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Sofi vs. Robinhood

Two similar trading platforms geared for beginners with no fees and simple order-placing.

SoFi and Robinhood are good platforms for beginner investors with low account balances. Both offer low to no trading fees and allow you to buy fractional shares — yet nuances among them can make one a better choice for specific types of investment goals, and for investors moving beyond the beginner stage.

Which one is better?

  • Choose SoFi if you are a long-term investor, interested in an IRA account or want to use automated investing.
  • Choose Robinhood if you want more sophisticated charting, more control over your orders or the ability to trade options and cryptocurrencies.

SoFi beats Robinhood with an automated investing feature that allows SoFi to invest on your behalf. Or, open an IRA account through SoFi, which isn’t an option with Robinhood. That SoFi offers a range of personal finance products — bank accounts, student loan refinancing, mortgages, personal loans and credit cards — gives it an edge for investors looking to manage more of their finances in one place.

Robinhood, though, is a better choice for those focused solely on making their own investments. Its investing platform is better than SoFi’s because it offers advanced investing tools that SoFi does not, such as candlestick charts that help you better predict price movements and indicators like moving averages, MACD and RSI. Also, you can set multiple order types, including stop-loss or trailing-stop orders, and you can trade options.

Both platforms allow you to buy IPO stocks

Buy stocks on the day of their initial public offering (IPO) via both SoFi and Robinhood. However, this is a relatively new feature with the two platforms and it’s early to tell how well it works.

Here’s how each of the two trading platforms have integrated IPO stock purchases:

  • Robinhood sometimes lets you access pre-IPO stocks — that is, buy them before they hit the market exchange. In most cases, though, the stock will have to start trading to get a chance to buy it. For this, you have to set a limit order at an exact price. Because the price can often start trading at a way higher or lower point than the one you’ve set, Robinhood can’t guarantee your order will be filled.
  • SoFi requires that you have at least $3,000 total account value across all SoFi Invest accounts to buy IPO stocks. Then you have to choose an IPO and enter the number of shares you want to buy. You’ll have to confirm your order before the IPO. But even after you confirm, SoFi doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the shares or the exact number of shares you wanted — you could get fewer.

Overview

SofiRobinhood
Sofi logo
Open an account
Robinhood logo
Open an account
Annual fee0%0%
Minimum deposit to open$1$0
Benefits
  • IRA accounts. Open a Roth or traditional IRA with SoFi.
  • Automated investment. SoFi manages your investments without additional fees.
  • Dividend reinvestments. Reinvest dividend payments in the same stock.
  • IPO stocks. Show interest in buying IPO stocks, and you could buy them at IPO prices on the day of.
  • Candlestick charts. Track pricing movements and rely on other indicators to make trading decisions.
  • Stop-loss and trailing-stop orders. Set up orders to minimize losses or lock in profits.
  • Options trading. Buy or sell puts and calls.
  • Commission-free crypto trading. Buy and sell cryptos as many times as you want without paying a fee.
  • IPO access. Get access to buy IPO stocks. But your order isn’t guaranteed.
Drawbacks
  • Line charts only. You won’t find sophisticated charts with SoFi.
  • No stop-loss or trailing-stop orders. You can’t use advanced closing orders to limit losses or lock in profits.
  • No options trading. You can invest in stocks and ETFs, but you can’t trade options.
  • No IRA accounts. Unlike SoFi, Robinhood is focused on investments only.
  • No automated trading. There’s also no API to code your own automated strategies.
Tools and research
  • Access to financial advisers. Get help setting and reaching your investment goals at no additional cost.
  • Automated investing. Rely on computer algorithms to manage your portfolio without actively trading the markets.
  • Level 2 market data. For $5 a month, see where bid and ask orders are located.
  • Morningstar reports. Your $5 membership gains you access to research on more than 1,700 stocks.
Reputation and customer reviews
  • Reviews are mostly positive.
  • Customers praise the customer service and the other services offered.
  • Customers complain the long identity-verification process, but this wasn’t the case with every customer.
  • Reviews are mostly negative.
  • Customers praise the simplicity of the Robinhood platform and the commission-free trading.
  • Customers complain difficulties reaching customer support. Some complain their accounts were hacked, and they lost money and crypto.
Apple App Store reviews

★★★★★ 4.8/5

★★★★★ 4.1/5

Google Play Store reviews

★★★★★ 4.4/5

★★★★★ 3.8/5

Learn more

Read our review

Read our review

Bottom line

SoFi and Robinhood are solid platforms for beginner traders looking for no-fee trading. SoFi is a better fit if you’re looking to open an IRA and keep more of your everyday finances together, like loans and credit cards. It also offers automated investing for hands-off portfolio management without a fee.

If investing is your sole focus, Robinhood’s pricing charts can offer insights into your investments that SoFi’s basic line charts can’t. And it offers access to Bitcoin and altcoins for the crypto-curious.

To find the best platform for your budget and financial goals, compare our picks for best online broker.

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