On 1/25/2018 Robinhood declared that they are now offering NO FEE, FREE trading of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies. I had heard of Robinhood which already offered free stock buying and minimal selling fees. The federal government charges some fees when a stock is sold and Robinhood passes these along with no markup. So it’s not completely free but it is as close as possible.
When I first heard about the Robinhood trading app I was intrigued but decided to stick with E*Trade because they offered an app and desktop access, while Robinhood only offered an app. Now that they are about to start offering Cryptocurrencies I thought I would give them a try.
I signed up and was asked all the normal questions. I have included screenshots of every step. They make it fairly easy and straightforward to create an account. The app was a little bit buggy and I had to let it sit for a few minutes a couple of times. I was signing up only a few hours after they announced they were allowing Bitcoin trading so that might have contributed to the lag.
Start by entering your email and choose a password
Next enter your basic info, name and phone number
Next they prep you to give up your SSN (they don’t take it at this point, but will in another step) and collect your date of birth. I was born in March, everything else is secret!
Then put in your address, including country.
Then they finally ask for your SSN and your investing experience. I chose “I know what I’m doing.”
Next enter your employment status; your second screen will be different. Since I am employed that is what I chose.
Answer the standard legal questions. All brokerages are required by law to ask these questions. I selected No for both of them
Lastly, you must agree to their terms and conditions, I read the whole thing and found nothing unusual or suspicious.
After I got through the initial process, I linked my side hustle checking account to Robinhood so I could transfer funds and begin trading. Verifying the account takes almost every brokerage several days. However, Robinhood claims to have relationships with several banks that allow for instant access to the funds you transfer. I had to wait since I was using a lesser known bank. They said they would be making 2 deposits within 2-3 days and I would need to verify the amounts.
Next, they asked for a copy of an ID. They accepted a driver’s license, passport or ID card. I used my phone to take a picture of my DL.
Within a few minutes, they sent an email asking me to unfreeze my credit with Experian. My credit was not frozen when I opened my other accounts so I assume they all use this process for identification purposes. Your credit score is NOT a factor when you open a regular brokerage account, they only need to identify you. All money that comes into the stock market must be from a verified source. This is the federal government’s attempt to keep money laundering out of the stock market. I removed the credit freeze for 2 days and replied to their email telling them it was ready.
Within a few hours, I received an email stating that everything was good to go and I was just waiting for final approval.
It took a few days for the deposits to arrive in my bank account. On 1/29 the deposits arrived, I verified the amounts on the app and was allowed to transfer money into the account for immediate trading. I transferred $400 from my side hustle checking account. I purchased 2 shares of ROKU for $42.67 each total cost was $85.34. There was no fee!
I saw the price tick up a few cents and decided to sell quickly. The sale went through and I was not charged a single cent!! I received $85.86 back in the account for immediate trading. I had made a cool $0.50 and paid nothing to the brokerage.
To keep the experiment going I made a few more purchases:
MJX, I bought 5 shares for $37.09 each total cost was $185.44
BAC, I bought 5 shares for $32.34 each total cost was $161.72
NAK, I bought 42 shares for $1.20 each total cost was $50.40
I signed up for the cryptocurrency trading and was put on a list. The actual date they will be available was not provided.
Over the course of this experiment, I made trades and was not charged a dime to make them. Had I made the same 8 trades on E*Trade, it would have cost me $6.95 per trade, $55.60 total.
The trades work but they are no frills, no special features but also no commission. There are no access OTC markets where penny stocks are traded. They don’t offer any research tools and their graphs don’t have values on them. I used the free tool at Yahoo! Finance for these things anyway so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. If you only have a few dollars and want to start trading this is a great way to get started. If you want to get started and you’re not sure how to go about it, this is a great resource. I’m not ready to move everything over just yet but I will keep the account open and will put updates on here when I have one.
Everyone that signs up using my link will receive one random share of stock. It might be Sprint for $5, it might be Facebook for $188! On 1/31 I had three friends sign up using my link. Each received a stock valued between $5-$6. I received 3 shares of Sprint for about $5.25 per share at the time.
For now, if you have been waiting, wait no more. The free stocks they are giving away won’t last forever. This is a promo and an attempt to spread the word and get more people invested. Start today, follow the link below and start with $20, $10 or $5! There is no minimum deposit and no fees to trade.
I wanted to try out as many features as possible and customer service is an important one. Robinhood does not offer a call-in line but they do offer email support. On 1/30 I decided to inquire about transferring my existing brokerage account with E*trade to Robinhood. Most stocks should transfer without a problem, I found this when I consolidated some of my wife’s accounts with my own. But Robinhood does not have the same access to the same markets. Many of my cannabis holdings are on OTC (Over The Counter) markets which are different from the traditional NYSE and Nasdaq most of us are used to hearing about.
I sent the question at 10:36 in the morning. I received a reply via email at 11:20 am telling me that those stocks would not be accepted and if I tried to transfer the account the whole transfer would be rejected. The response time was less than an hour and I can’t complain about that. Hopefully, as this brokerage progresses they will be able to accommodate all markets, but I understand they are in the beginning stages of development.
Getting started with little knowledge or funds
Those of us comfortable using our smartphones for everything
Trading without fees
Not perfect for:
Penny stock trading
People without a smartphone
People not comfortable using a smartphone
Last Notes & Summary:
2/1/18 I sold all 42 shares of NAK for $.93, a total sale price of $39.31, a loss of $11.09. There was a reversal by the Trump administration for a permit they initially approved, potentially leaving this stock in limbo for years. My position was so small I felt it was better to cut my losses rather than watch it bleed.
2/2/2018 I bought 1 share of ROKU for $40.50, just for fun
I input $400 cash
I received 3 shares of Sprint (S) for free, about $15
I lost about $25 in value during the week. This was a bad week for the market.
Thanks for reading, if you are interested in opening an account please use the link I provided so we can both get free stock! I will update you when they allow cryptocurrency trading and add a desktop interface.