So you have commission-free stock trading apps and you have investing apps that let you invest in fractional shares...but how about a single investing app that lets you do both? And not only that, but how about a single investing app that also brings a social community aspect to the platform?
In today's Public investing app review we're exploring the commission-free stock trading app that’s aiming to make investing accessible to everyone by letting you invest in slices of major stocks.
No matter what amount you have to get started, with Public, anyone can afford to own a piece of major companies.
We’ll go over all of Public's features, including connecting through its social community and discovering stocks through its many investment themes. If you’re a new user to the Public app I’ll even show you how you can get a free slice of stock when signing up.
This article contains affiliate links. To learn more, visit our affiliate disclosure.
- 100% commission free stock trading app
- Invest in slices (fractional shares) of thousands of individual stocks and ETFs with as little as $1
- Social community layer lets you follow and connect with experts in the community
- Discover investments through industry experts' public portfolios and themes
- Earn 2.5% APY interest on uninvested cash3
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Public is a commission-free stock trading app with a mission of making investing accessible to everyone. Available on both iOS and Android devices, the Public app excels at slicing stocks into "tiny bits" so everyone can afford to own a piece of any public company.
Commission-free stock trading means that there are absolutely zero fees or commissions to buy and sell stocks nor are there any monthly account maintenance fees.
Previously known as the Matador investing app, Public relaunched in September of 2019 with a new name and a revamped user-friendly experience.
And while there are already some popular commission-free stock trading apps such as the Robinhood app and the Webull app, the unique thing about Public is that they allow you invest in fractional shares of stocks, or what they call “slices.” (More on this further below).
Public currently offers access to thousands of individual stocks and ETFs in the US that you can either trade or invest in. They do not currently support mutual funds or bonds.
As far as stock dividends are concerned, dividends on the Public app are automatically deposited into every user's cash account. However, users can always ask/opt in to have automatic dividend reinvestment enabled as well.
Again, Public’s mission is to make investing accessible to everyone. Not only can you invest in small slices of stocks but there’s also no minimum investment required to get started on Public.
One of the things I enjoyed when getting started with the Public app was that it was a pretty seamless sign-up process. Within a few minutes I had opened up my account, had full access to start browsing the app, and even had immediate access to trading with funds I had just deposited from my bank.
Note: When you deposit money into your Public account to invest it will take a few business days for the transaction to officially post, but you’ll have access to trading those funds instantly. Many investing brokerages won’t actually let you invest your money until the bank transfer clears
You can see my full Public investing app review in the video below:
By far, Public’s “slices” are the greatest strength of this platform. These slices are also known as fractional shares.
Public slices stocks into tiny bits (fractional shares) so everyone can afford to own a piece of any public company.
At the time of writing this blog post, Public currently offers hundreds of stocks that you can buy slices, or fractional shares of. In addition, they're also planning on expanding this list of stocks available in slices by rolling out 50 new stocks each week until the end of the year.
Unique Advantage of Public’s “Slices”
Public is the first app, which I’m aware of, that combines commission-free stock trading and fractional shares.
Public gives you, the investor, the best of both worlds: commission-free trading without having to buy full shares of stocks that my cost hundreds of dollars each.
Advanced Order types
Alternatively, if you wish to invest in full shares of stocks you can do that just the same. And when you choose to invest in full shares of stocks on Public you actually have access to a few advanced order types that help automate your trades for you.
Public currently supports three order types:
Again, these advanced order types are only available when buying full shares of stocks.
By using their default market order you can buy slices of stocks immediately.
Using their limit and/or stop orders allow you to automatically set up your buy and sell price points. This helps you automate your trades, even when you’re away from your phone.
If you’re new to investing and are not sure where to start, the Public app provides several different themes of stocks for you to explore.
Some examples of investing themes on their platform include:
And several more. There are currently over 50 themes to explore in their app.
As I’ve mentioned before, the team behind Public is truly focused on making investing accessible for the everyday investor. And because of that, Public has an optional social aspect built into the app.
Unlike most traditional brokerages, Public makes investing social by giving you the option to make your portfolio public. Investors can choose to make their portfolio and real-time investments open to the public (or you can easily turn this feature off directly inside the app as well).
If you’re new to investing and not sure where to start, Public’s social aspect allows investors to learn from each other, exchange strategies and discover stocks by following experienced investors, industry experts, and even their friends.
On Public you can easily follow your friends, share your trades, and comment on their trades. And if you’re concerned about privacy, you also have the option to exclude actual dollar amounts from your public portfolio.
So what happens to uninvested cash sitting in your Public app account?
Another beneficial feature with the Public app is that even your uninvested cash grows. At the time of writing this blog post, Public currently offers 2.5% APY interest on up to $10,000 of uninvested cash in your account.
That’s a very generous interest rate compared to most major banks, such as Chase and Bank of America, which typically offer 0.10% APY.
Again, just to recap, there are zero fees or commissions to buy or sell stocks on Public. There are also no account minimum requirements and no account maintenance fees.
As a member of SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation), Public is SIPC insured against brokerage failure. Securities in member's accounts are protected up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash. For further details, please see www.sipc.org
SIPC insurance is investor protection for investment brokerages. Now unlike a bank's FDIC insurance, SIPC does not protect against the decline in value of your securities. Investments in the stock market are subject to fluctuations in market value.
However, SIPC protects against the loss of cash and securities – such as stocks and bonds – held by a customer at a financially-troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm. SIPC works to restore to customers their securities and cash that are in their accounts when any potential brokerage firm liquidation begins.
Who would I recommend the Public app for?
New stock market investors and traders
Those who want to add a social aspect to their investing
More experienced investors and traders who want to save on commissions and earn more interest on their uninvested cash
Who would I not recommend the Public app for?
Investors who are looking for more automation tools which encourage passive investing
Investors who are looking to trade cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and others
We've partnered with Public and they’ve been kind enough to offer readers from the Everyday Investing community a free slice of stock when joining Public.
Every month Public offers different stock slices. Once you join and create your account you'll be able to choose a free slice of stock.
If you're looking to get started with trading stocks, Public's stock slices, commission-free trading, and high-interest APY cash account make it an appealing option for many.
Through their social community aspect you can easily follow and connect with experts in the community. In addition, Public can help you discover investments through both industry experts' public portfolios as well as Public's several investing themes.
Whether you are a new investor or are simply looking for a new investment brokerage with a user-friendly mobile app, you may want to consider the Public investing app.
If you'd like to try out the Public app you can join here.
Or feel free to see how Public compares to today's other top investing apps here.
Catch the latest investing app videos on the Everyday Investing YouTube channel:
1 For Public's full terms and disclosures you can read more at public.com/disclosures.
2 Free trading refers to $0 commissions for T3 Securities, Inc., member FINRA, NFA, &SIPC. To learn more about T3 Securitries Commission and Fee Schedule please see Public's disclosures at public.com/disclosures
3 T3 Securities, Inc. will be offering a 2.5% interest rate on cash balances up to a $10,000 threshold per client. At the discretion of T3 Securities, Inc. this program can be adjusted or terminate at any point in time.
4 This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value. The past performance of a security, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns.
5 Keep in mind that while diversification may help spread risk it does not assure a profit, or protect against loss, in a down market. There is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities, or other financial products. Investors should consider their investment objectives and risks carefully before investing.
6 Investors should consider the investment objectives and unique risk profile of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) carefully before investing. ETFs are subject to risks similar to those of other diversified portfolios.
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