Robinhood vs. Stockpile vs. Firstrade Comparison

Daniel Penzing
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About Robinhood

Launched in November of 2013, Robinhood is a mobile-based brokerage that has grown in popularity among millennials since its inception. What separates Robinhood from other brokerages like E*Trade and TD Ameritrade is the fact that the brokerage does not charge a fee for trading. Instead, all transactions in the U.S. are made free of charge. Robinhood earns revenue by selling premium services.

Robinhood’s perceived benefit is the fact that it does not have any commissions or fees for the various services it offers. Additionally, the application is extremely user-friendly and is easy to navigate.

Robinhood does not offer margin products, and the brokerage charges a small premium on options trade transactions. The potential drawbacks of using this service are relatively unknown, and there is not an option for international trading.

About Stockpile

And Robin Hood?

You probably have been hearing a lot more about Robinhood recently. Stockpile and Robinhood are both robo-advisors. At first glance, a robo-advisor looks like an online banking site. But deeper inspection should lead you to realize that these are two very different types of sites.

These sites have been rising to popularity over the last several years. In light of the 2008 financial crisis, the popularity of guaranteed returns and the general distrust of financial institutions, robo-advisors are becoming more and more popular.

They offer users the opportunity to trade stocks and other forms of investment online. And they combine this with a lower fee structure than that of traditional investment companies.

One of the newest and most popular robo-advisor sites is Robinhood. Robinhood is the brain child of one of the founders of the infamous Google Ventures.

The two founders of Robinhood (Baron and Levitan) saw the rise in popularity of robo-advisors and sought to provide a similar service for a lower cost.

Originally, Robinhood was only available for Android and iOS users.

But in February 2017, the Robinhood website officially added an online platform available from a computer. They quickly emerged as one of the most talked about robo-advisors.

About Firstrade

Firstrade is basically an online discount brokerage house; their brokerage fees are quite low compared to the industry, and they are a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). They have both a website and an app, so you can do customer service and trading anywhere and anytime. They are also a discount brokerage house that will only charge a few dollars for you to trade stocks.

In addition, another advantage of being a broker is that they have access to wider range of investment vehicles than banks do, which is why it is ideal for investors that like to trade stocks. For example, a bank will only offer you CDs (certificates of deposit), savings accounts, and savings accounts with limited investment options, While a discount broker like Firstrade will give you stocks, bonds, and a variety of other investment products and Help you keep on the move.

How Are They the Same?

All three brokerages fall within the same general category: discount brokerages. So if you select any one of them, you know what to expect. Each brokerage negotiates volume discounts with different financial institutions to provide the best possible rates to clients. This leads to a variety of features that are common across the three brokerages, including the following:

Broad Range of Investments. All three brokerages offer access to a wide variety of investments including stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, CDs, and more.

All three brokerages offer access to a wide variety of investments including stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, CDs, and more. Commission-Free Investments. These brokerages offer commission-free investments for account types such as IRAs and Roth IRAs, as outlined in the following table:

Type Commission-Free Method Robinhood Stockpile Firstrade Individual Shares Yes No Yes Options No Yes No Mutual Funds No No No ETFs No No No CDs No No No

All three brokerages offer a substantial amount of commission-free investments.

How Are They Different?

Robinhood is a mobile-based account in which you can buy stocks and ETFs without a commission. Stockpile is a mobile-based stock brokerage account in which you can earn money by investing in index funds. Firstrade is a traditional stock brokerage company.

Robinhood and Stockpile are very similar in their approach since they both removed commissions on trade, and neither has a minimum deposit for a brokerage account. However, they differ in their stock offerings. Robinhood comes up short in this area, as they only offer a handful of stocks and ETFs. But they make up for this in their no-fee structure and easy-to-use mobile app.

Unique Features

Opportunity to invest in Stocks, ETFs, and options commission free platform (although options trading is risker).


Vs. Stockpile vs. Firstrade: Which is the Best Deal?

Robinhood, Stockpile, and Firstrade.

You probably have a passing familiarity with stocks and securities. You may even have a general knowledge of how shares, bonds, and commodities work.

The way stocks work, regardless of company or sector, is that investors purchase stocks in companies they believe are set to succeed and whose profits are poised to increase. Stock prices rise and fall based on market conditions, shareholder decisions, potential mergers and acquisitions, and company performance.

Five Ways to Invest in Stocks

The first thing we should clarify is that there are a lot of ways to invest in stocks. There is the standard way of purchasing them, known as buying on margin, which lets you invest without lining up the full cash needed to buy an entire share of stock.

Then there is the traditional route, which is to pick the stock you want to invest in directly and purchase an actual share. Either way, you can use computers or cellphones and access platforms like Robinhood, Stockpile, or Firstrade.

These online brokerage sites are all about helping you to invest your money in stocks. You can do financial planning, research and read market trends, and quickly and easily make trades. Here we’ll take a closer look to see which option is best for you.


Vs. RobinHood vs. Firstrade: How do they stack up?

Stockpile vs RobinHood vs Firstrade: how do they stack up? Are they similar? Are they different? Which one is better for you, or… better for stocks? The answer is: it depends. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

To assist your decision, here’s a chart that compares them side-by-side. To learn more about each platform, click on any of the three. Otherwise, delve into the details…


Vs. Robinhood vs. Stockpile

We have a top-notch review of three of the largest discount brokerages: Firstrade, Stockpile and Robinhood.

The bottom line is that all three of these brokerages offer commission free trades. So you won’t pay a commission to trade stocks or ETFs.

Minimum Investments

Annual Fees

Firstrade has the lowest costs because they charge no annual fees. Robinhood and Stockpile also have no annual fees.

Standout Features

When you invest money in the stock market without knowledge, it can be very risky. Not all stocks have a good performance. It’s better to get some education before you invest. Robinhood is a well-known stock brokerage platform for trading stocks without a commission. They manage your portfolio by investing in real companies and the share prices can fluctuate. Since it’s a trusted and popular platform, that’s why we’re comparing Robinhood vs. Stockpile vs. Firstrade, to see which platform is the best for you.

Robinhood App

In addition to trading stocks through Robinhood, you can use this app to see the latest news about your investments. It provides you with real-time information about your investments and other tidbits, like the number of companies traded and the total money you have made through investing. You can manage your finances in one place through Robinhood, which is really profitable and beneficial for you.

Stockpile App

Stockpile offers something similar. This app helps to manage your investments in the market. It’s possible to find information about the company and its stocks on the app. If the company is doing well, the value of its shares will increase.

Firstrade App

Firstrade is very similar to the previous platforms.

Customer Service

Superior, Transparent, and Responsive.

As a fintech startup, Robinhood doesn’t offer the same customer service experience as some of the traditional brokerage houses.

But through in-app chat and phone support, they’ve proved that they can provide service with a smile. Robinhood’s customer support is open from 8 am to 10 pm ET and is very responsive on the popular social trading networks, including Twitter and Facebook.


Robinhood, Stockpile, and Firstrade all offer mobile and web apps. Mobile apps are the same for all three brokers. The only difference is that Firstrade’s mobile app is available on iOS and Andriod devices, but Robinhood and Stockpile are both web-only.

Robinhood uses user-name and password for security, while Stockpile and Firstrade both use an investor’s social security number as a “secret” code to access your account.

Who Are They Best For?

All three of these are trading platforms. They give access to the stock market and allow you to buy and sell securities. They have different focuses, but you can use them to invest in the same companies.

How are they similar?

They are all brokerages. You need a brokerage to trade.

They are all ways to buy and sell stocks online. They are not investments themselves.

How are they different?


Focuses primarily on stocks. This is the biggest feature that differentiates it from the others.

You can trade any stock that “quotes” on their platform.

They offer no-fee trades for individual investors. (Do not confuse this with no-commission. You still pay whatever the regular commission is.)

You do not need a minimum balance to open an account with Robinhood.


Focuses primarily on collectibles and games.

You can only buy collectibles (used non-index ETFs, for example) on their platform.

You do not need a minimum balance to open an account, but there is a minimum monthly subscription fee. The first month is free.


Competes with ETRade and Scottrade, but is not quite as powerful as either.

Which Is the Best?

Robin Hood. Stockpile. Firstrade. I’ve compared these three companies in detail here, but today I’m going to focus on comparing the investment side of these companies.

Now, if you’ve been following along, you might be surprised to see just how similar these companies are. Much to our surprise, the three firms ended up pretty similar. Both Robinhood and Stockpile do a very good job of explaining investing. In their own ways, they’re going out of their way to help ease investors into the market.

Firstrade does a very good job too, but sometimes they skimp out on some of the more technical details that’ll be important to some investors … like the type of funds involved. This quick guide will help more experienced investors decide on which of these three companies might be best. The most important part of investing (all things being equal) is choosing a valuable fund.

This is a great breakdown for investors interested in using Robinhood, Stockpile, or Firstrade. It tells you the major differences between these online stock brokerages.

Hopefully this article was helpful for beginners, intermediate, and advanced investors alike. Whatever you decide, make sure you choose an investment that matches your needs and level of investment expertise.