Charles Schwab vs. Robinhood: 2022 Comparison

Robinhood and Charles Schwab both offer commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs, along with fractional shares. But most investors will find more services to meet their needs at Schwab.

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In some ways, Charles Schwab and Robinhood are similar: Both brokers will allow you to trade stocks and exchange-traded funds with no commission, and both offer fractional shares so investors can buy slices of public companies with small amounts of money.

But where they differ is in the level of service provided. Charles Schwab is a well-rounded broker with offerings for every type of investor. Retirement savers will find a large selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds, active traders will get access to powerful trading platforms and advanced trading strategies like futures, and those who want to be completely hands off can turn to Schwab's financial advisor services.

Robinhood, on the other hand, caters primarily to active investors who want to trade stocks, options, ETFs and cryptocurrency through mobile. Robinhood stands out for providing initial public offering access and free trades — particularly on options and crypto, where other brokers still charge fees — but outside of that, there's little competition here for most investors.

Charles Schwab is best for:

  • Beginner investors.

  • Advanced traders.

  • Investors seeking no-minimum index funds.

  • Investors who rely on premium research.

Charles Schwab at a glance

Account minimum

$0.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

No base commission; $0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual or inactivity fee; $50 for full or $25 for partial transfer out of assets.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Over 7,100 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

  • Stocks.

  • Bonds.

  • Fractional shares

  • Mutual funds.

  • ETFs.

  • Forex.

  • Options.

  • Futures.

Trading platform

Three platforms offered with no trade minimums or fees: StreetSmart Edge (desktop platform), Schwab.com and StreetSmart Central.

Mobile app

Two mobile apps with above-average capabilities: Schwab Mobile and StreetSmart Mobile.

Research and data

Research from more than 20 providers including Moody's, Morningstar, Recognia, and Thompson Reuters, plus more in-house generated commentary and tools.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone, email, chat 24/7, and in-person support available at branches Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some branches have Saturday hours.

Robinhood
NerdWallet rating 

on Robinhood's website

Robinhood is best for:

  • Mobile users.

  • Individual taxable accounts.

  • Margin accounts.

Robinhood at a glance

Account minimum

$0 for brokerage account and for Robinhood Gold account.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

$0.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual, inactivity or ACH transfer fees. $100 ACAT outgoing transfer fee. (Robinhood Gold costs $5 a month.)

Tradable securities

• Stocks.

• ETFs.

• Options.

• Cryptocurrency.

• American Depositary Receipts for over 650 global companies.

• Fractional shares.

Crypto availability

15 coins in 48 states.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Not rated.

Trading platform

Web platform is simple but meets basic investor needs.

Mobile app

Mobile trading platform includes customizable alerts, news feed, candlestick charts and ability to listen live to earnings calls.

Research and data

News available from Benzinga, Reuters, Bloomberg and WSJ. Gold members have access to research from Morningstar, Nasdaq, Nasdaq Totalview level II Market Data for an additional $5 per month.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Email, social media, in-app request-to-call service 24/7.

Want to compare more options? View our full list of the best brokers for stock trading.

Methodology

How do we review brokers?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars).

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

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