PanamaTimes

Friday, Apr 19, 2024

Is Robinhood safe? Experts weigh in on using the commission-free investing app

Is Robinhood safe? Experts weigh in on using the commission-free investing app

Robinhood is an app and web interface that allows users to buy, sell, trade, and invest in stocks and other investments (like cryptocurrency) without paying commission fees.

According to Douglas Boneparth, a certified financial planner and the president of the investment advising company Bone Fide Wealth, Robinhood is "geared toward the next generation of investors."

Yet that forward focus has led to the company being investigated for "gamifying" investing. The company is facing active lawsuits and increased regulatory scrutiny, in part because it restricted trading during the GameStop stock saga in 2021.

Robinhood's rise has been rocky, leading many to wonder whether it's safe to use.

The short answer? "Trade at your own risk," Boneparth says.


Is Robinhood safe?


When setting up an account with Robinhood, users give their personal information — such as their age, net worth, income, and Social Security number. According to Nickolas Sanchez, a certified financial planner at Financial Architects, this is an entirely normal process to trade stocks under SEC guidelines.

"This isn't a Robinhood-specific requirement," he says. "If you want to invest, even at the most reputable firms, you are going to have to give underlying personal information."

The Securities and Exchange Commission requires these details to avoid fraud and especially risky investments. And just like any other brokerage firm, Robinhood must abide by the fair practice regulations set by the SEC, including providing proof of fair dealings. Otherwise, they face being hit with fines or civil lawsuits.

Additionally, Robinhood is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which offers financial protection if a brokerage firm were to fail. The SIPC can replace up to $500,000 for both securities and cash, including a $250,000 limit for cash only, in missing customer property.

So if Robinhood went bankrupt, as an investor on that brokerage platform, your funds could be transferred to another brokerage firm or refunded to you. But investments in cryptocurrency are not protected by either the SIPC or Robinhood.

Finally, Robinhood ensures its users that their passwords and "sensitive details" are encrypted. Once you verify your banking information, Robinhood says it will "never access them again." The app also offers two-factor authentication via SMS text message and third-party authentication apps for additional security protection.


The risks of using Robinhood to buy, sell, and trade stocks


Anyone can sign up and create a trading account with Robinhood within minutes, without any real training on the stock market or educational resources on how investing works. That, according to Boneparth, may be a disservice to its users.

The financial expert pointed to the case of 20-year-old Alexander Kearns, who died by suicide after thinking he lost $730,000 on Robinhood.

"Sure, Robinhood will tell you if you go to their website they have blogs and articles about investing, but that's no different than any other brokerage," Boneparth says. "At the end of the day, Robinhood is a business. They don't have a fiduciary obligation to their clients. They facilitate a service."

He adds that there are no risks specifically inherent to Robinhood's platform, yet advises his clients to bounce investment ideas off their personal investment advisor.

Sanchez agrees, telling Insider that the minimalistic design of the app, coupled with the commission-free trading feature, may "incentivize a lot of activity," which could pose a risk to one's portfolio.

"One school of thought is that the best approach to investing — and there's really no right answer — is to buy and hold stocks in quality companies that you believe in, that you trust, and that you use," Sanchez says.


The bottom line


In short, Robinhood is safe to use, but don't get caught up by the allure of free trading. Treat Robinhood like any other broker, and be careful with how you spend your money.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×