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3 Best Investing Apps For Beginners in 2020

Jun 09, 2020

Today we're breaking down the best investing apps for beginners to the stock market. We will explore the most user-friendly mobile apps and discuss how new investors can use them to easily start investing in real companies.

Whether you are interested in pre-built investment portfolios or customizing your own, we'll break down the pros and cons of the best investing apps for beginners so you can start growing your money today. 


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So How Do I Actually Get Started?

If you’re just getting started investing in the stock market, I completely understand how it can seem overwhelming at first. We all have the same questions: How do we get started and which are the right investing platforms for us?

While there are more traditional investment brokerages out there such as Fidelity, Etrade, and Charles Schwab, they are not very user-friendly for new investors to the stock market.

Instead we're going to focus on more modern and innovative investing apps that are much easier to use and simpler to get started with. 

 To be specific, there are two types of investing apps for beginners:

  1. Stock Market Investing Apps  (Passive Investing)
  2. Stock Market Trading Apps  (Active Trading)

The main difference between stock marketing investing apps and stock market trading apps is the following:

  • Investing Apps:  (i.e. less potential risk / more passive management)
    • More designed for passive investing and sustainable growth of your investment portfolio.
    • Often times, offer more diversified portfolios and offer less risk 
    • More stable and steady growth  

  • Trading Apps:  (i.e., higher potential risk/ more active management)
    •  More geared towards shorter-term trading and require much more active involvement in researching and picking individual stocks
    • Often times, offer less diversified portfolios and offer more risk.
    • More potential profit but also more potential loss  
      • One caveat with trading apps is that while their features are more geared towards active stock trading, they can also be used for passive investing if treated like an investing app.

In this article we are focusing on the top investing apps for passive investing. Alternatively, if you'd like to compare these apps to the best stock trading apps for more active stock trading, feel free to check out the best stock trading apps here. 

 

How Much Money Do I Need To Get Started Investing?

The best part is, you don’t need as much money as you think to actually get started investing in real companies. You no longer need hundreds or thousands of dollars to get started investing, like you needed to have in the past.

Today, there are beginner-friendly investing apps that let you get started investing in stocks with as little as $1.

 

Should I Invest in Stocks?

With both investing apps and trading apps you will usually have access to a selection of individual stocks and ETFs:

  • Individual Stocks: buying shares in individual companies such as Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Walmart, etc. 
  • ETF stands for Exchange Traded Fund - a group / theme of related stocks bundled together. (i.e., tech stocks ETF, financial stocks ETF, retail stocks ETF)
    • Tip: ETFs are an easy way to diversify your investment portfolio and often times offer less risk than investing in individual stocks. 

With that in mind, we are now going to break down the best stock market investing apps for beginners.  If you’d like to learn more about any of today's investing apps I encourage you to read my more full in-depth reviews on each one (linked below).

 


 You can watch my full best investing apps for beginners guide in the video below:


 

Best Investing Apps For New Investors


1)  Acorns

  1. Most user-friendly investing app for new investors:
    • With several built-in educational resources
  2. Get started investing with as little as $5  
  3. Several easy-to-use investing automation tools to help you invest passively:
    • Roundups: Invest the spare change from your everyday purchases.
    • Recurring Deposits: allows you to set up recurring deposits on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, with as little as $5.
    • Found Money: easily earn and invest the cash back from your everyday purchases.
  4. Choose from five pre-built and diversified portfolios based on your investing goals.
  5. Acorns features a core investing account, a massive cashback portal, an optional mobile banking account with a VISA debit card, and an optional individual retirement account.
  6. Pricing: There are no commissions or fees to buy or sell any investments on Acorns. However, they do offer different subscription levels, with plans starting as low as $1 per month.

▶️ Read Full Acorns App Review



Pros

Who would I recommend the Acorns app for?

Ideal for new investors

  • Since you can start investing with as little as $5, Acorns makes investing very accessible.
  • Their app is user-friendly and they use terminology that is easy to understand.
  • They also have an area inside the app, called Acorns Grow, which provides plenty of easy to read articles on saving and investing.

Ideal for passive investing

  • Acorns offers several tools to help automate your saving and investing, which helps encourage consistent contributions and may help grow your investments over time.
  • No add-on trading commissions. Just a set monthly fee which can be as low as $1 per month.

Ideal for those looking to get a lot of value out of a single finance app

  • Acorns provides you several tools to automate your saving and investing, which helps encourage consistent contributions to grow your investments over time.
  • In addition to their investing account they also offer a mobile banking account, a cashback debit card, and the option to save for retirement.

 


Cons

Who would I not recommend the Acorns app for?

Not as ideal for active stock traders

    • Acorns is more geared towards passive investing and diversified portfolios
    • If you're instead looking for an active stock trading platform, I would recommend checking out Webull, Robinhood, or Public.  

Not as ideal if you want to invest in individual stocks

    • While Acorns offers pre-built portfolios made of diversified selections of stocks, you cannot currently invest in individual stocks. 
    • If you're looking to passively invest but have more control over customizing your portfolio with individual stocks and ETFs I would recommend checking out M1 Finance or Stash.

▶️ Read Full Acorns App Review

 


2)  Stash

  1. Easy to use investing app that lets you invest in hundreds of individual stocks and ETFs:
  2. Get started investing with as little as 1 cent.
  3. Stash Portfolio Builder - can help you build a diversified portfolio.
  4. Easy to understand terminology for new investors.
  5. Can invest in fractional shares of stocks.
  6. Versatile app with a personal investing account, a mobile banking checking account with a cashback VISA debit card, an optional retirement account, and an optional custodial account.
  7. Pricing: no commissions or fees to buy or sell any investments. However, they do offer different subscription levels, with plans starting as low as $1 per month.

 ▶️ Read Full Stash App Review


 


Pros

Who would I recommend the Stash app for?

Ideal for new investors

  • Since you can start investing with as little as $5, Stash makes investing very accessible.
  • Their investments use easy terminology that make them easy to understand.
  • They also have an area inside the app, called Stash Learn, which provides plenty of easy to read articles on saving, investing, and personal finance.

Ideal for passive investing with a little more control over customizing your portfolio

  • Stash provides you several tools to help automate your saving and investing, which helps encourage consistent contributions and may help grow your investments over time.
  • No add-on trading commissions. Just a set monthly fee which can be as low as $1 per month.
  • You can invest in fractional shares of expensive stocks that cost hundreds of dollars when buying a full share on other platforms. 

Those looking to get a lot of value out of a single finance app

  • Again, Stash is a versatile platform. You have access to an investing account, a mobile banking account, a debit card with reward features, and even the option to save for retirement.

 


Cons

Who would I not recommend the Stash app for?

Not as ideal for active stock traders

    • Stash’s set of features are more geared towards passive investing and growth of your portfolio.
    • If you're instead looking for a stock trading platform with features more designed for active stock trading, you may want to consider PublicRobinhood, or Webull

Not as ideal if you want to invest in smaller/ less known companies

    • While Stash currently offers access to over 288 individual stocks, including major companies such as Amazon, Walmart, Netflix, Google, Starbucks, etc., they may not offer access to smaller/ less known companies.
    • The good news is that Stash continues to grow this list by adding new stocks over time. 
    • However, if you're looking to have access to investing in thousands of individual stocks and ETFs you may want to compare Stash with M1 Finance.

 ▶️ Read Full Stash App Review

 


3)  M1 Finance

  1. Automates your portfolio and lets you invest in thousands of individual stocks and ETFs with zero fees.
  2. Can buy fractional shares of any individual stock or ETF.
  3. Allows you to build multiple “pies” (portfolios) in a single M1 Finance account.
  4. Smart portfolio rebalancing feature allows you to easily rebalance your investments with the click of a button.
  5. $100 account minimum to get started investing.
  6. M1 features a personal investing account, a mobile banking checking account with a VISA debit card, and an optional retirement account.
  7. Pricing: FREE - 100% commission-free investing platform. No monthly user fees, no account maintenance fees, no account minimum balance requirements.

▶️ Read Full M1 Finance App Review


 


Pros

Who would I recommend the M1 Finance app for?

Ideal for new investors

  • M1’s platform is completely free to use. There are no trading commission, no brokerage fees, and no monthly subscription costs.
  • M1 Finance offers the ability to invest in fractional shares of stocks and ETFs. 
  • M1 also offers pre-built diversified portfolios you can invest in

Ideal for passive investing with a little more control over customizing your portfolio

  • If you want a bit more control over customizing your portfolio, M1 Finance offers access to over 6,000 individual stocks and ETFs that you can invest in. 

Ideal for smart rebalancing

  • M1 Finance makes passive investing and portfolio management easy. Through their smart portfolio re-balancing feature, you can easily rebalance your investments with the click of a button. 


Cons

Who would I not recommend the M1 Finance app for?

Not as ideal for active stock traders

    • M1 Finance’s set of features are more geared towards passive investing and growth of your portfolio.
    • If you're instead looking for a stock trading platform with features more designed for active stock trading, you may want to consider Public, Robinhood, or Webull

Not as ideal for investing automation tools

    • While M1 Finance’s portfolios are built for passive investing, the app doesn’t offer as many investing automation tools as you’ll find on other passive investing apps like Acorns and Stash

▶️ Read Full M1 Finance App Review

 


 

Investing Is NOT a "Get-Rich-Quick" Scheme

When you invest in the stock market, your money will grow as the value of the stocks you invest in grow, but your investments can also decrease in value as the stock market fluctuates. 

This is why investing is always best for the long term. In the short term, the stock market may fluctuate up or down but over the long term the stock market has a history of increasing in value.

  

How To Grow Your Money ?

At the end of the day, the most important piece of advice I can give you as a new investor, is to realize the greatest contributors to building wealth are time and compound interest

Essentially, compound interest means that not only does your initial investment earn interest, but you also begin to earn interest on the interest. This powerful snowball effect is the key to creating true wealth over time.

And the best way to grow your money through compound interest is by establishing consistent investing habits and actually giving your money the time needed to compound and grow. 

It’s never too early or too late to start investing. Whether you are in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or beyond, the best time to start investing is now. 

 

Final Thoughts

There’s never been a time in history where investing has been as accessible to new investors as there is now. Whether you are interested in pre-built investment portfolios or customizing your own, there is an ideal financial platform for you. 

If you’re still unsure which is the right investing app for you, I encourage you to check out my full in-depth individual reviews of each of these apps.

Likewise, you can also compare any of these apps to today's top stock trading apps for more active stock trading. 

 

Need help with investing? We can help you find the right investing platform for your financial goals.

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