With all the negative buzz around Robinhood following their decision to freeze GameStop trading in early 2021, many investors are choosing other brokerages. But Robinhood paved the way for more beginner-friendly investing with features like an easy-to-use app, commission-free trading, and fractional shares.
So which apps are comparable to this broker? In this article, I’ll review the best Robinhood alternatives and investing platforms so you can find a suitable replacement for you and start trading.
Overview of the Best Robinhood Alternatives
Brand Best for Minimum balance Investment options
Public Small-time investors $0 Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs
E*TRADE Frequent traders $0 Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, futures
M1 Seasoned investors $100 Stocks, ETFs
Webull Those eager to learn $0 Stocks, ETFs, crypto
TD Ameritrade Intermediate-level traders $0 Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, futures
Betterment Hands-off investing $10 minimum to start investing, $0 minimum balance requirement after that ETFs
Ally Invest Self-directed investors $0 Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options
Stash Non-savers $0 Stocks, ETFs
Acorns Automated investing $0 Stocks, bonds, ETFs
Fidelity Full-service investing $0 for retail brokerage accounts Stocks, bonds, ETFs, CDs, options, and mutual funds
Best for Small-Time Investors: Public
Public is a free investment app that’s primarily aimed toward new investors. They concentrate on helping individuals make investments that align with their principles and social choices. Public does this by involving social media in the investment process.
Additionally, they offer fractional investing, which allows you to buy less than a whole share of any certain stock. This lets you invest right away in companies with a high cost per share (think, Tesla, Google/Alphabet, Apple). You can also keep track of other users and their investment strategies, follow specific companies, and get market news live from experts.
The Public platform is free and beginner-friendly.
Public says that they’re trying to make the stock market more inclusive. And because the app has a social feed, you can invest right alongside other more experienced investors as well as your friends. This is where the social aspect comes in.
On top of that, Public includes (verified) public figures (hence the name) within the app. This is a lot like how Twitter and Instagram verify celebrities and high-profile individuals. You can then see what these people are investing in, watch their trading activity, and either pull ideas from their moves or copy their portfolios completely.
Right now, Public is offering a $10 bonus for signing up and making an initial deposit. You can also gift fractional shares to others you refer to the app.
Best for Frequent Traders: E*TRADE
- 250 fee-free ETFs
- Hybrid investment options
- Access to E*TRADE bank
E*TRADE is one of the most advanced trading platforms out there. Their app is incredibly intuitive and lets you trade not only stocks and ETFs, but also options and mutual funds. You’ll have the ability to do extensive research if you want to or simply use an ETF screener to find a match for your investment needs.
These options make this app great for beginners and more advanced investors alike. Speaking of advanced investors, you can upgrade to the Power E*TRADE app, which gives you access to more intricate trading strategies, as well as the ability to trade futures.
I also really like the educational information E*TRADE provides for free. If you’re a new investor, these resources will help teach you how to research a stock, diversify your portfolio, do technical analysis, actually buy stocks, and more.
Additionally, you can get access to options and more investment research since E*TRADE has now purchased OptionsHouse. E*TRADE has retirement options including IRAs, so you can invest for the long haul in a tax-advantaged account.
Best for Seasoned Investors: M1
M1 is a well-known free investment service as well as an interesting rival to Robinhood. With M1, you can get both traditional investment services and professional investment guidance. And what I love is that the app lets you control where your dollars will go.
This platform is like a hybrid between a traditional brokerage and a robo-advisor. However, as opposed to some other apps or robo-advisors that invest your money automatically and tell you the details, this app uses its cutting-edge “pie” system to explain all of your investment options in detail and help you make choices for yourself. Here’s the way it works.
First, the app asks about your investing plans. Depending on the information you give, M1 makes a “pie.” This pie is broken into “slices” that represent individual investments. But instead of requiring you to buy the full share, you can buy a fractional share for each. That way, you are able to diversify your investment portfolio and invest in a wide array of investments without performing any grueling research.
After that, M1 will rebalance your portfolio every time you make an investment, keeping the percentages of each slice on track with what you set. So if you have four investments (four slices) each at 25% allocation, M1 will make sure that ratio stays consistent as you add more money to your account.
In comparison to Robinhood, M1 fails to buy and sell stocks speedily. In fact, there is only one window of time during the day where M1 purchases stocks. You can upgrade your account to get two time windows, but it’s still limited. Nevertheless, it does provide you with IRA solutions and a $0 commission level. In summary, it’s an easy-to-use solution to get started with long-term investment.
Best for Those Eager To Learn: Webull
Webull is an investment platform, designed for both new and seasoned investors. It has no fees – including commissions – with the exception of some minor wire transfers and SEC fees. This makes it a viable alternative to Robinhood.
There are a lot of things to like about Webull when compared to Robinhood. One feature that’s incredibly valuable is that Webull’s app will analyze investments for you, based on your financial situation, to help determine which investments are the best choices for you. This way, you don’t spend all day deciding on each investment and can instead make quick, informed decisions.
Webull also works hard to ensure its customers understand the stock market well. For example, you’ll have access to a really helpful practice account that lets you make trades with fake money. This way, you can practice certain investment strategies before you take them live in your real Webull account. Then once you’re happy with a plan of attack, you can use those tactics on real investments with real money.
Webull also has additional features for increased flexibility, like after-hours trading (for certain account types) and detailed information on pretty much any asset you want to invest in. Their charting and other research options are also fairly robust, especially considering it’s a free platform. And lastly, like Robinhood, Webull has no minimum balance to get started.
Best for Intermediate-Level Traders: TD Ameritrade
I find TD Ameritrade to be one of the best overall brokerages out there – not just compared to Robinhood. That said, TD Ameritrade is an excellent alternative to Robinhood, for the right investor. TD Ameritrade got rid of commissions back in 2019, too. So it only made this platform more desirable.
I like to think of TD Ameritrade as a middle-ground between something like Webull (more for beginners) and E*TRADE (where beginners can invest, but it’s probably a bit too powerful and complex). TD Ameritrade finds a nice balance between usability and research options so you can quickly choose stocks to invest in.
The platform is easy to navigate and works perfectly on both the app and desktop/laptop computers. With the research tools you’ll have at your fingertips (like screeners, charting, and more) you can quickly find anything you’re looking for and invest right away.
Best for Hands-Off Investing: Betterment
- Complete investment management
- Tax-loss harvesting on taxable accounts
- $10 minimum initial investment required
Betterment is a true robo-advisor, so it’s a bit different than some others on this list. That said, they’re a good replacement for Robinhood purely because of the simplicity they offer. Betterment requires a $10 minimum deposit — so people coming from Robinhood will probably like that
Betterment also offers a checking and cash management account (called Cash Reserve) at no cost. When you sign up, you’ll go through a series of questions that help Betterment understand your goals and overall risk tolerance.
From there, Betterment will craft a unique portfolio of ETFs that they’ll automatically manage for you. And as your life changes, your goals will change. So you can modify your investment strategy at any time in the future.
The Betterment app is easy to use, too. On the downside, you can’t pick individual stocks as you can with Robinhood, and the platform isn’t totally free (Betterment charges a 0.25% management fee for the Digital plan). But this platform is a lot easier to use than Robinhood.
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Cash Reserve is only available to clients of Betterment LLC, which is not a bank, and cash transfers to program banks are conducted through the clients’ brokerage accounts at Betterment Securities.
Best for Self-Directed Investors: Ally Invest
Ally Invest’s simplified investment platform makes it a viable alternative to Robinhood. While you don’t need to be an Ally Bank customer to sign up, having multiple accounts with this bank allows for complete integration.
There are no fees with Ally Invest and it has many of the features that Robinhood doesn’t have. First is the ability to have either a self-directed account or a managed account. If you want to choose your own stocks as you can with Robinhood, you can elect to use the Self-Directed portfolio. Alternatively, if you want to have a more hands-off approach you can use the Robo Portfolio option, which gives you a pre-built portfolio and acts more like a robo-advisor.
The dashboard is clean and easy to navigate, too. From the dashboard, you can see your profits and losses and easily make investments.
Additionally, you can buy not only stocks and ETFs but also mutual funds, bonds, and options with Ally Invest. All are completely commission-free, though options contracts do have a small fee for executing.
Best for Non-Savers: Stash
- Full banking solutions
- Automated options
- Helpful guidance
Stash isn’t totally free like some of the others on this list. Its entry-level plan is $3 per month, and you’ll need at least $5 to start investing (not much, but still worth noting). That said, the Stash app is awesome. It’s easy to use and reminds me a lot of Robinhood in the way it’s designed. You can buy stocks and ETFs with Stash and take advantage of fractional shares for better diversification at a lower cost.
Stash has two types of accounts – Growth ($3/month) and Plus ($9/month). Each has additional features that may or may not apply to you (like investing for children with the Plus level). However if you’re just looking for a Robinhood replacement, the $3 Growth level should more than suffice.
Stash is excellent for beginners because you’ll get a spare change investment app, banking options (like checking and savings), as well as a debit card. Having everything housed in a single app makes managing your finances a breeze.Disclaimer - Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.
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Best for Automated Investing: Acorns
- Spare change investing
- Expert-curated portfolios
- Automated savings
Acorns Invest is a robo-advisor that offers commission-free trading and built-in features to help you save and invest with less effort. To automate your investing, you can schedule recurring transfers from a linked account for as little as $5 a month and set up Round Ups to invest the spare change from your everyday spending. Acorns calls this “investing in the background.”
Because it uses a robo-advisor, Acorns works differently than Robinhood. Rather than building your portfolio yourself, you’ll choose one of five pre-made portfolios made up of ETFs. You’ll start by answering a few questions about your investing goals and then Acorns will recommend a portfolio for you. You can either go with this one or choose another.
Like Robinhood, Acorns lets you invest in fractional shares. This makes it possible to have a well-diversified portfolio even if you only have a little money to invest, with more than 7,000 different stocks and bonds available. And the Acorns app is just as easy to use as Robinhood, if not easier.
This likely isn’t the right investment account for advanced traders who want to choose individual investments for themselves, but it’s a great fit for people who want to invest on a smaller scale and save without thinking about it. The Personal plan costs $3 a month and the Family plan costs $5 a month.
Best for Full-Service Investing: Fidelity
- No commissions on U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options
- Educational resources
- Advisory services (for an additional cost)
Fidelity offers self-directed investing and commission-free stock, ETF, and option trading. This platform is ideal for people looking to do more than just trade stocks since it offers more account types than many online brokers, advanced trading options, and plenty of research tools.
Unlike Robinhood, Fidelity also lets you invest in bonds, CDs, and mutual funds. Some of these come with trading fees, but there are a number of ZERO expense ratio index mutual funds available.
If you like the idea of fractional share trading, you’ll like Fidelity. Plus, there are no account minimums required to trade.
Overall, Fidelity has a much more comprehensive platform and suite of services than Robinhood. It also has the advantage of being a massive company with a solid reputation and nearly $10 trillion in assets.
This might not be the right brokerage account for you if you’re brand new to investing as it’s not as beginner-friendly as some of the other investment accounts we’ve talked about and can be a little intimidating. But if you’re a DIY investor with some experience under your belt, you’ll probably appreciate Fidelity’s depth and wide range of services.
How I Came up With This List
To find the best Robinhood alternatives, there were a few primary factors I considered:
Since Robinhood really opened the door for $0 commissions, I wanted to find brokerages that offered trading for free. Where this used to mean you gave something up, nearly all major brokers have gotten on board with $0 commissions and you still get loads of features.
Ease of Use
Robinhood crushes it with ease of use. That’s one reason they got so popular so fast – their mobile app gamifies the investment experience. I looked for brokerages that had a clean and easy-to-use mobile app as well as a useful desktop option if you want to invest from home.
Robinhood has extra features like the ability to invest in crypto or using Robinhood Snacks – their news feed that I absolutely love. When looking for suitable replacements, I wanted to make sure each option had a unique feature or two so you have options.
What Is Robinhood?
Before we get into why you might not want to use Robinhood, let’s back up and talk about what Robinhood is.
Robinhood is an investing app and stock trading platform that was created in 2013. The company’s founders, Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, felt that the financial industry unfairly disadvantaged the non-wealthy. They wanted to create a platform that would make it possible for anyone to start investing, no matter how much money or experience they had.
What initially made Robinhood stand out was the fact that you could trade stocks without paying commission fees and buy into large companies with fractional shares. Robinhood also made it easy to learn about investing and access real-time market data. This was all new and novel back in 2013, but now there are a lot of beginner-friendly online brokerage accounts with similar features and benefits.
Although Robinhood is still very much in business, more and more people are choosing to invest with other companies because they have a problem with how Robinhood has handled certain things.
Why Did Some Investors Leave Robinhood?
So you know Robinhood has faced some controversy, but maybe you don’t quite understand why this trading platform gets all the hate. Well, for a lot of people, it started with GameStop.
Back in early 2021 when GameStop stock started skyrocketing (almost to the moon), buoyed by a meme and a bunch of enthusiastic amateur traders, Robinhood investors were buying shares as fast as they could. With its low trading fees and easy breezy interface, this platform was the first choice for a lot of retail investors trying to get in on the action.
Then, on January 28th, Robinhood froze the hottest stocks. Specifically, they shut down buying and trading of Gamestop (GME), AMC (AMC), Nokia (NOK), and a few others, explaining that these stocks were highly volatile and they wanted to protect their users. Investors could only sell their shares, which was incredibly frustrating at a time when acquiring more could have turned out to be pretty profitable.
The stocks, of course, dropped in price, and a lot of investors lost a lot of money. Many people felt that Robinhood was acting in Wall Street’s best interest and giving market makers a chance to scramble their way out of the squeeze. There were calls for class action lawsuits and the company claiming to “democratize finance” was widely accused of market manipulation.
Since this incident, many folks lost respect for and trust in Robinhood. And the company still hasn’t recovered, having lost billions of dollars in 2021 after investors bailed in droves.
While there’s nothing wrong with using Robinhood, it could be argued that they haven’t always acted ethically, and you may prefer another platform.
What Is a Robinhood Alternative Platform?
Despite a rocky history, Robinhood is still a popular investment platform. But many people are considering leaving since they blocked their customers.
So a Robinhood alternative is an investment app that is similar to Robinhood in its cost and simplicity but provides new and unique features. These investment apps should allow former Robinhood users to switch with ease and maybe get a little more out of their trading experience.
Who Should Use a Robinhood Alternative?
If you’re moving off of Robinhood, or just like what they generally stand for but want to look elsewhere, you should look into an alternative. Robinhood may have been one of the only ones offering commission-free trading when they launched, but there have since been a number of brokerages and apps that have wiped away most of their fees in order to compete and make investing more accessible since.
Generally speaking, Robinhood-like brokers are best for:
Robinhood (and its alternatives) are primarily geared toward newer investors. This isn’t to say that more advanced investors won’t benefit from them, though. It just means they have options, a platform, pricing, etc. that cater to new investors.
People Who Want To Trade for Free
Robinhood set the bar with free investing. So if you’re looking for no-commission trades, looking at a Robinhood alternative platform that I’ve listed above will start you off in the right direction (and save you some money).
Just note that the caveat to this is more limited options. A lot of simple platforms limit free trading to a small subset of assets such as stocks and ETFs.
People Looking for Easy Trading
Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-use app or you want something completely hands-off like a robo-advisor, those who are seeking an alternative to Robinhood will want investing to be easy. All the options listed here are extremely easy to get started with and use.
Who Shouldn’t Use a Robinhood Alternative?
Platforms like Robinhood don’t cover every kind of investing and may be missing certain features and choices. There are some people who might not find what they’re looking for if they limit themselves to Robinhood-like online brokers. Instead, you might need to look into a different type of investing platform altogether.
Explore other types of investing platforms if you fall into one of the following categories.
People Who Want To Trade Crypto
If you want to trade cryptocurrency, I recommend using a credible crypto exchange like Coinbase. While some of these brokers do offer crypto (like Webull) your crypto has to stay with the platform. If you use an exchange, you have more ownership over your coin.
Advanced Investors and Those Who Like To Research
With the exception of E*TRADE, none of these platforms really dominate with advanced research and charting. So if you’re a day trader or someone who wants to do deep, deep research, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
People Who Plan To Invest a Lot
If for some reason you have a lot of money to invest (I’d say $300,000 and up) you might want to look into a wealth management solution, which will give you more tailored advice and dedication to your money.
Most Important Features of a Robinhood Alternative
Here are the key things you want to look for in a Robinhood alternative platform.
Make sure you find a platform that has little to no fees. Usually, there is going to be some kind of fee for things like wire transfers and standard SEC fees (like on options contracts), but for the most part, you can find brokers who won’t charge you trading fees for most or all securities they offer.
Make sure to read the terms and conditions of the account, as well as browse the broker’s fees section of their website so you understand exactly what you will be charged, if anything. Sometimes there are hidden fees if, for example, you have an IRA and want to move it out at some point in the future.
Everyone is on their phones nowadays. Make sure whichever broker you use has a great mobile app experience. The app doesn’t have to be loaded with features, but it should be easy to navigate, easy to make investments, and have some type of news section so you can quickly get nuggets on the happenings in the markets.
In-app customer support is also a plus for sure.
Extra Account Options
You won’t have this with all Robinhood alternatives, but one nice thing to look for is extra account options, such as a checking account or savings account. Stash does this, so does Betterment, and many other brokerages are jumping on board.
The reason this is helpful is that you can keep all of your money, theoretically, with one brokerage/app. Instead of having a checking account somewhere, an online savings somewhere else, and an investment account on an app.
Hopefully, this list of Robinhood alternatives was helpful in your decision-making process. Remember that no brokerage is going to be exactly the same, so you should pick one that offers the features you need, including the types of investments you want to have in your portfolio.
- Robinhood Review: My Experience as a Beginning Investor
- Best Online Brokerage Accounts for Beginners