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The 12 Best Free Investment Apps

free investment apps

Looking for free investment apps?  

Micro investing apps are all the rage this year. They have disrupted the brokerage industry, and understandably so. 

With an investment app, you can kick start an investment portfolio without much money, time or experience. That leaves you free to do other important things.

Imagine starting your day with your favorite cup of coffee and a small contribution to your future. That sounds pretty great, right? But it gets even better. There are apps for every kind of investor out there. 

But how does micro-investing work, and which free investment apps should you use? 

Let’s take a closer look.

Summary of The Best Investment Apps of 2020

BrokerCommissionsBest For
Robinhood$0 per trade Best Fee Free Trading
TD Ameritrade $0 per tradeBest Overall
Fidelity$0 per tradeRunner-Up
Acorns $1 – $5 per month Best For Worry Free Savings
Webull$0 per tradeBest Free App
Ally Invest$0 per tradeBest for Beginners
Stockpile$0.99 per tradeBest For Gifting Stocks

What Do Free Investment Apps Offer

“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” Wise words from American billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Investing is not just for the rich. You don’t need a huge bank balance to take advantage of mutual fund apps. With the investing price war that’s been going on, many firms have cut their trading commissions to zero. This means that it’s now cheaper than ever to start building your nest egg. 

But for many folks, the idea of investing and trading stocks can be intimidating. That’s where investment apps come in.

A free investment app allows you to effortlessly save and invest money in small amounts from your couch. The set it and forget approach is what makes the apps popular. 

The premise is simple. Some apps round up your everyday purchases to the next dollar and invest your spare change. Others allow you to invest in smaller amounts than is usually allowed in the stock market (fractional investing). It’s probably money you’ll never miss in your day-to-day life.

The goal is that, over time, every small bit you invest helps build up a profitable fund. The funds are then invested into a smartly diversified portfolio of stocks or low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

Best investing apps for beginners should:

  • Allow you to trade anywhere and at any time.
  • Have a user-friendly interface.
  • Offer tools to help you manage and organize your finances.
  • Offer low or no commission stock trading.
  • Help you learn as you earn.
  • Have low or no minimum account balance requirements. 
  • Let you set both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Have a good reputation and have strong security features.
  • Be insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). 
  • Be able to send you alerts about the market.
  • Offer reliable customer support. 

Everyone’s financial situation is different. We all have different amounts to invest, tolerance for risk, investment objectives, and knowledge. 

Whether you’re a seasoned investor intending to analyze individual stocks on the go or an average beginning investor flirting with making your first trade, there’s an app for you.

When you are trying to find the best beginner investing app that will work for your needs, the market options can be overwhelming.

That’s why I evaluated free investment apps in several different areas and narrowed this list to help all would-be Warren Buffets.

No-Fee Investing Apps

Here are free investing apps if you want to pay as few fees as possible:

1. Vanguard

Vanguard is a godsend investment app if you’re in the market for ETF maximization. Index funds are an easy way for new investors to enter the stock market, and Vanguard leads the pack in refining ETF alternatives for users. 

Vanguard is arguably the world’s largest provider of mutual funds and ETFs. There are dozens of ETFs to pick from with zero fees on online transactions, inactivity or account closure.

This low-cost investment service provider leans towards Called Position Trading. Here, you buy stocks and hold them for extended periods. 

The brokerage is committed to getting you the lowest possible price when you purchase Vanguard ETFs and the highest possible price when you sell.

The app has a little old school look, but you’ll enjoy a straightforward user interface.

There’s a $1000 fund minimum, but with free research, customer support, and 3000+ commission-free mutual funds, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give Vanguard a try. 

2. Robinhood

You are probably familiar with Robin Hood – the legendary heroic outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor. 

Well, this app won’t do that but aims at spreading the wealth around by providing a completely free way to invest – no account minimums, no commissions on stocks. 

Robinhood is the best beginner investing app, designed to help novices make their first foray into investing.

Robinhood was launched back in 2013 and was one of the first apps to target millennials with commission-free trading. It is the granddaddy of free investing apps for beginners.

Robinhood lets you invest in stocks, ETFs, and options. Thanks to Robinhood crypto, you can now trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum with immediate settlement.

The app is free to sign up and easy to use. All you need to open a Robinhood account is your name, email, and address. You’ll be welcomed with a simple-to-understand interface.

Connect to your bank account/s, and Robinhood will turn into an electronic piggy bank for your spare change. 

  • Upon registration and funding your account with at least $10, you’ll be awarded a free stock.
  • To get even more shares, convince your friends and family to register as users.
  • For every successful conversion, you will get a free stock (valued at $5-$500).

With as little as $1, you can invest in thousands of stocks. Simply decide how much you want to invest, and the app will convert from dollars to parts of a whole share.

If you want to gain access to margin accounts and extended trading hours, upgrade to Robinhood Gold.

You’ll need to pay $5 per month for this premium plan after a 30-day free trial.

3. TD Ameritrade

You probably know TD Ameritrade as a brokerage firm with multiple branches all over the US, but did you know they have investment mobile apps? 

Yes, TD Ameritrade has two free investing apps (thinkorswim Mobile and TD Ameritrade Mobile App) that target expert traders and basic investing, respectively. Both apps are excellent for trading stocks for free.

Get this; there’s no minimum investment and ETFs, equity trades, and online option trades are commission-free!

TD Ameritrade is the app for you if you like having a lot of investment options. It offers noticeably more investment vehicles compared to the other apps here. 

They offer taxable investment accounts, education saving accounts, 401Ks, and IRAs. On signing up, you’ll gain access to commission-free trades, margin trading, Forex, Stocks, and ETFs. 

“Hands-off” free investment apps like Robinhood and Betterment won’t teach you much as they are thin on research tools.

It boasts lots of data and charts on companies, markets, and stocks. If you want to learn various investing strategies, stocks, and ETFs, you will love the series of educational videos.

The TD Ameritrade free investing apps let you monitor your investments, see a breakdown of your portfolio, and make trades in-app. 

While there’s no commission payable for online stocks, ETF, and options trades, you will pay $49.99 for no-load mutual funds and $25 for broker-assisted trades. 

Their customer service is unparalleled, and thanks to its parent company, you can always stop in any of the 250 branches if you have a query. 

From a learning standpoint, TD Ameritrade is excellent. To get notified when a stock hits a specified price or to receive breaking news related to your investments, set up alerts. 

Update: in November 2019, the TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation entered into a definitive agreement for Schwab to acquire TD Ameritrade.

4. Fidelity

Fidelity is another investing app to consider if you want to put your money into play. The brokerage boasts comprehensive resources for retirement, and long term focused investors.

You’ll get full-service trading at zero trade prices. There are over 350 commission-free, Fidelity-affiliated ETFs that allow you to build a balanced portfolio.

Thanks to Fidelity’s fractional share investing, you can invest in expensive stocks without buying full shares. 

Fidelity is feature-rich without being overwhelming. The app’s dashboard includes updated research, insights, and news. You’ll get the latest professional insights from Fidelity’s team of specialists.

You will enjoy benefits such as zero account fees and integration with Fidelity banking services. For even more features, the app integrates with both Apple Watch and Google Assistant. 

5. M1 Finance

M1 Finance is the go-to investment app for long-term investors who want to build wealth with ease. The hybrid setup gives you the option to let the app invest for you or allows you to manually hand-pick a portfolio of 80+ stocks. 

The first option is powered by a robo advisor, while the second one lets you set up an investing schedule that fits your financial needs (choose between ETFs and fractional shares).

Thanks to pie investing, you can maintain a diversified portfolio even with a smaller investing account. If you want flexibility, you can go for a blend of both strategies.

The app may not offer minute-to-minute trading functionality, but it provides an IRA and a taxable account. What’s exciting is that provided you invest at least $500 or $100 respectively, both accounts are fee-free. 

You can deposit money into your account and check your progress from any location and at any time. The platform will automatically rebalance your portfolio as long as you continue contributing. Dynamic rebalancing gives you the ability to streamline your investments.

M1 Finance allows you to set up recurring deposits/withdrawals into and out of your account. Ensure you have at least $10k in your account if you intend to have a credit line with a flexible payback schedule. 

If you want to enjoy more stock options, a lower line of credit, 1% cashback, and other benefits, you can upgrade to an M1 Plus. The annual fee is Here, you’ll be required to part with a $125 annual fee.

Automated Free Investment Apps

Here are free investment apps if you want investment guidance in an automated fashion:

6. Personal Capital

Since its establishment in 2009, Personal Capital has maintained a top position as a successful Fin-tech product.

With over $8 billion worth of assets under management (AUM) under its belt, Personal Capital’s services revolve around a fusion of expert assistance and data-driven methodologies. 

The app is easy to set up and use. Once you’ve set up the app, you don’t have to pay much attention. It invests your money in a pre-selected portfolio of ETFs and individual securities. 

The app’s dashboard-style interface combines all of your accounts. You can now consolidate all of your investment information in one suitable place. This gives you a holistic view of your finances.

You need to invest a minimum of $100k. After hitting a million dollars, you will be charged a wealth management fee of 0.89 percent. As your investments increase, the fee will continue to reduce.

You can join for free today to receive friendly email customer support. Other benefits of this app include smart indexing, tax-loss harvesting, and automated rebalancing.

7. Acorns 

Acorns is the best app for you if you are contemplating investing but aren’t diligent about saving money. It’s one of the older of the new breed of personal finance apps.

You can invest automatically based on how often you whip out a debit/credit card. Just open an account in 5 minutes, link your card to the app and answer a few questions about your risk tolerance, age, etc. Acorns will automatically save your spare change for you!

Acorns does this by rounding up the total to the nearest dollar (or a selected amount) when you use the card linked to that account, making investing a daily habit. The new “found money” will give you up to a 5 percent bonus deposit when you buy products from participating brands. 

Acorns will then invest this change (once your total hits $5) into 1 of 5 preset portfolios. The portfolios range from conservative to aggressive. 

You can then browse the ETFs to invest in. Over time, you will save and build your portfolio with little effort on your side.

The spare change method is not the only way to contribute to your investment account on Acorns. If you wish, you can set up recurring or one time deposits by opening a standard investment or individual retirement (Acorns Later) account.

You will pay a monthly fee of $1 for Acorns Lite, $2 for Personal, and $3 for Family. If you make frequent purchases, this monthly fee makes sense.

On reaching the $1 million threshold, you will become an accredited user and pay only $100 for every $1 million you invest.

If you’re a college student with a .edu email address, you can enjoy Acorns Core free of charge for four years. 

8. Betterment

Established a decade ago, Betterment boasts of being the first publicly available robo-advisor. It automates the investment process from start to finish and is the perfect app if you prefer long term investing.

The signup process is straightforward. When you first download Betterment, you’ll answer a few questions to establish your investment objectives and how risk-averse you’d like to be. Based on your answers, they will suggest a portfolio that is in line with your goals.

The “RetireGuide” function will help you determine how much money you should deposit each week to meet your retirement goal. 

This app will automatically perform tax-loss harvesting on all your accounts. If you are looking for an investment app that will save you on taxes, you should give Betterment a shot. 

Betterment’s asset allocation strategy sees that different investments are allocated in a very tax-efficient manner. It doesn’t matter whether you have a retirement or taxable account, it is the best choice if you’re interested in after-tax return. 

If you have investment accounts outside Betterment, the app will allow you to monitor all of your assets in one place.

Let’s talk about charges. Expect to pay lower charges than you’d pay for a traditional financial adviser. You can either pick a digital or premium portfolio.

Betterment’s basic digital plan has no account minimum but charges a transparent 0.25 percent annual account management fee. 

With a premium portfolio, you have 24/7 access to certified financial planners and can get advice on outside investment accounts.

There’s a catch, though; you have to pay a higher account management fee (0.4 percent) and have a minimum of $100k. 

9. Wealthsimple

If you want an automated investment app with SRI (socially responsible investing), Wealthsimple is the app for you. It’s an exciting, creative app that combines powerful technology with human help.

Wealthsimple portfolios are streamlined to ETF holdings associated with human rights, cleantech, low carbon footprint businesses, and environment.

Thanks to the refer a friend feature, you can invite friends sharing the same values as you and have your first $10k managed for free.

There is no account minimum, but you have to part with a 0.25 percent management fee. This means that once you’ve linked a bank account, you can start trading with as little as $1.

Besides commission-free stock trading, you get CIPF protection for balances up to $1 million. Other security measures include data encryption and two-factor authentication. 

DIY Free Investment Apps

Here are free investment apps if you want to become more involved with your investing:

10. Webull 

Are your investment decisions based on weeks of research? Webull is a brilliant tool that helps DIY investors like you manage investments on the go.

You will enjoy free margin trading, research agency ratings, technical indicators (relative strength indexes, moving averages), and short selling and financial calendars. 

For margin trading approval, you’ll need a $2000 minimum account balance. 

Before risking real money, you can use Webull’s virtual trading simulator to create a virtual portfolio. Use the $1 million fake money to test out strategies before going all in. 

You receive alerts when a rate of change hits a defined level, or a price level is hit. Get A Free Stock up to $1600 when You Deposit $100!

11. Ally Invest

Formerly, Trade King, Ally Invest, is the investing division of Ally Bank. Unlike most banks, Ally Bank is a purely online bank with no physical locations. 

Ally Invest is a great choice if you want a more hands-on way of investing your money. They offer commission-free trading on US-listed ETFs, stock, and options trades.

You can either open a managed account if you’re a beginner or a self-directed account if you’re an active/day trader. 

Of all the stock investing apps in this list, Ally Invest has the best promotional offers. You can trade mutual funds, bonds, stocks, and Forex with no minimum account balance.

There are no account inactivity fees, and you can enjoy trading stocks for free. 

The account minimum is $100. You’ll receive a $50 cash bonus for the first $10k you deposit. Cash bonuses can go as high as $3500 for higher deposits. 

If you’re already trading with another brokerage, Ally Invest will credit transfer fees up to $150! Other benefits you will enjoy with this app include free research advisory and round the clock online chat support. 

12. Stockpile

If you want low commissions on trades and fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, you should consider Stockpile. 

Stockpile makes investing in high priced securities manageable. For instance, it can be difficult for a beginner to raise $1000 to buy 1 Amazon share. You can instead buy 0.05 shares at a more affordable price ($50).

New Stockpile users receive $5 to invest in cryptocurrencies through the app’s ETFs. 

Thanks to Stockpile’s stock as a gift card feature, you can buy stocks and ETFs in the form of gift cards. This is a fun way to get your kids into investing. You don’t need an account to give a gift.

Stockpile also lets you purchase American Depository receipts which you can use to invest in foreign companies. 

If you have an investment account, you can use cash to buy stock, but you have to part with $0.99 for every transaction. For gift cards, there is a charge of $2.99 for the first stock. There is a $2,000 maximum for a gift card.

Thanks to their 256-bit encryption, your sensitive personal information is protected.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to ease into investing, you can rest assured there are free investment apps out there designed to make the process smooth. All the apps in this list are free to download and charge low (or no) fees.

Time is on your side…

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. The earlier you start, the more time you have to put your money to work. 

By exploring micro-investing from a young age, you can build positive saving habits that will last a lifetime.

As a rule of thumb, never invest more than you can afford to lose. Consider honing your skills by playing virtual stock market games.

You should seek professional financial advice if you’re unsure how to proceed, especially if you plan to invest a lot of money. For more investment ideas, you can read real estate investment books for beginners.

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