Robinhood Markets (HOOD 0.05%) has played an instrumental role in bringing millions of people into the investing community. With its trading app, Robinhood has appealed to a new generation of investors and given them the tools that they're most comfortable using to get their money working harder for them.

Earlier this week, Robinhood announced its plans to start offering retirement accounts for its customers. The launch of Robinhood Retirement included a new incentive for account holders that closely resembles what many employees receive from their employers when they save in 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement plans.

However, would-be retirement savers should take notice of the terms and conditions under which Robinhood is making this innovative offer.

A match for IRAs?

On Dec. 6, Robinhood opened up its wait list for its retirement program, where workers who qualify to make contributions will be able to open traditional or Roth IRAs at Robinhood. They'll have full access to the stocks and ETFs offered on Robinhood's trading platform. The brokerage company's recommended portfolio services will be available to those who prefer to let Robinhood choose investments for them, or customers will be able to pick their own mix of investments.

The most innovative feature of the Robinhood Retirement program is its IRA match. Robinhood will add an extra 1% to the eligible contributions that you make. Robinhood intends to treat the matching money as account interest, thus taking the position that it doesn't count toward the 2022 IRA contribution limits of $6,000 for those under age 50 and $7,000 for those 50 or older.

A 1% match isn't a huge amount, and it's less than the typical arrangements that most employers make with 401(k) plans. However, it does give customers an additional incentive to pick a Robinhood IRA over a competing brokerage company. That's important for Robinhood's business, especially given that the stock price has fallen sharply over the past year.

What to know about forfeiting your Robinhood match

However, one of Robinhood's goals is clearly to attract and retain new money to its platform. The match only applies to contributions that come from an external linked bank account. If you already have money in a regular taxable Robinhood brokerage account and use it to fund your IRA, Robinhood won't give you the match. Similarly, IRA rollovers and transfers from existing IRAs elsewhere aren't eligible for the match because they don't qualify as contributions.

Also, in certain situations, you'll have to give up the matched amount. If you transfer your entire IRA away from Robinhood within five years of the contribution that earned the match, you'll have to pay an early IRA match removal fee that essentially pays back what Robinhood initially put into your account.

Moreover, partial withdrawals can also result in the fee that takes away the match. Withdrawals within five years that take your total IRA balance below the amount that you contributed will result in Robinhood charging the IRA match removal fee, which can take away all or part of the match. However, this leaves open the possibility of being able to withdraw amounts that represent earnings and gains above the initial contribution amount and still not having to forfeit any of Robinhood's match.

Will other brokers follow suit?

This isn't the first time that a brokerage company has offered an incentive for customers to open retirement accounts. You can find a wide range of account-opening bonuses tied to IRAs, and they often apply to account transfers from other brokerage companies, as well as to new contributions.

Nevertheless, if Robinhood gains traction with its new match, it wouldn't be surprising to see other brokers follow suit. That could be a big win for customers looking to save for retirement -- as long as they're willing to remain loyal to the financial institutions they choose for long enough to keep their match.