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

TD Ameritrade: Best Overall

TD Ameritrade best investment apps

TD Ameritrade is a large and well-known brokerage firm in the United States. Its app gets our award for the best overall, thanks to its range of options that work well for both beginners and experts. Beginner to intermediate investors may prefer the default TD Ameritrade Mobile app. Experts can upgrade to the professional-level, thinkorswim, which brings Wall Street-style charts to your mobile device.

TD Ameritrade customers enjoy commission-free stock and ETF trades, as well as options trades with no base fees—common features among all apps on this list. With multiple platforms that give you the ability to manage many types of accounts and access the most popular investment assets and markets, TD Ameritrade stands out as a top choice.

In November 2019, Charles Schwab announced that it is acquiring TD Ameritrade. The acquisition was expected to close by the end of 2020. Once closed, it’s likely that TD Ameritrade platforms and Charles Schwab platforms will be combined into one.

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 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, and more
  • Account types: Supports standard, retirement, education, and other types of accounts
  • Other important details: Pending acquisition by Charles Schwab
What We Like
  • Beginner and expert mobile apps

  • No additional fee for advanced trading platform

What We Don't Like
  • Accounts may become Schwab accounts after acquisition

Fidelity: Runner-Up

Fidelity Investments best investment apps

Fidelity is a top brokerage with extensive resources for long-term and retirement-focused investors. With a Fidelity account, you can access some of the best education and research resources available among brokerages. The firm is a standout for its focus on retirement education, including retirement calculators and other tools.

The Fidelity mobile app integrates with both Apple Watch and Google Assistant for even more features. The brokerage offers a few of its own mutual funds with no transaction fees or recurring fees. It’s also one of the only major brokerage firms to offer fractional share investments.

Key Features

  • App name: Fidelity Investments 
  • 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 transaction-fee bearing 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

  • App supports most account types

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

Ally: Best for Beginners

Ally best investment apps

Ally is best known for its low-fee, high-yield bank accounts, but it also offers a top investment platform. Ally Invest within the Ally mobile app is an excellent low-fee brokerage with no fees for stock, ETF, or options trades. It offers a focused and efficient mobile investment experience. It doesn’t have quite as many features as some bigger apps, but it has every core feature.

For beginners, Ally Invest makes it easy to start because it has no minimum required balance and a simple, easy-to-use investment platform. For a more robust experience, you can log onto the Ally website. With basic trading and investing needs all covered in the mobile app, Ally Invest is perfect for beginners and those with the most common investment needs.

Key Features

  • App name: Ally
  • Account minimum: No minimum deposit required
  • Fees: $0 commission fees for online stock, ETF, or options trades, but there is a 50 cent flat fee per options contract; $20, plus regular commission fee, for broker-assisted trades; $9.95 for no-load mutual funds; additional fees may apply
  • Investment types: Stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds, and more
  • Account types: Supports self-directed and managed portfolios
  • Other important details: Online-only bank and brokerage with no physical locations
What We Like
  • Banking and investing all in one mobile app

  • Dedicated forex trading app

  • Low fees on no-load mutual funds

What We Don't Like
  • Mobile app has limited features compared to the website

Webull: Best Free App

Webull best investment apps

Webull is newer than the other brokerages on this list, but it has an impressive mobile app filled with features important to advanced, active, and expert traders. It’s great for trading stocks, ETFs, and options. However, that’s all you can currently buy or sell on the platform. Cryptocurrencies are a newer asset to the platform, but there are no bonds, mutual funds, or other assets. This brokerage app supports both taxable and IRA accounts.

While Webull is focused on free investing and trading, it’s best for investors with at least a little bit of experience in the markets. With many features focused on active stock and options traders, the app may be a bit overwhelming for beginners. But if you’re willing to take the time to learn, the price might be right.

Key Features

  • App name: Webull: Stocks, Options & ETFs 
  • 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

Acorns: Best for Automated Investing

Acorns best investment apps

Acorns is a mobile-first brokerage and banking app. This app makes it easy and fun to contribute to your investment account with creative funding options, including recurring transfers and round-ups for purchases made with connected cards. Investments are recommended specifically for you based on the 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 the basic account only, $2 per month if you also have a retirement account, and $3 per month if you also use the bank account. 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, on an account with a balance of $100, $1 per month equals $12, or 12%, over the course of one year.

Key Features

  • App name: Acorns: Invest Spare Change
  • Account minimum: No minimum deposit required
  • Fees: $1 to $3 for monthly subscription; additional fees may apply
  • Investment types: Fractional share investments in stock and bond ETFs
  • Account types: Robo-advisor brokerage, retirement, and checking accounts
  • Other important details: Earn money for shopping at many popular stores with a linked card
What We Like
  • Easy, automated micro-investing

  • Gamified app experience

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

SoFi: Best for Learning About Investing

SoFi best investment apps

SoFi started as a student loan lender and quickly grew into a full-service finance company with lending, banking, and investing managed in one convenient mobile app. SoFi is great for beginners because it includes investment education and allows you to start small with fractional shares, which it calls Stock Bits.

SoFi Invest users can trade stocks, ETFs that are on a curated list, 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 Money & Buy Crypto
  • 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

  • Member events

What We Don't Like
  • No advanced research tools

  • Limited investment assets

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 buy and sell without paying any commission. 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. 

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 that big hurdle to overcome, 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 widespread, too. And if the brokerage charges no fees to buy and sell, it may even be practical to invest with a small amount of money—well under $100.

Pros & Cons of Investment Apps

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

  • Never lose track of your portfolio balance

  • May be difficult to disconnect

  • 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 that everyone should use. Instead, it’s best to look at your personal finances, investment goals, and how you want to manage your investments before choosing the right app.

Also, it’s imperative to review costs and fees, as those can take a huge 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.

How We Chose the Best Investment Apps

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