13 best investing apps for beginners 2021
Getting started with investing can be a little bit daunting. We hear stories about people creating great fortunes and losing all of their money with changes in the market and wonder whether we have what it takes to start making our money work for us.
The nice thing is that investing isn’t as tricky as it might seem. As long as you do a little bit of research and make smart choices with your money, you can start to see a lot of success.
Additionally, you can carry out the entire process on your own if you use one of these best investing apps for beginners. We’re going to talk about a few of the best investment apps for beginners that you can start using today, giving you a little insight into where you might get started.
Important Features You Can Look for in an Investment App for Beginners
An investment app for beginners will look different than one for seasoned investors. The best investment apps for beginners have an easy-to-understand interface, ease of functionality in the investment app mainframe, and helpful tips for the beginner investor.
An investment app for beginners will offer low fees. The best investment apps will also give you access to all the different types of accounts and investment products that you’d be interested in. Before deciding on the investment app for you, do some research and figure out the kind of investing style you’re interested in.
There is a style of investing that is one of the best for you, your budget, and there is an investment app for that style of trading. Here are three different styles to invest for the beginner trader.
A Little in a Lot of Different Places
If you’re interested in the riskier side of investments this is one of the best investment strategies for you. Also known as a constant mix strategy, it spreads your assets out with a large variety of higher-risk companies and other types of risky investments. This way if the market takes a dive your entire investment isn’t all gone with it.
Since risky investments carry both great rewards and devastating losses, spreading the wealth out among a variety of sources helps lessen the blow if things go south and gives you more protection from losing your shirt.
Swimming Upstream, or Going Against the Current
This strategy revolves around doing the opposite of what the majority of the market is doing. The best investing strategy is the one that, at the end of the day, will mitigate losses and boost returns. This strategy is known as one of the best to give small returns and generate rare large losses.
Don’t expect a windfall from this strategy though. This is one of the best strategies for people who believe in the tortoise winning the race and slow and steady being the name of the game.
You Can Follow the Herd
Following the trends of the market while stock trading is the most straightforward approach to investing and stock market research, especially for a beginning investor. The best investment apps will have integrations that give you data on current market trends and when to invest when the market is right.
You’ll ride the wave to the top and when it begins to take a turn down do your stock trading and collect your profits. While this is an easier strategy to follow as a beginner, and it seems simple at first, it’s hard to tell when you should get out of stock at first. It takes time and a good investment app to help you time the trades correctly.
Your investment app will usually have integrations and other features that can help tell you if it’s a good time to buy, sell, or hold. Then your investment app will handle the sale and confirmation of the stock trades for you.
Now that you know what kind of investing appeals to you and how you will use the investment apps on this list, let’s take a look at the 13 best stock investing apps for beginners and why you should use them.
The absolute easiest platform and the best investing app to use is called Acorns. This is the ultimate investment app for beginner investors. Acorns allows you to link up your bank account and dedicate the difference of every transaction to the investment account. It also allows you to use the investing app for the purchase of fractional shares for your portfolio and other types of investments.
If you make a purchase of $4.15, Acorns will round up your purchase to $5.00 and take the remaining 85 cents. Each transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the remainder is sent directly into your investment account. This allows the investing app itself to encourage you to boost your account by adding the remainder to the investment account.
It’s similar to taking all of your spare change throughout the day and putting it into a piggy bank, except that it is a solid investment account that will grow significantly over time.
Another beautiful thing about Acorns is that you can select the general specifications of your investment account, and they will manage it for you. For example, you could choose to have a risky account, and Acorns will manage your funds in a way that increases risk and gives you the potential for a little more growth.
Alternatively, you can opt for low risk and they’ll manage things that way. The best part about Acorns as an investing app for beginners is the low monthly access fees. The investing app is available starting only at $1 per month. Even at the most expensive access level, the family investments portfolio on the platform is only $5 per month.
Things to Consider
Acorns is a great investment app for someone who doesn’t want to worry too much about managing their funds and what their portfolio is up to. If you link up your bank account and let things grow for a period of years, your investment will start to look like a pretty sizeable nest egg.
Of course, if you want to make the most out of the service, it depends on how much money you spend with your credit card. That said, a month’s worth of charges to a credit card should leave a couple of hundred dollars more toward your principal investment. This is to help you build up your investment account and your portfolio and have a nest egg without having to think too much about it.
Acorns’ fees are less than $5 per month, depending on the account option you choose. One thing to keep in mind at first is that those charges won’t outweigh the gains your investments make until your balance reaches up past around $2,000.
So, it takes a little while to get going, but Acorns offers an excellent platform if you want to start saving and investing your money, especially if you have trouble setting your cash aside.
Public is an investment app that makes investing a lot more accessible for those that aren’t able to contribute a great deal of money to their accounts.
There are always going to be companies on the stock market that offer share values of $1 or less, but those aren’t always the companies that you want to invest in or have on your portfolio. On the other hand, successful companies like Tesla or Google might have share prices in the hundreds of dollars.
If you’re not able to invest that much money into a single share, you aren’t able to invest in the companies you want. Those are often companies that offer some of the biggest growth potentials on your dollar.
Public allows you to invest in what they call “slices” of shares. You can invest in any stock you want to with any amount of money. They offer this feature of joining you with a community of investors that have stock in those companies, splitting the shares into slices of up to whatever size you choose.
So, you can invest in a stock like Tesla with up to whatever amount you have in your bank account. Another advantage of Public is that you can communicate with other individuals on the platform and get insight into how you should invest.
3. SoFi Active Investing
SoFi Active Investing is a great option for those who are just starting to think about trading stocks and making money through trading.
It has no financial barriers to entry. In other words, no commissions and no minimum account values. These should serve as an incentive to those who are looking to understand the market and try their hand at making some money in the short term.
The only downside of the app is that it’s limited in the features of savings funds or options for retirement plans. So, if you’re looking to invest in the long-haul, it might be a better idea to choose a different app that offers something like an IRA.
That said, it might be the best option for you if you’re just looking to start buying and selling stocks to make a profit. Additionally, SoFi is great for beginners because it offers fractional shares similar to the ones that Public does.
This way, you can invest in the companies you think are going to grow, regardless of how much they’re worth at the moment.
E*Trade is an investment app that offers a whole host of benefits and doesn’t offer any startup fees or minimum account balances. While the app has no minimum balance and is commission free there are some drawbacks from it’s competition.
While it doesn’t offer too many specialized choices for investment like fractional shares or slices, it does offer you access to almost anything you’d need. You can buy and sell shares in real-time once you’ve established your account on this app and the money from your bank account drops into the E*Trade account.
It usually takes a few business days for the money to transfer from account to account, but it’s able to be used for buys and sells immediately with the deposit once it’s in. E*Trade also has a lot of features that make it easy to monitor stocks, get news, and look at the histories of various investments that you might want to make.
Additionally, it offers retirement options like IRAs, although you might need a certain amount of money in the accounts to get access to the account management services they offer.
In cases when your funds are managed by a professional for the long-haul, E*Trade will make commissions off of your profits and it doesn’t make financial sense for them to work with you unless you have enough money to generate significant interest.
Robinhood is similar to E*Trade in the sense that it’s a free brokerage platform that makes it easy for beginning investors. They’re known for their free stock at the time of sign up and the free stock referral program. It’s considered “the app” among the new retail trading sector. They led the way on the commission free trading gambit.
The lack of a minimum balance and the ease of use for the app are all pluses to the platform. The mobile app is simple and offers good insights on whether or not you’re making a good trading choice. It’s simply the best of a new generation of investment platforms.
It’s stripped of the bells and whistles of some of the other platforms on purpose. This way, it’s a simple and direct way to trade in the ways that you’d like to without being distracted by a bunch of fancy terminologies that might not apply to you at all.
The only fee to keep in mind is the $75 transfer fee for situations when you want to shift your funds to another broker. There is no fee for transferring your fund back into your bank account from the Robinhood account and there is no minimum balance.
In most cases, you would only need to transfer funds from one brokerage firm to another if you had a massive amount that couldn’t be easily transferred into your actual bank account. Robinhood also offers a free stock for every referral you get to sign up and fund an account.
6. Zacks Trade
Zacks Trade is for those of you who are looking to get a little more serious with your trades. It’s also a great option for those who aren’t sure they want to make their trades without any professional help.
Things to note off of the bat are that Zacks Trade requires the deposit and maintenance of a $2,500 account balance and that there’s a one-penny fee per trade. These two factors might be small downsides, but there are some pretty good advantages and features of Zacks Trade that it offers in exchange.
First off, you’re provided with a personal assistant when needed with the trades you’re making. The rest of the free options we’ve described above don’t offer this feature. If you’re someone who’s starting to invest with a significant chunk of money on the stock market, having a little bit of help with a strategy is never a bad idea.
This is especially true in this case, considering that the fees coming from Zacks Trade are extremely affordable. They also offer various research reports and resources through the mobile app that can help you make decisions with your money.
7. Ally Invest
Ally Invest is great for those who are looking to trade options, forex, and shares. There are low fees for trading options, and many of the apps we’ve discussed today don’t offer the ability for forex trading.
Forex is essentially the option to trade on foreign markets. It’s a little more complex and difficult to manage forex trades, but there’s a huge potential for returns.
Another excellent factor of Ally Invest is that they offer automated portfolio management, taking a lot of the responsibility out of your hands and making things a little simpler. The great thing about automated management is that you can tweak your portfolio to buy and sell at specific values and minimize the risk that comes with doing things yourself.
eToro is a platform that allows investors to work in the world of cryptocurrencies. While the platform is limited to cryptocurrencies, this is a huge point of interest for a lot of people because there’s so much money to be made.
Additionally, eToro gives you the same opportunity of a professional to manage your investments in a way that reflects the behavior of other successful investors. So, you can effectively be making the same decisions as someone who has already had a good deal of success in the market all on a commission-free basis.
In terms of cryptocurrency trading options, eToro has all the features of the other apps and is a great place to get started and access emerging currencies. Make sure that the service is available in your area, though, considering that it’s only an option in 41 states in the US.
9. You Invest
JP Morgan has a platform called You Invest, with an integrated Robo-advisor, which is an excellent way for beginners to get started. The features of the app were designed to help beginner traders get started on the market.
This means it’s great for the novice, but those who have a lot of experience with trading might not find it as useful.
There are no minimum fees or balances, and the best part is that there are a lot of educational materials and tools for those who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. You can use these tools in conjunction with the platforms Robo-advisor services to optimize your accounts. The Robo-advisor allows you to ask any questions that come to mind and get answers in real-time on the mobile app.
With the Robo-advisor, it’s like you have a financial advisor right in your pocket on the mobile app.
10. TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is one of the larger trading platforms that offer quality support without charging additional fees. While the support might not be as personalized as it would be with something like Jacks Trade, you’re not going to have to pay anything for it.
This is an application that’s a great move if you’re looking to start and finish your trading on the same platform, considering that TD Ameritrade is as useful for beginners as it is for experts.
11. Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab is an app that’s similar to E*Trade and TD Ameritrade. It’s large, has access to all of the stocks, funds, and options that you might be interested in, and there are no fees or account minimums for most things.
Some options trading will have reasonably small fees, and there are $25-$50 fees for transferring your funds to different brokerage accounts. They offer low minimum balance and no minimum mutual fund and index fund trading. The app is easy to use for most investors.
If you are a newbie, it is a good idea to work with one of the big boys of the investing world. Charles Schwab has a stellar reputation and no minimum when it comes to customer service. If you ever have a question they are there to help.
They also have financial advisors on staff to help you on your journey if you are having trouble with your portfolio.
Stockpile is an unusual trading platform. It offers the ability to buy fractional shares like a few of the other apps on this list, but it also gives you the ability to buy gift cards for others.
Stockpile gift cards can be bought and given and carry shares of specific stocks and ETFs! While this might not be the best option for you as you begin trading, it’s certainly something to keep in mind when the holiday season rolls around and you’re looking for gift ideas.
They offer the unique feature of allowing custodial accounts for you to keep for your kids. The app is easy to use and allows access to both fractional shares and other investments. This is a great idea to be used as a future gift for your college grad or a nest egg to allow you to start your child off on the right foot.
13. M1 Finance
M1 Finance is a highly-customizable option that has a $100 minimum account balance.
The beautiful thing about M1 Finance, other than the fact that you can buy and sell shares, is that they offer you access to a number of other features that can work to improve your financial health.
Things like bank accounts, debit cards, and loans are excellent features that you have access to when you use this app. M1 Finance also offers the flexibility of creating a custom portfolio. M1 Finance offers the purchase of fractional shares on stocks and ETFs and automation to put your investment contributions on auto-pilot.
Once you get some experience under your belt, M1 Finance also offers the M1 Finance Plus option to upgrade your account and give you more control over the investing app for your portfolio. This will give you higher daily limits and smart transfers to make managing your investment accounts even easier.
With M1 Finance it is a completely customizable experience and easy to use even for someone who is just starting out.
Need More Help Making Your Choice?
Sifting through the best investing apps for beginners can be a little bit tough. There’s a lot to consider. We’re here to help, though.
Explore our site for more insight into various investing apps and what they can offer you.