Robinhood, the investment app for regular people, keeps crashing on big market days

With the U.S. stock market in sharp decline the timing couldn't be worse.


For some reason, the investment app Robinhood is down right now, just as many of its users probably want to use it. This marks the third outage in a week, with cofounders and co-CEOs Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev saying the company's systems have "struggled with unprecedented load" amid market swings.

The company acknowledged today's outage in a tweet just after 10 a.m. EST and announced half an hour later that trading had been "partially restored." At time of writing, the app's status page says the issues have been identified and a fix is being implemented. Several trading features have "degraded performance," while fractional equities trading still has a "major outage."

Could this be related to anything? — Oh yeah, the stock market crashed this morning. Dow briefly dropped more than 2,000 points because of the coronavirus scare and the oil market plummeting. Trading at the New York Stock Exchange was briefly halted, but don't worry, President Trump says everything is a-ok.

Hours before, Trump also congratulated Mike Pence on a great job handling the coronavirus. Nothing to see here, folks! Go back to your seat and ignore the various fires and infectious diseases surrounding you.

Compensation isn't much consolation — In response to last week's outage, the Robinhood compensated some of its thousands of irate customers with billing credits and three months of free service for premium members... which amounts to about $15. That's scant consolation for people who wanted to get money out during the outages and couldn't, or wanted to buy stocks during the first outage when the market surged.

With Robinhood billing itself as the everyman's investment app, the timing of the outages couldn't be worse. Trust is important for any company, but especially for financial services businesses. You mess with people's money, or make them think you're messing with it, and they'll move it somewhere else fast. Expect to see plenty of ads from Robinhood's rivals like Stash in weeks to come looking to capitalize on the company's recent problems.