The Best Investment Apps

Advisors, Brokers, Investing, Investing Strategy

NerdWallet offers financial tools and advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions. The guidance we offer and info we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent.

We spent over 300 hours reviewing the top online brokers before selecting the best for our readers. And to help you find the one that’s best for you, we’ve highlighted their pros, cons and current offers.

These days, you can do just about anything on your phone — including invest, thanks to a steady stream of investment and stock trading apps.

No matter what kind of investor you are — beginner or advanced, indexer or stock trader — you can find an app that will let you execute your strategy right from your pocket. Don’t have a strategy? No problem. There are apps that will create one for you.

Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the best investing apps this year.

Best stock trading apps

These online brokers offer best-in-class mobile experiences.

If you’re the kind of investor who frequently trades on the go, a high-quality mobile investment app is probably at the top of your list when choosing an online broker. Brokers are constantly innovating to one-up the competition, and these apps are no longer just for checking your account balances. The best stock trading apps bring analysis tools, real-time data and advanced trade capabilities — including complex options trades — right to your phone.

E-Trade and TD Ameritrade both have mobile offerings that go the distance to mirror a desktop trading platform. E-Trade, which has long helped set the bar for online trading tools, offers a mobile app with custom screeners, multi-leg options orders, real-time quotes and access to the company’s large educational library. TD Ameritrade’s Mobile Trader, one of two apps the company offers, brings more than 300 technical indicators, full options capabilities, virtual trading and in-app support via texts with a trading specialist.

E-Trade’s app is available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android, Amazon and Windows Phone. TD Ameritrade’s is available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android and BlackBerry.

Best free-trading app

Robinhood allows investors to trade stocks commission-free.

There’s not a whole lot better than free, and the stock investing app from Robinhood brings completely commission-free trading. Users can trade more than 5,000 stocks and exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. Of course, there’s a trade-off to free trading, and that’s a streamlined interface without any of the advanced trading tools that major brokers offer.

It’s worth noting that Robinhood supports only taxable accounts (this is where we tell you to fund your tax-advantaged retirement accounts before using an app to play the market). The app is available for iOS and Android.

Best investing apps for beginners

Two new apps are a good fit for new investors.

Maybe stock trading isn’t for you. That’s fine — wise even, in some cases. You might prefer an app that guides you as you learn the ropes of investing. Stash and Acorns fit the bill: Both allow you to invest in ETFs, though the way they do that is what sets them apart.

Acorns is based on roundups: It sweeps linked accounts, rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar and investing the change. You can also deposit lump sums, if you’d like, and even set up recurring transfers into your investment account. The company functions like a robo-advisor after that, investing that change in low-cost ETFs based on your risk tolerance and goals. Its 0.25% annual management fee is for balances above $5,000; for smaller balances, the cost is $1 per month.

Stash also gives investors access to ETFs, but based on a theme: You can choose to invest in Clean and Green, for instance, an ETF that holds — you guessed it — environmentally responsible companies. The aim is to make choosing investments as easy as possible. Both services can help get you in the habit of investing. The downside: They, too, are limited to taxable accounts, and you’ll pay a fee for the services. Its 0.25% annual management fee is for balances above $5,000; for smaller balances, the cost is $1 per month.

Acorns’ and Stash’s apps are available for iOS and Android.

Summary: The best investment apps

App
Best
for
Platforms
Commiss-
ion or management fee
Promotion
Account minimum
Start investing

TD Ameritrade

Stock trading
Available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android and BlackBerry
$6.95
per trade
$100 bonus ($25,000+ deposit)
up to $600 ($250,000+ deposit)
$0

E*Trade

E*Trade
Stock trading
Available for iOS (including Apple Watch), Android, Amazon and Windows Phone
$6.95
per trade; volume discounts
60 days of commission-free trades ($10,000+ deposit)
$500

Robinhood

Robinhood
Free trading
Available for iOS and Android
$0
per trade
None
$0

Acorns

Acorns
Beginners
Available for iOS and Android
$1/month for balances under $5,000; 0.25% annual fee for balances of $5,000 or more
Free for college students with a valid .edu address
$0; must have $5 to begin investing

Stash

Stash

Beginners
Available for iOS and Android
$1/month for balances under $5,000; 0.25% annual fee for balances of $5,000 or more
Get the first three months free
$5

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.

Updated March 31, 2017