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Robinhood Gold Review: 1% Deposit Boost Now Live (Details)

Update June 2024: The 1% Deposit Boost for Robinhood Gold subscribers is now live. As previously announced, the 1% boost is paid out gradually over 24 months on net new deposits. If you make future withdrawals, this may affect your unpaid boosts. If you were already paid a boost payment, it may affect the boost on future deposits. In other words, they are paying attention and it’s not simple to game by withdrawing your cash. You can find additional details on this FAQ page. The following deposits are eligible:

Standard bank account transfers (originated ACH)
Wires in
Direct deposit (non-originated ACH)
Debit card transfers (including Apple Pay)
Request for Payment (ex. Zelle or PayPal transfer)
Transfers from spending account
Transfers from IRA account

I tested it out with a $500 deposit with a debit card transfer via Apple Pay (for another 1%*). Hello, $0.21 a month! 💰 Here’s a screenshot. I’m already locked into a Robinhood relationship for 5 years with the expired IRA promo, so I will try to see how to best utilize this promo for the next 3 years.

(* Debit card deposit side note: I also stacked it with by making the deposit with Apple Pay linked to my 1% cash back debit card from Upgrade. This way, I’ll get another 1% on the $500. Now, this method should be used carefully and for deposits that you intend to invest at Robinhood, as I’ve read reports of Robinhood freezing accounts if this option is abused by depositing and immediately withdrawing. This works for me because I plan to invest smaller deposits there for 24 months to get the Robinhood 1% match anyway. Besides Upgrade, a few other places offer 1% cash back on debit card purchases, but Upgrade is also offering a $300 bonus which is noteworthy even if it is a fintech.)

Full review:

Robinhood recently held a Steve Jobs-esque product announcement about new upcoming features for their Robinhood Gold paid membership tier ($5 a month or $50 per year upfront). Here are the highlights of the new features:

  • 1% match on all deposits. Called “Unlimited Deposit Boost”, Gold members will get a 1% match on all incoming deposits. For example, if you transfer $500 every month to invest at Robinhood, they will give you an extra $5 a month to invest. If you transfer in $100,000, they will give you $1,000. Doled out over a 2-year period if you keep your deposits there during that time.
  • 3% cash back on all categories with their new credit card. Redeems directly into a Robinhood account. Can create virtual numbers and extra cards for family members. No annual fee, but does require Gold membership.
  • New customizable user interface. One of Robinhood’s strengths has always been it’s modern user interface. That’s always been countered by their fintech-average level of customer service.

Here are the existing Robinhood Gold features:

  • 5% APY on cash sweep deposits. (1.5% APY without Gold until May 2024, then 0.01% APY after that.)
  • $1,000 in free margin ($2,000 until 8/18/24).
  • 3% match on annual IRA contributions. (1% match without Gold.) 5-year lock-up period. This is meant to be a recurring thing. See FAQ for details.
  • 3% match on incoming IRA transfers and rollover amounts (ended 4/30/24). This WAS a limited-time offer and potentially huge for those with big IRAs. 5-year lock-up period. See link for details.
  • Bigger instant deposits. Instant Deposit eliminates the three-day wait period for funds to transfer from your bank into Robinhood. With Gold, customers can get larger Instant Deposits of up to $50,000 depending on their brokerage account balance and status.
  • Free premium stock reports from Morningstar. Gold members get unlimited access to Morningstar’s stock research reports. These reports are available for approximately 1,700 stocks and are updated frequently to reflect important company events.
  • Level II market data from Nasdaq. Level II market data shows multiple bid and ask prices from Nasdaq for any given security so investors can better determine the availability or desire for a security at a certain price.

The hottest deal WAS the 3% match on incoming 401k rollovers and IRA transfers. I participated for an $8,000+ payout and am now stuck in its 5-year lock-up period. They’ve added billions of new assets with this promotion.

The second hottest deal is the new 1% unlimited deposit match, doled out over a 2-year period. I find it a very clever way to keep customers locked-into their Robinhood accounts AND keep them paying for a Robinhood Gold subscription. Don’t be surprised if the price of Gold goes up within the next year or so!

Deposit boost is divided into 24 monthly payouts. To earn your full boost, hold or invest your brokerage deposits for 2 years. If you cancel Gold, you’ll lose future payouts you haven’t earned yet.

The third hottest deal is the 3% cash back credit card, even though the credit card is getting the most press attention. 3% cash back with no annual fee is certainly noteworthy, but the card also doesn’t have an upfront sign-up bonus (and technically requires Gold at $50/$60 a year). If you currently have a 2% cash back card and spend even $50,000 a year on your credit card, 1% more is only $500 a year in extra cash back.

Meanwhile, I don’t spend that much on any single card (due to other better promos that will earn me $500+ upfront and the equivalent of more than 3% back) and I already get 2.6% back from my Bank of America credit card with Preferred Rewards. I like the idea of simple 3% cash back, but not quite worth a credit pull for me (we’ll see how long it lasts, since 3% has historically been too high to last).

If you are one of the first 5,000 people to refer 10 people to Robinhood Gold, apparently they will send you a credit card made of actual gold. After reading the terms closely, even if I do get enough referrals for the “Solid Gold” card, I’ll get a 1099 for over $1,000. If they run out of Gold cards, you just get the cash, but there doesn’t seem to be an option to simply decline and opt for the cash. I’m not interested in paying $400 in taxes for a gaudy 10 karat credit card.

Upgrade Rewards Checking: $300 Referral Bonus (Improved) + 5.21% APY Savings

Upgrade has increased the bonus from $150 to a $300 bonus via referral link on their Rewards Checking Plus account (referred gets $50). Must set up direct deposits totaling at least $1,000 within 45 days. Note: This promo usually scheduled to end at the end of the current month, but has been getting extended a month at a time.

Good news is the account opening process was very quick and easy, literally under 5 minutes. I did not have to upload any extra documentation and I did not experience any hard credit checks. The account was open and ready the day after application. FDIC insurance on deposits held at Cross River Bank. (NOTE: This is a good bonus, but Upgrade is a fintech and therefore has a nonzero risk that your funds may be not tracked correctly and FDIC insurance does not cover the failure of a non-bank fintech. FDIC insurance only covers an event when a bank fails. I would not keep this as your primary day-to-day account, nor maintain significant funds there.)

Here are the highlights of the Rewards Checking account, if you maintain that $1,000+ in monthly direct deposits:

  • Debit card earning 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, utilities, convenience stores, drugstores, select monthly subscriptions (including Netflix, SiriusXM, Spotify, Disney Plus), and cell phone providers (including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Cricket Wireless). Maximum of $500 in 2% rewards per calendar year.
  • Debit card earns 1% cash back on everything else. (unlimited)
  • No minimum balance, no monthly fees (even without direct deposit).
  • ATM fees rebated when charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month.
  • Can fund up to $500 instantly via debit card. Some of you may have other debit cards that earn rewards.

An “Eligible Direct Deposit” is a recurring deposit to your Account by Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) from your employer, payroll, or benefits provider, or gig economy payer OR a deposit by Original Credit Transaction (“OCT”) from your gig economy payer. One-time direct deposits, including tax refunds, bank ACH transfers, bank verification or trial deposits, peer-to-peer transfers from services, such as PayPal or Venmo, merchant transactions, mobile check deposits, and cash loads or deposits are not Eligible Direct Deposits.

You can also add on their Performance Savings account with the following features, again with $1,000+ in monthly direct deposits into the Rewards Checking Plus:

  • 5.21% APY as of 2/27/24 (lower APY without direct deposits)
  • No minimum balance, no monthly fees (with or without direct deposits).

They also offer a Premier Savings account also at 5.21% APY which is currently offering an up to $200 deposit bonus if you deposit enough new money with them.

A straightforward checking direct deposit promotion that doesn’t incur a hard credit check, nor a large number of debit card transactions, nor require joining any partner organizations. Perfect if you can switch over and/or split direct deposits easily. Gig economy payments count.

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