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So, you’re interested in investing in stocks or funds (or crypto or … you get the point). And you’ve also saved up a little money to put toward your future.

That’s great! Then all that’s really left to get you started is an investment app—preferably one geared toward a beginner like yourself.

But what exactly does that look like?

The best investment apps for beginners don’t fit a single mold, largely because beginners come in different shapes, sizes, and (most importantly) interests. Some want a set-it-and-forget-it account with automated investing so they can plow their money into a few index funds that match their goals. Others want access to as many types of investments as possible, as well as all the learning tools they’ll need to master each one of them. And still others are hands-on learners that just want quick-and-easy access to the stock market sandbox—they’ll figure out the rest from there.

Today, we’re going to evaluate the best investment apps for beginners with all of these various needs in mind. Because while there is no one-size-fits-all-solution, the best investing apps are better than the rest at catering to certain sets of needs.

Below, we’ve looked at a host of investing apps for beginners through various lenses. Among our considerations: breadth of offered investments (stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, etc.), ease of use, robo-investing and other automated investing features, educational resources, intangible features (say, social aspects), and, of course, cost.

One last note: The key word here is “invest.” Many apps can serve multiple groups—in fact, some of the apps below serve both active traders and buy-and-hold investors. For active traders, we’ve evaluated these and other programs as stock trading apps. But if you just want to grow your money over time, with maybe only the occasional trade, keep reading as we evaluate the best investment apps for beginners.

Best Investment Apps for Beginners—Our Top Picks


Best Stock Trading App for Beginners
Free Investing App for Beginners
Robo-Advisor
4.5
4.4
3.7
Commission-free trading. Robinhood Gold: Free 30-day trial, then $5/mo.
Commission-free trading.
$4/mo., or 0.25% annual fee*. Premium: Additional 0.15% annual fee.**
Best Stock Trading App for Beginners
4.5
Commission-free trading. Robinhood Gold: Free 30-day trial, then $5/mo.
Free Investing App for Beginners
4.4
Commission-free trading.
Robo-Advisor
3.7
$4/mo., or 0.25% annual fee*. Premium: Additional 0.15% annual fee.**

The Top Beginner Investment Apps


AppApple App Store Rating / Best ForFeesPromotions
Robinhood logo thinRobinhood☆ 4.2 / 5
Beginners
Commission-free tradesFree stock with sign-up and linked bank account ($5-$200 value)
sofi logo transparent text thinSoFi Invest: iOS, Android and Desktop☆ 4.8 / 5
Personal finance-focused investors
Commission-free tradesFree stock with $10 deposit ($5-$1,000 value)
betterment logo color text thinBetterment☆ 4.7 / 5
Passive investors seeking tax-loss harvesting capabilities
$4/mo., or 0.25% annual feeNone
fidelity youth account logo color text thinFidelity Youth Account☆ 4.8 / 5
Teens
Commission-free tradesNone
firstrade logo transparent text thinFirstrade☆ 4.6 / 5
Beginner investors and traders
Commission-free tradesFree account bonus commensurate with contributed funds
m1 finance logo color thinM1 Finance☆ 4.7 / 5
Passive investors
Commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs.None
acorns logo transparent text thinAcorns☆ 4.7 / 5
Passive investors
Acorns Personal: $3/mo. Acorns Personal Plus: $6/mo. Acorns Premium: $12/mo.$20 bonus when you set up recurring investments and make your first successful recurring investment
etrade logo thineTrade☆ 4.6 / 5
Intermediate investors and traders
Commission-free tradesFree account bonus commensurate with contributed funds
charles schwab logo color text thinSchwab☆ 4.5 / 5
Investors and traders of all experience levels
Commission-free tradesFree account bonus commensurate with contributed funds
jpmorgan wealth management logo transparent text thinJ.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing☆ 4.8 / 5
Best overall app for self-directed investors
Commission-free tradesFree account bonus commensurate with contributed funds
stash logo full thinStash☆ 4.7 / 5
Young investors looking for a complete personal finance platform
Growth: $3/mo. Stash+: $9/mo.$100 bonus for making a deposit of $250 or more
public logo transparent text thinPublic.com☆ 4.7 / 5
Investors seeking traditional and alternative investments
Basic: Commission-free trades. Premium: $10/mo.Free account bonus commensurate with transferred funds
plynk logo transparent text thinPlynk™ Invest☆ 4.6 / 5
Beginners
Commission-free trades**$85 in sign-up and net deposit bonuses
*Apple App Store Rating as of May 1, 2024

A quick note about these apps. In any of our review articles, we only list products that meet certain quality thresholds—so if a product is listed, regardless of how it ranks, we still believe it’s worth using.

However, this group of products stands out in how close they are in quality to one another. In some product reviews, there can be a stark difference between the best-ranked product and the worst. But in reviewing the best investment apps for beginners, we feel that each product has a significant, unique value proposition to offer novice investors—it’s ultimately a question of what that novice investor is looking for.

A long way of saying: This is a very competitive field. Do we believe the top-listed investment apps are better than those at the bottom? Yes. But based on which features you value, you could easily find your best match later on in the list.

Now, on to the reviews:

1. Robinhood (Best Simple Stock Trading App for Beginners)


robinhood signup new2

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Beginner traders
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Robinhood is a pioneer of commission-free trading, jumping into the investing public’s consciousness in 2013 when they rolled out commission-free trading. They remain a standout option for cost-minded investors thanks to their continued $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options, as well as for its fractional trading, which allows people to invest with as little as $1.

More importantly, though, Robinhood has evolved from a bare-bones app appealing to mostly beginner investors to a fuller-featured account suitable for a wider range of experience levels.

For instance, Robinhood now offers traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs via Robinhood Retirement. Functionally, Robinhood comes up short compared to many other IRA providers because of its investment options. It offers just stocks and ETFs; like with its brokerage account, mutual funds aren’t available. Options aren’t currently available, though Robinhood has explicitly stated that options will be made available soon.

However, Robinhood Retirement still stands out from the pack because it’s the only IRA provider that offers matching funds. If you open up an IRA with Robinhood Retirement, Robinhood will match 1% of any IRA transfers, 401(k) rollovers, and annual contributions to your account—and 3% if you pay for the Robinhood Gold service ($5 per month)—typically almost immediately after you make your contribution. Better still: Any matches made on annual contributions don’t count toward your contribution limit.

(Friendly message from your WealthUp tax expert: The reason the IRA match doesn’t count toward your annual IRA contribution limit is because Robinhood treats it as interest income in your IRA.)

You can choose your IRA investments yourself, but Robinhood’s Portfolio Builder can also provide you with a custom recommended portfolio made up of five to eight ETFs.

Sign up for a Robinhood brokerage account or Robinhood retirement account today.

Related: Best Stock Trading Apps for Beginners

2. SoFi Invest (Best for Personal Finance-Focused Investors)


sofi invest signup

  • Available: iOS, Android, Web
  • Best for: Traders looking for an all-in-one personal finance experience
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

SoFi is a multi-faceted financial company that offers everything from credit cards and insurance to student loans and mortgages … and they also allow you to trade and invest through its SoFi Invest app.

With SoFi Invest, you can invest as actively or as passively as you’d like.

The Active SoFi Invest Brokerage Account has no required minimum balance, commission-free trading for stocks, ETFs, and options, and its options trading is free of contract fees, too. SoFi does offer 24/7 cryptocurrency trading, too, but it charges a 1.25% markup on transactions.

The interface is still very much geared toward younger, less experienced investors—everything is focused on simplicity and ease of use, rather than an expanse of sophisticated tools. And in addition to no trading fees, SoFi offers other budget-friendly features, such as fractional shares, which allow you to invest for as little as $1. SoFi even provides a social element, such as bringing SoFi members together at exclusive events.

Want to put your portfolio on autopilot? SoFi’s robo-advisory services will create a portfolio for you free of charge (that can be designed to address one or several goals) and auto-rebalance it for you as necessary over time.

And unlike many brokerage companies with limited offerings, SoFi’s app allows you to manage a much wider range of financial services and products, such as banking, student loans, insurance, and mortgages.

SoFi also occasionally has sign-up bonuses attached to its brokerage accounts and/or its crypto trading services, which you can read more about below. You can also visit SoFi to learn more or sign up today. You can also download the app for iOS and Android.

Related: Best Debit Cards for Kids

3. Betterment (Best Investment App for Tax-Loss Harvesting)


betterment signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Investors who prioritize simplicity, tax-loss harvesting
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Betterment is a robo-advisor platform that allows you to invest in pre-built portfolios—with different themes and goals—in taxable accounts as well as individual retirement plans.

Betterment’s primary offering is ETF-only portfolios that provide varying types of exposure depending on your risks and interest. For instance, Core is a roughly 60% stock/40% bond portfolio that keeps you invested in most domestic and international securities. Social Impact buys stocks and bonds of companies with “a demonstrated focus on supporting social equity and minority empowerment.”

There are no self-directed options, however. The portfolios buy fractional shares of ETF index funds tracking benchmarks like the S&P 500 to keep you invested in stocks and bonds. But the service does not allow you to invest in individual stocks or bonds. The app has added crypto portfolios holding digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, but again, you can’t buy them individually—only through pre-built portfolios.

That makes Betterment one of the best investment apps for beginners—especially those who don’t want to be particularly active in selecting what they hold.

One interesting perk that stands out: Betterment’s tax-loss harvesting feature.

If you invest in a taxable account, and you sell an investment for a gain, you’ll owe taxes on those gains. (What you owe differs depending on whether you’ve held that investment for more than a year.) However, if you sell an investment for a loss, you can use that to offset your capital gains, and thus the taxes you’d pay on them, or if your loss is more than your gains (or you don’t have any gains at all), you can even reduce taxes owed on your personal income, subject to a $3,000 annual cap.

It can be a complicated strategy, though, but Betterment’s Tax Loss Harvesting+ automates the process for you. It will regularly check your portfolio for tax-loss harvesting opportunities, then take the proceeds from selling those investments and reinvesting them where it makes sense for you.

Just note that Betterment is different from many traditional brokers in that it’s a subscription-based product. Betterment charges $4 per month to start; however, if you set up recurring monthly deposits totaling $250, or reach a balance of at least $20,000 across all Betterment accounts, the fee changes to 0.25% of all assets under management.

Related: Federal Tax Brackets and Rates [2023 + 2024]

4. Vanguard (Best for Vanguard Fund Investors)


vanguard signup new2

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Basic trading options with cheap mutual fund investing
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Vanguard has long been regarded as the low-cost index fund investing service provider. In fact, in 1975, John Bogle launched the first U.S.-listed index fund available to retail investors. Now, Vanguard offers numerous dirt-cheap index products in both its mutual fund and exchange-traded fund lineups.

But Vanguard also offers low-cost investing, and no account minimums, through its brokerage and other accounts. That means commission-free trading not just on Vanguard products like VTI or VTSAX, but also on stocks, all other ETFs, and all no-transaction-fee mutual funds. But investors and traders still shoulder some costs. Unless you have more than $1 million in your account, transaction-fee mutual funds cost $20 per trade. And if you have a higher risk tolerance, you can trade options on Vanguard—but while commission-free, you’ll still incur a $1 contract fee on options trades.

Vanguard’s web and mobile versions are very much geared toward beginning investors, though the latter is better-designed. The web version can be downright clunky at times, and it can be difficult to access some of the features. I used to use the app to manage my work’s 401(k) plan, and I’ll admit to its bloat and lack of clarity on calculating investment returns on a percentage basis. The mobile apps run more smoothly, and I like the secure two-step login. But certain features, such as price alerts, aren’t available on mobile.

My main beef with Vanguard’s apps is that they make it difficult to measure the performance of individual holdings. All that said, Vanguard might have made this by design, incentivizing you to check your funds less often and thus living by their buy-and-hold ethos.

Still, if you’re a beginner who’s not sure if you’ll be more into trading, or more into long-term investing, a Vanguard account is a good place to start.

 

5. Fidelity Youth™ Account (Top Investing App for Teens)


fidelity youth account art 2024

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: No account fees¹, no account minimum, no trading commissions*
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Is your teen interested in jumpstarting their financial future? Do you want them to build smart money habits along the way?

Of course you do! Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity Youth Account—an account for teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. Teens own the account themselves and can start investing in most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!³

Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees². And they can use this free debit card for teens to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.

And as for building smart money habits? You and your teen can access the account through the Fidelity Youth™ app, which has a dedicated Learn tab packed with materials developed specifically to help teens develop good financial habits. Not only will Fidelity’s interactive lessons, videos, articles, tools, and calculators accelerate their learning—but for every level they complete, reward dollars will be deposited into their account to use however they want.

Controls parents want and need

A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity Youth Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.

Having a Fidelity account gives parents and guardians access to plenty of tools they can use to monitor their teen’s activity: They have online account access, can follow monthly statements and trade confirmations, and can view debit card transactions made in the account.

To make it even easier, you can set up alerts to notify you of your teen’s trades, transactions, and cash management activity, keeping you firmly in the loop on actions your teen takes across the Fidelity Youth Account’s suite of products.

If your teen has an interest in learning about investing, becoming smarter about money, and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider downloading the Fidelity Youth app and opening a Fidelity Youth Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.

Read more in our Fidelity Youth Account review.

Related: 9 Best Debit Cards for Teens to Become Money Savvy

6. Public.com (Stock Investing App With Alternative Assets)


public signup new2

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: New investors with limited capital
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Public.com is a commission-free investing app, geared toward Millennials and Gen-Zers, that as of late has built up the types of assets available to its users. On Public, users can invest in not just individual stocks and ETFs, but also more than 25 different cryptocurrencies—and more recently, alternative assets from art to sneakers.

That last point is worth a callout. Alternative assets are a relative rarity among investing apps. They can be difficult to research (and thus difficult to properly invest in), but they can provide uncorrelated returns compared to the stock and bond markets, so many savvy investors like to diversify into these assets.

But while the number of tradable assets on Public.com is growing, it’s still somewhat limited: It doesn’t offer mutual funds, options, bonds, or futures. New users are also limited to individual brokerage accounts—retirement accounts aren’t currently available.

The “Public” part of the name nods at the platform’s social aspect. For one, you can make your portfolio holdings open to other users, and conversely, you can look through other Public users’ portfolios. Investors can also connect with corporate founders and CEOs through live “Town Hall” meetings.

Public also acts as a micro-investing app, allowing you to invest in fractional shares with as little as $1.

Users can upgrade their experience with the $10/month Public Premium subscription.

Public Premium offers some features that are included in some free brokers’ services, but other features help to justify the cost. For instance, Premium offers extended-hours trading (8 to 9:30 a.m., and 4 to 8 p.m. EST) and stock price alerts—several competitors, such as TradeStation and E*Trade, offer these services at no charge. However, Premium also provides:

  • Advanced data on companies—Public.com’s examples include Tesla quarterly deliveries by model or Apple’s annual sales by continent
  • Institutional-grade research provided by Morningstar
  • Members-only analysis about events including major economic report releases, earnings announcements, and more
  • Exclusive audio programming by Public.com’s expert analysts

If you’re interested, you can sign up today and receive a free “slice of stock.” Or, if you’re transferring funds from a different brokerage account, Public.com will provide you with a cash bonus. While Public says it will pay out up to $10,000, that’s on an account transfer of $5 million plus. More common payouts include $150 for transfers of between $5,000 and $24,999, and $250 for transfers of $25,000-$99,999. (And at the very least, if you transfer at least $500, Public will reimburse you up to $100 per transfer for any fees charged by your original brokerage firm.)

Read more in our Public.com investing app review.

For Public.com disclaimer, please see the fine print at the bottom of this article.

Related: The 7 Best Closed-End Funds (CEFs) to Buy

7. Firstrade (Ideal for Beginner Investors + Traders)


firstrade sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Beginners, traders looking for low options fees
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Firstrade might not have the same name recognition among younger investors as platforms such as Robinhood and Acorns. But it’s easily one of the best investment apps for beginners.

For starters, Firstrade has some of the best trading fees among all investing apps.

On the investing front: $0 commissions on stock and ETF trades are par for the course. But where Firstrade stands out is mutual funds, offering free trading of no-load mutual funds, load mutual funds, and no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds. It’s also pretty friendly to beginner traders: Firstrade goes a step above the zero-commission options trading offered at other apps by also not charging contract fees nor assignment fees.

Firstrade also allows investors to buy and sell roughly 40 digital currencies—a better selection than some other beginner investing apps, though not as robust as some higher-powered platforms. Crypto trading is technically commission-free, too. But like other brokers, it adds a markup (Firstrade charges 1%) on both sides of each crypto trade.

The mobile apps, for iOS and Android, are user-friendly; features include Face ID login, charting, and real-time streaming quotes. Users should know that the mobile experience is pared down compared to the primary web experience, but we view that as a plus for when you start investing.

Meanwhile, Firstrade’s educational resources include primers on many basic investment types, explanatory videos, and an A-to-Z glossary to help you become more familiar with vital investing terms.

Firstrade also offers a scaling cash bonus for new accounts depending on how much money you use to fund your account. The promo states cash bonuses are up to $4,000, but that’s for a deposit of more than $1.5 million. Cash bonuses for more common beginner-investor sums include:

  • $50 on a deposit of at least $5,000
  • $100 for at least $10,000
  • $300 for at least $25,000
  • Firstrade also will provide up to $200 to cover any transaction fees

Looking for a comprehensive solution as you start investing? Learn more about Firstrade or sign up today.

Related: 11 Best Stock Advisor Websites & Services to Seize Alpha

8. M1 Finance (Customizable Robo-Advisor for Passive Investors)


m1 finance sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Passive investors
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Automated investing is one of the best solutions for beginner investors because it’s a way that people with very little financial knowledge can still put their money to work effectively and efficiently. Thus, several of our favorite investment apps for beginners have some sort of robo-advisory feature.

M1 Finance provides something similar. We consider it a hybrid between self-directed (you manually choose what to invest in, and determine when to buy and sell) and automated investing (AI helps make decisions for you and manages your account). The result is effectively a highly customizable robo-advisory service—one executed so well that it’s our favorite robo-advisor service.

M1’s investing platform is based around Pies. Your portfolio is represented as a Pie (a pie chart); every stock and ETF you decide to buy becomes a slice of that pie—and because M1 supports fractional shares, you can add virtually any stock or ETF to your portfolio. From there, you set each holding’s “weight”—what percent of your Pie each slice should account for, so, say ETF X will always be 25% of your portfolio, while Stock X should always be just 5%.

After that, whenever you fund your M1 account, it will automatically invest your money based on these targets. And you can take automated investing even further by setting up recurring deposits into your M1 account.

From there, M1 can automatically rebalance your portfolio for you, or you can go in and manually change how small and large each Pie slice is. If you really want to put it on autopilot, you can invest in M1’s Expert Pies—professionally pre-built portfolios designed for different investment goals. (And if you want something in the middle, you can even combine Expert Pies with your own custom choices.)

One major callout before going any further, however, is that while M1 Finance offers pre-made portfolios aligned to several investing goals, the company is not an advisory service.

Also worth noting is that, unlike traditional online brokers, you cannot trade stocks and ETFs throughout the trading day. At 9:30 a.m. every day the New York Stock Exchange is open, M1 processes all of the orders it has received since the previous trading session.

That’s something of a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, on the rare occasion you would need to jettison a position immediately during the trading day, you couldn’t do that with M1. And that single window is an extreme hindrance to people who want to trade stocks. But for beginner investors who want to avoid trading stocks and prefer to simply buy and hold, that single window won’t stop you from achieving your goals—and it could actually prevent you from panic-selling in the middle of the day.

M1 Plus

M1 Finance also offers a paid subscription tier, M1 Plus, that provides additional offerings not just for investors, but those who bank with the service. M1 provides a generous 90-day free trial, after which the service costs $10 per month or $95 per year.

Among the benefits:

  • 24/7 cryptocurrency trading, though you’re limited to 10 trades per month
  • Two trading windows (AM and PM)
  • Margin loans
  • Access to custodial accounts
  • Higher annual percentage yield (APY) on the M1 Plus High-Yield Savings Account
  • Enhanced cash-back rewards (up to 10%) on M1’s Owner’s Rewards Credit Card
  • Cash-back rewards can be automatically invested into your M1 Pies

People looking for a simple investing experience and nothing else will do just fine with the Basic M1 individual brokerage account, and they can even pair it with the M1 Spend checking account with 1% cash back on the M1 Spend Visa Debit Card.

But if you’re looking for a more complete financial solution that ties in with your investments and enhances your rewards, the M1 Plus subscription might be worth considering.

Consider opening an investment account with M1 Finance, or read more in our M1 Finance review.

Related: 33 Best Passive Income Ideas [Income Investments to Consider]

9. Acorns (Invest Simply With Pre-Built ETF Portfolios)


acorns signup new2

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Investors looking for simple, automated investing
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Acorns is an investing app geared toward minors, young adults, and millennials by offering “Round-Ups”: The app rounds up purchases made on linked debit and credit cards to the nearest dollar, then invests the difference on your behalf.

For example, if you purchase a coffee for $2.60 on a linked credit card, Acorns automatically rounds this charge up to $3.00 and puts the 40-cent difference aside. Once those Round-Ups reach at least $5, they can be transferred to your Acorns account to be invested.

The Acorns investment offering itself is a simple, automated platform that uses pre-built portfolios of ETFs to keep investors exposed to stocks and bonds. While it doesn’t have much to offer intermediate investors who want variety in their portfolios, Acorns’ basic approach makes it one of the best investment apps for beginners.

It also features a powerful way to accelerate your savings: Later Match. While most people are aware that employers will sometimes match funds you contribute to your 401(k), “matches” are virtually unheard of in retirement accounts like IRAs, where there’s no employer to kick in extra cash. However, Acorns itself will match 1% or 3% on new contributions to IRAs for Personal Plus and Premium subscribers, respectively. 

Here’s more about what you can expect from Acorns’ varying subscription options:

  • Acorns Personal ($3 per month): Includes an Acorns Invest investment account, as well as Acorns Later for tax-advantaged investment options such as Roth IRAs. Also includes Acorns Checking, a bank account that has no account fees, lets you withdraw fee-free from more than 55,000 ATMs nationwide, and Smart Deposit, which allows you to automatically invest a bit of each paycheck into your Acorns accounts.
  • Acorns Personal Plus ($6 per month): Everything in Acorns Personal (Acorns Invest, Later, and Checking), plus Premium Education, which are live onboarding sessions covering account setup, Round-Ups, setting up recurring investments, and more; Emergency Fund; and a 25% bonus on Acorns Earn rewards (up to $200 per month).
  • Acorns Premium ($12 per month): Everything in Personal Plus, plus Acorns Early, which allows you to open a custodial investment account for your child so you can begin investing for them while they’re a minor; custom portfolios that allow you to hold individual stocks; live Q&As with financial experts; a 50% match on Acorns Earn rewards (up to $200 per month); $10,000 in life insurance; even the ability to set up a will for free.

Learn more in our Acorns review.

Related: Best Custodial Accounts: How to Start Investing for Kids

10. E*Trade (Ideal for Intermediate Investors + Traders)


etrade signup invest

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Intermediate investors
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

E*Trade has long been seen as a leading stock investment app for retail investors. E*Trade provides investors access to educational resources that assist you with conducting investment research and analysis and diversifying your portfolio.

E*Trade, like most of the best stock investing apps, offers zero-commission stock, ETF, and options trading. It also has a leg up on some platforms by offering $0-commission mutual fund trading. Options still incur a 50- to 65-cent contract fee, however.

E*Trade has two platforms, both of which are free, and both of which have web and mobile versions:

Power E*Trade

Power E*Trade is designated for more intermediate-to-advanced traders. Features include:

  • Advanced charting that includes intraday and historical options; more than 100 studies; over 100 drawing tools; and the ability to automatically identify technical patterns
  • Snapshot Analysis, which lays out risk-reward probabilities in your options trading
  • Powerful stock and trade scanner; use preset filters or customize as you wish
  • Paper trading to test out strategies without putting your money at risk
  • Ability to design exit strategies

Like with the Power E*Trade web platform, the Power E*Trade app is a more powerful version of its basic counterpart. This app allows you to use preset scans, work with interactive charts, place complex options trades, and more.

E*Trade

The “basic” E*Trade web platform might be more suitable for beginning-to-intermediate traders and investors, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on features.

E*Trade’s main web platform includes everything you need to keep up to date on your investment account, including real-time quotes, charts, market commentary, and stock news. The latter includes free access to Thomson Reuters and TipRanks research. Meanwhile, you’ll have ample tools at your disposal, including stock, mutual fund, bond, and ETF screeners; trade optimizers; backtesters; and more.

Want to keep it simple? E*Trade also offers an automated investing platform, called Core Portfolios, where you can let E*Trade manage as little as $500. Answer a few questions about yourself, your goals, and your risk tolerance, then E*Trade will provide you with a suggested portfolio that you can either accept or personalize more before putting it to work. From there, E*Trade will automatically invest funds for you and manage the portfolio. Fees are 0.30% annually, or $30 on every $10,000 invested.

E*Trade also touts its educational resources, which includes articles, videos, and classes, as well as monthly webinars and live events. But we will note that its educational content is difficult to sort through.

Visit E*Trade to learn more or sign up today.

Related: 7 Best Investments for Kids [Investing for Children]

11. Schwab


Schwab signup
Schwab
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Intermediate investors
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Investors looking for maximum flexibility and low (or no) trading costs should explore a brokerage or retirement account with Schwab.

Schwab offers commission-free stocks, ETFs, thousands of mutual funds (from Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource), and even Treasury trades. Additional investment selections include corporate bonds, options, money market funds, futures, E-mini futures, and foreign exchange (forex), and you can even participate in some initial public offerings (IPOs) through the Schwab platform.

Want to learn more? Check out the review here, and from there, click the “Visit Site” button to visit Schwab and sign up.

Related: 7 Best Stock Portfolio Management Software Tools + Apps

12. Stash (Investing App With Stock-Back® Rewards)


stash signup new 2023

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Young investors looking for a complete personal finance platform
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Stash is a mobile-friendly personal finance app that includes various types of investment accounts and an online banking account. This low-cost, all-in-one financial platform caters to hands-on and hands-off investors alike who want an all-in-one financial platform.

Self-directed investors can buy stocks and ETFs with no add-on commission fees; cryptocurrency trading is also available with varying fees. Hands-off investors can use their Smart Portfolio feature, which gives you access to a pre-built portfolio of stocks, bonds, and crypto, and lets Stash automatically rebalance and reinvest dividends for you.

Stash’s most noteworthy feature is the Stock-Back® Card, which rewards you various percentages of your purchases (depending on your plan) in stock.

Stash has two subscription tiers: Stash Growth ($3/month) and Stash+ ($9/month), and Stash is covering the first month subscription fee for both plans2. The latter naturally features more options, such as two kids’ portfolios, exclusive Stash market insights, and better rewards from the Stock-Back® card.

Sign up here and Stash will give you a $5 bonus once you open an account and deposit at least $5 into your personal portfolio.1

Related: Best Discount Brokers [Low-Cost Online Brokerage Accounts]

13. J.P. Morgan elf-Directed Investing (Ideal for Intermediate Investors)


jpmorgan self-directed investing sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Self-directed investors, Chase customers
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing acts as an investing solution offered from Chase and is accessible through the Chase Mobile® app or Chase.com.

You can use this investing app to make unlimited commission-free trades in thousands of investment options, including a wide range of stocks, ETFs, fixed income, mutual funds and options.

The investing app allows you to utilize tools to build your portfolio including screeners and watchlists—both useful for building diversified portfolios and staying on top of market activity.

The app provides personalized news and J.P. Morgan research and market analysis to empower informed investment decisions. You can leverage these resources to design your own target allocation for your investments.

Consider using J.P. Morgan’s Self-Directed Investing platform if you’d like the flexibility to invest as much as you want without paying any commissions on equity and options trades. Some regulatory fees and fund expenses may apply.

You can choose an account that’s right for you: an individual taxable account, Traditional IRA or Roth IRA. All carry a $0 minimum.

Open your J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account today and get up to $700 when you open and fund an account with qualifying new money:

  • $50 when you fund with $5,000-$24,999
  • $150 when you fund with $25,000-$99,999
  • $325 when you fund with $100,000-$249,999
  • $700 when you fund with $250,000 or more

Learn more by visiting J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing’s website to see if it’s the right fit for your needs.

Related: 17 Best Stock Research & Analysis Apps, Tools and Sites

14. Plynk (Best Investment App for Beginners)


plynk signup

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Beginner investors
  • Platforms: Mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Plynk™ is an app designed to help you start investing and learn along the way, and they’re currently offering a $10 account signup and $75 net deposit bonus ($85 combined).

The Plynk app helps investors put their money into an investment portfolio. You can invest with as little as $1, and trade stocks, funds, and crypto commission-free**—all in one app.

The platform uses straightforward, easy-to-understand language to explain investing concepts. No jargon. No complex charts and tables. Just simple-language tips and how-tos.

Navigate investment ideas with tools to help you explore and choose. With Plynk Explore, just answer a few questions, and the app will display stock, ETF, and mutual fund investments that mesh with your investment comfort zone.

To assist with building your financial literacy, Plynk offers complete lessons and courses on financial education, including tips, educational content and how-tos.

The Plynk app enables you to make use of a powerful investing technique called dollar-cost averaging through participating in recurring investments. By continuing to buy a fixed dollar amount of investments over time, whether the market is up or down, you can build a disciplined investing habit and lower the stress that can come from market movements.

One of Plynk’s most interesting features involves, of all things, gift cards. Specifically, you can redeem unused gift cards for money that you can use to buy stocks in your favorite companies.

If this sounds interesting to you, consider opening an account with Plynk. To make it more worth your while, they have a few special offers.

Simply open an account and link your bank account to get a $10 signup bonus. Plynk is also offering a special bonus promotion through Feb. 15, 2024. If you make a deposit, Plynk will double it up to $75. Customers must have a minimum of $25 in net deposits during the promotional period to receive a match. That means you may be eligible for up to $85 in signup bonuses from Plynk by taking qualifying actions.

Read more in our Plynk review.

Related: How to Invest Money: 5 Steps to Start Investing w/Little Money

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About The Best Investment Apps for Beginners


What are fractional shares and how do they work?

Typically, if you want to invest in a company, you have to buy at least one share of stock, whatever the price—$1, $10, $100, $469,919.81 (no really, that was the price of Berkshire A shares as I wrote this article). The same goes with ETFs—if you want to invest in that fund, you have to buy at least one share, whatever the cost.

However, with fractional shares, you can buy as much of a stock or ETF as you want with however much money you have. If you have just $1 to invest, brokerages with fractional shares can make it happen.

But it’s not just for people with little money to invest. Say you want to invest $1,000 in a stock, but it costs $750 per share. Without fractional shares, your choices are to buy one share and then figure out some other way to use the $250, or find another $500 so you can buy two shares. But with fractional shares, you can spend exactly $1,000 on that stock—hence why the process is often referred to as “dollar-based investing.”

What apps are good for small investments?

Typically, any investment account that allows you to purchase fractional shares will be best if you have only a small amount of money to work with. Depending on your preference, that means SoFi Invest, M1 Finance, Robinhood, Public.com, and Stash. Betterment and Acorns also have fractional investing, but that’s done automatically through pre-built portfolios—not self-directed investing.

And it goes without saying: Minimal trading fees (or no trading fees whatsoever) matter much more for small-dollar investors. Generally speaking, you’ll also want products with no account minimum.

What types of assets do investment apps offer?

All sorts—it just depends on which platform you choose. Apps that prioritize simplicity and automatic investing typically only allow you to invest in ETFs and/or stocks. However, advanced investing apps that cater to traders offer oodles of possible investments on top of stocks and ETFs, which can include mutual funds, options, bonds, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange, futures, and more.

Related:


Terms and Conditions for Fidelity Youth™ Account

The Fidelity Youth Account can only be opened by a parent/guardian. Account eligibility limited to teens aged 13-17.

* $0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® are subject to different commission schedules. 

¹ Zero account minimums and zero account fees apply to retail brokerage accounts only.  Expenses charged by investments (e.g., funds, managed accounts, and certain HSAs) and commissions, interest charges, or other expenses for transactions may still apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for further details.

² Your Youth Account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using the Fidelity® Debit Card at any ATM displaying the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited. Please note, for foreign transactions, there may be a 1% fee included in the amount charged to  your account. The Fidelity® Debit Card is issued by PNC Bank, N.A, and the debit card program is administered by BNY Mellon Investment Servicing Trust Company. These entities are not affiliated with each other, and Fidelity is not affiliated with PNC Bank or BNY Mellon. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by PNC Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

³ Fractional shares quantities can be entered out to 3 decimal places (.001) as long as the value of the order is at least $0.01.  Dollar-based trades can be entered out to 2 decimal places (e.g. $250.00)

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917


Public.com Disclaimer

This does not constitute investment advice. Investing involves the risk of loss, including the potential loss of principal. Brokerage services for US-listed, registered securities available on Public are offered by Open to the Public Investing, Inc. (OTTP), a member of FINRA & SIPC, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Public Holdings, Inc. Brokerage services for alternative investments are offered by the Dalmore Group, LLC, a member of FINRA & SIPC. Alternative investments are over-the-counter equity securities that have been issued pursuant to Regulation A of the Securities Act of 1933. Cryptocurrency trading is provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849). Apex Crypto is licensed to engage in the virtual currency business by the New York State Department of Financial Services. New customers of OTTP receive free stock valued between $3 – $1,000 (0.3% receive the maximum value).


Terms and Conditions for Stash

1 Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Investing involves risk and investments may lose value. Holdings and performance are hypothetical. Offer is subject to Terms and Conditions.

2 Promotion offer subject to terms and conditions available in registration.

Stash Banking services provided by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. The Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® is issued by Stride Bank pursuant to license from Mastercard International. Mastercard and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated. Any earned stock rewards will be held in your Stash Invest account. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. 

Ancillary fees charged by Stash and/or its custodian are not included in the subscription fee.

Cryptocurrency trading and execution services are provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849) through a software license agreement between Apex Crypto LLC and Stash Financial, Inc. Apex Crypto is not a registered broker-dealer or a member of SIPC or FINRA and is licensed to engage in virtual currency business activity by the New York State Department. Cryptocurrencies are not securities and are not FDIC or SIPC insured. Advisory products and services are offered through Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Cryptocurrency is a highly volatile investment; please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading crypto. Visit apexcrypto.com/legal. Apex Crypto charges customers a fee on each cryptocurrency transaction based on their subscription plan with Stash, a portion of which Stash receives as revenue.

Stash has full authority to manage a “Smart Portfolio,” a discretionary managed account. Diversification and asset allocation do not guarantee a profit, nor do they eliminate the risk of loss of principal. Stash does not guarantee any level of performance or that any client will avoid losses in their account. Crypto is relatively new and can be volatile. Investments are Delaware Statutory Trusts and offer indirect exposure to Crypto.

All rewards earned through use of the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® will be fulfilled by Stash Investments LLC and are subject to Terms and Conditions. You will bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the investments that you earn, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash. In order to earn stock in the program, the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard must be used to make a qualifying purchase. Stock rewards that are paid to participating customers via the Stash Stock Back program, are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. If you make a qualifying purchase at a merchant that is not publicly traded or otherwise available on Stash, you will receive a stock reward in an ETF or other investment of your choice from a list of companies available on Stash. See Terms and Conditions for more details.


Plynk Disclosures

Google Play Store and Apple Store Ratings are as of the date referenced (06/22/2023) and provide an average rating of users and do not reflect the experience of an individual customer.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of Young and the Invested. He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.