Remember when you had to call up your broker or financial advisor to buy a stock or scan the newspaper for the latest quotes? No? Me either. But I heard it was rough..
With today’s best investment apps, all of your finances are just a few taps away. But the array of options and features can be dizzying. Do you need an individual retirement account or an individual brokerage account? Can you transfer money automatically? What about account service fees?
Set your worries aside, and let us review the best of the best investing apps, so you can decide which one is the best fit for you..
12 Best Investment Apps for 2021
- Finny – Best for personal finance education
- Acorns – Best for automatics savings
- Robinhood – Best for free stock trading
- Betterment – Best robo advisor for portfolio management
- M1 Finance – Best all-in-one app
- Ally Invest – Best full-featured broker
- Vanguard – Best for index fund investing.
- Personal Capital – Best for investment tracking
- Stockpile – Best for stock gifting
- SoFi Invest – Best for new investors
- Stash – Best for fractional share investing
- Webull – Best free app
Overview: Best Investment Apps
Finny – Best for personal finance education
Finny is an up and coming personal finance education web-app. If you need to learn about or get a refresher on topics like budgeting, managing debt, investing, taxes and more, Finny makes learning simple and fun through their game-based approach. Lessons are bite-sized and quiz-based. You earn gold coins when you answer questions correctly, and you can redeem them for real rewards.
Finny also has an engaging financial education discussion forum. Ask any of your personal finance questions and you’ll be sure to get smart and thoughtful responses from their community. What’s unique about Finny’s discussions is that they also have verified Financial Coaches responding to member’s posts on a variety of financial topics. All for free.
Acorns: Best for Automatic Savings
Acorns were one of the original investing apps, but it’s still around and thriving for a reason. The Acorns app makes saving and investing easy and automatic, which is a good thing for both beginner and advanced investors.
One of Acorn’s main benefits is its “round-up” feature, which links to your bank account and sweeps excess change from each purchase into your Acorns account. So if you spend $3.30 on your morning coffee, it rounds up to $4.00 and deposits $0.70 in your savings automatically. I’m a big fan of anything that works behind the scenes to add to your savings without you having to think about it.
While it’s not quite the same as learning how to make extra money, it’s pretty close to finding “free” money in your couch cushions!
Once the money is in your account, investing with Acorns is pretty simple too. Depending on your age, investing goals, and time horizon, the app recommends one of five different portfolios. While the lack of control over your individual investments may be a con for some, it adds to the hands-off approach the app takes to help you save and invest.
Robinhood: Best for Free Stock Trading
Robinhood is a completely free app that lets you trade stocks, mutual funds, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and even cryptocurrency. Their claim to fame is no commissions or fees and no account minimum. If you’ve wanted to start building your personal portfolio, Robinhood is one of the simplest and cheapest platforms out there to do it.
The app itself is streamlined and easy to use for anyone familiar with a smartphone. Robinhood doesn’t have many bells and whistles, which can be good or bad depending on what you expect. But it accomplishes its core mission well, which is to allow you to quickly and easily trade stocks and track your portfolio.
Betterment: Best Robo-Advisor
Betterment was one of the first and most successful robo-advisors, providing tools and questionnaires to help you find the right mix of investments for your age and risk tolerance.
When you first sign up, Betterment will ask for your income and investing goals. From there, it will help you craft a balanced portfolio to achieve your goals. Its management fee of 0.25% is as good or better than most other robo-advisor platforms out there. For 0.4%, you can get access to a human financial advisor.
Another useful feature in the app is automatic tax-loss harvesting, which helps you buy and sell to achieve paper losses you can use to offset gains on your taxes.
M1 Finance: Best All-in-One App
M1 Finance is one of the most flexible investing apps out there. It’s like a blend of Betterment (robo-advisor) and Robinhood (free stock trading apps), with its own unique spin on asset allocation.
While most robo-advisors lock you into their own pre-selected mix of ETFs, M1 Finance is different. They offer what they call “pies,” which allows you to create your own portfolio allocations. For example, if you are a big fan of Tesla, you can create a pie that includes 25% Tesla stock, and 75% of whatever else (diversified ETFs, other individual stocks, etc.)
If that amount of control is too much for you, you can also invest in pre-defined expert pies and still benefit from automatic rebalancing and free ETF and stock trades.
Another unique feature of M1 Finance is called M1 Borrow, which allows you to borrow up to 35% of your taxable account value at a low-interest rate (4.25% at this writing). You can use these funds for anything – buying a car, fixing up your house, etc.
Since the value of your investment assets secures the loan, there is no set timeline for repayment. This can be useful as an emergency fund or source of short term borrowing when you need it.
Ally Invest: Best Full-Featured Broker
If you are an active trader, you may need more features than many of the simple investing apps can offer. Ally Invest offers $0 commissions on eligible U.S. securities, a $0 minimum balance, a large selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds, and very low fee options trading, making it one of the best investment apps out there.
For the experienced investor, Ally also offers Forex trading, portfolio rebalancing features, and tons of research and technical indicators not available in some of the other apps.
One of the standout features of Ally Invest as compared to other traditional brokers is its web-based live trading platform. Instead of downloading software to access the trading platform, you can open it in your web browser from whatever computer you are using.
Vanguard: Best for Index Fund Investing
Vanguard is the grandfather of modern investing apps. They introduced a low fee index fund investing way back before it was cool.
While there aren’t many bells and whistles (or technically even an app), Vanguard makes it super simple to invest in quality index funds that consistently offer some of the lowest fees around.
Personal Capital: Best App for Investment Tracking
While Personal Capital’s $100,000 minimum investment may be too high for many, everyone can use their free tools to track external investment accounts and net worth.
For those that are interested in more human-centric financial management, Personal Capital offers access to a team of financial advisors or even your own personal advisor if you invest $200,000 or more. You pay more for this feature than a robo-advisor, starting at 0.89% and going down to 0.49% for larger accounts.
Stockpile: Best Investment App for Gifting Stock
Looking to give your kids more than toys and clothes for Christmas? The stockpile was founded by a CEO who wanted to give stocks to his own nieces and nephews.
With the Stockpile app, you can give a gift card that is redeemable for stock shares. It also allows you to buy fractional shares, so if you wanted to invest in, say, Amazon but didn’t have a few thousand dollars lying around, you could buy a partial share with $100 or $200. (And if you’re struggling to find your first chunk of money to invest, here are some tips on how to make $200 a day to get you started).
SoFi Invest: Best App for New Investors
SoFi started in the student loan space and has branched out to offer many other financial planning products. Aimed at younger investors, SoFi Active Investing offers free trades of stocks and ETFs, as well as the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, all with a $0 account minimum. It also offers the ability to trade fractional shares.
More advanced investors will probably want access to more options, such as mutual funds, bonds, and more. However, with low account minimums and even access to free financial counseling, SoFi is a great option for new investors.
Stash: Best for Fractional Share Investing
Stash is a personal finance app that is a great place to start investing as a beginner. You can trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptos to diversify your portfolio.
Stash features offer fractional share options, financial planning tools, banking, and a Stock-Back card. While they charge a monthly fee, Stash also offers all features you need to manage your finances.
When you sign-up for an account, Stash will have you answer a few questions about your financial goals so they can offer helpful financial tips. Next, you’ll pick a plan, add money to your account, and get started.
You can use their bank account as an automated investing platform to invest in fractional shares, create a budget, and track your spending. You’ll even earn stock rewards for your everyday spending.
Webull: Best Free App
Webull is another investment app that allows zero commissions and no deposit minimums to access their trading platform. Just like the others listed here, you can invest in ETFs, mutual funds, and stock.
As you become more familiar with investing, you can take advantage of their full extended trading hours, in-depth analysis tools, and fully customizable desktop platform.
Investment apps allow a wide array of stock trading apps and investment options out there; it can be confusing or overwhelming to find the best apps.
Where to begin if you’re looking for the best stock trading or trades trading tools? Hopefully, I highlighted enough of the differences between each to help you choose what is more appealing.
But, I urge you to take the first step and try one! You’ll never find the best online stock trading app for you unless you get started. Whether you’re starting small and learning
This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek and has been republished with permission.