Public App Review 2019 - Invest In Small Slices of Major Companies

Oct 09, 2019

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?

Meet Public

In today's Public investing app review we're exploring a new commission-free stock trading app that’s aiming to make investing accessible to everyone by letting you invest in fractional shares 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 the app's features and if you’re a new user to the Public app I’ll even show you how you can get a $10 sign-up bonus when signing up. 

Check out our Public app review below and and see how it compares to today's top investing apps here.


This article contains affiliate links. To learn more, visit our affiliate disclosure.


Our Rating


 


☑️ Quick Summary ☑️

- 100% commission free stock trading app  
- Invest in fractional shares (slices) of stocks with as little as $5
- Access to trading thousands of individual stocks and ETFs
- Earn 2.5% APY interest on uninvested cash
- Discover stocks through industry experts public portfolios and themes


📊 Try Public and Get A $10 Cash Bonus When Joining Here 📊

 

What Is The Public App?

 

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.

For Public’s full terms and disclosures you can read more at public.com/disclosures

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).

Investments

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. 

  • ETF stands for Exchange Traded Fund - a group / theme of related stocks bundled together.

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. 

 

Account Minimum

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.

However, if you want to receive the $10 sign-up bonus you will need to deposit at least $10 into your Public account (more on this promotion further below).

 

Getting Started

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:


 

Features

Slices

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.

  • This allows you to own stocks in major companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and more with as little as $5

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.

While other popular commission-free stock trading apps such as Robinhood and Webull also offer zero trading fees, neither offers the ability to invest in fractional shares or “slices” of companies. 

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:

  • Market orders
  • Limit orders
  • Stop orders

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. 

 

Investing Themes

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:

  • Tech Giants - The most influential and powerful tech companies
  • Slices - Stocks you can buy with any amount of money
  • Most Popular - The most owned stocks in the Public community
  • Real Estate - Companies that build homes, develop buildings and manage properties
  • Software + Cyber - Companies pioneering software and cyber security
  • Retail - Companies that own and operate household name brands

And several more. There are currently over 50 themes to explore in their app. 

 

Social Investing Through Public Portfolios

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. 



Earn 2.5% APY Interest on Uninvested Cash

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. 

  • 2.5% APY is approximately 25X the national average. (National average assumes 0.10% from Bankrate.com, as of April 1, 2019). 



Are There Any Fees?

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.



Is Investing on Public Safe?

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.

 

Pros

Who would I recommend the Public app for?

New stock market investors and traders

  • 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. 

More experienced investors and traders who want to save on commissions and 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. 

  

Cons

Who would I not recommend the Public app for?

Investors who are looking for more automation tools which encourage passive investing

  • Public may not be as ideal for investors looking for passive investing automation tools. 
  • For example, the Public app does not currently have the option to set up recurring deposits to your Public account (i.e., weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly recurring investments).
    • The good news is that the Public team is actively working on this feature and it should be available soon

Investors who are looking to trade cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and others

  • Public is a stock market trading platform not a cryptocurrency trading platform.
  • However, while you cannot directly invest into cryptocurrency, you can explore Public's blockchain related theme section or invest in blockchain related stocks and ETFs that are focusing on blockchain technology.

 

Sign Up Bonus

I'm happy to share that we've recently partnered with Public and they’ve been kind enough to offer readers from the Everyday Investing community a special $10 sign-up bonus when joining Public through our affiliate link

To receive your $10 sign-up bonus all you have to do is deposit at least $10 and keep it as cash in your Public cash account. The $10 cash bonus will be paid out to your Public account after 30 days of holding a minimum deposit of $10 in your cash account

  • *$10 cash sign-up bonus is active at the time of writing this blog post. If you’re reading this post at a later date the sign up bonus may be subject to change. If it has I will be sure to update the current sign up bonus amount in this section. 

 

Final Thoughts

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. 

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.

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

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