When it comes to trading financial assets, there’s an app for every flavor of the month – but when it comes to ease and elegance, there’s a clear winner: Robinhood.
We’ve got a lot to be thankful for when it comes to mobile phones. The last decade has revolutionized how we communicate and interact with our world, and the ripples have been felt across all sectors – particularly the financial. With our money at our fingertips, it was only a matter of time before someone came along with the brilliant idea to make investing easy, elegant, and dare we say – fun.
While there is an argument to be made for the gamification of financial based-services, we’re happy to say that Robinhood sidesteps the issue by merely providing a sleek format to a long-existing function: stock trading. You won’t find extensive graphs, sheets, or access to foreign markets, but what you will find is an incredibly fast an easy way to buy and sell stocks on most major markets – and the best part? It’s all commission free.
It may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. Robinhood distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack by doing away with commission-based trades altogether. There is a paid option for the app called Robinhood Gold, but it’s entirely optional and equates to a margin account with most major brokerages.
The tech-savvy folks at the startup have gained a lot of ground in the short few years since their dream took off: they have built up a userbase of over 2 million users – a quantity that rivals even some of the most entrenched brokerages such as eTrade.
Given its inception as a mobile app, Robinhood has some wonderful API functionality. If you have a Stocktwits account (get one if you don’t), you can instantly link it to your Robinhood portfolio to give yourself an easy in to any news or hype surrounding your positions. And if you abhor the idea of using your phone to manage your investments, worry not – there’s a web version on the way, with signups starting now.
Now, we know that there are still many of you out there that are skeptical at the thought that a brokerage service could make any money without charging its users something. Well, the reality of Robinhood is somewhere in the middle. They charge a flat fee for slightly more advanced features, yes, but the zero-commission buy / sell works right out of the box – and that alone is reason enough for us to put it at the top of our list.
Frankly, the only type of investing we’d ever claim to be proponents off is a long-short mentality, and Robinhood makes itself more than adequate to that end. If the Palo Alto based company can maintain its momentum while finding new and creative ways of increasing their end-user’s power, we’re likely witnessing the first Millennial-targeting financial app to make it big.