It’s never been easier to take investing into your own hands.
There are dozens of investment apps and trading platforms, and choosing the right one is almost as difficult as choosing the right assets for your portfolio.
E*TRADE and Robinhood may be two of the most recognizable names in the space, but which one is best for you?
Read on for a quick breakdown of what each platform has to offer in terms of asset classes, markets, analytics tools, research, fees and other important factors before you decide what to trust with your hard-earned capital.
The platforms: overview
Although Robinhood has a desktop site, it is a mobile platform.
Robinhood’s interface is sleek, simple and easy to navigate, perfect for checking stock prices and making quick trades on the fly.
However, this simplicity comes at a cost.
Robinhood has emphasized ease of use over functionality, and it shows when you’re trying to chart your investments, access detailed research, or anything else beyond searching for assets and making quick trades.
Although they have improved their access to market news, they never intended to have in-depth analysis and research. So if this is an important feature to you, you should probably go elsewhere.
E*TRADE has desktop and mobile versions of its regular E*TRADE and Power E*TRADE platforms.
The regular E*TRADE platform is full of valuable resources for veteran investors, and Power E*TRADE goes a dozen steps further with interactive charts and a whole range of analytical tools that give you all the power you need to invest like a pro. .
Both E*TRADE platforms are a little less streamlined than Robinhood’s, but if you like analysis and research, a few more menu items to sort through is a small price to pay for all the added functionality.
Markets and asset classes
Both E*TRADE and Robinhood allow you to trade stocks, ETFs and options contracts on major US exchanges, although only E*TRADE allows you to trade mutual funds, commodity futures and options, fractional shares, penny stocks and stocks on international exchanges.
Robinhood has one big advantage over E*TRADE, though: cryptocurrencies.
E*TRADE allows you to trade Bitcoin futures on their platform, but that’s the extent of their involvement in the crypto markets.
Robinhood, on the other hand, has a crypto wallet built into its app and allows you to trade Bitcoin, Etherium, and tons of other cryptocurrencies on its platform with zero fees or commissions, making it the obvious choice for to investors looking to trade. crypto and not much else.
E*TRADE also comes out as the clear winner in this category.
You can find many articles and links to relevant podcasts etc. on Robinhood’s platform, as well as a decent number of resources designed to teach investment concepts and terminology to newbies, but you’re out of luck if you want anything more substantial than simple definitions. .
E*TRADE, on the other hand, has a whole library of information for new and veteran investors, plus tons of content for people interested in long-term investing.
In addition to helpful tutorials, articles and videos, E*TRADE also offers what they call virtual learning environments; full-day online classes with specific learning objectives that can benefit investors of all skill levels.
E*TRADE has invested far more resources than Robinhood in this category.
Robinhood will give you some stock research and ratings from Morningstar if you pay $5 a month for Robinhood Gold.
E*TRADE brings you Morningstar research and ratings for free, i gives you access to research from other top companies like Thomson Reuters, MarketEdge, Moodys, Trefis and more… for free.
On top of all this, E*TRADE even has a tool for selecting stocks and securities to meet environmental, social and government criteria, perfect for the socially and environmentally conscious investor.
Robinhood has some basic charting functionality and can do some simple account analysis like identifying balances, percentage gains, dividend history, etc., but its tools are basic compared to E*TRADE’s.
And as impressive as E*TRADE’s portfolio analysis tools are, the real star of the show is Power E*TRADE’s analytical and charting features.
Power E*TRADE’s interface makes it easy to create and edit charts on almost any security for any timeframe, and its built-in technical analysis features help you predict where the market will go with technical studies and support lines and automatic resistance to identify patterns.
If that wasn’t enough, Power E*TRADE allows you to perform instant analysis to help determine whether an options trade will pay off, and its powerful scanning feature allows you to use real-time data to identify potential trades with just a couple of clicks.
Costs and Commissions
Opening and maintaining an account (even an inactive one) is free on both Robinhood and E*TRADE, and neither platform charges for trading stocks or ETFs, although their fee structures differ most other areas.
Robinhood doesn’t charge for options trades, for example, while E*TRADE charges $0.65 per contract if you’ve made fewer than 30 trades per quarter, or $0.50 per contract if you’ve made more than 30 trades.
The platforms also charge different fees for margin: Robinhood charges a flat 9% margin, Robinhood Gold includes $1,000 of margin for $5 per month and 5% interest on margin over $1,000, and margin fees from E*TRADE range from 11.7% for less than $10,000 to 9.7% for $250,000 to $499,999.99.
Robinhood and E*TRADE are great platforms with many strengths, they just have completely different purposes and are meant for different types of investors.
If you’re a new investor looking for an easy-to-use search and trade interface on mobile, or want to have your cryptocurrency and stocks in one place, Robinhood is your best bet.
If you want to learn, read intensive research, perform technical or portfolio analysis, or trade anything more exotic than regular stocks and crypto, E*TRADE is the platform for you.