In a time not so long ago, commission-free trading platforms would have been unthinkable. Online brokers would make their money by charging a fixed or variable fee, with investors paying this every time a trade is executed.
However, fast forward to 2020 and the fee-free trading phenomenon is now a very real thing. This allows you to buy and sell assets without paying a cent in fees.
The latest entrant to this ever-growing marketplace is that of Webull. The platform hosts thousands of US stocks, alongside heaps of ETFs from multiple industries.
On top of fee-free trades, Webull is also popular for those seeking leverage and a fully-functional mobile trading app.
If you like the sound of what Webull offers and thus – you’re considering opening an account, we would suggest reading our in-depth review first.
We’ll cover the ins and outs of how the platform works, who is eligible to trade, what financial instruments it supports, payment methods, regulation, and more.
What is Webull?
- 1 What is Webull?
- 2 Who is Eligible to Join Webull?
- 3 What can You Trade at Webull?
- 4 Webull Fees & Commissions: Is it Really Free?
- 5 Webull Trading Platform
- 6 Trading With Leverage
- 7 Research Tools
- 8 Deposits and Withdrawals
- 9 Is Webull Safe?
- 10 Customer Support and Public Reviews
- 11 How do You Get Started at Webull?
- 12 Webull Review: The Verdict?
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
- 14 Webull
- 15 Pros
- 16 Cons
Launched as recently as 2018, Webull is a US-based investment platform that allows you to buy, trade, and sell a range of popular assets. With so many trading platforms now active in the market, Webull is looking to stand out from the crowd by offering zero-commission trades.
While the broker is not the only platform to support fee-free trading, it certainly has one of the most extensive offerings in the blue-chip equity department. You also have the option to invest in ETFs. On the flip-side, the platform does not support mutual funds, futures, options, or bonds.
Nevertheless, Webull offers its trading platform in multiple formats. This includes a traditional web-setting, a downloadable trading interface, or through a mobile app. This is great if you have a tendency to buy and sell assets on the move.
For those of you that have a slightly higher appetite for risk, Webull also offers margin on some of its tradable instruments. This is somewhat low at 4x during the day, and 2x for overnight holdings. Although the platform doesn’t charge any commissions, you will need to pay interest if you engage in margin trading. However, this is standard practice with all leverage platforms operating in the space, as you’re essentially borrowing money from the broker.
Webull is suited for both newbie and advanced traders. Regarding the former, the platform does not have any minimum balance requirements unless you are applying leverage to your trades.
If you’re an advanced trader, you’ll be pleased to know that the Webull interface comes with a selection of technical indicators, although this is limited to just 20.
It is important to note that Webull is heavily regulated, not least because it operates in the US. This includes the required regulatory approval from key licensing bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
The platform’s parent company – Webull Financial LLC, is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This provides investors with a range of protections in the event that the broker runs into financial difficulties.
So now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore who is eligible to open an account at Webull.
Who is Eligible to Join Webull?
As a US-based broker that targets its services to Americans, you must be a US resident to join Webull. As such, non-US citizens cannot open an account.
You will need to be at least 18 years old to get started, and be able to verify your identity and residency status. This includes a requirement to upload a copy of your government-issued ID, and provide your social security number.
What can You Trade at Webull?
Although Webull hosts thousands of equities on its platform, as well as heaps of ETFs, the broker falls short in other asset classes.
Notably, you won’t be able to buy and sell options, futures, mutual funds, or cryptocurrencies. However, as the platform was only launched in 2018, it plans to add more asset classes in the very near future.
Nevertheless, the main attraction for investors at Webull is its stocks and shares offering. The platform only lists US-based stocks, which is a bit disappointing. With that being said, you’ll have thousands of equities to choose from across both the NYSE and Nasdaq.
In the ETF department, you’ll have more than 2,300 different instruments to buy and sell. This includes key stock market indices such as the NASDAQ, Dow Jones, and S&P 500.
Webull Fees & Commissions: Is it Really Free?
The lure of fee-free trading in the online investment space has seen a sea-change in the industry. Traditional brokers are now being challenged by start-up platforms that have found a way to make money without charging its investors.
Webull falls firmly within this category. As a result. You will not pay any fees or commissions when you buy and sell assets. This is the case when trading both stocks and ETFs.
However, a couple of other charges do exist at the platform, which we’ll break down in the following sections.
On the one hand, it is remarkable that platforms like Webull are able to facilitate stock trading on a fee-free basis. Ordinarily, you would be required to pay a flat fee per trade, or a percentage of the total market order. However, while such fees do not exist at Webull, it is crucial that you make some considerations regarding the spread.
For those unaware, the spread is the difference between the ‘bid’ and the ‘ask’ price of an asset. The larger the gap between the bid and ask price, the higher the spread.
This results in an indirect trading fee, as you’ll need to cover the spread just to break even. For example, if the spread amounts to 1.5%, you’ll only start to make a profit once the asset surpasses 1.5% in gains.
Ultimately, fee-free platforms have been known to offer a less favourable spread, so it’s crucial that you look out for this prior to trading.
If you are able to deposit and withdraw funds using ACH, then you won’t pay any fees.
However, if you have a requirement to fund your account via bank wire, you’ll pay $8 per transfer. This amounts to $25 when making a withdrawal.
Although we’ll cover leverage later on, it’s worth quickly outlining the fees that you will pay to trade on margin.
You will only pay leverage fees if you hold your position overnight. This starts at 3.99% annually for debit balances of $3 million or more, and a maximum of 6.99% for debit balances of less than $25,000.
These fees are significantly higher than other platforms in the market, so you should tread with caution if trading on leverage.
Other than the above, no other fees are charged by Webull, which is great.
Webull Trading Platform
Webull is available on three main formats – its web-based platform, a downloadable software platform, and a mobile app.
Whether you decide to trade via your standard web browser or desktop software, the trading platform is like-for-like. As soon as you load the trading screen up, you’ll notice that the platform is super user-friendly.
By default, your trading screen will have a black background, with candlesticks displayed in green and red. However, you can fully customize your charting area as and when you see fit.
When it comes to finding your chosen asset, you can use the search box at the top right-hand of the screen. You also have the option of saving specific assets to your favourites bar.
Interestingly, the Webull desktop trading arena allows you to track the prices of thousands of assets in real-time, even though the platform doesn’t allow you to trade them. For example, you can analyze the price movements of futures, options, non-US stocks, and even cryptocurrencies.
As is to be expected with a new-age trading platform, Webull allows you to place a range of market orders. This includes stop-loss and limit orders. You can also install bracket orders, which covers both take-profit and stop-loss orders.
For those of you with more experience in placing market orders, you can also execute GTC (Good ’til Cancelled) trades. This ensures that your market order remains active until the entire order is filled. If it isn’t, then the platform will automatically close it.
A really useful feature available at Webull is the ability to set-up notifications on specific stocks or ETFs. For example, let’s say that you’ve set a limit order on Apple stocks at $278. When your activation price is triggered, you will receive a notification letting you know. This will then allow you to sit at your desktop computer to trade the asset manually.
One of the biggest drawbacks to using Webull is its shortfall in the technical indicator department. While most trading platforms will host 100+ indicators, Webull is limited to just 20.
As such, if you’re a seasoned trader that relies heavily on technical indicators, Webull might not be the right platform for you.
Below we have listed the most popular indicators used by traders at Webull.
- Bollinger Bands
- Exponential Moving Average
- Ichimoku Cloud
- Keltner Channels
- Simple Moving Average
Webull also offers a fully-fledged mobile trading arena. You can download the platform’s mobile app for free from either the Google Play or iTunes Store.
The mobile app allows you to buy and sell assets while on the move, and all of the features available on the main desktop site remain constant.
This includes the ability to deposit and withdraw funds, purchase stocks, review research tools, and check your portfolio.
However, it must be noted that attempting to perform technical analysis on the mobile is somewhat difficult. Although you can still utilize the technical indicators as per the desktop platform, the smaller screen size is a bit of a hindrance.
Trading With Leverage
If you’re keen to trade stocks and shares on leverage, Webull permits this up to 4x during the day. If you’re looking to apply leverage overnight, this is capped to just 2x. In order to qualify for leverage, you will first need to open a margin account.
This will require you to answer a range of questions pertaining to your investment experience. If your application is approved, you will then need to have a cash balance of at least $2,000.
In some instances, Webull might ask for a higher margin balance if you are looking to trade more volatile stocks. Keep an eye on this, as you don’t want to have your trade liquidated.
One of the best advantages of opening a margin account at Webull is that it will give you the ability to short stocks. This gives you the opportunity to make gains even if the markets are down. If you do want to engage in short selling, you will still need to meet the minimum margin balance of $2,000 to be eligible.
We really rate the research tools available at Webull. First and foremost, you’ll have access to daily news and press releases, which is crucial if you have a tendency to trade stocks on the back of fundamentals. Upon scrolling through the analysis department, you’ll also come across a number of trading ideas of certain stocks.
These are published by analysts employed by Webull and are often highly extensive. For example, an analyst might present some viewpoints on the short-term prospects of Nike stocks, giving their reasons as to why they believe the price will increase or decrease in the coming weeks.
The report will then outline some potential trading strategies to capitalize on these findings, as well as the required orders to minimize losses.
If you’re the type of investor that likes to take a hands-on approach with the financials, Webull also publishes recent earnings reports. This includes key data such as debt ratios, projected earnings, and expected dividends.
Finally, we also like the financial calendar that is hosted at Webull. This allows you to view upcoming events that are likely to influence the markets. For example, if an upcoming Federal Reserve meeting is due, you’ll find it listed on the calendar.
Deposits and Withdrawals
As noted above, ACH deposits can be made for free, while you will be charged if making a conventional bank wire. It is unfortunate that you can’t deposit funds with a debit or credit card, nor are popular e-wallets like PayPal or Skrill supported.
Moreover, you will first need to verify your bank account by confirming two micro payments. We’ve outlined the deposit process in more detail in the step-by-step guide further down.
When it comes to withdrawals, Webull implements a holding period before the cash-out can be requested. If depositing funds by ACH, this is 7 days from the time of the deposit. The holding period of bank wire deposits is just 1 day.
Is Webull Safe?
Although Webull was launched as recently as 2018, the platform has an excellent regulatory standing. The broker is regulated by two key bodies – the SEC and FINRA. This ensures that Webull stays compliant with all relevant laws and regulations surrounding financial securities.
The most important regulatory protection that you will have at the platform is that of SIPC. This is an insurance scheme that ensures you are covered in the event the broker went bust. SIPC protects your holdings up to $500,000, which includes $250,000 in cash balances.
When it comes to account security, the Webull platform utilizes institutional-grade encryption controls to ensure your data remains private. You will also have the option of installing two-factor authentication.
This will require you to enter a unique PIN that is sent to your phone every time you wish to log in to your account. We would suggest keeping this on at all times.
Customer Support and Public Reviews
If you need to speak with a member of the customer service team, you can send an email to email@example.com
Alternatively, you can call the team directly at +1 (888) 828-0618.
Webull also has a presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, Webull does not provide a live chat facility.
Support is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per day.
Although Webull is not yet listed on TrustPilot, there are heaps of reviews on both Google Play and the iTunes Store. Regarding the former, Webull has an ultra-impressive rating of 4.4/5, which is based on more than 44,000 reviews.
In the iTunes Store, Webull is rated at 4.6/5, which is based on 9,000+ reviews. Crucially, such a high rating over tens of thousands of individual reviews is highly promising.
How do You Get Started at Webull?
If you like the sound of what Webull offers, and you’re keen to get started with an account today, below we have outlined the steps that you will need to follow. Just remember to check our section on eligibility prior to signing up.
Step 1: Visit the Webull Website
You will first need to head over to the Webull homepage to open an account. You can do this via the web-based site or the mobile app.
Step 2: Enter Your Personal Information
You will now need to let Webull know who you are. Enter your full name, home address, date of birth, social security number, and contact details. Make sure that all of the entered information is correct as you will be required to validate the data later.
Step 3: Financial Experience and Assets
As is standard with most trading platforms, you will need to specify your prior investment experience. This will need to include the types of assets you have previously traded, and the size of your average investments.
You will also need to provide information surrounding your net worth. This will include your current salary and whether you are classed as a retail or institutional investor
Step 4: Verify Your Identify
Webull is regulated by a number of key licensing bodies such as the SEC and FINRA, so it needs to ensure it remains compliant with anti-money laundering laws. As such, you will be required to bypass a KYC (Know Your Customer) process to get your account verified.
If you’re classed as a retail client, you will only need to upload a copy of your government-issued ID.
Webull can then validate the ID with the social security number you provided in your application. If you’re opening an account as an institutional investor, then you will need to provide additional documents.
Step 5: Deposit Funds
Once your account has been verified, you will then be able to deposit funds. Take note, the deposit process at Webull is highly cumbersome, as you will first need to verify your bank account.
To do this, Webull will transfer two micro payments into your account. This can take up to 48 hours to show up, so you won’t be able to do anything until it does. To complete the process, you’ll need to enter the value of the two micro payments in your Webull account portal.
When you have successfully linked your bank account, you can then transfer funds via ACH. Webull notes that it can take up to 5 business days for the funds to settle. However, the platform will give you provisional credit during this time, although it will only be for a partial amount.
Webull Review: The Verdict?
In summary, Webull has both its good and bad points. On the one hand, its main selling point is that you can trade without paying any fees or commissions. Although there are a number of other platforms in the market offering the same fee-free structure, Webull has a highly extensive number of stocks and ETFs to choose from.
This includes more than 5,000 stocks listed on the NASDAQ and NYSE, and over 2,300 ETFs. However, it is a shame that the platform is yet to host other asset classes. Other commission-free platforms in the market also list mutual funds and bonds, so hopefully Webull will consider this in the near future.
A further downfall with Webull is its limitations in the technical indicator department. With just 20 indicators on offer, this falls well short of the 100+ average that most trading platforms typically provide.
Nevertheless, we really like the educational department at Webull, which is jam-packed with financial data, trading ideas, and fundamental analysis. The platform also offers the option of trading on leverage, which is capped at 4x and 2x for daytime and overnight holdings, respectively.
Take note, you will need to hold at least $2,000 in your account to be eligible for this. If you are, you’ll also be able to short stocks.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Webull really free? Webull does not charge any fees or commissions when trading stocks and ETFs on its platform. The only charge that you need to be made aware of the spread. This is the difference between the ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ price. Although you won’t be charged per-say, it’s an indirect fee that you need to consider.
- Is Webull available for non-US residents? Webull is a US-based trading platform that only services Americans. As such, if you’re based outside of the US you won’t be able to use Webull.
- What is the minimum deposit amount at Webull? Webull does not require you to hold any minimum balances, so you can deposit as little as you like. Just be aware of the deposit fees associated with a bank wire transfer.
- What documents do I need to upload at Webull? As is the case with all investment platforms regulated in the US, you will need to verify your identity. This requires you to upload a copy of your government-issued ID, which either needs to be a passport or driver’s license. You might be asked to upload further documents if you’re an institutional client, or you are deemed to be trading large amounts.
- Can I trade with leverage at Webull? Webull permits leverage on stock trading. You can apply up to 4x leverage during the day, and 2x for overnight holdings. Take note, you will need to open a margin account to be considered for leverage, which requires a minimum account balance of $2,000.
- What assets can I trade at Webull? At the time of writing, Webull only supports US stocks and ETFs. However, it plans to add options and foreign stocks in the very near future.
- How does Webull make money? As Webull does not charge trading fees or commissions, it makes its money through other avenues. On the platform itself, this includes fees to trade on margin. An additional revenue flow for Webull is its order flow service. This helps traditional brokers buy and sell orders when they are experiencing busy periods.
- What trading platforms does Webull offer? Webull offers three main trading platforms. This includes its main desktop site, a downloadable software platform, and its mobile app.