Updated March 11, 2022

Best Investment Apps for Beginners

Read more about Invest Money
Ad Disclosure: This article contains references to products from our partners. We may receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by using our links. (read more)

Looking to start investing? You can begin with as little as $5. Check out these cheap (or free) apps for new investors.

Top investment apps for 2022:

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.

🏆 Brand New Investors: Stash


  • Invest with as little as $1
  • "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 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.


  • STASH Beginner ($1/mo)
  • 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 $1 per month

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

Hands-off Approach: Betterment


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

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.

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


  • 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
  • Cannot pick and choose individual stocks or ETFs

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.


  • $3/mo for Acorns Personal (includes personal taxable account, IRA, and checking account)
  • $5/mo for Acorns Family (includes everything in Personal plus investment accounts for kids)

There's no minimum deposit to get started with Acorns, and 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
  • $3-5 per month

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

Minimal Control: M1 Finance


  • 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

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.

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 $125 a year and features extra perks like:

  • A second trading window
  • .25% discount on borrow rates
  • 1.5% APY
  • 1% cash back on debit card purchases

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)

Free Stock Trading: Robinhood


  • No trade fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Allows total control of investments
  • Offers ETFs, stocks, options, and some cryptocurrency
  • Easy-to-use app lets users get started quickly


  • Choosing each individual trade can feel overwhelming for new investors
  • No pre-made portfolios
  • Does not offer goals like retirement saving

Unlike other apps on this list, Robinhood allows users to have full control over how and where to invest their money.

The platform has no pre-made portfolios. Instead, users invest in individual stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies, entirely for free.

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.

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)

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.

Ally Invest

  • Charges a $0 per-trade fee for both stocks and ETFs and a $0.50 per contract fee for option trades[6]
  • No account opening minimum
  • Research and market analysis tools available for free
  • Access to brokers for customer service questions

Read our full review of Ally Invest 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.

How We Chose the Best Investing Apps for Beginners

To come up with our 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.

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. ^ Stash Pricing, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  2. ^ Betterment Pricing, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  3. ^ Acorns Pricing, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  4. ^ M1 Finance Miscellaneous Fees, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  5. ^ Robinhood Fees, Retrieved 1/3/2022
  6. ^ Ally Invest Commissions
    and Fees
    , Retrieved 1/3/2022

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.

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.

Read Next:

Best Investment Apps

Best Investment Apps

Best Micro Investing App

Micro Investing App

Investing in Your 20s: Beginner's Guide

Investing 20s

Free Stock Trading App

Free Stock Trading App

The Best Way to Invest $100

How to Invest $100

Best Money Saving Apps

Best Money Saving Apps

Ally Invest Coupon Codes

Get Up to $3,000

Expires 6/30/2022

The minimum qualifying deposit to receive a cash bonus is $10,000. Accounts will be reviewed 60 days after account opening to determine the total qualifying deposit. Corresponding cash bonus will be credited to the account within 10 business days. Once the bonus is credited to the account, the bonus and qualifying deposit (minus any trading losses) is not available for withdrawal for 300 days. If the qualifying deposit is withdrawn, the bonus may be revoked.

Deposit or TransferCash Bonus
$10,000 - $24,999$100
$25,000 - $99,999$250
$100,000 - $249,999$300
$250,000 - $499,999$600
$500,000 - $999,999$1,200
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999$2,000

How to Invest Money

Tips for Investing
To make money, you need to invest money wisely. Here are smart ways beginners can start investing in stocks and real estate, even with little money.
Leave a comment about Best Investment Apps for Beginners?

Investment Calculator

Investment Calculator

What will $10,000 be worth in 20 years? Find out how to calculate investment growth with this calculator, including what you'll earn in yearly interest.

Next Page:

About CreditDonkey
CreditDonkey is a personal finance comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.

About Us | Reviews | Deals | Tips | Privacy | Do Not Sell My Info | Terms | Contact Us
(888) 483-4925 | 680 East Colorado Blvd, 2nd Floor | Pasadena, CA 91101
© 2022 CreditDonkey Inc. All Rights Reserved.