What is the best trading app for beginners?
There’s no such thing as the best trading app for every investor. Free stock trading apps are great for beginner investors. These types of stock apps are easy to use, convenient, and offer a wide range of products. Beginner investors should first choose which features are most important to them. Here are some factors to consider:
- Commission-free stock trading and low fees
- Wide range of investment products, such as stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and cryptocurrency
- User-friendly trading platform and sophisticated trading tools
- Access to stock research and educational tools
Free stock trading apps pros and cons
The advantages of using free stock trading apps like these for your investment needs generally have to do with convenience. The best apps for stocks will allow you to buy and sell with just the click of a button, anywhere in the world where you have a data connection. This makes them great brokers for beginners and for seasoned investors.
The major downside to using any free stock trading apps — even those offered by best stock brokers — is that you’re never going to get as much functionality as you would with a desktop-based trading platform. Many applications for trading don’t have features like stock research and educational resources, even if the web-based versions of their platforms offer such features.
Are stock trading apps safe?
Most stock trading apps are offered by large investment brokerage companies, which offer secure investing tools. You should look for an app that has up-to-date security features, and are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The SIPC protects up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash, if the brokerage firm fails.
How much does it cost to start trading stocks?
There’s no official minimum amount of money you need to start buying stocks.
Some brokerages have minimum required deposits, but many online brokerages have none. Those let you buy in with as little as a few dollars, purchasing fractional shares of stocks instead of full shares.
If you want to buy a full share of a specific stock, the minimum amount you’ll need to get started is the cost of that stock — which varies widely across companies. To ensure a diversified portfolio, we often suggest buying a minimum of 10 stocks, so that would put your minimum investment at the cost of those 10 stocks plus any commissions and fees paid to your brokerage.
What investments can you buy with free trading apps?
The free trading apps listed here will let you buy stocks, but the actual investment universe available depends on the particular app. For example, some of the apps allow trading in over-the-counter (OTC) stocks, while others don’t. Some allow you to buy stocks directly on foreign stock markets in addition to U.S. exchanges. And some offer the ability to buy and sell options and mutual funds, while others are limited to only stock trading.
In addition, some of these apps offer automated investing or robo-advisory services, which essentially create and maintain an investment portfolio for you. The bottom line is that investment selection varies from one trading app to another and should certainly be a factor when deciding which to use.
How to choose a stock trading app as a beginner
No broker is perfect for everyone, but some brokers are better aimed at beginners.
Here are some of the factors to consider when you pick an online stock broker:
- Cost structure: Do they charge monthly fees or commissions on trades?
- Account minimums: Note the minimum deposit needed to open your account. For some brokerages, there’s no minimum, but some might be as high as $500.
- Variety of funds: As a beginner, you might not want to choose individual stocks. Look for brokerages that invest in no-fee mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) so you can invest without being a stock market expert.
- Features and support: If you want to grow your investing knowledge and skills over time, look for an app that includes educational resources and strong customer support.
Best Stock Apps Methodology
Trading app products are rated on a scale of one to five stars, primarily focusing on fees, ease of use, and quality of the trading platform and research offerings. Our highest-rated products generally include the following:
1. Low costs to invest
We run a comprehensive review of routine fees, since account management costs can have a meaningful impact on your ability to invest profitably. Items assessed may include:
- Stock, ETF, and mutual fund commissions
- Margin rates
- Maintenance and transfer fees
2. Great customer support and service
A high level of scrutiny is put on a brokerage’s service and support, especially considering that a customer will likely interact with their brokerage’s support team on multiple occasions. Items assessed may include:
- Presence (or not) of branch offices
- Quality of online and phone support
3. Strong product quality and features
Today’s stock apps need a well-rounded suite of products and features to stand out in our ratings since we think brokerages need to provide a one-stop shop that meets an investor’s comprehensive needs. Items assessed may include:
- Trading platform and mobile app quality
- Research offering quality
- Broad access to ETFs and mutual funds