Public.com Review 2022: Is It Right for You?

GOBankingRates Score

4.0
Quick Take: Public.com is a great investment app for those building diversified portfolios consisting primarily of stocks and crypto. There are no extra costs or fees attached to invest, but charges do apply for transfers and other minor requests.
  • Fees
    4.4
  • Investment Selection
    3.0
  • Customer Service
    4.2
  • Trustworthiness
    4.4
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Commission-free investing
  • Sign up bonuses
  • SIPC-insured

Cons

  • Transfer fees
  • Only stocks, ETFs and crypto are currently available

Public.com Overview

Public.com is a commission-free investing platform that also has an app. It has been backed by large institutional investors such as Tiger Global, well-known entrepreneurs like Scott Galloway and even a lineup of celebrities including Will Smith and Tony Hawk.

Key Features

When choosing a brokerage, there’s a range of features to consider. Public.com currently has limitations for some of its offerings, but overall it performs well.

Fees

Public.com has commission-free trading, charges zero transaction fees for stocks, crypto and ETFs, and there are no account fees. Standard regulatory fees do apply to the sale of stocks and ETFs, however.

There is no charge to transfer money in or out of your account using ACH transfers, and to add money to your account via wire transfer is completely free. Account statements showing transactions are generated digitally for free as well.

ACAT transfers are available to move your investments from another platform to Public.com too, at no cost.

That’s everything that’s free. Here’s everything that will cost you money:

  • Domestic wire transfers out of Public: $25
  • ACAT transfer out of Public: $75
  • Delivery of overnight checks in the U.S.: $35
  • Returned transfers: $30
  • Instant withdrawals: up to 2% of the total withdrawal — $0.50 minimum applies
  • Paper statements: $5
  • A paper copy of trades: $2
  • Physical check requests: $5
  • ACH amendments: $5
  • Overnight mail in the U.S.: $50
  • Overnight international mail: $100
  • Escheatment: $75
  • Transfers on death: $200
  • Inactive account fees: $5 charged semi-annually

Investment Selection

Thousands of stocks and ETFs as well as over 25 cryptos can be traded on Public. Dashboards are available where users can see charts, statistics, analyst estimates and public sentiment for the stock from the Public community.

Dividends from holding can be reinvested automatically, recurring buys can be set up, and instant transfers are available when access to cash is needed quickly. For crypto, educational resources teach customers about digital assets, and learners who complete modules receive rewards in return.

Public.com also has ambitions to launch the sale of art, NFTs and collectibles in the future.

Customer Service

Users of Public.com can access customer support through four lines of communication:

  • Standard post: The address is 228 Park Avenue South, Suite 97716, New York, NY 10003
  • Email: support@public.com
  • Live chat
  • Public.com’s FAQ page which answers the most asked questions

Trustworthiness

Public.com’s subsidiary, Open to the Public Investing, Inc., handles stock market and ETF trading. It is a broker-dealer, and it is both FINRA and SIPC compliant. 

Crypto trading is done through APEX. It is licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services, but it is not a member of FINRA or SIPC, and it is not a registered broker-dealer.

Overall, the Better Business Bureau has given Public.com an A rating, one of the top accreditations. 

How Does Public.com Stand Out?

Public.com stands out for the bonuses it offers for moving to its platform. Here are the bonuses that vary based on the size of the transfer.

Dollar Amount Bonus
$5,000 to $24,999 $150
$25,000 to $99,999 $500
$100,000 to $499,999 $2,000
$500,000 to $999,999 $5,000
$1,000,000 or more $10,000

Not only could you get a bonus that covers your external transfer fee from another brokerage, but new customers would likely profit from the move. All new customers are also eligible for a free stock.

Comparable Options

Wondering how Public.com fares against other options? Here’s a breakdown of similarities and differences between some of the top crypto and trading apps.

Public.com vs. Robinhood

Public.com doesn’t use payment for order flow. PFOF is the sale of trades to market makers and brokers, which companies like Robinhood profit from. The model has been a point of controversy in the past, criticized for its inherent conflict of interest when managing clients’ investments.

Public.com vs. FTX

FTX has a more complete crypto selection than Public.com. While Public.com has only 25 cryptocurrencies available to trade, FTX has hundreds. FTX also has crypto staking and its own crypto cards, which Public.com does not have.

How To Apply

To apply, new customers need:

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To be a U.S. citizen or have a qualifying Visa
  • A valid U.S. address
  • A social security number

Once those terms are satisfied, users can set up an account by downloading the Public.com app on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. A few details will be required, and Public.com will make customers aware when the verification process is complete.

Who Public.com Is Best For

Public.com is best for the new generation of investors. It has and will be launching more asset classes accessible from one platform. That includes traditional stock market investing options like stocks and ETFs as well as NFTs, collectibles and crypto. 

Final Take

Is Public.com a good investment app? Yes. Is it good enough to become the primary brokerage account for investors? Probably not yet. But it does have some great qualities. The basic selection now covers the needs of most young investors, and future products are likely to help improve its overall offering.

Public.com FAQ

Here are some questions people have also asked about Public.com.
  • Is Public.com trustworthy?
    • The Better Business Bureau has awarded Public.com an A rating. Client assets have SIPC protection which covers accounts up to $500,000 in size.
  • Does Public.com have fees?
    • Public.com has fees for some transfers, paper documents, mail, instant withdrawals and inactive accounts, but investments are commission-free.
  • Is Public better than Robinhood?
    • Both Public and Robinhood are very similar platforms with stocks, ETF and crypto investing available. The main differentiator is that Robinhood also has options, whereas Public does not.

    Information is accurate as of Sept. 12, 2022.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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    About the Author

    David is a qualified financial advisor in the Republic of Ireland. He has a bachelor's degree in business and entrepreneurship, as well as over five years of investing experience.
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