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Robinhood review: Commission-free trading for active investors

Robinhood offers investors free rein to completely build their own portfolio.

Prasit photo | Moment | Getty Images

Robinhood has become a popular stock trading app and is responsible for giving a new generation of investors access to the stock market.

Its commission-free business model, which allows you to buy and sell stocks for free, is what prompted many other brokerages to eventually follow suit and get rid of trading fees.

Below, CNBC Select reviews Robinhood's current offerings to give you the details on the investment options, features and fees so you can decide if it's right for your needs.

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Robinhood review


  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum required to open an account or to start investing

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Commission-free trading; regulatory transaction fees and trading activity fees may apply

  • Bonus

    Robinhood will add 1 share of free stock to your brokerage account when you link your bank account and fulfill the conditions in your promotion (you'll be able to keep the stock or sell it after 2 trading days)

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, ETFs, options trading, fractional shares, IPOs, plus certain cryptocurrencies through Robinhood Crypto (depending on where you live)

  • Educational resources

    "Investing basics" blog, an online library of content and Robinhood Snacks newsletter

See our methodology, terms apply.


  • $0 minimum deposit to open an account and invest
  • Commission-free trading
  • Free stock welcome bonus
  • Plenty of investment options for active traders
  • Variety of accessible learning tools


  • No access to tax-advantaged IRAs
  • Fees outside of commissions may apply
  • Users rely on their own knowledge when building their portfolio

Investment options

Robinhood users have access to stocks, ETFs, options and crypto trading. There are over 5,000 stocks and ETFs and seven types of cryptocurrencies on the platform.

You can get access to IPO shares through Robinhood, as well as to commission-free fractional shares. Before a stock is available to the general public, Robinhood lets you request the ability to purchase shares from investment banks at the IPO price. When purchasing fractional shares, you can get in on a pricey, big-name stock without having to buy an entire share.

You can also open an IRA (either traditional or Roth) with the company, which is welcome news for anyone who wants to put their retirement savings in a tax-advantaged account. One unusual benefit of the Robinhood Retirement IRA is a 1% match on eligible contributions.

Robinhood doesn't currently offer bond or mutual fund investing, yet many of the ETFs it offers can provide similar features to a mutual fund or bond fund. Otherwise, you can set up a separate brokerage account with someone like Fidelity, Charles Schwab or robo-advisor Betterment, to better diversify your portfolio.


Robinhood stands out mostly for offering investors free rein to completely build their own portfolio. For this reason, the platform is a good pick for active stock traders who have done their research and know a bit about how the market works. Newbie traders can get in on the action, but just be sure you're comfortable with the risks of investing in individual stocks.

As an investor in a Robinhood brokerage account, you'll also get access to the Robinhood Cash Management account. Though its not a bank account, it offers similar features to a checking or savings account, allowing users to earn interest on their cash and providing FDIC insurance to protect their funds.

Those looking to take their investing to another level can upgrade to Robinhood Gold for a $5 monthly fee. This subscription service provides more advanced investing tools like research reports and market data.

There is a variety of accessible learning tools and educational resources Robinhood offers like an “Investing basics” blog, an online library of content and a daily Robinhood Snacks newsletter.

Not all brokers offer a bonus to new investors, but Robinhood will add one share of free stock to your brokerage account when you link your bank account and fulfill the conditions in your promotion. You’ll be able to keep the stock or sell it after two trading days.

Robinhood's app is available to download for free in both the App Store (for iOS), where it has 4.2/5 stars (with a whopping nearly 4 million reviews), and on Google Play (for Android), where is has 3.8/5 stars at the time this article was written.


Robinhood has no minimums to open an account and users don't need to reach a minimum to start investing, either.

Robinhood doesn't charge commission fees to trade stocks, options or crypto.

Bottom line

Robinhood is a go-to platform for many active traders, given it doesn't charge commission fees on trades and offers a variety of investment options.

More hands-off traders should instead consider mutual fund investing through the brokers we mentioned above, or an automated investing solution. SoFi Invest®, for example, has a robo-advisor option with zero account management fees and no minimum requirements. It offers a broad range of low-cost ETFs and will automatically rebalance your portfolio on a quarterly basis. Read our full SoFi Invest review.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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