Best Stock Apps for Beginners

Investing apps make building an investment portfolio simple, even for beginners. These best stock apps for beginners offer hand-holding, research, and plenty of investment options to help you reach your financial goals.

23 Best Stock Apps for Beginners

I’ve narrowed down the top stock apps for beginners to help you learn which might be right for your journey into investing:

  1. Public.com
  2. Robinhood
  3. Acorns
  4. Stash
  5. Betterment
  6. M1 Finance
  7. SoFi Invest
  8. Moomoo
  9. Webull
  10. Vanguard
  11. Merrill Edge
  12. Fidelity
  13. TD Ameritrade
  14. E*TRADE
  15. J.P. Morgan
  16. Ally Invest
  17. Firstrade
  18. Charles Schwab
  19. Stockpile
  20. Invstr
  21. Wealthbase
  22. Wealthfront
  23. Ellevest

1. Public.com

  • Fees: $10/month for Public Premium
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Public.com focuses on trading stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency but, like many platforms, doesn’t charge any trading commissions. In addition, they don’t have a minimum investment requirement and offer access to alternative assets.

If you subscribe to their premium option, you’ll have access to advanced tools and analyses, but they don’t offer retirement accounts.

Public.com works a little differently than other brokerages when it comes to fees. They don’t charge trading fees but offer the option to tip your broker when you trade. Plus, Public.com is a social trading network, somewhat like Venmo. If you set your account to ‘public,’ others can see your trades, and you can see other investors’ trades.

Public Premium costs $10 a month and provides:

  • In-depth company research
  • Morningstar research
  • Extended hours trading
  • VIP customer service
  • In-depth analysis of any breaking news

Pros:

  • No trading commissions
  • Option to trade up to 25 different cryptocurrencies
  • Offers the option for fractional investing
  • You can track other investors’ profiles to get investment ideas

Cons:

  • No retirement account option
  • No joint account option
  • No option to trade on margin

 

2. Robinhood

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Robinhood was one of the first robo-advisors to offer commission-free trading. While they aren’t the only robo-advisor offering it now, they are still one of the top robo-advisors, especially if you’re interested in trading fractional shares or cryptocurrency.

Its user-friendly platform is great for beginners and offers the option to trade stocks, crypto, and ETFs. It doesn’t offer advanced research or analytical tools, so it’s best for those just starting to invest. However, the platform does offer enough research for beginners to understand how to reach their financial goals.

Robinhood doesn’t charge trading commissions or monthly fees. However, they do charge account closures and checks.

Pros:

  • Its mostly mobile platform is user-friendly and requires little to no training
  • No trading fees
  • Pays interest on cash balances
  • Offers fractional investing

Cons:

  • No retirement accounts
  • Basic research and analytical options
  • Limited assets available

 

3. Acorns

  • Commission Fees: $3 – $5 / month
  • Minimum Investment: $5

Acorns is a great platform for new investors who don’t think they have enough money to invest. Known as a micro-investing platform, investors can invest with as little as $5, and the money can come from the spare change from rounded-up purchases.

There’s no minimum to open an account, but your balance must be at least $5 before you invest in any assets. Acorns offers investments in 22 different ETFs, and they offer individual brokerage and retirement accounts.

Acorns costs individuals $3 a month and $5 a month for a family account that includes unlimited custodial accounts for your kids. Both options include an investing account, IRA, and checking account.

Pros:

  • Anyone can invest by rounding up their purchases on their debit card
  • ETF expenses are low
  • Includes a debit card with 55,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Customer service is available seven days a week

Cons:

  • Pricing is high compared to how much you can invest
  • Extremely limited planning and research tools
  • No tax loss harvesting

 

4. Stash

  • Commission Fees: $3 – $9 / month
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Stash is an investment platform for beginners looking for an online investing experience. You can invest in stocks, ETFs, crypto, bonds, and REITs and open a traditional brokerage or retirement account.

Stash simplifies the goal-setting option by offering five options:

  1. Wealth Building
  2. Retirement
  3. Emergency savings
  4. Stock rewards
  5. Budgeting

Each investment account also includes a checking account; if you subscribe to the top tier, you’ll get custodial accounts for your children.

Stash has two subscription options:

  • Stash Growth is $3 a month and includes portfolios for personal and retirement uses, a debit card, and $1k in life insurance
  • Stash+ is $9 a month and includes everything in Growth plus market insights, two custodial accounts, 1% stock-back on debit card purchases, and $10k in life insurance

Pros:

  • No account minimums
  • Wide selection of asset options
  • Portfolio can be customized based on your goals
  • Can earn more stock investments with the Stash+ and Stock-Back card

Cons:

  • Doesn’t pay interest on cash balances
  • No financial advisors are available
  • No tax loss harvesting

 

5. Betterment

  • Cost: Betterment costs 0.25% of assets under management annually.

Betterment is one of the largest standalone robo-advisors and is great for beginning investors as well as high-net-worth investors. Betterment focuses on the big financial picture, not just creating and managing a portfolio. They also include several socially responsible investment options for investors, but their main focus is ETFs.

Betterment offers high-yield cash reserves and a checking account, making it easy to have all your finances in one place. In addition, Betterment offers four portfolios for investors to choose from. They allow investors to set up multiple goals for proper investment planning, and the platform syncs with all outside investments so investors can get a good picture of their total net worth.

Pros:

  • Pays interest on cash balances
  • Allows some portfolio customization
  • Offers tax loss harvesting
  • Sinks with outside accounts for big financial picture analyses

Cons:

  • Costs extra to talk to a financial advisor unless you’re a premium customer
  • You can’t view your portfolio before signing up
  • No margin accounts

 

6. M1 Finance

  • Commission Fees: $125/year for M1 Plus Plan
  • Minimum Investment: $100

M1 Finance offers the best of both worlds between a robo-advisor and customized portfolios. M1 offers 60 prebuilt portfolios, or you can build your own portfolio. The platform is best for experienced investors who want a customized approach with a blend of automated services.

M1 also offers spend and borrow accounts for investors. Investors can open brokerage and retirement accounts, and you’ll need at least $100 to open a brokerage account and $500 for a retirement account. Investors can choose from stocks, ETFs, and REITs.

M1 Finance, like most other platforms, doesn’t charge a fee for its basic account, but the M1 Plus plan is $125 a year and includes:

  • High-interest checking account
  • Smart transfers based on rules you create
  • Cashback on Visa purchases
  • Low interest on margin loans

Pros:

  • Investors can choose premade or customized portfolios
  • Investors can view their portfolio before funding to make a decision
  • Offers experienced investors a streamlined and inexpensive way to create portfolios
  • Includes an M1 Spend account that you can use like a regular checking account

Cons:

  • No tax loss harvesting
  • No human consultants
  • No external linking to keep track of other accounts

 

7. SoFi Invest

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $5

SoFi offers no-fee trading and provides access to Certified Financial Planners for questions about investing. SoFi is a robo-advisor with five portfolios, each with a different risk level. All portfolios are made of low-cost ETFs, but there’s little room for customization.

SoFi offers three goals to choose from when creating your account – general investing, retirement, and large purchase. The program uses your answers and other personal information to create the right portfolio.

There’s no fee to use SoFi, and all trades are commission-free, but there are ETF management fees to consider that can be as high as 0.49%.

Pros:

  • Only need $1 to open an account and $5 to invest
  • You can view the portfolio before funding to see if you like it
  • Free access to financial advisors
  • Offers access to self-directed investing and various banking services

Cons:

  • Doesn’t pay interest on cash balances
  • Portfolios aren’t customizable
  • No tax loss harvesting

 

8. Moomoo

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Investors can trade stocks, ETFs, and options on Moomoo. It’s a great trading app for beginners who want to learn more, as the research and analysis provided are quite advanced. In addition, its AI-powered research tools provide Level 2 market data for the experienced or soon-to-be experienced investor.

Moomoo also offers a paper trading option for those new to this level of investing who want to try their hand at it before risking real money.

Pros:

  • Investors have access to extended trading hours
  • Advanced stock screeners
  • Access to content from over 10,000 asset management companies
  • Access to the Moo community with over 18 million investors

Cons:

  • No robo-advisor option
  • Limited account types and doesn’t offer retirement accounts
  • It can be overwhelming for beginning investors

9. Webull

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Webull is a mobile platform that caters to investors looking to invest on the go. They mostly trade stocks and options and don’t require a minimum deposit to start investing.

Investors can trade stocks, options, and cryptocurrency. In addition, they offer robust research options that allow for extensive analyses of trades. Still, their main strength is the powerful mobile app that surpasses most other investing platforms with mobile apps.

Webull doesn’t charge commissions on stocks or ETFs. Instead, they make their money on other services, such as margin loans, payments for order flow, and interest on free credit balances.

Pros:

  • Robust technical analysis tools
  • Flexible platform you can use from anywhere
  • No options per contract fees
  • Offers some of the lowest margin rates

Cons:

  • No option to trade mutual funds
  • No joint accounts
  • Not all research data is free (costs between $2.99 – $24.99 per month)

10. Vanguard

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Vanguard is known for its low-cost investing options and is best for buy-and-hold investors, mainly for retirement. As a result, most of the educational material on the platform references retirement savings.

Investors can trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and foreign securities. Vanguard jumped on the bandwagon late but now is like most platforms and offers commission-free trades. However, despite being one of the largest brokers, they have fewer research and account tools than many other brokers.

There are no fees except for miscellaneous costs like outgoing wires or live broker fees.

Pros:

  • Pays interest on cash balances
  • Has a simple mobile app that works well while on-the-go
  • Offers some of the best low-cost funds
  • Has one of the largest mutual fund selections

Cons:

  • The platform is a bit outdated
  • Not very much research or data is available
  • Doesn’t allow investors to enter simultaneous orders, so it’s tedious for frequent traders

11. Merrill Edge

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Merrill Edge is a Bank of America company that offers $0 trades. Investors have the option for online or advisor investing and can choose from:

  • Self-directed investing
  • Investing with an advisor
  • Portfolio management with guided investing

Merrill Edge works best for current Bank of America customers who want to keep their financial accounts in one place and want a DIY investing option. Investors enjoy research from Morningstar, Lipper, and their in-house research to give investors as much information as possible.

Investors can choose from stocks, ETFs, fixed-income trading, bonds, and mutual funds. Unfortunately, they don’t offer crypto, futures, or forex investments.

Merrill Edge offers $0 commission trades and no monthly fee. However, they charge for wires, account transfers, and account closures.

Pros:

  • No fees
  • Robust research options
  • Easy to integrate with Bank of America accounts
  • No account minimums

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer many options for advanced traders
  • Not a viable option for active traders
  • The platform isn’t as advanced as others

12. Fidelity

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Fidelity has always been a household favorite, and the platform improves yearly. They offer platforms online and as a mobile app, and their fees are low. They offer $0 trade commissions on stocks and ETFs and a host of other investment options, including options, mutual funds, penny stocks, bonds, and currencies.

Fidelity offers various tools and research options, including robust screeners, calculators, and analysis tools to make important investment decisions.

Fidelity has $0 trade commissions and no monthly fee. They also have the fewest miscellaneous fees out of most brokers.

Pros:

  • Extensive research options
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • Great educational content
  • Helpful analysis tools

Cons:

  • No access to alternative investments like crypto or futures
  • High fees for broker-assisted trades
  • News doesn’t stream and must be manually refreshed, which can be bad for active investors

13. TD Ameritrade

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

TD Ameritrade is another household name in the investment industry. There’s no minimum balance to start, so beginners are welcome. Advanced investors can use the thinkorswim platform, which offers more robust opportunities, including advanced screeners and more extensive educational content.

TD Ameritrade’s low minimum balance requirements and comprehensive tools for an investor at every stage make the platform a great one to grow with as you become an experienced investor.

TD Ameritrade has a $0 commission and no platform fee. Like other platforms, though, they have miscellaneous fees, so always read the fine print.

Pros:

  • Offers robust educational content
  • Customer service is supportive and easily accessed
  • Vast investment selection
  • User-friendly website and mobile app

Cons:

  • No fractional shares
  • Doesn’t automatically sweep idle cash into an interest-bearing account; you must opt into it
  • No crypto trading

14. E*TRADE

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

E*TRADE was one of the first online investment brokerage platforms. Today it’s available online and as a mobile app and provides a large selection of investments for investors at any stage. In addition, E*TRADE is big on research and education, providing investors, from beginners to experts, with everything they need to make important investing decisions.

E*TRADE offers many analytical tools and pre-built and automatic portfolios to appeal to DIY and passive investors.

E*TRADE also jumped on the $0 commission bandwagon and doesn’t charge platform fees.

Pros:

  • Offers an automated option for a beginner or hands-off investor
  • Educational content covers beginners to experts
  • Has two mobile apps, one that caters strictly to options trading
  • Great customer support

Cons:

  • No crypto investing
  • Only investors using the robo-advisor have access to fractional shares
  • The website can feel a little too overwhelming

15. J.P. Morgan

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $5

J.P. Morgan is a household name in the financial industry, so it’s no surprise they have a robust investment platform. However, the self-directed investment platform was built for beginners ready to create their own portfolios.

Like their other financial products, J.P. Morgan focuses on customer service, but they lack robust research options, and its tools and platforms are user-friendly. Having all your financial accounts in one place can be a no-brainer if you’re already a Chase customer.

J.P. Morgan doesn’t charge commissions on most stocks, mutual funds, options, and ETFs, and they don’t have a service fee.

Pros:

  • The online and mobile app platforms are user-friendly for beginners
  • Mutual fund trades are commission free
  • No account minimum
  • All Chase accounts can be viewed in one place

Cons:

  • No crypto trading
  • Research is limited
  • To get help with portfolio building, you need at least $2,500 invested

16. Ally Invest

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0 for Self Directed / $100 for Guided Accounts

Ally Bank is an online bank, and Ally Invest is its counterpart. If you already bank at Ally, keeping all your finances in one place may be beneficial. The investment platform is user-friendly and great for beginners. There’s no minimum investment requirement for self-directed accounts and a $100 minimum for guided accounts.

Ally Invest offers excellent research and tools, and its customer support is top-notch. Investors can trade stocks, ETFs, and options, and the platform offers several robust analysis tools, including a probability calculator, to make important investing decisions.

The Ally Invest platform is fee-free except for options contracts, mutual fund loads, and miscellaneous account fees.

Pros:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Offers self-directed and guided investing
  • Ally customers can see all their accounts in one place
  • Pays interest on cash balances

Cons:

  • The web platform and mobile app don’t have the same features
  • Has limited types of investments
  • No fractional shares

17. Firstrade

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $5

Firstrade is another great investment app for beginners. It offers $0 stock and options trades but has some limited features that experienced investors may not like. Most investors feel the platform is basic, which is great for beginners trying to learn the ropes but don’t want to be overwhelmed with too many features.

Investors can choose from stocks, ETFs, options, and fixed-income securities, and the platform has many screeners and research tools for investors.

Firstrade doesn’t charge commission on most trades but charges for miscellaneous services, like most brokers.

Pros:

  • Simple trading platform great for beginners
  • $0 commissions
  • No account minimum requirement
  • Has both an online and mobile app

Cons:

  • Account options are limited for experienced investors
  • Customer service is lacking
  • No crypto or futures

18. Charles Schwab

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Charles Schwab is one of the country’s largest investment brokers, yet it’s also one of the most affordable. It’s a great platform for beginners because of its extensive educational content and automated investing robo-advisor. With its expansive research and analytical tools for experienced investors, Schwab also has plenty of room for growth.

Investors utilizing robust resources, such as real-time data streams and advanced screening results, can create portfolios that help them reach their goals. In addition, investors can trade a wide range of assets, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, penny stocks, options, futures, and international stocks.

Schwab has $0 trade commissions and doesn’t have a monthly service fee.

Pros:

  • Offers three investment platforms to meet the needs of different investor types
  • Offers a robust robo-advisor for hands-off investing
  • Large investment selection
  • No commissions

Cons:

  • Doesn’t automatically sweep cash into an interest-bearing account
  • No fractional shares of ETFs
  • Margin rates are high

19. Stockpile

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Stockpile is geared toward younger and new investors. It’s a streamlined mobile app that takes the overwhelm out of buying and selling stocks or ETFs. Of course, their simplicity limits their research and product selection, but if you’re new, it can be a great place to start.

Stockpile doesn’t charge trading commissions or monthly fees.

Pros:

  • You can buy gift cards for fractional shares of stocks to give as gifts
  • The platform is not intimidating and is perfect for someone afraid of investing
  • Offers custodial accounts to teach kids and teens about investing
  • Keeps asset options simple to avoid overwhelming new investors

Cons:

  • Not enough asset selections for advanced investors
  • Research is limited
  • No real-time streaming data

20. Invstr

  • Commission Fees: $0 – $3.99 / month
  • Minimum Investment: $5

Invstr is a great investment app for beginners who want to learn how to invest with fake money before risking theirs. In Invstr, you can play a fantasy investing game to help you get the hang of making investing decisions.

Invstr offers a portfolio builder to determine which investments will help you reach your financial goals and investors need only $5 to start investing. Surprisingly for an app for beginners, you can even trade cryptocurrency on Invstr.

Invstr has two plans:

  1. Invstr+: a free plan
  2. Invstr Pro: $3.99 per month. Invstr Pro offers stats on your portfolio’s performance, personalized investment picks, access to the Invstr Academy, and the Fantasy Finance game.

Pros:

  • Can buy fractional shares
  • Easy to learn about investing before risking your money
  • Free newsfeed for up-to-the-minute market information
  • No commission fees

Cons:

  • You must upgrade to a paid subscription for the fantasy game
  • Limited investment options
  • Has a lot of miscellaneous fees

21. Wealthbase

  • Commission Fees: $0
  • Minimum Investment: $0

Wealthbase is a fantasy stock trading game that’s free. It’s a great investment app for beginners who don’t want to risk their money but want to learn how the market works. You can join the app for free and win cash prizes. You can even host your own game.

Pros:

  • Beginners can learn stock trading in a simulator
  • You can play with friends and family
  • Winners earn real cash
  • Has a social component so you can discuss your strategies with others

Cons:

  • No real investing occurs

22. Wealthfront

  • Commission Fees: 0.25% of assets under management annually
  • Minimum Investment: $500

Wealthfront has always been a top robo-advisor for beginners. It excels in goal planning and offers 200+ ETFs for investors. In addition, Wealthfront automatically rebalances your portfolio and offers several cryptocurrency options.

Even if you aren’t ready to invest, Wealthfront offers its financial planning services to anyone free of charge. In addition, you can link all your financial accounts to Wealthfront to look at your big picture and see what changes you should make to reach your financial goals.

Pros:

  • Offers tax loss harvesting
  • Offers ETS, stocks, and crypto
  • Pays interest on cash balances
  • Can customize your portfolio

Cons:

  • You need $500 to start
  • No access to human advisors
  • Customer service is hard to get

23. Ellevest

  • Commission Fees: $54 – $97 / year
  • Minimum Investment: $5

Ellevest is a beginning investment app geared toward women, but anyone can use it. They have no minimum investment requirements, and they keep their fees low. In addition, the investment strategies are geared toward women, focusing on time off work, salary gaps, and longer lifespans.

Investors can choose ETFs or mutual funds on this platform, and many assets are socially responsible.

Ellevest has two plans:

  1. Plus: $5/month or $54/year – Includes investing, education, 30% off live advisor support, and retirement planning
  2. Executive: $9/month or $97/year – Includes everything from above plus 50% off live advisor support and multi-goal support

Pros:

  • Uses a goal-focused approach to investing
  • No minimums to start
  • Focuses on women’s goals and financial needs
  • Is available online and on a mobile app

Cons:

  • No tax-loss harvesting
  • Monthly costs add up
  • No customization

Important Things to Know Before Using Stock Apps

Before using stock apps, always consider the following:

  • What’s the minimum investment required?
  • Do they pay interest on cash balances?
  • What are the fees?
  • Is there an inactivity fee?
  • How do you fund your account and withdraw funds?
  • Are retirement accounts available?

Picking the Best Stock Apps for Beginners

Picking the best investment app is a big decision. The app will be responsible for helping you invest your money, so you want to make sure you choose the right one. Here’s what to consider.

Purpose

Why are you investing? Not all investment apps offer taxable and retirement accounts. Also, some only offer individual accounts and not joint accounts. Think about what you want to accomplish and see how each app stacks up.

Features

Decide what type of features you want. As a beginner investor, do you want a simplified approach or an app that will grow with your experience? Stock apps for beginners can be extremely simplified or have the option to hand-hold beginners and then grow into a self-directed investment account as you get comfortable.

Cost and Fees

Cost and fees are the number one factor in choosing the right app. Even $2 a month fees can reduce your profits, especially if you only invest $5 at a time. Pay close attention to the trading commissions, monthly, and miscellaneous fees, as most apps have plenty in their fine print.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you see many beginner investment apps, it’s time to try your hand at investing!

Which stocks apps are best for beginners?

Many stock apps are great for beginners. It depends on your goals. Robinhood and Acorns are great options for beginners, but most apps have the option to help beginners. Look for automated investing and automatic portfolio rebalancing when looking for apps for beginners.

Can I invest and trade stocks for free?

Most online investment apps today don’t charge commissions for stock and ETF trades. But, of course, never assume and always read the company’s fine print to know the full cost.

How much money should someone invest in a stock app?

No two investors will invest the same amount of money in a stock app. You should invest what you can risk losing. Since stocks are risky investments, you should consider diversifying your portfolio with other conservative investments.

Is money invested on stock apps insured?

Like bank accounts, stock apps have insurance called SIPC insurance. This covers investors with up to $500,000 in their investment app. In addition, up to $250,000 can be cash you haven’t invested.

What assets can I trade with stock apps?

Each stock app trades different assets. The most common are stocks and ETFs, but many apps also trade mutual funds, cryptocurrency, futures, forex, and other alternative assets.

Are stock apps usable for active trading?

There are stock apps for active trading, but make sure you find an app for it. Most stock apps for beginners are for passive investing and use automated investing with a robo-advisor, which is meant for long-term investing.

Are stock investing apps safe?

Like any financial product, there are risks in using stock apps, but as long as you use one with SIPC insurance and reputable reviews, it’s safe to use.

Are some apps better for investing?

Each app has its pros and cons. Because no two investors have the same needs, there isn’t one stock app that’s best for everyone. Consider your needs and priorities and choose your app accordingly.

Is trading something I can teach myself?

Many stock apps for beginners have vast educational content to help you learn how to invest. If you’re a true beginner and don’t want to risk real money, you can find online stock trading games that use real-time data to help you learn.

What is a fractional share?

A fractional share is a prorated amount of a stock share. So, for example, if a stock’s share is $200, but you only have $20, you can buy a percentage of that share and be a stockholder in that company.

What is a market order?

A market order is your current order to buy or sell stock at the best price.

What is a limit order?

A limit order is your order to buy or sell a stock at a specific price or better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.