Updated September 5, 2023

Best Investment Apps for Beginners

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Want the best investment apps for beginners? Discover these low-to-no-cost apps, tailored for your investing start.

Top investment apps for 2023:

  1. Robinhood for free trading
  2. Stash to learn about investing
  3. Betterment for hands-off approach
  4. Acorns for automatic savings
  5. M1 Finance for customized portfolios
  6. Ally Invest for customer support
  7. Webull for great tools
  8. Public for social investing
  9. Fundrise for real estate investing

Choosing the right investment app can be overwhelming. You can scroll through countless apps on your phone and quickly get stuck.

  • Are there hidden fees?
  • Is the minimum investment too high?
  • Do they have the investments you need?

Fortunately, many apps have no commission fees, no account minimums, and lots of investment options.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the best investment apps for beginners. Whether you're brand-new to investing or just want to diversify your portfolio, you'll find their fees and noteworthy features.

When you finish, you can choose the right app, and rest easy knowing you've started to grow your money.

Shortcut: If you are really eager to start investing, one of our recommended choices is Robinhood. They have no minimum balance and no fees. It's a great choice for beginners and the app is very easy to use.

🏆 Free Stock Trading: Robinhood

Robinhood provides a wide range of trading options, including stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies. With Robinhood, you can engage in commission-free stock trading without any minimum investment requirements, making it an excellent platform for cost-conscious traders.

For first-time traders, Robinhood will recommend a personalized portfolio base on your risk assessment and investing goals. This portfolio contains four diverse ETFs. Robinhood also offers retirement recommendations for diversified portfolios if you open a Robinhood IRA.

Robinhood allows you to start investing even before your banking information is verified. After a deposit, you will receive a credit in the same amount to begin buying.

Noteworthy Features

  • Easy to use
  • No fees


  • No trade fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Allows total control of investments
  • Offers ETFs, stocks, options, and some cryptocurrency
  • Simple app lets users get started quickly
  • First trade recommendations of personalized portfolio
  • Custom retirement recommended portfolio


  • Choosing each individual trade can feel overwhelming for new investors
  • Limited research and tools
  • No mutual funds & bonds

With the basic app, everything from opening an account to making trades is free.

Robinhood primarily makes its money from users who pay an extra fee for the premium Robinhood Gold service. This allows trades on margin, which is essentially a loan. The service also makes money by lending out investors' idle money.

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

You can open a high-yield savings account for near-future investments and set up a Roth IRA account for retirement. Here's how:

  1. Set up your account.

  2. Link and verify your bank account.

  3. Begin investing in available stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency with your first deposit.

  • Completely free - no minimum investment
  • No per-trade fees

App Store Rating: (4.8/5 stars out of 620K ratings)

Brand New Investors: Stash

Stash is ideal for those learning how to invest independently. The app uses "micro-investments," like automatically rounding up transactions and depositing the spare change (users can also make larger deposits).

That money is then invested in individual stocks or in themes, which are pre-made bundles of stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Stash does not use a "robo-advisor" to automatically invest - users make their own choices.

Choosing individual stocks and ETFs can be overwhelming for new investors. Experienced investors may want to customize their portfolio. Beginners may be better served following suggested allocations.

Noteworthy Features

  • Quickly set up automated investments with as little as $5
  • Easy way to invest small amounts


  • Minimum investments starts at $5
  • "Round up" option invests users' spare change
  • Educational videos and tips to help users learn how to invest
  • Users can choose individual stocks


  • Fees are high compared to other apps
  • No robo-advisor to auto-invest and manage money once it is invested
  • Very basic, users can outgrow limited functionality


  • STASH Growth ($3/mo)
  • STASH+ ($9/mo)

Anyone under 25 years old can invest in an IRA account for free.

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Sign up for a Stash account online or through the app.

  2. Follow instructions to link and verify your bank account.

  3. Make an initial deposit and start investing in a themed portfolio or individual stocks.

  • No require minimum investment or balance
  • Charges $3 per month

App Store Rating: (4.7/5 stars out of 94.8K ratings)

Hands-off Approach: Betterment

Betterment is a great choice for new investors who want to put money away and not worry about it.

Are you more of a hands-on or hands-off investor?

The platform is a robo-advisor that invests according to users' long-term goals. It sets the risk level based on factors like the user's current age, income and planned age of retirement.

Robo-advisors are algorithms that create and manage portfolios automatically. They invest primarily in shares of Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs.

Robo-advisors tend to have low fees, which benefits beginning investors who don't have much money to spend.

Betterment also offers a "RetireGuide" function that helps users determine the amount of money they should be depositing each week to meet their retirement goal.

Noteworthy Features

  • Robo portfolios let you invest without advanced knowledge
  • Easy way to passively invest


  • No minimum required balance or transaction fees
  • "RetireGuide" helps calculate how much you should be saving
  • Automatic deposits
  • Easy to "set and forget" and invest without having to think about it
  • Automatically rebalances users' portfolio


  • 0.25% fee every year, which is more costly than similar app M1 Finance
  • Cannot pick and choose individual stocks or ETFs

Betterment charges 0.25% of a user's balance per year as a service fee. The app does not charge fees to make trades.

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Sign up online or download the free app.

  2. Complete a short survey to determine a pre-made portfolio tailored to your goals and risk level.

  3. The app suggests a deposit amount, both the first time and on a recurring basis.

  • No minimum balance
  • Annual 0.25% fee under $100,000

App Store Rating: (4.7/5 stars out of 6.9K ratings)

Invest Spare Change with Acorns

Acorns allows you to start saving with spare change. It may take longer to build substantial savings. But the platform is a good place to start.

Like Stash, the platform rounds up users' transactions to the nearest dollar amount, then deposits the spare change into an account. Once the account accumulates at least $5, it invests in a pre-selected portfolio.

Users can choose from a regular investment account, an account that features specific retirement options, or an account that features both retirement options and a debit card.

Noteworthy Features

  • Round up your purchases to invest small amounts
  • Easy way to passively invest


  • No transaction fees
  • Allows users to invest without having to think about it
  • Users can customize which transactions get rounded up
  • Offers debit card and IRA account options
  • Automatically rebalances users' portfolio


  • Difficult to make substantial investments with only spare change
  • Option to pick individual stocks is only available with the highest-tier plan


  • $3/mo for Acorns Personal (includes personal taxable account, IRA, and checking account)
  • $5/mo for Acorns Personal Plus (includes everything in Personal, emergency fund, and 25% match on rewards)
  • $9/mo Acorns Premium (includes everything in Personal Plus, investment accounts for kids, 50% match on rewards, and custom portfolio)

There's no minimum to open an account with Acorns, but you need $5 to start investing. The app charges no trading fees.

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Download the free app.

  2. Take the quiz to determine your goals and risk level.

  3. Make an initial investment after reviewing your portfolio. Or wait until your rounded-up transactions equal $5, and the app will automatically invest for you.

  • No minimum balance to open account
  • $3-9 per month

App Store Rating: (4.7/5 stars out of 371.4K ratings)

Minimal Control: M1 Finance

M1 Finance is a robo-investor app that allows users more choice in their investments.

The platform creates a portfolio based on individual goals and circumstances. Users can choose and tweak from pre-made portfolios focused on retirement savings, investing in socially responsible companies, and more.

Noteworthy Features

  • Expert-selected portfolios you can invest in with just a few clicks
  • No fees on robo portfolios


  • Free to use - no annual or per-trade fee
  • Invests in both stocks and ETFs
  • Users can choose individual stocks and ETFs
  • Can set up automatic withdrawals
  • Automatically rebalances users' portfolio


  • $100 minimum deposit
  • High monthly cost for premium service

The platform's basic service is free to use and charges no per trade fees. There is a $100 minimum to start investing.

M1 Plus costs $95 a year and features extra perks like:

  • A second trading window
  • Higher yield on savings
  • Bigger cash back rewards
  • More investing tools
  • Lower loan rates

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Register to start an account.

  2. Take a short quiz to get a recommended portfolio based on your risk level and goals.

  3. Edit the portfolio to your liking; unlike with Betterment and Acorns, you can add individual stocks and ETFs.

  • $100 minimum deposit
  • No annual fee

App Store Rating: (4.7/5 stars out of 6.2K ratings)

Best Customer Support: Ally Invest

Ally Invest is one branch of services from Ally Financial, one of the world's largest banks and finance companies. You'll find plenty of financial services you can grow with for decades.

Ally is known for top-notch customer service, which is one area many investment apps struggle with. If you want a more personal touch and a one-stop shop for your financials, then Ally could be a great option.

Noteworthy Features

  • Investing, checking, savings, and retirement accounts all in one place
  • Customer support is available 24/7 over the phone or live chat


  • No commissions on stocks and ETFs
  • No account minimums
  • No advisory fees on Robo Portfolios
  • Many investment options and financial services


  • Fractional shares are not supported (higher trade requirements)
  • No virtual trading
  • IRA transferring and closing fees

There are no commissions on stocks and ETFs. Options are $0 per trade but $0.50 per contract.

There are no account minimums.

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Sign up for an account and input your personal info to verify your identity.

  2. Select a Self-Directed Trading Account or a Managed Portfolio.

  3. Fund your account.

  • No commissions
  • No account minimums

App Store Rating: (4.7/5 stars out of 43.9K ratings)

Best Tools: Webull

Webull is a discount brokerage app with free trades and is best for more active traders who want plenty of advanced tools.

You have the option to invest in stocks and ETFs like most of the other apps. But you can also invest in options and cryptocurrencies. And you can do margin trading.

For beginners, their free paper trading account lets you start with virtual money. This is a great way to get a feel for trading without risking your hard-earned money.

Noteworthy Features

  • Start investing with virtual money (a free paper trading account)
  • Active traders will love the many charts and tools


  • No commissions on stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency
  • No account minimums
  • Fractional shares starting at $5
  • Free extended trading hours
  • Free margin trading (minimum $2,000)
  • Advanced charts and research tools


  • Advanced tools can be overwhelming to beginners
  • No dividend reinvestment
  • No mutual funds
  • Cryptocurrency markup is a 100-basis point spread (1%)

There are no commissions, inactivity fees, or maintenance fees. There is also no account minimum to start investing.

But you will pay the 100-basis point spread to trade cryptocurrencies (1% of your trade).

The margin trading account also requires a $2,000 minimum.

Should you try margin trading? Margin trading is for advanced investors. You're essentially taking out a loan to invest more in the hopes of making more profits. But you could also lose more money. Before trying this advanced trading strategy, look into the high risks of buying on margin.

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Register to start an account and enter personal information to verify your identity.

  2. Input your Investment Information such as your experience, objectives, net worth, and more.

  3. Choose your account type: Margin or Cash Account. Most beginners will choose Cash Accounts. You can apply for Crypto Trading.

  • $0 minimum deposit
  • No annual fees

App Store Rating: (4.7/5 stars out of 272.1K ratings)

Invest With Friends: Public

Public is a good option for investors who want to collaborate on their investments with a community of like-minded friends - new and old.

The platform combines a modern investment app with social media. You can learn from experienced investors who publish their trades. Or connect with friends who are interested in similar investment "Themes," such as Combat Carbon (companies with a low carbon footprint).

It's also one of the few investment apps that let you invest in stocks and cryptocurrency.

With the rise of social media, investment apps realize that most young investors learn about investments from their friends. And their friends are hanging out on social media apps like Twitter. Companies like Public and eToro put these features together in user-friendly ways.

Noteworthy Features

  • Learn investing from your friends and investors you respect
  • Themes make it easy to invest in your passions


  • No commissions
  • Fractional shares are available
  • Cryptocurrency is available
  • Fund your account with a debit card
  • Transparent fee schedule
  • See upcoming events with your favorite companies


  • Fewer stocks and ETFs than competitors
  • No portfolio building tools
  • No option to speak to a financial advisor
  • Cryptocurrency markup is 1% - 2%

Public has no commissions on stocks and ETFs. You will pay 1% to 2% markup on cryptocurrency trades.

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Sign up online or download the free app.

  2. Complete your Investor Profile and link your bank account or debit card.

  3. Choose your investments.

  • No minimum balance
  • No commissions on stock and ETF trades

App Store Rating: (4.7/5 stars out of 56.3K ratings)

New Real Estate Investors: Fundrise

Fundrise is ideal for those wanting to invest in real estate with as little as $10. Real estate investing platforms are a new way to invest your money in the real estate market without having to buy property.

Your money will be invested in buying new properties, renting properties, lending money, flipping properties, and more.

Why invest in real estate?Investing in real estate can be intimidating for new investors and it usually requires a higher initial investment as well. But real estate could appreciate between 12% - 15% annually, which is higher than average stock market returns.

Noteworthy Features

  • Can invest in real estate for as little as $10
  • Low-cost way to diversify your portfolio


  • Low fees
  • No income or accreditation requirements
  • 90-day-money-back promise
  • Set and forget investing


  • Illiquid investments (typically five years or more)
  • Some hidden fees
  • Increased tax liability (must pay income tax on earnings)
  • Relatively new company


There is an all-in 1% management fee that's broken down as follows:

  • 0.85% annual asset management fee (covers operating costs of properties)
  • 0.15% annual advisory fee (covers Fundrise's services)

But a few other fees come with your investment in Fundrise.

  • 0 - 2% Origination Fee (covers acquisition costs when Fundrise purchases a new property)
  • 1% - 3% Early Redemption Fee (the charge if you withdraw your investments within 5 years)
  • $125 per year Self-Directed IRA Fee (covers management fees from Millenium Trust Company)

For Fundrise Pro, the membership fee is $10/month or $99/year paid upfront.

Investing with Fundrise saves you money on broker commissions, though, as there are no middlemen when investing in real estate funds.

See Fundrise's Current Offer >>

Works on: iPhone, Android

How to Get Started

  1. Sign up for a Fundrise account online or through the app.

  2. Follow instructions to link and verify your bank account.

  3. Select the investment plan you want based on your goals (Supplemental Income, Balanced Investing, or Long-term Growth).

    Or you can sign up for a Fundrise Pro membership (optional). This is for active investors who want to customize their portfolio.

  • Fundrise has a $10 minimum initial investment
  • Dividends paid quarterly (you have the option to reinvest, but you must hold those reinvestments for a minimum of 5 years)

App Store Rating: (4.8/5 stars out of 21.7K ratings)

Bonus: Apps for Experienced Investors

Here are more solid choices for traders who want to become more involved with their investing. These apps charge an industry standard per-trade fee.

This typically allows for extra features like market insights, research, and predicted future analytics, which knowledgeable traders will likely appreciate.


  • Offers 350+ commission free Fidelity-affiliated ETFs, $0 per-trade fee for stocks and ETFs
  • No account fees
  • Dashboard includes news, research, insights
  • Integrates with Fidelity banking services

Read our full review of Fidelity here.

TD Ameritrade

  • Charges $0 per trade fee for ETFs and stocks
  • No minimum opening balance
  • Gives users access to thinkorswim trading platform, which offers advanced tools and research with no minimum investment required
  • Gives users access to 24/7 customer support

Read our full review of TD Ameritrade here.

Methodology: How We Chose the Best Investing Apps for Beginners

To come up with this list of the best investing apps for beginners, we compared different apps and especially paid attention to:

  • User friendliness: It's super important that the app is easy to use and intuitive for beginners. Because if you don't know how to use it, you won't. All these apps are designed with newbies in mind.

  • Minimums: Beginners may not be comfortable with investing large amounts, or may not have a lot of funds. These apps all let you get started with just a few bucks (except for M1 Finance, which has a $100 minimum).

  • Fees: You don't want too many fees eating in your profits. These apps all have no trading fees. Robo-advisory apps like Acorns and Betterment have a management fee, but it's not too much for beginners.

  • Investing guidance: We picked apps that ease beginners into investing. For example, Stash helps you build a personalized portfolio, while M1 Finance offers professional pre-set portfolios if you're not sure what to invest in.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I invest $5?
If you only have $5 to invest, the best option is to invest it into an ETF (exchange traded fund). An ETF is a collection of hundreds, or even thousands, of stocks. So with just one single investment, you're automatically diversified across many companies.

For example, a S&P 500 ETF consists of the 500 largest companies in the US.

Can you invest for free?
Most brokerages now have eliminated trading fees for stocks and ETFs. And a lot of platforms (like Robinhood and Stash) also support fractional shares, which lets you buy stocks starting with just $1. This is as close to starting for free as you can get.

How do I start investing with little money?
Look for a brokerage that supports fractional shares. This means that instead of needing enough money to buy one full share of a stock, you can just buy a tiny piece (as little as just $1 worth of a stock). All investing apps on our list lets you buy fractional shares.

Are investing apps safe?
If the investing app is registered with the SEC and FINRA, you can trust that it's a legit broker. Also, all registered brokers must be a member of the SIPC. This insures your investments up to $500,000 per account type, should the brokerage go out of business.

What the Experts Say

CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions. Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

If you have as little as an extra $5, there are plenty of low-risk ways to begin investing. These apps are all free to download and have low (or no) fees to use.

But which app should you use? Depends on how much you have to invest. Here are our top picks for your minimum balance.

How much do I have to invest?Where should I invest?
$100M1 Finance


  1. ^ Robinhood Fees, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  2. ^ Stash Pricing, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  3. ^ Betterment Pricing, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  4. ^ Acorns Pricing, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  5. ^ M1 Finance Miscellaneous Fees, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  6. ^ Ally Invest Pricing, Retrieved 7/18/2022
  7. ^ Webull Fees, Retrieved 7/18/2022
  8. ^ Public Pricing, Retrieved 7/18/2022
  9. ^ Fundrise Fees, Retrieved 7/18/2022

Write to Anna Johnson at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website 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. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

Fundrise, LLC ("Fundrise") compensates CreditDonkey Inc for new leads. CreditDonkey Inc is not an investment client of Fundrise.

eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Virtual currencies are highly volatile. Your capital is at risk. Copy Trading does not amount to investment advice. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd. and eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in most EU countries, no EU protections & not supervised by the EU regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal. eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and neither does it represent or assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, prepared by the Affiliate, as a partner, using information available and public and not specific to the eToro entity.

Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

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