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      January 19, 2019

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Firstrade vs Robinhood

Best Online Stock Brokers

To help you find the Best Online Stock Brokers, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Firstrade and Robinhood.

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Who is the Best Online Stock Broker? Whether you consider yourself an avid investor or a beginner just starting to look into the stock market, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the stock trading options. Although some people still use traditional stock brokers, many people have found they can save a lot of money by trading stocks themselves.

Besides significant cost savings, another great advantage to executing your own transactions is that you can avoid the time and energy necessary to deal with "professional" stock brokers. Many of these individuals try to convince you to buy or sell stocks, because they earn a commission every time you make a transaction. With online stock brokers, you never have to talk to any salesmen.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2019

Online Stock Broker Reviews

4.5 stars
Firstrade

FIRSTRADE Visit Site

Cost:

$0 for all online trades

$19.95 (+ $.50/contract) for all broker-assisted trades

Minimum Deposit:

None

Since 1985, Firstrade has been a leading brokerage firm offering a complete line of investment tools and products for every level of investor. This stock broker was one of the very first to get online, and they've received plenty of industry awards - Forbes, Smart Money, and Barron's have frequently named Firstrade among their top choices for online brokers, especially when it comes to commissions and fees.

You'll soon see why: Firstrade doesn't require any minimum deposits, and in August 2018 the firm eliminated all commissions for stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds. That's right: you won't pay anything in fees for most transactions completed through the broker's online platform. Ever.

That means that you can trade using your dashboard, online or via mobile app, at no cost other than the price of the stocks themselves. Some of the newest features added to the Firstrade app at the time of our review were advanced charts, equity ratings, and an improved trading/research interface.

You'll also have access to a wealth of information once you open an account. Click on the Research & Tools heading to see what you can expect from Firstrade, including video commentary from trusted independent analysts, Market Heatmap, Morningstar ratings and research reports, and much more.

The only drawback to using Firstrade that we could find is the lack of advisor help, either automatic or with an investment professional. Most online stock brokers offer at last one, if not both. In other words, if you need some hand-holding while buying and selling stocks and strategizing your approach, Firstrade might not be your top pick. Otherwise, if you're comfortable doing the research using the educational resources this stock broker does offer online, you'll probably be very pleased with your experience.

Firstrade jumped almost to the top of the industry when it announced their fee-free trading structure, making them an excellent choice for most investors looking for an affordable online stock broker.

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3 stars
Robinhood

ROBINHOOD Visit Site

Cost:

$0 on all online stock trades

$10 for broker-assisted phone trades

Minimum Deposit:

None

Robinhood is one of the newest stock brokers in the online market, founded in 2013 and actively serving over 5 million clients since 2015. Their fee-free trading platform "lets you learn to invest in the stock market for free", primarily through their mobile-based application. For those of us who are more comfortable using our tablets or laptops, Robinhood recently released their web version as well.

As you start using Robinhood, particularly through the app, you'll need to get familiar with how they approach buying and selling stocks. For example, you'll have a Detail page that will give you information about your investments, help you track your returns, and overall statistics about the stocks you've purchased or added to your Watchlist. You'll also find Cards, that tell you about market updates, account updates and new features, and news updates with relevant articles and breaking stories within the financial markets.

Robinhood doesn't offer as much as more established online stock brokers when it comes to research. Because this platform is geared towards Millennials, it's expected that you'll know how to find the information you need through any one of the many free services available online. Once you've navigated to the stock's detail page on the Robinhood app, tap the Trade button to buy or sell.

For more active traders, Robinhood Gold may be an appealing add-on. This upgrade gives you a margin account, with the ability to buy and sell stocks on credit. The Gold membership requires a minimum balance of $2000. With this tier of service, you also get access to the market 30 minutes before it opens and 2 hours after it closes. Monthly Gold membership starts at $6, ranging up to $50/month for people who want access to $10,000 in interest-free credit.

Robinhood is also the only online stock broker we found to offer the ability to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. You'll need to check out whether Robinhood Crypto is available in your state; at the time of our review, only residents of 19 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin) were eligible.

On the other hand, Robinhood has one of the most limited account profiles of any online stock broker we reviewed: they only offer basic, taxable investment accounts. No IRAs, no joint accounts, etc. In other words, if you're looking to invest for retirement purposes and you want the tax benefits offered by a Roth IRA or a self-directed 401(k), you're out of luck with Robinhood.

How does this online stock broker measure up when it comes to customer service? Client comments are mixed. For investors who are just looking for a basic, no-fee way to buy and sell stocks, and who are pretty comfortable with doing their own research and using an app to make their investments, Robinhood is a good fit. But, for anyone who may want the option of having a professionally-managed portfolio - or even an "robo-advisor" that can take an investor's basic information and desired outcomes and generate an investment strategy - Robinhood isn't going to be able to compete with stock brokerages that have been around for much longer.

Bottom line? Robinhood is an easy way to get started with investing in the stock market, with no fees for buying or selling stocks and no minimum deposit required. If you're comfortable with mobile apps and with doing your own basic research about which stocks to buy and when, you might want to give them a try. However, if you're at all unsure about investing and think you might want some hand-holding or advice, you'll probably want to consider an online stock brokers with a longer history.

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Continued from above

And, of course, with fluctuations in the economy, and subsequent rises and falls in stock prices, some people panic and pull out significant investments - leaving the door wide open for others to take advantage of big opportunities to buy low and hopefully sell high later.

Of course, the best online stock brokers do have the option to work with a consultant if you choose. Especially if you're just starting to learn about investments, you may feel more comfortable knowing you can access an expert if the need arises. These services may be included, or you may have to pay for them a la carte.

So, when choosing the right online stock broker for your needs, how do you know which one is best? Before you jump in and start buying up your shares in Apple or Coca-Cola, here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Information. From beginners to experts, having up-to-date information on the stock market is critical. What resources does the online stock broker have available to guide you in your decision-making?
  • Fees. When purchasing your stocks, will you be charged a percentage of your total buy or a flat fee? When the time comes to sell, what will you pay?
  • Reputation. What do other investors say about their experience buying and selling with the online stock broker? Have they had positive interactions with the broker when they've needed help? How many investors have chosen this particular broker's services?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online stock brokers available today. We hope this information helps you choose the right broker for your stock buying and trading needs!

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