Firstrade vs Robinhood

  • No account minimum
  • Retirement accounts supported
  • Commission-free mutual funds trading
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  • Easy-to-use trading platform
  • Options, crypto, and fractional share trading
  • No fees on most market actions
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With an array of investing platforms, it’s bewildering to select the right one for you. After all, there’s a massive appetite for investing, with 51% of young investors moving out of cash and into the market.

With Firstrade vs Robinhood, this is a debate of contrasts. Firstrade has been an old-school brokerage in operation since 1985, and Robinhood is the new fintech company. Despite their varying origins, both have a lot in common.

Let’s weigh up investing with Firstrade and Robinhood to discover which investment platform offers the best proposition.

Firstrade Overview

Firstrade aims to be the one-stop shop for all things investing. Since 1985, Firstrade has moved through various technologies and trends to continue supporting the cutting-edge needs of its client.

Despite not having the profile of the likes of Charles Schwab, Firstrade has a long track record of reliability. It focuses on a low-cost investing model, but it doesn’t have a limited range of investment options, unlike other brokerage platforms in this sector.

You have everything you need to tailor your investing strategy appropriately, from stocks to mutual funds.

Plus, when you create an account with Firstrade and deposit at least $100, you gain two free stocks based on a lottery system. If you get lucky, you could get free stock worth up to $400. That alone is reason to deposit with Firstrade.

Firstrade Details

Account Minimum$0
Management Fees0%
Account TypesIndividual and joint brokerage accounts, IRAs, education savings account, business account, custodial accounts
Investment TypeStocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds

Firstrade offers investors the chance to use the three trading platforms Firstrade Navigator, Options Wizard, and a basic desktop platform to make their trades. Unlike the limited options provided by other low-cost investment brands, this is a fully-fledged trading platform that supports long-term investors and day traders.

It offers full commission-free trading on a variety of assets. The only asset you cannot trade on the platform is cryptocurrency. Disappointingly, there’s no opportunity to buy and sell fractional shares at Firstrade.

This may not be the ideal platform for investors with only a few dollars to get started with. Although it doesn’t require a minimum dollar balance to get started, the lack of fractional share trading means you could find yourself with lots of dollars just sitting there until you can afford a full share.

Its range of supported account types is ideal for younger and older investors preparing for retirement. With a full range of retirement account options, Firstrade is the only platform you’ll ever need.

Like we said in our Firstrade review, the addition of the Education Center for newer investors is an excellent bonus for investors who’re new to the market.

Suppose you’re searching for a brokerage that embraces the simplicity of robo-advisors and fintech platforms, such as Robinhood while retaining the comforting embrace of the traditional broker. In that case, Firstrade is an option well worth examining.

Firstrade Fees

Believe it or not, Firstrade was one of the pioneers of low-cost trading, even when other brokerages flat-out refused to alter their fee structures. Its account minimum of $0 enables you to open an account and test out the platform before committing significant chunks of your portfolio.

Furthermore, there are no actual management fees to speak of. There are no commissions to take into account or sneaky hidden charges.

It’s perhaps the only platform in the world where you can trade mutual funds for free. If you’re looking to make money from mutual funds, there’s no better choice.

Finally, do remember that there are fees associated with broker-assisted trades. A Firstrade broker-assisted trade on stocks and options comes with a $19.95 flat fee, plus a $0.50 charge per contract.

Make sure you check whether your proposed move is broker-assisted and factor these fees into your decision.

Firstrade Pros

  • No account minimum
  • Retirement accounts supported
  • Commission-free mutual funds trading

Firstrade Cons

  • High cost of broker-assisted trades
  • Trading platforms are lacking
  • No fractional shares or crypto trading

There are some significant advantages associated with Firstrade investing. Moreover, the chance to own two free stocks upon sign-up is a fantastic sweetener. Check out our review on Firstrade for more information.

Robinhood Overview

Now it’s time to examine the hottest trading platform of the COVID-19 pandemic era. If we look at Firstrade vs. Robinhood, these two platforms both operate in the low-cost investing sector.

Like Firstrade, Robinhood does offer the chance to indulge in day trading. The difference is Robinhood focuses more on the mobile investing experience. Since 2013, Robinhood has been something of a trailblazer in commission-free trading.

Even though Robinhood became embroiled in controversy during the GameStop commotion, it has continued to offer its investing services to young investors worldwide. Today, it has more than 17 million active accounts on the platform.

Robinhood shares a similar free promotion as Firstrade, with a free stock assigned to every new user. It’s allocated on a lottery basis and has the chance to be worth up to $225.

Robinhood Details

Account Minimum$0
Management Fees0%
Account TypesBrokerage
Investment TypeStocks, ETFs, IPOs, options, and cryptocurrency

Robinhood also excels when it comes to the selection of investments available. Two notable gaps in their offerings are mutual funds and bonds. On the other hand, they more than make up for this by offering options, cryptocurrencies, and even IPOs.

With the boom in crypto and the new generation of investors becoming increasingly interested in crypto, Robinhood has a significant edge over Firstrade.

Unfortunately, don’t expect to find anything more than basic market research and charts. If you want to take advantage of advanced charting options, you’ll need to look elsewhere or have another program running in the background. This could be a big problem for day traders, as successful trades typically rely on minute timing.

As written in many a Robinhood review, experts highly recommend Robinhood for people who don’t have a considerable amount to invest. The reason for this? Fractional share trading. Robinhood allows you to earn a portion of a share without the obligation to buy a whole share.

It’s a great way to ensure your dollars are always working for you. Alternatively, take advantage of Robinhood Cash Management and gain a little interest from the unused dollars in your account.

One downside Robinhood has is you only have access to basic brokerage accounts. There are no retirement options, so this is not the ideal solution if you want to plan for the future.

Robinhood Fees

There’s not much difference between Robinhood vs. Firstrade regarding their fee structures. Both platforms charge no annual management fees, no commissions on trades, and require no account minimums.

The only fee you’ll find is with its Robinhood Gold program, at $5 per month. Members gain $1,000 in margin, Level II market data, and instant portfolio transfers.

One benefit of Robinhood is you don’t need to worry about the prospect of paying for broker-assisted trades.

Robinhood Pros

  • Easy-to-use trading platform
  • Options, crypto, and fractional share trading
  • No fees on most market actions

Robinhood Cons

  • No retirement accounts
  • Lack of advanced charting
  • No access to mutual funds

Firstrade vs. Robinhood: Comparison

FeatureFirstradeRobinhood
Management Fees$0$0
Min. Investment$0$0; $5 per month for Robinhood Gold
Avg. ETF Expense Ratio0.19%0.04%-1%
Account TypesIndividual and joint brokerage accounts, IRAs, education savings account, business account, custodial accountsBrokerage
Tax-Loss HarvestingAvailableNone
Financial Advisor FeeNoneNone
Best ForTrading and Retirement PortfoliosDay trading

Firstrade vs. Robinhood: Which One is Right for You?

Firstrade and Robinhood have a lot in common, yet they have unique disadvantages. While Robinhood offers fractional share trading, they offer nothing in mutual funds. Although Robinhood has crypto covered, they don’t provide access to retirement accounts.

Since there are so many similarities regarding fees and the general trading experience, your choice largely depends on your investing strategy and goals. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed purely on the stock promos offered by each platform.

We recommend creating an account with both platforms at Modest Money to see which stock you get. It may not sound like much, but a couple of stocks worth $100 each are not to be sniffed at.

For fractional share trading, visit Robinhood. For more extensive portfolios with a desire to invest in mutual funds, choose Firstrade.

Firstrade gets the checkmark simply because of their three integrated trading platforms when it comes to day trading. Mobile and day trading rarely go together, so it’s challenging to recommend Robinhood for that.

The fact is if you’re looking for two investment platforms offering something a little different while embracing a low-cost investing product, both provide advantages and disadvantages.

Create an account with Firstrade and get rewarded with two free stocks worth up to $200 each now.

Bob Haegele

About the Author:

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer, entrepreneur, and dog walker. Bob has been writing about personal finance for three years and now manages several personal finance sites, including The Frugal Fellow, Modest Money, and Blooming Wealth. You can also find him contributing to popular websites such as Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and GOBankingRates. You can see more of his work on Muck Rack and Contently, or connect with him on LinkedIn.