You don't have to check off many boxes to buy and sell stocks. It's now as simple as downloading an app, answering a few questions, and making your first deposit to fund a trade. When choosing an app for investing, it's essential to look past the fundamentals since stock trading is primarily the same across different companies. Instead, look at what each service provides beyond the basics when choosing the one that's right for you.
- The cost to invest
- Whether fractional shares are supported
- Account minimums
- Range of available investments options
- Account types offered
- Access to research content
Best for most traders: TD Ameritrade Mobile
TD Ameritrade offers the best investment services for most people. With no minimum investment to open a new account and $0 stock trades, it's an excellent solution for those new to trading and long-term investors. In addition, TD Ameritrade offers various types of accounts and investments, including individual, joint, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Roller IRA, Trust, and UTMA/UGMA.
Stocks, options (with a $2,000 minimum investment), ETFs, mutual funds, managed portfolios, and more are open for trading. It also offers excellent educational resources, including articles, videos, webinars, courses, and live in-person events.
You can access your TD Ameritrade account through apps and the web. It will look terrific on the best iPhone!
TD Ameritrade is now part of Charles Schwab Corporation, a full-featured solution for investors of any stripe. Big, with lots of insight available to investors, TD Ameritrade is for small and large investors.
Best for beginners: SoFi Wealth
Best known for offering education loans, SoFi has grown considerably since its founding in 2011 and now includes investing. You can open a new SoFi Wealth account for as little as $1 with no fees charged to SoFi Borrowers are those with less than $10,000 invested. It offers individual and joint accounts, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, and SEP IRA.
For now, trading is limited to index funds. Fractional shares are possible, however.
Because of its background in education, SoFi Wealth is an excellent choice for anyone new to the workforce. It offers goal-setting and retirement analyst tools, and more.
Limited to index fund trading only, SoFi is great for beginning investors looking to make some money. It's even better if you currently have a student loan.
Best for research: Merrill Edge
Part of Bank of America, Merrill Edge offers various account types with no minimum investment and $0 stock trades. Options trades are just $0.65 per contract. It offers stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options trading.
Merrill Edge is noted for its extensive research and education resources and unique platform for beginners. Currently, it offers no fractional trading of stocks.
Merrill Edge offers many trading options, an excellent choice for casual and active traders. You can also access a professional investment advisor for an extra fee.
Best free app: Webull
Tech-savvy, casual investors will appreciate the slick interface that is Webull. With $0 stock and options trades and zero minimum investments, Webull is an excellent place for newbies to start. At least for now, however, it's only possible to trade through a taxable account or Traditional or Roth IRA. To date, Webull doesn't offer investment opportunities in fractional shares, mutual funds, or OTC stocks.
An excellent place for new traders to begin their financial journey. Limited opportunities, however.
Best for options trading: E-TRADE
E-Trade is considered the granddaddy of online discount brokerage houses and a long-time popular choice across the investment spectrum. Beyond $0 stock trades with a $0 minimum investment, E-Trade now offers commission-free options trades. There's also built-in Apple Pay functionality for E-Trade debit cardholders.
Offering various account types, E-Trade is highly noted for its 1,300+ no-load mutual funds, ease of use, and trading resources.
A tried-and-true powerhouse, choose E-Trade for options trading and everything else.
Best for social: Public.com
Once called Matador, Public.com doesn't pay commissions and doesn't require a minimum investment to get started. For now, trading is limited to stocks and ETFs, plus you can open up a savings account in-app.
Public.com's biggest draw is its social media element. You can chat with other investors throughout the day and see what's in others' portfolios. Fractional shares are also heavily promoted.
On the downside, you can't use Public.com from a website, and, at least for now, it only offers traditional brokerage accounts, not retirement or joint accounts.
Come each day for social interaction; stay for the excellent advice and money-making opportunities.
Best for learners: Stash Invest
Are you worried you don't have enough cash to invest? Consider Stash Invest, which promotes micro-investing starting a just a few dollars a month. Providing IRA and checking packages, Stash Invest has traditionally offered exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Single stock investing is now possible, as is fractional trading.
Stash requires a membership starting at $1/month. For this, you can open an account and access educational tools. With a Stash+ membership, you can take investing to new levels and unlock additional research content. In addition, fractional trading is possible with Stash Invest.
Take advantage of the free Stash Debit Account to bring all your banking under one roof. Be aware of the monthly fees, however.
Best for investing small change: Acorns
Still primarily focused on micro-savings, the always popular Acorns now lets you invest for retirement, open a checking account, and create a custodial investment account for your kids. With a $0 minimum investment, Acorn does include fees for its services starting at $1 per month.
And yet, paying those fees is worth it, considering the many perks you receive. One of these, the Found Money feature, means getting money back from partner retailers when purchases are made.
Your purchases get rounded up and deposited into a savings account with Acorns. From there, you can invest your money for retirement or your kids.
Best for those who already went cashless: Cash App
Owned by Square, the Cash App has primarily been designed to send and receive money via an email address, phone number, or $Cashtag. It also offers investment opportunities for stocks and ETFs for as little as $1 with no commission fees. You can also buy and sell bitcoin through the Cash App.
It's not the first service you might think of to trade stocks. And yet, it's possible to do so in the Cash App. For those who have already given up on carrying physical cash, this might be the solution for you.
Best for those looking for something new: Tradefluence
One of the newest financial apps, Tradefluence, is a peer-to-peer marketplace for stock market trends. It's been designed for traders and Tradefluencers.
Access investing trends with an app that promotes transparency. View the track records of Tradefluencers that show their total return, average return, and the number of trades per week.
Best stock trading apps
There are many choices when it comes to investing on your mobile device. Each of our favorites takes investing beyond the buy and selling. Find the solution that's best for you, and happy investing!
Updated March 2022: Includes information on Tradeinfluencer for the first time.
Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
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