The 8 Best Investment Apps of 2020

Make and save money with these must-have apps

Image shows a woman on a smartphone with an acorn on the screen to represent the Acorns app. It is showing her a chart. On the top of the image are the logos for apps such as wealthfront, stash, robinhood, stockpile.

Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019

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Investment apps are growing to become one of the top options for new investors looking to become involved in the stock market. With convenient apps that offer a variety of services at low fees, even experienced investors may find opportunities to save money and improve their portfolios with an investing app.

While you used to have to pick up a phone and call a stockbroker to make a trade, not to mention the steep commission the broker would charge, you can now pick up your phone and tap your screen a few times to trade instantly—either for free or at a relatively low cost.

Whether you want to buy your first stock or you’ve been doing it for years, consider these top investment and stock market apps that are poised to be top performers in 2020 and beyond. The apps are broken down by their approach and specialty so that all kinds of investors can find an option that best suits them. Some apps are designed to remove the barriers to individual stock trading, while others will help you save for retirement or passively build wealth through an automated investor.

The 8 Best Investment Apps of 2020:

Best for Free Stock Trades: Robinhood

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Sir Robin of Locksley, better known as Robin Hood, became a famous character for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. If you like the idea of empowering everyone to get into the stock market, Robinhood is an option worth exploring.

Robinhood offers free stock trades. And “free” doesn’t mean “free, but with fees and other costs.” Trades have zero commission. Just download the app, connect to your bank, fund your account, and you can truly trade fee-free. For extended trading hours and margin accounts, you can upgrade to Robinhood Gold for a fee.

Robinhood is essentially a no-frills online stock brokerage. Because they don’t have fancy offices around the country, they can run a lower-cost operation and pass on the savings to investors like you. The company makes money from Robinhood Gold users, as well as from the interest earned on account cash balances.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best stock trading apps.

Best for Automated Investing: Acorns


If you don’t want to think much about your investments but want to contribute regularly, Acorns is a top option. Link a debit or credit card to the app and Acorns will “round up” your transactions to the next dollar and invest the “spare change” you would have received had you paid in cash. Acorns invests your funds automatically in one of five professionally managed exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolios.

Accounts with a balance up to $5,000 pay just $1 per month and accounts with a balance over $5,000 pay a competitive 0.25% annual fee. For college students with a .edu email, you can use Acorns for free for up to four years from the date of registration.

The existing portfolios focus on low-cost exchange-traded funds that offer you diverse investments without a giant starting investment. A few dollars here and there adds up, and Acorns makes it easy to invest in small amounts.

Best for Learning About Investing: Stash

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Similar to Acorns, Stash offers a low-cost method to build a diverse portfolio. But where Acorns invests for you automatically, Stash can help you learn how to make the best investment decisions yourself.

The Stash app includes educational content customized to your investment preferences. You can choose between values-driven portfolios focused on different investing themes, or you can build a custom portfolio. Funding your account can be done manually whenever you want, or you can set up an “Auto-Stash” plan for recurring investments.

For any beginning investor, all of the terms, acronyms, and phrases of the investment world can be overwhelming. Stash does not give the depth of research on companies that many stock brokerages do, but it makes it easy to understand what exactly you're buying when you put money in the market. If you don’t yet speak the language of investing, you have to start somewhere. Stash is an excellent choice for a starting point.

Stash accounts start at $1, though you may be subject to fees from the individual investments you choose.

Best for Retirement: Vault

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If you’re a self-employed freelancer, you won’t have access to an employer 401(k) plan and will have to put together your own retirement plan. There are many options for the self-employed to invest, but one of the coolest around is Vault.

Vault allows anyone to open an IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP-IRA account for their investments. For freelancers, the SEP-IRA option is particularly useful, since that type of retirement account is specifically designed for self-employed workers. But whatever form of IRA you want, Vault gives you the ability to invest based on a specific percentage of your income.

When you get paid from a freelancing job and the money is deposited into your bank account, the Vault app gives users a notification to approve depositing your chosen paycheck percentage to your IRA account at Vault. You can also choose to invest your percentage automatically without requiring manual approval. Vault uses the same pricing model as Acorns and Stash.

Best for Stock Gifting: Stockpile

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Stockpile offers a unique approach to buying and selling stocks. You can buy fractional shares of nearly any company through Stockpile. Alternatively, you can fund an account with a stock gift card that gives the lucky recipient shares of stock starting at $5.

There are no monthly fees and all trades are $0.99. This app is especially exciting for parents or grandparents looking to get kids or young adults interested in investing and the stock market. Instead of giving a gift card that they will blow shopping, you can give them $20 of your favorite stock.

Stockpile offers over 1,000 investments, including single stocks and ETFs. For example, you can gift shares of a stock like Disney or Apple, or give a basket of stocks in an ETF from the likes of Vanguard, iShares, and other institutions. You can give an e-gift card, a physical gift card, or fund an account through a bank transfer. This is a gift that literally pays dividends.

Download on iTunes or Google.

Best for Microinvesting: Clink

Clink is a savings-based app that invests your funds into a portfolio of Vanguard ETFs based on how aggressive you want to be with your investments. You can schedule a certain percentage of your purchases to be added to your Clink account after transactions. Say, for example, you spend a lot on dining. You can opt to have 10% of your dining purchases transferred to your Clink account each time. You can also schedule regular transfers from your checking account to your Clink account.

With Clink, there’s no minimum investment amount—just a $10,000 daily limit. There’s a $1 monthly fee for portfolios up to $5,000 and a 0.25% annual fee on balances above $5,000. 

Best for Features: TD Ameritrade Mobile

TD Ameritrade is one of the biggest and most recognizable brokerages. The TD Ameritrade app is available for iOS and Android devices. The app is free to download and there’s no account minimum to get started.

TD Ameritrade offers over 20 educational videos to help you gain additional investing knowledge. You can even set price alerts to receive a notification when your investments hit specific price points. There’s no minimum deposit to open an account, which means you can start investing with any amount. While each trade used to come with a $6.95 fee, TD Ameritrade dropped its commission fees in 2019. Online stock and ETF trades are now commission-free. If you trade options, you can now do so commission-free with just $0.65 in contract fees per contract.

In addition to managing your portfolio through the mobile app, you can also log in online to access additional features. 

Best for College Savings: Wealthfront

Wealthfront is for those who want to use passive investments to build wealth. The app includes some built-in intelligence to help you maximize your investments while keeping your risk tolerance in mind.

Start by connecting your most important accounts to the app. Wealthfront analyzes the transactions in these accounts to learn about your finances. It takes into account your spending and goals to create a strategy personalized just for you. The app invests your money into up to 11 ETFs, and it rebalances your portfolio periodically based on deposits and market fluctuations. Extras include tax loss harvesting, direct and advanced indexing, and the option to start a 529 College Savings Plan.

The Wealthfront app is free for the first $10,000 you invest. After that, it’s 0.25% per year. There’s a $500 minimum balance requirement.