You have probably heard about the Robinhood app on YouTube and want to know if it’s available in Malaysia, right?
Robinhood is a modern and easy-to-use investment app from the US, which has introduced the concept of commission-free trading in financial products such as stocks and ETFs.
Do you want to know if the Robinhood app is available in Malaysia, its expansion plans, and the alternatives available in your country? We’ve got you covered!
What is Robinhood?
Robinhood was founded in 2013. Since then, it has played a major role in disrupting the brokerage industry by allowing US retail investors to trade with no commissions, alongside its biggest rival, Webull. Robinhood is defined as a commission-free online broker that offers the possibility of trading stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies.
The results are clear: over 18 million users! The competitors of Robinhood have been monitoring this exponential growth closely, and, in October 2019, some major well-established brokers in the US, such as E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab, announced in quick succession that they were eradicating trading fees.
Is the Robinhood app available in Malaysia?
Unfortunately, Robinhood is not yet available in Malaysia, nor any other country outside the US.
It had planned to open in the UK in 2020, but it was postponed indefinitely.
Most recently, in early 2022, Robinhood has set aggressive goals to “open their crypto platform to customers internationally”. With this in mind, Robinhood has signed an agreement to buy Ziglu, a London-based crypto trading app, to help accelerate their international expansion, both in the UK and across Europe.
But do not lose hope! Meantime, you can still find some Robinhood Malaysia alternatives that have proven reliable (and perhaps even more reliable than Robinhood!). The covid-19 stock crash during the first quarter of 2020 showed some vulnerabilities of the Robinhood platform. The app collapsed several times, and investors could not trade during the most volatile markets in history. The company is facing some lawsuits due to these outages.
Besides, Robinhood has faced several security breaches in revealing sensitive information about its clients, and, at one point, it even allowed “infinite leverage” that was shortly corrected afterwards. Still, it did not avoid significant losses for some clients.
Robinhood Alternatives in Malaysia
To help us answer this question, we focused on low cost and reputable brokers available in Malaysia. Given that, here are our suggestions:
Commission-free stock and ETF trading (+10,000 global stocks and ETFs), 0.15% of foreign exchange fees, and presents fractional shares. Over 1.5 million customers.
Disclaimer: 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
1# Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers at a glance
If what you’re looking for is an online broker with a wide range of products from different markets, and a sophisticated trading platform, then Interactive Brokers might be a good alternative to the Robinhood broker.
Founded in 1978 and publicly listed in NASDAQ since 2007, Interactive Brokers is a global online broker that offers access to dozens of markets worldwide, not only US-listed assets. Besides the low costs, this is one of their main differentiators.
They also offer an educational area with free resources for financial education.
Interactive Brokers launched IBKR GlobalTrader, a modern mobile trading app to trade Stocks, Options and ETFs, ideal for beginner investors. Some of the features of IBKR GlobalTrader include automatic currency conversions, fractional shares, demo account, and more.
2# Trading 212
Trading 212 at a glance
Founded in 2006, Trading 212 is a fintech based in London that aims to democratize the entire investment process through a simple mobile application. The company aims to do this by allowing anyone to invest in over 10,000 stocks and ETFs, Forex, commodities, CFDs, and cryptocurrencies. Over 15 million people have already downloaded the app. In 2017, it was the trading app with the most downloads in Germany and, since 2016, it has remained 1st in the United Kingdom.
In Trading 212, you will find commission-free stock and ETF trading, fractional shares, and even an automatic investment system (Robo-advisor). Opening an account is extremely quick and easy and new users also get one free share of up to €100 by using the code IITW. On the downside, it shows limitations regarding available products, such as the lack of bonds and options. It charges a 0.15% currency conversion fee when buying assets in a currency different from your base account.
Within the app, you will notice two distinct sub-platforms: Trading 212 Invest, where you can trade a range of assets free of charge and trading 212 CFD, where you may trade leveraged financial products (CFDs).
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this broker. It is important to understand how CFDs work and the risks involved in trading, such as losing all invested capital.
Which platform should you choose?
Some factors you should know when choosing an online broker are the fees charged, if it is regulated by top-tier institutions such as the FCA in the UK, or the SEC in the USA, the range of products it allows you to trade (not all platforms allow you to trade Malaysian stocks or cryptocurrencies), among others.
The best online broker in your specific case will depend on your profile, preference, and objectives. Explore the websites above and decide for yourself!
A reminder that the above should not be seen as investment advice and should be considered information only. Investors should do their own research and due diligence about the services and opportunities best suited for their risk, returns, and impact strategy.
Hope we helped, and leave your comments below.
Is Webull available in Malaysia? Can I use Webull in Malaysia?
No, Webull (Robinhood’s biggest competitor in the US) is also not available in Malaysia. Due to compliance rules, Webull is not able to do trading besides the United States, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, and Australia.
Does Etrade work in Malaysia? Can foreigners use Etrade?
No, Etrade is not available in Malaysia either. Only US citizens/Green Card holders can open an account on this platform (some exceptions apply).
What about other US-based investment platforms? Are Acorns or M1 Finance available in Malaysia?
No, Acorns and M1 Finance are not available in Malaysia either. Only US citizens/Green Card holders are eligible to open an account on these platforms.
How exactly does Robinhood make money?
The online broker earns money from interest earned on customers’ cash balances (money in your account not invested) by selling order information to third parties (high-frequency traders, for instance) and margin lending.
Regarding selling orders, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is still investigating Robinhood for not fully disclosing its practice of selling clients’ orders to high-speed trading firms.
Until October 2018, Robinhood would not clearly state that it was receiving payments for order flows. By law, any financial company must reveal all the material facts an investor would want to know before making any investment decision.