bluestars.ltd Review Is BlueStars Scam or Should I Invest

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BlueStar Reviews

Updated Mar 5, 2020

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“Great Company”

I have been working at BlueStar full-time for more than 8 years

Great culture and great people, family atmosphere.

No upward mobility and lacking work/life balance. No opportunity to work remotely and certain managers like to micro manage.

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“Good, growing company with some great people”

I have been working at BlueStar full-time for more than 5 years

Great people, transparent company direction.

Communication is sometimes lacking between internal departments.

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“Great company”

I have been working at BlueStar full-time for more than 3 years

short commute, laid back atmosphere, good benefits

lack of product knowledge or access to product knowledge

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“Well trained”

I worked at BlueStar full-time for more than 8 years

Fulfilling work. Work to be proud of. Many perks

2 ND shift warehouse manager runs employees into the dirt, per his lack of quality leadership skills. Does not lead by example.

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“Vertical Manager”

I have been working at BlueStar full-time for more than 8 years

Approachable executive team, decent pay for the area, growing company and good corporate culture

Not a lot of upward mobility potential, low compensation when compared to similar national technology companies

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I have been working at BlueStar full-time

This a great company to work for. good benefits and pay. Laid back. Nice area to work near also. Great management.

I am satisfied with everything so far. I have no complaints as of yet. It is an easy commute and the people are professional.

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“No complaints”

I worked at BlueStar full-time for more than 3 years

Family oriented, good people, hard working peers, growing

Minimal advancement, minimal pay outside of management

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“The job is easy but management makes it unbearable.”

I worked at BlueStar full-time for less than a year

Decent pay with weekends off and super easy job sometimes food is catered or you get left over food from the office.

Management is disgusting. The favoritism is absolutely ridiculous you can pick them out your first day. Managers constantly choose people to pick on and upper management lets them do whatever they want. The “packing leads”/wannabe manager, they are just nasty and have no people skills. Also you never know what time you’ll get off work, rarely earlier than 10.

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“Job Not Career”

I worked at BlueStar full-time

Privately owned and provides some opportunity to sharpen an employee’s skills.

Very flat organization that does not provide a career path for individuals to grow with the company. The primary owner’s family are warranted excessive privileges that the general employees do not have. Executive management fight between themselves in front of employees often forcing them to take sides. Management makes it clear that an employee is there to do a job function and ideas are often diminished by the input of antiquated business techniques that rarely work today.

SCAM WATCH

Investment schemes involve getting you or your business to part with money on the promise of a questionable financial opportunity.

Common types of investment scams

Investment cold calls

A scammer claiming to be a stock broker or portfolio manager calls you and offers financial or investments advice. They will claim what they are offering is low-risk and will provide you with quick and high returns, or encourage you to invest in overseas companies. The scammer’s offer will sound legitimate and they may have resources to back up their claims. They will be persistent, and may keep calling you back.

The scammer may claim that they do not need an Australian Financial Services licence, or that that they are approved by a real government regulator or affiliated with a genuine company.

The investments offered in these type of cold calls are usually share, mortgage, or real estate high-return schemes, options trading or foreign currency trading. The scammer is operating from overseas, and will not have an Australian Financial Services licence.

Share promotions and hot tips

The scammer encourages you to buy shares in a company that they predict is about to increase in value. You may be contacted by email or the message will be posted in a forum. The message will seem like an inside tip and stress that you need to act quickly. The scammer is trying to boost the price of stock so they can sell shares they have already bought, and make a huge profit. The share value will then go down dramatically.

If you invest you will be left with large losses or shares that are virtually worthless.

Investment seminars

Investment seminars are promoted by promising motivational speakers, investment experts, or self-made millionaires who will give you expert advice on investing. They are designed to convince you into following high risk investment strategies such as borrowing large sums of money to buy property, or investments that involve lending money on a no security basis or other risky terms.

Promoters make money by charging you an attendance fee, selling overpriced reports or books, and by selling investments and property without letting you get independent advice. The investments on offer are generally overvalued and you may end up having to pay fees and commissions that the promoters did not tell you about. High pressure sales tactics or false and misleading claims are often used to pressure you into investing, such as guaranteed rent or discounts for buying off the plan.

If you invest there is a high chance you will lose money.

Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart for more information about investment seminar scams.

Superannuation

Superannuation scams offer to give you early access to your super fund, often through a self-managed super fund or for a fee. The offer may come from a financial adviser, or a scammer posing as one. The scammer may ask you to agree to a story to ensure the early release of your money and then, acting as your financial adviser, they will deceive your superannuation company into paying out your super benefits directly to them. Once they have your money, the scammer may take large ‘fees’ out of the released fund or leave you with nothing at all.

You cannot legally access the preserved part of your super until you are between 55 and 60, depending what year you were born. There are certain exceptions such as severe financial hardship or compassionate grounds – but anyone who otherwise offers early access to your super is acting illegally.

Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart for more information about how super works.

Warning signs

  • You receive a call, or repeated calls, from someone offering unsolicited advice on investments. They may try to keep you on the phone for a long time, or try and transfer you to a more senior person. You are told that you need to act quickly and invest or you will miss out.
  • You receive an email from a stranger offering advice on the share price of a particular company. It may not be addressed to you personally, and may even give the impression it was sent to you by mistake.
  • An advertisement or seminar makes claims such as ‘risk-free investment’, ‘be a millionaire in three years’, or ‘get-rich quick’.
  • You are invited to attend a free seminar, but there are high fees to attend any further sessions. The scammer, posing as the promoter, may offer you a loan to cover both the cost of your attendance at the additional seminars and investments.
  • You see an advertisement promising a quick and easy way to ‘unlock’ your superannuation early.

Protect yourself

  • Do not give your details to an unsolicited caller or reply to emails offering financial advice or investment opportunities – just hang up or delete the email.
  • Be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk.
  • Check if a financial advisor is registered via the ASIC website. Any business or person that offers or advises you about financial products must be an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence holder.
  • Check ASIC’s list of companies you should not deal with. If the company that called you is on the list – do not deal with them.
  • Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments and never commit to any investment at a seminar – always get independent legal or financial advice.
  • Do not respond to emails from strangers offering predictions on shares, investment tips, or investment advice.
  • If you feel an offer to buy shares might be legitimate, always check the company’s listing on the stock exchange for its current value and recent shares performance. Some offers to buy your shares may be well below market value.
  • Never commit to any investment at a seminar – always take time to consider the opportunity and seek independent financial advice.
  • If you are under 55, watch out for offers promoting easy access to your preserved superannuation benefits. If you illegally access your super early, you may face penalties under taxation law.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.

Scams that relate to financial services can also be reported to ASIC.

Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

Pay Attention to These 7 Bitcoin Scams

Bitcoin – the possible Pandora’s Box of the currency world – has never been short of controversy. Whether it be aiding the black market or scamming users out of millions, bitcoin is no stranger to the front page.

Still, the jury is out on the legality and usefulness of bitcoin – leaving it in a proverbial grey area. Bitcoin’s price has fluctuated throughout its history, falling and rising, currently hovering near $10,000. Perhaps you’ve found bitcoin while it looks to be on the rebound and find yourself interested in it as an investment.

However, there have been several legitimate bitcoin scams that have become infamous, and you need to know about them – but, what are the top 7 bitcoin scams? And how can you avoid them?

What Is a Bitcoin Scam?

For most cases, it may be pretty obvious what a scam is – but with bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general, things become murkier. Bitcoin itself is an unregulated form of currency that essentially is a mere number that is only given value because of an agreement. It’s basically like a moneybag with a lock on it – the code of which is given to the recipient of the bitcoin (an analogy drawn by Forbes in 2020).

Bitcoin scams have been famously criminal and public in nature. With no bank as a middleman in exchange, things become more complicated; so hackers and con men have had a heyday.

Top 7 Bitcoin Scams

There have been (and undoubtedly will be) nearly countless bitcoin scams, but these frauds make the list of the top 7 worst bitcoin scams to date. Take note.

1. Malware Scams

Malware has long been the hallmark of many online scams. But with cryptocurrency, it poses an increased threat given the nature of the currency in and of itself.

Recently, a tech support site called Bleeping Computer issued a warning about cryptocurrency-targeting malware in hopes of saving customers from sending cryptocoins via transactions, reported Yahoo Finance.

“This type of malware, called CryptoCurrency Clipboard Hijackers, works by monitoring the Windows clipboard for cryptocurrency addresses, and if one is detected, will swap it out with an address that they control,” wrote Lawrence Abrahams, computer forensics and creator of Bleeping Computer.

The malware, CryptoCurrency Clipboard Hijackers (which reportedly manages 2.3 million bitcoin addresses) switches addresses used to transfer cryptocoin with ones the malware controls – thus transferring the coins to the scammers instead. And, according to Asia Times, even MacOS malware has been connected to malware scams involving cryptocurrency investors using trusted sites like Slack and Discord chats – coined “OSX.Dummy.”

2. Fake Bitcoin Exchanges – BitKRX

Surely one of the easiest ways to scam investors is to pose as an affiliate branch of a respectable and legitimate organization. Well, that’s exactly what scammers in the bitcoin field are doing.

South Korean scam BitKRX presented itself as a place to exchange and trade bitcoin, but was ultimately fraudulent. The fake exchange took on part of the name of the real Korean Exchange (KRX), and scammed people out of their money by posing as a respectable and legitimate cryptocurrency exchange.

BitKRX claimed to be a branch of the KRX, a creation of KOSDAQ, South Korean Futures Exchange, and South Korean Stock Exchange, according to Coin Telegraph.

BitKRX used this faux-affiliation to ensnare people to use their system. The scam was exposed in 2020.

3. Ponzi Scheme – MiningMax

“Ponzi bitcoin scam” has got to be the worst combination of words imaginable for financial gurus. And, the reality is just as bad.

Several organizations have scammed people out of millions with Ponzi schemes using bitcoins, including South Korean website MiningMax. The site, which was not registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, promised to provide investors with daily ROI’s in exchange for an original investment and commission from getting others to invest (basically, a Ponzi scheme). Apparently, the site was asking people to invest $3,200 for daily ROI’s over two years, and a $200 referral commission for every personally recruited investor, reports claim.

MiningMax’s domain was privately registered in mid-2020, and had a binary compensation structure. The fraudulent crypto-currency scam was reported by affiliates, resulting in 14 arrests in Korea in December of 2020.

Korea has long been a leader in technological developments – bitcoin is no exception. However, after recent controversy, it seems as though this is changing.

“But a lot of governments are looking at this very carefully,” Yoo Byung-joon, business administration professor at Seoul National University and co-author of the 2020 research paper “Is Bitcoin a Viable E-Business?: Empirical Analysis of the Digital Currency’s Speculative Nature,” told South China Morning Post in January. “Some are even considering putting their currencies on the blockchain system. The biggest challenge facing bitcoin now is the potential for misuse, but that’s true of any new technology.”

4. Fake Bitcoin Scam – My Big Coin

A classic (but no less dubious) scam involving bitcoin and cryptocurrency is simply, well, fake currency. One such arbiter of this faux bitcoin was My Big Coin. Essentially, the site sold fake bitcoin. Plain and simple.

In early 2020, My Big Coin, a cryptocurrency scam that lured investors into sinking an alleged $6 million, was sued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to a CFTC case filed in late January.

The CFTC case further details that the suit was due to “commodity fraud and misappropriation related to the ongoing solicitation of customers for a virtual currency known as My Big Coin (MBC),” further charging the scam with “misappropriating over $6 million from customers by, among other things, transferring customer funds into personal bank accounts, and using those funds for personal expenses and the purchase of luxury goods.”

Among other things, the site fraudulently claimed that the coin was being actively traded on several platforms, and even mislead investors by claiming it was also partnered with MasterCard, according to the CFTC case.

Those sued included Randall Carter, Mark Gillespie and the My Big Coin Pay, Inc.

5. ICO Scam – Bitcoin Savings and Trust and Centra Tech

Still other scammers have used ICO’s – initial coin offerings – to dupe users out of their money.

Along with the rise in blockchain-backed companies, fake ICOs became popular as a way to back these new companies. However, given the unregulated nature of bitcoin itself, the door has been wide open for fraud.

Most ICO frauds have taken place through getting investors to invest in or through fake ICO websites using faulty wallets, or by posing as real cryptocurrency-based companies.

Notably, $32 million Centra Tech garnered celebrity support (most famously from DJ Khaled), but was exposed for ICO fraud back in April of 2020, according to Fortune. The company was sued for misleading investors and lying about products, among other fraudulent activities.

The famous DJ wrote his support in a caption on Instagram back in 2020.

“I just received my titanium centra debit card. The Centra Card & Centra Wallet app is the ultimate winner in Cryptocurrency debit cards powered by CTR tokens!” Khaled wrote.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission even issued a warning in 2020 about ICO scams and faux investment opportunities, brought on by a slew of celebrities who promoted certain ICOs (like Paris Hilton and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to name a few).

“Any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion,” the SEC wrote in an Investor Alert in 2020. “A failure to disclose this information is a violation of the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws.”

Another example is Bitcoin Savings and Trust, which was fined $40.7 million in 2020 by the SEC for creating fake investments and using a Ponzi scheme to scam investors. According to Coin Telegraph, Trenton Shavers, the organization’s leader, allegedly scammed investors into giving him 720,000 bitcoins promising a 7% weekly interest on investments – which he then used to pay back old investors and even fill his personal bank accounts.

6. Bitcoin Gold Scam – mybtgwallet.com

Nothing catches the eye of the naïve quite like the promise of gold – bitcoin gold, of course.

That is exactly what mybtgwallet.com did to unsuspecting bitcoin investors.

According to CNN, the bitcoin gold (BTG) wallet duped investors out of $3.2 million in 2020 by promising to allow them to claim their bitcoin gold. The website allegedly used links on a legitimate website (Bitcoin Gold) to get investors to share their private keys or seeds with the scam, as this old screenshot from the website shows.

Before the scam was done, the website managers (slash scammers) was able to get their hands on $107,000 worth of bitcoin gold, $72,000 of litecoin, $30,000 of ethereum, and $3 million of bitcoin, according to CNN.

Bitcoin Gold, the site’s wallet used in the scam, began investigating shortly after, but the site remains controversial. Still, firm released a warning to bitcoin investors.

“It’s worth reminding everyone that it will never be truly safe to enter your private key or mnemonic phrase for a pre-existing wallet into any online website,” Bitcoin Gold wrote. “When you want to sweep new coins from a pre-fork wallet address, best practice is the same as after other forks: Send your old coins to a new wallet first, before you expose the private keys of the original wallet. Following this basic rule of private key management greatly reduces your risk of theft.”

7. Pump and Dump Scam

While this type of scam is certainly not relegated to just bitcoin (thank you for the education, “The Wolf of Wall Street”), a pump-and-dump scam is especially dangerous in the internet space.

The basic idea is that investors hype up (or “pump up”) a certain bitcoin – that is usually an alternative coin that is very cheap but high risk – via investor’s websites, blogs, or even Reddit, according to The Daily Dot. Once the scammers pump up a certain bitcoin enough, skyrocketing its value, they cash out and “dump” their bitcoin onto the naïve investors who bought into the bitcoin thinking it was the next big thing.

Bittrex, a popular bitcoin exchange site, released a set of guidelines to avoid bitcoin pump-and-dump scams.

While “stackin’ penny stocks” may sound like an appealing way to earn an extra buck (thanks to its glamorization by Jordan Belfort), messing in bitcoin scams is nothing to smirk at.

How to Avoid Bitcoin Scams

With the inevitable rise of bitcoin in current and coming years, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and be on the lookout for bitcoin scams that could cost you thousands. As more people become interested in Bitcoin, more people are also likely to try and pull off a scam.

There is no one formula to avoiding being scammed, but reading up on the latest bitcoin red flags, keeping information private, and double checking sources before investing in anything are good standard procedures that may help save you from being duped. Cryptocurrency can be a confusing topic even for the experienced Bitcoin enthusiast, so the more you read up on the world of Bitcoin, the more prepared you can be. After all, knowledge is power.

Robinhood Review – Are Commission Free Trades Worth It?

Robinhood has become a dominant force in the investing industry – offering commission free trades to its users, the ability to trade options and even crypto currency, and now it even has checking and savings accounts with a high yield!

It bills itself as the future of money (both investing and now banking) – with $0 trades, a fancy smartphone app, and a bunch of fancy investment-backers that would make it the envy of any Wall Street firm.

But as a customer and investor, is it’s commission-free trading platform worth it? Should you give it a try as an investor?

Here are my honest thoughts on Robinhood. If you want to skip the Robinhood review, the bottom line is that there are better free alternatives for long term investors.

We recommend Fidelity and TD Ameritrade because they both offer $0 commission-free trades, $0 minimum IRAs and are full service. They are a better solution because they offer many more tools and resources for the long term. And they both have great apps.

Bonus: When you sign up with Robinhood, you can get a free share of stock! Open an account here >>

Quick Summary

  • Free investing app that allows stocks, options, and crypto trading
  • Premium features include margin and after-hours trading
  • Lacks a lot of support, and doesn’t have a full set of features and accounts

Robinhood Details

Product Name

Robinhood Investing App

Min Investment

Stock Trades

Option Trades

Account Types

Promotions

Here’s The Review On Robinhood

Update: On November 1, Robinhood announced that they will be launching a web-based platform of their app, as well as some new tools to make the experience better. If you’ve been a beta tester, please share your insights. We will update this review as we try out their new products.

Update: On December 13, Robinhood announced that they will be launching options trading on their platform for free. If you’re interested, you must join the waitlist and we’ll share more when we can. However, we do know that you can’t use Gold Buying Power for options spreads, and you must use your margin limits or cash on hand to cover the maximum loss.

Update: On January 25, 2020, Robinhood announced free crypto trading will be rolling out in February. Only Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) will be available for trading when that rolls out to waves of users starting in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire.

Update: On October 1, 2020, Robinhood announced it will begin offering a cash management account – with a solid high yield on your money! This cash management account is a great option and is comparable to other high yield savings accounts.

Update: On December 17, 2020, Robinhood announced it will begin to support fractional share investing, and dividend reinvestment plans (DRiP).

Setting Up The Robinhood App

Robinhood does everything through it’s smartphone app. Even if you sign up on their website at Robinhood.com, you still have to download their app.

Once I signed up on the website, I received an email with a link to download the Robinhood app. I followed the link and got started.

Once I downloaded the Robinhood App for my iPhone, I opened it up. After you login with your information, it asks you to create a Watchlist.

I didn’t really understand what was even happening at this point – I seriously just entered my login information and it started populating a Watchlist. I wish it didn’t do that (and you don’t have a choice to skip it that I saw).

The next screen asks if you want Smart Notifications for the app. I opted out of this because I hate notifications on my iPhone. I’m sure others will find this feature useful though:

The next screen asks you to fund your account. Out of every app I have ever used, this has been the most intuitive part of the process. I find linking bank accounts can be a challenge, even on a desktop computer, but Robinhood made this easy.

Once your account is funded, you’ll receive a confirmation email and an alert on the iPhone app. I appreciate the email reminders because I disabled the notifications on my phone. Here’s what your account screen looks like:

However, before I could do anything else, Robinhood once again asked me to setup a bunch of investment objectives. I didn’t really understand the purpose of these, as they don’t seem to have any software or help to customize a portfolio or trade.

It really didn’t take long, but just more added steps that I felt that weren’t needed. It was all pretty standard stuff, but seemed like a robo-advisor:

How To Use The Robinhood App

Now that you have your account funded, you can start using the Robinhood App to look up and trade stocks.

They have some very elegant ways to look up stock information. Here’s what I started with, looking up Abbott Labs (ABT). Once you look up the stock symbol, it gives you a quote, basic chart, and other basic information about the stock.

This is all trading information – they don’t have any fundamental information about the company:

Before you can make a trade, Robinhood does have this cool feature that lets you look at “Popular Stocks” based on what others are doing on their app.

While I don’t like to base my investment decision on what others are doing, a little voyeurism is always fun:

When I went to make my first trade, I thought I’d keep it simple and just invest in SPY. So, I typed in the symbol for SPY and got a quote.

I then clicked the big Buy button on the screen and it brought me to the order screen. It’s very intuitive and easy to use to place an order. You simply type in the shares you want to buy and the price. If you don’t want a market order, you can tap the “Market” and switch it to a limit order.

After that, you review your order. Then, you just swipe up to submit. Personally, I hate having to swipe to access features on a phone. Just let me push a button.

Robinhood Gold

Robinhood Gold gives you:

  • Margin Trading: They call this feature “Gold Buying Power”, but honestly it’s just 2x margin on your account. However, unlike other margin accounts, you don’t pay interest. Your margin power is based on the flat monthly fee you’ll pay
  • Pre & After Hours Trading: You can get access to pre market and after hours trading
  • Bigger Instant Deposits: You can get instant access to your money, including when you sell a security, you don’t have to wait the few days for the settlement(they call this “Instant Reinvestment”)

Here’s where it gets tricky. The pricing for all of this is pretty high in my opinion. Of course, this is always subject to change (and please let us know in the comments if it does change):

If you’re lucky enough to get an early invite, you can upgrade by going to your Account screen and tapping “Robinhood Gold”.

Robinhood Cash

After stumbling to launch their cash account, Robinhood now offers a cash management account with a solid APY that’s competitive to the top high yield savings accounts out there.

The account currently pays you 1.80% APY. Like all variable rates, this could go up or down over time.

The account has no minimum requirements, no monthly fee, no overdraft fee, and comes with a Mastercard debit card to easily access your money at their huge network of fee-free ATMs.

The only drawbacks with this account are that they don’t reimburse other ATM fees, and you do have to use their app. However, if you’re good with those conditions, enjoy a great cash management product.

How They Make Money

I’m always leery when I see a company offering something for nothing. This company isn’t a non-profit. It’s venture backed and will be looking to go public and make people rich. But, in order to do so, they need to make money, so how do they do it? They break it down here.

They have two models. First, they sell your information to third party companies. This is a big revenue generator for them, but it does have the potential to cost individual investors money on trades. You can read more about it in this article.

Second, they have their Robinhood Gold account, which you do pay a subscription for to have access to things like margin trading.

For the long term investor, these don’t really matter. Paying $0.01 more (potentially) per share shouldn’t impact a long-term buy and hold investor. However, if you’re a trader (which Robinhood’s platform isn’t geared towards), this could be costly.

Would I Move My Portfolio Over To Robinhood?

This is pretty simple: no.

I don’t see Robinhood as the replacement for anything. I see them as a novelty. I found the app okay to use, not great. I couldn’t imagine holding a portfolio within this app/company and trying to manage it.

If you trade frequently, the app may be handy, but the research features are too basic to be of any use. Furthermore, I can’t image trading from a phone.

Pros:

  • Commission Free Trades
  • Fractional Shares and Dividend Reinvestment
  • Pretty App for iPhone & Android
  • Security: the app uses Apple Touch to login, which makes it feel secure

Cons:

  • Limited Investment Choices
  • Not easy for managing your holdings (couldn’t see holding 5-10 positions with the app)
  • Too basic charts and data
  • Printing statements and tax documents is a hassle. You have to login to the app, email it to yourself, and then print it.

Final Thoughts

Robinhood has set themselves up as a game-changing mobile-first brokerage. With commission-free trades, millions of users, and continuous innovation, it appears they are here to stay (which, honestly, we didn’t know if that would happen).

If you’re looking to get started investing with a small amount of cash, then Robinhood should be a broker you check out.

If you need something a little more robust, I’d honestly recommend opening an IRA or brokerage account at a mainstream brokerage like TD Ameritrade or Fidelity.

What most people don’t realize is that you can open an IRA with no minimum, you can get access to hundreds of commission free ETFs, and you have a great app to use. You essentially can build your entire diversified portfolio for free, on an app. Check out TD Ameritrade for yourself.

Don’t just take my word for it with this review, try Robinhood for free right here: Signup for Robinhood

Have you used Robinhood? Did you like the experience? Are you going to replace your brokerage with it?

Robinhood Review
  • Commissions & Fees – 100

Summary

Robinhood is a commission free brokerage that is app-based and they recently rolled out Robinhood Gold for margin trading for a fee.

Filed Under: Brokerages Tagged With: Review
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, or other advertiser and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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About Robert Farrington

Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here.

He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.

He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.

Comments

Tim Seidler says

I’m guessing that the “investment objectives” portion has more to do with big data than it does helping you obtain your goals. They can probably get away with not charging for trades by putting a money value on the information you provided.

Robert Farrington says

A lot of it also has to do with SEC requirements, but it’s pretty silly.

Trader Joe says

All in all, One has to remember the commission FREE means no outside perks aside from needing trade desk support which is fine in my book. The more perks offered the more a company needs to recoup from you the customer.
Do they keep the interest on your money YES. But what are you really making in interest in any given money market, savings or checking account?
Do they have all the bells and whistles NO but guess what, thats ok. If someone is starting out… $5-10 in commissions is somewhat difficult to cover. Lets take Apple (AAPl) as of 1/19/17 AAPL closed at $119 per share and to 1/25/17 closed at $121.85. That is a $2.85 gain, someone new to investing would pay $5-10 commission on any other platform to enter and exit.
There are a ton of research websites that cost NOTHING. To make any profit with the AAPL example, one would need to drop several hundred. This is a GREAT tool to learn on. I for one have made a TON this year on CIG (if you want numbers, 33.65% since December on a $2.08 per share stock). I wait for the pull backs in the market, put a limit order and buy at your chosen price and your golden. Quit whining and win in the market.

I think you’re looking at the app in the completely wrong perspective. Giving the app an abysmal score of 6/10 merely because there isn’t a Desktop version yet or you fear of them raising prices and adding fees later on (they most likely won’t since 100% free stock trading is essentially the vision and platform of their company) is pretty foolish. Saying this company will disappear in 1-2 years is even more foolish. This year alone the company was valued well over a billion dollars.

Taken from NerdWallet:
“You’ll give up a few things in exchange — trading tools, research, education, investment options beyond stocks and ETFs — but if limiting costs is your No. 1 concern, Robinhood is a solid choice.”

Robert Farrington says

That’s a hard sell though, because Fidelity offers hundreds of free ETFs, no fee IRAs and accounts, and they currently offer 200 free trades for 2 years. You can honestly setup your portfolio for success at a full service brokerage for free as well.

Fidelity also requires a $2,500 minimum. Not ideal for someone who’s trying to test out certain individual stocks/ETFs (Robinhood is great for swing trades).

I do agree with you that there are better brokerages out there to set-up a diversified portfolio with better management and tools for research so it’s much better suited for long-term investing, but for investors who enjoy frequent/swing trading you just can’t beat Robinhood’s truly commission-free trading platform (besides SEC fees which apply to every brokerage).

Robert Farrington says

Fidelity has $0 minimum IRAs and other accounts, along with hundreds of $0 commission ETFs.

I like your response to the haters. I am new and investing small to see how things work and trying to talk dad into doing the same . CIG huh? Thanks

I have been using Robinhood for almost two years. I’ll be honest, customer support has been abysmal, however, I have literally saved thousands in fees. My guess is at least $10,000.00. When I started, I had no idea what I was doing, and maybe still don’t, but I trade 50- 80 trades a day, mostly buying on dips and selling portions of stocks (I own almost 200). My Scottrade account (retirement) charges $4.95 a trade and 5.25% Margin-this was negotiated down from $7/trade and 8.25% interest. Much different than free trades and 5% interest.

Robinhood can really save huge amounts in margin and trades if you are trading a few or many times a month.
Example. You have a $25,000 portfolio, using a margin amount of $15,000 and making 5 trades a week-apx 22 a month.
Most companies charge $5-10 a trade. Let’s average at $7. For a $25,000 portfolio, you are looking at 8.25% margin interest.
Thus, per month, you are paying $154 in trade commissions and $123.75 in interest.
As opposed to Robinhood, who is charging you $75 for the interest.
So, with your average brokerage:
$277.75
Robinhood:
$75
You are saving about $202.75 a month or $2,433 over the year. That’s a crapload of money!! It’s almost 10% of the account value

I don’t think Robinhood is going away-they may have started as a novelty but they are only increasing their ability to compete with other brokerages. I’ve seen loads of improvement over the past two years and am really looking forward to a desktop version.
My portfolio has increased 29.65% over the past two years and I guarantee a huge part of that is because I had lower margin rates and free trades.

It has also given me the opportunity to learn on a small scale. As someone who is turning a hobby into a career, I think this is a great platform, for both novice and expert investors.

I wholeheartedly concur. I currently use Ameritrade and pay $5 a trade — one way. I trade only about 15-20 trades per month, but I trade about $100 – $150K worth of stock. My trade income averages about $2000 to $3000 per month, so my commissions are small compared to my income. Like the Robinhood concept, but I dont think I will be using it because I burn about $150 to 200 a month in commissions but make about $25 to 30K per year in trading. Good Luck to ALL.

I’ve had an account with Robinhood for a few weeks. Although I would prefer to trade from my workstation, the app is well designed and is fine for making occasional trades during the day. Trade executions have been excellent, NBBO as far as I can tell.

As you mentioned, Robert, stock research and charting tools on the app are basically non-existent. But that’s not a problem for me since I do my research on other websites, and have a third party charting subscription. I can see how it might be cumbersome trying to manage a large portfolio from the app. Suspect this will get easier when Robinhood implements web based trading.

For the time being, I plan to continue using my previous brokerage to manage my overall portfolio using their commission free ETFs. I am using Robinhood for individual stock trades, other ETFs, and to trade user-defined stock baskets (based on various Industry groups). It is these stock baskets, in particular, where commissions get prohibitively expensive using other brokers.

In the future, if their web based software incorporates some basic portfolio management/monitoring tools, I will probably move my entire portfolio to Robinhood.

I have yet to hear what do other brokerage offer for individual investors that robinhood doesn’t ? In my opinion they won’t make money using API’s, more like providing you ways to slice and dice the data, run reports on it etc and make money off of an augmented way of slicing your portfolio. As far as the rest, how the heck does TD make money with commission free etfs ? What about Schwabs intelligent investor which mandates large allocations to cash and is a total ripoff ? If you have been in any startup let alone finance let alone a startup that deals in finance you would think twice before putting this company down. I am quite amazed that they managed to turn this around so quickly, and worse case scenario for them, GOOGLE BUYS THEM, and we’ll see the brokerage world get disintegrated overnight, as it should because it is offering absolutely nothing to the investors. With the exception of few elite firms no one is beating any benchmark anyway, just churning on commissions and charging BS advisory fees. I’m quite hopeful that these guys have a long way to go and there’s plenty of ways to make money by offering enhanced reporting, a re-balancing tool for x amt of $, features of novelty automated trading etc.

Robert Farrington says

Thanks for sharing your insights – hopefully another firm does buy them.

My concern is two fold:
1) I personally didn’t like the product and the fact you’re forced to use your phone/tablet (let alone only an Apple product). I’m sure this will change, but it’s a big dissatisfier right now.
2) I can’t recommend it to users because I’ve seen way to many FinTech products come and go. Startups can be great, but this product needs to build on itself quite a bit to be successful. If they burn through their cash too fast, the people that started using them will be forced to go back to another broker anyway.

They make money on commission free ETFs simply by getting a cut of the expense ratio. Either they are one of their own funds, or they get a portion for sourcing. Just because something is an ETF doesn’t mean its got a low expense ratio. Somebody is getting paid somewhere!

I have fidelity, this is the first I am learning about 200 free trades so thats interesting. I used optionshouse for my big trading (1.99 stock trades or something real cheap like that) but now that E-trade bought them I’m sure I’ll see 9$ trades like I used to in my old ESPP account and F THAT. Maybe I will be consolidating into Fidelity??

Robert Farrington says

We’re big fans of Fidelity, both from a pricing, and from the services they offer.

I’m a buy and hold investor and very happy with Fidelity. $4.95 trades, good customer service, a FULL range of products. Good smartphone app and also very good website.

It would hardly be worth it using this app with 3 day settling and limited resources to save $4.95.

But then I don’t trade often and when I do it is larger amounts.

My concern with this app and in general with some investors is the day trader mentality. Making money on small moves in the market would be way more stressful and likely way less successful than buying for long term value and growth.

Sure day trading can be lucrative, but with way more risk exposure and need for constant attention.

This is a great way to help my kids become more active investors. It makes small regular funding of an investment account easy. I hope they help the big firms cut their fees.

I have been trying to get on Robinhood, but can’t. They can’t seem to figure out why my USAA account wont link or verify (with micro deposit). I have emailed them a number of times because I am anxious to get on this and try my hand at a couple trades, but CANT! Total frustration! Of course, that is going to be the point since they are a lean, mean org. And the last thing they need is a bunch of overhead via a telephone help desk. But they need to do something when it doesn’t work for customers. That is if they ever want to make money! Which they may not, now that I think about it. But, I would love to have a full web page on my workstation to manipulate instead of just my phone too. Of course building web pages is more overhead, but eventually they’ll have to accommodate us somehow. Those are my gripes, but I am still anxious to get on it!

I have been using Robinhood for two months now, and it has been great. While it may not be the best for managing an entire nest egg, it is a perfect way to get into the market and hold multiple positions without paying for every trade. If you are starting out small, and don’t want to see 5, 10, or even 20% of your money given away after just a few purchases, Robinhood is unmatched!

Call me when the robin hood app can be used on a computer – til then the commission you pay is for the phone app’s monthly fee.

Robert Farrington says

Yes, I agree. They need a desktop computer platform.

I’ve been using the android version since the day it came out and I really couldn’t be happier. I work for a financial research company and have all of the tools to manage a portfolio, conduct research, run hypothetical scenarios, but never had made the jump into investing because of the trade fees. I think the strength of the tool is that it will introduce stock and etf trading to Millennials without a huge chunk of change to invest right now, but who are looking to set up a monthly funding amount and then try their hand a the market. Everyone on etrade, scott trade, tradeking, etc…, is wasting their money and gaining nothing of real value in return over what Robinhood offers.

Robert Farrington says

Zach, you highlight that you use other tools to manage a portfolio and conduct research. Why would a millennial just jump into investing on a phone if they haven’t done the research or if they don’t feel comfortable in the way the phone manages their portfolio? Whim trading it very possible on Robinhood, but I don’t see adoption for people who do want to build a portfolio for the long run.

Robinhood is a good “get your feet wet” type of tool. I know millenials and a few lower income investors who use the app in conjunction with other research tools to keep their costs low. I still use my TD account, but I have also been known to switch apps to get out of the fees. Let’s hope they are not finished yet, but I could definitely see them getting gobbled up by a bigger fish.

Millennial investor just getting his feet wet reporting in.

That’s exactly what I’m using Robinhood for. I’ve been following the news a long time and have a few hunches about the market that I wanted to test out on a handful of stocks. I think energy bottomed out already. I think commodities like copper will rise. But I’m not willing to kill gains with fees.

So Robinhood’s been fun and useful. I do wish I could use it on a browser though, or see more data on each stock.

Millennial also checking in. I love the fact that Robinhood makes it very simple to jump in the game. I’m not using it for serious investments but to test the waters.

Same here. Millenial checking in. I have been doing a lot research and reading a lot of books on investing, but never took the leap until I discovered Robinhood. Not only is it easy to use, it also makes the whole process seems less intimidating. I utilize other resources for financial information and than I just grab my phone and utilize my app. I its here to stay. I have fidelity as well and utilized their resources. I like Robinhood more. I didn’t even know fidelity had an app.

Millennial here also checking in—well after the original post.

I may be naive, certainly inexperienced, and probably need some light shed on how I’m doing this all wrong. But I will say that after almost two years using Robinhood as a first time, get your feet wet, investor, I don’t comprehend the cons. I feel like I yield the same amount of trading wisdom and advise from other apps and research avenues as I do from Robinhood, but with Robinhood, it’s all in one place, it’s totally free, and facilitates my apparently ADD style of investing as good as I can fathom. I have actually made a decent sum in my year and a half of trading (over $10k, liquid, in my bank account, seriously). I’m a physical therapist, I make okay money with my job, and my profession affords me time to be a fairly active investor (monitoring my stuff, buying, and selling 4-5x/week is considered active, yes?). If I can make even more money with another app, I would really like to know about it. Is the government going to steal all the money I’ve made? I really don’t understand the benefit of using another app (I can’t emphasize enough that I’m not a very smart person, please enlighten me).

I’ve been using Robinhood for a week now, so far so good. My oy drawback is they hold your profits for 3-5days after a trade. Too long compared to other brokerages.

I really hope this succeeds. I used it today for the first time and it seemed great. So what if it doesnt offer lots of research and tools? All that is available from millions of other places. And so what if it takes 3 days for money to settle? Trade 1/3rd of your balance per day and that cycle will prevent problems. If i make one round trade per day, i will save approximately $5000 dollars on commissions that i would have paid to etrade. We need to support this. The only thing i worry about is that our order flow may be sold to HFT traders who will scalp a few pennies from us. Read “Flash Boys” to learn about that.

Sorry for typos
*round trip trade
*$5000 per year

I did notice that you and author mentioned that there’s no research information. Are you also using an iPhone? I am using an Android and I’m not sure if this is exactly research, but they provide a ‘Recent News’ section (at least for the Stocks that I’ve looked into ( IGC , XXII )
Is that excluded from the research bit, out of pure curiosity. It seems research worthy to me (in a worldly sense), but I’m not a professional trader. As well as the quarterly earnings. Are those not considered as research items?

Thanks, because if there are more things to consider research-wise, I want to find them to add to my ‘lookings’ as well.

This does help those with tight budgets. This versus $9.95/trade-wow! A general thought, does anyone have any other low cost trade,providers. Motif does singles at $4.95, but I don’t know any others. Any other option out there? Thanks.

Robert Farrington says

The cool thing with Motif is that you can build your entire diversified portfolio with ETFs as a single Motif – say Bradley’s Motif. It could be a simple 60% VOO and 40% AGG Motif. Then, it only costs you $4.95 to buy your Motif, which is totally diversified like you want.

You can build a Motif with up to 30 stocks or ETFs. If you were doing this individually, you’d have to pay a commission for each individual stock or ETF. I love Motif for that reason.

Benjamin H says

Keep in mind that like most brokerages they probably make a bit of money by being paid for order flow. And while I do agree there’s some annoyances, no software integrations, no automatic dividend reinvestments, and only useable via the app. However it’s not that much work to track the portfolio through google’s finance portfolios. And for zero commisions I’m more than willing to reinvest the dividends manually.

I have been doing the exact same thing. Track portfolio on google finance portfolio and use charting software like tradingview (free version). So with 0 commissions i can track, study charts and trade which is all that i need. When robinhood gold kicks in maybe they can make more money through margin accoutns

Frederic Howe says

Ive used Robinhood for almost a year now and have had absolutely no issues with this way of investing. Sure, online access would be nice but i haven’t had any issues with managing my stocks via a phone, In fact I believe its made them more versatile. I get my quarterly reports and all my tax documents are prepared and emailed. They are very responsive on questions or issues. To date, I haven’t had to pay DIME for the service or the stocks Ive invested in. Dividends are deposited directly into my Robinhood account. Money transfers are INSTANT, you don’t have to wait 3-5 days to trade money moved into your Robinhood Account.

Wallet Squirrel says

Like Frederic above, I’ve had no issues with the app. It’s been freaking amazing!

To give you an idea, I used Robinhood the last 6 months and it’s been perfect for the beginning investor. I’ve done 60 trades (averaging $101.23 per trade) and any other broker would charge me $7 (minimum) for each of those trades. That’s freaking $420 total in fees. Ridiculous right? Robinhood has cost me absolutely nothing.

Robert Farrington says

You can’t argue with free, but honestly I’m a little concerned that you’re a beginner investor and you did 60 trades in the last 6 months. That’s crazy and that’s trading/speculation – not investing. I’d be curious to know your strategy with such a small amount of capital being deployed on average.

Hey Robert…why are you so anti Robinhood? You seem to want to make everyone pay trading fees. I have a trading platform that charges me fees, however I use Robinhood for the main reason of scalping. I’ve also saved thousands on fees. I also hope this type of app makes the bigger companies, that thrive on fees, feel it in their pockets as well. I think Robinhood is a great way to have beginners, or traders who want to enjoy another side of the market, go about their business without having someone having their hand in their pocket every time they make any moves.

Robert Farrington says

Not anti-Robinhood, just don’t think it’s a great platform. Free is nice – but you can get free at TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, etc. with 100s of no-cost ETFs. These platforms offer much more in terms of interface, usability, research, they have great apps, etc.

**I should note, since chances are you don’t follow my blog much, I’m an investor and advocate investing – not trading. As such, my recommendations are around great platforms for investors.

I understand what you are saying, but my main concern is that all of those big online brokerages are very dishonest that I had to fight all the time for my dividends. I had Fidelity and Schwab. I’m looking for an honest one, I’m still using Schwab. Is Robinhood has Limit Order?

Robert Farrington says

Can you explain what you mean by “fight for your dividends”. I’ve never heard this complaint before, and if it’s true, it’s illegal. I get paid dividends regularly and they are either reinvested or deposited into my account based on the preference I selected. I’m curious to hear more about your experience. Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard are the flagship brokers in the U.S.

As for your Robinhood question, yes, they support limit orders.

Nothing in life is free. Robinhoods business practices are very questionable and the have personally stolen from me. Please stay away from this company.

Nick Larson says

Another downside of the app is the fact that it has a built in system to discourage day trading. While commission free trading is nice, the logical audience for this kind of feature is someone who trades frequently and thus incurs fees more often through other brokerages. But with Robinhood, making four day trades in a five day business period flags you as a day trader, and you are then prohibited from making any day trades for a 90 day period unless your account is funded with at least $25,000. Swing traders may find the app useful, but it’s severely limiting for those interested in actively day trading.

Mark Wheeler says

is this really true?!

Robert Farrington says

This is a federal regulation, not a Robinhood only thing.

No. They don’t discourage day trading. They have an OPTIONAL setting to alert you if you are about to be flagged as a day trader.

The absolute worst aspect imo is lack of customer service. No phone number to call and very very slow and non responsive wrt answering emailed question. Nice concept but poor execution; without fixing these issues can’t imagine platform surviving . Don’t recommend RH at this point!

Robert Farrington says

Thanks for sharing your experience. What was your question by any chance?

I am a younger person that has been interested in trading a few stocks. No, I don’t have the $500-$1000 minimum balances that other firms charge. The main attraction to me was no minimum balance and the zero trade. If I wanted to buy a single stock in apple for $100 and was charged $10 to do so, then I would have to hope they hit $110 to break even.

From my limited point of view, this is a great way to get younger people that do not have thousands to throw around into the stock market.

will robin hood ever offer computer based trading?

Tyler Hilliard says

I love Robinhood. I have been using it was available on Android (as a beta). I see no need for a desktop/web experience, except so File This (statement-pulling service) can pull & file statements with no action on my part. I use Betterment for the majority of portfolio and have a small portion in Robinhood for ‘passion’ investments in individual companies I feel strongly about. I think the fact that someone trading six figures pays the same

$8 fee/trade as someone trying to get their feet wet starting their portfolio at traditional brokerage firms. I don’t think Robinhood is going anywhere as they will continue to scoop up new, young investors who are loyal based on the fact that they are built around free and mobile. As this group becomes a larger portion of the total market traditional firms will start reacting but it may be too late.

I love Robinhood! I would like to see a collaborative website but not a deal breaker. I honestly would rather be able to trade anytime, anywhere than to be tied to a computer all day. As for the people saying there’s not enough research and charting tools…THIS IS NOT A RESEARCH APP, it’s for trading. Try the StockTracker app. You can link your RH account,buy and sell directly and get all the research you need. The full version is only $15. For me the customer service with RH has been great. I’ve contacted them twice via email and they responded both times within a couple hours.
Happy trading!

First off, free trading definitely catches your eye.

Yet after using it for a number of months, i’m very frustrated with the app design.

As a trader, i’m literally blind when setting up a trade. I can’t see what the bid/ask is doing, so i have to use my StockTracker app to follow it, and the same goes for when i’m setting a stop, can’t see the b/a moving. I’m on Optionshouse and the b/a is shown so there’s no way to set an improper share price, which i’ve done a few times on RH.

I also have nothing that shows me what i’m +/- in each trade.

Both of these things are huge, i can’ afford mistakes, and they happen, but shouldn’t for simple things like setting trade parameters.

RH has made it clear that they don’t promote day trading. Then why would anyone else use this.? A mom/pop investor won’t, they hardly trade. And the app’s too clunky for bigger money to use it.

Have to say that i was as frustrated as ever with this app on 6/24. I’m going to let my current posn’s play out and get out. I’ve got 2.95 trades with OH and the $6 roundtrip i’ll spend there is worth it vs the many shortcomings w the app. don’t have the time, patience or money to wait for it to improve. Just don’t see the design moving anytime soon towards something i’ll like. I’m out..

One additional issue.

I always enter a limit order, as all should, yet once entered, if you want to adjust your offer (again, can’t see the b/a), you have to CANCEL the exisiting order setup and start over again. You’ve got to be kidding. You can hear the gears slowly grinding. No thanks..

Been using Robinhood app for the past 2 months. Not a bad tool to get your feet wet if you are looking to try your hand at active trading. Definitely, need to use other resources for research. The biggest issue I have encountered is every so often, the app will experience a glitch that doesn’t let you submit an order (not to be confused with trade execution). Lost money on this twice so I intend to switch to another brokerage soon. Just recently, was set to pull $1500 on a one day hold on a penny stock and because of the glitch only made $280. Unforgivable in my opinion.

Thomas Maroney says

This is happened to me the first time I used it. I’ve only traded twice with this. It was early morning pop and I got in just in time. Quick to press sell. I kept getting a error message and didn’t go thru for like 2-3 mins. (felt like) I was so mad… From what I read from other people it happens mostly during the mostly during the first 10 mins the market opens.

karen kloss says

Filled out all the usual info to start a Robinhood account and got an email back REQUIRING I UNFREEZE MY CREDIT SO THEY COULD CHECK IT.! Otherwise, no account they said. Supposedly they could not verify my identity with the social security # I provided. Baloney. And if it were true, wouldn’t you email and say “Perhaps there was an input error, would you provide your ss number again?” instead of jumping to a credit check? I’m not asking for credit. What kind of SCAM IS ROBINHOOD PULLING? Getting info to send you an unasked for credit card? Setting me up to trade on margin which I don’t want even if they could do it.

Robert Farrington says

I bet they are doing a credit check because one of their “perks” is instant transfers. Since money transfers typically take 2-3 days, they are essentially loaning you the money until your transfer clears. I’ve never heard of this before, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s why they were checking your credit.

karen kloss says

I thought they offered either a cash account or a margin account? In a cash account wouldn’t they be not fronting me any money? Also aren’t margin accounts kind of dangerous for college kids to be spending money they don’t have? Not sure on this so looking for clarification.

Robert Farrington says

You’re correct. I’m talking about initially moving money over to your account. Robinhood offers “Instant Transfers” – which isn’t really instant. They loan you the money until your ACH transfer clears your bank. That could explain the credit check.

As for margin, it can be dangerous if not used correctly, but given the limited amount of investing you can do on Robinhood, there isn’t much damage you can do.

Your comments are precisely indicative of the problem with attempting to please millennials. You focus far more on the GUI and how difficult it is to email yourself the tax forms than on the amazing possibility this app/company presents for people to buy fractional shares and dollar cost average. If you want charts, use Google or Yahoo. If you want stock reports, send $100 to TD or ETrade, buy a single share of AAPL (with a commission of 10 bucks, or 10%), and use their reports to your hearts content. In the meantime I’ll gladly throw a few hundred every month at Robinhood to add to a nice little portfolio. No, this won’t be my primary account (yet), but the equities are mine (and insured), so what do I care how well Robinhood actually performs financially? Hey, maybe they even end up saving me so much on commissions that I open some other account with them. Your review misses the entire point(s) of investing (wealth management, asset protection, financial gain), all things young folks who will be jumping from job to job will need help with. Robinhood makes that easy.

I am new to stocks and investing. This app has called my attention, mostly because of the big ‘FREE trades’ advertised. I have a tiny budget (in comparison to many others I have seen talked about), and am doing the research on my own. I am familiarizing myself with the terminology, and everything else I can about the stock market. I understand how Robinhood makes money, and that it isn’t technically a totally free service. It still sounds like a good introduction to trading..maybe even beginner friendly. Would using this app be a good idea for a 20- something year old millennial, with a growing knowledge base of the stock market? I think trading fees elsewhere, even at $4-5, would kill my already small budget.

Robert Farrington says

Hi Emily, a few things. Trading is not investing. This app is good for beginner investors, but not traders. If you’re planning on making a lot of buy and sell transactions, you’re better off going with a traditional broker on a computer – but as a beginner you likely shouldn’t start there.

So, if you want to invest buy and hold with a small amount, this is a good system. Otherwise I’d not recommend it.

Bluestacks is free and will allow you to use any app on your desktop. I do agree, I want this connected to Mint. This is FREE, I see no strings attached. I love Robinhood.

Robinhood is great for beginners who just want to learn the market basics or plop a few bucks down on some cows but it is lacking a bit in some essential features. No short selling, no pre/after hours, limited indexes and limited company data make it a pain to trade.

Also, for a company whose mission is to democratize market access they sure do seem to be using the platform as ladder up to their future Freemium Gold service where some of those extra features are available for a monthly price of $10, but those low prices never seem to last in the long run. It’s like opening a night club up to the public but asking the clientele to pay to get to where the action is once they are through the door already. They are ripe for competition to step in and crush them IMO.

Forgot to add…you can use Robinhood on a desktop using an android emulator. I like MEmu but there a handful of other ones. It acts as a mirrored android device and works just like any phone would.

Well it has been a little over the 2 year period you set in your final thoughts! Personally I find it to be a great app. Given that they just got another large investment in their last round of fundraising I am hoping they will be around for at least 2 more years! Cheers.

Robert Farrington says

I’m always interested in what will happen – so much change in the FinTech space this year. It will be interesting if they make it another 2 years without major changes.

Monica Mattingly says

I have used Robinhood for quite some time. I recently tried to cash out and after 15 days my withdrawal says failed. The essentially are holding my money. I cannot get anyone to respond. DO NOT use this App. They are crooked.

Brian Alletto says

I went through the same issue. I think now that I downgraded out of gold; it will get better. They can’t give me any reason to freeze funds.

Brian Alletto says

Gold is a joke. I am glad I stopped using it. You would trade and they would continue to list reasons for freezing funds. Was so bad that I couldn’t even access my own funds. They hit me with a margin call because I was 80% over the margin. I ended up losing big. I will still use them for the free trading but beware of the gold. They can’t figure out their own system and change the rules during the process.

Ronnie Biggs says

Watch out for the ‘market’ sells. It rips you off and does not give you the correct market price. I am a stock trader, noticed this the first time I used the app. Tried it again to test it, it put 3c on every stock. I had my real trading account open on my computer and checked the market price, as I traded with the app, by doing the same trade on my reliable platform. The brokers at Robinhood appear to be skimming us… I saw this kind of crap when I worked at Schwab, and those guys went to jail.

Stay out of this trading platform. Worst customer service because when I call for help on my account the operator will say that they don’t account issue and I should send a e-mail to support which they never answer your e-mail. Also robinhood is a crook that try to steal your money. I was charged 28% after a sale because I didn’t submit a 1099-B form which was never e-mail to me as they said. I spoke to a certified tax accountant regarding the issue and told me that I should get that 28% on my tax refund after I sent that 1099-B form which never happen because.

I tried to get my money out of my Robinhood account. They dinged me for 30.00 due to processing from APEX Clearing.
Buyer beware….

As other commenters have pointed out, Robinhood will get you with hidden fees, and the customer service is awful. Be very careful with this app! Couple of examples below

1. I asked Robinhood to donate my shares to a charity. Unlike other brokerages, they could not. To transfer my shares to a brokerage that would, they charged me a $75 fee. They refused to waive it despite the charitable cause and despite my pointing out that a $75 fee for a donation is egregious. They also refused to expedite the process (takes 5-7 business days, vs. 1-3 days for most brokerages).

2. It took me 24 minutes before I got a customer service representative on the phone. This followed two unanswered emails to support over 4 days. I asked a Supervisor if he was embarrassed by any of this – at least the wait time to talk to an agent – to which he responded “Not at all sir! That’s just the process here and how we do business.”

They will never answer your messages. My money is still with them but they deactivated my account. I am working with banks and surely I am going to get all my money back. Guys this is cheater website.

There are some strange comments here. I’ve made multiple withdrawals, I generally pull money out every 3 months, with zero issues. But I also don’t request any weird shit like charity donation, or take huge losses on margin, as per comments above. The major bummer to RH remains the lag, especially the first 10 minutes of the trading day, but sometimes there’s a mysterious lag at random other times. I’m really hoping the web platform takes care of this issue. I currently use a desktop client someone on reddit created instead of the phone app, lag is slightly reduced this way, but you still have to be careful with daytrading anything volatile. Nonetheless, I saved over 12k in commissions there in 2020 making up about a third of my total trades. Executions on market orders have been on par with TDA imo.

John Griffin says

I’ve been using the app for about a month now and both love and hate it. it’s certainly not a one stop portal into investing in the markets the overviews are ambiguous and you’d better do your due diligence somewhere else. I use seeking alpha and a few other portals for that.

I initially funded my account with $10K and went to town. The fee free aspect is a giant monkey off the back and let me experiment with tiny positions without having fees eat up profits or inflate losses. I can put together a model portfolio to test theories and and not have to give back $69.50 to TD Ameritrade for every 10 positions taken. The zero fee aspect of this platform is worth it on that aspect alone.

Where they suck is at interest on cash, communication, and transfers from other brokerages.

You won’t get a dime on your money that is in cash. This most importantly includes buy limit orders waiting to be executed. I try to keep zero cash in my account that isn’t allocated for limit orders.

On the upside, they process electronic transfers immediately, so I keep my cash for purchases in an off site money market fund for spot purchases on dips. I am credited instantly on transfers and can execute transactions immediately.

Maintaining an almost zero cash balance also means that it takes at least 72 hrs to access my profits after I’ve closed a position. 72 hrs they’re earning interest on my profits.

Communication is extremely frustrating. If there is a problem, there is nobody to call, an obtuse “frequently asked questions” page to navigate through before you can file a ticket, and unresolved complaints. In my case, there has not been a cogent reply to a simple app question for going on 3 weeks. I’ve since figured it out, but had no contact from them on the matter. Depositing enough money into your robin hood account will enable you access to “gold” status, with an 800 number and live support, but that seems crappy and lame, given their beginner investor target audience.

Transferring from other brokerages infuriated me too. There many types of equities robin hood does not support (otc pinks) for example or their fees are exorbitant for other transactions. $35 per transaction on the Canadian exchange? No thank you. Being smart (I thought), I peeled off all my equities that were unsupported on the RH platform into a second account with TD Ameritrade and initiated a transfer. In that account though, I had left a few hundred dollars cash and RH snagged that too, cancelling that particular account and dinging me $75 for closing the account. I had ordered an equities transfer, not an account transfer, and they did the latter.

After a few unresolved “tickets”, I included one with “complaint to the SEC” in the text. Magically, $75 appeared in my account the next day and the ticket was closed.

Here is my :tldr wrap up:

1) RH is awesome if you want to dabble in the market and not get eaten up by fees.

2) RH sucks at communication unless you have >$25K in their brokerage. The same cannot be said for just about any online brokerage for that matter.

3) While options trading is available, the interest rate is well above discount online brokerage houses.

4) Instant (ATH) deposits are really instant.

5) Instant withdrawals are glacially slow.

Despite all my griping, I’ll give them an 8.5 out of 10. Have less than $25K that you want to work with? Go for it. I have moved over 80% of my self managed equities to RH, and after the abrupt learning curve, am extremely satisfied. I still execute foreign market trades, options, and seriously high frequency stuff on TD Ameritrade, but use RH for mundane stuff and tinkering.

Here is a tip: After executing a sale on RH, I immediately buy a megacap like T, or APPL to park my $ into if there is no other position I want to take immediately.

That or an 80/20 position in GLD/SLV. Both have netted me close to 1.5% in the past month (luck, but pretty safe).

Marcus Wilson says

This is a bogus review… To say that Robinhood will be gone in 1-2 years is absurd. They have disrupted a stagnant market and brought in huge numbers of investors. A better view is that commission trades will be gone in 1-2 years and commission free trading will be the norm. Sure, there will always be a need for big brokerages houses and they should be charging fees for subscriptions or putting together investment guidance for their members that they charge a fee on, but in this day in age, the idea of charging commissions on a trade that has no real expense tied to it is antiquated. Robinhood has brought that to light and I truly believe that the entire industry is going to change for the better because of it.

I have had a long history in investing but I keep my large investments in my retirement accounts but like to mess around with stocks so commissions are KILLER. Also, I can learn a lot about a company from basic metrics that are FREE. For some people, I am sure that some people would require all of the features that come with the big brokerages houses but I have always found that to be much too cumbersome to be worth it. Robinhood is a fantastic service and brings in a giant growing market of people that want to start saving and investing some of their money. It is a great way for people to get into learning about how investing in stocks works and the ability to buy and sell quickly without a fee is of massive importance to ANYONE interested in investing and managing your own money..

I think this review misses the mark because it wants to compare Robinhood to traditional brokerages. This is yet another “disruptive” company, making it easy for those interested to more easily begin investing with very low barriers and no fees. it is a “fun” app that provides what it advertises very well and isn’t trying to be Fidelity or TD, so doing that comparison might be slightly unfair.

I have had a “small” account for approx. 4 months and I agree with the idea that your most serious $$$ should be in 401Ks, IRAs etc. This company doesn’t scratch that itch. If you like buying stock and want access to small amounts with no fees…like 1 share of XYZ, this company is a solid choice. I think the larger the portfolio you want to manage the more argument to go with a more traditional broker, but as I said my account is very small and I’m loving what I’m able to do with the account.

Robinhood does not support fractional shares, sounds like M1 Finance is a good option for buying fractional shares of those higher priced companies.

So far this has a place in my financial planning, while I’m using company 401k’s, Ally, and betterment for a much bigger chunk of my overall portfolio.

I like owning small amounts of many stocks I want to follow and this is one of the best ways to do that economically.

there is a catch. Anyone trading options will find that you’re paying MORE in slippage and RH not crossing spreads than you’re saving in fees.

example: market bid/ask is .50, .56, >100 lots available on both sides
normal broker: limit buy .53 = execute immediately
robinhood: limit buy .59 IF YOU’RE LUCKY, otherwise they ONLY execute at the ask

net cost vs real brokers: 20x calls * (.06 min difference) – (5+.75*20 commissions saved) = 120-20 = $100 EXTRA than you would’ve paid at a decent broker.

and this is a small example. do this in the hundreds and you will see you’re actually paying THOUSANDS of dollars MORE than with good brokers.

Nothing is free. Snake oil advertising.

I think that all depends on what you’re using it for.
I didn’t understand anything you typed, I’m pretty new to trading.
Robinhood took the fear out of giving trading stocks a try.
I started with $200, and kept adding every week. Now I’ve got $10k worth of stocks and earned 11% since I started. I don’t even have a retirement account, but this got me interested in saving for my future, or who knows, maybe just a vacation.
I haven’t tried options trading yet or margins. I’m nervous about using someone else’s money to trade, it sounds more like gambling, than investing. I’ll probably get more comfortable and try both.
Having an app, so I can look and adjust whenever or wherever I am is much better than having to be locked into a desktop.
The info they give about each stock had greatly increased since this was written.
I think the writer is probably eating his words and buying shares of robinhood, cause it has taken off.
They targeted young and/or those new to trading, and that’s a huge growth market. Everyone else is going to be trying to catch up with them soon. They will own the new investors.

Absolutely a scam of a day trading site. They sold stock and never credited my account back the monies… now they lost my account with OVER $5,000 in stocks and options. I logged on this morning-as usual- to check on the stocks… Robinhood prompted me to start a new account and I sent them NUMEROUS emails re: where the [email protected] is my $5200.
I sold off the other $5,000 recently because they still haven’t resolved the Blue Buffalo stock (and option) I had and mysteriously disappeared.
I took screenshots daily to track my balances and histories throughout my 10+ months trading with Robinhood. They are a scam and are reporting them to the SEC & BBB as I type this out.

STAY AWAY FROM ROBINHOOD. They’ll take your money/stocks. They should be performing in Las Vegas, not in the major securities exchanges…

Nicholas Parry says

Agreed, Scammers. Pretty much exactly what happened to me. So sad they are doing this too people, and so many fake reviews. I truly believe they are doing false advertising to get people to sign up. Definitely not free trading, especially when you get locked out of your account, your stocks completely dissapear and you can’t speak to a human being. TOTAL SCAM. Anyway I can help I wish I can, these guys need to be in prison.

Stacey Boyd says

Stay away. Ordered QTT this morning at $10.40. It ran up to $19+. My order was never filled and was cancelled at the end of the day. There is NO PHONE NUMBER to contact customer service. Wish I researched that before sending my money. Rookie mistake. Zero commission is great in theory, but You get what you pay for.

I am really preoccupied. I buy some shares, almost $ 2000. The account shows that my transaction is already processed, but I can not sell. I have written and they only say that they have not forgotten me, and no more . There is no way to communicate with them other than an email. I have realized that this medium is very risky.

Robert Farrington says

A transaction usually takes about 3 business days to settle. During that time, you can’t do anything with it.

As the saying goes, if it’s free, you’re the product.

Seems to me that what you save in fees you lose (and then some) in horrific execution prices (particularly for options). I hope a class action is fired up soon, because they are ripping people off like crazy from what I can tell. It’s like credit cards that say no international fees and then charge you a rip-off currency conversion rate. There’s a reason the high-frequency people are paying Robinhood way more than others.

Was going to buy CEI at .49/share before hours per RH’s message that stated all traders had extended trading hours. CEI started at .39/share before the bell but RH never executed my order even at .49/share and the stock hit .69/share which was predicted the day before. RH has lost me around $500 by not executing trades. Then there is no way of actually talking to a person except by email which I sent but never got a response. Funny how the investor is responsible for losses if the investor made a bad decision but RH is not responsible for losing investors’ money when RH doesn’t execute the trade at the best time for us investors. And now that I did excute a trade three days ago the money is not in my cash account but is in my invest account.

They will indeed limit what you can buy. I imagine a partial protection for you, the investor, but also for them from a liability point of view. You flat out can not buy a stock under $0.10. Even IF you wanted to average down and get out when it popped a little to reduce your loss (or break even perhaps if you’re super lucky). So you will lose more money in those circumstances because what you are allowed to do is limited and governed by them. That’s flat out wrong in my opinion. If you want to invest in penny stocks or if you want to bear a greater risk, hey that’s your call. It should not be taken away from you (even if it was all a bad idea in the first place).

Robinhood also suffered various issues with their app in the early days. For example, their search would break. Not trading features mind you but, just the search for a symbol. This would prevent you from finding the stock to buy. You could of course sell what you had or buy more of what you had because it was in your portfolio, but you couldn’t buy anything new. This actually caused me to miss out on some great opportunities. Of course this is just in terms of day or swing trading.

So for long term trading…Yea, Robinhood works…But in my mind, I don’t mind paying a commission if I know that I’m going to hold on to something for months. The idea of commission free is really only appealing to those who trade frequently with lower volume (not necessarily day trading) or people who don’t really understand trading or don’t have a reasonable budget for trading.

It is no different than micro-transactions in mobile gaming. In fact, it is simply just that. It is that addictive, “this is so easy” and “this is just a few bucks” kind of mentality. This leads to lower commitment and lots of trouble to be frank.

How is $0 commission ETF’s at all equivalent or worth comparing to $0 commission trades? If RobinHood only had $0 commission ETF’s I’m sure the author would knock it for that. I’ve used numerous trading platforms for well over a decade and of all of them I am most active on RobinHood because the UI is great and it’s so easy to use and I like trading on my phone. I produce income on a computer, but like the ability to trade from my phone on a platform that was designed first and foremost around an app, rather than the app being more of an after though or overly complex trying to replicate trading tools available on a website. I feel this article didn’t give it a fair shake and is too eager to bring up IRA’s and Commission free ETF’s which is like an apple and oranges comparison, an IRA is a retirement vehicle what does that have to do with Robinhood, it’s a real stretch to try and bring that in to bolster other traditional platforms. RobinHood gets millenials in the door trading for free, and trading single shares, once they are hooked, they can transition to UI kludge traditional trading companies with IRA’s etc, however I think they may be unlikely to do so. I like RobinHood because if the UI is good enough for a millennial it’s very nice to use and I like it.

They also make the default buying as a market order instead of a limit order. For example, as a first time user I didn’t know this. I purchase 20 shares of a stock for $2.97 (they call an “estimate”). When the order went through, they charged $3.70 per share. Through that entire month, that particular stock never reached $3.70. The highest price it ever reached was $3.69. As a first-timer, my first 15 purchases were a marker order instead of a limit order. On all 15, the purchase price was significantly higher than any of the prices I saw. I would argue this is a way they basically “steal” money. I wouldn’t think anything but since the first stock I purchased hasn’t ever hit $3.70 (45 days and counting), they don’t execute a market order honestly.

Idio Cande says

My stocks on CEI when from 1600 share to 63 share, what is happening here?

Robert Farrington says

There was a 25-to-1 reverse split. That means you get 1 share for every 25 you previously had. You might find this helpful: https://thecollegeinvestor.com/9142/stock-splits-matter/

Closed my account for no reason and they are asking for the same documents that I have already provided twice before…
Also, they still have not answered my question about how I get my $3,755.45 sitting in the account out if they do not reinstate the account…
Seems very shady so I am going to research online and mobile-sphere to see how many have had similar issues and warn others what may happen to them.

I have used RH since May 2020. I recently started noticing (within the last 2 weeks) that the price I sell my shares at is listed at the amount I sold, but the total cleared amount is 1-2 cents less. Anyone else have this issue? I emailed support but, (not verbatim) due to higher than normal inquiries and the holidays, they will take longer than usual to respond to inquiries.
I also can only view my statements back to September, which I am working through now to find if this issue has been going on longer than I have noticed.

Nicholas Parry says

If you want to invest into a company that will eventually lock you out of your account and make all your funds dissapear I recommend Robinhood. Total SCAM

Your money are not safe with Robinhood !

I enjoyed this app for some time and had plans to continue with it. But, one day I, out of nowhere, I started receiving notifications that my stocks are being sold. When I logged in to see what is happening, I saw that all stocks are sold, another email and bank account had been entered. If I haven’t responded to this so fast, all funds would have been stolen.

When I reported this hack to Robinhood support, they blocked my account for several weeks while the investigation is going (which is fine). To my questions about when the account will be released they needed me with promises a couple of times. And after a month of so called “investigation”, I received an email saying that there was no unusual activity on my account. My money were being stolen right before my eyes, a fraudulent email and bank account was added and they didn’t see any unusual activity on my account.

After I started complaining that this is BS, they punished me by blocking my account again for a long time and then forcing me to close my account.

Don’t do business with Robinhood, because you risk losing all the money you put in.

Robert Farrington says

You can file a complaint with the SEC and SPIC as well. This will also help you take steps to get your money back.

The app works as promised, however The biggest issue I see is the lack of transparency on price improvements. This is where you execute a trade such as a limit order. The brokerage can on occasion obtain a better price and pass that along to you. I’ve traded with Fidelity, TD, and Robinhood and can attest that I’ve experienced price improvements whereas I have not on Robinhood. For a small trade where you have are trading 100 shares and can save a dime, you’ll come out ahead. This presumes the commission of $4.95 for Fidelity and a cost savings of $10 (100 shares x $.10).

When I first started using the app, I was greatly impressed. The zero fee to buy or trade stocks was a great lure. However, as mentioned above, they are not transparent of fees. Also there is no real phone tech support. Everything is via email response. I could not tell if I was talking to a real person or a bot. Finally with there cryptocurrencies I found that the difference in the real market price vs the price displayed was WAY OFF. The displayed crypto prices are 5 to 10 dollars or more off. Not sure if that is a delay or SCAM. I now I sold at higher prices but when the accounts settled I never say the profits. I agree Fidelity is much better. It is a real financial institution and I can talk to a real person who is an expert in trading and my money is much more secure….

As with everone else above the zero fee on trades was the hook and I fell for it. DO NOT even bother trying this. In addition to the hidden fees that they will tack on with out you even realizing it it takes them over a week to transfer money in or out. I placed an electronic deposit on Monday and here I am 1 week later still waiting for my deposit to show up in my account as well has being given a $1000 instant deposit for which I will be paying 6 dollars for and then to top things off the limit buys and sells are buffered with a 5% cushion which in effect allows them to use your money to do what every they like for the interim. I would agree with the other suggestions above TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Scott, any of these are way better and give you more control over your money and your trades. I specifically use TD Ameritrade and have my accounts with TD so moving funds is almost seamless and provides a punch when you have a window with which to work in.

Boooooo RobinHood you’ve got a long way to go before I’ll return to try you again if ever!

I tried to sign up with RH unsuccessfully for several days. They kept saying my info wasn’t valid, everything from my street address to my SS Card. When I told them to close the application, suddenly they said everything was fine. It felt suspicious and scammy. I see from the comments that my intuition is not unfounded. I consider myself lucky that I got out before the account was finalized.

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