Best Investing Apps For Beginners

Best Investing Apps For Beginners

Investing apps are everywhere, from the fully fledged apps for the professional investor, who likes to have instant access to trades at anytime of the day, from any location, to the casual investor, who wants a hands-off approach to investing. With the number of stock trading apps our there, it can be difficult to know which one is the right one to use.

We researched all of the best investing apps available and evaluated each one across a range of areas, to narrow this list down to the few that we think will help you the most. We have separated the good from the bad and put together this list of the Best Investing Apps For Beginners.

Quick View Of The Best Investing Apps For Beginners

Editorial Disclaimer: Please note that, although we regularly update this page, you should research an individual app’s website to get the most up to date information available (including pricing and promotional info). 

Acorns – Best Overall Investing App For Beginners
Stash– Best Overall Investing App For Learning
Robinhood – Best Zero Fees Options & Crypto Trading
Stockpile – Best App For Buying Fractional Shares

M1 Finance – Best Zero Commission App
Alley Invest – Best App For DIY Investors
Wealthfront – Best Robo Advisor App
Betterment – Best App For Long Term Investing

Everyone’s financial situation, desires and goals are different. We all have different factors that affect our lifestyles, expenses and goals, which impact how much we are willing, or able to invest. We all have different levels of how much we can and are comfortable investing, as well as knowledge about investing.

Whether you have lots of extra money to invest, or just want to get started with a small amount of money, you should be able to find something useful for you on this list.

Best Overall Investing App For Beginners

Acorns
Open Account

$0

Account minimum

You’ll need $5 to start trading.

$1 – $3/mo

Monthly Fees

4 Stars

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes Acorns Good For Beginners?

The Acorns app is very easy to use, which is perfect for new investors who are learning the ropes. Users’ everyday purchases are rounded up and the change is invested, which makes investing a daily habit. Acorns is free for college students and people under age 24.

Pros

  • No investing knowledge needed
  • Free investing for college students
  • Completely automated
  • No investment minimum
  • $5 sign-up bonus

Cons

  • Account fee and other fees for IRAs
  • Limited portfolio options
  • Monthly fee can be a high percentage on smaller account balances

Account Types

  • Taxable investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Checking account with debit card

Acorns has modernized the old-school practice of saving loose change, combining a robo-advisor with an automated savings tool. Acorns charges $1 a month for a taxable investment account, $2 a month to add on an individual retirement account, or $3 a month for an Acorns checking account — called Acorns Spend. Acorns is free for four years for college students with a valid .edu email address.

Acorns works by rounding up your purchases on linked credit or debit cards, then putting the rounded up difference computer-managed investment portfolio. A simple, hands-off way to invest your spare change.

See our detailed Acorns Review for more information.

Best Overall Investing App For Learning

Stash Logo
Open Account

$5

Account minimum

$1 – $9/mo

Monthly Fees

Beginner: $1/mo
Growth: $3/mo
STASH+: $9

4 Stars

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes STASH Good For Beginners?

Stash is a great app for learning about investing, with its inclusion of articles and tips. You can choose from 150+ stocks or investment “themes” and start investing from as littler as $5. Each theme includes a group of companies to invest in rather than just one, giving you are greater investment spread.

Pros

  • Educational tips and articles
  • Can choose investments
  • Low account minimum

Cons

  • No investment management.
  • High ETF expense ratios.

Account Types

  • Taxable accounts
  • IRAs
  • Custodial accounts

Investment app Stash aims to make the process of selecting investments — specifically stocks and exchange-traded funds — quick and easy for beginners. It costs $1 per month for a brokerage account plus access to Stash’s online bank account and debit card, which includes a rewards program. The minimum balance is $0, though you need at least $5 to start investing.

Stash offers other options, too. For $3 a month, you get the brokerage and bank accounts, plus a retirement account — either a Roth or traditional IRA. For $9 a month, Stash offers all of the above, plus two custodial accounts for minors, a metal debit card (rather than plastic), a turbocharged rewards program, and a monthly investment research report.

See our detailed Stash review for more information.

Best Zero Fees Options & Crypto Trading

Robinhood App
Open Account

$0

Account minimum

$0

Cost per trade

2-5 Stars

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes Robinhood Good For Beginners:

Robinhood provides free stock, options and crypto currency trading. Robinhood’s simplicity makes the app very simple to use and it is a great choice for cost-conscious investors who trade small quantities.

Pros

  • Commission free trades

Cons

  • Trades appear to be routed to generate payment for order flow, not best price
  • Quote are a bit delayed
  • There is very little research available

Account Types

  • Taxable investment accounts

Robinhood is ideal for investors who want to trade stocks, options, exchange-traded funds and cryptocurrency without paying commissions or fees.

The service is innovative, cutting out nearly all costs that are typically associated with investing. But as always, there’s a tradeoff for the lack of fees.

Though Robinhood offers both web and mobile trading, the platforms are purposely bare bones, and some investors may find the range of tradable securities and account options lacking.

See our detailed Robinhood review for more information.

Best App For Buying Fractional Shares

Stockpile Logo
Open Account

$5

Account minimum

$0.99

Cost per trade

4 Stars

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes Stockpile Good For Beginners:

Stockpile allows investors to buy fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, making them more accessible to those investing smaller amounts. Instead of paying over $1,700+ for a single share of Amazon stock, you can buy just 0.05 shares for a more affordable price. This app is great for beginning investors or anyone interested in teaching kids about the stock market.

Pros

  • Simple, user-friendly interface
  • Low commissions on trading
  • Gift card options
  • Custodial accounts to help kids and teens learn about investing

Cons

  • Limited securities available – no options, bonds, futures, or Forex
  • Minimal research and analysis tools
  • No best price guarantee or order routing options

Account Types

  • Taxable investment accounts
  • Custodial accounts

Stockpile offers fractional share investing where a user chooses a dollar amount to invest, rather than a number of whole shares. This allows investors with low account balances to invest in big-ticket stocks like Amazon and Alphabet. Fractional share orders must be bundled before execution, which is why Stockpile only executes orders at pre-set times.

Stockpile’s trading fees are among the lowest in the industry at just $0.99, but the tradeoff is a limited product range and minimal research tools. This platform was built for those who might not otherwise try investing at all, so you won’t find in-depth charting tools or paper trading options. Stockpile is best for those looking to dip their toes into the stock market, as well as for people who want to give a gift of stocks or simply encourage younger generations to start investing early.

See our detailed Stockpile review for more information.

Best Zero Commission App

M1 Finance Logo
Open Account

$100

Account minimum

$0

Cost per trade

$500 minimum for IRAs

4 Stars

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes M1 Finance Good For Beginners:

M1 Finance is a combination online brokerage and robo advisor and a very good all-around, low cost investment platform. M1 Finance offers investment portfolio templates and completely free investing.

Pros

  • Free to trade
  • Offers fractional investing and no hidden fees
  • You can borrow against your portfolio in some instances
  • Automates investing and rebalancing

Cons

  • No tax loss harvesting
  • Only offer stocks and ETFs; no mutual funds

Account Types

  • Taxable
  • IRA’s
  • Trusts

M1’s robo investing element provides investment portfolio templates, referred to as “Pies.” The Pies are based on Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). Most robo advisors use MPT in their algorithms. But unlike other robo advisors, with M1, there’s no questionnaire used to determine your investment risk tolerance.

M1 works more like a traditional investment brokerage platform in that you can choose your own investments for your Pies. You can even purchase individual stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) within your account — as well as the prebuilt Pies.

See our detailed M1 Finance review for more information.

Best App For DIY Investors

Alley Invest Logo
Open Account

$0

Account minimum

$4.95

Cost per trade

   

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes Alley Invest Good For Beginners:

Geared more towards the professional investor, Ally Invest is a great app for those familiar with trading, but is also very easy for beginner investors. Alley Invest offers a full sweet of trades, including stocks and shares, alongside mutual funds, ETFs, currencies and futures.

Pros

  • Low commissions
  • No account minimum
  • Robust research and tools

Cons

  • Transaction fees for their mutual funds
  • No automatic investing or rebalancing

Account Types

  • IRA’s
  • Trusts

Geared more towards the professional investor, Ally Invest offers $0 account minimum, with low commissions, at $4.95 per trade on stocks; discounted to $3.95 per trade for active traders. Ally also offers some 500 commission-free exchange-traded funds and charges a low $9.95 per mutual fund transaction.

Alley also offers forex trading, automated portfolio management, and a suite of free tools for technical investors.

See our detailed Alley Invest review for more information.

Best Robo Advisor App

Wealthfront App Logo
Open Account

$500

Account minimum

$0.25%

Management fee

4 Stars

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes Wealthfront Good For Beginners:

Wealthfront is a robo advisor that provides low fees and automated investing. The service is good for taxable accounts and is free for accounts under $5,000. It also provides strong tax-optimization services.

Pros

  • First $5,000 managed free
  • Low ETF expense ratios
  • Daily tax-loss harvesting
  • Automatic rebalancing

Cons

  • Geared more towards professional investors
  • No fractional shares
  • No large-balance discounts

Account Types

  • Taxable investment accounts

There are a few robo advisors that stand out from the others. Wealthfront is one of them, offering a focus on setting and reaching your goals and taking into account your entire financial picture. The service has a huge appeal for Millennials — after all, they have time on their side when it comes to saving for retirement. But there’s enough here for anyone who’s interested in growing their wealth through automated investing.

See our detailed Wealthfront review for more information.

Best App For Long Term Investing

Betterment App Logo
Open Account

$0

Account minimum

$0.25%

Annual fee

DollarSkool Rating

What Makes Betterment Good For Beginners:

Betterment is one of the more popular robo-advisors and investment apps, that includes features not offered by many of the others, including tax loss harvesting, simple asset management, retirement calculators, low management fees and the option to use a human advisor.

Pros

  • No minimum balance or transaction fees
  • “RetireGuide” savings advice
  • Automatic deposits
  • Automatically portfolio rebalance

Cons

  • No direct indexing

Account Types

  • Taxable investment accounts
  • IRAs
  • Smart Saver account
  • Trusts

Betterment, with about $15 billion in assets under management, has stepped out as a clear leader among robo-advisors.

The company offers two service options, Betterment Digital, its legacy offering, has no account minimum and charges 0.25% of assets under management annually. Betterment Premium provides unlimited phone access to certified financial planners for a 0.40% fee and $100,000 account minimum.

See our detailed Betterment review for more information.

It’s Never Been Easier To Invest

It’s never been easier, or cheaper to invest then it is now and these apps make it so simple and trouble free to begin investing.

With any one of the investment apps listed above, it’s easier than ever to get started with investing. Even if you are a complete beginner!

The more time your investments have to grow, the more money you will end up having in retirement. That means that you need to start doing this now, even if you start small. The rise of mobile has made tracking and growing your money easier than ever.

This list has, in our opinion, offers best investing apps that will allow you to realistically and responsibly invest your money. Whether you’re looking for more hands-off investing, or are after a more engaged approach, there is an investing app out there for you.

Which App is Right For You?

Acorns – Best Overall Investing App For Beginners
Stash– Best Overall Investing App For Learning
Robinhood – Best Zero Fees Options & Crypto Trading
Stockpile – Best App For Buying Fractional Shares

M1 Finance – Best Zero Commission App
Alley Invest – Best App For DIY Investors
Wealthfront – Best Robo Advisor App
Betterment – Best App For Long Term Investing

How DollarSkool Rates Investing Apps

The Editorial Team at DollarSkool looks at multiple factors when determining a 1-5 star rating for investing apps. Here are the most important factors that weigh into our ratings:

  • Ease of use
  • Cost per trade
  • Availability of commission free ETFs
  • Access to research
  • Fees, and the likelihood that a user will incur them
  • Account balance requirements
  • Customer service
  • Mobile app reviews

In addition to assigning a 1-5 star rating for each broker we research, we also aim to find the best broker for certain types of investors, such as:

  • Best app for total beginners
  • Best app for active traders
  • Best app for cryptocurrency investors

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