GOBankingRates

5 Best Investment Apps of 2021 Guide

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The explosion of investment apps has made investing less onerous and opened up the stock market to investors of all capabilities. But with so many investment apps to choose from, narrowing down your options can be a challenge. GOBankingRates identified the best investment apps to help you get started.

Best Investment Apps at a Glance

Even if you’re a first-time investor, this selection of investment apps likely has one you’ll enjoy using. Here’s a look at how the following options compare:

App Fees Account Minimum Promotion
Robinhood $0 $0 Free share of stock valued at $2.50-$200 for you and each friend you refer upon approval of friends’ applications, up to a maximum of $500 worth of stock.
Webull $0 $0 Get one free stock worth $5-$500 for opening a brokerage account; get a second free stock worth $12-$1,400 when you make a deposit in any amount
Betterment 0.25% per year $0 Earn rewards by referring family and friends to Betterment
Stockpile $0 $0, but $5 required to start investing Get $5 in free stock when you buy your first stock or give your first e-gift of at least $10
Acorns $1-$5 per month $0 Earn a $10 bonus when you sign up with Acorns and make an investment
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An In-Depth Look at the Best Investment Apps

Each investment app has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll have to match your own needs with the features and benefits that work best for you. For example, if you plan on actively trading stocks, you might gravitate toward an app with the lowest trading costs. Those without much money to invest will want to find an app that has no minimum required investment. Keep reading to learn about GOBankingRates’ picks for the Best Investment Apps of 2021.

1. Robinhood: Best for Beginners

Robinhood was a pioneer in the world of investment apps when it introduced commission-free trading in 2015. Whereas online brokerage houses had long been driving down commission rates from the hundreds of dollars often charged by full-service brokers, Robinhood was the first to make commission-free trading possible. Now you can use the platform to buy stocks, exchange-traded funds, options and even cryptocurrency for no commission. There are no account minimums at Robinhood, either.

For no charge whatsoever, app users can keep tabs on their portfolios, set up customized price notifications and access investment news and research. Those willing to pay $5 per month can step up to Robinhood Gold, which allows access to professional research reports, trading on margin and bigger instant deposits. Users can earn free stocks by referring friends and family to Robinhood.

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Pros:

Cons:

Costs and Fees: None

Account Minimum: None

Where To Download the App: Google Play and the App Store

To learn more about Robinhood, visit its website.

2. Webull: Best for Research Tools

Webull is a contender among the Best Investment Apps because it also has no account minimums or commissions. The app provides real-time quotes, a full financial calendar, analyst ratings and in-depth charts. Although the app advertises 24/7 live customer support, the only way to contact the company for service is to send your question or details on your problem via email. But the app does offer extended-hours trading at zero commission, starting at 4 a.m. EST and ending at 8 p.m. EST.

Currently, Webull will give you a free stock valued between $3 and $300 for simply opening an account, and you can get another free stock, valued from $8 to $2,000, once you deposit any amount into your account.

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Pros:

Cons:

Costs and Fees: None

Account Minimum: None

Where To Download the App: Google Play and the App Store

To learn more about Webull, visit its website.

3. Betterment: Best for Additional Financial Services

Betterment’s strength as an investment app comes from its variety of features. Unlike some other investment apps, Betterment was created as a robo-advisor, so it doesn’t allow you to trade stocks. After you enter information about your investment experience, objectives and risk tolerance, Betterment will devise a portfolio of exchange-traded funds that diversifies your account across various asset classes. All this can be accomplished for free, 0.25% or 0.40% annually depending on the investment plan you choose, with no account minimum. And you can earn rewards for referring family and friends who open a qualifying account.

Betterment also has a high-yield savings account and various accounts that you can use to save for different objectives, such as your retirement, education or a safety net. Betterment’s checking account, complete with a debit card and zero ATM fees, is now available.

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Pros:

Cons:

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

Where To Download the App: Google Play and the App Store

To learn more about Betterment, visit its website.

4. Stockpile: Best for Educational Resources

Stockpile stands out from the investment app crowd because it allows the purchase of fractional shares.  This can be hugely important for beginning investors or those without a lot of money to invest because it allows for a diversified portfolio even with limited capital. In August 2021, for example, Amazon stock traded for around $3,429.36 per share. For an investor with only $500 to invest, this means that Amazon stock is unattainable — unless they have the opportunity to buy fractional shares. For that same $500, an investor could own fractional shares of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Netflix or any other stock they desire.

Stockpile has zero trading fees to buy stocks, with no account minimums or additional service fees. The app comes with educational mini-lessons, and the website has an extensive blog providing a wide range of informational articles on everything from how to improve your finances to which ETFs you should buy. Stockpile also allows you to buy gift cards that you can print out at home or send via email or regular mail. In addition, you earn $5 of free stock when you buy your first stock or give your first e-gift of at least $10.

Building Wealth

Pros:

Cons:

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum:

Where To Download the App: Google Play and the App Store

To learn more about Stockpile, visit its website.

5. Acorns: Best for Automated Investments

The Acorns app is technically a robo-advisor that charges $1, $3 or $5 per month to allocate your funds among different ETF options. The trick with Acorns is that it automatically invests your spare change. Whenever you make a purchase, the app automatically rounds that purchase up to the nearest dollar, investing the additional funds into your portfolio. When you make a purchase from one of Acorns’ Found Money partners, that partner will automatically invest a percentage of your purchase on your behalf.

This type of automated, barely visible investing can be a perfect option for those who struggle with setting aside money every month. You can also set up automatic daily, weekly or monthly investments if you choose to be more proactive. Account options include a regular investment account, and Acorns Later, which is an individual retirement account.

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Pricing for Acorns depends on the services you select. The Lite account costs $1 per month. All-in-one investment, retirement and checking costs $3 per month. And the Family plan for $5 adds kids accounts.

Pros:

Cons:

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

Where To Download the App: Google Play and the App Store

To learn more about Acorns, visit its website.

Criteria for Ranking the Best Investment Apps

GOBankingRates determined the Best Investment Apps by analyzing seven major apps, using the following criteria:

Each investment app was scored based on these individual categories, which were then summed up for a final score. The categories on automated investment capability, account transfer ability and 24/7 customer support were weighted half for the final scoring for each investment app.

Takeaway

Investing is no longer out of reach, even for young investors contributing nominal amounts. There is no better time to start investing than today. For your investments to grow, time in the market is the secret to success.

More Best Brokers of 2021

Cynthia Bowman and Andrew DePietro contributed to the reporting for this article.

Data for Best Brokers was compiled from and verified against the individual institutions’ websites between July 1, 2021, and Aug. 30, 2021. That data has been updated as of Aug 30, 2021, but the rankings are based on the original data. Costs, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. Some information might reflect short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain any benefits mentioned. Availability might vary by region, minimum investment amounts and other factors. Please verify the terms and conditions before opening an account.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance website owned by ConsumerTrack Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions and other financial services organizations. Some brokerages mentioned in Best Brokers are clients of ConsumerTrack Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. For more information, see the complete methodology for the rankings.