Editorial Disclaimer: Please note that, although we regularly update this page, you should research a bank’s website to get the most up to date information available (including information on annual percentage yields). Some of the links on this page may be from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

In these digital times,
investing in stock can be done right at your fingertips with a click of a
button. Investing apps are becoming the new norm for investors of all levels.
While you used to have to pick up the phone to place an investment or make a
trade, you can now download an app and start putting your money to work
instantly.

With dozens of stock
trading apps currently on the market, it can be tricky to separate the good
from the bad.

To help you find the right
one for you, we put together this list of the best investment apps for
beginners in 2019.

Our Editorial Team has
researched all of the best investing apps available and evaluated each one in
several different areas in order to narrow this list down to the few that we
think will help you the most.

Comparing the Best
Investing Apps

Editorial Disclaimer:
Please note that, although we regularly update this page, you should research
an app’s website to get the most up to date information available (including
pricing and promotional info). Some of the links from this page are from paid
partners of DollarSprout.
Here’s how we make money.

At a glance:

  • Acorns – Best overall 
  • Stash– Best for values-based investing
  • Betterment – Best investing app for long term investors
  • M1 Finance – Best commission free investing app

  • Ally – Best app for do-it-yourself
    investors
  • Fundrise – Best real
    estate investment app
  • Stockpile – Best for
    buying fractional shares
  • Robinhood – Best for options and crypto
    trading

Everyone’s financial
situation is different. We all have different goals, amounts to invest,
tolerance for risk and knowledge about investing.

Whether you have lots of
extra money to invest, or just want to get started with a small amount of
money, you should be able to find something useful for you on this list.

Note: Before you start using an investing
app, you should already have a monthly household budget and a plan in place to pay off your
debt, if you have any. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Overall App for Beginners:
Acorns

$0

Account minimum

$1-$3/mo

Monthly Fees

4/5

Your Rating


Open Account

How Acorns stands out:

The Acorns app is very easy to use, which is perfect for new investors who
are learning the ropes. Users’ everyday purchases are rounded
up and the change is invested, which makes investing a daily habit.

  • Open an account in under 5 minutes, with no minimum investment required.
  • Answer a few questions about your age, risk tolerance, etc.
  • There are several ways to add to your account, including depositing your “spare change” (the app will round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and move the extra few cents into your Acorns account).
  • You can also make lump-sum deposits and use Acorns’ “Found Money” program, which is essentially a cash-back program that rewards you with bonuses when you shop with one of their Found Money partners.

Best Values-Based Investing App: Stash

$5

Account Minimum

$1-9/mo

Monthly Fees

5/5

Your Rating

Stash

Open Account

How Stash stands out:

Stash is a simple investing app that makes it easy to start putting
money to work, even if you’re only looking to invest a small
amount of money. Stash allows you to invest money online
by letting you choose from 150+ stocks or investment “themes”;
pick from the best options for your goals, interests, and beliefs.
Each theme includes a group of companies to invest in rather than just one.

  • You can open your account with as little as $5.
  • Stash allows you to invest money online by letting you choose from 150+ stocks or investment “themes”; pick from the best options for your goals, interests, and beliefs.
  • Each theme includes a group of companies to invest in rather than just one.
  • Each week you can make a small automatic deposit into your Stash account to invest (even just $5 a week).

Best App for Long Term Investors: Betterment

$0

Account Minimum

$0

Annual Fee

5/5

Your Rating



Open Account

How Betterment stands out:

Betterment is one of the most well popular robo-advisors and investment apps in the industry. The sign up process is very easy, they offer tax loss harvesting, simple asset management, good retirement calculators, low management fees, and the option to use a human advisor.

Betterment is more than just an investment app — it’s designed to be a one stop shop for all of your investing needs. It’s focused primarily on long term investing, and the platform caters to a “set it and forget it” investing style (which is perfect for beginners). 

  • Answer a few questions about your age, risk tolerance, etc. You’ll be asked about your goals and what you are investing for.
  • Based on your answers, Betterment will put together a portfolio that suits your needs. As time goes on, Betterment handles portfolio rebalancing so your asset allocation stays in line with your goals.
  • If you have investment accounts outside of Betterment, you can still use the app to track all of your assets in one place.

Best Commission-Free
Investing App: M1 Finance

$0

Cost per trade

$100

Account minimum

4/5

Your Rating



Open Account

Summary:

M1 Finance is a combination online brokerage and robo advisor. It’s very highly rated across the personal finance community for it’s interface, fund availability, and low costs. They offer investment portfolio templates you can choose from, and you can invest completely free.

Pros:

  • Free to trade
  • Offers fractional investing and no hidden fees
  • You can borrow against your portfolio in some instances
  • Automates investing and rebalancing

Cons:

  • They do not offer tax loss harvesting
  • They only offer stocks and ETFs; no mutual funds

Best App for
Do-It-Yourself Investors: Ally Invest

$0

Cost per trade

$100

Account minimum

4.5/5

Your Rating



Open Account

Summary:

Ally Invest is the investing portion of Ally Bank, an online only bank with no brick and mortar locations. Ally acquired Trade King in 2017 and now offers a suite of investment options. This platform is great for active day traders, but it’s also easy for a beginner to get started. Ally is well regarded in the financial space, and they have a good reputation.

Pros:

Managed Accounts 

  • No advisory fees.
  • Automated investing.
  • $100 account minimum.
  • Interest-earning cash buffer.

Self-Directed Accounts

  •  Commission-free trading on U.S. listed stocks and ETFs.
  •  Transfer fee reimbursement.
  •  $0 account minimum.
  •  Up to $3,500 cash bonus.

Cons:

Managed Accounts 

  • No tax loss harvesting.
  • No human advisor.
  • No physical branch.
  • No existing promotions.

Self-Directed Accounts

  • No automatic rebalancing.
  • Mutual funds carry transaction fees.
  • No human advisor.
  • No physical branch.

Best Real Estate Investing
App: Fundrise

$500

Account minimum

0.85%

Management Fee

4/5

Your Rating



Open Account

How Fundrise stands out:

Fundrise is a platform designed exclusively for crowdsourced real estate investing. It offers diversification, access to experts to ask questions, and several options for balanced investing, long term growth investing or supplemental income investing.

Cons:

  • Limited liquidity
  • Methodology hasn’t been tested in a strong market downturn yet

Account Types:

  • Taxable accounts
  • IRAs (account min. is $1,000)
  • Low, 0.15% annual investment advisory fee, which may be waived under certain circumstances

Best App for Buying
Fractional Shares: Stockpile

$5

Account minimum

$0.99

Cost per trade

5/5

Your Rating



Open Account

How Stockpile stands out:

Stockpile allows investors to buy fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, which makes investing in high priced securities more accessible. Instead of paying $1,000+ for a single share of Amazon stock, you can buy just 0.05 shares for a more affordable price. This app is great for beginning investors or anyone interested in teaching kids about the stock market.

Cons:

  • Only offers individual stocks and ETFs
  • No pre-made portfolios

Account Types:

  • Taxable investment accounts
  • Custodial accounts

Best App for Option &
Crypto Trading: Robinhood

$0

Account minimum

$0

Cost per trade

3/5

Your Rating



Open Account

How Robinhood stands out:

Commission free trades and high tech app makes it Robinhood an easy to use investing app. You can trade ETFs, stocks, options, and cryptocurrency without incurring extra charges, which makes it a great fit for investors with small account balances. By design, the app has very few bells and whistles.

Cons:

  • Access to research costs $5 per month
  • Mobile app only; no desktop version
  • Does not always sync with basic expense tracking software like Mint, Personal Capital, etc.

Account Types:

  • Taxable investment accounts

Time is on your side

If you haven’t started
investing yet, don’t fret — it’s not entirely your fault.

It’s not like we crawl out
of the womb knowing what a 401(k) is or how you should start saving for
retirement
.

We aren’t born knowing the
ins and outs of trading stocks, and basic personal finance still isn’t being
taught in schools.

But to make this work, you
need to start tucking away some of your money into the stock market as soon as
possible. You need to start now while time is still on your side.

With any one of the
investment apps listed above, it’s easier than ever to get started with
investing. Even if you are a complete beginner!

The more time your
investments have to grow, the more money you will end up having in retirement.
That means that you need to start doing this now, even if you start small. The
rise of mobile has made tracking and growing your money easier than ever.

This list has, in our
opinion, the best investing apps that will allow you to realistically and
responsibly invest money online. Whether you’re looking for more hands-on
investing, or more of a “set it and forget it” approach, there is an investing
app out there for you.

Which App is Right For
You?

  • Acorns – Best overall 
  • Stash– Best for values-based investing
  • Betterment – Best
    investing app for long term investors
  • M1 Finance – Best commission free
    investing app
  • Ally
    – Best app for
    do-it-yourself investors
  • Fundrise – Best real estate investment
    app
  • Stockpile – Best for buying fractional
    shares
  • Robinhood – Best for options and crypto
    trading

How DollarSprout Rates
Investing Apps

The Editorial Team at
DollarSprout looks at multiple factors when determining a 1-5 star rating for
investing apps. Here are the most important factors that weigh into our
ratings:

  • Ease
    of use
  • Mobile
    app reviews
  • Cost
    per trade
  • Availability
    of commission free ETFs
  • Access
    to research
  • Compatibility
    with other financial apps
  • Fees, and the likelihood that a
    user will incur them
  • Account
    balance requirements
  • Customer
    service

In addition to assigning a
1-5 star rating for each broker we research, we also aim to find the best
broker for certain types of investors, such as:

  • Best
    app for total beginners
  • Best
    app for active traders
  • Best
    app for cryptocurrency investors
  • Etc.