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10 Best Investment Apps of 2020

Andrea CoombesApril 2, 2020

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.

E*TRADE

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE

E*TRADE

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$100 to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit or transfer

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

$100 to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit or transfer

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
TD Ameritrade

on TD Ameritrade's website

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

on TD Ameritrade's website


Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

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.

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
Stash Invest

on Stash Invest's website

Stash Invest

Stash Invest

Fees

$1 - $9

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $560

cash credit to invest with qualifying deposit

on Stash Invest's website


Promotion

Up to $560

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 - $3

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion at this time

on Acorns's website


Promotion

None

no promotion 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

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

Summary of Best Investment Apps of 2020

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
E*TRADE Logo

E*TRADE

on E*TRADE's website

$0

per trade

$100 to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit or transfer

$0

on E*TRADE's website

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

Robinhood Logo

Robinhood

on Robinhood's website

$0

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

on Robinhood's website

Stash Invest Logo

Stash Invest

on Stash Invest's website

$1 - $9

per month

Up to $560

cash credit to invest with qualifying deposit

$0

on Stash Invest's website

Acorns Logo

Acorns

on Acorns's website

$1 - $3

per month

None

no promotion at this time

$0

on Acorns's website

SoFi Active Investing Logo

SoFi Active Investing

on SoFi Invest's website

$0

per trade

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$0

on SoFi Invest's website

Merrill Edge Logo

Merrill Edge

$0

per trade

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

$0

Read review
Ally Invest Logo

Ally Invest

$0

per trade

$50 - $3,500

in cash bonus with qualifying deposit.

$0

Read review
Charles Schwab Logo

Charles Schwab

$0

per trade

None

No promotion at this time

$0

Read review
Fidelity Logo

Fidelity

$0

per trade

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

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. 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 April 2, 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.