Robinhood Updates its Gold Offering

For $5 per month, you can access margin, additional research, and market data

Robinhood, which offers online trading apps, has made a significant enhancement to its Gold offering in an effort to provide users with access to margin borrowing and additional research. It is the latest salvo in the battle among online brokers to lure customers onto their platforms.

Robinhood considerably changed its Gold offering on April 10, 2019, including additional research and market data on top of access to margin borrowing. For $5 per month, customers can use up to $1,000 of margin at no additional charge, and also view Morningstar stock analysis on over 1,500 companies. The Morningstar reports can be read both on the Robinhood app and the Robinhood website.

On June 17, Robinhood added Nasdaq Level 2 market data for Gold subscribers. Level 2 market data shows how many shares are offered or on demand at different price points, giving the trader a good picture of the market for a particular stock. The graphical mockup of how the data is displayed can help traders figure out an executable limit price when entering an order.

If you choose to borrow more than $1,000 for your trading, you'll be charged a very reasonable 7.5% per year interest rate, well below the average of the brokers we reviewed earlier this year. You can also access up to $5,000-$50,000, depending on the value of your account, once you initiate a deposit so you can place trades before your funds arrive. The previous limit was $1,000 for instant deposits.

Robinhood's previous Gold offering had customers paying in advance for margin loans, which was extremely unusual. This revamped Gold offering is more in line with industry standards, which means paying only for the margin customers are using.

Robinhood Gold is described on their website and in the app, though they still say that Level 2 market data is "coming soon." There is a 30-day free trial available for the Gold services.

In March, Robinhood acquired MarketSnacks, a daily podcast and newsletter service, and relaunched it as Robinhood Snacks. The newsletter is designed to be read in three minutes, and the podcast offers 15 minutes of financial news. Anyone can subscribe to the daily and weekly Robinhood Snacks newsletters, and find the daily podcast, “Snacks Daily,” on Robinhood. Robinhood Snacks fills in some gaps in market news.

Robinhood began as a previously mobile-only stock trading app, but has advanced significantly in both the number of customers and the services it offers them. One of the most prominent questions surrounding its service involves the practice of order routing and the true cost of using the platform. Industry observers believe their payment for order flow practices and reporting are deceptive. These questions are detailed in our Robinhood Review, for those interested in learning more.

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