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Canadian Flag Blowing in the Wind

Is Robinhood Online Trading App Available in Canada?

By Clive Shapiro

  I

October 15, 2020

Is Robinhood Online Trading App Available in Canada?

Canadian Flag Blowing in the Wind

By Clive Shapiro

  I

October 15, 2020

Well-known online trading brokerage, Robinhood, was compromised last week.

Several user accounts were hacked, and some of those that were affected watched on their laptop screens helplessly, as their accounts were being emptied.

In an attempt to freeze their funds before they lost all of their earnings, a handful of these victims sent emails to the multibillion-dollar firm’s PR department, only to receive frustrating responses that they were “escalating the matter to their fraud investigations team” and would respond “within a few weeks.“

The online trading giant has shown immense popularity with millennials, likely due in part to their “fee-less trade execution” and “no minimum balance” policies. Within this demographic, these 20-somethings comprise 80% of all active accounts, and 90% of those active traders use the Robinhood smartphone app to complete transactions every week.

Pro's
Con's
Commision Free Trades
iIndustry leader as the first brokerage to offer no fees for buying and selling stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and American depositary receipt
Prices Not in "Real Time"
i Your order will always be completed in real time, however, the pricing data you see on-screen is usually slighlty delayed, despite being advertised as such. Delays can vary up to as much as 15 min. As such, this app is not recommended for serious day traders
No Minimum Account Balances
iHaving no balance requirments opens up trading to those who are budget-minded as well as young or tenderfooted investors
Somewhat Unreliable Service
i There were three outages in 2020 and twenty-one outages in 2019 where the app services were unavailable
Smartphone and Tablet Access
iEasy to navigate and stripped down for a simplistic approach. Gives traders a somewhat "gamer" feel to buying and selling
Only Available to US Citizens
iEven though eligible account holders can access the app (including trading capabilities) while travelling, non US citizens or permanent residensts cannot set up a new account
Great for Inexperienced Investors
iGives those interested in entry-level trading a chance to familiarise themsleves to market conditions with minimal commitemet or risk
Poor Customer Service
iSome clients have waited weeks for answers and there's no way to contact a customer representative by telephone as of yet
Pro's
Con's
Commision Free Trades
iIndustry leader as the first brokerage to offer no fees for buying and selling stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and American depositary receipt
Prices Not in "Real Time"
iYour order will always be completed in real time, however, the pricing data you see on-screen is usually slighlty delayed, despite being advertised as such. Delays can vary up to as much as 15 min. As such, this app is not recommended for serious day traders or high-frequency traders
No Minimum Account Balances
iHaving no balance requirments opens up trading to those who are budget-minded as well as young or tenderfooted investors
Somewhat Unrelaible Service
iThere were three outages in 2020 and twenty-one outages in 2019 where the app services were unavailable
App for Smartphone and Tablet
iEasy to navigate and stripped down for a simplistic approach. Gives traders a somewhat "gamer" feel to buying and selling
Only Available to US Citizens
iEven though eligible account holders can access the app (including trading capabilities) while travelling, non US citizens or permanent residensts cannot set up a new account
Great for Inexperienced Investors
iGives those interested in entry-level trading a chance to familiarise themsleves to market conditions with minimal commitemet or risk
Reportedly Poor Customer Service
iSome clients have waited weeks for answers and there's no way to contact a customer representative by telephone as of yet

Can I Sign Up for a Robinhood Account in Canada?

It’s been an ongoing question for quite some time – many of us north of the border want to know – when is Robinhood coming to Canada?

There had been speculation for a while, on its arrival, especially with Robinhood’s initial plans to set up shop in the UK sometime this year. Then came the announcement in July that they will be putting an indefinite halt to their expansion across the pond.

According to one of Robinhood's senior executives, the decision to postpone plans for a British launch was a difficult one, though it had nothing to do with any concerns from UK officials.

After an arduous year surrounding the safety concerns amidst the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic and the unfortunate event surrounding the suicide of 20-year-old Robinhood investor Alexander Kearns, the decision to strengthen their core business and products nationwide took precedence over all other corporate ventures.

For the time being, Canadians will have to wait until the dust settles. Until then, you’ll have to settle for the alternatives – and those, are quite honestly not looking so bad at the moment.

Are There Any Comparable Online Brokerages Here in Canada?

Initially, Robinhood was the first to offer no-fee buying and selling in an era where $10 to $20 trades were the norm and dinosaurs ruled the earth. Brokers from near and far witnessed the popularity of this new mechanism and in the hopes of survival recognized the need to adapt.

So they did.

In 2019, 3 major US brokerages; TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab and E-Trade joined the ranks of commission-free trades for individual stocks and ETF’s.

Then more jumped on the bandwagon and some new players emerged from the ash.

Some analysts say that Robinhood still leads the pack, however, their original business model will have to adapt and offer a broader range of services if they want to continue in their trailblazing ways.

The cutting-edge ideas they once offered aren't as unique to the prince of thieves as much as they were almost 8 years ago.

In fact, other online trading brokerages (other than the major players) offer similar if not the same lucrative ways to play in the sandbox as Robinhood.

Some of these firms match the no-fee options while others provide competitively low commissions on eligible transactions. Interestingly enough, many provide a few needed upgrades, discouragingly not implemented by the coveted pioneering conglomerate in green and white.

If I Can’t Use Robinhood Then What Are My Other Options?

Since Robinhood’s online trading app isn’t currently available in Canada, you might consider one of our two top-rated choices with a very similar interface:

Both of these alternatives offer a homogeneous interface, very much the same as the ‘gone-viral” app south of the border.

Or if you are interested in a more automated approach (which can be anywhere from a conservative gameplan to an aggressive one), then consider using a robo-advisor platform such as Wealthsimple Invest or Questwealth Portfolio.

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