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Best Investment Apps of 2019

April 8, 2019
Advisors, Brokers, Investing, Investing Strategy
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cheatgame.info offers financial tools and advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions. The guidance we offer and info we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent.

We spent over 300 hours reviewing the top online brokers before selecting the best for our readers. And to help you find the one that’s best for you, we’ve highlighted their pros, cons and current offers.

These days, you can do just about anything on your phone — including invest, thanks to a variety of investment and stock trading apps. And there’s no more convenient way to invest than having the keys to the market in your pocket or purse.

All of the brokers on our list of best brokers for stock trading have high-quality apps. But if mobile trading is most important to you, these seven investing apps — categorized by investor type — are cheatgame.info’s picks for the best of 2019. (Need more info to get started? Read our primer on how to buy stocks.)

cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

60

days of commission-free trades with qualifying deposit

The bottom line

TD Ameritrade makes up for higher-than-average trading commissions with better-than-average service, research and trading tools that will make everyone from beginner investors to active traders happy.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Large investment selection.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

Cons

  • Higher trade commission.

  • Costly broker-assisted trades.

  • High short-term ETF trading fee.

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account minimum

$500

Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

The bottom line

E-Trade has long been one of the most popular online brokers, largely because of its easy-to-use tools. They offer a tiered commission structure that favors frequent traders but can add up to high costs for casual investors.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Easy-to-use tools.

  • Large investment selection.

  • Excellent customer support.

  • Access to extensive research.

  • Advanced mobile app.

  • Reduced commissions for frequent traders.

Cons

  • Higher commissions for low-volume traders.

  • Minimum balance requirement for active trading platform.

Read full review
cheatgame.info rating

Fees

$0.00

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

The bottom line

Robinhood is truly free: There are no hidden costs here. You’ll give up a few things in exchange for free trades — trading tools, research, education, investment options beyond stocks and ETFs — but if limiting costs is your No. 1 concern, Robinhood is a solid choice.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • No commissions on stock trades.

  • No account minimum.

  • Streamlined interface.

Cons

  • No retirement accounts.

  • No mutual funds or bonds.

  • Limited customer support.

Read full review

Want to compare more options? Here are our other category winners for best investing apps:


Best investment apps of 2019: summary

App
Best
for
Platforms
Commiss-
ion or management fee
Promotion
Account minimum
Start investing
TD Ameritrade
Stock trading + No account minimum
Available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android and BlackBerry
$6.95
per trade
$100 bonus ($25,000+ deposit)
up to $600 ($250,000+ deposit)
$0

E*Trade

E*Trade
Stock trading
Available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android, Amazon and Windows Phone
$6.95
per trade; volume discounts
Up to $600 cash credit with a qualifying deposit
$500

TradeStation

Advanced trading
Available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android, Amazon and Windows Phone
$5 flat fee or $0.006-$0.01
per share ($0.50-$1 min per trade) based on trading volume
Open an IRA with $5,000 minimum and pay $4 per stock/ETF trade
$500

Interactive Brokers

Advanced trading
Available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android, Amazon and Windows Phone
$0.005
per share ($1 min.); max. 1% of trade value
None
$0

Robinhood

Robinhood
Free trading + No account minimum
Available for iOS and Android
$0
per trade
Invite your friends and get a free stock
$0

Acorns

Acorns
Beginners
Available for iOS and Android
$1/month
Free for college students with a valid .edu address
$0; must have $5 to begin investing

Stash

Stash

Beginners
Available for iOS and Android
$1/month for balances under $5,000; 0.25% annual fee for balances of $5,000 or more
Get the first month free
$0; must have $5 to begin investing

Pros and cons of app-based investing

Here are a few things to consider before downloading an app:

Pros. Mobile trading offers some appealing benefits. Beyond being able to trade on the go and stay engaged with your portfolio from virtually any place with an internet connection, all the real-time trading information you seek is but a few taps away if you choose the right app. What’s more, many of the brokers we’ve selected offer some enticing promotions for new users (featured above or in the comparison table above).

Cons. With all that information readily available at your fingertips, it’s important to make sure you’re not tempted to make rash investing decisions you’ll later regret. In addition, the same features offered on a broker’s web- or platform-based application may not be available on its mobile app.

Still have questions? See the FAQs below.

Brokerage app FAQs

Shockingly little. Thanks to micro-investing apps like Acorns and Stash, you can kick-start an investment portfolio with small amounts of money — just your spare change, in fact. Acorns, for example, sweeps a linked credit or debit card account, rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the change. Stash offers a similar opt-in feature that rounds up purchases to deposit money in a user’s account.
 
Beyond the micro-investing apps, the amount of money you’ll need to begin investing after you open your account depends on the assets you intend to buy. Individual stock shares range from as little as a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per share. Mutual funds often have minimums of $1,000 or more, but exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are essentially mutual funds that trade like a stock, and they can often be purchased for less than many mutual funds. And don’t forget the related commissions for any investment purchase, which generally start at about $5 per trade. Robinhood is an exception to the commission issue: All trades are free. You just need to come up with the money to purchase a single share of the stock you want.
 
Many of cheatgame.info’s picks for best apps have account minimums of $5 or less, so you can open an account right away and over the internet. Here’s more on what a brokerage account is and how to open one.
In the summary table above we’ve categorized our best investing apps picks by investor type based in part on price (trading costs and account fees), mobile platform features, account minimums and available assets.
 
For advanced and active traders, TradeStation and Interactive Brokers have mobile offerings with appealing features, including sophisticated on-the-go analytical tools and complex trade technology. These brokers also offer volume trading discounts.
 
For stock traders who trade less frequently than day traders, E-Trade and TD Ameritrade are our top choices. Both of these brokers have mobile offerings that go the distance to mirror their desktop trading platforms.
 
Traders who place low costs above all else might also consider Robinhood, our top pick for low costs. You can’t beat free trades, which is what Robinhood’s known for. And with its $0 minimum you can get started with just the price of a single share of a stock or ETF. The catch? Its platform is more bare-bones than many of its more traditional competitors.
For new investors just learning the ropes, Acorns and Stash are worthy contenders for your first investing dollars. One reason is that their services focus on ETFs instead of just individual stocks, although Stash also offers a limited number of stocks.
 
While the idea of buying individual stocks might be exciting, building a portfolio of stocks requires a fair amount of research and discipline. ETFs offer instant diversification in that they contain shares of multiple companies (dozens, even) like a mutual fund, but trade like individual stocks. (Check out this full explainer on ETFs.)
 
Although all the other brokers allow investing in ETFs through their apps, Acorns and Stash take a different approach by steering investors towards pre-built portfolios that contain multiple ETFs, diversifying your investment dollars across a collection of stocks and bonds. Portfolios are based on your tolerance for risk — based on your age, goals and time horizon — and automatically rebalanced when the stock market fluctuates. Acorns uses a handful of ETF portfolios that range from aggressive to conservative. Stash gives investors a choice of portfolios based on themes (e.g., “Clean and Green,” which holds environmentally responsible companies).
 
If buying individual shares of companies is something you’d like to do, see our guide on How to Buy Stocks.
The mobile trading experience varies by broker — and so do the range of available assets. Among the picks for best apps, Acorns offers only ETFs, while TD Ameritrade’s offerings include individual stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, options and currency (or forex).
Just as FDIC insurance insures bank accounts, SIPC insurance insures the money you have in your brokerage account (or robo-advisor account) up to $500,000. $250,000 of that total can be applied to protect cash that you haven’t yet invested. All of cheatgame.info’s picks for best apps are members of the SIPC.
 
However, it’s important to note that investments you make in your account can potentially fall in value or even decrease to zero, and investment losses are not covered by any type of insurance. (Here’s more on SIPC insurance and what it does and doesn’t protect.)

 

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