BEST OF

Best Stock Apps Right Now: 11 Top Picks for May 2022

The best apps to buy stocks offer free trades, a powerful mobile trading platform and high user ratings. Below are our picks for the best stock apps.

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Stock apps are having a bit of a moment: While previously there were only a few popular ones, the mobile stock-trading field has exploded after Robinhood's early success. Online brokers have clamored to up their game in order to compete with a rise of newcomers.

All of that is good news for consumers: The best stock apps now nearly mirror powerful desktop and web platforms, with advanced functionality, analysis tools, research and watch lists. They also offer low or no commissions on stock trades, low account fees and no minimum investment.

If you're looking to place trades on the go, review our list of the best apps to buy stocks below. You'll note that many of these come from established online brokers — that's because these companies tend to offer apps with the most well-rounded capabilities for stock and options traders.

Best Stock Apps Right Now: 11 Top Picks

Merrill Edge
Learn more

on Merrill Edge's website

Merrill Edge

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Merrill Edge

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

when you invest in a new Merrill Edge® Self-Directed account.

Learn more

on Merrill Edge's website


Promotion

Up to $600

when you invest in a new Merrill Edge® Self-Directed account.

Why we like it

Merrill Edge’s investing app is highly rated among iOS users for its customer support and is integrated with Bank of America for a seamless investing and banking experience. It offers robust research and a library of educational content to help you find the right investment. The broker’s Idea Builder tool helps newer investors find the right investment, including environmental and social investors.

Pros

  • Robust third-party research.

  • Integrated with Bank of America.

Cons

  • Advanced traders may find fewer securities on offer.

Read Full Review
Fidelity
Learn more

on Fidelity's website

Fidelity

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fidelity

Fees

$0

per trade for online U.S. stocks and ETFs

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get $100

when you open a new, eligible Fidelity account with $50 or more. Use code FIDELITY100. Limited time offer. Terms apply.

Learn more

on Fidelity's website


Promotion

Get $100

when you open a new, eligible Fidelity account with $50 or more. Use code FIDELITY100. Limited time offer. Terms apply.

Why we like it

Fidelity's mobile apps are highly rated by users, and offer real-time quotes, advanced options trading strategies and streamlined access to investment research. Fidelity also offers a customized app experience for its Youth Account, with in-app educational resources.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.

  • Large selection of research providers.

  • Strong customer service.

  • Expense-ratio-free index funds.

  • Highly rated mobile app.

Cons

  • Relatively high broker-assisted trade fee.

Read Full Review
E*TRADE
Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
E*TRADE

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get up to $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

Learn more

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

Get up to $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

Why we like it

E*TRADE offers two free mobile apps that allow you to not only manage your account and place trades, but also access real-time quotes, as well as stock and ETF screeners. The broker's Power E*TRADE app can be used for trading complex strategies, including four-legged option spreads. It also offers access to popular technical studies, charts and streaming quotes.

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
Learn more

on TD Ameritrade's website

TD Ameritrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
TD Ameritrade

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on TD Ameritrade's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

TD Ameritrade is known for its powerful trading platforms, and that extends to its mobile apps: The broker's highly-rated thinkorswim app is a solid companion to the desktop platform, offering many of the same capabilities. Traders can place simple to complex stock, ETF, options, futures and forex trades.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

  • Large investment selection.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

Read Full Review
SoFi Active Investing
Learn more

on SoFi Invest's website

SoFi Active Investing

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Active Investing

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

$5 to $1,000

in free stock for users who sign up via mobile app

Learn more

on SoFi Invest's website


Promotion

$5 to $1,000

in free stock for users who sign up via mobile app

Why we like it

SoFi Active Investing offers two free mobile apps that are both highly rated by iOS and Android users. The apps allow investors to place trades, track the performance of their existing investments and access real-time quotes.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Cryptocurrency trading.

  • Fractional shares available.

  • No account minimum.

  • Free financial counseling.

Cons

  • Small selection of tradable securities.

Read Full Review
Vanguard
Learn more

on Vanguard's website

Vanguard

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Vanguard

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Vanguard's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Vanguard's mobile apps cater to the retirement investors Vanguard aims to attract, and they provide all the functionality needed by those account holders: Trade capabilities for stocks, ETFs and mutual funds, plus the ability to monitor account and investment performance. Users rate Vanguard's apps highly.

Pros

  • Large mutual fund selection.

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

  • Leader in low-cost funds.

Cons

  • Basic trading platform only.

  • Limited research and data.

Read Full Review
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
Learn more

on J.P. Morgan's website

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get up to $625

when you open and fund a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account with qualifying new money

Learn more

on J.P. Morgan's website


Promotion

Get up to $625

when you open and fund a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account with qualifying new money

Why we like it

J.P. Morgan’s mobile app offers a way to begin investing and managing your portfolio. The Self Directed Investing app connects to Chase accounts, creating a seamless and streamlined experience for Chase customers to easily trade stocks, ETFs, options, bonds and mutual funds. However, J.P. Morgan’s additional investment products, such as the Portfolio Builder tool, require a $2,500 minimum that could be prohibitive to some investors. Self-Directed Investing also doesn’t allow investing in futures, forex or cryptocurrencies, nor does it offer fractional shares.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use platform.

  • $0 commissions.

  • App connects all Chase accounts.

  • No account minimum.

Cons

  • Limited tools and research.

  • Portfolio Builder tool requires $2,500 balance.

Read Full Review
Ally Invest
Learn more

on Ally Invest's website

Ally Invest

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Invest

Fees

$0

per trade (on eligible US securities)

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

$100-$3,000

in cash bonus with qualifying deposit.

Learn more

on Ally Invest's website


Promotion

$100-$3,000

in cash bonus with qualifying deposit.

Why we like it

Ally’s investing app offers competitive pricing that appeals to beginner investors and advanced stock traders alike. Commission-free trades, an easy-to-use platform and investing tools make it simple to get started. Ally also offers robust research and free screening tools, charting and real-time data. For more advanced trading, investors can access Ally’s suite of tools for technical investors, including forex trading. The drawbacks: Ally doesn’t offer no-transaction-fee mutual funds, which can be helpful in diversifying your portfolio.

Pros

  • Commission-free trades on eligible U.S. stocks, options and ETFs.

  • No account minimum.

  • Strong web-based platform.

  • Robust research and tools.

Cons

  • No no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

  • No branches.

Read Full Review
TradeStation
Learn more

on TradeStation's website

TradeStation

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
TradeStation

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$500

Promotion

$50-$5000

cash credit with a minimum deposit of $5,000.

Learn more

on TradeStation's website


Promotion

$50-$5000

cash credit with a minimum deposit of $5,000.

Why we like it

TradeStation's mobile apps for iOS and Android are both highly rated by users and offer all the core features of the broker's powerful desktop platform.

Pros

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • Comprehensive research.

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.

  • Advanced tools.

  • Active trader community.

Cons

  • Free trading on advanced platform requires TS Select.

  • No transaction-fee-free mutual funds.

  • Plans and pricing can be confusing.

Read Full Review

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

Last updated on May 11, 2022

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Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APY

0.70%

With $0 min. balance for APY

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

0.70%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

American Express® High Yield Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
American Express® High Yield Savings Account

APY

0.65%

With $1 min. balance for APY

at American Express National Bank, Member FDIC

Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers and robo-advisors by assets under management, along with emerging industry players, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs.

DATA COLLECTION AND REVIEW PROCESS

We collect data directly from providers, and conduct firsthand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questionnaires to providers to complete. The questionnaires are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses from providers. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The questionnaire answers, combined with product demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (1 star) to excellent (5 stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

RATING FACTORS

Evaluations vary by provider type, but in each case are based upon the weighted averages of factors that include but are not limited to: advisory and account fees, account minimums and types, investment selection, investment expense ratios, trading costs, access to human financial advisors, educational resources and tools, rebalancing and tax minimization options, and customer support including branch access, user-facing technology and mobile platforms.

Each factor can involve evaluating various sub-factors. For instance, when gauging the investment selections offered by robo-advisors, 80% of the score is based on the potential for diversification (how well-diversified a resulting portfolio of investments could be) combined with the availability of specialty portfolios and level of customization for investors. Expense ratios form an additional 10% of the score, and low or no management fee the remaining 10%.

FACTOR WEIGHTINGS

The weighting of each factor is based on our team’s assessment of which features are the most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way. The factors considered, and how those factors are weighted, change depending upon the category of providers reviewed.

Provider categories include: Best Brokers for Stock Trading, Best Brokers for Beginners, Best Brokers for Day Trading, Best Brokers for Options Trading, Best Discount Brokers, Best Brokers for Free Trading, Best Investment Apps, Best Brokers for Penny Stocks, Best IRA Brokers, Best Robo-Advisors, Best Financial Advisors, Best Real Estate Platforms, Best Brokers for ETFs and Best Brokers for Mutual Funds.

INFORMATION UPDATES

Writers and editors conduct our broker and robo-advisor reviews on an annual basis but continually make updates throughout the year. We maintain frequent contact with providers and highlight any changes in offerings.

THE REVIEW TEAM

The review team comprises seasoned writers, researchers and editors who cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, alternative investments, socially responsible investing, financial advisors, retirement and investment strategy on a daily basis. In addition to NerdWallet, the work of our team members has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Nasdaq, MSN, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance and other national and regional media outlets.

The combined expertise of our Investing team is infused into our review process to ensure thoughtful evaluations of provider products and services from the customer perspective. Our writers and editors combine to have more than 70 years of deep experience in finance, ranging from a former Wall Street Journal reporter to a former senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

While NerdWallet does have partnerships with many of the reviewed providers, we manage potential conflicts of interest by maintaining a wall between our content and business operations. This wall is designed to prevent our writers and the review process from being influenced or impacted by our business partnerships. This way, all reviews can provide an unbiased review that serves the interests of our users.

Frequently asked questions