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A Glitch on This Stock Trading App Made Users Think They’d Lost Thousands of Dollars

Robinhood appRobinhood app
The Robinhood mobile app.Courtesy: Robinhood

Imagine waking up to check your trading account, only to see that your portfolio had been wiped out.

That’s what many users of the Robinhood app, which allows stock trading with no fees, thought happened to them Thursday morning when they logged on: Their accounts appeared to have lost 80% to 100% of their value.

The cause? A glitch, according to representatives from Robinhood.

Starting at around 10 a.m., many users saw their money tied to equities drop to zero, though funds in their accounts that had not been allocated were still being displayed—which explains why some users saw a 97% drop or others saw zero dollars. Occasionally, the app would show the users’ correct amount, before flashing back to zero. Stocks also did not show live prices.

Robinhood says no real assets had been lost from the issue, and users’ stock positions were also unaffected by the glitch.

“Robinhood experienced a brief display lag this morning, but the issue is now being resolved,” the company said in a statement. The issues were fixed by 2:30 p.m. EST.

Up until that point, however, the glitch caused panic. Several Robinhood users took to Twitter to hash out their concerns. One user noted that he had seemingly lost $5,000 in the blink of an eye. Others noted that they could no longer make trades.

https://twitter.com/dollarlesspenny/status/72061458103956684

But some users also said they lost money when they couldn’t trade.

“(Repros Therapeutics) shot up this morning and I had a position but couldn’t buy,” Robinhood user Travis Jenkins told Fortune. He said he lost out on $2,000 to $3,000 from missing the trade. “It’s rough when you have to watch the increase via Stocktwits, and there is nothing you can do.”

Users noted on Twitter that the issue had happened before:

Despite Thursday’s mishap, most users quickly forgave Robinhood. While trading stocks traditionally requires a middle man who charges a fee of $7 to $20, per trade, the app is, after all, free. Secondly, the company, which now counts around one million users, is home to a host of mainly layman traders whose transactions are a mere fraction of those on Wall Street. The average Robinhood user is 26, while 25% of the app’s member base are first time traders, according to Institutional Investor.

“I’m having fun … I’m a casual trader,” said Robinhood user Christopher Doyle. “I understand that Robinhood’s a new app, so it will have bugs.”