I had originally planned on writing a blog post on Robinhood very early in 2017. I downloaded the app, attempted to set up my bank account for automatic transfers, and that is pretty much where the idea stopped. I figured that I would get some sort of notification that my account was setup, but that never happened. Right off the bat, I began to think that Robinhood wasn’t going to be very good.
After waiting a few months (strange, I know), I finally just decided to email customer support. I let them know that my account was never able to connect to my bank account. They quickly replied that there was some sort of error, and I resubmitted my bank info. I actually submitted two bank accounts this time, just to be safe. Finally, after a few days, both accounts were this time set up and ready to begin funding my Robinhood account!
Don’t let this first part scare you off from Robinhood, as honestly, this is my only negative experience with them so far. It really was never that much of a big deal anyway. Fast forward to today, and I am absolutely loving using the Robinhood app. I blogged before about how much I love using Stockpile, which is a brokerage that offers stock for only 99 cents per trade, and you can even purchase fractional shares. I still use them, but have mostly just made that account be my “long” portfolio. I purchase companies I believe in long-term, and utilize Stockpile’s Divident Reinvestment Program (DRIP) to compound my gains over the long haul.
As of this writing, Robinhood doesn’t offer a DRIP, or the ability to purchase fractional shares. They do, however, have one absolutely AMAZING feature. ZERO fees. Yes, you read that right. Nothing whatsoever for the basic version. Stockpile also has a drawback where any shares you purchase on any given day post to your account at the end of the day, at the closing price of that particular stock. Robinhood is nothing like that, and is just like any “regular” brokerage where you can buy shares at any time during the day. Because of this, I use Robinhood as a swing trading account. Buy low, sell high, rinse and repeat. I don’t expect to accumulate dividends in my Robinhood account, but on a few positions I have actually already done just that. It all depends on how long I end up holding a position, as not all of my original plans always stay the same due to market ups and downs, etc…
Robinhood does offer a Robinhood Gold upgrade, which has a cost, but I have yet to begin using that. It offers a few extra features such as Pre-Market and After-Hours trading, the ability to trade on margin, and instant access to funds once you sell a position. I may eventually look into this, but for now I am more than happy with the original version.
One thing I really like about Robinhood is how you are able to access your funds instantly after funding your account. You initiate a bank transfer, and just like that, those funds are available for trading. With Stockpile, you have to wait days before you can do any trading with deposited funds. This really helps when you see an opportunity in the market, and are able to instantly capitalize on it. Honestly, this may be the best feature Robinhood has to offer, in my opinion anyway. Factor in that there are zero buying and selling commissions, and it makes Robinhood a must-have app for any stock market beginner or advanced trader or investor, even if just only as a “side account.”
One more thing I really like is signing into the app. With Stockpile, every time you sign in you have to put in your email address and password. If you log out even for a minute, you have to put that info back in. It can be annoying in a hurry. With the Robinhood app, you choose a four-digit pin number and only have to use that every time you go to use the app. How convenient! I also really enjoy the push notifications that Robinhood offers that are customized based on your positions and watchlist. The Robinhood app, in my opinion, absolutely destroys the Stockpile app.
If you are looking into Robinhood and wondering if it’s worth a try, it absolutely is. If you’ve never heard of Robinhood, I hope I was able to convince you that it may be worth trying out. I’m more impressed than I ever thought I would be. A year or so from now, who knows, I may actually end up ONLY using Robinhood when it comes to the choice between them and Stockpile. One thing is for sure though, when it comes to commission alone, both apps give TD Ameritrade (which I also have an account with) and others a real run for their money. As time goes on, I can see Robinhood and Stockpile (and others who we don’t even know about yet) really disrupting these companies unless they really try and adapt to the times. If you’re a full-time day trader, etc.. I get it, you may NEVER stop using your regular brokerage or software for these apps. But never say never. Give it some time and you just don’t know what innovation and disruption may bring.
Have you tried Robinhood? Or have you tried Stockpile? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Update (10/6/2017): After writing this post, I realized that my Stockpile app had been out of date for quite some time. They have added a ton of features including push notifications, better ways to track your profit/loss, a cleaner/smoother overview, a better way to sign in, and a bunch more. I was actually very impressed with the updates, so I wanted to give them my props. The updates have made my chances of fully leaving Stockpile for Robinhood, at least in the very near term, much more slim. Awesome job, guys!