Robinhood Financial is an online brokerage firm that allows investors to trade stocks and securities without any commissions. One of the key goals of Robinhood has been to remove the barriers to entry for individual and retail investors so that they can access the financial markets.

Robinhood can charge no commissions since the firm earns its profits from a process called payment for order flow. When Robinhood sends their trades and order flow to firms, called market makers, they get paid compensation. Market makers are firms that buy and sell securities, usually from other firms, who then facilitate the flow of buying and selling of securities in the market by quoting (or making) the buy (bid) or sell (ask) prices.

Robinhood offers a cash management feature that is similar to owning a checking or savings account. The account pays a .30% annual interest rate, and there are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. Although there are many similarities to a checking or savings account, there are some distinct differences between Robinhood Cash Management and traditional bank accounts.

Key Takeaways

  • Robinhood Financial is an online brokerage firm that allows investors to trade stocks & securities without any commissions.
  • Robinhood offers a cash management feature that's similar to owning a checking or savings account. 
  • The account pays a .30% annual interest rate, and there are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.
  • Robinhood's popularity has led to competing brokers eliminating commissions for their trades, meaning investors should research which broker best fits their financial situation.

Mastercard Debit Card

Robinhood Cash Management offers a Mastercard debit card in partnership with Ohio-based Sutton Bank. The debit card is available as both a physical and a virtual card. The account can be funded via direct deposit of your paycheck or through a bank transfer from another checking or savings account.

Interest Earned

The interest earned is from any uninvested funds that are swept from the Robinhood account to one of the banks within the program. As stated earlier, the current annual interest rate is .30% as of December 2020. However, it's important to note that Robinhood Financial, LLC nor any of its affiliates are banks.

ATM Fees and Availability

Robinhood has an ATM partnership with Allpoint and MoneyPass. There are no ATM fees if you use one of the 75,000 in-network ATMs. Out-of-network ATMs may charge a fee by the machine provider, but Robinhood does not add a fee to those transactions.

However, Robinhood does not provide any compensation for out-of-network ATM fees, which many online banks offer. Also, there is no fee for you to transfer from your bank to your Robinhood account, nor is there a fee for replacing a lost or stolen debit card.

FDIC and SIPC Insurance

Uninvested funds that have been swept into the program banks are FDIC insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides insurance for deposits in U.S. banks in the event of a bank’s failure. The FDIC insures deposits within a bank up to $250,000 per depositor.

However, money invested in the financial markets, such as stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), is not FDIC insured. Instead, the securities and cash within the brokerage account are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). SIPC is a nonprofit company—created by the U.S. Congress—that insures and protects each customer up to $500,000 for securities and cash, including a $250,000 limit for cash only.

The Bottom Line

Although Robinhood has gained popularity over the years with millennials and those looking for a no-fee broker, many other brokers have followed suit and no longer charge commissions for their trades. As a result, some of the benefits that made Robinhood unique have been democratized. It's important that investors do their homework when searching for a brokerage firm so that they can pick the one that best fits their financial situation and long-term financial goals.