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M1 Finance VS Robinhood: Which One is Better?

M1 Finance VS Robinhood: Which One is Better?

We’ve always been aware of the importance of financial management. With the growth of the internet, new solutions have come up. These solutions offer financial management, especially investment and saving, to people who have little knowledge of these matters. This is what brings us to the comparison between M1 Finance vs Robinhood.

Web-Based Solutions: M1 Finance VS Robinhood

Before the internet, investing was much harder. You had to either have knowledge of financial matters or look for a physical broker. Solutions such as M1 Finance vs Robinhood are just two of many services that have come up to disrupt this old order of things. However, which of the two platforms is better for you? This is our favorite part because we get to look at both of them and see what each software has to offer. We will look into features, pricing plans, and other additional details. You will then be able to make a sensible choice with this information.

M1 Finance VS Robinhood: Which One is Better?
Phone screens displaying texts @robinhoodapp

M1 Finance Setup

M1 Finance offers financial management in three forms. These three branches of finance management cover almost everything you’ll need to manage your money well. Investing comes first. It is the crucial solution M1 finance offers. In addition to investing, you also get spending and borrowing platforms.

Investing with M1 Finance

M1 Finance provides several solutions for individual investors. A portfolio is a collection of trading instruments for an investor. Such tools as stocks and bonds form a portfolio. Experts have been fine-tuning portfolios for a long time and have come up with standard offerings. M1 Finance has over 80 expert portfolios. Using these portfolios guarantees that you will get a positive return because they are time tested. These expert portfolios follow well-thought-out distribution plans that minimize risk and increase your chances of profitability.

Customized Portfolios

Using expert portfolios is your best bet if you are new to investing. If you have a bit of experience, M1 Finance doesn’t entirely restrict you to these pre-packaged offers. They realize that their users are smart enough to know what works for them. For this reason, you can come up with customized portfolios. M1 is very appealing to seasoned investors because they can come up with their portfolios and not depend on pre-packaged ones.

The Pie Chart Interface

On their platform, M1 Finance presents its portfolios on pie charts. Pie charts are the perfect visual representation of the different stocks and funds that you can have in your portfolio. The expert portfolios on offer vary, and you will notice this in the pie charts. Things that help you determine your desired financial outcomes determine the percentages of a pie. The time you are willing to invest is also another determinant, as is the level of risk you can handle.

Fractional Shares and Automated Investing

A fractional share is a part of a stock. One of the things that prevent people from investing is the high price of some stocks. M1 Finance intelligently solved this issue by introducing fractional shares. Now you can put even small amounts of money into high-value commodities and reap substantial benefits. Automation on the platform offers several positives. Let’s go into more detail.

Scheduled Investing

You can deposit money regularly automatically. This way, your portfolio grows, and you don’t have to keep a keen eye on it all the time. You can make deposits straight from your checking account at the end of every month or any other period you choose.


Your portfolio has to remain balanced even as deposits flow in. With M1 Finance, you don’t have to oversee this balancing manually. Every deposit you make gets distributed in such a way that the state of your portfolio remains constant. You won’t need to make any calculations at the end of every month to confirm the state of your target allocations.

Idle Cash Investing

M1 Finance can invest cash from your checking account. You first need to state a maximum account balance. Once you say it, M1 Finance will then push everything above this limit to your portfolio.

M1 Borrow

With M1, you also access credit facilities in addition to your investments. On the official M1 borrow page, they offer instant credit access. Their loan officers do not hassle you. You have to fill out paperwork or have credit checks run on you.


M1 Borrow, however, comes with a set of requirements. For starters, it is only available to clients with at least $10000. You will also not access it with a requirement account. The interest rates are subject to change depending on Federal Reserve changes. As of May 10, 2019, the interest rate for M1 Borrow was 4.00%. If you are a member of M1 Plus, you get a discount of 0.25% on your interest.

Emergency Funds

M1 Borrow gives you the chance to invest your emergency fund. Typically, most people have their emergency fund in cash because they need quick access to it. With M1 Borrow, you can comfortably put this money in your portfolio. You will then be able to access it from M1 Borrow at an instant.

M1 Spend

Most online investment platforms offer checking accounts, and M1 Finance is no exception. M1 Spend allows you to deposit money and spend it at your convenience with a special debit card. This feature is dependent on the plan you are on. There are two plans: a basic plan and a premium plan called M1 Plus

Basic Plan

The basic platform has no annual fees and no minimum balance. It integrates with your investment account and also has FDIC insurance up to $250000.

M1 Plus

M1 Plus offers you way more benefits than a basic account. Firstly, you get 1% cashback on all your purchases. The more you spend, the more you make. Your ATM fees are covered four times every month. However, perhaps the most impressive benefit is the tungsten debit card. The tungsten debit card is denser and more durable than regular plastic cards. It also stands out with its remarkable design. For all these benefits, though, you will have to pay $100 annually.

Customer Support

M1 Finance offers impressive customer support. Their support page has a search bar at the very top. This search bar gives you quick access to vital resources and topics. Below the search bar, you have access to links that lead you to articles on relevant issues. The ‘getting started ‘link is at the very top, and it takes you through the whole process of setting up your M1 Finance account. Other issues you might need help in include:

  • Account management
  • Fund transfers
  • Investment, spending, and borrowing guides.

M1 Finance also provides you with extensive resources that detail how they make investments. Understanding how such a firm invests your money is essential.

Lastly, you can get direct support through official contacts. These contacts are at the bottom of the page and are a vital resource. However, we doubt that you’ll meet an issue so big that you’ll have to call for customer assistance.

M1 Finance VS Robinhood: Which One is Better?
Smartphones displaying some text @m1_finance


Robinhood is an ultra-modern investment platform. When the company first came out, they only offered an app. They later built a full website. Robinhood is famous for not charging any commissions on the stocks you trade. This zero-commissions policy and an easy-to-use interface are the perfect combinations for a young trader. However, as we will discover, there are a few significant drawbacks to Robinhood. Let’s dive in and explore them.

Ease of Use

Robinhood targets millennials, and this is evident in their approach. Smartphone users will fit right in with this platform. The Robinhood app is very intuitive. Making a trade is not a hassle at all. You fill in the number of shares you want to trade and proceed. To stop or otherwise alter a trade, all you have to do is click on the order types button. Clients can instantly access their deposits and any proceeds made after closing any open positions.

There are two downsides to the user experience in Robinhood. Firstly, there is a noticeable delay in the real-time prices of stocks. Delaying stock prices for even a few seconds can affect traders adversely. If you want to use Robinhood effectively, you should open a separate tab of a real-time stock price provider.

Secondly, you cannot customize the interface to your liking. Any other external personalization options are also sadly missing.

Trading on Robinhood

Robinhood has several offerings you can choose to trade. These are options, stocks, ETFs, and a range of six cryptocurrencies. For stocks and ETFs, you can buy long. However, if you are looking to short these two, then you are unlucky.

Trading options is simple. There are not many options available, and you won’t find assistance in choosing a strategy. The website has single leg calls and puts. Another option available for you is the ability to sell a covered call after opening a position with long stocks.

You can also do cash-covered puts or in-the-money options. The Robinhood mobile app offers a bit more versatility. You get several multi-leg strategies for options. These include: iron condors, strangles, and straddles. Other plans available are: call and put debit spreads and call and put credit spreads.

Lastly, and just as unfortunately as before, you cannot trade mutual funds and fixed income on Robinhood.


A good investment platform must provide research avenues for clients. Research doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. Mostly it will involve news feeds and other verified sources. Newsfeeds available on the platform include Yahoo Finance, Associated Press, and Marketwatch, among others.

All in all, the research capabilities on Robinhood are pretty basic. However, this shouldn’t be surprising. Their platform comes free of charge, and you cannot expect much from such a service.

If you’re looking for charts, you will also be disappointed. They are extremely basic, and the price history of commodities only goes back five years.

In March 2019, Robinhood started Robinhood Snacks. It consists of daily podcasts and a brief newsletter. There have been other measures to improve research capabilities too. Gold model subscribers can access additional research information and margin loans.

Portfolio Analysis

Just like their research, they offer very minimal portfolio analysis. The only thing you can do is view the current state of your stocks. There is an accompanying chart showing how your portfolio value changes over time. You have limited options to focus on a specific time. Clicking on the table allows you to change the period. The only periods applicable are a day, a week, a month, three months, and a year.

Customer Service

Robinhood offers no direct customer service. They do not have a dedicated customer support center that you can call. All the help you’ll get will come from either their mobile app or their website. Even in the platforms, the support you’ll get consists primarily of an FAQ section and some articles. Most of these articles and a large portion of the FAQ focuses on navigating the app and website. Robinhood shows very little interest in teaching trading.

M1 Finance VS Robinhood: Which One is Better?
A person holding an iPhone @robinhoodapp

Plans and Pricing: M1 Finance VS Robinhood

M1 Finance has several platforms that are differentiated by cost and features.

The free platform requires that you have $100 in your account if the account is taxable. For retirement accounts, the limit is $500

M1 Plus demands a payment of $100 for the first year. After the first year, you have to pay $125 annually. We have discussed some of the benefits of the M1 Plus platform. You get a discount on the borrowing platform and cashback on your checking account. These aren’t the only benefits; however, you can find several others on the M1 Finance website.

Robinhood offers regular trading for free. There is, however, a premium platform called Robinhood Gold. This premium platform allows you to trade on margin or borrowed money. Based on the account size and margin, Robinhood charges a flat monthly fee. For example, if you have an account size of between $3000 and $6000, and a margin of $2000, then your monthly payment is $10.

Read more: Easy Investing With Webull & Robinhood (Review & Comparison)

M1 Finance VS Robinhood: Which One is Better?
Computer and phone screens showing the Bitcoin trend @robinhoodapp

Final Verdict: M1 Finance VS Robinhood

Robinhood pales in vs the M1. Their cryptocurrency trading option is something new, but ultimately, it’s not enough to elevate them. Their research and range of trading options are weak, and they also offer very little in terms of analysis.

M1 Finance is your best option if you are a seasoned investor. It should also be your option if you intend to grow serious with your trading with time. The number of stocks and ETFs they offer is impressive. Moreover, they also allow you to customize your portfolio at will.

In a way, M1 Finance vs Robinhood aren’t competing for the same crowd. M1 Finance is for serious traders who want to grow and in time, make money while trading. Robinhood is a lightweight platform where beginner investors can flex their muscles a bit before moving on to advanced platforms.

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