the Robinhood platform.
The cash card draws from your Robinhood spending account, and cash back rewards can be assigned to an investment (stocks, ETFs, crypto) that are purchased on a weekly basis. You can also round-up your purchases to the nearest dollar for additional investments each week and apply to get access to their paycheck up to two days early
There are no fees to use the card, fee-free ATMs (in-network only), no account fees, no overdraft fees, and no account minimum balance needed.
Watchlists, news, and alerts
Before making a decision about whether to invest in a stock, it can help to monitor it for a while. Robinhood makes it easy by letting you add assets to a watchlist. Simply search for a stock by name and tap the add symbol. Then you can keep an eye on it while you decide whether to make a move.
There’s also a newsfeed to keep you up with news directly in the app and a newsletter, called Robinhood Snacks. Plus, a podcast that provides news in an accessible, easy-to-understand format
Set up notifications so that you’ll know as soon as there’s significant activity on your account. You customize these notifications in the app’s settings. Set your preferences for Dividends, Bank Transfers, Orders, and Price Movements.
How does Robinhood make money?
Robinhood makes its money in a variety of ways:
- Selling trades to different firms (payment for order flow).
- Robinhood Gold, a suite of investing tools, which starts at $5 a month.
- Rebates from market makers and trading venues.
- Income generated from cash.
- Stock loan income from counterparties.
- Interchange fees from purchases made with the Cash Management debit card, and fees from program banks.
This is a common practice among online brokers and means that you, the investor, can trade without commissions and excess fees. But Robinhood (and other brokers) have been in hot water at times over payment for order flow (PFOF), and Robinhood derives most of its income from this practice.
SEC chair Gary Gensler has floated the idea of banning payment for order flow altogether, but the SEC ultimately decided to let Wall Street keep such deals.
My personal experience using Robinhood
I signed up for Robinhood back when Gamestop (GME) was taking off in 2021. The process was simple, and I was able to create an account, input my personal information, and connect my bank account without issue. Everything was done on the phone app (Android for me), and I had no issue depositing funds, which I could use right away.
I was able to place trades pretty easily, and the ability to quickly set limit orders helped me set the price for my trades without needing to closely watch prices. The built-in tutorials are a nice touch as well, helping me get acquainted with the platform without having to dig into the help documentation.
I noticed the crypto prices were higher than on Coinbase and other crypto exchanges that I use, and I still don’t overly understand crypto fees charged by Robinhood. If fees were more transparent for crypto, Robinhood would be my go-to platform, as the recurring buys and no commissions make it a great option.
I can see why Robinhood is so popular. With a responsive, easy-to-use mobile app and all the details I need at my fingertips, the app can be downright addictive. But the lack of transparency around crypto pricing and focus on short-term trading is not my style.
How are Robinhood reviews?
The reception for Robinhood by those who use the app seem to be pretty favorable.
It holds a 4.2 out of 5 stars on 4+ million ratings from iOS users on The App Store and Android users give it a similar 4.1 out of 5 on over 400k reviews. These of course can shift up or down but the sample of users who have downloaded and reviewed the Robinhood trading app have had positive experiences.
Who is Robinhood best for?
If you’re interested in margin trading, you can upgrade to Robinhood Gold. You’ll have access to $5,000-$50,000, depending on your account balance at the time you make a deposit into your Robinhood account.
As a newbie investor, I found the interface very easy to use. I loved that I didn’t have to make a minimum commitment to start investing. I didn’t have to invest at all. It freed me up to try the platform out and the basics on how to invest before I made my first small investment.
With Robinhood, you can learn as you invest. The stock market investing tools make it easy to research the stock market and various investments. I especially love the podcast, which lets me catch up on the latest financial news while I’m doing other things.
Who shouldn’t use Robinhood?
Bond and mutual fund investors
Although it’s great that you can invest in cryptocurrencies, I was surprised you can’t use Robinhood to invest in mutual funds or bonds. If you’re looking for a platform for those investments, you’ll need to keep searching.
Robinhood isn’t the only trading app on the market. There’s a whole list of Robinhood alternatives that have sprung up for people looking for something similar while comparing against some negatives in Robinhood customer reviews.
Here are a couple common competitors.
Robinhood vs Public
Public works differently than most investing platforms. They do offer stock investments and ETFs — allowing you to invest all in one place — but what makes them truly unique is that they add a social media aspect to the whole process.
Public is a free trading and investing app with a social insight twist that offers fractional investing with no commission fees or account minimums. Invest in stocks, treasuries, crypto, ETFs, and alternative assets—including fine art and collectibles—all in one place.
Public is a free trading and investing app with a social insight twist that offers fractional investing with no commission fees or account minimums.
Invest in stocks, treasuries, crypto, ETFs, and alternative assets—including fine art and collectibles—all in one place.
Public helps beginner investors connect with others by making investing social and learn why they others believe they should (or shouldn’t) invest in certain companies.
Public wants to allow young investors to invest in companies they truly believe in, so they offer fractional shares, like Robinhood, and have no minimum investment requirement.
» MORE: Check out our full Public app review
Robinhood vs J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
If you’re already a Chase customer or a new investor looking for a basic investing toolkit from a well-established bank, then you may prefer J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing.
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing offers Chase clients tremendous convenience and new investors an intuitive investing platform with unlimited commission-free online stock, ETF and options trades.
It's ideal for those who are interested in learning the market with no investment minimums attached.
- Exceptional customer support
- Simple, intuitive interface
- Easy integration for existing Chase customers
- Advanced traders may want additional functionality
- Portfolio Builder requires $2,500 min.
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing offers online commission-free trading of stocks and ETFs as well as the ability to trade options and mutual funds, the latter of which Robinhood does not offer.
One huge draw of J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing is its smooth integration with Chase online and Chase Mobile. Another is a simple and clean interface you’ll find to be crisp and clean. Plus, there’s a knowledge and helpful Chase customer support to assist.
» MORE: Read our J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing review
It’s hard to go wrong with Robinhood when you’re trading with no fees and no minimum obligation. But if you’re serious about getting started on investing for your future, it can help to choose the right platform from the start.
Money Under 30 finds Robinhood to be a great choice because it’s not only easy to buy and sell, but the app is approachable to beginner investors and perfect for casual traders to keep track of their portfolio.
Other FAQs about Robinhood
Is Robinhood safe to use?
Yes, Robinhood is safe. Securities and cash with Robinhood are protected by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Robinhood Financial LLC and Robinhood Securities, LLC are both members of SIPC, which means customers of Robinhood have their securities protected for up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash). If SIPC limits are exhausted, additional insurance may become available. FDIC insurance covers eligible uninvested cash up to a max for brokerage customers who opt into Robinhood’s cash sweep program.
Robinhood also takes industry-standard security measures to protect its customers. This includes not storing passwords in plaintext, encryption on sensitive information, and two-factor authentication (2FA) on new devices to protect your Robinhood account when you sign in or make changes.
Is Robinhood good for beginners?
Robinhood is our top overall pick best online brokerage accounts because of how great of a fit we believe it is for beginners. It’s easy to get started and understand, providing easy access to the market for beginners just diving in.
How do you contact Robinhood support?
Robinhood offers live support both by phone and by online chat (both in web and on app). To receive customer service by phone, you request phone assistance and you’re contacted via an approved number so you know Robinhood is the one reaching back out. Robinhood support can help answer your questions and help solve some common problems you might encounter.