The stock market has never been quite as accessible as it is today. A system, historically seen as one reserved for use only by experts, has been opened to the masses, thanks to the Internet and subsequent technological innovations surrounding it.
The days of having to pick up the phone and call a financial advisor or registered investment adviser are in the past, with retail investors moving to online brokerage accounts where they’re managing their own investments.
Nearly every quality online broker now offers a mobile application designed to give investors and traders a way to access the market on the go.
But with so many choices, how do you decide which app to use?
Best Investing Apps for On-the-Go Investors
Today, there are mobile apps for just about anything. Want to order food, chat with a friend, send a package, or get a ride to work? There’s an app for that. Investing is no different.
The best investment apps give their users the same experience in the palms of their hands as they enjoy sitting at a desk. Moreover, these apps are offered by companies with some of the best reputations on Wall Street, giving the user peace of mind knowing their money is in safe hands.
Some apps are designed for the active investor who makes multiple trades per week or even per day, while others are designed for passive investors who want to take the set-it-and-forget-it approach.
Regardless of which experience you’re looking for, there’s likely an option below that fits in well with your needs as an investor.
The platform gives its users the ability to connect a bank account or debit card to their investment account and make manual deposits or set up automatic withdrawals for automated investing.
Once you deposit funds into your account and set your goals and asset allocation levels, the app does the rest of the work for you, allocating your money as you requested and letting you move on with the rest of your day.
Some of the most important features offered through the app include:
- Risk Tolerance Adjustments: The app gives you the ability to set your asset allocation based on your risk tolerance. Investors who are less comfortable with risk will allocate more of their investment dollars to safer bonds, while those with higher appetites for risk will be invested more in stocks through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and index funds.
- Tax-Loss Harvesting: Tax-loss harvesting is a process that involves selling a security that has experienced losses. Those losses are reported to the IRS at the end of the year, reducing your overall tax burden. Once the loss is sold off, Betterment uses the money raised to replace it with a similar security, offering you the ability to participate in gains as your tax burden is reduced.
- A Goal-Oriented Platform: One of the first steps to signing up for an account is to set your financial goals. Your goals might include having a certain amount of money for retirement, a down payment on a house, or a college fund. Based on your goals, the platform will offer a roadmap, suggesting the amount of money you should invest on a regular basis and giving you a realistic plan for accomplishing your objective. That’s something few platforms do.
- Automated Investing: Investing with the Betterment app can be completely automated. All you need to do is connect your bank account or debit card and tell the platform how much money you’d like to invest on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. From there, funds will automatically be transferred from your checking or savings account to the investing platform and invested based on your preset preferences.
- Reasonable Management Fees: Investing should be a low-cost experience. After all, the goal is to make money, not spend it, and fees cut into your long-term profitability significantly if they are too high. The good news is that when you invest with Betterment, you’ll enjoy low fees. Members are charged an annual fee of either 0.25% or 0.40%, depending on the services you decide to take advantage of, which compares incredibly well to the average advisory fee of more than 1%, according to Advisory HQ. As a personal finance app, the platform also offers access to checking and savings accounts for free with ATM fee reimbursement.
Founded in 2008, Betterment has become a premier option for new investors and for those who are looking to make meaningful gains without having to commit significant time to research and choosing from one individual stock to the next.
The platform brings simplicity to the world of investing, offering a low-cost alternative to traditional methods of accessing the market.
Acorns is another robo-advisor app that’s designed to give you the ability to invest without having to do significant research.
The app provides a complete personal finance experience, giving you access to digital checking and savings accounts, as well as the ability to invest.
Not only is there no minimum investment requirement when using the app, but it was also designed to teach investors how to take advantage of the power of micro-investing, or the process of making several small investments throughout the month that add up to significant value over time.
Here’s what investors love about the Acorns app:
- Automated Investing: Acorns takes investing automation to the next level. Not only are you able to set specific amounts of money to be added to your account on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis, the company’s focus on micro-investing makes it possible to round all of your purchases to the nearest dollar, investing your spare change.
- Allocation Control: The platform also gives investors complete control over their asset allocation, allowing you to manage risk within your investment portfolio. To do so, you’ll set the allocation percentages into stocks and bonds, with higher-risk portfolios containing a higher percentage of stocks and lower-risk portfolios having a heavier allocation to bonds.
- Educational Materials: The app was designed to bring financial literacy to the masses, and it does a great job of it. Through the app, you’ll gain access to compelling educational materials that will help turn newbies into pros.
- Low Fees: The fees for the platform are relatively inexpensive, ranging from just $1 per month to $5 per month, depending on the type of account you have.
- Earning Capabilities. Not only does the app give you a way to earn money as an investor, but it also gives you a way to earn as you spend through partnerships with some of the world’s leading retailers.
All told, Acorns is a great option for new investors who want to learn more about the stock market.
It gives you the ability to take advantage of industry-leading education and expertise while learning how to manage your own self-directed investment portfolio.
At the same time, the platform shows the value of consistent deposits into your investing account, regardless of their size, further adding to the value of the platform.
For more details, read our Acorns review.
Founded in 2013, Robinhood is a relatively new discount brokerage, but don’t let the newness fool you.
The platform has quickly taken the market by storm, attracting a vast audience, largely of millennials who want a simplified experience that provides full control over their investments.
Popular among both active traders and buy-and-hold investors, the app provides a compelling user experience in an easy-to-understand layout, making it one of the best investing and trading apps on the market today.
Those who take advantage of the app often rave about:
- Complete Portfolio Control: Robinhood isn’t a robot and won’t help you decide what to invest in. Instead, the platform gives its investors complete control over the individual stocks in their portfolio, making it a great option for those with a moderate-or-higher understanding of the stock market and how to invest.
- No Minimum Requirements: There are no account minimums or minimum deposits required to use the platform, making it accessible to everyone.
- Fractional Shares: Some stocks are very expensive. For example, a single share of Amazon.com will set you back more than $3,000. The app was one of the first to offer fractions of shares, giving investors the ability to invest in dollar amounts rather than share counts and making these high-cost stocks available to everyone.
- Commission Free: When using the app, you won’t have to pay commissions to make trades. The only fees associated with trades are regulatory fees, which amount to a small fraction of a penny.
- Robinhood Gold: Many users decide to upgrade to the Gold membership, which costs just $5 per month. Gold membership gives access to expert analysis, margins, and Level 2 market data, giving you more information from which to execute successful trades.
- Free Stock: Finally, the app isn’t just encouraging newcomers to invest with a simple layout and commission-free trading; it even offers free stock to new members. Your free share of stock will be given to you once you open and fund your account.
The Robinhood app is a great way for new investors with some knowledge of the stock market to get their feet wet.
The platform provides a simple, intuitive system for buying and selling stocks, ETFs, and other securities, and does so without charging any monthly fees for basic services.
More experienced investors will benefit greatly from improved data and features offered through a Gold membership, and they won’t break the bank signing up because the fee for the upgraded membership is only $5 per month.
Founded in 2017, Webull is the youngest investing app on this list, but don’t let that discourage you.
The app takes the capabilities of investing from the palm of your hand to the next level, making it an overwhelmingly popular option among younger investors looking to take an active approach to the stock market.
The platform’s users enjoy the following:
- Market-Leading Tools: Webull is designed for both investors and active traders. The platform’s functionality is well-suited to both audiences. When using the app, you’ll have access to technical indicators and custom charting capabilities, as well as quality real-time data, making it easier to time entrances and exits when stock trading.
- No Minimums: There are no minimum deposits or account balance requirements, making the app another option that provides increased access to the market for all.
- Free Stock: The app gives its users access to free shares of stock. It expanded upon the offering set on the table by Robinhood by offering two free shares. The first share, valued at anywhere from $2.50 to $250, is added to your account once you open it. The second share, valued at anywhere from $8 to $1,600, will be added to your account if you make an initial deposit of $100 or more.
- No Commissions: You can trade stocks, options, and ETFs through the app without paying a dime of commissions. The only fees you’ll pay are the regulatory fees associated with your market activities. While there are plenty of apps that offer trading without commission, this is one of very few that makes options contracts free to trade as well.
- Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency is becoming more and more popular with each passing day, but there are few traditional brokers that offer access to these types of assets. Webull gives you the ability to invest in some of the most popular digital coins, including Bitcoin, Etherium, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.
Webull is the perfect investing app for active traders and investors who want access to more than stocks and ETFs.
Traders who are most active in the market enjoy the detailed trading tools offered through the platform that give them the insights they need to get a leg up.
Moreover, access to options trades and digital currencies makes the app a perfect choice for investors looking to add more diversification to their portfolios.
5. TD Ameritrade
Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade is a more traditional broker that added an online platform as technological innovation led to an evolution in how people invest and trade.
The company’s new investing platform, thinkorswim, was built by traders for traders, offering some of the most innovative trading and investing technology on the market today.
The platform’s users tend to rave about the following:
- Educational Materials: The app isn’t just a means to execute stock and ETF trades; it’s an opportunity to access some of the best educational materials available. Professional traders and other top-notch Wall Street experts designed and curated the materials to help turn a beginner into a pro in no time flat.
- Detailed Charting and Trading Tools: The platform was designed by trading professionals who know exactly what tools they need to succeed in the stock market. It’s not surprising that the app comes with some of the most intuitive trading tools and charting capabilities around.
- Profit and Risk Analysis: You’ll be hard-pressed to find this feature anywhere else. Before making a trade, you have the ability to analyze the potential profit and loss that could be generated. Although there’s no way to 100% correctly predict the future price of an asset, the profit and risk analysis tool is surprisingly accurate, giving you a clear depiction of what you can expect from each investment.
- Live News: There are many platforms that offer educational materials, but this app goes a big step further, giving you access to the live news that moves the market. This makes sure you’re up to date on all news associated with the assets you invest in.
- Free Trading: TD Ameritrade charges no platform fees and offers access to zero-commission trades on all U.S.-based stocks and ETFs. Standard options trades are commission-free except for a flat $0.65 fee per contract.
TD Ameritrade has been providing a top-of-the-line experience to investors and traders alike for more than four decades. Through the company’s thinkorswim app, you’ll have all the tools you need to become a successful trader.
As one of the best low-cost brokers overall, there’s little to nothing to complain about when using the platform.
For more details, read our TD Ameritrade review.
Stash is an all-around financial wellness app, offering a user-friendly alternative to the traditional investing and banking experiences.
With the app, you’ll be able to create a plan for the future, all while earning stock as a reward when taking advantage of the company’s services.
- A Goal Oriented Platform: One of the first things you’ll do when you sign up for the app is answer a series of questions designed to help you clearly outline your financial goals. By answering these questions, you’ll give the app everything it needs to make recommendations in an effort to put you on the right path to achieving your goals.
- Access to Individual Stocks: Most robo-advisors pick the assets for you, giving you little control over exactly what you invest in. However, with Stash, investors have the ability to pick their own stocks, giving them more control over what they invest in. Moreover, fractional shares are offered, providing access to even the most expensive stocks with minimal investment requirements.
- Stock-Back Debit Card: There are several investment management apps that offer personal checking accounts with spending cards, but what you get with this app is very different. Stash offers a rewards card that earns 5% back. Unlike other rewards cards that pay you in cash or points, when you use the Stash Stock-Back Card, your rewards are given in shares of stock, automatically increasing your portfolio’s value and investing you into many of the companies you patronize.
- Investing for Children: Early investing isn’t commonplace, but learning about investing at an early age sets children up for long-term financial success. The app offers an investing-for-children program designed to help teach kids the value of investing and financial literacy.
- Low Monthly Fees: The app comes with extremely fair pricing. There are three subscription models, starting at just $1 per month, with the highest level of service only being $9 per month.
Stash is an easy-to-use app designed to help you gain control of your finances, not just in terms of long-term investing, but in terms of managing a checking account and saving for emergencies.
\With a focus on education and goals and plenty of perks to look forward to, Stash is an app well worth your consideration.
for more details, read our Stash review.
E*Trade has been providing quality financial services to investors and traders since 1982, and its parent company, Morgan Stanley, was founded in 1931, meaning that the experts behind the app are some of the most well-seasoned, well-respected experts on Wall Street.
E*Trade customers enjoy:
- Access to Cryptocurrency: E*Trade gives you access to several different investment options, including traditional stocks, bonds, and ETFs. The company was also an early adopter in the world of digital currency, becoming one of the first leading online investing platforms to offer access to crypto. As a result, it has become a leader in the digital currency space.
- Educational Materials: As you would expect from one of the world’s leaders in finance, Morgan Stanley understands the value of education. Through its subsidiary’s mobile app, that understanding has turned into a complete library of investing education materials. These materials are designed to bring value to all levels of investors from beginners to professionals.
- Zero Commissions: When using the app to make your investments, you won’t pay commissions on stocks or ETFs. Standard options trades are commission-free except for a flat $0.65 fee per contract. The company is also one of the leaders in terms of low-cost contracts and margins.
- Investing Automation: The app gives you the ability to completely automate the investing process. If you choose to take advantage of this option, you’ll simply choose one of the app’s various core portfolios. Although you need to make an investment of at least $500 to take advantage of the automated services, the returns have historically beaten market averages, making it well worth the initial investment.
- Quality Trading Tools and Charting: For traders interested in taking a more active role in the stock market, the app gives you all the tools you need. You’ll have access to several trading tools and technical indicators, as well as charting features that are second to none.
As a subsidiary of one of the largest, longest-standing financial institutions in the United States, the E*Trade application comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect as you work in the market.
Couple this with industry-leading low fees and access to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and you’ve found icing for the cake.
Founded in 2008, WealthFront is a robo-advisor with a twist.
As its name suggests, the app is designed to help consumers on their path to wealth in all areas of finance, from banking to lending, spending, and, of course, investing.
Here’s what users like about the app:
- Complete Financial Automation: The app takes automation to the next level. Of course, you can use predetermined amounts of money to invest automatically, but that’s not all. If you take advantage of the banking features in the app, when your paycheck is directly deposited into your account, it will automatically be separated and routed for bills, savings, and investing based on the goals you’ve set forth.
- Control: Most robo-investing services have a predetermined bucket of investments that your money goes into according to your asset allocation settings. The WealthFront app offers the same thing but goes a step further. If you’d rather pick the individual stocks and other investments in your portfolio, the app gives you the power to do so, offering recommendations to help keep you on the right track.
- Goal-Oriented Planning: The app is all about planning for the future and building wealth in the process. The app lets you set goals and gives recommendations as to how to invest, save, and budget your money to reach them.
- Portfolio Lines of Credit: When using the app, your investments aren’t just used to secure your future; they can help to secure funding today. The company offers portfolio lines of credit, using your investment portfolio as security for loans. If you have at least $25,000 in a Wealthfront investment account, you automatically have access to a line of credit with no credit check required. The interest rates charged on borrowed money vary depending on your account size but are generally lower than those of personal loans.
- Low Cost: Finally, WealthFront charges an investment management fee of 0.25% per year. That’s significantly lower than the management fees you would expect to be charged by a professional financial advisor or registered investment advisor.
If you’re looking for an app that doesn’t just help you invest, save, or get a loan, but want one that does it all, WealthFront is for you.
Although it’s not a great option for active traders, for customers looking to invest with a long-term time horizon, the app is a great way to go.
For more details, read our Wealthfront review.
9. Ally Invest
Founded in 1919, Ally Financial Corporation is the longest-lived company on this list and one of the most successful financial companies in the United States.
With more than a century of experience providing quality service to countless customers, you know your money is in the right hands when you use Ally Invest.
- Complete Control: When using the app, investors have complete control over how their money is invested. The company offers a robust trading platform for investors looking for self-directed accounts, as well as a long list of options for those looking for managed investing.
- Zero Commissions: When taking advantage of their services, you won’t pay commissions on stock, option, or ETF trades. Options contract fees are only $0.50, making them highly competitive with the rest of the industry.
- Managed Portfolios for All Investors: When taking advantage of the company’s managed investing services, you won’t have to stick with one book of investments that’s designed to be a one-size-fits-all option. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between several portfolios designed with different goals in mind. Ally’s portfolios are designed for those looking for socially responsible investments, tax advantages, or income. For those looking to take a more traditional investing approach, the core portfolio is the way to go, offering a strong mix of domestic, international, and fixed-income assets.
- Quality Educational Materials: Members have access to a library of articles designed to give you a better understanding of the inner workings of the stock market, investing, and market trends.
- Built for Traders and Investors: The Ally app is one of few platforms that’s a great fit for both traders and long-term investors, offering technical indicators and an intuitive trading platform alongside educational and research materials and long-term managed portfolios. No matter who you are, chances are you’ll benefit from the services provided through the app.
All in all, the Ally Invest app is one of the best on the market today.
Although the app won’t give you access to a spending card or teach you how to budget your money, it is a great place to participate in the stock market, regardless of whether you’re an investor or a trader.
With quality educational materials, all the tools an investor would need, and managed portfolios for those who would rather automate the process, the app is one that’s worth trying out.
For more details, read our Ally Invest review.
10. Charles Schwab
Founded in 1971, Charles Schwab is a traditional broker that turned into an online and mobile stock broker as the tides changed in the industry. The company has become a force to reckon with on Wall Street thanks to its deep experience catering to the investing community.
Customers who use its app enjoy the following benefits:
- Robo-Advised or Self-Directed: When you sign up for a brokerage account with Charles Schwab, you have the option to either take advantage of the company’s robo-advisory services or manage your own self-directed portfolio, giving you the ability to decide how much control you’d like to have over your investments and the option to automate the investing process entirely.
- Customization: The app gives you the ability to customize your experience by organizing your summary view and market settings to display the information that’s important to you. As a result, you won’t have to dig through multiple pages of the app to find what you’re looking for — you can put it all in your summary view.
- Schwab Assistant: The app gives you access to the Schwab Assistant, an artificial intelligence assistant designed to help you through your financial journey. Your assistant will be able to make trades, get quotes, manage investments, transfer assets, and more, all at your voice request.
- Zero Trade Commissions: When using the app, you won’t be charged a single trade commission on stocks and ETFs, and options trades cost a low $0.65 fee per contract. Schwab’s contracts, margins, and other investing-related fees are highly competitive with industry averages, making the app one of the lowest-cost ways to trade.
- Education and Insights: Over the years, Schwab has built a long list of educational materials that even experienced professionals can find value in. These materials are designed to walk you through the process from beginner to expert, breaking down some of the most complex topics into easy-to-understand articles. You’ll also have access to investing news and insights from the experts, keeping you abreast of what’s going on in the stock market.
With more than 50 years of experience providing quality services to the investing community, Charles Schwab has become one of the most well-respected financial institutions in the U.S.
Naturally, the company’s app is one of the best on the market as well, offering everything you need whether you’re a novice or an expert investor.
11. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is far more than an investing app; it’s an all-around financial planner designed to help users take control of their finances through budgeting, investing, and planning for the future, and it has done a great job of just that for more than a decade.
Here’s what investors enjoy most about using the app:
- Overall Financial Stability: Investing is an important part of securing your financial future, but it’s not the only factor to consider. With the Personal Capital app, you’ll be able to manage just about every aspect of your financial life, making sure that your budget and spending habits correspond well with your financial goals and investing needs.
- Access to Financial Advisors: When you’re unsure of what to do in just about any scenario, the best course of action is often to speak with a professional. Unfortunately, in the world of finance, financial advisors aren’t always easily accessible. Through the app, you’ll have access to a highly qualified team of financial advisors with a fiduciary responsibility to help put you on the right path to meeting your goals — an invaluable resource, especially for new investors.
- Investment Checkup: Using the app’s investment checkup tool, you’ll be able to see how your portfolio is performing relative to your personal financial goals, compare your portfolio’s allocation to the target allocation suggested for reaching those goals, and see how well your investments are doing overall.
- Competitive Fees: The fee for using the app’s investing services is just 0.89% per year, well below the industry average of more than 1% per year. With this competitive fee structure, you’ll be able to hold onto more of your gains, making a significant impact on the long-term profitability of your portfolio.
- Retirement Planner: Finally, the app comes with a retirement planner that’s designed to assess your personal financial situation and set you on the right track to enjoy a comfortable, financially stable retirement. The tool will let you know whether your current contributions to retirement are enough or more than you need, and help you to properly allocate your retirement investments based on your goals and appetite for risk.
All in all, Personal Capital is a complete financial tool designed to help you build wealth and work your way toward a comfortable retirement.
Although it’s not the best choice for those looking to take an active approach to trading and investing, it’s a great option for newcomer investors or people looking to take control of their overall financial well-being.
For more details, read our Personal Capital review.
The capabilities mobile phone applications have put into the palms of our hands are mind-boggling. That’s especially the case when you consider the fact that just a couple of decades ago, the idea of checking an email on a cellphone would have turned heads.
Nonetheless, technological innovation is leading to rapid changes in how consumers do things, and the investing community is not being left behind.
All of these apps are designed to help you through the process of investing, whether it be with a self-directed account where you manage everything or a robo-advisor where you set a recurring deposit amount and let the app take care of the rest.
With so many options out there — most of which are specifically designed for a specific type of investor, offering unique perks in some areas and lacking in others — it’s important not to settle for the first app you come across, but to find the one that fits in with your lifestyle and what you need as an investor.