Best Stock Trading Apps (Reviews & Comparisons)

Last Updated on May 3, 2020

Isn’t it a great time to be a stock trader? You don’t need thousands of dollars to open a stock trading account. Stock trades in advanced markets can get cleared and settled at central securities depositories (CSDs) within minutes of execution.

And thanks to financial technology, traders have several stock trading resources at their immediate disposal. All the digital stockbroker platforms and free equity securities education portals have made stock trading a straightforward skill even for the novice traders. Stock traders have a vast selection of full-service and discount brokers to choose from as their stock trading facilitator/partner.

All publicly traded shares on stock exchanges change ownership via settlement at international and domestic CSDs. The trading of over-the-counter market stocks happens on dealer networks. But when sold to stock traders, they’re also cleared through a CSD on an electronic communication network.

Quick Picks: 

  1. Robinhood – Best Free Stock Trading App
  2. Acorns – Best for Hands-Off Beginner Investors
  3. Stockpile – Best for Learning How to Invest
  4. TD Ameritrade – Most Comprehensive
  5. Wealthfront – Best Large Firm with Simplicity

To access exchanges or buy stocks from a dealer, you must use a stockbroker, which acts as a financial market intermediary. The dematerialization of equity securities led to the automation of stock trading. Today, virtually all stockbrokers have an online presence to enable the convenient buying and selling of equities.

On these stockbroker platforms, trading either happens on a web-based system, the stockbroker-designed personal computer (PC) program, or a mobile application. Every stock trader works with a platform that suits them.

The quest to give stock traders a smooth trading experience has led to the creation of a multitude of trading apps. A glance at the Google android or Apple stores reveals hundreds if not thousands of stock trading apps. More trading apps could be in the making now that other smart device operating systems (such as Huawei’s) are entering the smartphone space.

Plus, current Google-based and Apple-based stock trading apps keep getting iterations and updates, not to mention the growing numbers of beta versions of stock trading apps. So, brace yourself for a stock trading app attack in the coming days. But then again, it means that your variety gets wider and wider, and you have this guide to make sure you pick the right app.

You’ll find this compilation of stock trading apps extremely useful; there’s an app for everyone, including kids and young adults in college.

1. TD Ameritrade

It’s hard to talk about stock trading apps without mentioning TD Ameritrade. The brokerage firm rakes in stock traders by offering commission-free transactions for all US exchange-listed stocks, ETFs, and options. The only charges you incur are the security and exchange commission and FINRA (financial markets regulator) fees.

What can you do on the TD Ameritrade app? You can access all the features available on thinkorswim (the PC version) and integrate the app to your Apple smartwatch to receive alerts. Stock trading accounts come at no-cost and $0 minimum balances. IRA (Individual Retirement Accounts) accounts need no maintenance fee. The app also provides sizeable research and portfolio analysis assistance for better stock trading.

2. Robinhood

Robinhood-Feather-LogoYou wouldn’t be wrong to say that Robinhood is in a class of its own. It borrows heavily from the legend of Robinhood only that there is no stealing involved. Instead, this stock trading app makes it possible for its millions of clients to trade stocks and bundled investments (ETFs and other funds) absolutely free.

The app comes with limit orders and stop-loss order features and the capacity to make instant deposits and stock trades. With zero account minimums and access to over 1000 international stocks, Robinhood is the app to download to save trading costs significantly.

Pros

  • Commission-free trades on stocks, options, and ETFs
  • No account minimum
  • Easy to use interface
  • Access to popular cryptocurrencies

Cons

  • Lack of investment choice — no retirement accounts, mutual funds, or bonds
  • Limited customer support

3. Stockpile

If you fancy the idea of literally carrying around your stock portfolio in your smartphone and the ability to get stock gift cards, look no farther than Stockpile. Besides trading stocks on the app, you can use the stock gift cards to buy single stocks or fractional stocks.

It’ll cost you as low as 99 cents. You get to own a fraction of a blue-chip stock without having to buy its total share or lots of it, which can be a huge dollar sum.

And what better way to engage your kids in time value of money lessons than by using Stockpile’s gift cards. Your kids can learn how to buy stocks and trade them, reinvest the gains and dividends, and get solid financial planning life skills before they even move out.

Stockpile has a similar setup to the TradeHero app, except for virtual money. TradeHero operates around a stock trading game, making it ideal for training kids.

4. Wealthfront

In line with financial planning, the Wealthfront app is hands down the number one choice for anybody looking to manage their finances better. Once you download the app, connect it to your bank and other accounts. The app uses its incorporated intelligence features to make a 3600 financial analysis and establish your spending patterns.

The app then merges this information with your goals to curate an investment strategy that’s specific to you. The policy includes several college savings plans suitable for college students and stock investments in 11 ETFs.

You get free market and asset allocation adjustments for capital investments of $10,000 or lower. With such relaxed terms, any smart college kid wouldn’t have any objections to the $500 minimum account requirement.

5. Acorns

Acorns-1-768x520

Acorns is more than a stock trading app. It brings in a unique perspective to enable you to invest in the stock market hassle-free. You can download the app and connect your debit card or credit card. Or use the Acorns-provided debit card (Acorn spend). The app continuously keeps track of transactions as you spend money on products and pay for services.

The investment capital accumulates gradually, cent by cent, building up into dollars from what Acorns calls round-ups. The round-ups are the spare change left after you spend; It’s the little monies that remain when shopping with cash.

The Acorns app automatically tracks the spare change to the nearest dollar and invests in stocks. If you want, you can make direct deposits into your Acorns account.

The app and Acorn spend can integrate into digital banking applications, retirement accounts, and bank accounts. The app collects information on your investment plans during sign up and already knows what kind of portfolio fits your risk profile. So, it also doubles up as a robo-advisor.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use app with very little investment costs
  • $0 account minimum
  • Robo-advisor model made for beginners with no investment experience
  • Automatically invests spare change to grow your savings
  • Free management available for college students

Cons

  •  Account fees ranging from $1 to $3 monthly
  •  Small investment portfolio based on automated mutual funds

 

Final Words: Which is the Best Stock Trading App For You?

Check with your stockbroker to see if they have a stock trading app that suffices your needs before going for a third party application. If they have one, all their other stock trading resources such as stock screeners, scanners, and quotes may have a direct link to the trading app.

However, if you must find an alternative, try the variants presented in this article and see how it works out for you. The flexibility and the stock trading benefits the apps offer should be reason enough for a trader to sign up. Moreover, most of these apps tend to be consistent with their web-based and PC version, but a lot more streamlined and optimized for faster performance.

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