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Written by Edward Canty on November 7, 2020
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Webull vs Fidelity 2020: Best Free Investing Platform?

When it comes to investing in the stock market, one of the most important steps is deciding what brokerage to go with.

In the past, there were not many to choose from. They all charged commissions and they were generally not very user friendly.

Today, there are countless free investing apps out there that are very user friendly, making the sign-up process as simple as possible. In this article, we compare Webull vs Fidelity in order to determine which provides the better free investing platform.

The Webull app not only focuses on commission-free trades but also has a vast amount of technical resources and research to help individuals that are looking to trade stocks.

Opening an account with Webull and funding with $100 or more allows you to get a free stock. This is a very generous sign-up incentive for new investors.

Fidelity is one of the few brokerages to offer zero expense ratio index mutual funds. Unfortunately, they do not offer a sign-up incentive for new users.

Offering $0 trading commissions and a selection of over 3,700 non-transaction-fee mutual funds, Fidelity is one of the brokerages with top-notch research tools to help its investors with very low fees. 

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Webull vs Fidelity: Summary

  • Webull offers a free stock when you open the account and deposit at least $100 initially 
  • Both offer commission-free trading on stocks, options and ETFs
  • Fidelity offers zero expense ratio index funds as well as other assets like mutual funds
  • Both have a $0 account minimum
  • Fidelity has over 3,700 mutual funds with no load fees
  • Free and extensive research and data with Fidelity
  • Live chat 24/7 with Fidelity 
  • Webull offers research tools and global market data as well as a free trading simulator
  • Fidelity also offers demo accounts to test drive the platform
  • Fidelity is a full-blown brokerage with a lot of research and investing tools
FeatureWebullFidelity
Minimum Investment$0$0
Sign Up Bonus2 Free StocksNone
Trading CommissionsNoneNone
Options FeesNone$0.65 Per Contract
Mutual FundsNoneOver 3,700 With No Load Fees
DataAdvancedAdvanced
AssetsStocks, ETFs, Options, Short SellingStocks, Bonds, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds
Retirement AccountsYesYes
Local BranchesNoneAlmost 200
Best ForTraders Looking For 2 Free Stocks, Easy To Use PlatformThose Looking For Mutual Funds/Full Blown Brokerage

What Is Webull?

webull

Webull is a fintech startup based in the US that offers commission-free trading as well as an array of great research tools. Having been founded in 2017, it is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

They supply you with in-depth news for the investors, real-time market data, $0 trading commissions and an array of research and analysis tools.

How Does Webull Work?

Investors can create an account through the app and approval of the account happens pretty fast – within one hour in most cases. However, if your application has to go through a further verification process, it may take longer. 

Once you open your account, you fund it using an ACH bank transfer. The good news is there is no minimum, but you will need to fund it initially with $100 or more to get your free stock. 

Investors who want to see how the platform works before they can decide to use it can take advantage of the free trading simulator. This does not require you to deposit money to trade, since you are using pretend money. You can take the app for a test drive before fully committing. 

Webull features dozens of technical indicators such as Bollinger Bands, RSI, Money Flow Index and Exponential Moving Averages.

If you'd like to short stocks, you must have margin account approval as well as a deposit of $2,000. Webull allows 2 times overnight margin and 4 times intraday trading margin.

With this app, you can trade stocks, ETFs and options commission-free. They also offer free retirement accounts as an added bonus. 

How Webull Works

First, you will need to install the app. Use our link below to get your free stock!

When registering, you will provide your personal information, which includes name, date of birth, address, and social security number.

You verify your account by submitting a photo of your passport or ID. When the account is verified, you choose your account type – margin or cash. You now review the information and submit the application. The approval process happens very quickly in most cases. 

Webull Features

  • Over 20 different technical indicators and other advanced data/charts
  • Access to IPO investments before they go public
  • Free trading simulator to practice with
  • Live news feed as well as an earnings calendar for key reporting dates
  • Real-time market data
  • Commission-free short selling
  • Extended trading hours
  • Stock lending income program
  • Retirement accounts available

webull commission free

Commission-Free Trading

There are no commission costs associated with any of the assets you can trade on Webull. This brokerage offers commission-free trades for stocks, ETFs, and options.

However, there are certain activities that you are charged fees on. On trades, the FINRA and SEC charge nominal fees. These fees are paid regardless of what brokerage you use.

In addition, there are of course margin fees if you trade on margin. This is where you are borrowing money to invest with. You will pay monthly interest to your broker when you borrow money. 

Charting and Research

One of the areas where Webull shines is the research and data functionality. When compared to other free trading apps, Webull gives much more information on individual stocks or funds. You can choose from a variety of technical indicators and view fundamental data.

The platform is primarily designed for active traders, so you'll likely find everything you need and then some to pursue active strategies. The Webull Desktop 4.0 interface is one of the most comprehensive free trading stations we have come across to date.

Paper Trading Simulator

Webull offers a free trading simulator where you can test out trading strategies without risking real dollars. This way investors can get comfortable with an investment strategy before taking on real risk. This is a feature not offered by many other free trading apps.

Paper trading is extremely important for those looking to practice their strategies before actually implementing them into a real account (with actual money). This is called backtesting a portfolio and many financial professionals do this before they make their trades. You can learn more about backtesting here.

While the emotions associated with trading real money vs paper trading are different, it can still be an effective way to test out your strategies and lean the platform.

Analyst Ratings

Webull provides a section where you can view analyst ratings on a stock. You can see how many analysts rate the stock as a buy vs hold vs sell. This gives you a more in-depth look at how professional investors view a specific company.

Live News Feed

Webull gives up to date information on breaking news and important stories that relate to individual companies or the economy. This way investors can stay updated on information that may impact their investment decisions.

By providing breaking news within the app, Webull aims to provide a one-stop-shop for traders. Webull's goal is that you can do everything you need within their single platform and not have to use other services to supplement.

Mobile App

Most known for its simplicity in design and ease of use, Webull is a good option for both seasoned investors and newcomers to the financial markets. You can download the Webull app on the app store (for Apple devices), and also the Google Play Store (for Apple/Google products). No matter what device you are on, you can count on Webull to deliver all of its features in the easiest way to understand.

In addition, the desktop interface is extremely comprehensive and will go above-and-beyond the mobile capabilities.

webull free stock

Webull's Referral Program

You may have heard of Robinhood's referral program that they are offering right now, and if you haven't you can learn more about it in our Robinhood review here. If not, and thankfully for you, Webull is offering a very similar referral program that you can access now!

Simply use a friend's affiliate link or sign up for a Webull account, and you will receive a free stock valued anywhere between $2.50 and $250! Once you open an account, you can get your own referral code, and begin referring friends for extra stocks too. Can't argue with that!

Access To ADRs

Webull users will have the ability to trade American Depositary Receipts "ADRs" on the platform. These allow US investors to purchase shares in companies located outside of the US.

Many other free investing apps do not allow this feature so it sets Webull apart from the competition. For investors wanting to diversify their portfolio outside of US-based companies and take advantage of emerging markets, ADRs can be an effective tool.

Retirement Accounts

Webull offers investors a number of retirement accounts that they can take advantage of in order to save on taxes.

The types of accounts offered on Webull are: brokerage account, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and Rollover IRA. By investing through an IRA account, investors can save for their retirement while taking advantage of a number of tax breaks.

Many younger investors will see the biggest advantage in setting up a Webull Roth IRA. With this type of account, younger investors may be able to invest without paying anything in taxes. It is a rare occasion in the US when you can make money without Uncle Sam taking a cut!

SIPC Insurance

Because Webull is not a bank, the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) will not cover your money. Instead, the SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) will insure up to $500,000 of a single customer's holdings. To put that into perspective, FDIC insures up to $250,000 of cash in a brokerage account, but if your money is invested in Webull, you will have much more security through the SIPC.

This does not prevent you from losses in your investments though, you are responsible for those. This coverage kicks in if something were to happen to Webull and you were unable to withdraw your cash.

Customer Service

If you are looking for a broker that offers fantastic customer service 24/7, Webull may be a great choice for you. Webull has live reps that will answer your calls and be there for any questions about the broker you may have. And trust me when I started out investing through online brokers I had many questions, so it's a plus to have a broker willing to help.

Webull Fees

While it's no doubt Webull has some exceptional features with limited fees, there are still some costs on Webull that you should be aware of.

Margin Rates

It's important that you are aware of the fees associated with margin, especially if you are looking to invest on funds borrowed from Webull. Webull offers up to 4x day-trade power and also 2x overnight buying power, which is excellent if you are interested in levering up your trading account. Margin rates apply, however, and vary between 6.99% and 3.99%. Depending on the amount of money you are looking to borrow, the rate will change. You can view some of these rates here.

Deposit & Withdrawal Fees

A common misconception is that all online brokers have free deposit and withdrawal policies. And while this may be the case for many, Webull is an exception. While Webull does offer $0 deposits and withdrawals on US Bank accounts, if you are looking to make these transactions outside the US you will be looking at fees varying from $8 to $45. This fee is not charged by Webull, but Apex, which is the clearing firm that Webull uses to process deposits and withdrawals made outside the US.

webull market

Is Webull Safe?

A lot of people wonder if Webull is safe since it is a relatively new platform.

You are covered under SIPC, which is the type of insurance that all brokerages have. They are also regulated by FINRA and the SEC. 

Also, there is an additional insurance policy provided by Apex Clearing Corporation. This is the clearinghouse that Webull uses. 

Webull also charges for securities transfers, as most brokerages do. There is a $75 ACAT transfer fee to transfer your account from Webull to another brokerage. 

Overall, Webull has significant protections in place to make sure that your hard-earned cash is safe on their platform.

Webull Pros 

  • Fast and easy account opening
  • Free stock, ETF and options trades
  • No inactivity fees as well as withdrawal fee when you use ACH
  • Great trading tools, technical patterns, news alerts, and paper-trading
  • Generous sign up incentive of a free stock

Webull Cons

  • No mutual funds
  • Might be a bit overwhelming for beginners
  • No fractional shares
  • No prebuilt portfolios
  • They do not offer dividend reinvestment

What Is Fidelity? 

Fidelity

Founded in 1946, Fidelity is one of the longest-serving brokerages out there. 

Fidelity allows the trading of stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, and bonds. Its zero-fee index funds, along with strong customer service support, make it one of the preferred brokerage for individual investors. Fidelity was rated by Barron’s and Investor’s Business Daily as the Best Online Broker In 2020.

Having been in business for a long time, this brokerage has built out research and investment tools to provide the investors with a strong platform that can make their experience a great one.

Fidelity continues to enhance the features of its platform and commits itself to always lower the cost of investment.

It supports about 16 base currencies, and it takes you approximately 1-3 days to open an account. Fidelity also provides a demo account to allow investors to test the waters before fully committing to this brokerage. 

Fidelity offers stock trading for both domestic and international markets. It also offers over 30,000 investment-grade bonds along with other fixed-income securities.

How Fidelity Works

You will begin by signing up, where you provide your personal information which includes your name, address, as well as social security number. Fidelity will have to verify your identity before you can open an account. This is typical when you open any brokerage account. 

Once you open the account, you set up the account preferences and features, for instance, whether you would want to receive statements/tax documents electronically.

Once you create your account, you can now fund your account, though this is optional.

why invest in fidelity

Fidelity Features

Minimum Deposit

Fidelity does not require a minimum deposit for you to open an account. However, to trade certain mutual funds, you will need to have a minimum deposit of $2,500. For margin trading, you need to have a minimum deposit of $5,000.

Commission Free Trades

Online ETF, option, and stock trades are commission-free, but broker-assisted trades will cost you $32.95.

Zero Expense Ratio Index Funds

Fidelity is constantly changing and innovating the brokerage industry. Recently they have released zero expense ratio funds. You can choose from a hand full of index mutual funds on the Fidelity platform that have no management fees or expense ratios. This way you are truly investing with zero fees.

Long-term passive investors will be particularly drawn to these as they are well aware of the effects fees can have on long-term returns.

Mutual Funds

Investors can access over 13,000 mutual funds with over 3,700 no transaction fee (NTF) funds – where you are not charged when you sell or buy. However, when your fund sells within 60 days of purchase, they charge a redemption fee of $49.95.

It is recommended to place trades online and not through an in-person broker, since those fees are quite expensive.

Portfolio Analysis

Investors are able to keep track of their non-Fidelity accounts through the FullView feature to help with asset management. This allows you to analyze all your assets in one place.

Customer Service

Monday - Friday, from 8:30 AM - 8:30 PM, Fidelity offers customer support with live representatives. As mentioned earlier, newcomers can use this to their advantage by being to speak with financial professionals at Fidelity for 12 hours a day Monday through Friday. Many other brokers like Robinhood offer limited customer service, so if you are planning on opening up an account with Fidelity, don't forget about this feature!

Fidelity customers can also take advantage of hundreds of branch locations across the United States to speak with someone in person. While this feature typically applies more for older investors, beginner investors may also want to talk to someone in person when they are just starting out.

Fidelity Fees

Yes, Fidelity does have many trading features that make the online broker unique. There are some fees that you should be aware of, however. Let's take a look at some now.

Bonds & CDs

If you are looking to make a Bond or CD transaction, you will have to pay a $1 fee per trade. While this may be a small fee to some with large accounts, those with smaller accounts may take a hit from any excess fees. So, this is definitely something to take into consideration if you are looking to buy bonds or CD's but have a smaller account size.

Contract Fees

While there are no excess fees on stocks, ETFs, and options on Fidelity, there is a $0.65 fee per contract.

fidelity funds

Fidelity Pros

  • Commission-free ETF, bond, options, and stock trades
  • Zero Expense Ratio Index Mutual Funds
  • Strong customer service
  • Solid research tools
  • US and international stocks
  • Uninvested cash swept to a money market fund
  • Asset screeners and other research tools
  • Broker assisted trades available

Fidelity Cons

  • With so many tools built-in, it might be overwhelming for beginners 
  • Fidelity is not a Robo-advisor, meaning it does not invest for you

The Verdict: Fidelity vs Webull

Fidelity has been offering their services for decades. They provide a platform with a wide range of features and minimal fees. Fidelity also has a wide range of investment options beyond what you see on Webull, including mutual funds.

Webull is a newer platform and has slightly fewer features compared to Fidelity, but comes with a very low fee structure. They also have a generous signup incentive offering new users 1 free stock. 

Both Fidelity and Webull have extensive research tools, though Webull seems to be gaining an edge in offering research tools at your fingertips. We also love the trading simulator offered by Webull. Both players have commission-free trades for stocks, ETFs, and options. 

At the end of the day, it comes down to the features offered by each platform as well as the signup incentive. Webull is on the cutting edge when it comes to research tools, however, Fidelity still offers a superb platform. Unfortunately, Fidelity does not offer any kind of sign up incentive. 

The decision about which platform is best will come down to your personal needs and strategies. If you're planning on doing some active trading, Webull will likely come out ahead. However, both platforms are free to sign up for so there's no harm in trying out both to see which you prefer.

Keep Reading:

webull vs fidelity
Article written by Edward Canty
Ed is a financial planner and personal finance enthusiast. At his day job, Ed helps clients plan for retirement, manage their investments, and navigate their tax situation. In his free time, Ed enjoys golfing, traveling, and wrenching on his old BMW.

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