If you have been following updates about cryptocurrency and stock trading lately, you must have heard of Robinhood, the not-so-new but excellent trading app for US investors. Its unique features qualify it as one of the best investing apps in the United States.
It may sound unfair that while US investors can access such an excellent app, the service is simply unavailable in Canada. That may sound unfortunate, but Robinhood isn’t an unmatched trading service.
If you’re willing to check out some alternatives, other services are almost as good as Robinhood. This article will explain why Robinhood is so special and some of the best alternatives that offer similar services to Robinhood.
What Is Robinhood?
Robinhood is a free investment app that aims to make entry to investing easy for first-timers. It’s famous for charging no fees for most services, earning it its 21 million users user base, despite having a predominantly US-based followership.
Robinhood is a popular app amongst crypto traders, as it allows users to make trades without having to pay any fees. In addition to that, you can make a free account at any time, and you’re not required to have anything in your balance.
While the main offerings of Robinhood are available for free, it’s important to note that there is a Robinhood Gold membership. This membership plan will come in handy if you’re new to trading and could use some reports to learn how to trade better.
Is Robinhood Available in Canada?
If Robinhood sounds like an amazing app, that’s because it is. If its offer wasn’t enticing, there was no way it could reach 21 million users in eight years.
But if you’ve ever tried accessing this service from Canada, you should already know what happens. You simply get a message stating that you can’t make trades from your location yet. While the website is accessible, good luck finding the app or making trades from Canada.
Unless you’re willing to cut dangerous corners, Robinhood is currently available in Canada. If you love the platform so much and you’re willing to risk something to use it, you can sign up with a VPN. However, prepare to lose all of your money on the first day you log in without a VPN by mistake.
While using a VPN is a feasible way to access this service from Canada, you don’t have to do that. There are alternative services that let you access no-fee trades from Canada, similar to what Robinhood offers.
Robinhood Alternatives for Canadians
While Robinhood has repeatedly promised to bring the service to Canada, it’s been long enough to conclude that they don’t plan to follow up on those promises. Also, you don’t have to wait until they do, as there are free and low-fee alternatives to Robinhood for Canadian residents.
While some of these alternatives may not offer everything Robinhood does, no thanks to regulatory scrutiny, they’re the closest services to Robinhood today. Here are some of the best Robinhood alternatives for Canadians that you should consider trying today.
- Wealthsimple Trade
While its name mightn’t sound as memorable as Robinhood, it’s undoubtedly the closest thing to Robinhood that’s also accessible from Canada. This service found a way to bend the regulatory norm in Canada to offer commission-free trading in the country.
Just like Robinhood, Wealthsimple Trade lets you keep a $0 minimum account balance to help you start trading with whatever you want. You can either trade in USD or CAD, making it a compelling investment app for both American and Canadian investors.
If you’re moving over from Robinhood to Wealthsimple trade, you’ll instantly notice that this service is missing many features. If you use the margin trading and fractional share options pretty frequently, you may want to go back to Robinhood, or at least, find an alternative.
- Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is objectively better than Robinhood, but it’s best for experienced investors, which goes against the primary idea of Robinhood. This service doesn’t offer commission-free trades, but if trading is your primary job, it’s worth it.
Currently, Interactive Brokers is the only trading service that lets Canadians access fractional shares. The fact that Interactive Brokers bring rare features to traders all over the world has repeatedly earned it the title of the world’s top online broker.
Interactive Brokers also offers industry-leading commission fees and lets you keep a minimum account of $0. If you want an investment service that lets you access your account in 135 countries around the world, you may want to consider this service.
On the negative side, this platform can’t be described as intuitive for beginners. Also, it costs $10 per month to use the service as long as your account is under $100,000.
With the crypto boom of 2020, more people are using Robinhood simply to trade crypto. If that’s the main reason why you want an alternative, you may want to check out Newton.
Newton is a far better crypto trading app than Robinhood, and the fact that it’s accessible in Canada is a joy. It offers more than 25 cryptocurrencies that you can trade across all states in Canada. One downside to Newton is that it doesn’t let you trade anything other than cryptocurrencies.
Unlike most other Canadian crypto brokers, you can deposit and withdraw your cryptocurrencies from Newton at no fee. Deposits are also insanely fast, and it offers the lowest fees for transactions among all competing apps.
However, Newton can use an upgrade to its servers, as you’ll most likely experience downtimes when trying to access your account in the middle of a surge. The fact that you can’t trade stocks or bonds is also a turn-off for most investors.
Robinhood is certainly a great app, but that only applies to investors in the United States. Once you travel down to Canada, you’ll notice that your Robinhood account is now inaccessible, and you may have to find an alternative.
This article outlines some of the best alternatives to Robinhood for Canadians and some of their pros and cons.