Webull Review 2020: Best Free Investing App?

webull review by investing simple

Webull Review

So you’ve heard of Webull, the commission free stock trading app that is offering new users a completely free stock.

You might have some questions, like is Webull safe? Are the free stocks legit? Is the app any good?

Many online brokerages and investing apps have popped up over the last few years.

As a result, it has become more and more difficult for investors to decide which one is best for them. Some of them offer great platforms to their users while others being frustrating and unbearable to use.

Today, we will be doing a deep dive on the new brokerage platform called Webull. We first began reviewing Webull in May of 2018. We were actually the first blog to post a review of this app! Recently, they added 100% free IRA’s to the platform, and they have significantly improved the user experience and app.

In short, this is app is an excellent choice for the intermediate active trader. It is NOT an app with an unbearable experience.

Let’s get into the review! (Or, check out the video review below from Ryan.)

Webull is a new platform that has excellent potential for being the next big free trading platform. Since the app offers a lot of features above and beyond Robinhood, it is growing in popularity quickly.

This app has not been talked about as much as platforms like Robinhood, but it should not be overlooked.

Here’s how it went down, in a nutshell. Robinhood changed the entire brokerage industry forever by offering commission free stock trading. Then, many other apps followed suit. While Robinhood was the pioneer, they weren’t necessarily the best.

Now, we DO still think Robinhood is the best pick for beginners.

However, for dividend investors and active traders, there are now better options. Webull identified this gap in the market, and they launched their trading app in 2018. We refer to it as a “more advanced version of Robinhood.”

Webull Review: Platform Highlights

  •  100% commission free trading. 
  • Webull is our #1 recommendation for active traders, however it might be overwhelming for a complete beginner.
  •  Free short selling. 
  •  Free after-hours/extended hours trading. 
  •  Easy access to margin. 
  • They offer a free trading simulator where you can practice with fake money.
  •  Research oriented platform with many advanced features. 
  • Free IRA retirement accounts.
  • FREE STOCKS! (If you use our link below)

What Is Webull?

webull

Webull is a new commission-free stock trading app that launched in May of 2018.

After Robinhood paved the way for these commission-free trading platforms, Webull saw an opportunity to offer users a more robust trading platform. Most people are familiar with Robinhood, but this new trading platform should not be overlooked.

They really pick up where Robinhood leaves off in terms of the features and data available to traders. A few examples of these features are dozens of technical indicators, free trading simulator and helpful data like earnings calendars. 

If you are a complete beginner, Webull might overwhelm you.

There is a lot of data available right at your fingertips. However, for intermediate to advanced traders, this will be a breath of fresh air.

Most of the free platforms out there, including Robinhood, are very watered down with limited features. Webull packs in all of the data and research tools you will likely need in an easy to navigate platform.

At the end of the day, when you are comparing these free trading platforms, what sets them apart is the features offered. Some of the unique features of Webull are a built-in stock trading simulator, commission free short selling, free extended hours trading and access to a lot more data and research tools.

This makes for an ideal platform for active traders.

Are The Free Stocks Legit?

So, the elephant in the room, is the free stock incentive legit?

I know what your parents told you; no such thing as a free lunch.

Rather than spending money on ads, they offer users a referral bonus. So, when you use our link below, you get a free stock and we earn a small commission.

When we tried the app out ourselves, we got the following stocks:

  1. Ford – F (worth about $9)
  2. Ambev – ABEV (worth about $4)

Was it worth it? We think so. Getting $13 of free stocks for signing up for an app is a no brainer.

The free stocks are based on a lottery system, so it could be a lower value stock or it could be higher value. The value of each stock changes based on the promotion they are running.

How To Open A Webull Account

In order to open a brokerage account on Webull, you need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Be 18 years or older.
  2. Have a valid SSN (Social Security Number).
  3. Must have a legal residential address in the U.S. and outlying U.S. territories.
  4. Have a U.S. citizenship, U.S. permanent residency card, or a valid U.S. visa.

Webull provides the following platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Web.

Assuming you meet the above requirements, the sign up process is a breeze. You will need to include some personal information, like your name, address, and even your SSN. This is because all brokerages are required to verify your identity and report trading activity to the IRS.

But don’t worry, all of this data is fully encrypted and never shared.

How Does Webull Make Money?

webull app

A lot of people are wondering how Webull makes money, and for a good reason!

There are many free trading apps out there these days. We are here to tell you that they are not, in fact, operating a charity or ripping anyone off trying to beat the system.

It seems counter intuitive that the platform is generating profit since they do not charge investors any fees or collect any commissions. If you’re scratching your head over this, here are the answers to these perplexing questions.

  1. They offer paid subscriptions if you are looking for real-time global market data.
  2. Webull offers margin accounts, allowing them to earn margin interest.
  3. They can earn interest on all the idle cash held within brokerage accounts.
  4. By directing order flow, they earn fractions of a cent on every trade placed.

Just to be clear, they do not charge any fees or commissions to customers!

Webull Features

Real-Time Data

webull real time data

Webull is most well-known for the data.

In fact, they were initially just an app for investment research before they added the trading feature! Webull offers real-time market data on US markets to all users for free.

If you are looking for data on global markets, it is available for a monthly subscription. As mentioned earlier, selling global market data is one of the ways they make money.

You do not need to pay for any subscriptions to get access to real-time US market data. Real-time data is essential when you are using it to make trading decisions. At the blink of an eye, micro-trends can happen that traders are often looking to capitalize on. When price data is delayed in reporting, this could be very costly for an active trader.

Trading Simulator

One of our favorite features is the onboard trading simulator. Investing or trading stocks for the first time can be very nerve-racking, especially if it is with a trading platform that you are not familiar with!

The trading simulator allows you to practice in “sandbox mode” with fake money to hone your skills, familiarize yourself with the trading platform, and understand how each of the different order types of work. Basically, you get $1,000,000 of fake money to invest with. This allows you to practice executing trades without the risk of making mistakes or losing money.

It’s a great way to learn how to maneuver your way around the trading of stocks and ETFs without emptying out your wallet. Go ahead, challenge your family and friends to make a higher profit buying and selling.

Who cares if it is just Monopoly money? You could still be the winner.

Commission Free Short Selling

For those who are interested in short selling, Webull offers this commission free.

Short sales must take place within a margin account, and you must have a minimum balance of $2,000 to open one with Webull.

In a short sale, you are betting against a stock by borrowing shares with the plan to repurchase them at a later point in time. This is a complicated subject, but you essentially make money when a stock or asset goes down in value. Most free trading platforms do not offer short selling. Webull offers this commission free within a margin account.

Short selling happens when investors sell stocks they do not own. Short sellers believe the price of the stock will fall, or are seeking to hedge against potential price volatility in securities that they own.

If the price of the stock drops, short sellers buy the stock at the lower price and make a profit. If the price of the stock rises, short sellers will incur a loss. Short selling is used for many purposes, including to profit from an expected downward price movement, to provide liquidity in response to unanticipated buyer demand, or to hedge the risk of a long position in the same security or a related security.

What Is Margin Trading?

As mentioned earlier, short selling must take place within a margin account on Webull. Margin trading is a form of borrowing, that lets you leverage the funds and securities you already own to purchase additional securities.

Most brokerages will loan you $1 per $1 invested in securities. For example, if you owned $10,000 worth of stocks they would loan you an additional $10,000 to invest with.

With a margin account, you can borrow funds from your brokerage firm, it provides an opportunity for you to leverage your investment to help increase your return. At the same time, it has the risks to magnify your losses.

Extended Trading Hours

The stock market, like any other business out there, has hours of operation.

Those hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm EST.

Most trading platforms only allow you to place trades within that window.

Webull offers all users the ability to place trades pre-market and after-market. You can place trades anywhere from 4:00am to 8:00pm EST Monday through Friday. This is especially important if you are trading stock during earnings and want to sell right after the bell, or you want to get in on a stock that is reporting earnings pre-market.

Keep in mind that the price volatility can be much more higher during extended hours, compared to the price volatility during normal market hours. You may wish to limit prices to place an order.

Can You Day Trade With Webull?

You can day trade stocks on the Webull platform, however this might not be the best idea.

It is important that you are familiar with something called a day trading or “DT” Call.

A DT Call occurs when your day trading exceeds the largest day trading buying power issued on a given day.

A DT Call can ONLY be met by depositing funds in the full amount of the call. Liquidating stocks cannot meet a DT Call. The funds must stay in the account for at least 2 business days before your account is once again good standing.

Penalty For DT Call:

If there is 1 open DT Call, the market will calculate your day trade buying power on 2 times minimum maintenance excess and no time and tick release (PDT account). Non-PDT accounts will receive 4 times and still no time and tick release.

If there is 1 DT Call past due, the market will restrict your account to liquidation only for 90 days.

Finally, if there are 2 DT Calls past due, your account will be subject to a 90-day closure by the market. If you deposit the sum money of all DT calls during this 90-day closure period, you can reopen your account.

Webull Research Tools

Fundamental Data

webull fundamental data

Fundamental investors study the financial health of a company to make a long term bet. They look at key financial documents like the balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statements.

They also look at key metrics like earnings per share, PE ratio, and more!

Webull places all of this data at your fingertips. You can view the numbers from the key financial documents as well as see visual graphs of the overall trends. They also offer helpful comparison tools that compare the metrics of one company to another in the same industry.

You will be able to answer questions like:

  • Is the company beating earnings expectations?
  • Are profits and revenue increasing?
  • What are the assets compared to the liabilities?
  • How does the overall valuation compare to peer companies?

Technical Data

Not everyone follows a fundamental approach when making investment decisions. Many rely on something called technical analysis, which is reading the charts and following the trends.

Webull offers over 20 different technical indicators on the platform. These charts are used by traders to identify micro trends to capitalize on. You will not find this many indicators on other free trading platforms out there.

This includes popular indicators like moving averages, Bollinger bands, volume, candlestick charts, MACD, RSI, and more!

Worldwide Market Data

Webull platform embraces worldwide financial data.

5 Categories: Equites, ETFs, Indices, Forex, Futures.
100+ Exchanges: NASDAQ, NYSE, LSE, HKEX, SGX, NSE, BOM etc.

Some of this data is free, while others come with a monthly subscription.

Financial Calendars

Another useful feature for users is the financial calendar. This calendar shows you important upcoming dates for a company, including dividend payments and earnings reports.

Beyond that, there are also calendars that show what companies are reporting earnings each week as well as what are the up and coming IPOs or initial public offerings.

Watchlists And Alerts

Webull allows you to create watchlists of stocks that you want to keep an eye on!

You can also set price alerts that will allow you to get notifications from Webull when the price reaches a certain level. For example, if you were looking to buy a stock for under $100, you could set a price alert for when it reaches that level and receive a notification from Webull.

Are There Any Fees/Commissions?

All buys and sells on Webull are 100% free, including short selling!

There are fees charged by the SEC and FINRA for each trade.

These fees are charged on every trade across all brokerages. It is important to understand that these fees are passed directly to these regulatory agencies, and Webull does not receive any of the money. You will pay these fees regardless of what brokerage you use.

There is a $0 fee for incoming ACATS stock transfers and $75 fee for outgoing transfers.

For those funding the account with a wire transfer, the initial transfer in is free. After that, there may be fees associated with this wire transfer.

ACH or Automated Clearing House transfers are completely free. This a direct electronic transfer from your bank account to Webull. You can electronically transfer money to and from Webull at any time fee-free.

Webull Order Types

Webull offers the core order types, which are market orders, limit orders, stop orders, and stop limit orders.

They also support some more complicated order types like OCO (one cancels the other), OTO (one triggers the other) and OC, which is a combination of the two.

What Is A Market Order?

When you place an order, a market order is triggered immediately and will be filled at the current market price (not the last sale price).

Note the fill price might be different from the market price you saw when placing the order due to low liquidity or/and bid/ask spreads of certain stocks.

A market order may not be a good choice if you want to have control of the range of your fill price.

What Is A Stop Order?

A stop order goes live at a pre-determined stop price and will be filled at market price (essentially, it becomes a market order).

If the market price never reaches the stop price, the order will not be triggered. The stop price cannot guarantee you with any certain filled price (as it executes as a market order).

Assuming the current market price is $50…

If you submit a buy stop order at $55, and later the market price rises to $55, the buy stop order is triggered and turns into a market order and is filled at the closest price to $55 depending on volume at that price.

What Is A Stop Limit Order?

A stop limit order goes live at your pre-determined stop price, giving you the opportunity to fill the order at your predetermined limit price or better.

Assuming the current market price is $50…

If you submit a buy stop limit order with the stop price at $110 and limit price at $120, and later the market price rises to $110, the buy limit order to fill the order at a price no more than $120 will be triggered by the market. However, if the stock gaps open above $120, the order is not filled.

If you submit a sell stop limit order with the stop price at $90 and limit price at $80, and later the market price drops to $90, the market triggers the sell limit order to fill the order at a price no less than $80. If the stock gaps downward below $80, the order will not be filled.

What Is A Limit Order?

You trigger a limit order at a price designated by you when you entered the order, and it will be filled at the limit price or better. If the market price never reaches your limit price, the order you placed will not be filled.

Assuming the current market price is $20…

If you submit a buy limit order at $18, and later the market price drops to $18, the market will trigger the buy limit order and fill at a price no more than $18 (assuming enough shares trade to fill your order and any other similarly priced limit orders in the market ahead of you in the queue).

If you submit a sell limit order at $22, and later the market price rises to $22, the market triggers a sell limit order and fill at a price no less than $22 (assuming enough shares trade to fill your order and any other similarly priced limit orders in the market ahead of you in the queue).

Webull Account Types

They currently offer three different account types:

  1. Taxable Account – $0 Minimum
  2. Margin Account – $2,000 Minimum
  3. Retirement Accounts – $0 Minimum

As far as retirement accounts go, there are three different ones to choose from. The first is the Traditional IRA. They also offer the Roth IRA. Finally, they allow rollover IRA’s. For example, this could mean rolling over a 401k into a new IRA.

Active traders are subject to high taxes. This is because all of their gains fall under short term capital gains. This is the maximum tax rate you can pay from investment income. By placing trades in a tax sheltered account like a Roth IRA, you can significantly reduce your tax liability or even eliminate it altogether!

Customer Service & Paperless Statements

Webull offers 24/7 chat support as well as email support and phone support during market hours.

Another important factor to note is that all communications between you and Webull will be handled electronically. This includes monthly statements as well as year-end tax documents. 

Is Webull Safe/Legit?

investment returns

Short answer, yes and yes. Your brokerage account with Webull is covered by SIPC insurance. This type of insurance protects investors up to $500,000 of securities or $250,000 cash.

This type of insurance does not ensure you against potential losses within your account.

Beyond that, investors have additional protection through their clearing firm Apex Clearing. According to the Webull website, the coverage limits provide protection for securities and cash up to a total of $150 million, subject to maximum limits of $37.5 million for any one customer’s securities and $900,000 for any one customer’s cash. Similar to SIPC protection, this additional insurance does not protect against a loss in the market value of securities.

Your personal information is fully encrypted with Webull and never shared.

In a nutshell, Webull is just as safe as any other brokerage out there. In fact, the additional insurance offered through Apex Clearing gives investors additional protection above and beyond the SIPC insurance. Your data is not shared with anyone else and is fully encrypted. They do not sell your information to other companies.

Transferring Stocks From Another Brokerage

Webull supports all listed U.S. stocks on the Webull platform, which means if you can buy/sell the security, you can transfer it into/out of your Webull account.

This covers most U.S. listed equities and ETFs, however a few stocks and ETFs are not supported for trading by Apex, its clearing firm. Webull does not currently support bonds, options, mutual funds, pink sheets or penny stocks on OTC markets.

Tips For Stock Transfers To Webull:

  1. Webull accepts only listed U.S. stocks, ADRs, and ETFs.
  2. This brokerage supports individual cash and margin accounts only.
  3. The platform may delay your transfer if your outgoing account type differs from your Webull account.
  4. Your broker may charge you $75 for transferring out (the specific amount varies by brokers).
  5. In order to protect customers, Webull does not support account transfers of assets below $500 due to the high transfer cost. The alternative, cost-free option, is for you to liquidate your positions at your broker, pull the funds to your bank, and deposit those funds to Webull.

Pros Of Using Webull

  • 100% commission free, including short selling.
  • Free extended hours trading for all users.
  • Basic order types supported as well as a few advanced ones.
  • Research data for both fundamental and technical strategies.
  • Trading simulator to learn the basics and familiarize yourself with the platform.
  • You can get a free stock when you use this link.
  • Additional insurance through Apex Clearing.
  • Mobile and desktop applications.
  • 24/7 chat support.
  • Free IRA’s now available.
  • Options trading coming soon!

Cons Of Using Webull

  • Might be overwhelming for a complete beginner.
  • Customer service is email only.
  • You have to pay for global market data (but US data is free!)
  • No fractional shares or dividend reinvestment.
  • No prebuilt portfolios.

The Verdict

Overall, Webull has great features for both the fundamental and technical oriented trader or investor.

The offerings might be a little overwhelming for complete beginners.  This is not a watered down app like some of the competitors. This free trading app packs in the features and the data of a full-blown brokerage while maintaining great functionality. 

 Webull takes steps to protect customer data through encryption, and the additional insurance policy through Apex Clearing is a huge plus.  Investors should be comfortable with the paperless business, understanding that they will not be receiving any paper statements or tax forms in the mail.

Webull does offer great customer support, offering 24/7 chat as well as phone support. 

The addition of the IRA’s is great too. This gives active traders the option to place trades in tax sheltered accounts, to avoid paying the maximum tax rate on short term capital gains. We also know that Webull will be offering options trading in the future, but there is no set date on that.

 The free stock incentive is totally legit. If you use our link below, you can get a free stock just for signing up and depositing any amount. 

  • Terry Broadbent says:

    Thanks!

  • ab says:

    Thanks for the informative review.
    A few questions:
    1. Does Webull have a desktop platform (eg Windows 10), or only an app (iphone or such)?
    2. Is electronic transfer from and TO a bank free of charge?
    3. Do they offer trailing conditional orders?
    4. Can lots be specified on sell orders?

    ab

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