Best of

7 Best Investment Apps of 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our pick for

Stock trading, no account minimum

TD Ameritrade

on TD Ameritrade's website

on TD Ameritrade's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

TD Ameritrade meets the needs of both active traders and beginner investors with quality trading platforms, $0 commissions on online stock, options and ETF trades and a large selection of mutual funds.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.
  • Free research.
  • High-quality trading platforms.
  • No account minimum.
  • Good customer support.
  • Large investment selection.

Cons

  • Costly broker-assisted trades.
  • High short-term ETF trading fee.
Read full review

Our pick for

Stock trading

E-Trade

on E-Trade's website

on E-Trade's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$100 to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

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

Our picks for

Advanced trading

TradeStation

on TradeStation's website

on TradeStation's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

Up to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

TradeStation is a strong choice for active stock, options and futures investors who rely on the broker’s high-octane trading platform, reams of research and sophisticated analytical tools. Active traders will like its per share/per contract and unbundled pricing plans. There's also a flat-fee plan and the TSgo plan that offers pared-down features but also $0 trade commissions. A lack of commission-free ETFs and mutual funds can be a turnoff to some investors.

Pros

  • High-quality trading platforms.
  • Comprehensive research.
  • Low commissions.
  • Advanced tools.
  • Active trader community.

Cons

  • No commission-free ETFs.
  • Minimum balance requirement for active trading platform.
Read full review
Interactive Brokers

on Interactive Brokers's website

on Interactive Brokers's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

No promotion available at this time

Interactive Brokers is a strong option for advanced, frequent traders: The broker offers international trade capabilities, low commissions and a quality trading platform. New traders might be turned off by inactivity fees, high balance requirements and a lack of educational resources.

Pros

  • Free trades.
  • Wide investment selection.
  • Advanced tools on Pro tier.

Cons

  • Complex pricing on some investments.
  • Inactivity fees on Pro tier.
Read full review

Our picks for

Beginners

Acorns

on Acorns's website

on Acorns's website

Fees

$1 - $3/month

/month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to 4 years

free management for college students

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

  • Free management for college students
  • 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
Fees

$1 - $9 / month

/month

Account Minimum

$5

Promotion

1

month free management

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.
  • Low account minimum.
  • Fractional shares.
  • Values-based investment offerings.

Cons

  • No investment management.
  • High ETF expense ratios.
Read full review

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

Summary of Best Investment Apps of 2019

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
TD Ameritrade Logo

TD Ameritrade

on TD Ameritrade's website

$0

per trade

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

$0

on TD Ameritrade's website

E-Trade Logo

E-Trade

on E-Trade's website

$0

per trade

$100 to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$0

on E-Trade's website

TradeStation Logo

TradeStation

on TradeStation's website

$0

per trade

Up to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$500

on TradeStation's website

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers

on Interactive Brokers's website

$0

per trade

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

on Interactive Brokers's website

Robinhood Logo

Robinhood

$0

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

Read review
Acorns Logo

Acorns

on Acorns's website

$1 - $3/month

/month

Up to 4 years

free management for college students

$0

on Acorns's website

Stash Invest Logo

Stash Invest

$1 - $9 / month

/month

1

month free management

$5

Read review
BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
TD Ameritrade Logo

TD Ameritrade

on TD Ameritrade's website

$0

per trade

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

$0

on TD Ameritrade's website

E-Trade Logo

E-Trade

on E-Trade's website

$0

per trade

$100 to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$0

on E-Trade's website

TradeStation Logo

TradeStation

on TradeStation's website

$0

per trade

Up to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

$500

on TradeStation's website

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers

on Interactive Brokers's website

$0

per trade

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

on Interactive Brokers's website

Robinhood Logo

Robinhood

$0

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

Read review
Acorns Logo

Acorns

on Acorns's website

$1 - $3/month

/month

Up to 4 years

free management for college students

$0

on Acorns's website

Stash Invest Logo

Stash Invest

$1 - $9 / month

/month

1

month free management

$5

Read review

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. And don’t forget the related commissions for any investment purchase, which generally start at about $5 per trade. Robinhood is an exception to the commission issue: All trades are free. You just need to come up with the money to purchase a single share of the stock you want.

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 picks by investor type based in part on price (trading costs and account fees), mobile platform features, account minimums and available assets.

For advanced and active traders, TradeStation and Interactive Brokers have mobile offerings with appealing features, including sophisticated on-the-go analytical tools and complex trade technology. These brokers also offer volume trading discounts.

For stock traders who trade less frequently than day traders, E-Trade and TD Ameritrade are our top choices. Both of these brokers have mobile offerings that go the distance to mirror their desktop trading platforms.

Traders who place low costs above all else might also consider Robinhood, our top pick for low costs. You can’t beat free trades, which is what Robinhood’s known for. And with its $0 minimum you can get started with just the price of a single share of a stock or ETF. The catch? Its platform is more bare-bones than many of its more traditional competitors.

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 a limited number of 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 and Stash take 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 gives investors a choice of portfolios based on themes (e.g., “Clean and Green,” which 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 May 28, 2019

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.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Investment Apps of 2019