Many or all of the products featured on this page are from our sponsors who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here is how we make money.
The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. The Modest Wallet is a financial publisher that does not offer any personal financial advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment for any specific individual.
When it first hit the market in 2013, Robinhood shook up the brokerage industry in a big way. By making all their stock and ETF trades completely commission-free and crafting a tech-savvy platform that appealed to younger investors, Robinhood took Wall Street by storm.
Fast forward to 2021, however, and many other online brokerages have started to give Robinhood a run for its money. With dozens of other trading platforms out there to choose from, chances are pretty high that there’s a great Robinhood alternative out there for you.
If you’re trying to figure out which online brokerage is best for your investing needs, have no fear; we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to 12 of the best Robinhood alternatives available. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each brokerage and clue you into how they stack up to Robinhood so you can be a more knowledgeable investor.
Best Robinhood Alternatives in 2021
Not sure that Robinhood is the right brokerage to help you invest your money? Here are the best Robinhood alternatives to consider before you open your next account:
TradeStation is an online brokerage that puts you, the trader, at the forefront of everything they do. Like Robinhood, TradeStation offers commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs, and it even throws $0 trades on options in there for good measure.
While TradeStation’s pricing structure can be a bit confusing at first, they have a lot to love when it comes to their robust trading platform. All account holders get access to a selection of the company’s powerful charting and analysis tools as well as some superb market research.
Plus, TradeStation blows Robinhood out of the water when it comes to the types of investment products you can trade on the platform. With the company, you can trade stocks, ETFs, options, futures, futures options, bonds, and limited mutual funds. You can even buy, sell, and withdraw crypto, which is a huge advantage over Robinhood for some investors. Read our full TradeStation review to learn more.
As one of the first trading platforms to take their services fully online, Firstrade is a solid Robinhood alternative for investors that want a discount brokerage. Offering commission-free trades on stocks, ETFs, options, and even mutual funds, Firstrade is one of the few platforms that’s slashed fees on nearly all investment classes.
Similar to Robinhood, there’s no minimum balance to open an account with Firstrade, so it’s a nice option for first-time investors. At the same time, Firstrade offers accounts for traders from around 60 different countries, which is great if you’re a non-US resident looking to access the US markets.
Furthermore, the company offers taxable brokerage and tax-advantaged retirement accounts, so it’s an ideal choice for investors with a wide range of financial goals. Check out our full Firstrade review to learn more.
A comprehensive online financial institution that offers everything from investment to banking solutions, SoFi Invest is a user-friendly brokerage for both active and passive investors.
As a discount brokerage that’s targeted toward tech-savvy traders, SoFi offers commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs, and crypto in its taxable and tax-advantaged accounts. Like with Robinhood, you can also buy fractional shares with SoFi Invest, which is very useful if you’re looking to access highly-priced securities.
Where SoFi Invest stands apart from Robinhood, however, is in its automated investment feature. With SoFi, passive investors can use the company’s robo-advisor service, which automatically rebalances and is fee-free for accounts with balances under $10,000. Read our full SoFi Invest review to learn more.
Designed to cater to new and seasoned investors, alike, Webull is a popular Robinhood alternative for anyone looking for a low-cost brokerage with quality access to real-time market data. They even offer extended-hours trades, just like you’d get with Robinhood.
Unlike Robinhood, Weibull allows investors to open either a taxable brokerage account or several individual retirement accounts. However, you can buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and limited options fee-free with Webull, just like Robinhood.
In addition to the fact that the company has expanded cryptocurrency features, one of the ways that Webull stands apart from Robinhood is in terms of its trading platforms. Webull’s stock screeners, virtual trading pool, and all-around user-friendly interface are a better choice for active investors than what Robinhood currently has to offer. Check out our full Webull review to learn more or our Webull vs. Robinhood review to see how they compare.
One of the largest brokerages in the world (especially since its merger with Charles Schwab), TD Ameritrade is a full-service investment platform that offers something for everyone to enjoy. You can open a regular brokerage account or many different retirement accounts with TD Ameritrade, depending on your investing goals.
Stocks and ETF trades with TD Ameritrade are commission-free, just like with Robinhood, though you will have to pay a contract fee on options trades. Nevertheless, TD Ameritrade makes it possible to buy a slew of different mutual funds, bonds, CDs, futures, and the like, which is nice if you want a highly diversified portfolio.
Another area that gives TD Ameritrade an edge over Robinhood is its award-winning trading platforms and market analysis tools. The company has four different platforms to choose from, including their highly-customizable thinkorswim platform, which is a popular choice among professional traders. Read our full TD Ameritrade review to learn more.
A simple and easy-to-use platform that harnesses the power of social media, Public.com is a commission-free brokerage for no-frills investors. Crafted to help everyone access the stock market with ease, Public.com offers free stock and ETF trades on its platform.
Interestingly, the brokerage also avoids payment for order flow (PFOF) practices, which is an area that has caused a lot of controversy for Robinhood in the past. Instead, you can tip your Public.com broker if you’d like to reward them for making your trade.
Your account options with Public.com are quite limited (taxable accounts only), just like with Robinhood, but you do also get access to fractional shares trading. Additionally, Public.com has a large social media community where you can discuss your investing ideas with other like-minded investors. Check out our full Public.com review to learn more.
If you like Robinhood’s commission-free trading but you’d prefer a more powerful trading platform, E*TRADE just might be what you need.
E*TRADE currently offers zero commission on stocks, ETFs, and options, as well as reasonable rates on mutual funds, futures, forex, and bonds. So, they’re awesome if you want access to a diversity of different investment tools.
Furthermore, E*TRADE allows you to open around a dozen different account types, many of which can also use the company’s robo-advising services. Oh, and the company lets you trade on their online and desktop platforms, both of which offer extensive analysis tools that Robinhood’s platforms just can’t match. Read our full E*TRADE review to learn more.
In A Nutshell
Your one-stop-shop for self-directed and automated trading, Ally Invest is a popular Robinhood alternative for both passive and active traders. Ally Invest is part of the much larger Ally Financial Group, which is one of America’s most popular online banks.
Their investment platform provides access to both self-directed taxable and tax-advantaged accounts, as well as some comprehensive robo-advising features. As a discount brokerage, Ally Invest has no commission on stocks, options, or ETFs, though there are fees for investing in mutual funds.
That being said, Ally Invest offers more than Robinhood in terms of what you can invest in as they also support forex, futures, and bonds. Plus, if you’re thinking that a managed portfolio is better for you, Ally is one of the most affordable options on the market. That’s because they have no management fees and a minimum balance requirement of just $100. Read our full Ally Invest review to learn more.
A hybrid robo-advisor and brokerage service, M1 Finance offers comprehensive money management and investment options for all investors.
As with Robinhood, commission-free trades and fractional shares investing on stocks and ETFs is the name of the game with M1 Finance. However, M1 Finance lets you open either a taxable brokerage or tax-advantaged retirement or trust account depending on your goals.
One of the most unique aspects of M1 Finance, however, is their automated investing system that lets you allocate deposits toward stocks and ETFs of your choosing using their “pies” system. Plus, M1 Finance also provides investors with access to a checking and lending account, allowing you to manage your finances all from one place. Check out our full M1 Finance review to learn more and our M1 Finance vs. Robinhood review to see how they compare.
In the world of online brokerages, Fidelity is one of the largest and most respected in the business. You can open nearly any type of account with the company, including individual and joint brokerage, business accounts, individual retirement accounts, and 529s.
While Fidelity doesn’t offer crypto trading, like Robinhood does, they do allow you to invest in anything from stocks and ETFs to options, bonds, CDs, and mutual funds. The company’s selection of no-minimum-investment, fee-free mutual funds is one of their biggest advantages over Robinhood for folks that want to diversify their portfolio.
Additionally, Fidelity’s desktop app provides great financial analysis tools that you just can’t get with Robinhood. Alternatively, if you’re more of a hands-off investor, Fidelity has a large selection of managed portfolio options for you to choose from. Read our full Fidelity review to learn more.
For international investors or anyone that wants access to the global markets, Interactive Brokers should be on the top of your Robinhood alternatives list.
A solid choice for sophisticated traders, Interactive Brokers has several pricing plans, one of which offers commission-free (or very low fee) equities trades. You can also trade options, bonds, and futures with the company using more than 20 currencies on more than 125 international markets.
Since Interactive Brokers’ platforms and services are a bit more complex than what Robinhood has to offer, the company is best for experienced traders with high account balances. But, if Robinhood’s limited analysis tools and investment products are holding you back, Interactive Brokers is worth considering. Read our full Interactive Brokers review to learn more.
Built for folks who want a long-term investment tool with low minimum investments, Stash is a subscription-based platform for new traders. Although Stash does not offer free accounts, their subscription offerings vary from $1 to $9 per month.
With Stash, stock and ETF trades are free and you have access to fractional shares investing. Unlike Robinhood, though, Stash offers more comprehensive savings tools. This includes their Stock-Back rewards debit card (for their included checking account) and their comprehensive educational resources.
If that wasn’t enough, Stash also lets you choose from many different account types, based on your subscription plan. Stash+ users can access individual brokerage accounts, traditional and Roth IRAs, as well as custodial accounts, which you can’t get with Robinhood. Check out our full Stash review to learn more.
Why Robinhood May Not Be Right for You
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already questioning whether Robinhood is the right platform for investing your money.
While there are certainly a lot of benefits to investing with the platform (there’s a reason it has 10+ million users), there are also a whole host of reasons why it’s not right for all investors.
Here are a few reasons why opting for one of our Robinhood alternatives might be a smart move:
No Retirement Accounts
First things first, before you invest with Robinhood, know this: As of 2021, Robinhood does not offer retirement accounts. That means they don’t offer Roth or traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, 401(k)s, or anything of the sort.
Instead, the only account type that a Robinhood user can open is your standard individual brokerage account (joint accounts aren’t supported, either).
While brokerage accounts are awesome for folks that want to build wealth or invest for a short-term goal, they’re not ideal from a tax perspective. That’s because all realized dividends and capital gains earned in a regular brokerage account are taxable. On the other hand, earnings in retirement accounts are either tax-free or tax-deferred.
Limited Crypto Features
Robinhood was among the first major online brokerages to offer cryptocurrency trading features to its clients, having first dipped its toes into the crypto world in 2018.
These days, it’s still a popular place to trade crypto, since the platform allows you to buy and sell currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum through its partner Robinhood Crypto. However, Robinhood’s current crypto features are starting to lag behind the competition.
One of the biggest issues with Robinhood Crypto is that the platform doesn’t allow you to transfer your crypto into or out of your account. That means you’re not allowed to take your coins and place them in an offline wallet.
Why does this matter?
Well, since FDIC and SIPC insurance doesn’t extend to crypto, there’s little protection for your cryptocurrency assets when compared to your regular ol’ cash and securities.
Therefore, many crypto investors prefer to take their crypto out of their online wallets and place them into offline wallets for safekeeping. With Robinhood, however, that’s just not an option.
So, if you’re looking to trade crypto, a platform like TradeStation, which does allow for withdrawals, might be better.
Extreme Market Volatility Can Lead to Assets Being Blocked for Trading
If you paid attention to the news in early 2021, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about the controversy surrounding Robinhood and “meme” stocks, such as Gamestop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC).
Of course, Robinhood was by no means the only brokerage involved in this incident. But, they were one of the few that blocked its traders from buying Gamestop and other stocks for a substantial period. As a result, Robinhood lost some credibility among traders when it comes to consumer confidence in its ability to properly execute trades.
Additionally, this wasn’t the only incident where Robinhood failed to live up to expectations. The platform has experienced multiple technical glitches over the years, most notably in 2020 and 2019.
One of the most troubling incidents came in early March 2020 when the stock market saw a major surge in trading activity. For about 17 hours, Robinhood investors were blocked from trading due to some major technical issues.
Needless to say, that’s not a good way to build confidence in your investors.
Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) Practices Are Questionable
When Robinhood first hit the market, it offered investors something that was once unheard of: commission-free trades on stocks and ETFs.
While commission-free trading is quickly becoming the norm on Wall Street, however, you might be asking yourself, “If brokerages don’t charge a commission, how do they make money?”
The answer? In Robinhood’s case, it’s mostly through their payment for order flow (PFOF) practices.
Robinhood made $180 million off of trades during the second quarter of 2020. They made all this money by using PFOF, which is a fairly controversial practice that’s becoming more and more popular in the online brokerage world.
PFOF works by allowing brokerages to sell the rights to trades executed through their platform. In Robinhood’s case, they might contract with market-makers like Citadel Securities. As part of this contract, Robinhood agrees to route their trades to Citadel for execution in exchange for a small fee (about $0.11 to $0.17 per 100 shares), instead of putting the trades on the open market.
PFOF can lead to some conflicts of interest between market-makers and Robinhood. This is particularly true when it comes to millennial-focused platforms, like Robinhood, as companies like Citadel can take advantage of the fact that many retail investors on the site are new to trading.
Does this PFOF practice directly affect you, a retail investor? Probably not in an overly tangible way, but it could.
This is particularly true when it comes to something called the bid-ask spread, which can widen as a result of PFOF. While the technical aspects of how this all works can get complicated, the moral of the story is that PFOF can indirectly lead to increased costs for retail investors.
That being said, many individual traders won’t see a major impact on their returns from PFOF. But, it’s a potentially questionable practice that you ought to be aware of before you open a Robinhood account. If you want to stay away from brokers that use PFOF as a revenue source, Public.com can be a good Robinhood alternative.
Limited Analysis Tools for Active Traders
It’s worth pointing out that Robinhood’s analysis tools are quite limited for folks who take an active approach to their investments.
Since Robinhood initially designed its platform to appeal to traders that are new to investing, they made their app and interface as simple as possible. This straightforward approach is awesome for some folks who don’t have a lot of time to spend learning the ins and outs of the market.
But, for folks who want to dive into the nitty-gritty of potential investments, Robinhood doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Robinhood doesn’t have stock screeners, heatmaps (like on TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform), or extensive educational tools.
Furthermore, the company’s candlestick charts leave something to be desired. To be sure, Robinhood does have candlestick charts, but they’re difficult to read and lack a lot of valuable indicators that you can find on platforms like Webull.
So, for the active investor, you might want to look elsewhere.
No Mutual Funds Available
Finally, we have to mention that Robinhood doesn’t offer mutual funds investing. For folks who are looking to get their feet wet by trading stocks and ETFs, this might not be a big deal, but for people that take a hands-off approach to investing, this can be a bit of a bummer.
Mutual funds are often considered to be a nice investment tool for new and experienced investors alike because they offer the ability to greatly diversify your portfolio without the need to own hundreds of stocks.
There are disadvantages to investing in mutual funds, too, such as high fees. But it’s nice to have the option to invest in them if you feel so inclined. With Robinhood, however, mutual funds aren’t currently a possibility.
When it comes to online brokerages, you have a whole lot of options to choose from. Of course, Robinhood has long been a popular trading platform for new and tech-savvy investors. However, there are plenty of great Robinhood alternatives out there if you’re looking for a more robust brokerage.
Ultimately, the key is to find a brokerage that offers the features and tools you need to make wise moves with your money and we hoped this article helped you decide what’s right for you.
- M1 Finance vs. Robinhood: Which Investing App Is Best?
- Robinhood vs. Acorns: Which Investing App is Best?
- Webull vs. Robinhood: Zero Commission Trading Battle
- TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Which Online Broker Is Best for You?
- 12 Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading
Get our free Stock Market Playbook to learn how to invest your first $500 in the stock market.
Plus our best money tips delivered straight to your inbox.
Gaby is a freelance writer and self-employed business owner with a personal interest in all things finance-related. She has a professional certificate in business, finance, and financial analytics, as well as experience working as a volunteer tax prep assistant with the IRS.