FOREX.com vs. Robinhood • Which Platform is Better? • Benzinga – Benzinga

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FOREX.com and Robinhood are two of the most popular online brokers based in the United States. Although both brokers have a growing following, they each have different structures, business models and brokerage services that cater to different demographics and financial markets. 

In the following article, we will examine each broker’s services so that you can weigh the similarities and differences to decide which is right for you. Once that decision is made, you can open an account to start trading and/or investing promptly.

The key difference between these online brokers is that FOREX.com primarily executes orders in the forex market, while Robinhood’s brokerage services concentrate on offering commission-free brokerage for stocks and listed equities. Therefore, the best online brokerage for you depends on whether you wish to trade currencies or trade and invest in stocks. 

If you plan on trading both forex and stocks, you have several options. You could trade exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on stock indices at FOREX.com, open individual accounts with both brokers or open a premium account with a broker that offers trading in both markets, such as Interactive Brokers for example. 

Who’s FOREX.com for?

If you plan on trading foreign currencies, gold and silver and ETFs, or if you live outside the U.S. and wish to trade cryptocurrencies or contract for differences (CFDs), then FOREX.com could make a good fit. FOREX.com’s primary demographic consists of U.S.-based novice or active traders who prefer to use the popular MetaTrader 4 trading platform from MetaQuotes. The online broker also provides diverse technical trading tools and its own proprietary trading app.

Who’s Robinhood for? 

Robinhood offers commission-free trading on stocks, options, ETFs and cryptocurrencies, but it does not offer online forex trading. In its commissions disclaimer, Robinhood clarifies that commission-free means $0 commission, while other charges may apply. Robinhood’s services could meet the needs of traders or investors who do not wish to trade currencies.

Commissions

Spreads start as low as $1 But vary based on trading volume

Account Minimum

$250

What FOREX.com Offers

As the top U.S. forex broker, FOREX.com allows you to trade in over 80 different currency pairs, as well as spot gold and silver. FOREX.com also has extensive educational resources for new traders, in addition to an Active Trader Program where experienced traders can qualify for cash rebates and interest paid on margin balances based on their trading activity.  

Keep in mind that FOREX.com is not a stockbroker, which means that stocks and other assets cannot be traded through FOREX.com. The online broker is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA), but it is not overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

FOREX.com has a rather low leverage limit of 50:1 on forex trades due to strict U.S. regulatory oversight. To get an in-depth analysis of FOREX.com, you can check out Benzinga’s FOREX.com Review

Commissions

$0 per trade

Account Minimum

$0 to open an account

What Robinhood Offers

With Robinhood Financial, you can make unlimited commission-free trades in U.S. listed stocks, options and ETFs. With Robinhood Crypto, you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies, although these do not trade commission-free. 

Another very useful feature offered by Robinhood is fractional share investing. This lets you select an amount of money you wish to invest in a stock that is then converted into a fraction of a share amount in the stock of your choice. This feature lets you manage your funds better, invest in more costly stocks, and customize your portfolio with fractional shares of companies you like. 

A Robinhood Gold account gives you access to margin accounts. Fees start at $5 per month for a $1,000 margin account or a 5% per year average percentage rate (APR) charge for margin accounts over $2,000. Other features of the Gold include professional research reports by Morningstar, access to margin of up to $5,000–$50,000 depending on your account balance and Level II market data. You can find out more about Robinhood from Benzinga’s Robinhood App Review

Bottom Line

FOREX.com and Robinhood represent completely different types of online broker. The best broker for you will depend on whether you prefer to trade currencies or invest/trade stocks. Both brokerages accept U.S. clients and provide quality service, low costs and excellent trading platforms. While they each offer educational material, FOREX.com has more extensive resources for beginning forex traders.   

What FOREX.com Offers

In addition to the built-in research and analysis features of the MetaTrader platform, FOREX.com’s proprietary trading platform includes a news feed you can customize to focus on your favorite currency pairs. Also, FOREX.com’s award-winning Global Research Team regularly produces reports and videos on the forex, equity and commodities markets.   

Other research offerings at FOREX.com include an economic calendar, regular webinars and pivot points that can be used in conjunction with other technical indicators. 

What Robinhood Offers

Robinhood has partnered with Morningstar to provide clients with in-depth research on over 1,700 stocks. In addition, Robinhood produces a daily 3-minute newsletter called Snacks that is released before the stock market is open.

In the Learn section of Robinhood’s website, you can find a large variety of “Buzzworthy” articles on many financial topics. The section has vital information on many financial terms, with writers from The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Forbes.  

Bottom Line

Both brokers offer excellent research options in their fields of specialization. Taken together, FOREX.com’s global research team and Robinhood’s in-house research and partnership with Morningstar covers most topics that affect traders in the currency and stock markets. 

FOREX.com Fees

FOREX.com makes its money via the dealing spread quoted for a currency pair or precious metal. This means that the more you trade and the larger the amounts you deal in, the more you’ll pay away to the broker. FOREX.com also offers an Active Trader Program that allows traders with an account balance over $25,000 and a trading volume of over $25 million to receive tighter bid/offer spreads for their trades. 

You can also open a commission-based account at FOREX.com that charges a flat $5 per trade with notably reduced dealing spreads. For example, if the typical spread in a currency pair like EUR/USD is 1 pip, then the spread in a commission account tends to be a fraction of that, say 0.02 pip. The minimum deposit for a FOREX.com account is $50 for U.S.-based clients.  

Robinhood Fees

Robinhood does not charge commission on stock orders from self-directed accounts made via a mobile device or its Web platform. Other regulatory trading fees do apply, however, and include: $22.10 per $1,000,000 of the principal amount transacted, Term Auction Facility (TAF) fees of $0.000119 per share of equity sells capped at $5.95 and $0.002 per option contract sells. Robinhood has no minimum deposit requirement for regular accounts, but you will need at least $2,000 to open a Gold account.

Bottom Line

The fees you pay at FOREX.com depend on the amount of activity in your account. The more you trade in a standard account, the more you pay away in the spread, while the broker’s commission account has tighter spreads and a $5 commission charge per trade.  With Robinhood, your commission cost is $0, so your overall stock trading costs are minimal even with the TAF and other regulatory fees. 

What FOREX.com Offers

Because FOREX.com has its base in the United States, the broker is registered as a futures commission merchant (FCM) and a retail foreign exchange dealer (RFED), and it has oversight from the CFTC and NFA. The broker also maintains capital levels well above requirements, and customer deposits are kept in segregated accounts from the company’s in a global network of custodian banks and brokers. 

What Robinhood Offers

As a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), Robinhood protects customer securities and cash of its members up to $500,000, which includes protection of $250,000 held in cash. While your funds are protected if you trade stocks, Robinhood Crypto is not a member of SIPC or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), so any cryptocurrency investments you make through Robinhood are not protected by those entities.  

Bottom Line

Both Robinhood and FOREX.com are well regulated and give their clients considerable asset protection. If you plan on trading cryptocurrencies through Robinhood, your transactions have no oversight and your money could be at risk if a problem arises. 

What FOREX.com Offers

Customer support can be reached continuously during the trading week between 10 a.m. Sunday to 5 p.m. Friday EST. You can access FOREX.com’s customer support via 2 contact methods:

What Robinhood Offers

Robinhood customer support consists of a page on its website where you can investigate frequently asked questions. This FAQ includes topics like how to get started, how to open an account, necessary documents, taxes and bank transfers, investing and cash management. 

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, you get directed to a Contact Us page, where you can select the type of question you have from a list. Just input your question and enter your email address to wait for an answer. 

Bottom Line

The lack of any personal support for Robinhood clients could be the weakest feature for this broker. FOREX.com, on the other hand, has both email and telephone access, which could save you a lot of time and money if a problem arises with a trade or your account. 

What FOREX.com Offers

FOREX.com allows you to trade in over 80 currency pairs as well as gold and silver. You can also trade a variety of futures products and options on futures through the broker’s FuturesOnline affiliate. 

What Robinhood Offers

Robinhood’s tradable asset classes include: 

  • U.S. exchange-listed stocks and ETFs
  • Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • Options contracts on U.S. exchange-listed stocks and ETFs
  • 250 American Depository Receipts (ADRs) on foreign company stocks

Bottom Line

Robinhood takes the lead with respect to stocks and the overall number of tradable assets, although forex traders will still want to pick FOREX.com.

What FOREX.com Offers

The FOREX.com website and its supported trading platforms have intuitive features that make it easily accessible to beginners and experienced traders alike. In addition to its own sophisticated proprietary trading platforms, you can make transactions via the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform. You can also get mobile and web versions of both the MT4 and FOREX.com proprietary platforms. 

FOREX.com advanced trading platform. Source: FOREX.com

What Robinhood Offers

The Robinhood trading platform can be downloaded as a mobile app or used as a web-based version. The mobile app features candlestick charting not available on the web version.

Both applications have intuitive qualities that make them immediately usable by both beginners and seasoned traders and investors. The platforms also let you access tax documents and account statements, and you can fund an account easily through the mobile app. 

Robinhood mobile trading app. Source: Robinhood 

Bottom Line

FOREX.com offers a comprehensive technical analysis package with its trading platforms, plus other features like automatization and customizability not found on the relatively simplistic Robinhood app. If you plan to trade currencies, then FOREX.com’s platform and services excel in all aspects. 

Furthermore, if you have experience trading stocks and already have access to quality research, indicators and charting options, then Robinhood’s platform would be more than adequate for just executing your trades. Otherwise, you will need to open a Gold Robinhood account to access Morningstar’s stock research. 

Final Thoughts  

Both online brokers rank among the best in the business when it comes to offering their clients excellent, affordable services and easy-to-use trading platforms tailored to their respective markets. Robinhood would suit those who want to trade or invest in stocks, while FOREX.com would be ideal for U.S.-based currency traders. 

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