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Digital tools have made it far easier for anyone to invest on their own or with limited help from an advisor. Here are five investing apps that will set you up for success.
Fintech has changed the world of investing. There are now countless web and mobile apps for every kind of investor, from the first-time stock trader to the seasoned crypto buyer. These apps offer a wide range of tools and resources you can use, whether you want to trade on your own or work with an advisor.
To find the best app for you, it’s important to understand what each one offers, along with any trading costs you’ll incur. To help you find the right fit, we looked at some of the most popular investing apps on the market and selected five of the best options for the most common types of investors.
Comparing the 5 Best Investment Apps
|$0 to $5 per month
|$0 to $2,000
|All types of investors
|0% or $30 per month
|$0 to $25,000
|0.25% or $4 per month
|$0 ($10 to start investing)
|$0 per trade (other fees apply)
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For all-around investors who want to manage their financial life in one place, Fidelity is a clear winner. Fidelity is consistently one of the best-rated firms in terms of customer service and investing tools, and for good reason. You can manage all your financial accounts in one place with this app, and you won’t pay fees on stock and ETF trades.
Fidelity offers a wide range of investing options, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and some cryptocurrency trading. You’ll also find fractional-share investing opportunities here, expanding your access to pricier investments. With Fidelity’s customer service and vast library of educational resources behind you, you’ll be on firm footing for managing your investment goals.
- Single dashboard for all investments and banking
- Fractional investing provides more options
- No fees on stock and ETF trades
- High options contract charges and broker-assisted trading fees
- Limited cryptocurrency trading
- No futures or commodities trading
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Robinhood is now a household name among tech-savvy investors who want to trade actively and easily. This highly rated app offers a range of fee-free investing options, including crypto, fractional shares, and initial public offerings (IPOs).
Robinhood’s app makes it easy to trade quickly, but you won’t find much here in terms of resources or investing guidance unless you upgrade to Robinhood Gold. You’ll pay a monthly fee for this service, but it includes several extra perks like access to Morningstar stock reports and 4.65% interest on any uninvested cash.
- No commissions on stock, ETF, options, or crypto trades
- Fractional shares and IPO investing options
- Easy-to-use mobile app
- Few resources and educational tools for basic users
- $5 per month fee and $2,000 minimum balance for margin trading on Robinhood Gold
- No mutual funds, education accounts, or joint accounts
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Charles Schwab is a well-known name among investors of all kinds. Whether you’re a beginner looking for simple mutual funds or an advanced investor automating trades in fractional shares, the Schwab web or mobile apps have the tools you need to get it done. The firm offers a vast library of online tools and resources to help you, along with the option to choose advisor-managed accounts.
Schwab investors have access to one of the largest 4,000 fee-free mutual funds, along with commission-free stock and ETF trades. There are options to upgrade, too, with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios or Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium, You’ll need a $5,000 or $25,000 minimum balance for these, respectively, and you may have to pay fees for certain types of trades.
- Options for automated and advisor-managed accounts
- Intuitive, easy-to-use web and mobile apps
- Loads of online resources and account management tools
- High minimum balance on some account levels
- No fractional shares for ETF trading
- No cryptocurrency trading available
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Betterment is one of the original robo-advisors — automated digital investing platforms — but it still stands out as the best of the bunch for investors who want to (mostly) automate the process. It includes essential services like automated tax-loss harvesting and account rebalancing so you can maximize tax benefits and keep your portfolio aligned with your goals. Plus, Betterment features a high-yield cash management account that allows you to earn money on uninvested funds.
Although you don’t have to maintain a balance with Betterment, you’ll need at least $10 to start investing. You’ll pay a flat 0.25% fee on everything you invest, but that turns out to be much lower than other robo-platforms unless you’re investing especially large amounts. If you prefer something closer to a “set it and forget it” approach to investing, Betterment can get you pretty close for a reasonable cost.
- Low account management fees
- Built-in tax loss harvesting
- Integrated cash management with a high APY
- Fewer financial planning tools than some other options
- Confusing setup process
- High cost of chatting with a financial advisor for Betterment Digital
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E*Trade has put online investing first longer than anyone else, and it’s no surprise it makes a good choice for beginning investors who want some guidance. The company offers an impressive set of online tools and resources for learning about investing — including live-stream access to Bloomberg TV.
With E*Trade, you can trade U.S.-listed stocks, options, and ETFs with no commission. There is also a range of no-load mutual funds with no transaction fees. You won’t get access to fractional investing, cryptocurrency, or commodities, but those are often best left to experienced investors, anyway. The website is a little clunky, but E*Trade’s mobile app is among the best out there.
- Large selection of investment options
- Low fees and trading costs
- Top-notch news and investing resources
- No options for 529 accounts or crypto trading
- No fractional trading
- Website can be cumbersome
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which app is best for new investors?
There are a variety of beginner-friendly investment apps on the market, but E*Trade is our top choice. Its low fees and extensive library of educational resources make it a good fit for new investors who want to learn as they trade.
Are investing apps safe?
Most investments made through brokerage firms are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), regardless of whether you invest in person or through an app. However, apps can support risky investing through features like gamification if investors don’t take the time to make informed investing decisions. If you’re going to invest on your own, it’s important to use educational resources before you begin trading.
How should a beginner start investing?
Investing wisely requires you to be informed about how the market works and how investing strategies differ based on your goals. Before you start trading, you should learn about different types of investments, long- and short-term investing strategies, and how risk tolerance should shape your portfolio. From there, you can set investment goals and begin trading. If you’re unsure where to start, speak with a trusted investment advisor.