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Written by Ed Canty, CFP® on June 10, 2021
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Webull vs Fidelity 2021: 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 and they all charged outrageously high commissions. In addition, the lack of user-friendly tools made the experience fairly daunting.

Today, countless investing apps in the market are user-friendly, commission-free, and experience-focused. In this article, we compare two of them, Webull and Fidelity. The purpose of this article is to simply determine which is the better platform for investors.

Webull vs Fidelity: The Basics

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 2 free stocks. 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 however, 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 an impressive brokerage with top-notch research tools to help its investors with very low fees. 

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Webull Review 2021: Best Free Investing App?

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Fidelity Investments Review 2021: Best Brokerage?

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Webull vs Fidelity: Summary

  • Webull offers 2 free stocks when you open the account and deposit at least $100 initially
  • Both offer commission-free trading on stocks, options, ETFs, and fractional shares
  • Fidelity offers index funds as well as other assets like mutual funds all for an expense ratio of zero
  • Webull offers 24/7 cryptocurrency trading
  • Both have a $0 account minimum
  • Fidelity has over 3,700 mutual funds with no load fees
  • Free and extensive research and data with both Webull and 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 Selling, CryptoStocks, 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. Since it was founded in 2017, it has grown to a total user base of +11 million. Webull is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company supplies its users with in-depth news, real-time market data, $0 trading commissions, and an array of research and analysis tools.

Webull Free Training

We put together a free 30 minute video training that walks you through the entire process, step by step. This training will help you get up and running in no time at all.

GET THE GUIDE

How Does Webull Work?

After investors create an account through the app, 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 can 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 stocks. 

This transfer of funds from your bank account to the platform happens securely through Plaid. This is the industry standard for moving money and is one of the safest options out there.

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. These make the platform particularly appealing to short-term traders or those using technical analysis to make buying and selling decisions.

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 the button below to get your 2 free stocks!

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. 

Once your account is approved, you'll have full access to trading on the platform.

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
  • Access to investing in popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin

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, options, and cryptocurrencies.

However, certain activities come with fees. On trades, FINRA and the SEC charge nominal fees. These fees are paid regardless of what brokerage you use and are very small.

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 also view fundamental data depending on your trading style.

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 to date.

When compared to simplistic apps like Robinhood, there is really no competition. One of the reasons Robinhood has been losing many investors to newer platforms like Webull is that their tools don't provide nearly as much value.

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. This allows you to 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.

While outside perspective is generally valuable, it's rarely wise to make trading decisions solely based on analyst recommendations.

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 for investors to find everything they need within its 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 iOS devices), and also the Google Play Store (for Android 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 Free Stock Promotion!

Currently, Webull is offering all new users 2 free stocks when they sign up for the platform. Depending on which stocks you get, that could potentially be over $1,800 in free stock!

In order to get the first free stock, all you have to do is create an account on Webull. You'll get the next free stock when you fund your account with at least $100.

These stocks will be selected on a lottery system, so odds are that each one will only be worth around $10 each. But there is the chance that each could be worth up to $900!

There are no strings attached to these stocks, so if you decide you want to sell them right away, you are free able to do that.

While this is the current signup promotion, they do change from time to time so make sure you check the latest promotion by clicking the button below.

Webull's Referral Program

You may have heard of Robinhood's referral program that they are offering right now. 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!

A standard referral will score you 2 free stocks, but Webull will occasionally run referral promotions that will score you 6 or more free stocks for referring a friend to the platform!

Once you open an account, you can get your own referral code, and begin referring friends for extra stocks too.

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.

Few other free investing apps offer 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 in a tax-efficient way. Something that is truly important when building long-term wealth.

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.

webull support

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.

This is another feature that sets Webull apart from many of the other brokerage apps out there that skimp on customer service.

Webull Crypto

In addition to stocks, ETFs, and options, Webull Crypto also allows investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on the platform. Currently, investors can choose from popular cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and others.

There are no commissions to buy and sell cryptos on Webull. However, you are not able to transfer your cryptos out of Webull to an external wallet.

For that reason, you'll probably better served with a platform that specializes in cryptos like Coinbase.

Margin Rates

It's important that you note the fees associated with margin, especially if you are looking to invest with borrowed funds. 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 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. 

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. It is also regulated by FINRA and the SEC which protects you against the company's fraudulent activities (if any). 

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

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

Webull Pros 

  • Fast and easy account opening
  • Free stock, ETF, options, and crypto trades
  • No inactivity fees or withdrawal fees when you use ACH
  • Great trading tools, technical patterns, news alerts, and paper-trading
  • Significant research and data for short-term traders
  • Stock screener to filter through thousands of stocks in seconds
  • Generous signup incentive of 2 free stocks

Webull Cons

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

Best Free Stock Promotions

BrokeragePromotionLink
Robinhood Logo1 Free Stock (Up To $225)Download
Webull Logo2 Free Stocks (Up To $1,850)Download
Firstrade trading platform2 Free Stocks (Up To $400)Download
M1 Finance Robo AdvisorGet $30 When You Deposit $1,000Download
Acorns LogoFree $10 BonusDownload
SoFi Robo Advisor1 Free Stock Up To $1,000Download

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 brokerages for individual investors. Fidelity was rated by Barron’s and Investor’s Business Daily as the Best Online Broker In 2021.

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 commit itself to lowering the cost of investment.

It supports about 16 base currencies and it takes 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 the platform. 

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, and 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 want to receive statements/tax documents electronically or by mail.

Once your account has been created, you will now be able to fund it. 

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 $2,000.

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 within the brokerage industry. Recently they have released zero-expense ratio funds. You can choose from a hand full of index or 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 to 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 fees. So this is definitely something to take into consideration if you are looking to buy bonds or CDs but have a smaller account size.

Contract Fees

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

fidelity funds

Robo Advising

New to the Fidelity platform is their robo advising feature. This allows users to put their investments on auto-pilot and focus on other things. For a limited time, Fidelity is offering this service for free through September 310.

This service has a minimum investment of $25,000 and comes with a fee of 0.50%. You can learn more here.

Fidelity Pros

  • Commission-free ETF, 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 to earn interest
  • Asset screeners and other research tools
  • Broker assisted trades available
  • Long track record of trustworthiness

Fidelity Cons

  • Potentially overwhelming for beginners 
  • No access to cryptocurrencies
  • As an older broker, it is slower to adopt newer features
  • Expensive broker-assisted trading

Fidelity vs Webull: Final Thoughts

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 2 free stocks.

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 signup 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 Ed Canty, CFP®
Ed is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. 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, fishing, and wrenching on his old car.

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