The 7 Best Penny Stock Trading Apps of 2020

Trade penny stocks online or on the go with these top brokerages

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Penny stocks are ultra-low-cost stocks that you can buy and sell for less than $5 per share. While the “cheap” share price means you can buy a large number of shares at a time, penny stocks tend to be quite risky. Because of that, many investors avoid adding penny stocks to their portfolios.

However, if you are undeterred by the risk and want to get into buying and selling penny stocks, it’s important to choose a brokerage and stock trading app that provides an easy, convenient, and cost-effective platform to trade from your computer or mobile device. These are the best penny stock trading apps for both penny stock beginners and experts.

  • Charles Schwab: Best Overall
  • Fidelity: Runner-Up 
  • TD Ameritrade: Best for User Experience
  • TradeStation: Best for Active Traders
  • E*TRADE: Best for Tools and Resources

Charles Schwab: Best Overall

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab customers have access to trade penny stocks through multiple exchanges including over-the-counter markets (OTCQX/OTCQB), pink sheet stocks, and other stocks outside of the major exchanges.

It offers mobile and desktop apps with features that meet the needs of the vast majority of traders. J.D. Power ranked Schwab’s mobile app No. 1 out of 13 brokerages in 2019. The mobile app lets you manage your account and trade stocks with just a few taps. When on your laptop or desktop, Schwab’s StreetSmart platform gives you a Wall Street-style trading experience active traders are sure to enjoy.

With no recurring fees or minimums for the main Schwab brokerage account and no commissions for stock trades, penny stock enthusiasts may be able to enjoy a completely fee-free experience at Schwab.

  • Account minimum: $0
  • Account fees: $0
  • Online stock trade commission: $0
What We Like
  • $0 commission stock trades

  • No account minimums or recurring fees

  • Trade many OTC and pink sheet stocks

  • Great mobile and desktop apps

What We Don't Like
  • Fees for phone ($5) and broker trades ($25)

Fidelity: Runner-Up

Fidelity

Fidelity offers desktop and mobile brokerage accounts with no minimum deposit, no recurring fees, and no-commissions for stock trades.

When you’re on your laptop or desktop computer, Active Trader Pro is Fidelity’s flagship trading platform. The Fidelity mobile apps also make it easy to buy and sell penny stocks and handle most needs for your accounts. Fidelity’s trading integrates with Apple TV and Google Assistant, too. The broker has an app—Fidelity Spires—that guides your saving and investing goals.

Fidelity customers can access a large number of penny stocks. Be wary of the risk, though: Fidelity’s own website warns of the dangers of investing in penny stocks. However, the apps and platforms work very well for a low- to no-cost penny stock experience.

  • Account minimum: $0
  • Account fees: $0
  • Online stock trade commission: $0
What We Like
  • $0 trade commissions for stocks

  • No account minimum or required fees

  • Multi-platform app support across many devices

What We Don't Like
  • Fidelity discourages penny stock trading on its website

  • The firm is strongly focused on funds and retirement investments

TD Ameritrade: Best for User Experience

TD Ameritrade

Penny stock traders will enjoy a TD Ameritrade account with no minimums or recurring charges, no commissions for non-OTC stock trades, and the choice between multiple high-end trading apps for both passive and active traders. However, there is a $6.95 fee for trading over-the-counter (OTC) stocks, which could drive up the costs of your penny stock trading plans.

TD Ameritrade customers can choose between the traditional TD Ameritrade online experience and mobile app, and the premier thinkorswim experience. The regular TD Ameritrade app is great for beginners and passive investors. thinkorswim, available for both desktop and mobile, gives you arguably the best active trading experience of any major discount brokerage.

In November 2019, Charles Schwab announced that it is acquiring TD Ameritrade. The acquisition is 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.

  • Account minimum: $0
  • Account fees: $0
  • Online stock trade commission: $0 
What We Like
  • Two trading platforms

  • No trade commissions or required account fees

What We Don't Like
  • OTC trade fee of $6.95 per trade

  • Pending merger with Charles Schwab

TradeStation: Best for Active Traders

TradeStation Logo

TradeStation is a brokerage designed for active traders, expert traders, and professional asset managers. It also offers a platform ideal for many penny stock traders. Both the TS Select and TS Go accounts are commission-free for stock trades made on mobile devices. However, TS Go clients will pay $10 per stock trade through TradeStation’s desktop platform. Most penny stock traders will want to go with a TS Select account, which includes access to mobile and desktop trading at no additional charge.

TS Select accounts require at least a $2,000 balance to get started. Commission-free trading applies to up to 10,000 shares per trade. Beyond that, you’ll pay $0.005 per share.

For traders happy with that pricing scheme, the TradeStation apps offer institution-level quality, free access to valuable data feeds, and a mobile experience that puts the power of many desktop apps in your pocket. This combination of tools allows you to do fast research and enter trades in just a few seconds with access to some of the best live-data available to any trader. For thin-margin penny stock trades, that could be the difference between losses and profits.

  • Account minimum: $2,000 for TS Select accounts, $0 for TS Go accounts
  • Account fees: $0
  • Mobile stock trade commission: $0 ($10 desktop trades for TS Go accounts)
What We Like
  • Professional-quality trading platforms for desktop and mobile

  • Included access to advanced data feeds

  • Two account types

What We Don't Like
  • TS Select desktop app charges fees if less than $2,000 minimum balance

  • Fees for stock trades over 10,000 shares

  • $10 commission for TS Go desktop trades

E*TRADE: Best for Tools and Resources

E*TRADE

E*TRADE offers commission-free stock trades and doesn’t have any minimums or activity requirements to avoid monthly fees. However, a $6.95 fee does apply for OTC stock trades. This goes down to $4.95 after 30 trades per calendar quarter.

The web, mobile, and desktop apps from E*TRADE offer the features you’d expect from a trading platform. The desktop version, Power E*TRADE, gives you a Wall Street-style experience. For mobile, you can choose between a pared-down version of Power E*TRADE or the regular E*TRADE app. Beginners and pros both have an E*TRADE mobile app to meet their needs.

In addition to multiple platforms, E*TRADE account holders have access to research reports from CreditSuisse, Thomson Reuters, TipRanks, and others. The knowledge section of the website, free to anyone even without an account, offers a plethora of useful articles and information.

In Feb. 2020, Morgan Stanley announced that it would acquire E*TRADE. It is unknown at this time how the acquisition will affect E*TRADE’s platforms.

  • Account minimum: $0
  • Account fees: $0
  • Online stock trade commission: $0 (up to $6.95 for OTC stock)
What We Like
  • Beginner and advanced mobile apps

  • Experience with online trading since the 1980s

  • No fee account with no minimum balance requirements

What We Don't Like
  • $6.95 commission for OTC stock trades

  • Pending acquisition by Morgan Stanley leaves future in question

What Are Penny Stocks?

“Penny stock” is a term that encompasses stocks with a low price per share. While the name implies penny stocks as only stocks with a value of less than $1 per share, many traders consider stocks with a share price up to $5 per share to be a penny stock.

Penny stocks have a low price per share, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a good value. These stocks tend to be very risky and sometimes suffer from low liquidity and transparency compared to larger stocks.

Low liquidity means there may not always be a willing buyer when you want to sell, as is the norm with larger stocks. Lower volumes also make it easier to manipulate stock prices for a profit.

Pros
  • Buy whole shares at a low cost

  • Exciting trading experience

  • Opportunity for very high profits compared to your initial investment

Cons
  • Can be very risky

  • You may not always be able to sell penny stocks instantly

  • Companies behind some penny stocks can be less transparent

Is Penny-Stock Trading Right for Me?

Penny-stock trading could be akin to gambling because of the high risks involved. Penny stock trading is only suitable for people who understand the risks and can afford to lose a significant portion of their investment.

While some penny stock trades will feel like winning a Las Vegas jackpot, others will leave you with regret. Most people with a focus on long-term wealth should avoid penny stocks because of their volatility. Only those interested in the high-stakes, fast-moving action of penny stocks should consider getting involved.

How to Choose a Penny Stock Trading App

There are more than a dozen penny stock trading apps to choose from, so it’s important to consider the criteria you care about most when selecting the best penny stock trading app for your needs.

Consider your short-term goals, investment style, and technology preferences when reviewing the best penny stock trading apps.

Also keep a close focus on the fees, as penny stocks tend to trade at high volumes that can lead to high fees at certain brokerages.

How We Chose the Best Penny Stock Trading Apps

To find the best penny stock trading apps, we reviewed over a dozen of the best brokerages in the U.S., looking at features, pricing, and app experiences.

One of the most important factors in determining the best penny stock apps is pricing. Most large brokerage firms in the U.S. dropped commissions on stock trades in 2019, but some still charge fees or have special fees for stocks that are not listed on major exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.

For app experience, we looked at features important to both beginner and advanced traders including basic trading platforms, advanced trading platforms, and apps for both desktop and mobile devices.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. J.D. Power. "2019 U.S. Wealth Management App Satisfaction Study." Accessed June 17, 2020.

  2. Charles Schwab. "Brokerage Account." Accessed June 17, 2020.

  3. Fidelity. "Straightforward and Transparent Pricing." Accessed June 17, 2020.

  4. TD Ameritrade. "FAQs: Opening." Accessed June 17, 2020.

  5. TD Ameritrade. "Pricing." Accessed June 17, 2020.

  6. TradeStation. "Pricing." Accessed June 17, 2020.

  7. E*TRADE. "Fees and Rates." Accessed June 17, 2020.

  8. SEC.gov. "Penny Stock Rules." Accessed June 17, 2020.