You may have heard about a little brouhaha in the stock market this week. It turns out that GameStop (GME) had itself quite a wild ride in the markets (and is, in fact, still on that ride) fueled by a short squeeze and an intrepid band of traders on the r/wallstreetbets subreddit.
On Thursday, something absolutely crazy happened. Robinhood stopped traders from buying shares of AMC or GME (and many others) unless they were doing so to close out short positions.
I don’t want to get into the conspiracy theories as to why this happened but shortly thereafter, a lot of other brokerages did the same at the direction of their clearinghouse, Apex Clearing Corporation.
Did this leave you a bit miffed at Robinhood? Are you looking to move to another brokerage?
Here are the best Robinhood alternatives:
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What We Looked For In Alternatives
This isn’t a list of any old brokerages, we looked at brokerages that are true alternatives to Robinhood:
- They must offer free trades
- No minimums, no account maintenance fees
- Preferably a nice little sign-on bonus
- Did not restrict the trading of any stocks (before being required to by their clearinghouse)
Ally Invest offers free trades, no minimums, no account fees, and they pair nicely with Ally Bank – an online bank that offers a full suite of banking products and higher yields than a traditional brick and mortar bank.
Ally Invest also offers a bonus based on the amount you transfer into your account. Here’s the schedule for how much bonus cash you get based on your transfer:
|Deposit or Transfer|
|$10,000 – $24,999||$100|
|$25,000 – $99,999||$250|
|$100,000 – $249,999||$300|
|$250,000 – $499,999||$600|
|$500,000 – $999,999||$1,200|
|$1,000,000 – $1,999,999||$2,000|
|$2,000,000 or more||$3,000|
If you are doing a full account transfer (ACAT), they will reimburse up to $150 in transfer fees.
Webull is similar to Robinhood in that it’s a brokerage that offers you free stock for signing up as well as free trades. In fact, you get 2 free stocks worth up to $1,600.
Again, no maintenance fees, no ways to ding you, and you are their target market. The only knock is that their app, while completely functional, doesn’t look as pretty as Robinhood.
SoFi Invest is the brokerage arm of the well-known fintech darling SoFi, whose core offering started with student loan refinancing. In offering banking services, SoFi now has SoFi Invest – a no commission brokerage service with no minimums and no account fees.
Best of all? They will give you $50 if you sign up through a referral link and deposit at least $1,000. There are no trading requirements to get this bonus.
With SoFi Invest, you can also invest in cryptocurrencies, much like Robinhood, so this one is the most similar to Robinhood (though the bonus offer is not as generous as some others.
Public is one of the newer brokerages (at least to me) and their claim to fame is the ability to buy partial shares (as little as $5), something that isn’t offered elsewhere. These are partial shares with real-time settlement (if you remember Sharebuilder, they used to batch them). Public also offers a social component where you can see other people’s trades (when they make them public).
Public also as a bonus where you can get $10 worht of stock from one of 9 companies (Alphabet (Google), J&J, Facebook, Apple, Visa, Chase, Microsoft, Amazon, or Alibaba).
Obviously, no commission trades, minimums, or account fees.
Also, for what it’s worth, I learned about Apex Clearing Corporation halting transactions from Public:
NVSTR is a brokerage that marries trading with social media in that you can see follow other people’s portfolios (if they make them public) and discuss ideas on their platform. Again, they offer free trades and there are no minimums or account fees.
They also offer a referral bonus in which you get cash based on how uch you deposit.
The saga around GameStop and how the markets reacted is unprecedented (and still ongoing) – I’m not making any judgments as to what was appropriate or not but I suspect there will be investigations and inquiries as to what happened. We will learn a lot more in a few months once everything shakes out.