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The common saying goes, “You need money to make money.” It’s true—especially when it comes to investing.

But it also helps to have a stock trading app.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to buy and sell a couple of stocks each year, trade a few options contracts every couple of weeks or so, or plop yourself in front of a monitor Monday through Friday and make a living off day trading. If you want to trade, you’re doing it through an account—and you’ll be accessing that account via a desktop, web, or mobile trading app.

But how often you plan on trading, and what you plan to trade, very much does matter. The best stock trading apps for a casual investor will look much different than the top stock trading apps for an extremely experienced or even professional trader. They’ll have different features, different costs, different interfaces … you get the picture.

So, what’s the best stock trading app for you? Well, today, we’ll help you out with that.

Today, we’re going to run you through the best stock trading apps you can find. We’ll highlight their various features, and acknowledge weaknesses where they exist, so you can make the best decision based on your needs. And because different stock apps are meant for different crowds, we’ll highlight what each app is best for—so, App X is the best platform for advanced traders, App Y is the best stock trading app for beginners, and so on. 

And when we’re done, we’ll answer several of the most frequently asked questions about stock trading apps and brokerage accounts.

Best Stock Trading Apps and Platforms—Our Top Picks

Best Trading Platform for Advanced Traders
Top Trading App for Stocks, Options, and Futures
Best Stock Trading App for Beginners
Commission-free trading.
Get Up to $5,000 to Start Trading
Get free stock worth $5 to $200
Best Trading Platform for Advanced Traders
Commission-free trading.
Top Trading App for Stocks, Options, and Futures
Get Up to $5,000 to Start Trading
Best Stock Trading App for Beginners
Get free stock worth $5 to $200

Best Free Stock Trading Apps and Platforms

AppApple App Store Rating
+ Best For
TradeStation logo thinTradeStation☆ 4.5 / 5
Advanced traders
Commission-free trades50% off futures brokerage fees forever when you open a new account using promo code FUTRAFZT
Tastytrade logo transparent text thinTastytrade☆ 4.8 / 5
Day traders, futures and options traders
Commission-free trades$50-$5,000 when making qualifying deposit
Robinhood logo thinRobinhood☆ 4.2 / 5
Commission-free tradesFree stock with signup and linked bank account ($5-$200 value)
sofi logo transparent text thinSoFi Invest: iOS, Android and Desktop☆ 4.8 / 5
Personal finance-focused investors
Commission-free tradesFree stock with $10 deposit ($5-$1,000 value)
Webull logo thinWebull☆ 4.7 / 5
Intermediate traders
Commission-free trades20 free stocks with $500 deposit, valued between $60 - $90,000
CenterPoint Securities logoCenterPoint Securities☆ No App Store Rating
Professional traders focused on short-selling
$120 / mo. for CenterPoint Pro, $20/mo. for CenterPoint Web ($25 for mobile)60 days of no commissions
ninjatrader logo thing textNinjaTrader☆ 4.2 / 5
Futures and forex traders, beginners looking for free sim trading
Varies by trading needs: Free, $99/mo., or $1,499 one-time payment + data fees may applyNone
vanguard logo transparent text thinVanguard☆ 4.7 / 5
Vanguard fund investors
Commission-free tradesNone
Moomoo logo thinmoomoo☆ 4.6 / 5
Advanced traders looking for low margin rates
Commission-free trades7 free stocks (worth $35 in total)
jpmorgan wealth management logo transparent text thinJ.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing☆ 4.8 / 5
Self-directed investors and Chase customers
Commission-free tradesFree account bonus commensurate with contributed funds
etrade logo thineTrade☆ 4.6 / 5
Options traders
Commission-free tradesFree account bonus commensurate with contributed funds
public logo transparent text thinPublic.com☆ 4.7 / 5
Traders seeking traditional and alternative investments
Commission-free tradesFree account bonus commensurate with transferred funds
interactive brokers logo transparent symbol thinInteractive Brokers☆ 4.0 / 5
Day traders
Commission-free tradesNone
*Apple App Store Rating as of May 22, 2024

Related: 10 Best Stock Picking Services, Sites, Advisors and Subscriptions

1. TradeStation Select (Best for Advanced Traders)

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Advanced traders, options and futures traders, active stock traders
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

TradeStation Select is a powerful trading system that includes a full-featured desktop app, a robust web trading platform, and a highly rated stock trading app—all of which include numerous tools for trading stocks that are useful to seasoned professionals.

Much like every other online discount broker found on this list, this free stock trading app helps traders avoid commissions. Specifically, TradeStation offers zero commissions on stocks, exchange-traded funds, options, futures, micro futures, and futures options.

But the reason traders opt for TradeStation isn’t just the cost—well, lack of it—but its advanced trading features and services.

What makes TradeStation different?

TradeStation is one of the most high-powered stock trading platforms on this list. That’s because opening a TradeStation brokerage account provides you with free access to the TradeStation Analytics platform, which includes tools such as:

  • Matrix: TradeStation packs market depth, advanced order entry, and order tracking all in a single window, then combines it with one-click trading and extremely fast order execution. TradeStation calls it the “Swiss Army Knife of trading tools,” and it’s an apt description.
  • RadarScreen: Identify trading opportunities with RadarScreen, a real-time screener that can monitor as many as 1,000 tickers. You can also use RadarScreen to rank those stocks based on your own custom criteria, or based on more than 180 preset (but customizable) fundamental and technical indicators.
  • OptionStation Pro: This app provides a more visually appealing, and easier-to-understand, method of exploring the options markets. You can build option chains, model options positions with 3D graphics, and quickly place your trades.
  • EasyLanguage: Want to take your trading to the next level? Create your own trading tools, indicators, even applications, with this trading-focused programming language—a language TradeStation already uses in every one of its indicators, strategies, and user functions.

(Note: Even if you don’t use TradeStation as your trading platform, you can still access TradeStation Analytics for $99 per month if you’re a non-professional trader, or $199 per month if you’re a professional trader.)

Other trading features include a simulated trading mode that allows you to test out trading plans without putting your funds at risk, backtesting, and customizable charting.

A passive feature of note is the Fully Paid Stock Lending Program. Through the program, you can allow TradeStation to lend out fully paid or excess margin securities, and in exchange, they’ll pay you a portion of the interest TS earns each day.

Other considerations

TradeStation is one of the best stock trading apps for advanced traders, but even experts might need a hand every now and then—and less experienced traders very well might need assistance. Fortunately, TS offers personalized support from the company’s brokerage professionals.

While TradeStation is commission-free, it’s hardly cost-free. For instance, all stock options trades still require a 60-cent contract fee. Futures trades are charged $1.50 per contract per side, micro futures trades are charged 50 cents per contract per side, and futures options are charged $1.50 per contract per side. Margin rates, currently in the double digits, are high compared to peers. And mutual fund fees are a steep $14.95 per trade—no big deal for traders, who likely would avoid them anyways, but a hurdle for anyone looking to buy and hold mutual funds in their TS account. Lastly, the stock trading platform charges a $10 per month fee for accounts with balances under $5,000 that place fewer than 10 trades per month.

And let’s be clear: Beginning traders could be overwhelmed by this service, which caters to extremely active and experienced traders.

Regardless, TradeStation’s top-of-class trading tools (and a wide variety of ways to access them) makes it one of the best stock trading platforms for advanced traders on this list. Intermediate users should be able to make plenty of hay on this platform, too. So if you’re interested, visit TradeStation to sign up for an account or get more information.

Related: 6 Best Apps for Trading Stock Market Futures

2. Tastytrade (Free Live Trading Video Feed)

tastytrade sign up
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Day traders, options and futures traders, active stock traders
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Tastytrade is an award-winning, self-directed brokerage started by the original founders of the famous thinkorswim trading platform, which was purchased by TDAmeritrade and subsequently bought by Charles Schwab.

The service offers competitive commissions on the usual suspects: stocks and ETFs, but also on options ($1/trade on stock and ETF options), futures, options on futures, commodities, indices and cryptocurrencies (1% commission on trade volume up to a $10 cap).

The platform offers the chance to experience cutting-edge, game-changing technology that anticipates next generation needs from traders. And one of the ways Tastytrade excels is their charting tools. They’re robust, interactive tools with over 250 available technical studies traders can use to analyze price and volume action in securities they follow. Traders can detach chart windows from the main trading screen to spread across a multi-monitor setup to keep eyes on several securities at once. Further, the stock charts allow for near endless customization so each trader can have the individual setup best suited to their needs.

The service aims to fix “trader’s block,” or the trader’s equivalent to writer’s block. It offers the ability to track traders on the platform and engage in video-feeds with other people to discuss all things markets. The service also partners with Tastylive, a financial news network entirely focused on talking shop about trading. Tastytrade says the services, when combined, can “transform you from a timid beginner to a confident, everyday trader.”

If you’re new to Tastytrade, they have ongoing incentives to make signing up for an account worthwhile. Learn more by visiting the Tastytrade site, opening an account and seeing if the trading platform’s stock charts handle your needs.


3. Robinhood (Best Simple Stock Trading App for Beginners)

Robinhood signup
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Beginner traders
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Robinhood is a pioneer of commission-free trading, jumping into the investing public’s consciousness in 2013 when they rolled out commission-free trading. They remain a standout option for cost-minded investors thanks to their continued $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options, as well as for its fractional trading, which allows people to invest with as little as $1.

More importantly, though, Robinhood has evolved from a bare-bones app appealing to mostly beginner investors to a fuller-featured account suitable for a wider range of experience levels.

For instance, Robinhood now offers individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs via Robinhood Retirement. Functionally, it comes up short compared to many other IRA providers because of its investment options. It offers just stocks and ETFs; like with its brokerage account, mutual funds aren’t available. Options aren’t currently available, though Robinhood has explicitly stated that options will be made available soon.

Robinhood has long catered to younger investors with its gamified interface and growing library of educational content. But over the years, it has added a boatload of other features for new and experienced investors alike. Advanced Charts, for instance, provides simple and customizable charts with a variety of technical features. Robinhood’s Options Strategy Builder simplifies the options-trading process by helping you build a strategy based on what you expect your target stock or ETF will do in the future.

If you want to keep your banking and investing close together, you can also add a Robinhood spending account. This FDIC-insured account includes a Robinhood Cash Card issued by Sutton Bank—however, if you don’t want this physical debit card, you do have the option of having a virtual debit card only. The Cash Card is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, and also provides you with access to fee-free withdrawals from more than 90,000 ATMs. The card allows you to round-up purchases and invest the money into your brokerage or crypto account.

Sign up for a Robinhood brokerage account or Robinhood retirement account today.

Related: Best Robinhood Alternatives

4. SoFi Invest (Best for Personal Finance-Focused Investors)

sofi invest signup
  • Available: iOS, Android, Web
  • Best for: Traders looking for an all-in-one personal finance experience
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

SoFi is a multi-faceted financial company that offers everything from credit cards and insurance to student loans and mortgages … and they also allow you to trade and invest through its SoFi Invest app.

With SoFi Invest, you can invest as actively or as passively as you’d like.

The Active SoFi Invest Brokerage Account has no required minimum balance, charges no commissions on stock, ETF, and options trades, and its options trading is free of contract fees, too. SoFi does offer 24/7 cryptocurrency trading, too, but it charges a 1.25% markup on transactions.

The interface is still very much geared toward younger, less experienced investors—everything is focused on simplicity and ease of use, rather than an expanse of sophisticated tools. SoFi also offers budget-friendly features such as fractional shares, which allow you to invest for as little as $1. And SoFi even provides a social element, such as bringing SoFi members together at exclusive events.

Want to put your portfolio on autopilot? SoFi’s robo-advisory services will create a portfolio for you free of charge (that can be designed to address one or several goals) and auto-rebalance it for you as necessary over time.

SoFi also occasionally has sign-up bonuses attached to its brokerage accounts and/or its crypto trading services, which you can read more about below. You can also visit SoFi to learn more or sign up today. You can also download the app for iOS and Android.

Related: 9 Best Robo-Advisors for Investing Money Automatically

5. Webull (Best Stock Trading App for Intermediate Traders)

webull sign up
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Self-directed investors and intermediate traders
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows, macOS, Linux), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Webull first hit the investing world in 2018 and made a splash by offering free stock trading, as well as commission-free trading of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and options. And since then, it has become one of the best stock trading apps for intermediate traders, though many of its features are helpful to beginner investors as well.

For one, Webull remains friendly to wallet-conscious traders today. It costs nothing to open a Webull account. Stocks, ETFs, and options still trade commission-free. Many options have $0 contract fees. And Webull has no deposit minimums. On top of that, it offers fractional shares, which allows investors to start buying for as little as $1.

Webull also is available across just about every platform, allowing you to research, trade, and track your stocks on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop.

Why choose Webull to trade stocks?

Webull provides traders with a number of useful features and tools, including:

  • Customizable screeners for both stocks and ETFs
  • Preset lists–including Top Gainers, Top Losers, Most Active, and Best-Performing Industries—traders can use to identify opportunities
  • Free real-time stock quotes
  • 12 charting tools and more than 50 technical indicators
  • Real-time stock alerts you can set to notify you of events such as significant price action or certain technical conditions
  • Numerous order types—simple orders such as limit and market orders, sure, but also group orders such as bracket, OTO, and OCO orders
  • Quant ratings that help you to evaluate stocks through numerous lenses, such as growth, value, income, quality, and momentum

These tools make Webull one of the best stock research and analysis apps for traders.

Also noteworthy: Webull provides one month of free Level 2 Quotes powered by Nasdaq TotalView. Per Webull: “It provides the best 50 levels of bids and asks for all NASDAQ-, NYSE- and regional-listed stocks on NASDAQ Market Center. It includes the prices and quantities of displayed quotes and orders, allowing investors to better determine the availability or demand for a stock at a certain price.” Experienced day traders can use these quotes to try to determine where the stock market is headed in the very short term. (Note: Level 2 Quotes cost $2.99 per month after the free trial.)

And traders can even get paid for stocks they’re sitting on. Webull’s Stock Lending Income Program allows you to receive interest, accrued daily and paid monthly, for allowing Webull to borrow certain stocks. The interest rate varies widely depending on demand for a particular stock.

Webull also has a couple other fun (and still useful!) features. For instance, you can set up voice commands that will allow you to simply speak to buy, sell, or look up information on a ticker. There’s also “Big Button Mode,” which, as you’d guess by the name, populates giant buttons on your screen that allow you to quickly make trades with just a push.

We’ll point out that while Webull allows for many types of commission-free trades, other costs will still apply to a few transactions. For instance, a 55-cent contract fee applies to certain options trades. Webull doesn’t directly charge fees for trading cryptocurrencies, but it does build a 1-percentage-point markup into the price of cryptocurrency when you buy or sell crypto. And Webull’s margin rates, which are variable depending on the debit balance, are currently roughly middle-of-the-road.

You should also know that you can’t buy mutual funds on Webull, though that’s more of a concern for long-term investors and less so for traders.

Regardless, Webull remains one of the best, and most cost-friendly, trading platforms you can come across. And on top of all the free features mentioned above, Webull also runs frequent promotions that allow investors to collect free stocks.

Read more in our Webull review, or sign up at Webull today.

Related: 15 Best Investing Research & Stock Analysis Websites

6. CenterPoint Securities (Best Stock Trading Platform for Short-Selling)

CenterPoint Securities signup
CenterPoint Securities
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Professional traders specializing in day trading, shorting stocks and options
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

CenterPoint Securities is a trading platform specifically designed to cater toward professional traders with comprehensive trading needs. And not just any professional trader, but ones that focus on volatility in the markets to capture returns. Namely, that means traders who day trade, short, trade options (the platform only supports stocks, ETFs, and options at present). While the tradable assets are fairly narrow in scope compared to other trading platforms, where it excels is having one of the most thorough short lists on the market.

To short a stock, your broker needs to offer that ability directly or indirectly by sourcing a third party willing to lend shares to short. CenterPoint has cultivated a market for finding third party brokers interested in offering shares to short, even if they’re difficult to borrow. So, for traders willing to accept the risk that short trading provides, CenterPoint Securities is likely a strong contender for your trading needs. Further, the brokerage offers direct trading capabilities, lowering spreads and execution times for their customers. Traders can choose between numerous clearing firms and routing options, offering the chance for the fastest execution times that could shave costs from a trade if filled in a timely manner. Done frequently and with enough volume and traders can quickly see the value in trading on CenterPoint Securities.

These features come with a cost, however: CenterPoint Pro charges an ongoing $120 per month fee while CenterPoint Web is only $20 per month ($25 per month if opting for mobile on CenterPoint’s non-pro subscription). Traders can also access real-time market data for additional fees (the cost varies with data needs and can range from $1.50 – $100 per month).

Lastly, on top of the ongoing monthly subscription fee, CenterPoint Securities also has a very hefty minimum deposit requirement of $30,000. While a high dollar figure, this isn’t much higher than the minimum $25,000 of equity needed to qualify as a pattern day trader on any day the customer trades.

In short, this platform isn’t meant for newbies—only serious traders will have interest in using CenterPoint Securities to handle their trades. But if you meet the above minimum requirements and are willing to shell out for their subscriptions, CenterPoint Securities might be worth exploring for your active trading needs.


7. NinjaTrader (Best for Technical Analysis Tools and Free Paper Trading for Beginners)

ninjatrader signup
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Active traders specializing in day trading futures and forex (and other assets through third party brokers)
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows), CQG mobile app (iOS and Android)

NinjaTrader is one of the oldest and best known trading platforms on the market. Specializing in technical analysis tools, real-time analysis, and a clean, fully customizable charting experience, NinjaTrader allows you to employ a fully automated trading strategy through its own brokerage service for futures, options on futures, and forex trading. And while that might seem like a limited set of assets (especially for being mentioned as a stock trading app and platform), NinjaTrader’s other core strengths are its ability to integrate with other brokers like IBKR, Schwab (TDAmeritrade), and others for an add-on fee and its NinjaTrader Ecosystem.

This community of vendors and plugins enrich the NinjaTrader experience through offering education-rich content for free and, among other things, allows you to attach NinjaTrader to several supporting brokerages to give traders access to other markets, including options on futures, contracts-for-differences (CFDs), and equities.

If you’d like to try using NinjaTrader for free, their basic platform features are free but come with higher commissions than you’d encounter under a paid account. This comes with charting, market analysis and live trading (and if you’d like to use their SIM trading environment, you don’t need a funded account). To use the software, visit the NinjaTrader website to install the software, launch the platform and start familiarizing yourself with everything you can do. You can open charts, customize colors, add indicators and strategies and insert symbols to a chart to take it for a test drive.

To access the full feature set (including more robust data like full market depth on CME or its CME bundle), you’ll need to pay added monthly fees: starting at $99 per month to lease the software or a $1,499 one-time payment to buy). Premium features include items like advanced order types, automated trading, and backtesting. And if you’d like more data, that’ll carry monthly costs as well: For CME Level I top of book data (CME, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX), it’s $12 per month and Level II costs $41 per month for non-professional users. Professional users pay $135 per month per exchange. ICE Market data also costs $140 per month per exchange for all users.

NinjaTrader’s robust community and suite of tools have established it as a leading charting software—be it for stocks, futures, forex, or other assets. The burgeoning educational guides, video library and free ongoing webinars provide ample access to the understanding traders need to hone their craft. Plus, the platform offers an easy (and free) way to learn what the platform can offer through its SIM trading environment. Consider signing up for a NinjaTrader account and taking the service for a test-drive.


8. Vanguard (Best for Vanguard Fund Investors)

Vanguard signup
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Basic trading options with cheap mutual fund investing
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Vanguard has long been regarded as the low-cost index fund investing service provider. In fact, in 1975, John Bogle launched the first U.S.-listed index fund available to retail investors. Now, Vanguard offers numerous dirt-cheap index products in both its mutual fund and exchange-traded fund lineups.

But Vanguard also offers low-cost trading, and no account minimums, through its brokerage and other accounts. That means commission-free trading not just on Vanguard products like VTI or VTSAX, but also on stocks, all other ETFs, and all no-transaction-fee mutual funds. But investors and traders still shoulder some costs: Unless you have more than $1 million in your account, transaction-fee mutual funds cost $20 per trade, and options, while commission-free, still charge a $1 contract fee.

Vanguard’s web and mobile versions are very much geared toward beginning investors, though the latter is better-designed. The web version can be downright clunky at times, and it can be difficult to access some of the features. I used to use the app to manage my work’s 401(k) plan, and I’ll admit to its bloat and lack of clarity on calculating investment returns on a percentage basis. The mobile apps run more smoothly, and I like the secure two-step login. But certain features, such as price alerts, aren’t available on mobile.

Also, Vanguard doesn’t offer nearly the range of technical tools, screeners, and customizable options as some of the more advanced platforms we’ve discussed.

My main beef with Vanguard’s apps is that they make it difficult to measure the performance of individual holdings. All that said, Vanguard might have made this by design, incentivizing you to check your funds less often and thus living by their buy-and-hold ethos.

Still, if you’re a beginner who’s not sure if you’ll be more into trading, or more into long-term investing, a Vanguard account is a good place to start.

Related: 5 Best Investment Accounts for Kids [Child Investment Plans]

9. Moomoo (Advanced Stock Trading App With Low Margin Rates)

moomoo signup new
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Advanced traders
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows, Mac), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Moomoo is a commission-free trading platform for stocks, ETFs, and options. While Moomoo is best for advanced traders, offering powerful tools to empower your trading insights and strategies, it takes a different approach from other similarly targeted platforms, favoring simple interfaces and high ease of use. The desktop platform is highly customizable, while the mobile app is straightforward, allowing you to search for stocks and trade with minimal hassle.

Still, Moomoo has more than enough under the hood for advanced traders to get the job done. Its charting system, for instance, includes 62 technical analysis indicators and 22 drawing tools. You can set up alerts based on changes in price, bids, turnover ratio, and more. Free Level 2 market data helps you get a greater understanding of a stock’s value, determine how liquid a stock truly really is, and better time your trades. You can even enjoy 24/7 financial news handpicked by Moomoo’s editorial team. The trading platform provides these features to empower investors to make better investing decisions.

One Moomoo feature worth noting is its mobile charting, which allows traders to take advantage of more than 60 investing indicators and 38 drawing tools. And any drawings or annotations you make are saved and synced with your profile so you can view them from either the app or your desktop.

While Moomoo isn’t as suitable to beginner traders, the trading platform does include some useful educational tools. For instance, paper trading functionality with real-time data simulates the investment experience without committing any of your real money. (This feature is also helpful to advanced traders, allowing them to test out strategies and hone their skills.)

Moomoo also boasts relatively low rates for trading on margin. The annualized interest rate on financing, as of this writing, is 6.8%—one of the most competitive rates among its peers.

The app pays you for giving it a spin by offering free stocks when you make a qualifying deposit after signing up. Specifically, you can get free stocks if you sign up for a Moomoo account and make a qualifying deposit.

If you want a professional-grade system for research and trading, but with a simpler user experience, Moomoo is among the best trading platforms to consider.

For Moomoo disclaimer, please see the fine print at the bottom of this article.

Related: 13 Best Stock & Investment Newsletters for Inbox Alpha

10. J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing (Best for Self-Directed Investors + Chase Customers)

jpmorgan self-directed investing sign up
J.P. Morgan
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Self-directed investors, Chase customers
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing acts as an investing solution offered from Chase and is accessible through the Chase Mobile® app or Chase.com.

You can use this investing app to make unlimited commission-free trades in thousands of investment options, including a wide range of stocks, ETFs, fixed income, mutual funds and options.

The investing app allows you to utilize tools to build your portfolio including screeners and watchlists—both useful for building diversified portfolios and staying on top of market activity.

The app provides personalized news and J.P. Morgan Research and market analysis to empower informed investment decisions. You can leverage these resources to design your own target allocation for your investments.

Consider using J.P. Morgan’s Self-Directed Investing platform if you’d like the flexibility to invest as much as you want without paying any commissions on equity and options trades. Some regulatory fees and fund expenses may apply.

You can choose an account that’s right for you: an individual taxable account, Traditional IRA or Roth IRA. All carry a $0 minimum.

Open your J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account today and get up to $700 when you open and fund an account with qualifying new money:

  • $700 when you fund with $250,000 or more
  • $325 when you fund with $100,000-$249,999
  • $150 when you fund with $25,000-$99,999
  • $50 when you fund with $5,000-$24,999

Learn more by visiting J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing’s website to see if it’s the right fit for your needs.

Related: 9 Best Stock Charting Apps [Free + Paid Software Options]

11. E*Trade (Best for Options Traders)

e-trade sign up
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Intermediate investors
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

E*Trade has long been seen as a leading stock trading app for retail investors. E*Trade provides investors access to educational resources that assist you with conducting investment research and analysis and diversifying your portfolio.

E*Trade, like most of the best stock trading apps, offers zero-commission stock, ETF, and options trading. It also has a leg up on some platforms by offering $0-commission mutual fund trading. Options still incur a 50- to 65-cent contract fee, however. Meanwhile, bond trades are $1 apiece, and future trades are $1.50 per contract per side, plus other fees.

E*Trade has two platforms, both of which are free, and both of which have web and mobile versions:

Power E*Trade

Power E*Trade is designated for more intermediate-to-advanced traders. Features include:

  • Advanced charting that includes intraday and historical options; more than 100 studies; over 100 drawing tools; and the ability to automatically identify technical patterns
  • Snapshot Analysis, which lays out risk-reward probabilities in your options trading
  • Powerful stock and trade scanner; use preset filters or customize as you wish
  • Paper trading to test out strategies without putting your money at risk
  • Ability to design exit strategies

Like with the Power E*Trade web platform, the Power E*Trade app is a more powerful version of its basic counterpart. This app allows you to use preset scans, work with interactive charts, place complex options trades, and more.


The “basic” E*Trade web platform might be more suitable for beginning-to-intermediate traders and investors, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on features.

E*Trade’s main web platform includes everything you need to keep up to date on your portfolio, including real-time quotes, charts, market commentary, and stock news. The latter includes free access to Thomson Reuters and TipRanks research. Meanwhile, you’ll have ample tools at your disposal, including stock, mutual fund, bond, and ETF screeners; trade optimizers; backtesters; and more.

E*Trade also touts its educational resources, which includes articles, videos, and classes, as well as monthly webinars and live events. But we will note that its educational content is difficult to sort through.

E*Trade Pro

E*Trade does have a third platform, which it doesn’t even openly promote, called E*Trade Pro. This is a more advanced trading platform for active traders that boasts even more powerful tools to research and trade stocks and options. To get E*Trade Pro, you’ll need to call the broker and establish that you’re going to be an active trader (10 or more trades per month) and are going to fund your account with at least $25,000. E*Trade will then sync up your account on the back end to provide you access with E*Trade Pro.

Other considerations

Like with a couple other trading apps on this list, E*Trade also allows you to earn additional income by allowing the firm to borrow your fully paid-for holdings. E*Trade also offers retirement planning to clients as well as some in-person informational sessions.

Visit E*Trade to learn more or sign up today.

Related: 9 Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites + Platforms

12. Public.com (Trading App With Alternative Assets)

public signup
  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: New investors with limited capital
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Public.com is a commission-free investing app, geared toward Millennials and Gen-Zers, that as of late has built up the types of assets available to its users. On Public, users can trade not just stocks and ETFs, but also more than 25 different cryptocurrencies, and more recently, alternative assets from art to sneakers.

That last point is worth noting. Alternative assets are a relative rarity among stock trading apps. They can be difficult to research (and thus difficult to properly invest in), but they can provide uncorrelated returns compared to the stock and bond markets, so many savvy investors like to diversify into these assets.

The “Public” part of the name nods at the platform’s social aspect. For one, you can make your portfolio holdings open to other users, and conversely, you can look through other Public users’ portfolios. Investors can also connect with corporate founders and CEOs through live “Town Hall” meetings.

Public also acts as a micro-investing app, allowing you to invest in fractional shares with as little as $1.

While the number of tradable assets on Public.com is growing, it’s still somewhat limited: It doesn’t offer mutual funds, options, bonds, or futures. New users are also limited to individual brokerage accounts.

Users also can upgrade their experience with the $10/month Public Premium subscription.

Public Premium offers some features that are included in some free brokers’ services, but other features justify the cost. For instance, Premium offers extended-hours trading (8 to 9:30 a.m., and 4 to 8 p.m. Eastern) and stock price alerts—several competitors, such as TradeStation and E*Trade, deliver these services at no charge. However, Premium also provides:

  • Advanced data on companies—Public.com’s examples include Tesla quarterly deliveries by model or Apple’s annual sales by continent
  • Institutional-grade research provided by Morningstar
  • Members-only analysis about events including major economic report releases, earnings announcements, and more
  • Exclusive audio programming by Public.com’s expert analysts

What makes Public.com different?

Unlike other free stock trading apps found on this list, Public.com does not monetize its trading activity through receiving payment for order flow (PFOF). PFOF, in brief, is money that a market maker pays a brokerage firm for routing trades through that market maker.

Some investors have called out this practice as harmful to everyday investors, providing them with worse trade-execution prices than they would otherwise get—and this call grew louder amid the GameStop market mania in early 2021. In the wake of this event, Public.com announced a change in its revenue model, breaking with how many free stock apps generate income. Instead, it makes money off interest on cash balances, securities lending, and even tipping—users can choose to (but are not required to) tip Public when submitting trade orders. Public also will make money off its Premium subscription product.

By doing this, Public.com believes it’s better aligning its financial incentives with the best interests of its customers.

If you’re interested, you can sign up today and receive a free “slice of stock.” Or, if you’re transferring funds from a different brokerage account, Public.com will provide you with a cash bonus. While Public says it will pay out up to $10,000, that’s on an account transfer of $5 million plus. More common payouts include $150 for transfers of between $5,000 and $24,999, and $250 for transfers of $25,000-$99,999. (And at the very least, if you transfer at least $500, Public will reimburse you up to $100 per transfer for any fees charged by your original brokerage firm.)

Read more in our Public.com investing app review.

For Public.com disclaimer, please see the fine print at the bottom of this article.

Related: 11 Best Non-Stock Investments [Alternatives to the Stock Market]

13. Interactive Brokers (Best for Day Traders)

interactivebrokers sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Advanced and professional traders seeking low margin rates
  • Platforms: Desktop app (Windows, macOS), web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Interactive Brokers, founded in 1978, is one of the largest U.S. electronic trading platforms, offering traders access to stocks, bonds, funds, options, cryptocurrencies, foreign exchange, and more.

IB’s Trader Workstation (TWS) is Interactive Brokers’ flagship desktop program—a trading platform with roots back to 1995. But since then, the company has launched a number of other access points for brokerage accounts, including:

  • IBKR Mobile: A powerful app for iOS and Android that allows people to trade on the go
  • IBKR GlobalTrader: A simplified app for iOS and Android that targets global traders, allowing deposits in up to 23 different currencies
  • Client Portal: A lighter web-based platform allowing clients to manage their account, evaluate performance, and read market news
  • IBKR EventTrader: A web-based platform allowing investors to trade “event” contracts (yes-or-no questions like “Will the S&P 500 Index close above 4,400 today?”)
  • IBKR Impact: A mobile app that helps investors select holdings most in line with their values.

But Workstation remains the workhorse. The platform supports investments across 150 global markets, and offers a wide variety of features, including real-time monitoring, risk management tools, paper trading—all packaged under a heavily customizable layout.

While TWS users can still select the original view, they can build their own bespoke view through Mosaic. Functions such as stock monitoring, order entry, charts, and more appear as “tiles,” sized and arranged however you want them, and you can save custom layouts designed for one or more monitors.

Trader Workstation also lets investors:

  • Create example watchlists
  • Use preset scans or build your own
  • Create real-time trading alerts using price, time, margin, and volume
  • Access more than 100 order types and algorithms to execute better trades
  • Read breaking news from Reuters, Dow Jones, and other financial news outlets
  • Access research from Morningstar, Zacks, and other firms

Interactive Brokers offers two primary plans—IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro—and both have no account minimums and zero maintenance fees. They also provide investors with access to many of the same features, including the Client Portal, Trader Workstation, and IBKR Mobile platforms; advanced order types; fractional shares of U.S. and European stocks and ETFs; paper trading; and Risk Navigator, which evaluates your risk in single positions or across your entire portfolio.

IBKR Lite is most suitable for beginner and intermediate investors, offering unlimited commission-free U.S.-listed stock and ETF trading, and fixed pricing for non-U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs, mutual funds, options, and futures.

IBKR Pro, meanwhile, is meant for advanced investors and active traders. While it does charge commissions on even U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs, it provides better execution for trades via its IB SmartRouting, which seeks out the best available prices for stocks and options across exchanges and dark pools—possibly resulting in lower spreads that offset the commissions you pay. It also offers better margin rates than Lite, though both platforms’ rates are among the best on offer.

Pro also offers some features not available on IBKR Lite, including higher interest paid on idle cash balances, lower interest charged on margin loans, backtesting, and access to IBKR APIs, which allow you to build your own custom trading applications and even develop commercial trading software—features often used by hedge funds, Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), and proprietary trading firms. This makes the service our top pick for day trading platforms.

We should note that IBKR’s rating does get dinged (by both us and app-store users) for its sometimes buggy mobile-app experience. But the desktop app is a mainstay among advanced and professional traders.

You can visit Interactive Brokers to sign up or learn more.

Related: 12 Best Investment Opportunities for Accredited Investors

Related Questions on Stock Investing Apps

Below you will find several frequently asked questions related to free investing apps.

Can I trade stocks for free?

Nowadays, it’s common to pay nothing to trade stocks. But that hasn’t always been the case. It wasn’t until 1975, when President Gerald Ford signed the Securities Acts Amendments of 1975, that brokers could even adjust the price of their commissions—they were fixed. For comparison’s sake, shortly after that, commissions per trade were in the $40-$50 range. By the 1990s, brokerage commissions had fallen to anywhere between $5 and $30 per trade.

Trading costs continued to decline until hitting a new frontier in 2013, when brokerage app Robinhood offered the first zero-commission trades. To stay competitive, almost every major U.S. brokerage began to provide the same.

Now, by and large, most outlets commission-free stock and ETF trades at a minimum, with some also offering commission-free options and/or mutual fund trades.

Fees aren’t completely gone, however.

Many brokerages still charge contract fees on options, for instance, and others charge for mutual fund trades. They also tend to charge for trading more complicated assets, such as futures, forex, and cryptocurrency.

Brokerages also make money in other ways, such as interest on margin loans, fees for premium services, and lending user-owned securities.

The good news for casual/beginner traders: You typically won’t be impacted by these fees. However, frequent traders, or those who trade more exotic assets, will have to deal with them—but they sometimes can access premium accounts that cut down on these particular fees.

Want to learn more about these brokerages’ business models? Check out “How Does Robinhood Make Money?

Can you invest for free?

Just like trading, yes, you can invest for free.

If you’re a long-term investor, commission-free stock and ETF trading is really all you need to be able to build a buy-and-hold portfolio. If your preference is for long-term investing only, you should also focus on a platform that offers fee-free mutual fund trades as well, which you can pair with ETFs (or use them on their own) to build a diversified set of holdings.

Also pay attention to the type of investment accounts you’re allowed to open within a platform. Webull, for instance, allows not just taxable brokerage accounts, but also tax-advantaged traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.

What are free stock trading apps?

A stock trading app is simply the software you use to buy and sell stocks and other securities through a brokerage. So, for instance, if E*Trade is your broker, then the stock trading apps you could use to access that would include the E*Trade mobile app and the Power E*Trade mobile app.

Virtually all brokerages have mobile apps, as well as web apps (versions of the software you access through a browser). Some platforms, such as Interactive Brokers and Moomoo, have desktop apps—apps that live on your computer and operate separately from your browser. Most of the time, desktop apps are the most powerful version of a brokerage’s software.

For the most part, “free stock trading apps” is simply another way of saying “free brokerage accounts.” A brokerage won’t have you sign up for an account for free, but then charge you for their mobile account. However, in a few instances—such as Axos Self-Directed Trading, with its Elite subscription—a trading platform might offer an additional premium subscription that provides additional benefits.

What are the best stock trading apps?

We feel all of the following apps have something to offer prospective stock traders. In no particular order …

What is the best stock trading platform?

Based on our review of all the available stock trading apps in the market, we believe Webull offers the most compelling stock trading app overall. It offers an intuitive interface and design, useful analytics tools, easy trading and charges nothing for commissions.

Because this app likely covers most retail investors’ needs, we rate it as the best stock trading platform for beginning to intermediate traders.

That said, not everyone is an intermediate trader, so …

What is the best stock trading app/broker for beginners?

The best stocking trading app for you depends on your experience, trading goals, and desired level of educational support. Beginners benefit from low fees, simple interfaces, and educational tools. They’re all the more useful if they can double as stock news apps. Social features can also help beginner investors stay more involved.

Firstrade is a popular choice for beginners because it combines many of the above elements, including free trading of stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds; well-designed mobile apps; educational resources; and bonuses for new users.

Of course, you can sign up for more than one app—in fact, some people prefer test-driving numerous investment platforms to see what they’re most comfortable with. And many apps allow you to try them out before having to fund the account with real money.

A few other beginner apps to consider:

  • Public.com offers a simple interface, several investment options (including alternative assets, which are difficult to find in most other stock trading apps), and the ability to let people see your portfolio, as well as see other users’ portfolios.
  • Webull, while best for intermediate investors, is still a good choice for beginner investors because of its low costs, educational materials, and intuitive interface.
  • Robinhood is another platform that was built upon casual retail investors. While it has since buffed up its tools to become more attractive to more experienced traders, its interface, educational tools, and Snacks letter are all great features for beginners.

Related: 11 Best Stock Advisor Websites & Services to Seize Alpha

How do I teach myself to trade stocks?

Despite what you might have seen in certain movies, you shouldn’t trade stocks based on guesses or gut feelings. You need to learn the basics—how to evaluate a stock’s fundamentals, read charts, place orders, etc.

Ideally you can take classes or have a mentor teach you. But it’s also possible to learn how to trade stocks all on your own.

You can study the practices and teachings of successful investors such as Warren Buffett. You can also immerse yourself in investment websites, books, articles, videos, and news segments.

Of course, some people prefer homework, while others prefer labs. So for some, one of the best ways to teach yourself stock trading is to practice. But … how do you trade stocks to gain experience without spending your hard-earned money?

For those nervous about spending your hard-earned money, you’re in luck. It’s possible to build up your confidence by first practicing stock trading through a simulator.

Webull, Interactive Brokers, and Schwab are among brokers and trading apps that offer “paper trading”—a free simulator that allows you to try out hypothetical trades to see what your profit or loss would have been based on your decisions.

And, of course, those interested in learning how to invest money can keep browsing through Young & The Invested, where we offer plenty of investing-focused articles.

Can I start trading with $100?

There has never been a better time to start investing with little money—even a solitary Benjamin. With a little focus, you can really stretch $100 into quite a powerful starter portfolio.

For one, start with a brokerage or trading app that has no minimum required deposit and no commissions on at least stock and ETF trading—which is basically just about every product we mentioned above. That keeps more of your money out of the brokerage’s pocket, and more of it buying stocks and funds.

We’d also suggest going with a company that offers fractional shares on stocks at the very least, if not also exchange-traded funds.

While the dollar amount a stock trades for typically doesn’t say much about the quality of a stock—a $50 stock isn’t necessarily any better than a $100 stock, for instance—uber-cheap stocks (those that trade under $5, but especially “penny stocks,” which trade under $1) tend to be riskier than most. So, if you have to buy whole shares, $100 won’t get you very far—maybe three or four companies—and you’ll be locked out of many popular stocks that cost triple-digits for just one share!

But with fractional shares, you can typically invest as little as $1 in each individual company, allowing you to spread your money around many different companies. This is called “diversification” and helps protect you against a decline in any single stock.

Another option is to invest in an indexed ETF or mutual fund (or two, or three). Index funds are typically cheaper than their actively managed counterparts, but they still allow you to own numerous stocks, bond, or other assets for very low annual fees—often just a few cents per year on that $100 you’re investing. That said, a few of the most popular index funds trade for more than $100 per share, so using an app or brokerage that offers fractional ETF shares is a great way to maximize your money.

Related: 10 Investments that Earn a Great Return [10% or More]

Are stocks trading apps safe?


That’s not to say you can’t/won’t lose money from investing in stocks. While stocks typically go up in the long term, many people experience losing years, and some overly aggressive investors can lose a lot by making just a few bad choices.

But if you do lose money, it shouldn’t be because of the brokerage service itself. These accounts offer Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance on any cash held in them, as well as a variety of other investor protections.

How do I choose the best stock trading apps?

The best stock trading app for me isn’t necessarily the best stock trading app for you.

Maybe you’re more experienced with options. Maybe you’ve only started investing. Maybe you want as many research tools as possible. Maybe you rarely trade, so all you care about is a clean, simple interface that’s easy to use when you need it.

Your preferences are ultimately what will determine which app or brokerage account is best suited for you.

When we compiled this list of the best stock trading apps, we considered a number of features that are important to traders of varying experience levels. Among them?

  • Commissions and other fees
  • Account minimums
  • Margin rates
  • Stock charts
  • Stock screeners
  • Stock alerts
  • Fractional shares
  • Breadth of assets to invest in (stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, bonds, etc.)
  • Educational materials
  • Robo-advisory services
  • Access to news and research
  • Real-time market data
  • Trading programming languages
  • Intuitive interfaces
  • Social experiences
  • Other noteworthy features

Naturally, our best stock trading apps naturally include a large number of these features. But even then, a few of them are subjective.

For instance, one person’s easy-to-use app might be a chore to someone else. A library of educational articles might be attractive to you, but your best friend might prefer video lessons. Access to Reuters news might not appeal to you, but you might want to tap into Morningstar’s research.

Thus, we encourage you to base your decision on what’s important to you—not just on what we’ve deemed the best. Also, if you’re looking to trade CFDs for short-term movements with leverage such as currencies, shares or indices then we recommend viewing the CompareForexBrokers platform guide.

What are the advantages of using an investing app to trade stocks?

When we say “investing apps,” we’re talking about platforms that either prioritize long-term investing or have plenty of trading features but still have everything that long-term investors need.

The biggest advantage of using investing apps to trade stocks is they often have lower fees on more basic trading functions, and/or have a wider variety of basic trading functions that are low- or now-cost. They’ll also often have stronger educational libraries for those just getting started.

Many investing apps are attractive to both beginner and experienced traders. Firstrade, Webull, and TD Ameritrade stand out—yes, they have plenty of features that very much make them attractive investing apps for long-term investors, but they’re also teeming with features that are appropriate for intermediate and advanced traders.

What are the disadvantages of using an investing app to trade stocks?

The downside of some investing-focused apps is that they either have higher costs for advanced trading, or their tools aren’t as robust as active traders want/need. Mobile investing apps in particular are designed for simplicity, often intentionally narrowing options for better ease of use, while mobile trading apps might be a little clunkier but offer far more functionality.

This might raise the question: “Should I use a stock trading app and an investing app?”

It depends on what you need, and how much more added complexity you want in your day. On the one hand, using two apps would give you one platform with, say, lower options contract fees, better margin rates, and excellent tools that help you shape your stock trades—and another that, say, allowed you to easily search and research long-term holdings, and buy mutual funds for free.

But while you absolutely want to practice diversification in your portfolio, do you necessarily want to diversify where your money is held? Spreading your investments across stock app after stock app makes it even more difficult to keep track of your overall portfolio.

The Best Commission-Free Stock Trading Apps and Platforms

Free stock trading apps are becoming more and more popular. No surprise here. For one, being able to trade fee-free, with a small amount of money, and from the convenience of your smartphone, has made stock trading accessible to more people than ever before.

And thanks to pushes in financial education, more people want to invest than ever before.

Whether you’re a beginner trader or more of an expert, there are stock app options to fit your needs. So, take one or more of the stock apps above for a spin, and start investing toward your future.


About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.