Robinhood launched in March 2015 and revolutionized stock trading for the “little guys” by offering trades with zero fees, allowing the purchase of tiny fractional shares, and bundling everything into a sleek mobile app. Today, Robinhood has 31 million users.
When registering for a Robinhood account, it will quickly become apparent that you cannot complete the registration unless you provide Robinhood with a social security number. The collection of this sensitive identity information can make folks feel uncomfortable, so the following article has been written to help explain why Robinhood needs your social security number and how it keeps this information private.
1. Does Robinhood Require A Social Security Number?
Yes, when registering for a Robinhood account, you must provide a valid social security number. If you do not provide an SSN, you simply won’t be able to complete the registration process. Note, a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is not accepted.
2. Why Does Robinhood Require A Social Security Number?
Robinhood requires your SSN for several reasons:
- The US government requires all US financial institutions to “Know Your Customer” and make an effort to identity and stop illegal activity such as money laundering.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also has a similar requirement for stockbrokers to collect identification information about their traders.
This requirement means that no company, including Robinhood, can allow anonymous financial trading.
- Robinhood requires all customers to be a US citizen, permanent resident, or visa holder. Having a SSN helps prove you are on of the above.
- Having a SSN on file allows Robinhood to provide tax-related data to both customers and the IRS. Customers receive tax documents such as a 1099 and the IRS receives data necessary to identify tax evasion.
3. Why Does Robinhood Ask for a Picture of my SSN Card?
Not only does Robinhood require you to provide your SSN, but it may also ask you to send in a picture of your SSN card. This is done to deter identity fraud. A hacker may be able to access your SSN digitally, but it is a lot more challenging to steal the actual paper card.
4. Can You Trust Robinhood with Your SSN?
Yes, you trust Robinhood with your money and stocks, and you can also trust the company with your sensitive data. Robinhood has the network security you would expect from a big financial firm.
5. What Type of Security Does Robinhood use to Protect Customer Data and SSN?
Social Security numbers are encrypted prior to being digitally stored. In addition, the company’s mobile and web applications utilize Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol with up-to-date configurations and ciphers.
This is in addition to customer-side protections such as requiring strong passwords, storing those passwords as encrypted data, and requiring two-factor authentication.
Related: What if Robinhood goes bankrupt?
6. What to do if Robinhood Won’t Accept My Social Security Number?
If Robinhood is concerned about the SSN you registered with, they may ask you to send them a picture of your signed SSN card. You will upload this picture via the Robinhood app, and the company employees will review it. If Robinhood is still nervous about your identity, they may decline you as a customer.
7. How Do I Use Robinhood Without a Social Security Card?
The simple answer is: you cannot open a Robinhood account unless you provide your SSN. The company may also ask you to upload a photo of your actual SSN card. If you have lost your card, then you will need to order a replacement from the Social Security Administration and then try to register for Robinhood again.