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11 Best Investment Apps of 2020

Andrea CoombesSeptember 14, 2020

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You can do just about anything on your phone — including invest, thanks to a variety of investment and stock trading apps.

All of the brokers on our list of best brokers for stock trading have high-quality apps. But if mobile trading is most important to you, these 10 investing apps are NerdWallet’s picks for the best of 2020. (Need more info to get started? Read our primer on how to buy stocks.)

Summary of Best Investment Apps of 2020

Merrill Edge

on Merrill Edge's website

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

on Merrill Edge's website


Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

Merrill Edge offers high-quality customer service, robust research and low fees. Customers of parent company Bank of America will love the seamless, thoughtful integration, with a single login to access both accounts.

Pros

  • Robust third-party research.

  • Integrated with Bank of America.

Cons

  • Advanced traders may find fewer securities on offer.

Read Full Review
Stash

on Stash's website

Stash

Fees

$1 - $9

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $510

cash credit to invest with qualifying deposit

on Stash's website


Promotion

Up to $510

cash credit to invest with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

Stash offers educational assistance that can save you money in the long run, by teaching you how to manage your portfolio. But once you’ve learned the basics, you may find you’re unlikely to get much more in exchange for Stash’s ongoing monthly fee.

Pros

  • Educational content and support.

  • Fractional shares.

  • Values-based investment offerings.

Cons

  • No investment management.

  • High ETF expense ratios.

Read Full Review
Acorns

on Acorns's website

Acorns

Fees

$1 - $5

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on Acorns's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

The automatic roundups at Acorns make saving and investing easy, and most investors will be surprised by how quickly those pennies accumulate. Roundups can be supplemented by lump-sum deposits and Acorns’ FoundMoney program, a network of retail partners who offer account holders cash back.

Pros

  • Automatically invests spare change.

  • Cash back at select retailers.

  • Educational content available.

Cons

  • Small investment portfolio.

  • High fee on small account balances.

Read Full Review
SoFi Active Investing

on SoFi Invest's website

SoFi Active Investing

SoFi Active Investing

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

on SoFi Invest's website


Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

SoFi Active Investing's $0 trading commission and $0 account minimum is attractive to new investors, but a lack of investment choices such as mutual funds and bonds is a drawback for those saving for retirement.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Cryptocurrency trading.

  • Fractional shares available.

  • No account minimum.

  • Free financial counseling.

Cons

  • Small selection of tradable securities.

  • Limited track record.

Read Full Review
Robinhood

on Robinhood's website

Robinhood

Robinhood

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on Robinhood's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Robinhood is truly free: There are no hidden costs here. You’ll give up a few things in exchange for free trades — trading tools, research, education, investment options beyond stocks and ETFs — but if limiting costs is your No. 1 concern, Robinhood is a solid choice.

Pros

  • No account minimum.

  • Streamlined interface.

  • Cryptocurrency trading.

Cons

  • No retirement accounts.

  • No mutual funds or bonds.

  • Limited customer support.

Read Full Review
E*TRADE

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE

E*TRADE

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

E*TRADE has long been one of the most popular online brokers. The company's $0 commissions and strong trading platforms appeal to active traders, while beginner investors benefit from a large library of educational resources.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use tools.

  • Large investment selection.

  • Excellent customer support.

  • Access to extensive research.

  • Advanced mobile app.

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

Cons

  • Website can be difficult to navigate.

Read Full Review

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Brokerage app FAQs

How much money do I need to get started?

Shockingly little. Thanks to micro-investing apps like Acorns and Stash, you can kick-start an investment portfolio with small amounts of money — just your spare change, in fact. Acorns, for example, sweeps a linked credit or debit card account, rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the change. Stash offers a similar opt-in feature that rounds up purchases to deposit money in a user's account.

Beyond the micro-investing apps, the amount of money you’ll need to begin investing after you open your account depends on the assets you intend to buy. Individual stock shares range from as little as a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per share. Mutual funds often have minimums of $1,000 or more, but exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are essentially mutual funds that trade like a stock, and they can often be purchased for less than many mutual funds. Don’t forget, too, that some brokers charge trading fees every time you buy or sell an investment. The good news there is that many brokers now offer free trades.

Many of NerdWallet’s picks for best apps have account minimums of $5 or less, so you can open an account right away and over the internet. Here’s more on what a brokerage account is and how to open one.

Which investment app is best for stock traders?

In the summary table above we’ve categorized our best investing apps based in part on price (trading costs and account fees), mobile platform features and account minimums.

What is the best investment app for beginners?

For new investors just learning the ropes, Acorns and Stash are worthy contenders for your first investing dollars. One reason is that their services focus on ETFs instead of just individual stocks, although Stash also offers about 150 stocks.

While the idea of buying individual stocks might be exciting, building a portfolio of stocks requires a fair amount of research and discipline. ETFs offer instant diversification in that they contain shares of multiple companies (dozens, even) like a mutual fund, but trade like individual stocks. (Check out this full explainer on ETFs.)

Although all the other brokers allow investing in ETFs through their apps, Acorns takes a different approach by steering investors towards pre-built portfolios that contain multiple ETFs, diversifying your investment dollars across a collection of stocks and bonds. Portfolios are based on your tolerance for risk — based on your age, goals and time horizon — and automatically rebalanced when the stock market fluctuates. Acorns uses a handful of ETF portfolios that range from aggressive to conservative. Stash doesn't offer pre-built portfolios but helps investors choose specific ETFs based on themes (e.g., “Clean and Green” is an ETF that holds environmentally responsible companies).

If buying individual shares of companies is something you’d like to do, see our guide on How to Buy Stocks.

What assets can I trade on these apps?

The mobile trading experience varies by broker — and so do the range of available assets. Among the picks for best apps, Acorns offers only ETFs, while TD Ameritrade’s offerings include individual stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, options and currency (or forex).

Is my money insured?

Just as FDIC insurance insures bank accounts, SIPC insurance insures the money you have in your brokerage account (or robo-advisor account) up to $500,000. $250,000 of that total can be applied to protect cash that you haven’t yet invested. All of NerdWallet’s picks for best apps are members of the SIPC.

However, it’s important to note that investments you make in your account can potentially fall in value or even decrease to zero, and investment losses are not covered by any type of insurance. (Here’s more on SIPC insurance and what it does and doesn’t protect.)

Last updated on September 14, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for brokers and robo-advisors are weighted averages of several categories, including investment selection, customer support, account fees, account minimum, trading costs and more. Our survey of brokers and robo-advisors includes the largest U.S. providers by assets under management, plus notable and/or emerging players in the industry. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include advisory fees, branch access, user-facing technology, customer service and mobile features. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.