Today we're exploring the best stock trading apps for beginners to the stock market. We’ll compare the best stock market apps for new investors, examine their pros and cons, and break down how new investors can use these platforms to start trading stocks in real companies.
Whether you are interested in paper trading, automating your trades, or even trading 'slices' of stocks, we will be covering platforms for every type of stock trader.
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So How Do I Actually Get Started?
If you’re just getting started trading stocks 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 stock trading 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:
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 stock trading apps for active stock trading. Alternatively, if you'd like to compare these apps to the best investing apps for more passive investing, feel free to check out the best investing 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 stock trading 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).
Investing in “slices” of stocks allows even new investors to get started investing in major companies.
Not only can you invest in these fractional shares commission-free, but if you’re unsure where to start you can always explore their handful of different investing themes or even follow your friends Public profiles for some inspiration.
In addition, the app is very user-friendly. While it may appear simple on the surface, it is this clutter-free design that makes navigating the app an enjoyable experience.
Those who want to add a social aspect to their investing
Public is probably the most social investing app I’ve ever come across. While it’s still early in its development, Public definitely gives you a sense of community by being able to follow and share your trades with friends.
If community is something you value, then the Public app may be an ideal option for you.
Investors who want to earn more interest on their uninvested cash
There are no trading fees or surprise commissions.
When buying full shares you gain access to a couple of advanced order types - market orders, limit orders, and stop orders (these help you automate your trades).
You earn 2.5% APY interest on uninvested cash, which is higher than most investment brokerages today.
Who would I not recommend the Public app for?
Active stock traders who need more advanced charts and data
While Public does provide essential charts and data for each stock, they do not offer more advanced charts, analysis, and data to help more advanced stock traders.
If you are interested in commission-free stock trading with access to advanced data and charts you may want to consider the Webull app.
Investors looking for additional account features
Public’s investing account has an extremely clean and user-friendly app interface. However, they don’t currently offer access to additional features found on similar investing accounts, such as a mobile banking checking account, a debit card, and an optional retirement account.
If you are interested in investing apps that also offer mobile banking accounts you may want to compare Public with Acorns and Stash.
Webull’s built-in paper trading feature lets you first practice trading virtually to get some practice under your belt before you actually trade with your real money.
Webull has no monthly account maintenance fees. There are also no trading fees or surprise commissions.
Intermediate and experienced traders who want to save on commissions
Several advanced order types allow you to automate your trades.
Margin trading with no monthly subscription fee (again, only recommended for advanced traders)
With such an immense amount of technical research, charts, and analysis at your hands, this app is ideal for individuals looking to utilize all of that data when trading stocks.
Who would I not recommend the Webull app for?
Not as ideal for passive investing
Webull is designed for active stock trading. While Webull can be used as a platform for buy and hold investing, the bulk of their features are geared towards short term trading.
Active stock trading may require more portfolio management and research than pre-built diversified portfolios.
If you're instead looking for an investing app more geared towards passive investing, you may want to compare Webull with Acorns, Stash, or M1 Finance.
Not as ideal for less active traders
This app's greatest strength may also be its greatest weakness.
While more experienced investors and traders will appreciate all the technical data and charts packed inside, it can be a little overwhelming if you are completely new to investing and the stock trading.
If you're new to stock trading and find Webull's advanced charts and data overwhelming, you may want to consider Public or Robinhood.
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.
Whether you are interested in practicing trading with virtual money or automating your stock trades with advanced order types, there is a perfect stock trading 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.
👉 I help connect the everyday investor with financial technology so they can get started saving and investing. Together, we'll find you the right apps and platforms to help you reach your financial goals!