10 Best Investment Apps For Beginners Right Now

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Investing is a critical component of building wealth. After all, putting your money to work for you and leveraging compound interest is much better than hiding your cash under a mattress.

But learning to invest can be intimidating. This is especially true during periods of market volatility and when you're still learning all of the investing terms that are often thrown around.

However, there are plenty of investment apps for beginners you can use that take much of guesswork and jargon out of the equation. And the best part is many of these apps don't have minimum balance requirements, so anyone can begin investing.

In This Guide:

The Best Investment Apps For Beginners

Our list of the best investment apps beginners can use focuses on apps with low funding requirements that are easy-to-use. We've also chosen apps and platforms with commission-free trades to help limit fees. Finally, many of these apps support numerous asset classes, like stocks and cryptocurrencies, to give you choices when it comes to building your portfolio.

Best Overall: TD Ameritrade

Our Score: 9.5
Account Minimum: $0
Investing Options: Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, bonds, and futures
Trading Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trades and $0.65 for options

Why We Chose TD Ameritrade: TD Ameritrade is one of the most comprehensive commission-free online brokers out there. And the depth of features it has makes it our favorite investing app for beginners because as you become a more experienced investor, it has the tools to keep supporting you.

With TD Ameritrade, you get a variety of account types, including retirement accounts. It also has over 3,700 no-transaction fee (NTF) mutual funds which is helpful if you prefer mutual funds to ETFs.

You can even paper trade if you want to practice investing without putting any money on the line. And the fact you get customer support online, via the phone, or at thousands of physical branches makes the customer service excellent for beginner investors.

Pros:

  • Supports a variety of account types
  • Beginner and advanced market research (Thinkorswim) is available
  • Excellent customer service
  • No account opening or inactivity fees

Cons:

Get Started With TD Ameritrade | TD Ameritrade Review


Best Runner-Up: SoFi Active Investing

Our Score: 9
Account Minimum: $1
Investing Options: Stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrency
Trading Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trades and 1.25% for crypto trades

Why We Chose SoFi Active Investing: With SoFi Active Investing, you can trade thousands of different stocks and ETFs without paying any fees. SoFi also supports fractional shares starting at $5, making it an excellent way to invest a small amount of money.

We also like SoFi Active Investing for beginners because it lets you invest in crypto. The trading fees are a bit higher than some exchanges, but you can trade over 30 popular cryptos like Bitcoin, Cardano, and Ethereum.

Finally, when you open a SoFi Active Investing account, you become part of its massive ecosystem. This means you can try its automated investing service, the rewards credit card or checking account, and even access SoFi financial advisors for free.

Pros:

  • Supports fractional shares
  • Variety of other SoFi financial products including human advisors
  • Easy-to-use mobile app

Cons:

  • Crypto trading fees are a bit high
  • Some SoFi-owned ETFs have high fees

Get Started With SoFi Active Investing | SoFi Active Investing Review


Best For Automatic Investing: Acorns

Our Score: 9
Account Minimum: $5
Investing Options: Round-up spare change into Acorns portfolios
Trading Fees: $3 or $5 depending on plan

Why We Chose Acorns: We don't recommend Acorns for active, experienced investors. But when it comes to investing apps for beginners, Acorns is one of the best options for building good habits and regularly putting your money to work.

This microsavings app rounds-up your spare change and invests in various portfolios that match your goals and risk tolerance. As for what you're investing in, it's a variety of ETFs that are made up of stocks and bonds. More conservative portfolios are available, as well as growth-focused ones.

Acorns also lets you earn rewards with Acorns Earn, and its debit card helps you automatically invest even more money whenever you spend. The starter plan is $3 per month and there's also a family plan for $5 per month that lets you create investment accounts for your kids.

Pros:

  • Helps beginner investors build good habits
  • Earn cash-back rewards with Acorns Earn
  • Get paid two days early with Acorns' checking account if you set up direct deposit
  • Sustainable investment portfolio is available

Cons:

  • Paying $3 or $5 per month is a high fee for very small account balances
  • You can't pick individual stocks or ETFs to invest in, only portfolios

Get Started With Acorns | Acorns Review


Best For Low Fees: Robinhood

Our Score: 8.5
Account Minimum: $0
Investing Options: Stocks, ETFs, options, cryptocurrency
Trading Fees: Commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs, variable spread fees for crypto

Why We Chose Robinhood: If you want to trade from your smartphone and avoid fees, Robinhood is one of the best investment apps for beginners out there. You don't pay commission on stock or ETF trades like most leading brokers. But Robinhood doesn't charge fees for options contracts either, whereas most brokers charge $0.65 per contract. It also has competitive margin rates for Robinhood Gold customers.

Robinhood is also expanding its cryptocurrency offerings and supports over 10 popular coins. This is far less selection than crypto exchanges like Coinbase offer, but it's enough to add leading digital assets to your portfolio.

The company even gives new users free stock when they open and fund an account. The value of this sign-up bonus ranges from $5 to $200, so it's a nice way to hit the ground running with your investments.

Pros:

  • No minimum account requirement
  • Incredibly easy-to-use mobile app
  • Earn free stock for signing up
  • Retirement accounts are coming to the platform

Cons:

  • No mutual funds or bonds
  • Limited number of available cryptocurrencies

Get Started With Robinhood | Robinhood Review


Best For Social Investing: Public

Our Score: 8.5
Account Minimum: $0
Investing Options: Stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency
Trading Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trading and 1% to 2% for crypto trades

Why We Chose Public: As the name suggests, Public is a stock trading app that focuses on social sharing and networking with other investors to discover new investing opportunities. The app offers commission-free stock and ETF trading and recently added 30+ cryptocurrencies as well. You can also explore different investing themes to help find companies to invest in if you need a starting point.

Furthermore, Public lets users create public investor profiles where they can share what they're investing in. This lets you explore other profiles to get more ideas. And Public even hosts occasional town hall meetings where founders and CEOs have open Q&A sessions.

Throw in fractional share support and a free stock sign-up bonus and it's no surprise that this is an excellent investing app for beginners.

Pros:

  • No minimum account requirement
  • Supports fractional shares
  • Makes investing more social and helps you find new ideas
  • Free stock bonus ranging from $3 to $300

Cons:

  • No mutual funds or bonds
  • Only offers individual brokerage accounts

Get Started With Public | Public Review


Best For Banking Features: Ally

Our Score: 8.5
Account Minimum: $0
Investing Options: Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures
Trading Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trading, $9.95 for mutual funds, $0.50 for options

Why We Chose Ally Invest: Like TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest is another excellent investing option for beginners if you want to start out with a platform that has a range of features and account types. It offers commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs like other brokers plus competitive options trading. And mutual funds are much cheaper than many online brokers that charge $29.95 to $50 or more for non-NTF mutual funds.

We also like Ally Invest for new investors because it offers automated investing portfolios, one of which has no annual fees. This robo-advisor service also provides automatic portfolio rebalancing and helps you create a portfolio that matches your goals. And the minimum investment amount for its robo-advisor is only $100.

You also get plenty of banking options with Ally, which is useful if you want to house your investing and banking services under one roof. Ally's online savings account is one of our favorite high-yield savings accounts on the market right now.

Pros:

  • No minimum account requirement
  • Supports retirement accounts and numerous other account types
  • Low fees for trading options
  • Automated investing portfolios are available

Cons:

  • No fractional shares
  • No cryptocurrency support except for several trusts

Get Started With Ally Invest | Ally Invest Review


Best For Real Estate Investing: Fundrise

Our Score: 8.5
Account Minimum: $10
Investing Options: Various REITs
Trading Fees: 1% in annual management fees

Why We Chose Fundrise: When it comes to investing in real estate without much money, it's hard to top Fundrise. This popular real estate crowdfunding platform lets you invest in income-generating real estate portfolios with as little as $10. You don't need to be an accredited investor either, which is a common requirement for many crowdfunding platforms.

We also like Fundrise since it charges a low 1% annual management fee. Historical returns have been around 8-9% annually, and there's also a secondary marketplace to sell your shares to help with liquidity.

Pros:

  • No acceditation requirement
  • Low $10 investing minimum
  • Low annual fees
  • Helps diversify your portfolio with real estate

Cons:

  • Early sale penalty if you sell shares before five years

Get Started With Fundrise | Fundrise Review


Best For Family Investing: UNest

Our Score: 8
Account Minimum: $0
Investing Options:
Trading Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trades

Why We Chose UNest: If you want to invest for your child's future through a UTMA account, UNest is one of the best investing apps for beginners. The platform helps you invest in various portfolios of Vanguard ETFs in a UTMA account that your child gets control of when they reach the age of majority in your state. And unlike 529 plans, they don't have to use the funds in their account just for education.

This type of custodial account is more flexible, and it helps you child have more options when the come of age. The basic plan costs $2.99 per month, but you can also upgrade to UNest Family which supports up to five children for $5.98 per month.

This isn't the right investing app if you want to trade options, bonds, and research stock and ETF picks more closely. But it's an excellent app to try out if you have kids.

Pros:

  • UTMA accounts are a flexible way to invest for your children's future
  • Can get a lower marginal tax rate thanks to the kiddie tax
  • Very easy for friends and family to contribute

Cons:

  • Fees are high for very small portfolios
  • UTMA accounts generally have fewer tax advantages than 529 plans

Get Started With UNest | UNest Review


Best For Robo-Advisor Services: M1

Our Score: 8
Account Minimum: $100
Investing Options: Stocks and ETFs
Trading Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trading

Why We Chose M1: We had to include M1 on our list of the best investing platforms for beginners because its has something for more active and passive investors alike. Once you fund your account with $100, you can invest in thousands of individual stocks and ETFs without paying trading fees. But M1 also lets you use its prebuilt portfolios, known as Pies, if you need a starting point for how to invest.

You can also customize Pies with different stocks and ETFs, giving you more control than most robo-advisors offer. And the best part is M1 doesn't charge fees for this service.

Plus, there's a host of other features including a rewards credit card that pays you cash back for shopping at companies you own shares in. You also get a rewards checking account and can borrow money against your portfolio. And if you pay $125 annually, you upgrade to M1 Plus and get better borrowing rates and more rewards.

Pros:

  • Supports fractional shares
  • Flexible robo-advisor with prebuilt portfolios that you can also edit
  • Completely free unless you upgrade to M1 Plus
  • Supports retirement accounts

Cons:

  • No cryptocurrency trading
  • There's a $20 inactivity fee for accounts with up to $20 and no activity for 90 days
  • No tax-loss harvesting like many robo-advisors offer

Get Started With M1 | M1 Review


Best For Practicing Trading: Invstr

Our Score: 7.5
Account Minimum: $0
Investing Options: Stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency
Trading Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trading, 1.5% for crypto trades

Why We Chose Invstr: Like many other beginner-friendly investment apps, Invstr also offers commission-free stock and ETF trading and also supports several popular cryptos. But this isn't why Invstr made our list.

If you want to learn more about investing and practice without risking real money, it's one of the most user-friendly apps out there. Its Fantasy Finance feature lets you paper trade with a virtual portfolio of up to $1 million. You can also invite your friends and have competitions about who's the best investor, just like fantasy sports. And to help you learn, there's the Invstr Academy which has over 85 short lessons.

The main downside of Invstr is that you have to pay for Invstr Pro to unlock completely free Fantasy Finance trading and all the Academy lessons. This plan costs $3.99 per month. However, if you're serious about Fantasy Finance and completing Invstr Academy courses, the price could be worth it. And Pro users also get a portfolio builder tool that recommends investments depending on your goals and risk tolerance.

Pros:

  • Supports fractional shares
  • A fun Fantasy Finance game where you can compete with friends
  • Dozens of educational modules
  • Supports popular cryptocurrencies

Cons:

  • You have to pay for a paid plan to get all the features
  • Crypto trading fees are a bit high
  • Limited number of cryptocurrencies to invest in

How We Chose The Best Investment Apps For Beginners

At Investor Junkie, our team thoroughly reviews dozens of financial services and options when creating our “best of” lists. When picking the top investing apps for beginners, we considered a range of factors, including fees, investment options, account types, and ease-of-use.

The company's included in this list haven't influenced their inclusion or ranking in our article. All opinions expressed here are the opinions of our author and team, not those of particular advertisers.

That said, there are plenty of other investing apps that are great options for beginners that didn't make the list. Always be sure to do your own research, and if you need professional help, consider working with a financial advisor to create an investing plan that's right for you.

Factors You Should Consider

Trading Fees

Trading fees are one of the most important factors to think about when picking an investing app. After all, high fees can add up quickly, turning an otherwise strong year of returns into a more lackluster picture.

Thankfully, many of the best investment apps for beginners don't charge commissions on stock and ETF trades. But you need to read the fine print to see if there are other potential account fees like:

  • Inactivity fees
  • Debit or credit card deposits and purchases
  • Wire transfer fees
  • Monthly or annual membership costs

And some brokers are better for trading certain types of assets than others. For example, J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing is one of the best brokers for mutual funds because it offers completely free mutual fund trading. But we don't recommend this broker as the number one pick for stock and ETF investing.

Research & Tools

When you're new to investing, you don't need to worry about technical analysis and reading charts all day to make decisions. Instead, focusing on the fundamentals is more important. This means considering things like a businesses' earnings, debt, and certain ratios to help with evaluation.

That said, you still want your investing app of choice to have some research functionality, or market news at the very least. These resources help you become a more informed investor. And it's better to have various research tools and not use them than to want them when they're not there.

Customer Service

As a new investor, you might have questions about how to start trading or what your different account options are. This means picking a broker with excellent customer service is even more important.

The need for reliable customer service is why we like companies like TD Ameritrade so much. You have online, phone, and in-person support when you need it most. In comparison, many brokers are online-only these days and have more limited customer service options.

We also like options like SoFi because you can get a no-cost financial planning session with SoFi financial planners.

Other App Features

Apps like Ally Invest and SoFi Active Investing are examples of investing apps that also open up numerous other features. For example, the Ally ecosystem has excellent banking options and a robo-advisor service you can explore. SoFi also has SoFi Automated Investing, a rewards credit card and checking account, and access to financial advisors.

You should still focus on what investing options you have and ease-of-use when choosing the right investment app for beginners. But having additional features might help you pick a winner if it's a close call between two companies.

Sign-Up Bonuses

Trading apps and brokerages often give sign-up bonuses to entice new customers. And while you shouldn't use a lackluster app just to snag some free cash, it can help push one platform over the edge if it's in close competition with another.

For example, TD Ameritrade often has sign-up bonuses if you open an account and deposit a certain amount. And at the time of writing, SoFi Invest is giving customers $5 to $1,000 for opening and funding an account. If you're brand new to investing, these sorts of bonuses can help you grow your portfolio a little bit faster.

Bottom Line

The world of online brokers and trading apps is immensely competitive. But the great news is that it's never been easier for new investors to get in on the action.

These days, you can start investing with just $1 through fractional shares with many platforms. And you don't need a degree in economics or finance to build a portfolio of valuable companies that helps you increase your net worth over time.

Hopefully, one of the investing apps for beginners in our list helps you take the plunge. And if there's an app we missed that you love using, let us know in the comments.

Advertiser Disclosure – This advertisement contains information and materials provided by Robinhood Financial LLC and its affiliates (“Robinhood”) and InvestorJunkie, a third party not affiliated with Robinhood. All investments involve risk and the past performance of a security, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Securities offered through Robinhood Financial LLC and Robinhood Securities LLC, which are members of FINRA and SIPC. InvestorJunkie is not a member of FINRA or SIPC.”

Tom Blake

Tom Blake is a staff writer at Investor Junkie who specializes in cryptocurrency, investing, and passive income. His work has appeared on numerous publications like The College Investor, Money Crashers, Greedy Rates, and his own blog This Online World. In his spare time, Tom enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling as a digital nomad.

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