The 12 Best Investing Apps for Beginners to Try in 2021

Investing Advice

When it comes to taking control of your financial future, investing is one way to diversify your income and grow your wealth. However, if you’re new to investing, figuring out the best way to get started can be daunting. Now thanks to technology, investing is becoming more accessible to the masses and just about anyone can get started on a mobile app. We compiled the 12 best investing apps for beginners that help you diversify your portfolio and learn as you go.

As you get into investing, remember that all investments come with their own risk and return expectations. It’s wise to diversify your portfolio to reduce the risk associated with any one investment. Chris Rawley, CEO of Harvest Returns, states that “diversification helps manage the overall risk of a portfolio and can help shield returns from market volatility, economic uncertainty, and inflation.” Try to vary your investments and use this investment calculator to project your financial success.

 

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1. SoFi Invest

Apple Store Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

As one of the top ranking investing apps in the Apple Store, SoFi Invest is made for all experience levels. Beginners can easily opt for automated investing and let SoFi’s investors build your wealth for you. For the more hands-on beginner, you also have the freedom to diversify your own portfolio by choosing from crypto, stocks, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). With SoFi’s affordably priced offerings, all you need is $1 to get trading with no commissions.

Features:

  • Fees: None
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • User-friendly platform
  • Affordable trading
  • Fractional share options
  • No-cost financial planning

Cons:

  • Limited investment options

2. Betterment

Apple Store Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

If you want an investing app designed to help you reach your goals, start out with Betterment. This app is great for beginners because it takes care of everything from managing your money, investing it, trading, and rebalancing your portfolio. The only caveat is that Betterment does it all for you if you’re willing to spend a little extra on it. You can choose from two investing plans: Digital (0.25 percent of your balance) and Premium (0.4 percent of your balance).

Features:

  • Fees: Annual fees of 0.25 percent or 0.4 percent of your balance, various fund fees
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: None for Digital, $100,000 for Premium

Pros:

  • Hands-off investing
  • Goal-oriented platform

Cons:

  • Annual fees for advising (high with large balances)
  • High minimum balance for Premium plan

 

3. Charles Schwab

Apple Store Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 3.1 out of 5 stars

Investing with Schwab Mobile is a great option for beginners who want to learn and put their knowledge to use. Schwab’s free and expansive research offerings include real-time news, a quarterly magazine, researched reports, and expert quotations. The platform also offers a variety of affordable funds to invest in. As you level up your skills, you can use the mobile app to trade and monitor your positions at all hours, as well as customize your investing experience with alerts, summaries, and notifications. The app earns bonus points with beginners for zero minimum balance and no annual or inactivity fees.

Features:

  • Fees: None
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • Large investment selection
  • Ample research offerings
  • No fees or minimums
  • Biometric security

Cons:

  • Small cash sweep rate for uninvested funds

 

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4. Acorns

Apple Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Founder of DebtHammer, Jake Hill, says, “Even if you don’t have a lot to invest, make sure you’re putting it in different places. Whatever you can afford without straining your finances.” Acorns makes investing with whatever you have easy by automatically investing your spare change. Users can set up an account in less than five minutes and begin automating micro-investments at price plans of $1 (Lite), $3 (Personal), or $5 (Family) per month. Depending on your plan, you can invest your spare change, start saving for retirement, or even start investment accounts for your kids. Beginners can start investing without having to think about it or manage it, and a team of advisors is there for support if you ever need them.

Features:

  • Fees: $1 to $5 per month
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: None to open, $5 to invest

Pros:

  • Invests spare change from purchases automatically
  • Built-in robo-advisor
  • Educational and investing support
  • Cash back at select retailers

Cons:

  • High monthly fees compared to small account balances
  • Small portfolio
  • Can’t build your own portfolio

5. Stash

Apple Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars

Stash is focused on simplifying investing for regular people, and it represents another option for beginners to grow their wealth. The Stash Beginner plan allows you to start investing long term in fractional shares for $1 per month, and you can always level up to Stash Growth ($3 per month) or Stash+ ($9 per month) if you want to do more than that. They offer a great learning center with built out posts to teach you about investing and keep you up-to-date on money news.

Features:

  • Fees: $1 to $9 per month
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • Educational resources
  • Personalized advice
  • Automated investing

Cons:

  • High monthly fees compared to account balance
  • Only four trading windows

6. Stockpile

Apple Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

With Stockpile, beginners can start investing with as little as $5. This trading platform lets you purchase fractional shares in any dollar amount or gift stock ownership for any amount with a gift card. You can choose from a variety of stocks and ETFs, and with no account fees, you just pay the small commission of 99 cents per trade. Stockpile allows you to start investing what you have and lets you learn as you go with mini-lessons to guide you.

Features:

  • Fees: None
  • Commissions: 99 cents per trade
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • Redeemable stock gift cards
  • Fractional shares
  • Educational resources

Cons:

  • No real-time trading
  • Commission on every trade

 

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7. Public

Apple Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you love social media and are looking to get into investing, Public may be the app for you. Public allows beginners to buy fractional shares of their favorite companies for any amount of money you choose, commission-free. Beginners benefit from Public’s social nature by using it to learn and find community. By following other investors on the app, you can see what everyone else is investing in, learn from them, participate in group messages, and share your own experiences.

Features:

  • Fees: None
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • Social component
  • Referral program
  • Fractional shares
  • No fees or commissions

Cons:

  • Small investment selection

8. Invstr

Apple Store Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Beginners can practice investing before doing it with real money using the Invstr app. The app is free to download and after registering, get learning with lessons from Invstr Academy. Put your newfound knowledge to the test by practicing with other community members in the Fantasy Finance League and win prizes. After gaining experience and some confidence, you can start investing in fractional shares with as little as $1.

Features:

  • Fees: Up to $3.99 per month, withdrawal and deposit fees
  • Commissions: $2.99 per full trade, 99 cents per fractional trade
  • Minimum balance: None, but $25,000 to day trade

Pros:

  • Practice investing without risking your money
  • Educational resources
  • Large investing community
  • Portfolio and performance insights

Cons:

  • Limited amount of trades per day (unlimited with subscription)
  • Can only invest in U.S. stocks
  • Lots of fees

9. M1 Finance

Apple Store Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

M1 Finance is an investing platform that offers a lot of flexibility for beginners. You can choose from premade expert portfolios or cultivate your own investment strategy by building a customized portfolio for free. You also benefit from automated contributions and rebalancing of your account. Enjoy the flexibility of this app for free, but beware of other miscellaneous fees and a $100 minimum account balance before you get started.

Features:

  • Fees: No annual or monthly fees, but a $20 inactivity fee and others
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: $100 to $500

Pros:

  • Customizability
  • Automated investing
  • Fractional shares

Cons:

  • $100 minimum account balance
  • Inactivity fee
  • Morning trading window only for free accounts

10. TD Ameritrade

Apple Store Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars

This award-winning trading platform is a good mobile investing option for beginners and active traders alike. With no account minimums and no commissions, beginners can easily get started and quickly level up their learning with how-to videos. The TD Ameritrade app also offers free research in the form of market trend reports, charts, and updates. This app also allows you to set up price alerts and get quotes in real time. As an added bonus, it’s easy to monitor your portfolio from a phone, tablet, or even Apple Watch.

Features:

  • Fees: None
  • Commissions: None for online U.S. stock, ETFs, and options trade (65 cents per options contract fee)
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • Ample research and educational offerings
  • Large investment selection
  • Quality customer support
  • Apple Watch compatibility

Cons:

  • No fractional shares
  • Advisor program fee (a percentage of managed assets)

 

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11. E*TRADE

Apple Store Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 2.2 out of 5 stars

As another popular, award-winning investing app, E*TRADE offers commission-free investing to beginners with an easy-to-use app interface. The app has a wide investment selection and is compatible with mobiles, tablets, and Apple Watches. Users can access real-time news, Bloomberg TV, and third-party research to stay updated on the market at all times. Beginners can watch a platform demo to get started and work toward becoming a more active trader.

Features:

  • Fees: None
  • Commissions: None for online U.S. stock, ETFs, and options trade
    • 65 cents per options contract
    • $1.50 per futures contract
    • $1 per bond
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • Large investment selection
  • Ample research offerings
  • User-friendly interface
  • Quality customer support
  • Apple Watch compatibility

Cons:

  • High minimum balances and fees for managed portfolios

12. Robinhood

Apple Store Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars | Google Play Rating: 1.1 out of 5 stars

Beginners can easily get started on Robinhood and invest commission-free with no minimum balance and no fees. Users are able to customize their portfolios, trade in real time, and invest any amount they choose thanks to fractional shares. For beginners that just wish to trade stocks and ETFs, Robinhood is a solid option and new users can get their first stock free.

Features:

  • Fees: None or $5 per month for Robinhood Gold
  • Commissions: None
  • Minimum balance: None

Pros:

  • Fractional shares
  • Cryptocurrency options

Cons:

  • No free research offerings
  • No retirement options
  • No bonds or mutual funds

Whether you prefer to be a hands-off investing beginner or a hands-on learner, there’s a mobile investing app to help you get started. Try out one of these best investing apps for beginners to start growing your money today. Don’t forget to link your investment accounts with the Mint app to ensure that you maintain your personal budget when making investment contributions and make the right money moves toward a brighter financial future.

 

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Sources: Business Insider | CNBC | Medium | Statista 1 2 | The Harris Poll | Yahoo Finance |




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