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The recent GameStop fiasco that took the news by storm has thrust stock trading into the limelight, particularly among newbie investors who may not have had much experience in the world of stock trading and investing.
Investing has become increasingly popular, which has sparked more interest in trading apps that make trading and investors as simple and streamlined as possible, including the Robinhood app.
What Is The Robinhood App?
Robinhood is a trading app that gives investors the opportunity to trade from the comfort of their mobile device. The app is free to use without any commissions or fees paid. Investors can use the Robinhood app to trade stocks, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and even cryptocurrency.
Main Features Of The Robinhood App
The Robinhood app offers investors the following features:
One of the biggest draws to the Robinhood app is its lack of commissions and fees, making trading more affordable and accessible.
No Minimum Balance
Many investment accounts require a minimum balance to be in effect. That’s not the case with the Robinhood app, which allows investors to get started with $0 in their accounts.
Fractional Share Trading
Another way that the Robinhood app makes trading more affordable is through fractional shares, which allows investors to own less than a whole share of a company. Fractional shares give traders the chance to buy stocks based on a specific dollar amount rather than the price of a stock.
High Yield Savings
Investors can get the most from their investment funds thanks to the 0.30% payout from the app’s cash management account, which also comes with a debit card and no-charge ATM withdrawals.
This feature allows investors to trade using borrowed money, which requires a $5 monthly fee. This is also known as “margin trading” and should only be considered after weighing the risk that comes with leveraged funds.
Disadvantages Of Robinhood
There are plenty of perks that come with using the Robinhood app, though there are a few drawbacks that should also be considered:
Not Available In Canada
The biggest downfall of the Robinhood app for Canadians is that the app is not currently offered in Canada.
While you can trade cryptocurrencies — which is something that many other trading platforms don’t offer — you can trade mutual funds and bonds using the Robinhood app.
One Account Option
Only taxable accounts are available through the Robinhood app.
No Retirement Accounts
The Robinhood app does not support tax-sheltered accounts, which means retirement accounts are not available.
Alternatives To Robinhood
Since the Robinhood app is not available in Canada, Canadians will need to look for alternatives. Further, anyone looking to invest in tax-advantaged accounts, mutual funds, or bonds may also want to seek out an alternative.
One excellent choice is Wealthsimple Trade, which is a trading platform offered by Wealthsimple. Like the Robinhood app, Wealthsimple Trade is also free to use and allows investors to buy and sell stocks and ETFs on major stock exchanges in both Canada and the US. There are also individual non-registered cash accounts available, including TFSAs and RRSPs.
In addition to the free trades, Wealthsimple Trade requires no account minimum. Plus, the app is very user-friendly and is suitable even for novice traders.
Main Features Of Wealthsimple Trade
- Free to use. Trades are commission-free, making trading using Wealthsimple Trade an affordable option.
- No account minimum. You can get started trading using Wealthsimple Trade without having to pad your investment account.
- Account options. The types of accounts available via Wealthsimple Trade include stocks, ETFs, individual non-registered cash accounts, TFSAs, RRSPs, and cryptocurrency through Wealthsimple Crypto.
- CIPF insured. Your money is safe thanks to the backing of the CIPF.
Another great option for Canadian investors is Questrade, which has become increasingly popular over recent years. Investors using Questrade have access to both registered and non-registered accounts.
Unlike Wealthsimple, however, there is a cost to use Questrade, though it’s still much less expensive than traditional investment brokerages. With Questrade, you’ll be charged $.01 per share for stocks, with a minimum $4.95 charge up to a maximum charge of $9.95. Trading options will cost you $9.95 + $1 per contract, and trading ETFs is free.
In addition to its mobile app, Questrade also offers a desktop app. There is also a more advanced trading app for experienced traders as well as access to more sophisticated trading tools and data streams.
Main Features Of Questrade
- Low trading fees. While not free, Questrade is a lot more affordable than conventional brokerages. Fees range from $4.95 to $9.95 per trade for stocks, plus $.01 per share. Options cost $9.95 per trade + $1 per contract, and ETFs are free to buy.
- Desktop and mobile accessibility. Trade from your mobile device or desktop.
- Trading tools. Make more informed decisions about investments with the app’s data streams and trading tools.
- Minimum account requirement. An account minimum of $1,000 is required to start trading.
Which Platform Should You Trade On?
|Fees||Free||Stocks: $0.01/share; minimum $4.95 to maximum $9.95 per trade|
Options: $9.95 per trade + $1 per contract
ETFs: Free to buy
|Account Options||TFSAs, RRSPs, Non-registered cash accounts||TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs, LIRAs, Forex, Corporate|
Will Robinhood ever be available in Canada?
Are there any apps in Canada that offer fraction share trading?
What do you need to use the Robinhood app?
The Robinhood app is gaining plenty of attention thanks to its ease of use and lack of trading commissions and fees. However, it’s not currently available in Canada. Canadians who wish to invest using a simple investment app have other alternatives to consider, including Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade.
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