15 Best Stock Trading Apps: Free Stock and ETF Trades, Crypto, and More

The best stock trading apps offer commission-free trading and a wide investment selection. While any free investing app can help you place trades and construct a diversified portfolio, each one has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s worth your time and effort to do the proper research and choose the app with features best suited to your overall strategy. This guide will help you do just that.

Table of Contents
  1. Best Stock Trading Apps
    1. M1 Finance
    2. Public
    3. TD Ameritrade
    4. SoFi Invest
    5. Webull
    6. Robinhood
    7. Schwab
    8. Fidelity
    9. Vanguard
    10. E*TRADE
    11. Ally Invest
    12. Axos Invest
    13. eToro
    14. Stockpile
    15. TradeStation
  2. FAQs
  3. Best Stock Trading Apps: Final Thoughts

Best Stock Trading Apps

The following 15 investing apps let you buy and sell stocks and bonds, ETFs, and more, for free. But each platform has different features to benefit a particular investment strategy. Here is a closer look at each platform, in no particular order.

BrokerageBonus PromotionLink
$200-$250 in stocksLearn more
up to 12 free stocksLearn more
up to $25,000Learn more
Free StockLearn more
Up to $500 cashLearn more
Up to $625 cashLearn more

M1 Finance

M1 Finance is an excellent option if you want to self-manage your account and access managed funds that other platforms charge an advisory fee for. You can trade individual stocks and ETFs commission-free. Professionally managed portfolios are available with asset allocations ranging from conservative to aggressive.

Other funds offer exposure to specialized investment themes (like ESG) and your target retirement date. The minimum initial deposit is $100 for taxable brokerage accounts and $500 for retirement accounts. Then, you can buy fractional shares with a minimum $25 investment. Unlike other brokerages that use a dollar-based asset allocation, you assign a target percentage. Then, M1 Finance uses dynamic rebalancing to buy additional shares of under-allocated holdings.

The service only sells stock when you request a manual rebalance. Another unique feature is that all trades execute during the daily trading window. If you wish to trade stocks at a specific price, consider another service so you can place limit-type orders. Research-intensive investors may also pursue a different platform as this one doesn’t offer technical charting tools or analyst reports.

You can subscribe to M1 Plus ($0 for the first year, then $125) for advanced features, which lets you access an afternoon trading window, an interest-bearing checking account, rewards credit card, and customized investing rules. Read our M1 Finance review to learn more or check out these M1 Finance promotions.

M1 Finance Pros

  • Fractional investing
  • Individual stocks, ETFs, and premade portfolios
  • Dynamic portfolio rebalancing
  • Custodial accounts (M1 Plus members only)

M1 Finance Cons

  • Some features require a paid subscription
  • One daily trading window
  • Doesn’t reinvest dividends into the same stock
  • Relatively high initial account minimums

Learn more about M1 Finance

Public

Public lets you buy fractional shares of stocks and ETFs with as little as $1. You can also trade cryptocurrency futures; however, you can only open a taxable brokerage account. A primary appeal of this service is its social community – it lets you share your portfolio trades and see what other users are buying or selling.

The investing app also has online Q&A sessions with company leaders that may interest you. Unlike most free investing apps, this platform doesn’t accept payment for order flow (PFOF), negatively impacting your trading price while helping the app cover operating expenses. However, you can leave an optional tip to keep Public a free investing app.

While you won’t have interactive charting tools, this app can simplify managing short-term and long-term investing ideas. For example, you can label positions you want to hold for at least one year as a long-term idea, so you don’t accidentally sell the wrong stock. Read our Public Investing App review for more information.

Public Investing Pros

  • Stocks, ETFs, and crypto futures
  • $1 fractional trades
  • Can interact with other members
  • Basic educational tools

Public Investing Cons

  • No retirement accounts
  • Minimal research features
  • The social community may provide too many opinions

Learn more about Public

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is one of the oldest online brokerages, and it’s an excellent option if you want access to research tools that most free investing apps lack. You can trade stocks and ETFs for free but must purchase whole shares. Unfortunately, this is one of the few brokerages that still doesn’t offer fractional shares.

There are several platforms available that cater to casual and frequent investors. Most investors will find the standard TD Ameritrade web or mobile investing platform to be sufficient to access these research tools:

  • Analyst reports
  • Interactive technical charts
  • Portfolio analyzer
  • Stock market calendars

Beginner investors also have access to numerous educational tools to learn about investing. However, the platform can be more complicated because there are so many features. Short-term traders can benefit from the free thinkorswim platform that provides in-depth research tools and economic data.

Consider this service if you want to trade options and other advanced trading strategies. You can use their paper trading feature to test your technique and learn how to navigate the platform before investing real money.

TD Ameritrade Pros

  • In-depth research tools
  • Multiple platforms
  • Dividend reinvestment programs
  • Interactive market calendar

TD Ameritrade Cons

  • No fractional investing
  • Potentially confusing platform

Learn more about TD Ameritrade

SoFi Invest

If you want to track your student loans, a high-yield money management account, and investments in one platform, then SoFi Invest is an excellent option. You can open a self-directed Active Investing and Automated Investing account. The investment options include stocks and ETFs with a $5 minimum investment, and Crypto futures are also available.

Essential research tools include historical price charts and an educational library. If you prefer dealing with a robo-advisor, the Automated Investing platform lets you invest in an index fund portfolio without advisory fees.

Portfolio rebalancing is complimentary, but there is no tax-loss harvesting. You only need $1 to start investing with the Automated Investing platform. This service can be one of the easiest ways to build a diversified portfolio and open a separate account to invest in stocks and ETFs you believe will outperform the broad market.

In addition to the ease of investing, you will also have access to a financial advisor to ask your money-related questions. You also earn rewards points that you can redeem for fractional stock shares and other rewards. Check out the latest SoFi new account promotions.

SoFi Invest Pros

  • Self-managed and automated investing platform
  • Fee-free robo-advisor
  • Fractional shares with a $5 minimum investment
  • Taxable and retirement accounts

SoFi Invest Cons

  • Basic research tools
  • Automated portfolios have an aggressive asset allocation

Learn more about SoFi Invest

Webull

Webull offers a mobile and desktop platform along with a surprisingly extensive research tool kit for being a relatively new investing app. You can purchase fractional shares of stock equities and ETFs with a $5 balance during regular and extended market hours. You can also trade ADRs (foreign companies trading on other stock markets), options, and crypto futures.

There are no trading fees for stocks and ETFs. However, their fees apply for options contracts and margin accounts. You can also pay a small monthly fee to access Level II Advance quote data from Nasdaq TotalView. Some of Webull’s impressive research tools include:

Webull Pros

  • $5 fractional investing
  • In-depth research tools
  • Downloadable desktop platform
  • Taxable and retirement accounts

Webull Cons

  • No joint or custodial accounts
  • Research features are less in-depth as several legacy brokers

Learn more about Webull

Robinhood

Robinhood was the original free investing app and a major reason that most traditional brokerages offer commission-free trading today. You can trade stock, ETFs, and crypto futures with a $1 investment minimum in a taxable brokerage account. Options trading is also possible if you’re comfortable with the additional risk.

You may also enjoy the FDIC-insured cash management account that offers free ATM access and awards a competitive interest rate on your deposits. Unfortunately, this service is better for beginners as it lacks several essential features and seems to “gamify” the investment process, so investors may unknowingly assume additional risk. For example, there are no charting or screening tools. You also must purchase a Robinhood Gold subscription ($5 monthly) to access Morningstar research reports and Level II market data.

Robinhood Pros

  • $1 fractional investing
  • Stocks, ETFs, and crypto futures
  • Cash management account

Robinhood Cons

  • Limited research tools
  • No retirement accounts
  • History of negative news headlines

Learn more about Robinhood

Schwab

Schwab is a full-service online brokerage offering commission-free trades for stocks, ETFs, and participating mutual funds. You can buy $5 fractional shares of S&P 500 companies with the Schwab Slices feature online or with the mobile app. All other stocks and ETFs require you to buy whole shares. It’s possible to purchase index mutual funds with a $1 investment minimum.

You can trade using a taxable or retirement account. In addition to having extensive investment offerings, you have access to multiple research tools, including third-party analyst reports, stock screeners, and technical charts. These features can help beginner and advanced investors. New investors also have several educational resources that a barebones investing app typically doesn’t offer.

The platform also offers a free interest-bearing checking account with free ATM reimbursements. There are no account minimums for self-directed taxable or retirement accounts. You can also open a Schwab Intelligent Portfolios robo-advisor for hands-off investing. However, the minimum deposit is $5,000 to use this feature. You won’t pay an advisory fee, but the portfolios maintain a higher cash balance than other services.

Schwab Pros

  • Fractional investing starts at $5
  • Wide investment selection
  • Index funds have a $1 minimum investment
  • In-depth charting tools

Schwab Cons

  • Can only buy fractional shares of S&P 500 stocks
  • High account minimum for the fee-free Intelligent Portfolios

Learn more about Schwab

Fidelity

Fidelity offers accounts for just about every investor, and you can trade stocks and funds. In addition, taxable (single and joint), retirement, and custodial accounts are available. The brokerage offers fractional shares of US stocks and ETFs with a $1 balance. However, you must use the Fidelity mobile app as the web platform only supports whole shares.

In addition to buying stocks by the slice, the investment minimum for many mutual funds is only $1. This low minimum also applies to the Fidelity ZERO index mutual funds with a 0% expense ratio. The standard web and mobile platforms are easy to navigate and feature-rich for most investors. You have access to powerful charting tools and a library of analyst reports.

Beginner investors may also appreciate Fidelity Spire, an app that provides money management insights for your cash savings along with helping you make investing goals. In addition, frequent investors can use the Active Trader Pro desktop platform for additional research tools and monitoring features. For example, the Trade Armor feature can calculate profit and loss scenarios and execute entry and exit prices.

Another reason to consider this brokerage is its Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature credit card. Earn 2% back on all purchases when you deposit the cash into your investment account. The card has no annual fee and is one of the highest-earning cash-back credit cards. While Fidelity focuses on self-managed portfolios, the Fidelity Go robo-advisor makes for an easy way to build a basic portfolio. There are no management fees on your first $10,000. If Fidelity interests you, make sure you check out their promotions.

Fidelity Investments Pros

  • $1 fractional stock and ETF shares
  • 0% expense ratio ZERO index funds
  • In-depth research tools
  • Several apps and platforms for any investor

Fidelity Investments Cons

  • Must use mobile app for fractional shares
  • Most mutual funds are actively managed (but there are plenty of passive index funds)

Learn more about Fidelity

Vanguard

If you prefer index fund investing, Vanguard might be the brokerage for you. After all, it’s the company that made index investing famous. While you can buy index funds from any brokerage, there is usually more information about investing with Vanguard funds.

You can purchase index ETFs and mutual funds in a taxable or retirement account. If you’re starting with a low balance, ETFs can be the more affordable option as you can buy them by the share. However, you can open a position for most Vanguard index mutual funds with a $3,000 balance and then $1 for additional investments. For example, you might consider investing in either the VTSAX or VTI index fund to get exposure to the total stock market.

Most individual stocks and non-Vanguard ETFs trade commission-free. However, the research and charting tools are not as straightforward or robust as the other legacy brokerages. But you can get more information than a barebones app. Vanguard lets you earn interest on your uninvested cash, an uncommon feature among stock trading apps.

Vanguard Pros

  • Many well-known index funds
  • Commission-free stock and ETF trading
  • Uninvested cash can earn interest

Vanguard Cons

  • No fractional investing
  • Research tools can be challenging to use
  • High investment minimums for index mutual funds

Learn more about Vanguard

E*TRADE

E*TRADE is another longstanding online brokerage that was one of the first discount brokers. Today, you can trade stocks and ETFs with $0 trading commissions along with participating mutual funds. Unfortunately, you must purchase whole shares on equities and ETFs except for reinvesting your dividends. The service offers these tools that can help traders:

  • Paper trading
  • 145+ technical chart studies
  • Auto-fill technical support and resistance lines
  • Stock screener
  • Options analyzer

If you don’t need fractional investing access, the free in-depth analysis tools are some of the best available to investors. As a new member, you can receive up to $3,500 in bonus cash through brokerage promotions.

E*TRADE Pros

  • Commission-free stocks and ETFs
  • Interactive technical analysis tools
  • No account minimums

E*TRADE Cons

  • No fractional investing

Learn more about E*TRADE

Ally Invest

Ally Invest offers self-directed and managed investment accounts without trading or account service fees. A Self-Directed Investing account lets you trade stocks and ETFs commission-free with interactive charts. However, there isn’t a fractional investing feature. Research tools include interactive charts, an options chain analyzer, third-party analyst reports.

If you also desire automated investing, you have several fee-free Robo Portfolios to choose from. The minimum investment is $100, and you won’t pay any advisory fees. The investment strategies include core, tax-optimized, socially responsible, and income. However, the cash buffer is at least 30%. As a comparison, this cash cushion is significantly higher than most robo-advisors.

You may also consider this brokerage if you use Ally Bank for your free checking or high-yield savings account. This online bank offers competitive rates and other exciting features. There are several Ally Invest bonus promotions you may be eligible for.

Ally Invest Pros

  • Fee-free Robo Portfolios
  • Interactive charts and options chains
  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades

Ally Invest Cons

  • No fractional shares
  • High cash buffer for fee-free managed portfolios

Learn more about Ally Invest

Axos Invest

An Axos Invest Self-Directed Trading Account offers commission-free trades for stocks and ETFs with individual, joint, and retirement accounts are available. The platform also integrates with Axos Bank if you store your savings at this online bank. Sadly, fractional shares are not available at this time. This trading app is best for experienced investors that don’t need in-depth research tools or educational material. You can also upgrade to Axos Elite ($10 monthly) for real-time market data and extended trading hours. Managed portfolios are also available with an advisory fee.

Axos Invest Pros

  • Integrates with Axos Bank
  • Joint and retirement accounts
  • Barebones platform with minimal distractions

Axos Invest Cons

  • No fractional shares
  • Basic research tools

Learn more about Axos Invest

eToro

eToro specializes in cryptocurrency trading, but it’s also rolling out a stock investing platform. You can buy and sell US stocks and ETFs commission-free through the mobile app. The CopyTrader feature is one of the most intriguing member benefits. In a nutshell, you can follow a model portfolio that another eToro member creates, and your asset allocation rebalances when they make a trade.

This tool makes it easy to pursue an investment strategy when you understand the potential risks and how the portfolio can make money. You can also interact with other members of the online social media community. Unfortunately, this stock trading app is only available in qualifying states. For more information, check out our eToro review.

eToro Pros

  • Trade stocks, ETFs, and crypto
  • CopyTrader portfolio tool
  • Social media platform
  • Educational library

eToro Cons

  • CopyTrader can be risky for uneducated investors

Learn more about eToro

Stockpile

Stockpile offers free custodial accounts, so parents can help their kids start investing. Parents and their children can buy fractional shares of stocks and ETFs with a minimum investment of $1. It’s also possible to gift stock shares to young investors. There are no trading fees or gifting fees. However, there is only one daily trading window, and you must place your orders by 3 PM Eastern.

Your no-frills research tools are a historical price chart and recent market headlines. As a result, this platform is best for new investors that don’t need to research stocks. In addition to custodial accounts, adults can open individual taxable and retirement accounts. Read our Stockpile review to learn more.

Stockpile Pros

Stockpile Cons

  • No research tools
  • No joint accounts
  • One daily trading window

Learn more about Stockpile

TradeStation

Active traders are still more likely to pay trading fees as they need access to in-depth research and perform more transactions than casual investors. TradeStation lets you trade stocks, ETFs, crypto, and bonds with an in-depth platform. You can quickly place trades with “The Matrix,” a one-click trading ticket. The platform also provides streaming market data and detailed historical market data.

You can waive the annual $50 inactivity fee by maintaining a minimum $2,000 balance or making at least five trades in a rolling 12-month period. It’s possible to find a trading simulator and charting tools other brokerages don’t offer. Unfortunately, this platform isn’t for beginners or casual investors who will find the platform overwhelming.

TradeStation Pros

  • Customizable technical studies
  • Built for frequent traders
  • Real-time market data
  • Web, desktop, and mobile platforms

TradeStation Cons

  • Not for beginners or long-term investors
  • Potential account inactivity fee

Learn more about TradeStation

FAQs

What is the best trading app for beginners?

Your best investing app can offer fractional shares, good research tools, and educational materials. Fidelity Investments can be one of the best overall options because they provide an above-average selection of investment products and platforms. For micro-investing apps, M1 Finance strikes an excellent balance of having a diverse investment selection, free portfolio rebalancing, and low investment minimums.

Are investment apps safe?

These free investing apps have SIPC Insurance which protects your portfolio and cash position if the platform goes out of business. However, it doesn’t reimburse ordinary market losses. Investing in stocks and funds is inherently risky, and you should perform your due diligence to choose investments that help you diversify and are suitable for your risk tolerance. Most platforms offer fractional investing, stocks and index ETFs with high liquidity, and research tools to limit your downside risk.

What are some of the best stock trading app features?

Most apps offer free stock and ETFs trades and don’t require a minimum account balance. Optional features that you should also look for include fractional investing, tax-advantaged retirement accounts, interactive charts, and third-party research reports.

Best Stock Trading Apps: Final Thoughts

Now that most stock trading apps no longer charge trading commissions for stocks and ETFs, the best service depends on which research tools and social community features you want. You may also see if they offer a robo-advisor feature if you don’t want to self-manage your entire portfolio. It can also be worth searching brokerage promotions to earn some bonus cash as you choose your favorite brokerage.

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About Josh Patoka

After graduating in $50k with student loans in May 2008 from Virginia Military Institute with a B.A. International Studies and Political Science with a minor in Spanish (he studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for 3 months), Josh decided to sell his soul for seven years by working in the transportation industry to get out of debt ASAP and focus on doing something else with a better work-life balance.

He is a father of three and has been writing about (almost) everything personal finance since 2015. You can also find him at his own blog Money Buffalo where he shares his personal experience of becoming debt-free (twice) and taking a 50%+ pay cut when he changed careers.

Today, Josh relishes the flexibility of being self-employed and debt-free and encourages others to pursue their dreams. Josh enjoys spending his free time reading books and spending time with his wife and three children.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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