Comparison of the best Robinhood alternatives to better suit your investing needs
I’ve enjoyed using the Robinhood app since testing it out last summer and have saved hundreds on investing fees. As good as the free app is for some investors, it’s definitely not for everyone.
I’m not closing my account anytime soon but there are some features I need that Robinhood just doesn’t offer. More than that, your type of investing strategy might not be suitable for using Robinhood.
I’m comparing five Robinhood alternatives from direct competitors to similar investing apps to help you find the best one for your specific needs. Look through the list and you’ll find each with its pros an cons and the reason I say, “It’s not about which investment app is BEST, but which is the best for you!”
- M1 Finance – long-term buy and hold investors
- Webull – stock market trading
- Acorns – saving and investing in one app
- eToro – Social trending in stocks and forex
Ever since most of the big investing sites switched to a no-fee model, investors have been asking me if I still like those older free investing apps. I’ll admit that I have closed up a few accounts. If an app doesn’t offer anything but free stock investing, it’s not that special anymore.
There are a few Robinhood competitors though that not only offer commission-free investing but have some other great features that make them worth a look.
I’ll highlight three of the investing apps I still use and for which type of investing they excel. This is the main reason you might want to switch from Robinhood or another platform. Robinhood offers some good features and the free stock giveaway makes investing fun, but I don’t feel like the app is really the ‘best’ for any particular type of investing.
Instead, find the app that specializes in your investing strategy and go with it.
M1 Finance is an excellent choice for long-term, buy-and-hold investing. The app was one of the first no-fee investing sites but also has some solid features for the investor that wants to put their money to work but doesn’t want to trade stocks.
I invested $1,000 on M1 Finance late last year as part of the 2019 Stock Market Challenge portfolio with 10 dividend stocks. These are long-term stock picks that I’ll hold for years after the portfolio challenge is over.
What I like about M1 is that you tell the platform what percentage of your money you want in each stock or fund in your portfolio. For example, I have 8% in shares of the Vanguard Real Estate Fund (VNQ) and 6% in shares of HanesBrands (HBI).
With the platform’s automated investing feature, my dividends and deposits are automatically investing in all the stocks in the portfolio and in the percentages I chose. If a few stocks have zoomed higher, making them a larger share of the portfolio, I can also rebalance all my investments automatically with the click of a button.
Because you’re doing all this at the portfolio-level, you’re less likely to freak out when one particular stock drops hard. You just rebalance your portfolio and everything is evened out again.
M1 Finance also offers tax-advantaged retirement accounts, something that isn’t available on many of the investing apps yet.
The only think I don’t like about M1 is the once-daily trade window. That means you put in your buy or sell orders for stocks or to rebalance and the platform does all your investing once per day in the mornings. This makes the app a non-starter for stock market trading but shouldn’t worry the long-term investors.
Webull is my pick for stock market trading, something a lot of investors used Robinhood for in the past. Webull is far-and-away the better app for traders with some amazing features like advanced charting, IPO center, Earnings center and extended hours trading that lets you invest before the market opens.
I was surprised how much they fit on an app when I first started using Webull this summer. It’s got everything you need to stay ahead of the market news, including which stocks are doing an IPO soon and which are reporting earnings. The extended hours trading takes place both before and after the regular market trading, giving you the opportunity to trade on news that hits before other investors can jump in.
My favorite feature though is paper trading, a stock simulator that gives you $1 million to invest virtually. It’s a great way to test out investing strategies before you put real money behind the play. The ‘paper portfolio’ tracks your investments just like a real investment to show you returns and losses on all your investing strategies.
Robinhood investors will love another bonus on Webull. You’ll get a free share of stock for opening an account, but unlike Robinhood which caps your free share at $200 each, you can get shares for up to $1,000 each on Webull.
If you’re doing any kind of short-term investing or want to try out new investing strategies, you have to check out Webull.
Acorns is my favorite all-around investing and personal finance app. The other apps are fine if you’ve already saved the money and just want to invest. Acorns is going to help you do both.
Acorns connects with your debit or credit card and rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar. This makes it a great savings tool and it makes the whole process automatic. For anyone that has had trouble saving money to invest, Acorns could be your best option.
For example, every time you buy that Frappa-Mocha-Coca-Chino for $4.76 and use your account-linked card, Acorns is going to round your purchase up to $5 and deposit the extra $0.24 into your investment account.
Even if you save no other money besides those rounded-up savings, you can build a solid nest egg on $50 a month and never have to think about budgeting or saving.
Acorns is also going to invest your money for you, in one of its five investment portfolios, depending on your age and investing needs. You’ll answer a few questions when you open an account and that will determine which investment portfolio you use. In this way, Acorns combines that simple savings app with a robo-investing tool to make it all completely stress-free.
Another great feature is the partnership deals Acorns has signed with retailers like Disney, Nike and Home Depot. Pay for your purchase using your account-linked card at any of these 300 retailers and you’ll get extra cash back deposited in your account.
Robinhood vs Webull
Where Robinhood was once the preferred app for stock market trading, Webull is now the leader. Webull offers all the special order types you find on Robinhood including limit and stop-loss orders as well as free margin trading and short-selling. You’ll need to pay for premium services to get those on Robinhood.
As for additional features, there’s really no comparison. Anyone trading stocks will need the advanced charting and earnings information you’ll only find on Webull. The extended hours trading gets you in before the rest of the market and you’ll know which strategies work before you invest by using the paper portfolio feature.
Robinhood vs M1 Finance
Where Robinhood and Webull are direct competitors for stock trading, I never really thought of Robinhood vs M1 Finance in the same way. M1 Finance is pretty useless for short-term stock trading because of that once-a-day window but perfect for long-term investing with its portfolio features.
There’s nothing to say you can’t use Robinhood for that long-term, buy-and-hold strategy but you have to do all the reinvesting manually. It’s harder to see your entire portfolio, how it’s split up among your investments, on Robinhood and there’s no auto-invest tool.
M1 Finance is better for those that want a long-term strategy but still want to control which stocks go into their portfolio (unlike the robo-option with Acorns below). The features on M1 mean you’re going to be looking at that broader portfolio of stocks you own instead of each individual investment.
Robinhood vs Acorns
Like M1 Finance, Acorns isn’t really in competition with Robinhood. They’re totally different investing apps for completely different types of investors.
Acorns is much more a saving and robo-investing app that takes all the guesswork out of building your next egg. You can change the portfolio your investments go to but you really don’t need to do anything on the app except spend normally with your account-linked cards.
In fact, even for investors using some of the other platforms, I usually recommend an Acorns account as well. You get that automated savings tool and extra cash back from the retailer partners, all for doing nothing more than your everyday spending. It’s a great little no-stress account you don’t even need to check.
Other Apps Like Robinhood
These other apps and investing sites aren’t the same as the free platforms above but deserve a mention. They’ll open up new assets like real estate and cryptocurrency.
Fundrise is one of my newest accounts and a great start for anyone thinking about real estate investing. Despite my late start on the platform, it’s actually one of the oldest property crowdfunding sites.
Unlike other real estate crowd platforms, Fundrise is open to all investors. You don’t need a million-dollar bank account as with other platforms only open to accredited investors.
You can start investing with as little as $500 on Fundrise and put your money to work in one of four property portfolios. Each portfolio is focused on a different strategy from maximum cash flow to total return and growth.
What I really like about Fundrise is that it gives you instant real estate diversification with dozens of properties by type and location. That’s a big problem for most investors, especially ones with rental properties exposed to just one local market. Investing in a Fundrise portfolio means you spread the risk out over different property types and across the nation, lowering the risk to any big drops.
Robinhood versus eToro
eToro is easily the most risky of the five Robinhood alternatives but includes some interesting features I didn’t want to leave out. The platform specializes in copy-trading, a strategy of tracking other investors or social media and mimicking their trades.
eToro also gives you access to some assets and investments you won’t find on the other platforms like foreign exchange and cryptocurrencies. I don’t personally invest in these assets though I have bought some Bitcoin in the past. These assets are not for long-term investing and many investors lose money, especially with CFD contracts. eToro is available in more countries compared to some of the other platforms so it might be something to check out for those outside the United States.
Finding the right Robinhood alternatives isn’t about finding that one investing app that will do everything you want. It’s about understanding which types of investing are best suited on each app and then using each for that purpose. It’s part of the reason I have accounts on more than seen different platforms, to take advantage of all the pros on each site. Read through the Robinhood competitors in the list and decide which are best for your investing needs.