The best stock trading apps of 2022

The best stock trading apps of 2022

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Best stock trading apps (2022)

The best stock trading apps offer the ability to buy and sell shares of stocks and ETFs with no commissions. They also allow you to research investments, track your portfolio, and easily enter orders to buy or sell.

To make our selections, we considered pricing and fees, investment options, account types, investment platforms, investment research, and education resources.

Our expert panel for this guide

We consulted financial planners, investing experts, and our own wealth-building reporter to inform our picks for the best stock trading apps. You can find the full transcript of our interviews with these experts at the bottom of this page.

We’re focusing on what makes a stock trading app and brokerage account most useful. When weighing different apps, it’s best to consider pricing, investment choices, account types, and investment research resources.

Best overall: Charles Schwab

Editor’s rating4.79 out of 5Trade Comission FeesNoneAccount minimumNoneConsider it if…You want a wide range of account types; easy-to-use apps and web interfaceCharles Schwab

Why Charles Schwab made our list:

Charles Schwab‘s Schwab Mobile is a strong all-around choice for stock traders. It comes with no account minimums and no recurring fees. You can choose between just about any type of investment account you would want and most types of investments. And for stock trades, the app is well-rounded for both beginners and experts. Charles Schwab also offers a no-fee automated adviser, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

The mobile app makes it easy to view your accounts, positions, and balances. You can view market indices and news, research stocks, and enter an array of trade types from the app. A new feature, the Schwab Assistant, gives you voice control to make trades, get quotes, set alerts, and get answers to questions about investments.

Users also have access to the more advanced StreetSmart Mobile. It works well but doesn’t rate among the very best for the most active traders. But Schwab now owns TD Ameritrade and thinkorswim, which is an industry leader for active traders. More on that in the next section.

Best for active traders: thinkorswim

Editor’s rating4.80 out of 5Trade Comission FeesNoneAccount minimumNoneConsider it if…You’re an expert-level trader looking for an interactive trading experiencethinkorswim trading platform

Why thinkorswim made our list:

TD Ameritrade‘s thinkorswim is a top stock trading app for active traders. TD Ameritrade features accounts with no recurring fees and no minimum balance. It offers a diverse range of accounts and investments, including some investments that are less commonly supported such as futures, forex, and cryptocurrencies. But it stands out for its active trader offering for both experts and those looking to become experts in active trading.

The flagship active trading platform at thinkorswim trading platform is thinkorswim. Thinkorswim gives you a nearly identical experience wherever you log in, including desktop or mobile. It features advanced charting, advanced trade tools, profit and loss calculations, a live CNBC news stream, and chat support where you can get live help from a TD Ameritrade trading specialist from inside the app.

Important note: TD Ameritrade was acquired by Charles Schwab on October 6, 2020. That means TD Ameritrade accounts are likely to become Schwab accounts. However, Schwab has announced it plans to keep thinkorswim alongside StreetSmart Edge.

Best for beginners: SoFi

Editor’s rating4.80 out of 5Trade Comission FeesNoneAccount minimumNoneConsider it if…You want a beginner-friendly investment appSoFi Active Invest

Why SoFi made our list:

SoFi Invest is one of the best stock market brokerages for new traders. SoFi’s app is less robust than some larger competitors, but that also makes it easy to navigate and understand if you don’t have as much experience in the markets.

SoFi Active Invest offers taxable accounts, retirement accounts, and a more limited set of investment choices. But stocks and ETFs are well represented. SoFi also offers a no-fee automated investing platform, and it lets you invest in fractional shares through a product it calls Stock Bits.

The stock trading section of the SoFi app offers basic fundamental information and recent price charts for supported investments. Beginners will enjoy browsing through groups of stocks by category to get ideas for how to invest. The app also includes education articles accessible from stock account pages.

If you are brand new to the markets, SoFi offers a way to get started with a small investment and no fees. That’s a good combination for learning how to trade stocks.

Best for no commissions: Vanguard

Editor’s rating4.63 out of 5Fees

0% trading (0.20% to 0.30% for automated and professionally managed portfolios)

Account minimum$0 ($3,000 for Vanguard Digital Advisor; $50,000 for Vanguard Personal Advisor Services)Consider it if…You’re an active trader, passive investor, or retirement-focused individual in search of low-cost investment options.Vanguard

Why Vanguard made our list:

Vanguard has investment options for just about every type of investor. In addition to its Jack Bogle-created index funds, the brokerage offers commisssion-free trading on several investments, automated investing (with the choice of one-on-one advisor guidance, thanks to Vanguard Personal Advisor Services), IRAs and other retirement resources, and market research and educational resources.

In addition to its iOS and Android mobile apps, Vanguard also offers trusts, 529 plans, custodial accounts, small business retirement plans and more.

Best for long-term investing: Fidelity

Editor’s rating4.79 out of 5Trade Comission FeesNoneAccount minimumNoneConsider it if…You’re focused on long-term investing and retirementFidelity

Why Fidelity made our list:

Fidelity offers a wide range of accounts and investments that could meet the needs of virtually any investor, but it stands out as a great choice for stock market inventors looking to buy and hold for long-term goals like retirement. It offers a wide range of investing products, including fractional shares.

In addition to common tools that allow you to research and trade stocks, Fidelity offers apps and tools to help you reach retirement goals and other long-term plans. For example, the new Fidelity Spire app is a goal-oriented app that encourages good saving and investing habits to reach the goals you’ve specified.

Fidelity is best for beginners as well as experienced, long-term, passive investors.

Best for expert traders: Interactive Brokers

Editor’s rating4.75 out of 5Trade Comission Fees $0 for IBKR Lite; $0.0005 – $0.0035 per share (IBKR Pro)Account minimumNoneConsider it if…You are looking to become a more active traderInteractive Brokers

Why Interactive Brokers made our list:

For expert traders looking for a slick, Wall Street-style trading platform, Interactive Brokers is a great choice. Sometimes called IBKR for short, Interactive Brokers offers multiple types of accounts, including ones that work well for retail investors all the way up to professional and institutional investors. It gives investors access to a very wide range of assets including, of course, stocks.

Interactive Brokers mobile app, IBKR Mobile, is a fully-functioning investment platform with advanced trading tools in your pocket. Advanced quotes and research contain 50 columns of data in a very similar format to the desktop platform. It’s cutting edge and works best for those with at least some investment experience.

Best for banking and stock trading: Ally Invest

Editor’s rating4.08 out of 5FeesNoneAccount minimum$0 ($100 managed accounts)Consider it if…You want an easy-to-use app paired with excellent checking and savings accountsAlly Invest

Why Ally made our list:

If you’re interested in a simple and straightforward investment platform that goes hand-in-hand with some of the best checking and savings accounts on the market today, Ally could be the right fit. Ally Invest has no minimum and no recurring fees and shares the same login for accounts with Ally Bank.

With Ally Invest Mobile, you can view your investments and enter stock trades with just a few taps. The app includes basic research and charting, recent news, and the ability to quickly enter a trade. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some stock trading apps, but it covers the basics and makes it easy to trade for a very low cost.

Other brokerages we considered

E-Trade: E-Trade offers a great stock trading platform for a wide range of investors. It was recently acquired by Morgan Stanley.Robinhood: Robinhood is a brokerage service offering commission-free trades on stocks, ETFs, and options. The investing platform also offers fractional shares and specialty investment products like cryptocurrencies, but its investment selection is limited.Webull: Webull and Robinhood share many similarities. Both brokerages offer cryptocurrencies and commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs and options, but Webull also offers IRAs. A drawback, however, is that it doesn’t offer automated accounts, mutual funds, or joint brokerage accounts.Tastyworks: Tastyworks is best for traders who are more interested in active options trading.Firstrade: Firstrade offers commission-free trades for most assets, but its trading apps are not quite as strong as some others.Public: Public is best for traders looking to learn how to trade from others. It includes “public” trading where you can view what others are doing to learn more and improve your trading skills.

Frequently asked questions

How did we choose the best stock trading apps?

The best stock trading apps come from brokerages that offer low-fee accounts and feature-filled mobile trading platforms. We also considered pricing, available investments, account types, and investment research resources in the apps.

What are brokerage accounts?

A brokerage account is a financial account that gives you access to buy, sell, and hold stocks and other supported investment assets. Like a bank account, you can deposit and withdraw cash. But unlike a bank account, you can use your cash balance to buy stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures, forex, bonds, and other assets.

How do brokerage accounts work?

Brokerage accounts are connected to the US financial system. You can generally add funds using your brokerage’s mobile app by check. You can also add or withdraw using electronic funds transfers, wire transfers, and other supported methods from your brokerage.

In the US, brokerage accounts are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA). While investment assets can lose value, accounts are insured by the US government through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Who should use a brokerage account?

You can’t buy and own stocks and other assets without a brokerage account, so anyone who wants to invest should get one. If you’re heavily in debt, you may want to pay off high-interest debts before funnelling too much of your budget into the stock market.

Remember that while most people buy stocks with the intention of making money, stocks and other investments can go down in value. Make sure you learn about what you’re investing in so you understand the risks and potential return.

How much should a brokerage account cost?

In the 2020s, brokerage accounts should be free for the most part. You should be able to open and maintain an account with no minimum balance requirement, no recurring fees, and no activity requirements, with a few exceptions for active traders and managed portfolios.

In 2019, most brokerages got rid of commissions for trading stocks and ETFs, as well as base fees for options. This makes investing accessible to just about anyone. For instance, some of the other brokerages that offer commission-free trading include Merrill Edge and TradeStation.

How do I choose an online brokerage?

Every investor has different goals and preferences. You should pick a brokerage that offers platforms and tools that are comfortable to you and products that align with your investment style. Fees can take a huge portion out of your investment gains, so always look at commissions, fees, and pricing for any activity you may need so you don’t get surprised with an unexpected charge.

The experts’ advice on choosing the best stock trading app for you

We interviewed the following four investing experts to see what they had to say about stock trading apps:

Brian Fry, CFP, founder at Safe Landing FinancialCharlotte Geletka, CFP, CRPC, managing partner at Silver Penny Financial PlanningKaysian Gordon, MBA, CFP, CDFA, CPA, wealth manager at Clarus GroupRickie Houston, wealth-building reporter, Personal Finance Insider

What are the advantages of using an investing app to trade stocks?

Brian Fry, CFP:

Of course, there’s going to be different levels of what’s offered through these different apps. Some of them may offer light financial planning, or low-cost or transparent investment options. 

[It’s about] drilling down and finding the app that’s going to best provide that transparency and best provide the confidence that one’s looking for in planning one’s financial future.

Charlotte Geletka, CFP, CRPC:

Investing apps make it easier than it has ever been for the individual to trade stocks right on your phone.

Kaysian Gordon, MBA, CFP, CDFA, CPA:

[The advantage] is being able to have the research you need to make that decision. Look for the app that’s going to give you enough of the information that you need to be able to make a wise decision when you’re trading stocks.

Rickie Houston, Personal Finance Insider:

Many investing apps offer commission-free trading, low account minimums, and educational resources. This makes them an attractive option for both beginner investors and experienced traders.

What are the disadvantages of using an investing app to trade stocks?

Brian Fry, CFP:

When you have free trades, you have to realize that these investment companies are making their money one way or another. So just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s better.

Cost is definitely something, but when you’re looking at free trades versus $5 trades or $10 trades, to me it’s all irrelevant. It’s really about what’s going to be the best user experience? What’s going to empower an investor to feel confident?

Charlotte Geletka, CFP, CRPC:

The disadvantage is that [mobile trading access] encourages impulse investing. Numerous studies show that when the retail investor engages in impulse investing and frequent trading he or she ends up with lower than average returns.

Kaysian Gordon, MBA, CFP, CDFA, CPA:

You want to make sure you [don’t have] all of your eggs in one basket. I can’t stress that enough no matter how good you think a company is.

Rickie Houston, Personal Finance Insider:

Most stock trading apps are mainly tailored toward hands-on investors. However, if you’re more of a hands-off investor, many of these apps also offer an automated account option.

Is there any other advice you’d offer someone who’s considering using a stock trading app?

Brian Fry, CFP: 

Most investment platforms offer similar benefits. Choose the platform that best helps you stay on track and identify progress towards your financial goals.

Charlotte Geletka, CFP, CRPC:

Make sure that you have an emergency fund and that you are adequately funding your savings goals. Use your extra money for trading apps. 

Kaysian Gordon, MBA, CFP, CDFA, CPA:

Don’t put too much money in one stock that, if you lose the money, you’re going to be hurting.

Rickie Houston, Personal Finance Insider:

Pick a few of your favorite stock trading apps and weigh the pros and cons of each platform. FAQ sections can be extremely helpful when you’re comparing fees, features, and more.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Personal Finance, Financial Planning, Investing, Stock Trading, Investing App, Charles Schwab, Thinkorswim, Ally Invest, webull, Interactive Brokers, Fidelity, SoFi Invest, Personal Finance Insider, PFI Guide, PFI Related Content Module, IP Graphics, Alyssa Powell, pfi, PFI-XAMP, pfi click tables, Vanguard, PFI BBM, PFI Short Code, FAQ Page

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