February 11, 2019

Best Investment Apps

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Today you can invest, withdraw, or make changes to your investment account from anywhere you have an internet connection thanks to the numerous investment apps available.

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Mobile trading might be high on your list if you are always on-the-go. You don't have to worry about being at your computer when big news hits the market or when you want to sell a stock as quick as yesterday. Just pull out your phone and make the trade happen.

Because there are so many apps out there, we broke it down for you to help you decide which investment app is right for you.

Reasons to Use Investment Apps

You can invest while away from home. The days of staying at home just to wait to see what the market does can end. With an investment app, you can make trades, add more funds, or withdraw funds right from your phone.

You may save money. If you choose investment apps over using a full-service broker, you'll likely save money on commissions. If you compare the commissions of investment apps to those of a full-service broker, you'll typically come out ahead by using the app. Using an investment app means you do the work yourself: you aren't paying someone to do the legwork for you. Of course, this is only a good option if you understand the market and trading.

Some apps require a very small investment. If you are new to investing, you may want to try one of the apps below that require as little as $5 to start your journey in investing.

What's the Best Investment App for iPhone and Android Users?
Fidelity offers great features for both iOS and Android users. You can monitor your portfolio, make trades on the spot, receive alerts, and even do research, all on the mobile app.

Check out our Full Review on Fidelity to see if they're right for you.

What to Look for in Investment Apps

The price of the app and the commission/trading fees: Many of the investment apps you can download are free. That doesn't mean your trades are free. Make sure you read the fine print to learn what commission fees you'll pay. Then make sure they line up with your investment strategy.

Many of the investment apps today are from "discount brokers," but that doesn't mean you should blindly trust that their commission/trading fees are affordable.

The platform the app is available on: Many investment apps work on both iOS and Android, but not all of them. Some also sync with their desktop program. Think about how you'll use the app and then choose accordingly.

If you only want the app as a convenience but will do most of your trading on your PC, you'll want a program that works well on the desktop.

The ability to set up automatic investments: If you want to take the thinking out of investing, you can set up automatic investments with some apps. You set up the frequency and the amount and the investment app does the rest. Your investment account balance will increase according to the schedule you set.

The ability to invest in the sectors that interest you: Whether you want the ability to choose from a large variety of ETFs or you prefer only to invest with socially responsible companies, you'll need to choose the appropriate investment app. Some apps focus strictly on socially responsible investments while others have the option as an "add-on," but it's not their focus.

An app that automatically rebalances your portfolio: If you are the "set it and forget it" type investor, you'll want an app that automatically rebalances your portfolio for you. This way, you don't have to keep a hawk-eye on the market because you'll know that your investments will be rebalanced if necessary.

Best Investment App for Beginners or New Users

Do you want to invest but think you don't have enough money to start? Stash offers investments starting at just $5. In addition, Stash walks you through the entire process. They put everything in layman's terms so you don't have to know anything about investing before you start. After using the app for a short while, you'll probably feel as if you have a grasp on things.

Typically, investors invest in ETFs with Stash, but you may have the opportunity to invest in a few stocks. Stash will walk you through the process to help you decide. After you answer a series of questions, Stash will present you with the most applicable themes of investments based on your answers. You also have the option to set up a Stash retirement account, but you'll need $15 to get started.

Stash charges $1 per month until your account balance exceeds $5,000. Once you have more than $5,000, their fees change to 0.25% of your account balance per year. If you have a Stash retirement account, you'll pay $2 per month until your balance exceeds $5,000, at which point you'll pay 0.25% of your assets per year.

What's the Best Investment App for College Students? WiseBanyan can be a great option for college students. This robo-advisor app has no minimum investment requirements and doesn't charge an account management fee. You invest in ETFs in various asset classes based on your ability to handle risk, which WiseBanyan determines for you after you answer a few questions.

Best Investment App for Trading Stocks

If you know how to trade stocks and just need the platform to do so, Robinhood could be a good option. This investing app provides commission-free stocks and ETFs. You just need to make sure you know your stuff before choosing this app. They don't have robust research options or offer any guidance as you invest. You have to be comfortable doing most tasks yourself.

Aside from stocks, you can invest in ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies. What you can't invest in is a retirement account, though. They only offer taxable accounts, so keep that in mind as you make your choices. If you need a retirement account, we offer a suggestion for the best investment app for retirement accounts below.

If stocks interest you, but you don't want to spend a whole lot, check out this article How to Invest in Stocks with Little Money.

If you are new to investing, you may enjoy the fact that Robinhood doesn't have a minimum investment requirement. You can invest with just a few dollars if you want to start right away. If you are an advanced trader, you may enjoy Robinhood's Gold Account, which allows you to trade on margin (borrowed funds). This account does cost money, but it's significantly lower than many other discount brokerages.

Best Investment App for Day Trading

Day traders have a unique need. They need speed. They need to be able to trade stocks with the click of one button or have important information readily available in a pinch. Tradestation boasts one of the most impressive desktop programs, but their mobile app is good too.

While you may not have all of the features you have on the desktop version, you probably wouldn't want to be overwhelmed while trading on-the-go. Immediately after logging in, you'll be presented with your watch list. You can customize it as you need to make trading go as smoothly as possible.

The information you receive is somewhat streamlined, but provides enough information to help you make a split-second decision.

If you decide to trade stocks, you can do so with the click of one button. This gives you access to faster trading and a higher likelihood of getting the price you intended for the stock trade.

If you want charting on your Tradestation app, you can have it. Some may find that their screen is too small for the charting to be effective, though. If you have a larger smartphone or tablet you use while on-the-go, you may have an easier time.

Best Investment App for Free

If you want to trade stocks and ETFs, M1 offers this option with no commissions charged. You'll need $100 to start investing, but that's lower than many other apps that charge commissions require.

Not only is M1 free, but they also allow you to purchase fractional shares. In other words, if you don't have enough money to buy a full share, you can buy what you can afford. This way, you don't have money lying around not doing anything, which is known as "cash drag."

With M1, you choose your own portfolio (which they call a "pie"). You can choose from their select, pre-determined pies or create your own. You can also choose a pre-determined pie and tweak it to your liking.

The pieces of the pie are the allocations for each investment. M1 doesn't offer advice when choosing pies. They do, however, offer portfolio rebalancing. You tell the app to rebalance and they handle the rest.

M1 offers the ability to set your investments and forget about them, sort of like a robo-advisor. But they also offer the option for customization based on your needs. Without any commission fees, it can be a great app to use if you want to have a say in your portfolio.

Best Investment App for Automated Investing

Automated investing takes the thinking out of investing. You don't have to worry about spending the money you would have invested or about just forgetting to fund your account. Acorns takes a new spin on the term "automated investing." Rather than withdrawing the funds from a linked checking or savings account, they round up your purchases. You link a credit card and specify specific transactions to round up and Acorns does the rest.

Check out our Full Review on Acorns to get all the ins and outs of how this app works.

You'll need to accumulate $5 in "spare change" before Acorns starts investing, but if you set "rules" to magnify any purchases, such as saving 2x the spare change on particular transactions, you'll get there faster. All you have to do is choose a portfolio from the choices (conservative to aggressive) and Acorns will handle the rest for you.

You are able to change your portfolio, magnifiers, and round-up options as often as you like. Acorns does charge a $1 monthly fee for taxable accounts and $2 monthly fee for retirement accounts. The fee may be worth it to you if you prefer the convenience of automated investing.

The best investment app for retirement

Saving for retirement shouldn't be an afterthought. Many investment apps have retirement options, but they aren't the app's focus. Betterment, however, puts retirement first.

They ask you pointed questions to determine your retirement needs and then provide advice regarding allocations and withdrawals to set you up for peace of mind during retirement.

Best investment app for low cost trades

If trading stocks or options seems out of your league because of the cost, check out Firstrade. They offer some of the lowest commission fees (aside from the few free apps) available today.

You'll have to be comfortable self-directing your investments, though. That's often the trade-off you have to accept with lower-cost brokers. They minimize their overhead and offerings in order to make trading affordable for many.

Best investment app for college savings.

Investment apps typically offer taxable and retirement accounts, not college savings accounts. Wealthfront is an exception to the rule. They offer 529 Savings Plans to help you save for your child's education.

Of course, they offer your typical taxable and retirement accounts too, but their college savings plan does set them apart from the rest.

Bottom Line

Each investor will have a different app that speaks to them. No two investors are alike and that's okay! Just know what you need and your investing strategy before you start researching available investment apps. That way, you can choose the app that meets your investment needs but doesn't drain your pocketbook.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More from CreditDonkey:

How to Invest in Stocks

How to Invest in Stocks

How to Invest in Stocks with Little Money

How to Invest $100

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Trading stocks isn't just for the rich and famous. Thanks to the internet, gone are the days of high commissions. Online brokers offer similar services to your traditional in-person broker. But they come at a fraction of the cost.

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