Investing can be intimidating for new investors with a limited understanding of how the markets work. Investment apps ease you in, with features that automate every step of the process and resources to help you learn the ins and outs before you go it alone.
Best Investment Apps for Beginners
The best investment apps for beginners make it easy and inexpensive to get started in investing — with as little as $5 in some cases. Most also have plenty of educational resources as well as advanced tools you can try out as you learn more.
- Ally Invest: Best for integration of investing and banking
- Acorns: Best for investing with kids
- Betterment: Best for tax-loss harvesting
- Fundrise: Best for investing in real estate and other alternative assets
- Marcus Invest: Best for investors wanting to make a minimal investment
- Merrill Edge: Best for asset variety
- Robinhood: Best for round-the-clock trading
- SoFi Invest: Best for access to IPOs
- TD Ameritrade: Best for choice between simple and advanced apps
- Webull: Best for paper trading practice account
1. Ally Invest
Best for: Integration of investing and banking
Ally gives you three ways to invest: self-directed trading, robo portfolios and wealth management. Start with a professionally designed robo portfolio selected for you according to your investing style. Self-directed trading lets you trade U.S.-listed stocks, exchange-traded funds and options with no minimums and $0 commissions.
The app is full featured, with research, portfolio analysis and trading functionality. You can use the app to transfer money from your Ally Bank account to your Ally Invest account.
What to watch for: No fractional shares
Best for: Investing with kids
Acorns combines a digital checking account with your choice of investing accounts: Acorns Invest; Acorns Later, for your traditional, Roth or SEP IRA; or Acorns Early to add kids’ investing to your account. Acorns automatically rebalances portfolios and reinvests dividends to help your money grow faster.
The app has a simple, easy-to-use interface and gives you access to all of Acorn’s account types and features.
Why it’s good for beginners: Acorns lets you link credit and debit cards to your investment account and round up purchases to invest your spare change. You can also designate a portion of each paycheck to be automatically invested.
What to watch for: Fees start at $3 per month.
Best for: Tax-loss harvesting
Betterment offers IRAs and 401(k)s, robo portfolios and crypto investing, plus digital banking with checking and high-yield cash accounts. Curated robo portfolios contain ETFs and include themes such as cryptocurrency. Optional tax-loss harvesting helps you offset investment losses.
Managing your Betterment accounts and investments is easy and straightforward using the app’s all-in-one dashboard. You can even connect non-Betterment accounts.
What to watch for: The minimum $4 fee (1% for crypto)
Best for: Investing in real estate and other alternative assets
Fundrise is an investor-owned real estate investment platform. Its private real estate investment trusts invest in multifamily apartments, single-family rentals and industrial properties with the aim of maximum near-term income and long-term growth. Fundrise charges a 0.15% advisory fee and a 0.85% management fee for REITs.
The mobile app has many of the same features as the desktop app, including the ability to monitor your balance and get insights on your portfolio’s performance.
What to watch for: Fundrise investments are held for five years or longer. You won’t have access to your money during that time.
5. Marcus Invest
Best for: Investors wanting to make a minimal investment
Marcus Invest by Goldman Sachs features robo portfolios designed by Goldman Sachs analysts. You can customize your investment by selecting a portfolio theme that aligns with your goals and preferences. Portfolios are comprised of stocks and bond ETFs and are rebalanced automatically as your portfolio’s value changes. Marcus charges a 0.25% annual management fee.
The Marcus app brings all your Marcus accounts together under a single interface. In addition to account management and investing features, the app provides Marcus Insights optimization tools for tracking and analyzing all your Marcus and other linked accounts.
Why it’s good for beginners: Marcus has no minimum requirement to open an account, and the minimum to trade is just $5.
6. Merrill Edge
Best for: Asset variety
Merrill Lynch is the brokerage owned by Bank of America, and Merrill Edge is the brokerage’s self-directed mobile investing platform. Merrill Edge doesn’t restrict you to a set of existing portfolios — you can invest in individual stocks as well as options, fixed-income securities and mutual funds. Stocks, options and ETFs trade commission-free and have no minimum investment. Robo accounts incur a 0.45% fee.
While the Merrill Edge mobile app gives you access to anything you’d need to do with your investment account, including transfer funds from your Bank of America bank account, you’ll need a separate BofA app to manage banking.
What to watch for: $1,000 minimum investment for robo investing
Best for: Round-the-clock trading
Robinhood has always attracted young investors, but the app’s user interface and features make it appealing to beginning investors of all age groups. You can use Robinhood to trade stocks, options and ETFs as well as a selection of cryptocurrencies. Robinhood also offers an IRA with a 1% match and custom recommended portfolios. There are no commissions, and with Robinhood’s new 24 Hour Market, you can trade a selection of stocks and ETFs 24 hours a day, five days a week.
While you can trade and manage your account from the web platform, Robinhood is designed for mobile. The app is easy to understand and navigate, and it gives you full access to all of Robinhood’s features.
Why it’s good for beginners: Robinhood offers 24/7 access to live customer service reps via phone or chat.
What to watch for: No robo-advisor
8. SoFi Invest
Best for: Access to IPOs
SoFi offers a decent range of investments for beginners, including no-commission stocks, fractional shares, and ETFs as well as access to initial public offerings, IRAs and over 20 cryptocurrencies. If you’re not ready to select your own securities, SoFi will build a portfolio for you based on your risk tolerance and investing goals.
Why it’s good for beginners: SoFi offers a low-cost way to start investing.
What to watch for: No tax-avoidance services
9. TD Ameritrade
Best for: Choice between simple and advanced apps
TD Ameritrade offers two different apps — a straightforward mobile app for trading stocks, ETFs and options, and Thinkorswim, with advanced tools and the ability to trade futures and forex. If you’re not ready to pick your own stocks, you can automate your investing with TD Ameritrade’s robo-advisor.
What to watch out for: Minimum $5,000 investment for automated investing
Best for: Paper trading practice account
Investing with Webull gives you access to stocks, options and ETF trading, including fractional shares and over-the-counter trades. Webull Smart Advisor, Webull’s robo-advisor, automates trading and provides you with a custom portfolio. Webull charges no commission, but it does charge up to $5 for certain OTC trades. The management fee for Smart Advisor is 0.20%, with a $1 minimum.
You can access your account and Webull’s dashboard via the web, a native desktop app or a mobile app that’s compatible with the Apple Watch.
Why it’s good for beginners: Webull has what may be the best educational resources of any app in this roundup. Work through your choice of over 500 courses, then test what you’ve learned with Webull Paper Trading — a practice trading platform that gives you unlimited virtual cash to invest risk-free.
What to watch for: $100 minimum opening deposit for Smart Advisor
Which Investing App Is Best for You?
The ideal app is one that lets you start quickly, with a minimal investment, and has the features to satisfy your future goals. Acorns, for example, is best for investors who want to keep it simple and hands-off, while Robinhood is a better choice for someone who wants to actively trade. Just keep an eye on fees — they can wipe out your investment returns if you’re starting out investing just a few dollars a month.
Information is accurate as of July 18, 2023.
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