Charles Schwab vs. Robinhood: 2024 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.
Arielle O'Shea
By Arielle O'Shea 
Updated

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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 more to active investors who want to trade stocks, options, ETFs and cryptocurrency through mobile. But the company did roll out IRAs with a 1% match in 2022. Robinhood also stands out for providing initial public offering access and free trades — particularly on options and crypto, where other brokers still charge fees.

Charles Schwab
NerdWallet rating 

on Charles Schwab's website

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 transfer out of assets.

Interest rate on uninvested cash

0.45%.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 8,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

  • Stocks.

  • Bonds.

  • Fractional shares

  • Mutual funds.

  • ETFs.

  • Options.

  • Futures.

Trading platform

Four platforms offered with no trade minimums or fees.

Mobile app

Three mobile apps: Schwab Mobile, thinkorswim and StreetSmart Mobile.

Research and data

Research from providers including, Morningstar, Argus, and S&P, 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 and IRAs.

  • Margin accounts.

Robinhood at a glance

Account minimum

$0 for brokerage accounts, Robinhood Gold accounts and IRAs.

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.). Matching funds in IRAs may be taken back if money is withdrawn after less than five years.

Interest rate on uninvested cash

1.5% for free accounts, 5% for Gold accounts.

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • ETFs. • Options. • Cryptocurrency. • American Depositary Receipts for over 650 global companies. • Fractional shares. • Bonds only available in the form of bond ETFs.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Not rated.

Trading platform

Robinhood's mobile and web platforms are known for their smooth sign-up, funding and trading processes. However, the constant pop-up notifications can be exhausting.

Mobile app

Mobile trading platform includes customizable alerts, news feed, advanced charting and ability to listen live to earnings calls for some companies.

Research and data

Access to professional research from Morningstar and Level II market data from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange (with Gold subscription).

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

24/7 chat support. Phone support available from 7:00 a.m. ET to 9:00 p.m. ET.

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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