If you're over 18, you can trade stocks from your smartphone at just about any time of day. There are over a dozen investment apps, and they all have pros and cons. Finding the right fit depends on where you are in your investment journey, how much you have at your disposal, and what asset classes you want to buy and sell. These are some of the most-used apps for passive and active investing.
Thanks to the GameStop saga, Robinhood is known beyond investing circles. The company offers one free stock as a welcome bonus and commission-free trading sans hidden fees. You have access to IPOs, telephonic customer support, and educational content, including a blog covering investing basics and a newsletter for the layperson to understand the latest developments in the financial world.
Robinhood is a user-friendly option for active investing, and you can dip into crypto too. But the platform doesn't offer short selling, and there have been a few data breaches.
SoFi is an excellent all-in-one investing app. You can access high-yield savings and cryptocurrencies (albeit with a 1.25% markup), including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum. Automated investing is possible, you can take out a loan, and IRA offerings allow you to work on your retirement POA.
First-time investors will find valuable resources, but the research tools may fall a little short for more seasoned traders. SoFi's menu of securities is less extensive than some other apps, so if you've got your eye on a particular stock and it's unavailable, you'll have to venture elsewhere. Options and mutual fund trading aren't possible either.
M1 Finance lets you choose from more than 6,000 ETFs and stocks. It offers users a debit card and checking account, and you can borrow sums of up to 35% of your investment account value. Self-direct your investing or choose from expert-curated portfolios that fit your risk appetite and age, but if you want human advisors, you'll have to look to other service providers.
M1 does not currently facilitate options trading, but they've recently made crypto purchases possible. A premium account will cost you $125 for the year, and you get an afternoon trade window, custodial accounts, better borrowing rates, and other benefits.
Acorns is a winner for micro-investing because it automatically invests your change from rounded-up purchases. You can adjust this feature's settings to your liking. You'll have access to a robo-advisor for long-term investing, but as it stands, you can't trade individual stocks or buy cryptocurrencies.
A reward program invests cash back when you shop with specific brands like Nike and Walmart. The app recommends five core portfolios based on the info you provide about your investing goals and concerns. The downside to using Acorns is the $5 monthly family subscription fee.
Betterment's robo-advising is second to none—it lets you know how much to save to reach various goals and features tax-saving. As with Acorns, you don't have to deal with the pressure of picking your own stocks. The app also shines a spotlight on ethical investing with its socially responsible portfolios. These are significant drawcards.
However, the set-up is not a 15-minute process, and to enter premium account territory, you have to have a cool $100,000 to your name.
TD Ameritrade has two apps: a basic, more welcoming one and another called "thinkorswim" that's packed with features and access to financial products such as mutual funds, bonds, futures, forex, and more. It's arguably the best active trading app out there.
TD Ameritrade's education game is strong—how-to videos and courses are just the start, and you can learn a lot quickly. You can't purchase fractional shares, though, so the Berkshire Hathaway stock you've been coveting may be out of reach, and the margin rates are relatively high.
Charles Schwab's real-time data, range of research tools, and diverse products make it a good option for advanced traders, especially those who want to trade futures or invest in IRAs. Interested in foreign markets? You can snap up equities from more than 30 exchanges around the globe and trade in seven local currencies.
Schwab Mobile is highly rated, but you can speak with a consultant at branches around the country too.
Advanced investors will find much to admire about Interactive Brokers mobile app. It's a natural progression from the professional-grade desktop platform, Traders Workstation, and there's swift synchronization between the two. IBKR offers low loan interest rates and every kind of asset class in addition to valuable analyses and insights from detailed charts.
The only trouble is wrapping your head around everything the platform can do, although there is a Lite version for casual traders.
Webull is popular among newbies who use its simulator to learn how the markets work before spending real dough, but it's not the only app to enable paper trading. It's also a favorite mobile app with active traders for its pre-market availability, extended hours, and real-time quotes.
Webull has many commendable features, but you can't buy mutual funds or bonds or access an expert.
Fidelity is a major brokerage, and it's a fantastic financial planning tool, particularly if you activate Full View and link your accounts for a macro view of your net worth, transactions, and budget. You'll have access to fractional shares, and you'll be able to earn 2% cashback on a no-fee credit card.
But not all asset classes are supported, and Fidelity doesn't offer tax loss harvesting.