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America’s answer to Revolut and Freetrade, Robinhood lets customers invest in a large range of US-based stocks and ETFs, with no commission or foreign exchange fees.
Robinhood is a US financial services company founded in 2013 that offers commission-free stock investing and cryptocurrency investing. It currently lets customers invest in over 3,500 US stocks and another 1,000 global stocks, and has recently launched with early access in the UK.
To use Robinhood in the UK, you currently need to sign up for early access by submitting your email via the Robinhood website.
Once you’ve been given access, you’ll be able to download the Robinhood app. You’ll then be able to add money to your account via debit card or mobile payment. You can deposit using pounds, which are then exchanged for US dollars at the current exchange rate, with no additional fees or charges. There is also no minimum account limit.
Once your account is funded, you’ll be able to buy and sell US stocks directly through the app. This includes stocks listed on the NYSE and Nasdaq, as well as a range of OTC stocks. You can also access the latest business news, stock watchlists and get performance summaries via the Robinhood app.
UK customers are currently unable to access some of the products offered to Robinhood customers in the US, including cryptocurrency trading, ETFs, options and cash management.
As you’ll be investing in the US stock market, you’ll only be able to make trades based around US market hours. However, Robinhood offers extended trading hours to those using the app, which means you’ll be able to trade during the following hours:
The Robinhood app is designed to be intuitive and easy-to-use, especially for those with little experience reading trading charts. You’ll be able to deposit and withdraw funds, buy and sell stocks, as well as track and manage your portfolio using the app.
The app is currently unavailable in the UK, but you will be able to download it once Robinhood officially launches.
In order to get access to Robinhood in the UK, you’ll first need to enter your email on the Robinhood website. You’ll then be notified when you can access the app once Robinhood launches in the UK in early 2020.
If you refer a friend who then also joins the waitlist, you’ll be moved up 1,000 spots in the queue, meaning you’ll be given access to Robinhood sooner. There is no obligation or commitment for joining the waitlist.
Robinhood Gold. If you want access to Level II market data, professional research reports and margin trading, you can upgrade to a Robinhood Gold account. You will need to pay a monthly fee in order to upgrade.
Robinhood charges no commission or foreign exchange fees. While your money will be converted into dollars when you make a deposit, there will be no additional conversion fees or commissions.
If you want to get a Robinhood account in the UK, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
As Robinhood is a new service, there aren’t many customer reviews for it available online. On customer review site Trustpilot, Robinhood has 2 out of 5 stars, giving it a rating of Poor (based on 29 reviews).
Some customers did comment on the ease of sign up, but most reviews complained of technical issues causing them to lose money on their funds and a lack of customer service when things go wrong.
Robinhood is authorised and regulated by the FCA and is a member of SIPC, meaning your investments are protected up to $500,000 (including $250,000 in cash) if the company was to fold.
As with any form of investing, there is no guarantee of returns, and you may end up with less than you initially invested.
The time has never been better for beginner investors looking to take their first step onto the stock market ladder, and Robinhood is as good a place as any to get going.
With an easy-to-use app and commission-free trades, it’s a suitable starting point for newbies or hands-off investors, but unlikely to satisfy anyone looking to get more serious about their share trading.
There’s a distinct lack of features beyond basic trades (and limited customisation), and fee-free trades are no longer a unique selling point. Think of Robinhood like your first pair of stabilisers: handy at first, but no pro-cyclist worth their salt is ever going to stick with them.
If you’re planning anything beyond a straightforward buy-and-hold strategy, you may want to look elsewhere, but if that’s all you’re looking for, Robinhood should hit the target.
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