Robinhood review

Robinhood (not that one) has arrived in the UK, offering commission-free investing on thousands of US stocks.

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Robinhood

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.

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What is Robinhood?

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.

How does Robinhood work?

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.

Robinhood trading hours

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:

  • 2pm to 11pm GMT

Robinhood app

Robinhood app

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.

Robinhood UK waitlist

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.

What else does Robinhood offer?

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 fees and charges

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.

  • Robinhood Gold. There is a $5 per month charge to upgrade to Robinhood Gold.

Am I eligible?

If you want to get a Robinhood account in the UK, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • You’re at least 18 years old.
  • You have a valid National Insurance Number.
  • You’re a UK resident.

Robinhood customer reviews

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.

Pros and cons of Robinhood

Pros

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use app
  • £1 account minimum
  • No commission or foreign exchange fees
  • Investing may offer better returns than savings account
  • Can buy US stocks and ETFs, as well as some global stocks

Cons

  • Your capital is at risk
  • Mainly limited to US exchange stocks
  • Trading based on US market hours
  • Your money must be converted into US dollars in order to trade
  • Some products not currently available in the UK
  • No ISA or pension option

Is Robinhood safe?

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 verdict

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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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Capital is at risk.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PhilFebruary 15, 2020

    Will I pay tax on my capital gains if I don’t withdraw any money every year , or is there a ISA option ? With robinhood

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      TomFebruary 17, 2020Staff

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your question. You don’t pay tax on unrealised gains, which means any assets or investments that have made a profit but you haven’t sold. You only need to pay tax when you sell an asset, so if you make an investment and don’t sell, you won’t need to pay any tax until you do so.

      In the UK, you also only have to pay capital gains tax on any gains above your tax-free allowance each year. This is called the Annual Exempt Amount and is currently £12,000. This means you won’t pay any tax on any realised gains up to £12,000. If you make more than that, you’ll have to pay tax on any gains you make once you sell.

      Unfortunately Robinhood don’t currently offer an ISA option.

      I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Regards,

      Tom

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