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Written by Ryan Scribner on September 1, 2020
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Webull vs Robinhood 2020: Best Free Online Brokerage?

Imagine being able to trade stocks, options, cryptocurrency and exchange-traded funds without paying a penny in commissions or any hidden fees. Forget about imagining it; it’s already here.

For the average retail investor, there has never been a better time to invest with these free cutting-edge platforms.

These advances in technology and systems have allowed platforms such as Webull and Robinhood to thrive. These are two of the most popular free investing platforms out there today.

In this article, we are going to compare the Webull and Robinhood platforms. We will be identifying where each platform shines as well as where each platform could improve.

Summary: Webull vs Robinhood

  • Both Webull and Robinhood offer $0 commission trading with $0 minimum
  •  Webull now offers free IRA accounts, however, Robinhood does not 
  •  Robinhood offers fractional shares  which allows you to invest as little as $1 in stocks and ETFs (Webull does not offer fractional shares)
  • Webull offers commission free short selling in margin accounts, Robinhood does not offer short selling
  •  Robinhood is designed for complete beginners  so intermediate and advanced traders will find the platform to be watered down and lacking in research tools
  •  Webull offers research tools above and beyond Robinhood  making it a better option for informed, research-oriented traders and investors
  •  Webull offers a trading simulator and Robinhood does not 
  • Robinhood falls short when it comes to customer service, but Webull provides a support phone number and rapid responses to users
  • Neither platform is a good fit for passive or long term investing (For that, we recommend checking out M1 Finance)
  • Investing Simple readers can get  1 FREE STOCKS from Webull when they sign up using our link and fund their account with $100.
  • Robinhood offers 1 free stock worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 when you sign up here
  • Webull offers other useful features like a stock lending income program as well as IPO offerings
  • You can trade cryptocurrency and options on Robinhood as well as Webull, however Webull offers fewer cryptos

FeatureWebullRobinhood
Minimum Balance$0$0
Trading CommissionsNoneNone
Account TypesTaxable, Margin, IRATaxable, Margin
AssetsStocks, ETFs, Options, Short SellingStocks, ETFs, Options, Cryptocurrencies
Sign Up Incentive2 Free Stocks1 Free Stock
Fractional SharesNoYes
Dividend ReinvestmentNoYes
Trading SimulatorYesNo
Rebalancing ToolsNoNo
Prebuilt PortfoliosNoNo
IPO InvestingYesNo
Stock Lending Income ProgramYesNo
Checking & Savings AccountNoYes
Charting/DataAdvancedBasic
Best ForIntermediate Active TradersComplete Beginners

Sign Up Incentive

Most importantly, what kind of freebie does each brokerage offer?

Webull has the most generous sign up bonus. When you open the account, you will get a free stock worth anywhere from $2.50 to $250.

In addition, if you fund the account with $100 or more on your initial deposit, you get another free stock worth anywhere from $12 to $1,400!

So if you open and fund a Webull account with $100 on your initial deposit, you will receive 1 free stock with a combined valued up to $1,650. The minimum amount you can potentially make is $14.50 in free stocks.

Get 1 Free Stocks from Webull Here!

Robinhood also has a FREE stock promotion. If you open an account you will receive a free stock valued from $2.50 to $200.

Get 1 Free Stock from Robinhood Here!

If you want, sign up for both to see what free stocks you can get!

Product Features Overall Price Buy Now
webull review by investing simple

Webull Review 2020: Best Free Investing App?

  • Pricing
  • Data & Charting Tools
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Account Types
  • Sign Up Incentive
  • Assets
Visit Webull
Robinhood review

Robinhood Review 2020: Best Investing App?

  • Trading Fees
  • Ease Of Use
  • Account Types
  • Research/Data
  • Securities Offered
Open A Robinhood Account Here

Why Choose Webull?

  • Better Data: The Webull platform caters to more advanced traders who need access to more sophisticated data and information.
  • Short Selling: Commission free short selling is available
  • Trading simulator: Webull's paper trading platform offers investors the opportunity to manage a portfolio with $100,000 in virtual cash. Users can compete in virtual investing competitions for real prizes.
  • Retirement Accounts: Webull offers traditional IRA's and ROTH IRA's as well as traditional brokerage accounts. Webull will also accept IRA Rollovers.

Why Choose Robinhood?

  • Beginner investor: Simple layout that does not overwhelm the user with too much information.
  • Educational features: Offers basic information on stocks and options to investors to learn from.
  • Fractional shares: Fractional shares on Robinhood can be as small as 1/1000000 of a share. This allows beginner investors to create a diversified portfolio even when they are investing with a small amount of money.
  • Cash Management: Earn interest on your non-invested cash. This cash is FDIC insured and accessible at any time.
  • Debit card: Link a debit card to your Robinhood account to have easy access to your funds.

What Is Webull?

webull

Webull is a commission-free stock and ETF trading platform. Experts designed Webull for the active trader who is looking for a more dynamic user interface than most free platforms are offering.

This platform has features specifically for traders such as technical indicators, research agency ratings, financial calendars, and more.

In other words, with easy access to margin, research tools, and live data, Webull has built an ideal platform for active traders.

However, since Webull is putting so much in front of you at your fingertips, it can be overwhelming if you are a complete beginner. Robinhood has created a true beginner-friendly platform, but most intermediate to advanced traders agree that it lacks in many areas.

Even though there are so much information and data packed into this app, Webull still maintains an excellent user interface. The app itself has a great design, and it is effortless to navigate. For more info, check out our full Webull review.

Webull Summary

  • Commission-free trading: Stocks, ETFs, Options, and Crypto
  • Account Types: Individual, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA
  • Account Minimums: $0
  • Top Features: Free trading, commission-free short selling, real-time market data, trading simulator, advanced mobile app, advanced desktop app

BONUS: 1 Free Stock!

Are you interested in getting completely free stocks?

Webull is offering Investing Simple readers who open an account using this link one completely free stocks just for signing up and funding with $100+ on your initial deposot.

It is based on a lottery system, however, so it could be a lower value stock or one worth quite a bit more!

Other Free Stock Promotions

BrokeragePromotionLink
Robinhood Logo1 Free Stock (Up To $200)Download
Webull Logo4 Free Stocks (Up To $3,700)Download
Acorns LogoFree $5 BonusDownload
Moomoo Logo4 Free Stocks (Up To $3,200)Download
Public LogoFree $10 Stock SliceDownload
Firstrade trading platform3 Free Stocks (Up To $600)Download

Webull Features

Robinhood did a great job gaining market share for beginner investors, however they did not meet the needs of intermediate active traders. That is why Webull was able to step in and gain market share so quickly. One of the newest features is fee-free retirement accounts offered on the platform!

Real-Time Market 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 for all US markets. This is particularly important when it comes to trading, as your goal is to capitalize on very quick moves in the market.

Unlike many trading platforms that have delayed quotations, Webull is sharing this data with traders through the app in real-time. For those looking for real-time data for global markets, for instance, Webull offers this for a monthly subscription.

However, remember that you do not need to pay for any subscriptions to access real-time data on US markets.

Real-time data is essential when you are using it to make trading decisions. As a trader, you are often looking to capitalize on micro-trends that can happen at the blink of an eye. Delayed reporting of price data could be very costly for an active trader.

Technical Indicators & Order Types

Traders rely on technical analysis or chart patterns.

However, Webull offers close to two dozen technical indicators available at the click of a button. They also offer a number of advanced order types that you do not see on other free platforms.

This includes OCO, OTO, and OTOCO.

Trading Simulator

This is one of the features that are totally unique to Webull. To be honest, the fact that other trading apps have not picked up this ball and run with it came as a surprise to us.

For beginners entering the stock market, paper trading is a very important step in the process. The trading simulator allows traders to practice without using real money.

In other words, you are using fake money and placing trades just like you would with real money. This allows you to test out trading strategies and become more familiar with the platform risk-free. Webull gives you $1,000,000 of play money in the free trading simulator.

Commission Free Short Selling

Most free brokerage accounts do not offer short selling.

This is an advanced trading strategy where you bet against a particular stock. Not only does Webull offer short selling, however, but it is also available commission-free. Short selling must take place in a margin account.

In order to open a margin account, your account balance needs to be $2,000 or more.

Analyst Ratings

One of our favorite features was the analyst ratings.

Webull offers a variety of research tools for both the technical trader and fundamental investor. For instance, theses include press releases, earnings reports, earnings dates, dividend dates, key financial documents, analyst ratings, and more.

Analysts make buy, sell, and hold recommendations about stocks. This can be very helpful to you when you look at making buying or selling decisions. They present this in a very organized fashion, and it is possible to get a good overview of a particular company in a matter of seconds through the app.

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?

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. In addition, 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.

Stock Screener

Quickly filter through thousands of stocks based on dozens of criteria to find investments that align with your trading strategy.

Webull allows you to filter stocks based on:

  • Country
  • Stock Price
  • Market Capitalization
  • PE Ratio
  • Dividend Yield
  • Analyst Ratings
  • And over a dozen others...

This screener allows traders to identify potential investments within the platform and easily keep an eye on them or add them to a watchlist or set up alerts.

By adding multiple filters, it is possible to create a shortlist very quickly of stocks that meet your criteria without having to waste time switching between different platforms.

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.

IPO Investing

Webull offers IPO or initial public offering investing. This allows you to get in on new public stock offerings before other investors do. This is part of a partnership with ClickIPO.

However, the number of IPOs available is limited, but it is still a great feature and something you do not see on most brokerages.

Stock Lending Income Program

Are you interested in earning some extra income from your shares? Webull has rolled out a great new feature that allows you to loan out shares to short sellers. You are fully insured by SIPC, so there is no risk with doing this.

Essentially, you are giving Webull permission to borrow your shares in your brokerage account. Then, they loan these shares out to short sellers. They collect interest from this and share a portion with you!

You can still sell your stocks at any time even if you participate in this program. It is simply a way to earn some extra money within your trading account.

Webull Crypto

Crypto Trading

Webull recently released crypto trading to all traders on their platform. All trades are commission-free and investors can transact in as little as $1 increments of crypro.

At the moment, there are only four cryptos available on Webull. These are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. It is likely that as time goes on, Webull will continue to add more cryptos to their platform but it is exciting to see they have entered this space.

One perk that Webull crypto trading offers is that you'll be able to take advantage of instant settlement. This means that you won't have to wait for your funds to settle between transactions and you can continue to buy and sell as you please.

Webull Minimum & Fees

Webull is 100% free trading platform. You will pay no commissions for trading stocks, ETFs and options. 

They do not charge any hidden fees, and there are no strings attached. There is no minimum balance to open an account. However, you do need to have $2,000 to open a margin account.

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 for free.

Webull Pros

  • Get a 1 FREE STOCK when you open and fund your account with $100.
  • They recently added 100% free IRA accounts
  • Trades are 100 percent commission-free, including short selling, options, and crypto
  • Research tools are in place for both technical traders and fundamental investors
  • The trading simulator lets you practice trading risk-free
  • Free extended hours trading pre-market and after-market
  • Real time data available on US markets for free
  • Webull now offers free options trading
  • Earn extra income with the stock lending income program
  • Get in on IPOs early with the IPO Investing tool
  • In-depth stock screening tool

Webull Cons

  • Might be “information overload” for complete beginners
  • Only one account type available
  • Do not currently offer fractional shares
  • No dividend reinvestment (DRIP)
  • In addition, no savings account/debit card

What Is Robinhood?

Robinhood

Known as the app that pioneered commission-free trading, Robinhood opens doors for beginning investors looking to get their feet into the game without paying high commissions or dealing with large minimum account balances. Robinhood charges $0 in commissions and the minimum to open an account is, you guessed it, $0!

Click Here to Get Started With Robinhood!

Experts designed this platform with beginners in mind.

It is meant to be the most straightforward trading platform out there. As a result, intermediate to advanced traders often find this platform to be lacking when it comes to research tools, order types, and technical indicators.

Still, if you are looking for a simple platform to trade commission-free, it is an excellent option.

Robinhood Summary

  • Commission-free trading: Stocks, ETFs, Options and Cryptocurrency.
  • Account Types: Individual
  • Account Minimums: $0
  • Top Features: Free trading, offers cryptocurrency, ease of use, beginner-friendly platform, checking account + savings account.

BONUS: 1 Free Stock!

Here's a great bonus offer from Robinhood! If you open an account with this link (you don't even have to fund it) you will get a free stock!

It is based on a lottery system, but this free stock will be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200! Since it is 100% free, this is an easy way to get some free money and win a free stock just for opening an account.

How Does Robinhood Work?

It’s very simple to open a Robinhood account right on your smartphone (or online).

Just plug in a few answers, for instance your contact info and how you’ll fund your account. You will also have to enter your social for tax reasons as well as some additional information about your employment. After that, they will ask you a few questions about your level of trading experience.

Then it’s onto the next step: launching your soon to be stellar investments.

Once your account is approved, you can make your initial deposit and begin investing. You may decide to invest in an individual stock, or maybe an ETF is better suited for you. Robinhood now offers fractional shares which means you can buy shares of stocks and ETFs in $1 increments.

Robinhood Features

In a nutshell, this is a beginner platform with some basic features. One key area where they shine is offering cryptocurrency as well as options trading. The fractional shares help smaller investors too!

Zero Commissions

Robinhood charges $0 commissions on trades for:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Cryptocurrency

There are no strings attached or hidden fees of any kind. With Robinhood, what you see is what you get!

Fractional Shares

Recently, Robinhood rolled out a great new feature. Select users are able to invest in stocks and ETFs using fractional shares. Instead of buying whole shares of stocks like Amazon, that trade for thousands per share, you can invest just $1 at a time!

Instead of buying an entire share, you are buying a fraction of a share worth $1. 

Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)

Finally! We have a dividend reinvestment option available form Robinhood.

This allows you to automatically reinvest your dividends, which means you earn compound interest. You need to use the DRIP feature hand in hand with the fractional shares feature. You cannot use it without fractional shares.

Online Savings Account

For those looking for a place to keep their extra money or emergency fund, Robinhood is also rolling out an online savings account. They have a free online savings account that pays a better than average APY on your uninvested cash.

You are eligible for up to $1.25M in FDIC insurance with this account. There are no minimums, no fees, no transfer limits of any kind.

This integrates directly with the investing side, so you can easily move money from savings to your investing account!

Robinhood Cash Management

Robinhood is currently offering a wait list for their cash management feature. Once approved, this feature allows users to earn interest on their non invested cash. Users can set up direct deposit to this account and link a Robinhood debit card to it. There are no minimums as well as no fees.

Robinhood Lists

Lists are an organizational tool Robinhood created for investors to categorize different assets. In essence, a list is simply a bucket that you are able to create, add different investments to, and track over time.

A single list can contain a mix and match of any of the asset types on Robinhood including stocks, ETFs, and crypto. You can easily access all of your lists from the main screen of the Robinhood app and keep an eye on how the assets within each list are performing.

You're also able to set up alerts for your lists so that you are notified when there are significant price swings or news events concerning the assets on your lists.

Portfolio Insights

Based on their investments, Robinhood provides users with personalized insights and statistics to help them understand their investments.

This includes cleanly displaying the asset allocation for a portfolio across asset types and industries, as well as providing relevant information and news stories based on your investments.

A feature like this is particularly useful for newer investors who are not as familiar with principles of portfolio diversification.

Simple App Design

They have the most straightforward user interface of any investing app we have tested.

This is a pro for some and a con for others. We can 100 percent say that Robinhood is a beginner-friendly app. However, as you become a more experienced trader you may find that it is lacking in some areas.

Robinhood Minimum & Fees

Just like with Webull, this is a 100 percent free trading platform.

They do not charge any hidden fees, and there are no strings attached. Don’t have the cash to open a sizeable account? No worries. Robinhood doesn’t have a purchase minimum, which means people can get started investing right away.

However, to invest, you’ll need enough to purchase the investment you have your eye on. But you can start small, then gain momentum as you go along and become more confident and acquire more know-how. Thanks to fractional shares, you now only need $1 to buy a fraction of a share of any stock or ETF that trades on the platform.

Even though there is no minimum balance to open an account, however, you do need to have $2,000 to open a margin account.

Robinhood Gold

Robinhood Gold allows you to take advantage of several different features. For example, it gives investors who can tolerate more risk the ability to trade on margin, which is also known as borrowed money.

You can increase your buying power by trading on margin. Robinhood extends you a loan to purchase stocks relative to your account value.

You need to have at least $2,000 in your account to open a margin account.

It also allows you to have instant deposits from your bank and professional research reports from Morningstar.

You must opt into the service, which has a flat monthly fee based on margin (Robinhood refers to this as buying power) as well as your account size. Margin trading is hazardous, and beginner investors should not be using it. If you’re new to investing and wary of risk, we say skip this option for now until you’re familiar with all the ins-and-outs.

Instant Verification

Once you’re ready to go, you won’t be bogged down by account verifications.

Robinhood uses instant verification with many major banks. Bank transfers of up to $1,000 are available immediately for investing, and the same goes for profits of up to $1,000 from selling stocks.

Deposits more substantial than $1,000 will take around five business days to process.

Want to invest in a schedule? You can set up automatic deposits out of your bank account weekly, biweekly, monthly or quarterly.

Robinhood Pros

  • Easy to use, beginner-friendly platform
  • Ability to trade stocks, ETFs, cryptos, and options
  • Access to margin through Robinhood Gold
  • Free pre-market and extended-hours trading
  • Fractional shares make the share price irrelevant
  • Dividend reinvestment is now available too
  • Online savings account and cash management account
  • Create custom lists

Click Here To Download Robinhood (& Get Your Free Stock!)

Robinhood Cons

  • The app only supports basic order types
  • Minimal research tools and data available
  • No trading simulator
  • Robinhood does not offer retirement accounts
  • Only account available is an individual account, no retirement accounts
  • No short selling, IPO investing, stock lending program

Are Free Trades Legit?

Webull and Robinhood are offering a very similar platform for investors.

Both are leveraging technology and operating paperless businesses to be able to offer investors a commission-free and fee-free investing experience. Instead of charging a commission on trades like a traditional brokerage, they make money in a few different ways:

  1. They earn interest on the uninvested cash held within brokerage accounts
  2. They both offer paid subscriptions (Robinhood Gold, Webull Global Market Data)
  3. By lending shares out to short-sellers, they can earn interest in the process
  4. By directing order flow, they can earn a fraction of a cent on each trade placed
  5. Both offer margin trading, allowing them to earn margin interest

The old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

However, the good news is that it is just not the case with these free investing platforms! Both Webull and Robinhood carry the same SIPC insurance as the mainstream brokerages. They simply found creative ways to make money outside of charging customers fees and commissions.

SEC & FINRA Fees

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

You will pay these fees regardless of what brokerage you use. It is important to understand that Webull passes these fees directly to these regulatory agencies, and Webull does not receive any of the money.

Choosing The Right Platform

With so many platforms available today, it can be a bit overwhelming. However, the good news is, even if you make a decision and you want to branch out, you are allowed to have multiple different brokerage accounts.

Some people, for example, will use Webull or Robinhood for their active trades and then do their long term investing within M1 Finance. You may find that using multiple platforms is more effective.

You can also sign up with both Robinhood and Webull, which will allow you to get 3 free stocks total!

Webull vs Robinhood

Webull and Robinhood both offer commission-free trading with no minimum account balance. What really separates the two are the unique features of each platform.

In a nutshell, Robinhood is designed for first time or beginner traders, However, Webull is meant for intermediate to advanced traders.

 Robinhood is designed for complete beginners who are looking to trade stocks, ETFs, cryptos or options, all commission-free.  However, Webull is for intermediate to advanced traders looking for more technical or fundamental data that you will not find with most other free trading platforms.

 However, one thing you will find is that Webull leads the pack on customer support. Since they have to cut costs and operate lean business models, free investing apps traditionally have not offered any kind of phone support.  With Robinhood, you are not able to call and ask questions or place trades over the phone. However, with Webull they do provide a customer support phone number where you can call in and ask questions. If you are looking for an even more hands-on type of customer service, you may want to consider an online discount broker.

Conclusion

 Overall, we think Webull has the slight upper hand because they offer a trading simulator, as well as many research tools for both active traders and long-term investors.  However, Robinhood does have a competitive edge since they offer fractional shares now as well as dividend reinvestment. Therefore, at the end of the day, it comes down to what features matter the most to you.

Webull recently added free IRAs which is not something Robinhood is offering at this time. In addition, they don't offer any retirement accounts.

 At the end of the day, both platforms are 100 percent free, so you can try them both and see which one is a better fit for you! 

Keep Reading:

webull vs robinhood
Article written by Ryan Scribner
Ryan Scribner is a personal finance YouTuber that is approaching 500,000 subscribers on his channel. He has created a thriving business around his passion, which is helping others navigate the complicated world of investing.

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