So you have finally decided to pull the trigger and get involved with investing, or you’ve already been investing but want to switch to a broker with no fees….
But which investing app do you choose? Robinhood or M1 Finance?
There are getting to be so many brokerages out there, all with different investment tools and premium packages, it can get a little overwhelming.
Luckily, we have tried them out for you so you can just relax and we’ll go over the good, the bad, and the ugly of both of these great investing apps.
Which free investing app is better, Robinhood or M1 Finance?
The competition between Robinhood and M1 Finance is pretty close, but overall we feel like Robinhood is slightly better.
Robinhood offers all of the same features as M1 Finance, like fractional shares and a DRIP, but the app just has a slightly better user experience and it doesn’t have any kind of penalty for dropping below a minimum balance like M1 Finance does.
Realistically, that penalty isn’t hard to avoid, but it still exists. If you drop below $20 and aren’t actively using your M1 Finance account, they’ll charge you a $20 maintenance fee, which frankly they just need to remove entirely.
M1 Finance is still a really solid investing app, and may be slightly better suited for absolute beginners because of the robo-advisor functionality, but in the grand scheme of things I’d rather use Robinhood over M1 Finance.
Robinhood and M1 Finance Services
In this category we compare which investing services each app provides and we take into consideration the overall “feel” of each investment app which is a bit difficult to quantify. BUT we think that’s important because no-one wants to use a clunky app, especially when money is involved.
Here is a breakdown of the features that Robinhood and M1 Finance offer investors:
Robinhood services and features
M1 Finance services and features
Which investing app has the best service, Robinhood or M1 Finance
Honestly, this one is pretty close, but let me explain why I’m rating Robinhood higher than M1 Finance.
Both apps do their job, and they do it well, but M1 Finance has a couple things that make the user experience slightly sub-par compared to Robinhood.
First of all, their banking and cashback rewards are only available for M1 Plus members, which is their premium service that costs $99 per year.
Secondly, if your account balance drops below $20 and you aren’t actively trading with the app, M1 Finance will charge you a $20 fee. This fee isn’t really something that normal investors will get hit with, and if you can’t keep above $20 in your account then you probably shouldn’t be investing, but still… no-one likes fees.
Third, the Robinhood app just “feels” a little better overall. Admittedly, this is completely subjective, but that’s what I honestly think so… oh make your decision accordingly.
Simplicity: Robinhood vs M1 Finance
No-one wants to deal with investing apps that are too complicated to understand, especially when your hard-earned money is on the line.
Luckily, both Robinhood and M1 Finance are both really easy to use.
So let’s break down each one and see which one is easier to use.
How easy to use is Robinhood?
The first investing app I tried on my mobile phone was Robinhood, and coming from desktop platforms I was surprised at how simple and easy to understand it is.
If you’re new to investing and simplicity is your biggest concern, Robinhood is a perfectly fine app to use, but also check out apps like Acorns or CashApp because they were designed specifically to be as easy as possible to use.
How easy to use is M1 Finance?
The M1 Finance team obviously wanted to make their investing app simple and intuitive. All of it’s features are easy to understand whether you’re a new investor or a veteran one.
One of the main reasons the M1 Finance app is so simple, is because of something called a Robo-advisor. Robo-advisors are computer algorithms that analyze stock prices and pick which stock is best for you.
M1 Finance has an “auto-invest” feature that allows you to pick a few stocks and the percentage of your portfolio that you would like each stock to occupy, then you set up regular automatic deposits and the money will get split evenly into each stock. This Auto-invest feature can be turned on or off whenever you want in case for some reason you decide you don’t want the M1 Finance Robo-advisor investing for you.
Since M1 Finance offers fractional shares for everyone, this allows you to invest into whichever stocks you want instead of having to purchase a whole share. Some stocks cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (Berkshire Hathaway shares cost ~$275,000 per share right now when the market is hurting…) so being able to invest in whatever stock you want despite the price tag is just amazing.
If you’re a beginner to the investment world, I wouldn’t suggest investing on a platform without fractional shares just because of how easy it makes the process.
If you have some investment experience under your belt then I wouldn’t really worry too much about it, but fractional shares are still really nice to have access to either wa
Which Investing App Is Easiest To Use, Robinhood Or M1 Finance?
Both Robinhood and M1 Finance are really easy to use, and there really isn’t enough of a difference to declare either investing app as the winner.
Honestly, both are really easy to understand and use, so don’t worry too much about it.
Robinhood and M1 Finance: Sign-up and referral bonuses
You’ve probably seen people advertising all over the place trying to lure you into downloading investing apps with promises of free shares of stocks and cash.
Most of the time when an offer seems too good to be true it is, BUT luckily in the financial technology industry (also known as fintech) there is plenty of money to go around and they can afford to pay money to acquire new customers.
It’s common practice for big companies to pay users to try out there service in the hopes of them sticking around long enough to make the company money.
So let’s discuss how much money these companies are willing to give you for signing up and referring new users.
Robinhood sign up and referral bonuses and requirements
The Robinhood sign-up and referral bonuses aren’t going to make you rich anytime soon, but getting free shares of stocks is still a really nice bonus.
When you sign up for a Robinhood account, Robinhood will reward you and the person who referred you with a free share of a randomly selected stock valued between $2 USD and $200 USD.
Each user can receive a maximum of $500 per year this way and the chance to receive a high value stock is really small, but you’d be surprised at how fast these bonuses can add up if you put a little effort into it.
As shown in the picture above, Robinhood occasionally runs promotions that reward people for inviting people within a certain time period, in addition to the regular bonuses they offer.
M1 Finance sign-up and referral bonuses and requirements
The M1 Finance sign-up and referral bonus program isn’t the most exciting refer-a-friend program we’ve ever seen, but hey… a $10 is better than nothing.
So what’s the catch?
Well, M1 Finance requires you to deposit at least $100 for your to receive the bonus, which is a little steep for some people, especially in times of economic turmoil.
Other companies, like Webull for example, are putting more effort into their marketing campaigns and offering better rewards, but realistically you probably shouldn’t be choosing your investing app based on this metric alone.
Robinhood vs M1 Finance: Best Sign-up and Referral Program
Neither one of these apps are offering the best sign-up or referral bonuses, and they are more-or-less tied.
Each one has an advantage over the other.
Robinhood has no minimum requirement, so it’s easier to just collect your free money and move on, but the amount you get per qualified user is lower on average.
M1 Finance will give you a higher amount, on average, but requires a bigger commitment by locking the rewards behind a $100 minimum deposit.
So depending on your personal situation, you’re going to have to make that call for yourself.
Robinhood and M1 Finance Stock Research Tools
Everyone should know what thy are buying, and why, and stock research tools can help with that.
Here’s a breakdown of what we think about the Robinhood and M1 Finance stock research tools.
Robinhood stock research tools
Technical analysis tools aren’t Robinhood’s strong suit, and realistically most of the other mobile investing apps are pretty lacking as far as high-quality research tools go.
The only app we have come across so far that provides good tools is the Webull investing app, but even then, if your #1 priority is powerful tools you may want to look into some of the more powerful trading platforms like TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim.
With that being said, we don’t have any reason to hate Robinhood’s tools, it’s just a fact that they aren’t ultra-powerful.
M1 Finance stock research tools
M1 finance doesn’t have the most powerful tools on the planet, but the tools they do have will do their job.
Robo-advisors usually make your investing decisions for you, effectively eliminating the need for fancy charts and technical analysis, but you’ll still need to pick the stocks in your “pie” if you aren’t comfortable copying someone else’s pie.
Realistically, if you’re trying to invest the “right way”, you’ll want to check multiple sources of information so only having decent tools on your phone isn’t the end of the world.
For passive investing, which is what M1 Finance is good for, you won’t worry too much about research tools anyway, so you won’t really notice the lack of high-quality tools if you’re using M1 Finance.
Which investing app has better stock research tools?
Both Robinhood and M1 Finance only have mediocre stock research tools, and Robinhood’s tools come out slightly ahead.
If you’re trying to get involved with the stock market because you want to be a day-trade rather than a long-term investor, I highly suggest you either look into the investing app named Webull or look into some of the desktop trading platforms like thinkorswim from TD Ameritrade.
I don’t want to make it sound like Robinhood and M1 Finance aren’t good enough just because their research tools are mediocre, but if precision technical analysis is what you’re after, you’ll probably want to rely on other tools.
So overall, we would say this category is a tie, with no clear winner.
Which investing app did you choose and why?
We want to help people choose the right investing app for their needs, so if please help us by leaving a comment and letting us know which app you prefer. OR if you hated our article and think we need to re-evaluate, still let us know!
If neither of these investing apps seem like a good fit make sure you check out the other investing app reviews on our homepage!
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