Want to Invest? The Pros and Cons of Two of the Biggest Online Brokerage Services

E*TRADE has been available since the 1990s while Robinhood is newer to online brokerage having been founded in 2013 and becoming available to the public in 2015. It gained popularity because it offers a commission-free investing service. One can trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies–all for free. Both platforms offer an account minimum of %0. Robinhood charges $0 in fees while E*TRADE charges $0.50 to $0.65 per contract for options depending on the size. 

In March of 2020, Robinhood experienced large outages that affected usage, leading to a class-action lawsuit. E*TRADE ranked higher in every category in 2020 except for low cost. Robinhood might be best for users who are new to investing and can only invest a small amount of money. E*TRADE becomes the better option if you are an investor with a greater sum of money and are active in investing and want customizable options. 

Both are easy to use on the app and on the website. However, Robinhood does not give many options to customize one’s options through customizable charting. You have access to streaming real-time quotes on E*TRADE and one can stage and send orders at the same time. Robinhood does not offer this option and also takes longer to update pricing. However, if one is a newer investor or someone who buys and then holds, this might not be an issue. 

E*TRADE also offers a larger amount of resources and information in order to help you decide and find your next trade. Robinhood, on the other hand, does not offer these kinds of tools or calculators. In similar regard, E*TRADE users can access real-time unrealized and realized gains while being able to access real-time buying power/margin information. One can calculate the impact of future trades on taxes. With Robinhood, one can only really see unrealized gains and losses and one’s overall portfolio. 

Overall, E*TRADE is probably the better choice for active investors and people looking to invest a lot of money, but Robinhood is a good place to start if one is new to investing. 




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