Sunday, September 26 2021

Robinhood online stock broker has had a tough year. The shutdowns during the memes boom in January led users to file dozens of class actions. Then, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority imposed a record fine on the broker for regulatory non-compliance. And Robinhood is still reeling from its lackluster IPO launch.

That said, Robinhood’s troubles didn’t start when the ball fell in late 2020. The platform has experienced years of outages and customer service issues that have led them to this year’s train of disasters.

While there is a somewhat reasonable argument that the broker is still working through its growing pains – Robinhood has been around for less than a decade – it is cold comfort to burnt users.

At this point, all of this bad press can cause you to reconsider if Robinhood is the right place for your money. Robinhood’s app and features are certainly robust – when at 100% – but it’s not the only stock trading app on the market. You can find a number of alternatives that offer many of the same features, including low cost accounts and commission-free transactions. Here are a few to consider.

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1. Loyalty

If you’re looking for a brokerage with a solid reputation, you can’t beat Fidelity. The popular broker has few to no outages and is well regarded for their customer service. Fidelity’s mobile app is feature-rich and easy to use, making it easy to manage your accounts on the go.

Robinhood users will like Fidelity’s commission-free stock and ETF trades, as well as fractional stock investing (the ability to buy parts of stocks instead of just trading whole stocks). Fidelity also has physical offices, so you can tell a real human about your account – something Robinhood users are sure to envy, as the company didn’t even have a phone number until recently.

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2. M1 Finances

M1 Finance is a streamlined online brokerage firm designed around its self-managed investing functionality rather than offering full advisory and account management services. Like Robinhood, M1 Finance is a newcomer to the world of the stock market. But this novelty doesn’t mean he can’t keep up with some of the bigger players.

Users can find a good variety of trading tools in M1’s mobile app, including the ability to place individual stock or ETF orders and the ability to trade fractions of shares. There are no trading fees and the basic account option has no management fees. One thing to note is that accounts with a low balance ($ 20 or less) that have no trading activity for 90 days will incur an inactivity fee of $ 20.

3. Charles Schwab

Stock trading giant Charles Schwab has become a household name – and it was before he bought his rival TD Ameritrade. The popular brokerage has added over 5 million accounts this year, and it continues to grow. And a glance at its offerings clearly shows why.

Not only does Charles Schwab offer many of the features you could want in a full-service brokerage house – including hundreds of physical locations for that human touch – but he’s also very competitive in the modern trading app market. Users can enjoy commission-free stock and ETF trades, split stock trades, and tons of mutual funds. There is also a long standing reputation for reliability.

Honorable mention: Coinbase

One of the advantages of Robinhood is that it offers great versatility in a single application. While many major stock trading apps don’t include a ton of crypto options, Robinhood allows users to invest in a number of popular digital currencies.

But you don’t have to use Robinhood if you want flexible crypto investing – not when Coinbase practically invented the cryptocurrency exchange. You can find tons of popular cryptos on Coinbase. And, unlike some alternatives, Coinbase has spent years building its collection of crypto education, research, and trading tools.

It is impossible to stress enough the importance of being able to trust that your brokerage firm is providing you with accurate and up-to-date information at all times. You also want an online broker who will be available when the market goes – and the rest of the time too.

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Robinhood may be on shaky ground these days. With so many solid alternatives, you have plenty of options to find a broker you can count on for years to come.


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