Best Investment Apps of 2021

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Investment apps allow both new and experienced investors to manage their investments in the stock market and other financial markets. With a variety of convenient services at low fees, these investment apps—the best we’ve seen out today—may help investors save money and improve their portfolios.

While you used to have to pick up a phone and call a stockbroker to make a trade (and then pay a steep commission), you can now pick up your smartphone, tap your screen a few times, and trade almost instantly—often for free or at a relatively low cost.

After reviewing several apps for cost, ease of use, investment options, and other key factors, we rounded up the best investment apps available today.

Best Investment Apps of 2021

Best Investment Apps of 2021
Best Investment Apps of 2021

Best Overall : TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade best investment apps

Investment apps allow both new and experienced investors to manage multiple types of investments in a convenient way. But convenience isn’t the only benefit to today’s investing apps. While you used to have to pick up a phone and call a stockbroker to make a trade (and then pay a steep commission), you can now pick up your smartphone, tap your screen a few times, and trade—often for free.

After reviewing several apps for cost, ease of use, investment options, and other key factors, we rounded up the best investment apps available today.

Charles Schwab has acquired TD Ameritrade and will merge TD Ameritrade accounts into its existing ones; Schwab will keep the thinkorswim platform.

Key Features

  • App names: TD Ameritrade Mobile and thinkorswim
  • Account minimum: No minimum deposit required
  • Fees: $0 commission for online stock, ETF, and options trades but there is a 65-cent flat-fee per each options contract; $25 for broker-assisted trades; $49.99 for no-load mutual funds; additional fees may apply
  • Investment types: Wide range, including stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, fixed-income, futures, and several other choices
  • Account types: Supports standard, retirement, education, and other types of accounts
  • Other important details: Recently acquired by Charles Schwab
What We Like
  • Beginner and expert mobile apps

  • No additional fee for advanced trading platform

What We Don't Like
  • Some users may not like the switch to Schwab

Runner-Up : Fidelity

Fidelity Investments best investment apps

Fidelity is a well-known brokerage with extensive resources for various types of investors. The firm is a standout for its focus on retirement education, including retirement calculators and other tools.

Through the Fidelity Investments mobile app, you can do just about anything you need in your investment account. It integrates with both Apple Watch and Google Assistant for even more features. You can also link your investment account to Fidelity Spire, which helps you set and track savings and investment goals.

The brokerage offers a few of its own mutual funds with no transaction fees or recurring fees. It’s also one of a small list of major brokerage firms to offer fractional share investments.

Key Features

  • App name: Fidelity
  • Account minimum: No minimum deposit required
  • Fees: $0 commission fees on stock, ETF, and options trades, but there is a 65-cent flat fee per options contract; $32.95 for broker-assisted trades; $49.95 for no-transaction-fee mutual funds; no recurring fees for most accounts; additional fees may apply
  • Investment types: Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, fractional share investing, and more
  • Account types: Supports brokerage, retirement, education accounts, and more
What We Like
  • Fractional share investing

  • Robust mobile app features

  • Fidelity Spire app for savings goals

What We Don't Like
  • $12.95 fee for phone trades

Best for Beginners : Acorns

Acorns best investment apps

Acorns is a mobile-first brokerage and banking app offering creative funding options, including recurring transfers and round-ups for purchases made with connected cards. The brokerage offers ETFs and it generates specific recommendations for you based on a survey you fill out when signing up for an account.

The biggest downside of Acorns is the fee structure. You pay $1 per month for an investment account only (“Lite”); $3 per month for investing, retirement, and checking (“Personal”); and $5 per month for all the features of Personal plus investment accounts for kids. A couple of dollars a month may not sound like much, but it could be a big percentage of your balance on smaller accounts. For example, a $1 monthly fee equals a 12% yearly interest rate for a $100 account balance.

Key Features

  • App name: Acorns
  • Account minimum: No minimum deposit required
  • Fees: $1, $3, or $5 for a monthly subscription; additional fees may apply
  • Investment types: Fractional share investments in ETFs made up of stocks and bonds
  • Account types: Robo-advisor brokerage, retirement, and checking accounts
  • Other important details: Earn money by shopping with a linked card at partner retailers
What We Like
  • Automated micro-investing

  • Gamified app experience

What We Don't Like
  • Monthly fee on all accounts

Best for Free Investing : Webull

Webull best investment apps

Webull has an impressive mobile app for active and expert traders. It’s great for trading stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrency, and options; and it supports IRAs. However, there are no bonds or mutual funds.

While Webull is focused on free investing and trading, it’s best for investors with trading experience. The app’s focus on active stock and options traders may be overwhelming for beginners. But, if you’re willing to take the time to learn, Webull is an excellent low-cost option.

Key Features

  • App name: Webull
  • Account minimum: No minimum deposit required
  • Fees: $0 commission or contract fees for online stock, ETF, or options trades; $8 to $45 for wire transfers; additional fees may apply
  • Investment types: Stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies
  • Account types: Supports brokerage and IRA accounts
  • Other important details: Generous free stock promotions for new users and for customers who refer others
What We Like
  • Community area to interact with other users

  • Paper trading available (trade with virtual money)

  • Advanced charting features

What We Don't Like
  • Real-time data streams require an additional subscription

  • Limited investment types

Best for Automated Investing : Betterment

Betterment

Courtesy of Betterment 

Some investors just want to hand their money over to someone else to pick stocks, bonds, and funds on their behalf. In the old days, you needed an expensive financial advisor to give you personalized advice. 

These days, robo-advisors like Betterment will assign you to a professionally-designed portfolio of low-cost ETFs based on your investment goals. You can choose between a personalized portfolio for your goal or a socially responsible portfolio when investing with Betterment.

Betterment charges an annual 0.25% management fee with no minimum balance requirement. Those with a balance of $100,000 or more can upgrade to the pricier Premium plan, at 0.40% per year, including access to a human financial advisor.

While it’s not free, the cost could be worth it for investors who want a hands-off experience.

Key Features

  • App name: Betterment
  • Account minimum: $0
  • Fees: 0.25% for Digital account or 0.40% for Premium account
  • Investment types: Managed portfolios of ETFs
  • Account types: Robo-advisor brokerage, IRA
  • Other important details: Offers a checking-style cash management account
What We Like
  • Easy, automated micro-investing

  • Gamified app experience

What We Don't Like
  • Monthly fee on all accounts

Best Easy-to-Use App : SoFi

SoFi best investment apps

SoFi is a full-service finance company with lending, banking, and investing managed in one convenient mobile app. SoFi’s app, SoFi Invest, is great for beginners because it includes investment education and allows you to start small with fractional shares called Stock Bits.

SoFi Invest users can trade stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. Stock and ETF trades are free. SoFi Invest also offers a managed portfolio product with no added investment management fees. Overall, SoFi offers some impressive accounts that are well-priced and easy to use—that’s a winning combination.

Key Features

  • App name: SoFi Invest
  • Account minimum: $1 minimum deposit required
  • Fees: No fees for online stock or ETF trades; 1.25% markup on crypto transactions; expense ratios vary on SoFi-branded ETFs; additional fees may apply
  • Investment types: Stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies
  • Account types: Supports self-directed and managed portfolios, plus retirement and cryptocurrency accounts
  • Other important details: SoFi also offers loan products and cash management accounts
What We Like
  • Fractional share investing

  • No-fee automated investing

  • Education resources alongside investment tools

What We Don't Like
  • No advanced research tools

  • Limited investment assets

Compare Providers

App Why We Picked It
TD Ameritrade Best Overall
Fidelity Runner-Up 
Acorns Best for Beginners
Webull Best for Free Investing
Betterment Best for Automated Investing
SoFi Best Easy-to-Use App

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Use an Investment App?

Investment apps are an easy way to buy and sell stocks and other assets from the palm of your hand. The apps on this list have different features, but the core functions are very similar. Here are the basic steps to using an investment app:

  1. Sign up with your preferred investment app on your mobile device.
  2. Connect to your bank and fund your account.
  3. Choose your first investment asset and buy a share.
  4. Track the performance of your shares over time.
  5. Trade assets and update your portfolio as you see fit.

Many brokerages charge few or no fees for trading stocks, ETFs, or options, which means you can trade commission-free. As long as you choose a quality brokerage with no recurring fees, you can invest money for almost free.

You’ll still pay small fees added by the stock exchanges and regulators. This is consistent across all brokerages, and these fees are embedded into asset prices.

How Much Money Do I Need To Invest?

Some brokerages and investment apps require a high minimum balance to start. However, none on this list have big deposit requirements, so you can open an account with no minimum balance.

Several brokerages on this list would let you start with just $5 or less. Fractional share investing is becoming more common, too. And if the brokerage charges no fees to buy and sell, it may even be practical to invest with less than $100.

Pros & Cons of Investment Apps

Pros
  • Easy to invest and manage accounts from anywhere with an internet or cellular data connection

  • Never lose track of your portfolio balance

Cons
  • Not all features are available on mobile apps

  • Managing investments on small screens can be challenging for some users

How Should I Choose an App?

Every investor has unique needs, so there is no one perfect app you should use. Instead, it’s best to look at your personal finances, investment goals, and how you want to manage your investments as factors that help you decide.

It’s also imperative to review costs and fees, as those can take a bite out of your investment gains over time. Never invest in something you don’t understand, and never sign up for a paid investing service if you don’t believe it’s a good value.

Are Investment Apps Safe?

Investment apps use multiple layers of security to protect your information, including encryption of personal information, two-factor authentication, and frequent checks for hacks. As long as you use a strong, unique password that isn’t shared with any other account or website, your money is typically safe from bad actors.

If you’re traveling away from home, it’s wise to avoid using your investment apps on Wi-Fi networks at offices, coffee shops, hotels, and other public locations. When away from home, your secure cellular connection should keep your information safe. As an extra safeguard, consider adding a VPN to your device.

How We Chose the Best Investment Apps

To compile this list, we considered over 20 different investment apps. The apps that ultimately made our list were picked for their pricing, features, ease-of-use, assets available, and account types supported. All apps on our list are available on Apple and Android devices.

The Balance does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.