The 8 Best Stock Trading Apps of 2020
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Buying and selling stock investments used to require a phone call to a stockbroker who would charge you an arm and a leg to execute your stock trade. These days, you can enter your own stock trades through your favorite broker’s website or stock trading app.
Not only is it possible for investors to trade on their own through these apps, but the wide selection of apps gives investors choices about how they want to trade. Some apps will automate investments, others will help beginners learn the ropes with simplified investment options, and others offer all the research and trading tools that the pros use—but from the convenience of home. Follow along for reviews of the best stock trading apps for a variety of investment styles, and may the market forever be in your favor.
The best overall stock trading app experience comes from TD Ameritrade, one of the largest brokerage firms in the country. TD Ameritrade actually offers multiple mobile apps depending on your needs. First, the basic TD Ameritrade Mobile app gives you much of the power you have on your desktop stock trading app in a mobile experience for iOS, Android, and Windows phones. For a more powerful trading experience, there is the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app, available for iOS and Android.
For beginning and passive investors, the TD Ameritrade Mobile app offers plenty of power for your needs. You can customize your dashboards and screens, access research and advice, transfer funds, get market alerts, and even watch educational videos on different types of trades and investments. TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader is better for advanced and active investors, as it is loaded with charts, technical indicators, and analysis to help you make trade decisions on the go.
Robinhood launched its mobile app before its website, and that emphasis on the app would earn Robinhood a spot on this list in its own right. But adding in its free stock trades, this app is one of the very best stock trading apps available today. While Robinhood does not give you access to a full range of investments like mutual funds, it works great for stocks and ETFs, and it even supports a handful of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin.
The core features of the app are focused on tracking stocks you own or place on your watchlist. To trade, tap on (or search for) any stock. Enter your trade into the app, and presto, you own the stock without paying any commissions or trade fees. Upgrading to a premium Robinhood Gold account gives you access to margin trading and extended-hours trading, in addition to all other features. It doesn’t do quite as much as some of the other apps on this list, but you can’t beat free trades, and some investors may even prefer the simplified trading features.
If you want to invest but have no idea what to do, Acorns is the best stock trading app for you. Once you link your bank account, Acorns will track your regular spending and “round up” purchases to the nearest dollar. These rounded up amounts, usually only a few cents at a time, are transferred to your Acorns account regularly and automatically invested. You can also give your portfolio a cash injection by transferring funds to your account manually.
Acorns automatically builds a portfolio of stock and bond investments based on a brief questionnaire you complete when signing up for a new account. The robo-advisor style app invests exclusively in ETFs to build a broad portfolio that matches your investment goals.
If you want to make your own investment decisions but need some help learning the basics of investing, Stash is a great choice for your needs. Stash lets you start investing with as little as $5, and it helps you pick your investments while educating you as you go.
Not only is Stash a trading and investment app, but it is also an app filled with articles and tips to help you build your investment knowledge every time you log in. You can choose to trade single stocks or ETFs that are curated into various investment themes, like innovation or environment.
Stockpile lets you buy and sell stocks like most other stock trading apps, but it also allows you to gift single shares of stock or buy fractional shares with a very low $0.99 trade fee. Fractional trades let you buy a stake in high-valued companies such as Google, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway without having to invest $1,000 or more at a time. You can instead invest in a portion of a share with a much lower minimum investment.
For families, Stockpile is great because it lets you buy and gift shares of stock. This is great for kids, teens, and family portfolios that make investing a family activity. Turn off the TV and teach your kids about money and the stock market. Let them invest some of their own money, or give them a stock gift card to engage them in a portfolio with growing value.
Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best board games for teaching kids about money.
E-Trade was once a pioneer in online investing. With roots in Silicon Valley, this brokerage began offering online trades when the internet was in its commercial infancy. Early users of E-Trade accessed the service via America Online and Compuserve. E-Trade is a longtime leader in online trading and mobile trading and remains at the top of the pack today, thanks to its advanced trading features.
Once logged into the app for iOS or Android, you can view your investments or enter trades for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options (including some more complex option trades). E-Trade is also the owner of OptionsHouse, which has its own powerful app for active traders of stock and options.
Many stockbrokers expand to open their own banks. This is true of multiple brokers on this list, but the best-integrated banking and stock trading app is the Schwab mobile app. Schwab Mobile lets you manage all of your Schwab investment and bank accounts with one mobile app. Deposit checks, transfer funds, and manage your investments in one place.
International travelers love that you can use your Schwab Investor Checking ATM card anywhere in the world with no fees. You can also log in to Apple, Android, and Kindle Fire devices to manage your investments, watch a live stream of CNBC, research, enter trades, and follow your portfolio performance. Once you're done buying and selling stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options, you can pay bills from the same app using Schwab Bank Bill Pay.
Not everyone is ready to log in and put real money in the stock market. After all, while stocks and other investments can go up, they can also go down. TradeHero lets you play a stock market game on your computer or smartphone, trading a $100,000 portfolio tracking real stock market prices with no actual financial risk. This is a great way to learn about stock trading without any risk.
In 2017, the app added TradeHero LIVE, which allows you to trade real money as well as virtual currency. This can be a useful feature, but be careful that you don’t accidentally enter a risky trade with your real dollars instead of your virtual account. While you can make or lose money with TradeHero LIVE, it doesn't buy real stocks or bonds. Instead, the app uses a derivative contract that follows real investment prices, so you may be better off sticking with the core virtual trading features.