Webull vs Robinhood: Battle of Commission-Free Stock Brokers

Investing
Updated: 1st Jan 2021
Written by Drew Cheneler
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Most people are looking to start investing in stocks these days, even if they don’t have any experience.

But rather than paying for costly brokers or opting for trading platforms that demand high minimum account balances, tons of folks are looking into Webull and Robinhood: a pair of no-commission stock trading platforms.

Let’s break down Webull vs Robinhood and see which of these two brokers is worth your time and (potentially) your money.

About Robinhood

Robinhood is a relatively new online stock broker that launched in 2016. It made waves then (and still makes waves now) for the fact that it offers zero-commission trading without any fees.

This means that you can theoretically trade on the stock market without paying a penny.

How to Compare Webull and Robinhood

Robinhood also has a relatively healthy variety of assets to trade, including stocks, ETFs, options, and even cryptocurrencies as of a recent update.

While there are now competitors, Robinhood users continue to enjoy an intuitive user interface that is both beginner-friendly and, ironically, geared more toward experienced traders due to the lack of education and research resources compared to other platforms.

What is Robinhood?

Robinhood is a free trading platform that allows anyone to start trading on the stock market almost instantaneously.

With no minimum deposit amount the ability to start trading with the cash you provide to your account right away, Robinhood offers a streamlined, simple way to trade through a sleek user interface and a barebones set of features.

Learn More: Robinhood Review

About Webull

Webull is also a free trading app that launched a year after Robinhood in 2017. Like its counterpart, Webull also does not charge any commissions or fees.

But in contrast, Webull offers a slightly more robust stock trading experience, with greater access to training features (such as the ability to trade with virtual currency) and research resources.

Is Webull or Robinhood Better?

However, Webull only allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, and options, although cryptocurrencies are reportedly on the way.

Webull is, in this way, both excellent for beginners since it offers slightly more research and educational materials than Robinhood but is also potentially a good pick for experienced traders due to these tools.

What is Webull?

Webull is another commission-free stock trading platform that allows you to trade with a variety of financial instruments and assets.

It offers a few extra resources in terms of educational tools and research resources and ultimately allows you to get started trading relatively quickly, just like its slightly older counterpart.

Learn More: Webull Review

Compare Your Options: Best Investing Apps

Robinhood vs Webull Investment Options: What Can I Invest In?

Both Robinhood and Webull will allow you to invest in multiple types of financial instruments, though Robinhood has a slight leg up above Webull since it allows crypto trading already.

Robinhood Investment Options

Robinhood allows you to invest in a few different types of financial assets: stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies.

The platform also allows you to margin trade for relatively small amounts. Fees for margin trade up to $1000 in value are only $5 per month and another 5% fee afterward.

Furthermore, Robinhood allows you to buy and sell fractional shares. This potentially allows experienced or novice traders alike to purchase high-value shares without having to spend tons of cash.

Webull Investment Options

In contrast, Webull does not allow you to buy fractional shares. Furthermore, cryptocurrency trading is not supported by this platform.

But you can still make free trades with stocks, options, and ETFs. Margin trading is also allowed, although this platform charges a fee of 6.99% for any margin trade under $25,000.

Webull also offers short trading: something that Robinhood does not provide. Whether or not short trading is something you want to dip your toes into depends on your trading philosophy and experience.

Webull vs Robinhood: Standout Features

Both Webull and Robinhood have a plethora of features that make them stand out from competing stock platforms.

One thing to keep in mind is that most paid stock trading platforms will have more features overall since you have to pay for the privilege of using. Furthermore, Webull offers slightly more features than Robinhood overall.

Need Help Picking Stocks? Read our Motley Fool Review

Webull Features:

  • Fee-Free Retirement Accounts: Unlike Robinhood, Webull does offer IRAs (and thus tax-free) retirement accounts as opposed to a regular taxable account.
  • Access to Financial Data: You’ll get access to real-time market and financial data if you use Webull. This is partially because Webull was originally an investment research app before they began offering trading on their platform. Users will enjoy real-time market data for any US market and all data is shared in real-time without lags.
  • Financial Calendars: The financial calendars available with Webull are useful in multiple ways. They can help you plan your trading in conjunction with big company dates or news, which you should be able to derive through learning information found on the earnings reports and other documents included with these calendars.
  • Commission-Free: Like Robinhood, Webull doesn’t charge any commission fees for placing trades on its platform.
  • Stock Screeners: Webull also offers stock screeners, which allow you to filter through thousands of stocks in just minutes. You can even filter the stocks you search for based on factors like the country of origin, the price, the market capitalization, and more.
  • IPO Investing: IPO or initial public offering investing can also be found using the Webull platform, which may be advantageous for advanced investors looking to get in on the ground floor with new companies or startups. Note that the number of IPO stocks available is always limited, however.
  • Stock Lending Program: Webull has recently rolled out the stock lending program feature, which allows you to loan out your shares to various short-sellers and earn some extra income. Since Webull is fully insured by the SIPC, there isn’t much risk on your end.
  • Crypto Trading: Webull is dedicated to providing crypto trading sometime in the near future. It was originally slated for late 2020 release but has since been delayed.

Related: How to Invest $1,000

Robinhood Features:

  • Sleek Mobile App: As mentioned before, Robinhood offers one of the sleekest and smoothest mobile apps on the market. It’s very easy to use and easy to navigate.
  • Commission-Free: Robinhood doesn’t charge any commissions on any of the assets you are allowed to trade with the platform.
  • Dividend Reinvestment: Robinhood recently allowed dividend reinvestment options. In a nutshell, this feature lets you automatically reinvest any dividends, and therefore earn compound interest. You must use this feature with the fractional shares feature mentioned below.
  • Robinhood Gold: Robinhood Gold is a $5 per month subscription that gives you access to extra trading information via Morningstar, plus the ability to trade on margin (though you need to have $2000 in your account to open a margin account). It may be a valuable feature for fans of Robinhood who want something a little more in-depth or additional features.
  • Robinhood Cash Management: Robinhood’s cash management feature is very recent. It allows users to earn interest on any non-invested cash currently set up with their account. You can even set your direct deposit bank account to link with this cash management account for added income.
  • Fractional Shares: Robinhood allows users to invest in fractional stocks and ETFs rather than having to buy whole shares of stocks, which can be particularly pricy for large companies like Amazon or Microsoft.
  • Free Stock Sign Up Bonus: Robinhood is currently offering a lottery-based and randomized free stock for signing up for the app. This could potentially get you trading with a free stock worth up to several hundred dollars as soon as you log into your account.

Learn More: How to Invest in the S&P 500

Robinhood vs Webull: Account Minimums and Fees

Both Robinhood and Webull do not require any account minimums by default. Their basic, free accounts can be used without any minimums whatsoever.

However, both platforms do require you to have $2000 in your account minimum to open a margin trading account (this is based on industry-wide requirements).

The only other fees you might encounter with these platforms are for specific features.

For instance, Robinhood Gold costs $5 per month. Webull offers financial quote data that you can purchase à la carte – some quotes are as low as a few dollars per month while others might be worth $60 per month or more.

Beyond that, Webull does charge small fees for making wire transfers for deposits or withdrawals from your main account. Robinhood also charges a $75 ACAT outgoing transfer fee.

How Are Robinhood and Webull Different?

Target Users:

Webull and Robinhood differ slightly in who they target as investors. With its more comprehensive and robust features, plus additional research amenities, Webull is better for more advanced traders that will take advantage of these resources.

Robinhood, in contrast, may be better for novices that are comfortable taking charge of their portfolios and learning through trial and error.

Investment Opportunities:

Webull is also built more for traders who don’t mind the controversy surrounding short-selling, whereas Robinhood is better for traders who want to buy and sell cryptocurrencies – Robinhood even allows you to trade those assets in extremely small amounts.

Platforms:

Both platforms can be accessed using mobile and web apps. But the Robinhood app is particularly good on a smartphone thanks to the streamlined user interface.

Investment Research:

Webull is far superior when it comes to investment research. For instance, it offers real-time market data beyond what Robinhood can provide. You can pay a monthly subscription and get real-time data for certain global markets.

Webull also offers almost two dozen technical indicators that you can access with a single click of a button. Robinhood does allow you to list or categorize different assets and offers portfolio insights to help you better understand your investments, but it’s overall a basic app without much in terms of extra research.

Financial Calendars:

Webull provides users with financial calendars, which help you show upcoming important dates for various companies or owners of stocks.

This even includes information like earnings reports and dividend payments. Robinhood doesn’t offer information like this, besides basic biographical for the companies behind certain assets.

Dive Deeper: Best Stock Market Research Websites

Webull vs Robinhood: Pros and Cons of Each Service

Robinhood Pros:

  • Robinhood is exceptionally easy to use, both for beginners and experts. This can also be something of a downside, however, as the barebones user interface means that there aren’t any tutorials or tools to hold your hands as you learn the ropes
  • Margin trading fees are really low, down to 5% plus $5 per month for loans of up to $1000
  • Robinhood also supports trading cryptocurrencies, which many other platforms do not (though Webull is right behind them in this aspect)

Robinhood Cons:

  • Comes with bare analytics and research tools. This helps the UI stay streamlined, but it also means that many users will need to do their own independent research to make the most of the platform
  • Webull offers IRA accounts, whereas Robinhood does not. All Robinhood accounts are taxable by default
  • The customer support Robinhood offers is pretty minimal, like the rest of the platform’s features, and is only reachable by email

Webull Pros:

  • Webull offers flatly better analytical tools than its counterpart Robinhood. When you look at the balance sheets, cash flow reports, and Morningstar financial research reports, it’s clear that there are more tools that experts can take advantage of using the Webull platform
  • You can short-sell using Webull, which is nice for those who don’t care about the recent controversy surrounding the practice
  • “Paper” trading is available, allowing newcomers to try out new trading strategies by trading virtual money rather than risking their hard-earned cash

Webull Cons:

  • Webull doesn’t yet offer cryptocurrency trading, though this feature is reportedly coming sometime in 2021
  • Isn’t quite as beginner friendly as Robinhood (depending on your definition)

Is Robinhood or Webull Better?

Better is an ultimately subjective term, and whether Robinhood or Webull is better for your purposes depends on your needs, experience level, and what you really want out of a stock trading platform.

Again, let’s look at the main difference between both offers:

  • Robinhood is simple, easy to use, but relatively barebones as a result
  • Webull is more comprehensive and robust but is a little more complex to learn

It’s clear that both trading platforms could be a good choice depending on your needs and experience level.

We’d specifically recommend Robinhood for beginner traders who don’t mind taking charge of their portfolios and who are comfortable doing some of their own research.

Meanwhile, Webull might be a better choice for more advanced traders that need extra research and tools to make the most of their more complex strategies.

Bottom Line: Webull vs Robinhood

Overall, both Robinhood and Webull are worthwhile free trading platforms that offer excellent opportunities for anyone to jump into the stock market and begin trading their way to wealth.

The best advice may be to try both out for yourself since there is not a minimum deposit, and after a few days, go with the one that seems to best fit your trading style. Good luck!

More Resources: 

Drew Cheneler
Drew Cheneler
Drew is a recognized Credit, Small Business, and Personal Finance Expert. He has been quoted in CNBC, Fox Business News Section, The Huffington Post, Business.com, Moneyunder30, US Chamber of Commerce, and more. He is known for breaking down complex personal finance topics into action-oriented advice, so you can make the most of your hard-earned money.