If it wasn't for Robinhood, we might not have had commission-free trades today. If it wasn't for Fidelity, we might not have had zero cost mutual funds. Robinhood is the pioneer of zero-commission trading, and Fidelity is a pioneer of zero cost mutual funds. Both make investing easier and more accessible than ever.
One is a very new, modern investing app that is simple by nature, and the other has been around longer than most of us have been alive. Why should you choose one over the other? What are their similarities and differences? Our line-up today is an intense comparison of Robinhood vs. Fidelity Investments.
Overview of Robinhood VS Fidelity Investments
Which one is right for you? The answer completely depends on your overall investment objective and strategy. Other things to look for between different investment platforms are the fees, the minimum balance requirements, the available investment vehicles, and the depth to which you can research different investments.
Other differences between platforms are the “bells & whistles” that provide more options, more convenience, or easier accessibility.
Fees & Minimums
When it comes to fees these days, anything more than free trade commissions is too much to pay. Most brokerages have a fee structure that allows you to use all the basic features of their product for free, with access to more advanced products for a price.
Robinhood and Fidelity fall into this category. Robinhood investment accounts are free to open, have no minimum balance requirements (unless you want to trade with a margin account, then you need at least $2,000), and have access to more features for a price. For access to additional news and basic research material, Robinhood charges $5 per month and gives you access to trade on margin.
Similarly, Fidelity charges no upfront fees to open an account and no fees on trade commissions. However, some products may have a small fee per trade, like options contracts, which are $0.65 per contract, and mutual funds may have upfront fees or management fees, which may vary. Fidelity also allows you to trade on margin if you have a $2,000 account balance. Any margin used will cost anywhere from roughly 8% interest to as low as 5% interest.
So, when it comes to which platform costs less, it's a close tie for the most part. However, when you consider all the added research tools and analysis tools that Fidelity offers and the fact that any fees you pay are non-recurring, I'd have to give this one to Fidelity as the winner.
If you're looking to invest in stocks and ETFs, this section is pointless for you because both offer access to invest in individual stocks and ETFs, and both allow you to invest with fractional shares.
However, if you want options to diversify your portfolio, such as the ability to purchase bonds, mutual funds, OTC stocks, penny stocks, etc., then the answer is easy; Fidelity. What's more, Fidelity has kept up with modern trends and investment tools like robo-advisors – which are algorithms that build a portfolio for you based on your response to some investment questions. Fidelity Go is Fidelity's version of a modern-day robo-advisor for those who seek to invest passively.
On the other hand, Robinhood only gives you the ability to purchase stocks, ETFs, options, and access to a margin account. Since Fidelity has been around since investing has gone digital, they offer nearly any and every investment vehicle available in existence.
Investing with the right strategy can be the difference between big gains or big losses. That's why investors must have access to all necessary research tools for the investments that are in their portfolio.
Robinhood was built to be a simple platform by nature. As such, their available research tools are minimal. The most you will get access to is the company description, its valuation numbers such as market cap, daily prices, and basic news articles. You can upgrade your account to a Robinhood Gold membership for $5 per month for premium content. Gold membership gives get additional access to fundamental research reports produced by Morningstar.com.
Account-holders with Fidelity get access to in-depth research and company profiles for free. Furthermore, you can view multiple analyst reports, see company-specific news, view performance charts, and access to all the investment ratios and numbers as needed.
Features & Benefits of Robinhood & Fidelity Investments
Some investors prefer simplicity; others prefer a variety of options. Robinhood is great for simplicity; Fidelity is great for having multiple options to build a versatile financial plan. Below are Fidelity and Robinhood's features and benefits compared.
|Robo-Advisor||No||Yes – Fidelity Go|
|Analyst Reports||Yes – Basic||Yes – Detailed|
|Investment News||Yes – Basic||Yes – Detailed|
|Available Research Tools||Yes – Basic||Yes – Detailed|
|Asset Management Options||No||Yes|
|Financial Planning Tools||No||Yes|
|Transferred Funds Availability||Immediate||Immediate|
Fidelity and Robinhood's other features are basic bank accounts with a debit card that allow you to house your spending money and investments in one location. Furthermore, Fidelity provides access to credit card options with cashback rewards that can be deposited into your investment account, and Robinhood offers its bank account holders an interest-bearing checking account. Both have FDIC insured accounts outside of your individual investment account.
Which Is Best For Beginners?
In my opinion, a beginner-friendly platform should be simple to maneuver and easy to transact. It should provide the basic information needed to make basic investment decisions, with additional news and third party reports as needed.
While Fidelity certainly has all these characteristics, their wide range of investment products, research tools, charts, and detailed account layouts can confuse beginners.
Between Fidelity and Robinhood, I believe Robinhood is the best pick for beginner investors. The reason is simple: because their platform is basic, user-friendly, and provides the basic tools needed to make investment decisions.
Which Is Best For Experts?
For expert investors who make decisions based on detailed research, chart patterns, economic events, and financial statement ratios, Fidelity is hands down the best option.
If there is a research tool in particular that you need, you can bet that Fidelity has it along with a hundred other options to help you out. This isn't to say beginner investors will find it difficult to use Fidelity, but it is to say that investors who want access to more research tools will find a plethora of them with Fidelity.
Which Is The Most Well-Rounded Platform?
When all is said and done, one platform stands out as the most well-rounded option that has a solution for almost every type of investor. That platform is Fidelity. Why? If you're a beginner investor, their modern app is easy to use with options for both fractional shares investing and a modern robo advisor. Their Zero cost mutual funds are a game-changer for many and cut costs for long term investors.
Furthermore, if you're an expert investor who needs the top tools and resources to efficiently trade the markets, Fidelity has got it. Or if you want to plan all your finances in one place, including retirement planning, educational funds, minor accounts, life insurance, wealth management, etc. Fidelity has a department dedicated to helping you with your needs.
Having said that, I'd regret not mentioning that Robinhood has a unique platform aimed at investors seeking to make investing in options, stocks, ETFs, and with margin accounts a smooth process. If that's all you need, then you can't go wrong with Robinhood. In fact, you'll get a free share of stock when signing up for a free Robinhood account right here!