This review is dedicated to three of the most well known trading platforms to date; Robinhood, Webull, and TD Ameritrade.
We will be covering the similarities, differences, pros and cons between each of these brokerages.
|Commissions||$0 for stocks, ETFs, and options||$0 for stocks, ETFs, and options||$0 for stocks, ETFs, and options (plus 4,100 mutual funds without transaction fees)|
|Tradable Securities||Stocks, ETFs, Options, Cryptocurrencies, ADRs||Stocks, ETFs, Options||Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, ETFs, Options, Futures, Forex, Foreign ADRs, and IPOs for Qualified Accounts|
|Best For||Casual Investors||Intermediate Investors||Advanced Investors|
|Free Stock Promotions||Yes (free stock when you sign up worth$2.50 - $200)||Yes (free stock when you sign up worth$2.50 - $250 plus 2 more for qualifying deposits)||No|
Robinhood is a beginner friendly investing app without minimum account balances or commissions.
This platform was founded in 2013 and is the pioneer of democratized investing. Robinhood believes investing should be accessible and available to everyone, regardless of their account size.
This brokerage is famous for a crisp and clean user interface. Users love Robinhood’s trading platform because it contains a sufficient amount of data for the average investor. However, advanced investors may find it a bit underwhelming.
This brokerage aims to be the most attractive and user-friendly app out there for commission-free trades.
Robinhood was one of the first, but certainly not the last. Almost all investing platforms now allow users to begin investing with no minimums. This was largely unheard of before Robinhood and now it’s the norm.
That being said, if you are interested in margin investing, there is an account minimum of $2,000. This type of account will allow you to borrow additional funds from Robinhood for a fee.
Without paying the $5 per month, users need to wait upwards of 3 business days for their funds to finally settle from the bank. However, all users get up to $1,000 settled instantly for investing.
With Robinhood Gold, users can access cash instantly, review level II market data, utilize margin investing, and study professional research from Morningstar on 1,700+ stocks.
Investors that are on the fence can choose to take advantage of a free 30-day trial of Robinhood Gold when they sign up.
Robinhood offers a high-interest savings account for those who want their money to grow but don’t want to risk losing it all. Keeping your uninvested cash working for you is a must and the savings account offered by Robinhood allows investors to do just that.
Users that store their money with Robinhood also have access to an optional debit card and 75,000 ATMs where you can withdraw your cash for free.
Robinhood allows investors to purchase a dollar amount of a company instead of complete shares. With this feature, you will be able to purchase shares of stocks and ETFs in $1 increments.
Robinhood allows you to trade a variety of popular cryptocurrencies 100% commission free.
It is important to recognize that Robinhood Crypto is not a part of Robinhood Financial LLC. As such, cryptocurrencies are held in a different account which is not regulated by FINRA or insured by the FDIC.
Here's our full review of Robinhood crypto.
Webull is a popular brokerage that was one of the leaders of the charge toward commission-free stock and ETFs.
Webull founders embarked on a mission to rid the world of barriers that prevented beginner investors from entering the market. Founded in 2017, Webull has risen head and shoulders above competitors with its stellar, user-driven trading platform.
They followed the same model as Robinhood, but instead offered a more research oriented platform for intermediate to advanced traders.
Though similar to other mobile-only trading platforms like Robinhood, Webull offers some features that other leading brokerages lack. Mainly, they offer data and research that is largely above what other free investing apps offer.
There are no commissions for trading stocks, ETFs or options with Webull. Options also come without any contract fees which is outstanding. They also offer taxable and retirement accounts with a $0 minimum.
However, if you are interested in margin trading, there is a $2,000 minimum account balance. They are also launching cryptocurrency trading very soon.
Webull retirement options include Traditional, Roth, or Rollover IRAs. These are a great starting point for investors hoping to set aside cash for their retirement years. These options allow investors to save on taxes and sets Webull apart as a brokerage account with appeal to a wider swath of investors.
One of the common gripes about the commission free trading app Robinhood is that they do not offer retirement accounts.
The main thing that sets Webull apart from other brokerages is that they are a research and data-oriented platform. You will find a wide variety of advanced tools and data all in a very user-friendly app. In many cases, you won't need to go anywhere else to get the indicators and information you need to make trades.
That being said, all of this data available at your fingertips might make this a bit overwhelming for a beginner.
Typically, when buying and selling stocks, you're limited to only trading during market hours of 9:30am EST to 4:00pm EST.
With Webull, you're able to extend that trading window to 4:00am - 8:00pm EST. Keep in mind that stock prices tend to be more volatile outside of normal trading hours because there are typically less trades happening.
TD Ameritrade is probably a company you have heard of many times before. That’s because this titan of the financial industry has been around since 1971. That’s quite a long time to learn the system and understand how to make a truly incredible product.
As of 2020, TD Ameritrade had over 12 million client accounts and roughly $1.2 trillion under management. The company is in fact so robust that it handles 2.1 million trades per day. With those kinds of stats, you know this company is worth a look.
This platform is well-suited for the everyday beginner investor as well as the professional trader. Its free and extensive data, friendly minimums and fees, variety of tradable securities, and more make this platform truly hard to beat.
This company truly has it all in terms of data and research. Anyone from young to old, from novice to professional can find nuggets of knowledge on this platform. TD Ameritrade hosts both virtual and in-person events at their 175+ branches which dot the country. So, whether you want to learn online or prefer to meet in-person, TD Ameritrade has an option for you.
In addition, there are numerous webcasts, articles, slideshows, and even a chatbot to help you get all the information you need to make wise decision. In fact, stockbrokers.com has ranked TD Ameritrade the #1 brokerage for education for the past eight years in a row.
In late 2019, TD Ameritrade finally got on the investor’s favorite bandwagon – the one with no fees. TD Ameritrade slashed all its commissions in order to compete with the competitors that were attracting the new generation of investors.
TD Ameritrade has increasingly become more investor-friendly and currently boasts no trade minimums, $0 data fees, $0 platform fees, and of course, no trading commissions. This has of course, allowed investors who don’t have a ton of cash in the bank to open up their own account.
These commission-free trades apply to stocks, ETFs and options. Though options come at a price of $0.65 per contract. These no-commission trades are of course if you do them online. Having a broker assist you with a trade will cost $25.
With TD Ameritrade, you can have access to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, futures, forex, foreign ADRs, and IPOs for qualified accounts. This is many more than is currently available at Robinhood or Webull.
In addition, traders with TD Ameritrade have access to over 4,100 mutual funds without a transaction fee. This is one reason that Robinhood has often been criticized. Plus, investors can access 11,000 mutual funds with expense ratios of 0.50% or less, and 10,000+ mutual funds with investment minimums of $100 or less.
While each of these brokerages are truly great, they are all uniquely positioned for various types of investors. It is important that you do the research necessary to choose the platform that meets your goals.
If you are more of a casual investor and enjoy watching the market, then Robinhood may be a great choice. If you are more of an intermediate to advanced trader, Webull or TD might be a better option.
Whatever platform you choose, you can try them all for free and make your decision based on experience with each one.