You have probably heard about the Robinhood app on YouTube and want to know if it’s available in the UK, 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, alongside its biggest rivals, Webull, E-Trade, and TD Ameritrade.
Want to know if Robinhood is available in the UK, its expansion plans, and the alternatives available? We’ve got you covered!
Is Robinhood Available in the UK?
Unfortunately, Robinhood is not yet available in the UK, 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 UK 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 the UK
To help you find a Robinhood UK equivalent, we focused on commission-free brokers available in the UK. Given that, here are our suggestions:
With over 25 million users, eToro is the leading social investing platform (copy and follow other traders/investors). It offers commission-free stock trading.
Founded in 1978, IBKR is one of the world’s most trustworthy brokers. It offers an enormous range of financial products (stocks, ETFs, Options,…), and low currency conversion fees (FX fees).
💡 Interactive Brokers also launched IBKR GlobalTrader, a modern mobile trading app to trade Stocks, Options and ETFs, ideal for novice investors.
Plus500 is one of the leading CFD brokers. It offers no commissions when trading CFDs in Indices, Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, Shares, Options and ETFs. It also recently launched Plus500 Invest for those who want to invest in real shares.
Disclaimer: 81% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
An Australian broker that allows you to trade 6,000+ stocks and ETFs commission-free, with only a 0.5% fee on deposits and withdrawals.
One of the leading online brokers in Europe due to its low-cost structure and wide range of products and markets covered. Users pay £0.5 per transaction.
Disclaimer: Investing involves risk of loss.
The UK equivalent to Robinhood, Freetrade lets you invest in more than 6,000 stocks (from the US, the UK, German, Finland and the Netherlands) and ETFs for free. Offers an ISA.
All the companies here mentioned are regulated and/or registered in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
eToro at a glance
Founded in 2006, eToro is a well-known worldwide fintech startup and the leader in the social trading field (follow other people’s trades), with over 30 million users worldwide. You can also invest in other products through their platform, which is intuitive and simple to use, making it a good choice for beginners. Plus, they have started offering commission-free stock and ETF trading in the UK (not all ETFs are commission-free).
Opening an account and depositing is easy, and you can even try it out with virtual money. On the downside, spreads can be high for some products. The only currency accepted is the USD, so you’ll be charged currency conversion fees upon deposit and withdrawal if you deposit in GBP.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
2# Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers at a glance
Founded in 1978 and publicly listed in NASDAQ (ticker: IBKR), Interactive Brokers is a global online broker which surpassed major financial crises, showing resilience and a rigorous risk management process.
Interactive Brokers offers an advanced investment platform that includes a wide range of products (stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, bonds, and currencies) from 150 markets, solid trade execution (IB SmartRouting), and a set of technical and fundamental tools to help you in your investment decisions.
Beginners and intermediate investors have educational tools to explore, but the learning curve will be steep. That´s why we mainly endorse it to more advanced traders. Besides, the customer service gives crystal clear answers to your doubts, so there is no need to go back and forth.
On the downside, Interactive Brokers’ fee structure is quite complex, the registration process is lengthy but fully online, and the broker doesn’t offer commission-free trading. However, when considering FX fees, narrower spreads, and the stock loan program, Interactive Brokers’ clients still get significant savings compared to most brokers.
Interactive Brokers also 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.
Want to know more about Interactive Brokers? Check our Interactive Brokers Review.
Plus500 at a glance
Founded in 2008, Plus500 is an online broker offering a wide range of financial products, including real shares and CFDs on forex, indices, shares, commodities, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. It is available in over 50 countries and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
There are two distinct account types:
- Plus500 CFD: It only focuses on CFD products;
- Plus500 Invest: Where you can trade stocks (real shares);
As a side note, Trade Sniper, a platform only available for US users and where you can trade Futures, is also part of the Plus500 group.
The web platform you will use is the WebTrader, Plus500’s proprietary platform, offering a stable trading experience and easy access from multiple devices, including a mobile app. All platforms are easy to use and responsive, and you can start testing the features by opening a demo account.
Their customer support is helpful and easy to assess through a chat that is always shown on the trading platform. Their spreads are low, and they offer accounts in sixteen currencies, including USD, EUR, and GBP. Still, they charge a 0.70% currency conversion fee and a $10 monthly fee following three months with no activity. On Plus500 Invest, they only charge a small commission per trade (US market: $0,006/share).
Finally, it is regulated by financial regulators like the FCA and CySec, meaning that Plus500 is appropriately supervised and that there is an investor protection scheme under the entity you open an account with. For instance, If you open an account as a European investor through Plus500CY Ltd, you are protected up to €20,000. Additionally, Plus500 provides negative balance protection for CFD trading on a per-account basis – only to retail clients from the European Union.
Want to know more about Interactive Brokers? Check our Plus500 Review.
81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money
Stake at a glance
Stake is an Australian online broker that offers commission-free trades on US stocks and ETFs.
One of Stake’s main advantages is its transparency and low cost. There are no inactivity or trading fees. Furthermore, new users can get one free share after funding the account.
The trading platforms are modern and beginner-friendly, making it a suitable alternative for both beginners and those who want to gain exposure to US-listed stocks and ETFs.
On the downside, so users are charged a 0.5% deposit and withdrawal fee. Also, the range of products and markets available is limited: it doesn’t cover UK-listed securities, bonds, among other products.
DEGIRO at a glance
DEGIRO is a low-cost brokerage firm that has become very popular due to its low rates. With almost 2 million users, the innovative platform has become widely known for its “do-it-yourself” philosophy in the sense that you have everything at your disposal to start investing on your own. It offers a wide range of financial assets to trade, including stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures contracts, warrants, investment funds, and some leveraged products.
You can trade some stocks and ETFs for free (a £1.00 flat handling fee – external costs – still applies). You also have a list of 200 ETFs where you may trade once a month completely free with no minimum amount required. On the downside, there is an absence of any significant fundamental research, a £2.50 connectivity fee applies and pricing alerts are missing.
Want to know more about DEGIRO? Check our DEGIRO Review!
Freetrade at a glance
Freetrade is a mobile-only commission-free UK stockbroker founded in 2016 that lets you invest in more than 6,000 stocks (US, UK, German, Finnish and Dutch), as well as ETFs, for free.
Freetrade came to revolutionize the traditional brokerage industry. A lot of brokers still present high complexity over their platforms and product offer. Freetrade is on a mission to help customers achieve better long-term financial outcomes and, for that purpose, it wants to be as transparent and trustworthy as possible. Ultimately, their goal is to allow everyone to benefit from wealth creation.
In the Freetrade app, you will not find CFDs and other related complex products; it does not promote day trading and has no hidden fees. The accounting opening process is quick and smooth. The mobile app is remarkably user-friendly. The main drawback is the limited product offering (no options, Forex, CFDs, Commodities or Cryptocurrencies).
As displayed on their website, Freetrade makes money through 3 revenue streams: ISA, £3/month, their premium service (£9,9/month), a fee of 0.45% of the Base FX rate on each US order placed, and a small amount of interest earned from banks on customers’ cash.
They operate under a freemium (free+premium) business model. For £9,9/month, users get extra features, such as limit orders, the ability to set stop loss, more stocks, etc. If you’re interested, you can also read our full Freetrade Review.
Which platform should you choose?
Some factors you should know of when choosing an online broker are the fees charged if it is regulated by top-tier institutions such as the FCA in the UK, the range of products it allows you to trade (not all platforms allow you to trade cryptocurrencies or LSE-listed stocks), if it has tax-efficient accounts such as the ISA account in the UK, 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 diligence about the services and opportunities best suited for their risk, returns, and impact strategy.
Hope we helped, and leave your comments below.
Other FAQs about Robinhood
Can I use Robinhood from the UK with a VPN?
No, you cannot use a VPN to open a Robinhood account from the UK. Upon account opening, Robinhood requires specific documentation that proves that you are a US citizen.
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 the selling of 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.