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Getting started with your investing journey can present a lot of consternation: what to invest in, how to invest in stocks and which stock trading or investing apps should beginners use to avoid becoming overwhelmed? Thankfully, with the advent of FinTech services, many stock trading brokers offer beginners access to the stock market for no cost and with easy-to-understand interfaces.

This list walks through the best stock trading apps and platforms for beginners and up. While we prize no commissions, we more want to focus on providing the best overall user experience that aligns with this site’s overarching aim: building long-term wealth. That often means investing in low-cost index funds you plan to hold for long periods of time.

Take a look below at the best stock trading apps for beginners to consider opening and using to trade stocks and ETFs. We highlight the best stock trading app for beginners and best stock app to start investing first.

Best Stock Trading Apps for Beginners—Top Picks


Best Stock Trading App for Beginners
Best Brokerage Account + Debit Card for Teens
Best Investment App for Beginners
4.5
4.9
4.6
Get free stock worth $5 to $200
Free (no monthly fees).
Get your $85 account signup and net deposit bonus.
Best Stock Trading App for Beginners
4.5
Get free stock worth $5 to $200
Best Brokerage Account + Debit Card for Teens
4.9
Free (no monthly fees).
Best Investment App for Beginners
4.6
Get your $85 account signup and net deposit bonus.

Best Stock Trading Platforms for Beginners

AppApple App Store Rating +
Best For
FeesPromotions
Robinhood logo thinRobinhood☆ 4.2 / 5
Basic stock and ETF investing; options
Commission-free tradesFree stock with sign up
fidelity youth account logo color text thinFidelity Youth Account☆ 4.8 / 5
Teens
Commission-free tradesNone
Webull logo thinWebull☆ 4.7 / 5
Self-directed investors and intermediate traders
Commission-free tradesSix to Twelve free stocks with $5 deposit, valued between $18 - $36,000
plynk logo transparent text thinPlynk™ Invest☆ 4.6 / 5
Beginners
Commission-free trades**$85 in signup and net deposit bonuses
sofi logo transparent text thinSoFi Invest: iOS, Android and Desktop☆ 4.8 / 5
Fee-free active trading and automated investing
Commission-free tradesFree stock worth between $5 - $1,000
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
public logo transparent text thinPublic.com☆ 4.7 / 5
Social theme-based investing interests
Commission-free trades$3 - $300 worth of free stocks for signing up
Moomoo logo thinmoomoo☆ 4.6 / 5
Advanced traders
Commission-free trades16 free stocks + $50 cash reward
acorns logo transparent text thinAcorns☆ 4.7 / 5
Automated investing
$3/month - $9/month$20 sign up bonus when setting up recurring deposit at account opening
m1 finance logo color thinM1 Finance☆ 4.7 / 5
Passive investors
Fee-free active trading and automated investing
Commission-free trades and automated investingNone
stash logo full thinStash☆ 4.7 / 5
Young investors looking for a complete personal finance platform
$3/month - $9/month$5 stock bonus for making a deposit of $5 or more
vanguard logo transparent text thinVanguard☆ 4.7 / 5
Basic ETF investing
Commission-free tradesNone
betterment logo color text thinBetterment☆ 4.7 / 5
Building a globally-diversified portfolio
$4/mo or set up recurring monthly deposits totaling $250, or reach a balance of at least $20,000 across all Betterment accounts, to change to a 0.25% AUM feeNone
*Apple App Store Rating as of January 12, 2024

1. Robinhood (Best Stock Trading App for Beginners)


robinhood sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Beginner traders
  • Platform: 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.

However, Robinhood Retirement still stands out from the pack because it’s the only IRA provider that offers matching funds. If you open up an IRA with Robinhood Retirement, Robinhood will match 1% of any IRA transfers, 401(k) rollovers, and annual contributions to your account—and 3% if you pay for the Robinhood Gold service ($5 per month)—typically almost immediately after you make your contribution. Better still: Any matches made on annual contributions don’t count toward your contribution limit.

(Friendly message from your WealthUp tax expert: The reason the IRA Match doesn’t count toward your annual IRA contribution limit is because Robinhood treats it as interest income in your IRA.)

You can choose your IRA investments yourself, but Robinhood’s Portfolio Builder can also provide you with a custom recommended portfolio made up of five to eight ETFs.

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. Robinhood also offers 24/7 commission-free cryptocurrency trading with Robinhood Crypto (though you’ll still have to pay a spread), allows extended-hours trading, and lets users earn interest through stock lending.

Robinhood Gold, which I mentioned above, is a monthly subscription service that offers several more features mostly geared toward advanced traders. Benefits include Level II market data provided by Nasdaq, a lower charged rate on margin investing than regular accounts, higher interest on uninvested brokerage cash via the cash sweep program, and bigger Instant Deposits.

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. Robinhood investment accounts carry up to $500,000 of Securities Investor Protection Corporation coverage.

Related: Best Stock Screeners + Stock Scanners

2. Fidelity Youth™ Account (Top Investing App for Teens)


fidelity youth account art 2024

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: No account fees¹, no account minimum, no trading commissions*
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Is your teen interested in jumpstarting their financial future? Do you want them to build smart money habits along the way?

Of course you do! Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity Youth Account—an account for teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. Teens own the account themselves and can start investing in most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!³

Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees². And they can use this free debit card for teens to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.

And as for building smart money habits? You and your teen can access the account through the Fidelity Youth™ app, which has a dedicated Learn tab packed with materials developed specifically to help teens develop good financial habits. Not only will Fidelity’s interactive lessons, videos, articles, tools, and calculators accelerate their learning—but for every level they complete, reward dollars will be deposited into their account to use however they want.

Controls parents want and need

A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity Youth Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.

Having a Fidelity account gives parents and guardians access to plenty of tools they can use to monitor their teen’s activity: They have online account access, can follow monthly statements and trade confirmations, and can view debit card transactions made in the account.

To make it even easier, you can set up alerts to notify you of your teen’s trades, transactions, and cash management activity, keeping you firmly in the loop on actions your teen takes across the Fidelity Youth Account’s suite of products.

If your teen has an interest in learning about investing, becoming smarter about money, and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider downloading the Fidelity Youth app and opening a Fidelity Youth Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.

Read more in our Fidelity Youth Account review.

Related: Best Debit Cards for Kids

3. 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, Mac, 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: 19 Best Investment Apps [Free + Paid]

4. Plynk (Best Investment App for Beginners)


plynk signup

  • Available via Apple iOS and Android App on Google Play.
  • Price: Free, but certain features may require a fee in the future.
  • Sign up here

Plynk™ is an app designed to help you start investing and learn along the way, and they’re currently offering a $10 account signup and $75 net deposit bonus ($85 combined).

The Plynk app helps investors put their money into an investment portfolio. You can invest with as little as $1, and trade stocks, funds, and crypto commission-free**—all in one app.

The platform uses straightforward, easy-to-understand language to explain investing concepts. No jargon. No complex charts and tables. Just simple-language tips and how-tos.

Navigate investment ideas with tools to help you explore and choose. With Plynk Explore, just answer a few questions, and the app will display stock, ETF, and mutual fund investments that mesh with your investment comfort zone.

To assist with building your financial literacy, Plynk offers complete lessons and courses on financial education, including tips, educational content and how-tos.

The Plynk app enables you to make use of a powerful investing technique called dollar-cost averaging through participating in recurring investments. By continuing to buy a fixed dollar amount of investments over time, whether the market is up or down, you can build a disciplined investing habit and lower the stress that can come from market movements.

One of Plynk’s most interesting features involves, of all things, gift cards. Specifically, you can redeem unused gift cards for money that you can use to buy stocks in your favorite companies.

If this sounds interesting to you, consider opening an account with Plynk. To make it more worth your while, they have a few special offers.

Simply open an account and link your bank account to get a $10 signup bonus. Plynk is also offering a special bonus promotion through Feb. 15, 2024. If you make a deposit, Plynk will double it up to $75. Customers must have a minimum of $25 in net deposits during the promotional period to receive a match. That means you may be eligible for up to $85 in signup bonuses from Plynk by taking qualifying actions.

Read more in our Plynk review.

Related: Best Brokerage Account Sign-Up Bonuses, Promotions and Deals

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


sofi invest free stocks

  • 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

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


jpmorgan self-directed investing sign up

  • 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]

7. Public.com (Best Stock App With Alternative Assets)


public signup new2

  • 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 invest in 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 a callout. Alternative assets are a relative rarity among investing 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.

But 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.

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.

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

Public Premium offers some features that are included in some discount brokers’ services, but other features help to justify the cost. For instance, Premium offers extended-hours trading (8 to 9:30 a.m., and 4 to 8 p.m. EST) and stock price alerts—several competitors, such as TradeStation and E*Trade, offer 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: Best Free Investing Apps

8. Moomoo (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 as some of the other apps on this list, 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

9. Acorns (Invest Simply With Pre-Built ETF Portfolios)


acorns signup new2

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Investors looking for simple, automated investing
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Acorns is an investing app geared toward minors, young adults, and millennials by offering “Round-Ups”: The app rounds up purchases made on linked debit and credit cards to the nearest dollar, investing the difference on your behalf.

For example, if you purchase a coffee for $2.60 on a linked credit card, Acorns automatically rounds this charge up to $3.00 and puts the 40-cent difference aside. Once those Round-Ups reach at least $5, they can be transferred to your Acorns account to be invested.

The Acorns investment offering itself is a simple, automated investing platform that uses pre-built portfolios of ETFs to keep investors exposed to stocks and bonds. And it is not designed for active traders.

Acorns has the following subscription options:

  • Acorns Personal ($3 per month): Includes an Acorns Invest investment account, as well as Acorns Later for tax-advantaged investment options such as Roth IRAs. Also includes Acorns Checking, a bank account that has no account fees, lets you withdraw fee-free from more than 55,000 ATMs nationwide, and Smart Deposit, which allows you to automatically invest a bit of each paycheck into your Acorns accounts.
  • Acorns Personal Plus ($5 per month): Everything in Acorns Personal (Acorns Invest, Later, and Checking), plus Premium Education, which are live onboarding sessions covering account setup, Round-Ups, setting up recurring investments, and more; Emergency Fund; and a 25% bonus on Acorns Earn rewards (up to $200 per month).
  • Acorns Premium ($9 per month): Everything in Personal Plus, plus Acorns Early, which allows you to open a custodial investment account for your child so you can begin investing for them while they’re a minor; custom portfolios that allow you to hold individual stocks; live Q&As with financial experts; a 50% match on Acorns Earn rewards (up to $200 per month); $10,000 in life insurance; even the ability to set up a will for free.

Learn more in our Acorns review.

Related: Best Acorns Alternatives: Micro-Investing Apps to Use

10. M1 Finance (Customizable Robo-Advisor for Passive Investors)


m1 finance sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Passive investors
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

M1 Finance is something of a hybrid between self-directed (you manually choose what to invest in, and determine when to buy and sell) and automated investing (AI helps make decisions for you and manages your account). The result is effectively a highly customizable robo-advisory service—one executed so well that it’s our favorite robo-advisor service.

M1’s investing platform is based around Pies. Your portfolio is represented as a Pie (a pie chart); every stock and ETF you decide to buy becomes a slice of that pie—and because M1 supports fractional shares, you can add virtually any stock or ETF to your portfolio. From there, you set each holding’s “weight”—what percent of your Pie each slice should account for, so, say ETF X will always be 25% of your portfolio, while Stock X should always be just 5%.

After that, whenever you fund your M1 account, it will automatically invest your money based on these targets. You can take the automation even further by setting up recurring deposits into your M1 account.

From there, M1 can automatically rebalance your portfolio for you, or you can go in and manually change how small and large each Pie slice is. If you really want to put it on autopilot, you can invest in M1’s Expert Pies—professionally pre-built portfolios designed for different investment goals. (And if you want something in the middle, you can even combine Expert Pies with your own custom choices.)

One major callout before going any further, however, is that while M1 Finance offers pre-made portfolios aligned to several investing goals, the company is not an advisory service.

Also worth noting is that, unlike traditional online brokers, you cannot trade stocks and ETFs throughout the trading day. At 9:30 a.m. every day the New York Stock Exchange is open, M1 processes all of the orders it has received since the previous trading session.

That’s something of a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, on the rare occasion you would need to jettison a position immediately during the trading day, you couldn’t do that with M1. And that single window is an extreme hindrance to people who want to trade stocks. But for truly buy-and-hold investors, that single window won’t stop you from achieving your goals—and it could actually stay your hand from panic-selling in the middle of the day.

M1 Plus

M1 Finance also offers a paid subscription tier, M1 Plus, that provides additional offerings not just for investors, but those who bank with the service. M1 provides a generous 90-day free trial, after which the service costs $10 per month or $95 per year.

Among the benefits:

  • 24/7 cryptocurrency trading, though you’re limited to 10 trades per month
  • Two trading windows (AM and PM)
  • Margin loans
  • Access to custodial accounts
  • Higher annual percentage yield (APY) on the M1 Plus High-Yield Savings Account
  • Enhanced cash-back rewards (up to 10%) on M1’s Owner’s Rewards Credit Card
  • Cash-back rewards can be automatically invested into your M1 Pies

People looking for a simple investing experience and nothing else will do just fine with the Basic M1 individual brokerage account, and they can even pair it with the M1 Spend checking account with 1% cash back on the M1 Spend Visa Debit Card.

But if you’re looking for a more complete financial solution that ties in with your investments and enhances your rewards, the M1 Plus subscription might be worth considering.

Consider opening an investment account with M1 Finance, or read more in our M1 Finance review.

Related: 11 Best Stock Tracking Apps [Investment Portfolio Management]

11. Stash (Stock Trading App With Stock-Back® Rewards)


stash signup new 2023

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Young investors looking for a complete personal finance platform
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Stash is a mobile-friendly personal finance app that includes various types of investment accounts and an online banking account. This low-cost, all-in-one financial platform caters to hands-on and hands-off investors alike who want an all-in-one financial platform.

Self-directed investors can buy stocks and ETFs with no add-on commission fees; cryptocurrency trading is also available with varying fees. Hands-off investors can use their Smart Portfolio feature, which gives you access to a pre-built portfolio of stocks, bonds, and crypto, and lets Stash automatically rebalance and reinvest dividends for you.

Stash’s most noteworthy feature is the Stock-Back® Card, which rewards you various percentages of your purchases (depending on your plan) in stock.

Stash has two subscription tiers: Stash Growth ($3/month) and Stash+ ($9/month), and Stash is covering the first month subscription fee for both plans2. The latter naturally features more options, such as two kids’ portfolios, exclusive Stash market insights, and better rewards from the Stock-Back® card.

Sign up here and Stash will give you a $5 bonus once you open an account and deposit at least $5 into your personal portfolio.1

Related: Best Custodial Accounts: How to Start Investing for Kids

12. Vanguard (Best for Vanguard Fund Investors)


vanguard signup new2

  • 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 investing, 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 if you have a higher risk tolerance, you can trade options on Vanguard—but while commission-free, you’ll still incur a $1 contract fee on options trades.

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.

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: Best Vanguard Index Funds for Beginners

13. Betterment (Best Investment App for Tax-Loss Harvesting + Automated Investing)


betterment signup new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Investors who prioritize simplicity, tax-loss harvesting
  • Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)

Betterment is a robo-advisor platform that allows you to invest in pre-built portfolios—with different themes and goals—in taxable accounts as well as individual retirement plans.

Betterment’s primary offering is ETF-only portfolios that provide varying types of exposure depending on your risks and interest. For instance, Core is a roughly 60% stock/40% bond portfolio that keeps you invested in most domestic and international securities. Social Impact buys stocks and bonds of companies with “a demonstrated focus on supporting social equity and minority empowerment.”

There are no self-directed options, however. The portfolios buy fractional shares of ETF index funds tracking benchmarks like the S&P 500 to keep you invested in stocks and bonds. But the service does not allow you to invest in individual stocks or bonds. The app has added crypto portfolios holding digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, but again, you can’t buy them individually—only through pre-built portfolios.

That makes Betterment one of the best investment apps for beginners—especially those who don’t want to be particularly active in selecting what they hold.

One interesting perk that stands out: Betterment’s tax-loss harvesting feature.

If you invest in a taxable account, and you sell an investment for a gain, you’ll owe taxes on those gains. (What you owe differs depending on whether you’ve held that investment for more than a year.) However, if you sell an investment for a loss, you can use that to offset your capital gains, and thus the taxes you’d pay on them, or if your loss is more than your gains (or you don’t have any gains at all), you can even reduce taxes owed on your personal income, subject to a $3,000 annual cap.

It can be a complicated strategy, though, but Betterment’s Tax Loss Harvesting+ automates the process for you. It will regularly check your portfolio for tax-loss harvesting opportunities, then take the proceeds from selling those investments and reinvesting them where it makes sense for you.

Just note that Betterment is different from many traditional brokers in that it’s a subscription-based product. Betterment charges $4 per month to start; however, if you set up recurring monthly deposits totaling $250, or reach a balance of at least $20,000 across all Betterment accounts, the fee changes to 0.25% of all assets under management.

Related: Federal Tax Brackets and Rates [2023 + 2024]

What Are the Best Stock Trading Apps for Beginners?


In truth, no one app serves every individual person’s needs the same. Some investors choose to follow a more active approach while others would rather a set-it-and-forget style.

While I espouse the latter more so on this site, I don’t necessarily think investing in individual stocks is a bad approach when using research and analysis to guide your decision-making.

In fact, stock advisor services like the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers have shown tremendous outperformance over the last two decades and really represent a significant value for investors looking to rely on others for making stock picks.

Some stock newsletters may even want to practice a more active form of trading and get vetted stock alerts sent directly to their phones to take advantage of market movements.

As long as you account for your risk preferences and level of commitment to following the market, your investment choices will depend on you.

No matter your investing style, when you want to get started investing, you want to look for apps that provide the functionality you want without feeling overwhelmed.

Therefore, the best stock trading app for you depends on your experience, trading goals, and desired level of educational support.

Beginners benefit from apps that have the least amount of fees and a lot of charts, quotes and educational stock research sites. But they also don’t want to get lost in all this distraction if they can’t make sense of the information provided.

The adage of “keep it simple, stupid” usually applies—especially at the start.

Apps that provide a one stop shop for managing your personal finances often act as a great starting point.

This means including your banking and investing needs, but also services that act as the best stock news apps for you to follow the market and learn as you go.

As you develop a better understanding of the market, you’ll want to extend your investing reach into new areas and see if other investing styles suit your needs. Your app should accommodate this.

With that in mind, this list of the best stock trading software platforms for beginners tries to offer simplified investing experiences at the start but ones which can still serve your needs as you grow your investing knowledge.

I try to highlight free apps where possible because investing your money shouldn’t come with charges unless the service provides other value-added products for managing your money.

Related Questions on Stock Investing Apps for Beginners


Below you will find several frequently asked questions related to the best investing apps for beginners.

Can I trade stocks for free?

Traders in the 1980s paid an average of about a quarter per share to buy or sell a stock. The brokerage app Robinhood paved the way and offered traders zero commission stocks. Other companies, seeking to remain competitive, had no choice but to provide the same.

As a result, many apps now avoid charging trading commissions on your trades. Some apps still charge fees but those are the minority. In fact, most investing apps only charge these fees for other value-added services.

After slashing trading costs to $0, you might wonder how these brokerages can afford to make a profit. You might even reason that hidden fees pad these brokers’ accounts. After all, brokerages still need to make money as profit-seeking companies.

Now, most brokers find other ways to monetize their retail traders. They do this by charging interest on margin loans, offer premium services for fee-based subscriptions or one-off services and lend retail trader-owned securities to institutional clients.

For most beginner traders, none of these fees affect you.

Can you invest for free?

Usually, stocks qualify as riskier investments than exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or long-term investments, such as a retirement fund. Luckily, many stock apps allow you to invest in ETFs and retirement funds for free as well.

For example, the stock trading app Webull offers commission-free ETF, stock and options trading. You can use the service to open a Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, or Rollover IRA.

The service does not charge opening, closing or annual account fees. If you wish to add on a subscription to Nasdaq TotalView after your first three months, you can for a nominal $1.99/mo fee.

Be sure the app you choose to trade stocks has no account minimum as you might not have a significant amount of money at the start.

How much money you invest at the beginning doesn’t necessarily correlate to how much money you’ll have down the road. Everyone begins somewhere. So, you might as well not have limits at the beginning with an account minimum.

The investment apps highlighted here avoid an account minimum for trading stocks on their brokerage account options. Some require a minimum deposit for establishing an IRA.

What are the best stock trading apps for beginners?

The Best Free Stock Trading App for Beginners


In the last decade, trading apps have become far simpler and easy to use for investors. While certainly a boon to many, this can also encourage trading more than previous brokerages. Being able to trade without fees, starting with a small amount of money (i.e., low or no account minimum), from the convenience of your smartphone makes stock trading accessible to more people than ever before.

This cuts both ways. As a result, I always espouse a passive investing strategy in low-cost, diversified index funds. The trading platforms above all allow stock and ETF trades at a minimum, the best investment options for beginning investors looking to trade for the first time on powerful mobile app services.

Fortunately, many of the best stock trading apps for beginners allow for both active and passive investing styles. As you mature as an investor, you’ll want investment apps that can meet your needs. Choose one or more stock apps mentioned above to start investing in your future. See which one works best for you.

As you develop your investing experience and skillset, you might upgrade to other brokers who offer stock futures trading, forwards or day trading. However, plain vanilla stock investing is also a great idea if you follow the “keep it simple, stupid” motto.


Plynk Disclosures

Google Play Store and Apple Store Ratings are as of the date referenced (06/22/2023) and provide an average rating of users and do not reflect the experience of an individual customer.


Moomoo Disclaimer

Moomoo’s parent company is Nasdaq-listed Futu Holdings Ltd (FUTU). Their subsidiaries are licensed and regulated in the United States, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.


Terms and Conditions for Fidelity Youth™ Account

The Fidelity Youth Account can only be opened by a parent/guardian. Account eligibility limited to teens aged 13-17.

* $0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® are subject to different commission schedules. 

¹ Zero account minimums and zero account fees apply to retail brokerage accounts only.  Expenses charged by investments (e.g., funds, managed accounts, and certain HSAs) and commissions, interest charges, or other expenses for transactions may still apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for further details.

² Your Youth Account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using the Fidelity® Debit Card at any ATM displaying the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited. Please note, for foreign transactions, there may be a 1% fee included in the amount charged to  your account. The Fidelity® Debit Card is issued by PNC Bank, N.A, and the debit card program is administered by BNY Mellon Investment Servicing Trust Company. These entities are not affiliated with each other, and Fidelity is not affiliated with PNC Bank or BNY Mellon. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by PNC Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

³ Fractional shares quantities can be entered out to 3 decimal places (.001) as long as the value of the order is at least $0.01.  Dollar-based trades can be entered out to 2 decimal places (e.g. $250.00)

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

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.