Robinhood Review

You’re probably familiar with the legendary heroic character “Robin Hood” who lived in Sherwood Forest near Nottingham, according to the English folklore. Robin regularly fought his enemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham. He is famous for dressing in green, his archer skills, and his habit of taking from the rich to gift the poor.

In this case, however, Robinhood is an online trading platform that offers vast ways for traders to invest in self-directed accounts through the Web or mobile appliances. The broker enables you to perform an unlimited number of commission-free trading in stocks, options, funds, and cryptocurrencies.

Robinhood burst onto the assets trading scene in 2015, with their competitive edge being the commission-free stocks and ETFs trading.

If you have been in the trading market, you understand that commissions are a costly part of the business. Generally, commissions are payments to the broker for the sale or purchase of stocks. They are a massive chunk of the broker’s profits.

Commission fees range from $3.95- $19.99 per trade.

Robinhood states, “Our mission is to democratize access to the financial markets.” That, coupled with its mobile-first approach, gave this broker an edge over most competitors.

While Robinhood has been mired in controversy recently, it continues to be popular among traders due to its minimal brokerage fees.

In 2018, Robinhood allowed its users to trade cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin and Ether). The platform has since added more coins to its wallet.

In this review, we look at the platform at large, including its regulations, reputation, customer support, fees, and more.

Let’s get started.

Robinhood Review: Overview

Robinhood (formally known as Robinhood Markets Inc) is a United States-based financial service company founded in 2013 by two Stanford classmates. High-frequency traders (HFTs) themselves, the Stanford graduates realized commission-free trading is possible and sought to bring it to the individual investor.

The platform began as a waiting list. After a month, it had 100 000 members on the list. It is headquartered in Menio Park, California.

Robinhood aims to make asset trading more affordable, easier to access, and intuitive for all investors – regardless of their experience level. Users can manage their financial assets and portfolio anywhere in the world – except in a few countries. That is made possible by the Robinhood app for iOS and Android devices.

Moreover, the users can keep up to date with their investments upon setting (customized and flexible) news and notification alerts.

Robinhood Gold

Over the years, the platform has expanded its web version, rolled out Robinhood Crypto, and built up its Options Trading Services. While it falls short on its word – taking from the rich and giving to the poor – the platform is shaking up the online trading industry.

Besides fee-free stocks, Robinhood also offers easy to use cash management account through which users can earn interest and pay their bills with a Mastercard debit card. In addition, users can withdraw cash from 75,000+ ATMs for free. Moreover, there are no foreign transaction fees, no transfer fees, and no account minimums.

Furthermore, the cash in the bank program is eligible for up to $1.25 million of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance. Or up to $250K per bank, subject to FDIC rules.

Commission free


In December 2019, the trading platform announced that its app had surpassed 10 million customers. As such, Robinhood has a large customer base despite its late entry into the financial service industry.

In six years, the broker has impacted the financial industry by lowering prices and making investments more affordable and accessible and easy to use to young people. The broker is quickly becoming a client favorite with its zero account minimums and zero-commission ETF and stock trading.

In fact, the broker is considered a significant threat to competitors that are forced to quickly change and adapt their structures and strategies to remain competitive. This change is clearly seen in the acquisition of TD Ameritrade by Charles Schwab, as announced in November 2019.

This $26 billion all-stock deal has led to a 12 million increase in Schwab’s client base, as well as $1.3 trillion in customer assets. In total, the acquisition gives the firm over $5 trillion in assets and 24 million client accounts.

Stocks ETFs Options

See, commission fees have, for a long time now, driven online trading companies. With the rising popularity of Robinhood’s zero-commission strategy, companies have to think of ways to make money.

The broker highlighted its impact on the financial service industry when announcing its 10 million clients milestone. In Robinhood’s words:

RobinhooRobinhood Gold

d Gold

“…We pioneered commission-free stock and ETF trading with no account minimums. And since then, we’ve added commission-free options trading, commission-free crypto trading…”


The broker only offers trading services in jurisdictions where Robinhood Financial is registered. Currently, the platform is available in most countries, excluding Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Robinhood Gold

However, some of Robinhood’s products and features may not be available to users in certain regions because of legal restrictions. In fact, attempting to login in from within the mentioned countries can lead to account restrictions.

Robinhood Review: Regulation, Reviews, and Reputation

Robinhood Financial LLC is a member of FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). Here, asset trading is provided to self-directed clients by Robinhood Financial.

The company is also a member of SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation), which safeguards securities clients of its members up to $500,000 – inclusive of robinhood gold $250,000 for cash claims.

Robinhood International, Ltd., a subsidiary of the broker, is regulated and authorized by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) to operate as a trading broker in the UK. Its reference number is 823590.

Cryptocurrency trading is provided through Robinhood Crypto, a subsidiary of Robinhood Markets LLC. Unlike Robinhood Financial that offers fiat trading products, Robinhood Crypto is not a member of SIPC or FINRA. Moreover, cryptocurrency investments are not regulated by SIPC or FDIC.

Nonetheless, the broker assures its users that all the cryptocurrencies it holds on their behalf are stored in a mix of hot wallets and cold wallets. Many cryptocurrencies are held in cold wallets to safeguard them from hackers and cyber insecurity; however, some remain in hot wallets to aid the day-to-day trading operations.

Besides regulations, Robinhood reviews has a crime insurance cover, underwritten by Lloyd’s, that protects some of its assets against theft-related losses, including cybersecurity breaches.

On the downside, Robinhood has been faced with serious complaints and lawsuits pertaining to its reliability and trustworthiness.

In March 2020, the Robinhood gold app had several outages, locking traders out on their accounts – during a volatile period in market history. The broker claimed that the outage resulted from high account signups and increased orders. But, outages have persisted since then, causing some frustrations among investors.

In December 2020, the broker was charged by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) for misleading customers. The commission discovered that “Robinhood clients’ orders were executed at prices that were inferior to other brokers’ prices,” and that added up to an extent that the users were deprived of $34.1 million, even after taking into account Robinhood’s commission-free trade offering. The broker agreed to pay $65 million to settle the claims.

In the same period, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts accused the broker of aggressively attracting newbie investors to the platform and employing gamification techniques to manipulate clients. The claims also pointed that most Robinhood traders were allowed to access advanced and risky trading options, even after identifying as having limited or no investment experience. Recall that the broker had announced plans to hire hundreds of newcomers support representatives in 2020.

In January 2021, the Robinhood app came under criticism to restrict operations during the high market volatility surrounding heavily shorted stocks and GameStop. It’s worth noting that the market volatility led other brokers to take measures to safeguard their operations, but Robinhood’s restrictions were extremely expansive.

Furthermore, Robinhood is not a full-service broker, which leaves it at a disadvantage with some competitors. The broker’s education and research tools are also not par with the industry standard. And their customer support could use an improvement. Besides, the platform does not offer joint accounts.

Robinhood Review: Trading platforms

Robinhood is available on Android, iOS, and most web browsers.

Its Web runs on PCs and Macs, with support for most web browsers such as Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

Signing up for the broker is intuitive. But you’ll have to share your contact details and address to verify your identity. And advanced traders can perform more sophisticated strategies such as strangles, straddles, iron condors, and more.

Nasdaq’s Level II market data is available on the broker’s Gold account, which has a suite of useful tools, strategies, and data. This data displays different bid/ask levels for selected stocks, which determines stocks availability at given prices.

Moreover, the platform allows you to trade cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin. You can also use the broker to observe the trend on the real-time price movement of ten cryptocurrencies, including  Zcash, Dash, Ripple, Bitcoin Gold, and Monero.

Note, when trading cryptocurrencies on Robinhood, you can only buy the currencies with settled cash or available funds in your account. Moreover, any funds from the sales o ETFs, options, and real stocks can take up to three days before it’s available for purchasing cryptocurrencies.

While you can place limit orders and market orders using the platform, Robinhood is a trading platform. As such, any cryptocurrencies bought will be held by the broker. In short, you cannot transfer cryptocurrencies to an external wallet or use them to pay for something.

All in all, the Robinhood platform features:

·         Web and mobile platforms

·         Morningstar research and insights

·         Level II market data

·         Creative watch lists

·         Check stock reports and details.

·         View candlestick charts

·         Customized alert notifications

·         Multiple order types

·         Technical indicators for chart analysis

Robinhood app

The app is popular, especially with new traders and Millenials. This is expected as the said audiences like the idea of acting quickly – and the less information on the app facilitates that. Conversely, the limited amount of information on the app can be limiting for people who prefer having more analytics and research information – before making a decision.

Watch lists

The platform features essential watch lists, with limited columns past the percentage change and the last price. Traders can also be restricted to a watch list at a time.

Price alerts

There’s no option to really customize your alerts based on specific stocks. Instead, you have to enable prompts for all your trading positions on the watch lists – which is inefficient.

Stock charts

The stock charts are basic enough, but they cannot be changed past six default date ranges. There’s also no room for technical analysis.

Robinhood Review: Trading Tools and Offers

Robinhood features the following:

Research tools

As noted above, the broker provides professional research by working together with Morningstar. This collaboration offers Robinhood users unlimited access to research reports and in-depth analysis on over 1700 stocks.

The said research is only available for Gold members, and even then, it pales in comparison to what is offered by Charles Schwab and other competitors.

The platform also has several inbuilt tools for managing orders, receiving alerts, and analyzing markets.

Educational tools

There’s also a section of the platform dedicated to educating traders via a collection o informative articles and FAQs covering a variety of investment topics. These educational materials are useful to beginners and veteran traders.

Note, the writers/contributors are well respected, having had published writeups by Bloomberg, Forbes, WSJ, and more.


Furthermore, the Robinhood newsfeed is available via the app. The feed-in collaboration with Dow Jones delivers market news coverage from Barron’s, Reuters, and  The Wall Street Journal, at no additional charges to users.

As such, you can consume news stories from trusted sources, including news that is relevant to your watch lists and investment portfolio. Therefore, be sure to set notification alerts for assets in your watch list and portfolio.

The platform also features ad-free videos from Reuters, Cheddar, and CNN business displayed directly in your feed.

On the downside, Robinhood’s newsfeed cannot compare to that of Merrill Edge and other competitors. But it is adequate for novice traders interested in keeping the info they receive to a minimum. It’s also suitable for veteran traders not in need of much guiding.

Fractional shares and recurring investments

Like other trading platforms such as Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers, Robinhood has added fractional shares to its arsenal.

As such, you can pay a minimum of $1 for a portion of a share, even if they share in question costs hundreds of dollars. Fractional shares make it easier to develop a diversified portfolio – as you can buy more financial instruments, even if you are short on cash.

The fractional share feature pairs incredibly with Robinhood’s recurring investment features. The latter enables you to set a schedule and the amount you want to invest; after that, the broker will automatically invest the amount you wish to, as scheduled. Note that the schedule plan can be weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.

While a recurring investment is typical, pairing it with the fractional shares features give it a competitive edge. Often, recurring investments result in uninvested cash but pairing the two parts helps solve the issue.

Dividend reinvestment program

Fractional shares have allowed Robinhood to provide a dividend reinvestment program (called DRIP). DRIP is a valuable strategy for expanding your stocks over time. As such, DRIP, recurring investments, and fractional shares features work together to help Robinhood standout, now that zero-commission trading is commonplace.

High-yield savings

The platform provides cash management that pays approximately 0.30%. The cash management account features a debit card and free ATM withdrawals from over 75,000 ATMs. It also offers up to $1.25 million of FDIC insurance.

Robinhood Review: Assets and Markets

The broker provides trading services for over 5 000 Funds, stocks, options, and cryptocurrencies. Its assets include most United States equities and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed on US exchanges.

You can trade short or long on popular stocks, including over 250 global real stocks excluded on American exchanges. You can also invest commission-free in bundles of investments or individual companies.

Cryptos permitted include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. But as noted earlier, Robinhood Crypto is not a FINRA member. That means any purchase, reception, or sale of cryptocurrency is unregulated and, as such, has a high risk of losing money.

Let’s expound more on Robinhood assets.

Stock trading

To trade stocks, click on the search icon and type the stock you want to invest in. There are numerous stocks in the arsenal, including CCL and ON.

Besides being commission-free,  Robinhood supports market orders, limit orders, stop-limit orders, and stop orders with good-for-the-day or good-till-canceled parameters.

Note, the platform shows you the number of day trades on your account, which can be tempting. However, it’s wise to steer clear of day trading – especially if you’re a novice trader.

Options trading

Options provide access to no-fee contracts, including no exercise fees, no assignment fees, no per-contract fee, and no commissions.

Options trading also has advanced trade strategies and helpful filters. Furthermore, you can trade multi-leg options strategies in one order and monitor the complex contracts together.

A word of caution, options trading is ideal for experienced investors as opposed to novice traders.

Crypto trading

Robinhood crypto trading service allows access to sell and buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Dogecoin.

Note, the access to trade cryptocurrencies is rolled out on a state-to-state basis, and as such, you should check whether the crypto exchange is available in your state first – if your sole purpose for using the platform is crypto trading.

Robinhood users also have access to price and market data for 16 popular cryptos. The platform is a no-fee operation to crypto trading – a significant advantage over a well-known digital wallet. Moreover, you can trade cryptos 24/7.

On the downside, Robinhood’s crypto portfolio is limited compared to other crypto exchanges.

Robinhood Review: Fees

The broker provides three types of accounts to suit various investors. It also makes it easier to upgrade or downgrade accounts anytime.

The accounts offer varying benefits and also have different requirements. For instance, the cash and instant accounts do not provide leverage, but the gold accounts offer up to 1:2 leverage. At the same time, the cash and instant accounts require no minimum deposit, yet the gold account requires a minimum of $2,000 as a deposit.

Robinhood Instant

The Robinhood Instant account is the default account. It’s the account you start with after registration. It features an instant deposit for up to $1000 you start with after signing up. It gives access to extended trading hours and instant deposits for up to $1,000.

Robinhood Gold

The Robinhood Gold account is like a Robinhood instant account on steroids, thanks to its additional benefits.

The gold account is available for as little as $5 per month. It gives access to:

  • Level II market data from Nasdaq
  • Research reports from Morningstar
  • Trading with margin
  • Bigger deposits
  • Quick access to funds

Investing in margins provides buying power and flexibility while increasing the overall exposure. However, you can still access the account and its premium features when you turn trade with margin off.

The gold account boasts a 30-day free trial on the gold account available.

Robinhood Cash

The Robinhood Cash account gives access to commission free trades during the standard and extended-hours trading sessions. However, it does not provide access to instant deposits or instant settlements.


Robinhood does not charge any fee or trading fiat instruments, such as ETFs and stocks, and is said to extend free-trading to cryptocurrencies.

However, numerous reviews have highlighted Robinhood’s Crypto User Agreement, where it points out that the broker will pass on any fees charged by intermediaries to the user. Traders also claim that the pointed fees are already added to the crypto price displayed to the trader.

As noted under the Instant account, you’ll initially only gain access to a maximum of $1000 in funds after a deposit. If you had added a more significant sum to your Robinhood regular account, you’d have to await the completion of normal settlements before you can purchase cryptos.

You can increase the fundamental limit by subscribing to the gold account, as it offers multiple tiers of instant deposit limits. However, when you use over $1000 of margin, you’ll have to pay 2.5% yearly interest – on the amount above the set threshold.

There’s also a regulatory charge (SEC)  of $22.10 per $1,000,000 of principal sales only. The regulatory charge is rounded to the nearest penny. Furthermore, Robinhood passes on a trading activity (FINRA) fee of $0.000119 per share (equity sells) and $0.002 per share (options sells). This trading fee is rounded up to the nearest penny and does not exceed $5.95.

Also, returned checks, wire transfers, paper statements & other services incur fees.

For instance, domestic wire transfers cost $25, international wire transfers cost $50, and transferring an account to a different brokerage cost $75. Paper confirmation costs $2, paper statements cost $5, while domestic overnight check delivery costs $20. Returned wire, ACH, or check costs $30. Sending domestic overnight mail costs $20 while sending international overnight mail costs $50.

Seeing that brokers’ fees change with time, there may be additional fees not listed in this review. Thus, ensure that you check and understand all of the latest prices, requirements, and information before opening a Robinhood account.


While at it, bear in mind that dividends, as well as short and long-term gains on Robinhood, are subject to taxation.

Robinhood provides traders with a Form 1099 document, which includes details found on Forms 1099-DIV, 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, and 1099-B. If you use Robinhood Crypto, you will receive an additional Form 1099 as a .pdf and .csv file.

Note, Robinhood doesn’t offer tax advice; as such, import the tax documents that you’ll receive into TurboTax, or better yet, consult a professional when filing your taxes.

Robinhood Review: Deposit and Withdrawal

Robinhood provides deposits and withdrawals through bank transfers. This method is limited, and most users would prefer if the broker offered online payment processors like Skrill,  PayPal,  and Neteller.

On the upside, you can link a significant bank in the Robinhood iOS or Android app. To do so, choose your bank from the list of major banks, or manually search for your bank; and proceed to link the two. Once done, you can deposit into your Robinhood account with ease.

It takes approximately 5-6 business days to transfer any deposits over $1000.

When it comes to withdrawals, you can get instant access to your cash. But the ACH withdrawal takes approximately 5-6 business days – once the funds’ transfer is initiated.

If the withdrawal is more than the amount present in the account, the transfer is reversed. A trader can transfer a maximum of $50,000 per business day into and from your Robinhood account.

You can also set up automatic transfers into your account or cancel pending deposits before the three specified cut-off points.

To fight against money laundering, you can only withdraw money to the bank account you used to deposit money into your Robinhood account in the first 60 days.

If the bank account is, for some reason, closed, you can initiate a transfer to another account- but you must provide the required information.

Robinhood Review: Customer Support

The broker isn’t here to guide, educate, help, or nurture traders. No. That’s not Robinhood’s focus, which is also understandable, seeing that they’re doing well without it.

It’s safe to say that Robinhood has pushed the finance service industry to provide reasonable prices for customers, but that does not include a sound customer support system.

Robinhood customer support starts and ends with automatic responses from their chatbots and a set of FAQs on their help page. It’s nearly impossible to get any information outside of these resources.

As such, if engaging with an actual person is crucial to you, then Robinhood is not the trading platform or you.

According to the broker’s website, customer support is offered via telephone and email during market hours (9:30 am – 4:00 pm EST). However, most customer reviews do not show confidence in that arrangement.

Despite the shortcomings, Robinhood is popular among novice traders thanks to its infrastructure, replete with educational materials.

Robinhood Review: Opening an account

Once you have decided to open an account with Robinhood, the signup process takes approximately four minutes.

To set the account, you’ll require:

  •  Bank information
  • Social security number, and
  • A mobile or iPad

Here’s a detailed procedure.

1. Setting up an account

Head to Robinhood’s signup page. Once there, fill in a short form with the required personal details and hit the create count icon. Be sure to select the right operating platform for your mobile device.

Note, Robinhood is a mobile company, and as such, it’s not available for computer use.

2. Fill in your contact information

In the subsequent step, fill out more personal details with regards to contact number and address details.

In case of any suspicion, Robinhood has explained why they need the contact and address information – on the right of the screen.

3. Verify your identity

Next, you need to verify your identity. In this interface/page, you find detailed guidelines to how you can verify your account – and the reasons why they need the information they’re asking for.

4. Fund your account

Once you have proven your identity, transfer some funds to your account. The broker does not charge any transactional fees for deposits and withdrawals.

5. Submit the application

Next, read the broker’s terms and conditions, hit the submit button – and you’ll be nearly done. Note, Robinhood will notify you via email once your submission has been accepted.

6. Download the app

Once you have sent your submission, you’ll be redirected to either the Android or iOS version of the app to download.

7. log in to the app

Once you have downloaded the app, launch it and login into your Robinhood account with the exact login details you set in step 1 above.

Click on “Add funds” to fill in your bank information and begin your investment journey with the broker.

Note, you must meet the following criteria before you can think of opening a Robinhood account:

  • Be over 18 years
  • Have a valid social security number
  • Be located in a country where the use of the app is permitted.

Besides the Web-based application, you can also create an account via the Robinhood app. After a day or so, you’ll receive an update – whether your submission has been accepted or if more information is required.

To verify your identity and address, you can upload relevant documents like:

  • Passports
  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Driver’s license

The verification process takes approximately 5 – 7 days.

As noted, you can deposit funds before your account is confirmed; however, the money will not be deposited until the account is officially opened.

And to ease your mind, Robinhood features a device monitoring function that adds a layer of security to your account. This feature allows you to view and manage the devices accessing your account. Moreover, you can set up two-factor authentication to add another layer of security to the account.

Who is Robinhood best for?

Robinhood is for you if you’re a/an:

  • Beginner
  • Cyber-security trader
  • Smartphone user
  • Low minimum
  • Option trader
  • Quick trade

Robinhood Review: Pros

  •  Regulated by top financial commissions
  • User-friendly mobile interface
  • Commission-free trading
  •  No account minimums, except for the Robinhood gold account
  • Personalized and free research analysis and information
  • Personalization and free trading and watch lists alerts


Robinhood Review: Cons

  • Limited financial markets
  • Limited funding options
  • Inadequate customer support
  • Too much-streamlined information
  • No Metatrader
  •  High minimum deposits ($2000) for gold account
  • No forex currency trading
  • There is no option to open IRA, retirement, education, or joint accounts – the only available option is an individual, taxable account.
  • No option for bonds and mutual funds

Robinhood Review: Final verdict

Robinhood offers commission-free trading on easy-to-use, customizable, and flexible trading applications. The broker has some useful offers and trading tools that assist with research, market analysis, and updates pertaining to economic news events.

However, the broker has limited funding options, financial products offered, as well as jurisdictions.

Although free, its crypto trading option is most suited for existing customers; otherwise, Robin Crypto is not enticing. Thus, you can trade fiat financial instruments and then take your cryptocurrency trading business elsewhere.

And even if you can ignore the recent app restrictions, complaints, and lawsuits, the broker’s lack of transparency regarding pertinent details and some fees does not inspire confidence.

nd other pertinent details

Bottom line: do your due diligence.

Pros / Cons
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Free account opening and no fees

Trade now!