Some investors are content to bring their capital into a dull mutual fund and leave it to develop over time. Others like to manage their assets in a more hands-on manner by aggressive market trading. There’s a stock market software for everybody, even for those who are just starting out. Here are the 4 best stock trading apps for beginners in 2021.
In this Article:
1. Webull Review (One Of The Best Free Apps For Stock Trading)
Webull is a relatively novice to the brokerage community, having been established in 2017, but it seems to have taken advantage of its late entry. In several respects, it seems that the business has taken inspiration from modern forerunners like Robinhood, who cater to fresh and casual investors who want a better smartphone experience and a clean, simple desktop interface.
Webull, on the other hand, is a great option for more experienced active traders, with in-depth charting, hundreds of technical metrics, advanced instructions, Nasdaq Level II market info, customization, and more. All of this is contained inside a user-friendly, sleek platform. Furthermore, the firm has made rapid strides in expanding its services: It launched an individual savings portfolio in late 2019, and bitcoin and options trading was added this year. Although Webull does not currently sell fractional shares, this option is expected to be added in the foreseeable future.
Where Webull Shines
Cost: With no account minimum alongside free trades on stocks, ETFs, and American depository receipts, Webull is a low-cost choice. Options transactions are often open, with no per-trade or per-contract fees.
Platform: The sheer amount of maps, graphs, metrics, and screens available to new investors can confuse them, but thanks to the user-friendly interface, someone with even a little background will easily get to grips with it.
And this is where Webull truly shines: Combining the sleek look and feel that the mobile-first generation is used to with the features of a more mature product. This also assists Webull in accomplishing the somewhat unusual feat of developing a forum that connects intermediate and advanced investing, guiding users on their investment path while they acquire more knowledge.
Margin trading: Webull’s margin rate tiers are significantly cheaper than those of its rivals, and those with a balance of at least $2,000 will open margin accounts at no additional expense. To obtain entry to a margin account, Robinhood, the most similar product to Webull, needs an extra monthly fee. However, this access raises an important point: trading on margin carries a high level of danger. Until engaging in margin investing, investors should be completely aware of the dangers.
Where Webull Falls Short
Tradable securities: Webull needs links to certain traditional instruments, such as mutual funds and shares, despite having a strong offering for active traders. This could make it more difficult for investors investing for retirement in an IRA to fully diversify through investments traditionally included in a retirement fund.
Cash management: Webull does not pay interest on uninvested funds, does not have a default fund for uninvested cash, and does not sell any ancillary banking or cash management products to compensate (such as Ally Invest and Robinhood). In other terms, any cash that is not spent would remain idle, unable to expand. However, certain default sweep interest rates this year are as low as 0.01 percent, because in today’s setting, the distinction between paying interest on uninvested cash versus not is razor-thin.
Educational support: The educational material is disappointing, given how tidy the product is and how much emphasis the organization places on technology and creativity. It’s difficult to navigate, and it doesn’t go into great depth on complicated issues like margin and options trading, which merit straightforward and comprehensive descriptions. Another explanation why Webull may not be the right choice for beginners is because of this.
Is Webull Right for You?
There could be better brokers for you if you’re a complete novice or haven’t yet built a well-diversified, long-term portfolio. However, if you have any trading expertise, are involved in active trading, or want to develop your trading skills with advanced orders and technical research, Webull may be a good match — particularly given its low price relative to other brokers with similar offerings.
2. SoFi Active Investing Review (Best for Learning About Trading)
SoFi Active Investing, a recent product by SoFi Invest, is targeted specifically at millennial people, offering free equity and exchange-traded fund transactions, as well as the opportunity to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum and fractional shares in blue-chip firms like Amazon and Netflix.
The self-directed brokerage is a part of the San Francisco company’s developing line of financial goods, which also includes robo-advisor SoFi Automated Investing and an online cash management account called SoFi Money. Members may take advantage of free educational workshops and meetings with financial advisors.
Where SoFi Active Investing shines
Commission-free trades: SoFi Active Investing launched as a rival to Robinhood, providing free stock and ETF transactions (but not options trading, unlike several other brokers). However, by the end of 2019, free trades have become the market norm at online exchanges, allowing SoFi and Robinhood’s offers to sacrifice their competitive advantage.
No account minimum: Though you’ll need money to exchange, there’s no account minimum with SoFi to open an account and start buying and selling stocks as well as ETFs.
Fractional shares: SoFi Active Investing was one of the first brokerages to sell fractional securities, which enable investors to purchase a portion of a stock rather than the whole stock. As the sector has led to sky-high equity rates, this is becoming a more appealing choice, and it provides potential buyers with a cost-effective way to create a diversified portfolio.
SoFi Bits is a new product from SoFi that enables investors to purchase commission-free fractional shares in approximately 40 well-known public firms, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Starbucks, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
SoFi Bits may have been the first to market, but rivals Robinhood, Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, and Interactive Brokers are now offering fractional shares.
Cryptocurrency: SoFi Crypto, which helps consumers to purchase and exchange three cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin — was introduced by the brokerage in 2019. However, there are no free exchanges here: SoFi charges 1.25 percent of each cryptocurrency trade’s value. Robinhood, a competitor, provides commission-free cryptocurrency trading.
Free financial counseling: To assist in long-term investment planning, all SoFi customers have unrestricted access to the company’s financial consultants at no additional cost. Advisors are licensed financial advisors who have earned the Series 65 (or a related designation), which allows them to act in your best interests. Essential note: While SoFi Automated Investing customers receive direct investment guidance, advisors may not make detailed stock trading recommendations to SoFi Invest brokerage customers.
For brokerage customers, SoFi also provides free job advice and invitations to educational activities.
Where Sofi Active Investing Falls Short
Tradable securities: SoFi Active Investing might be ahead of the curve when it comes to fractional shares and bitcoin, but it lags behind on other investment choices. Want to participate in equity funds, index funds, and shares, which are the foundation of most savings portfolios, or in more sophisticated instruments like stocks, forex, and futures? Look something else.
Limited track record: SoFi Active Investing, which launched in February 2019, is a relative novice compared to SoFi Student Loans, which has been around since 2011. Any investors may prefer a brokerage with more experience.
Is Sofi Active Investing Right for You?
New investors would appreciate SoFi Active Investing’s enticing features, which include commission-free stock and ETF trades, no account minimum, free financial advice, and cutting-edge products such as fractional shares and cryptocurrencies. Long-term buyers would be turned off by the scarcity of investing alternatives, such as mutual funds and index funds, and mature investors will have to go elsewhere for options, forex, and futures markets.
3. Fidelity (Best Stock Trading App for Beginners)
Fidelity Investments is known for its mutual funds, but its brokerage arm is no slouch: It provides zero trading fees, a wide range of analysis, and an easy-to-use interface that can even be tailored for more experienced traders.
The money’s credibility isn’t bad, either: With a huge range of no-transaction-fee products, like its Fidelity Zero index funds, which have no cost ratio and no minimum contribution threshold, the broker earned five stars from us in any fund group. Customers benefit greatly from these investor-friendly activities.
Where Fidelity Investments Shines
Commissions: Fidelity was still a market pioneer in terms of low-cost fees, but it removed commissions on stock, ETFs, and options in 2019. Previously, the firm eliminated almost all account fees, including the common conversion and account closing fees paid by brokers.
Mutual funds: Fidelity also benefited from the battle among brokers to reduce mutual fund fees. The firm was the first to introduce mutual funds with no cost ratio to the industry.
And the Fidelity tracker funds that still incur an expense ratio undercut most of the market on price, allowing investors to create a healthy — and nearly free — investment portfolio using just these zero-expense-ratio funds. Around 3,400 no-transaction-fee mutual funds and over 700 mutual funds and index funds with expense ratios of 0.50 percent or less are available to Fidelity buyers. Fidelity and other investment fund providers have these accounts.
Fidelity now has a vast number of funds with little to no minimum contribution requirements, including all Fidelity funds for individual investors.
Research: Stock analysis from 20 third-party vendors, including Ned Davis Research, Recognia, Thomson Reuters, and McLean Capital Management, is available via Fidelity. The firm provides ETF research across five different sources, as well as options strategies ideas from LiveVol, an options analysis app.
This large number of research firm offers can be overwhelming, but investors may use a quick quiz to find providers that fit their investing style. The consistency of the provider’s advice is assessed using a consulting company scorecard.
Customer experience and educational support: Fidelity has a strong history of providing excellent customer care, and the firm provides free investor workshops and in-person advice at branch locations around the world. The fundamentals of technological research, as well as how to access the company’s platform and whether to take Social Security, are all included in the seminars. Fidelity’s content center has manuals and webinars on a similar variety of topics available online.
Platforms and tools: Fidelity provides trading through its website and smartphone applications, as well as a desktop portal for active traders, much like most brokers.
The company’s online trading platform is simple to use and detailed, with sophisticated screeners built on the aforementioned analytics and strategy-testing software focused on 10 years of historical evidence among the highlights. With real-time quotations, multi-leg options trading, a streamlined edition of the company’s analyst products, and a notebook where you can save suggestions and posts from your web browser, Fidelity’s mobile app is similarly amazing.
The company’s Active Trader Pro platform, which is now open to all investors for free, is preferred by active traders. Active Trader Pro is available as a laptop download as well as a web-based app at ActiveTraderPro.com. Investors can go between the two with ease. The platform is fully scalable, with intuitive shortcuts, pre-built economy, technological, and options filters, specialized options software, and a multi-trade ticket that can store and execute up to 50 orders at once.
Cash management account: Fidelity operates an FDIC-insured cash management plan that can be combined with a brokerage account. The plan has much of the same benefits as a traditional bank checking account, such as a large ATM network and no annual or overdraft costs, but it pays a smaller interest rate than certain other cash management accounts.
Where Fidelity Investments Falls Short
There’s not something we don’t like about Fidelity: the broker has always performed well in our evaluations, and this year was no exception. That means any flaws are purely subjective, so we’ll mention them here for transparency’s sake. We gave Fidelity the lowest score for:
- Although it provides fractional shares and derivatives trading, it only receives a 3-star ranking for tradable stocks due to the absence of futures or forex trading options.
- A broker-assisted trading fee of $32.95, which is more than we want.
Is Fidelity Right For You?
Fidelity is one of the only brokers who will cater to both successful traders and retirees. Starting with a mutual fund portfolio that rivals every other broker and also provides free options, the firm delivers on every aspect. Fidelity also has features that are essential to equity traders, such as robust trading networks, nil exchange fees, and a diverse analysis portfolio. We can’t think about a single investor that wouldn’t profit from Fidelity.
3. TD Ameritrade (Best Stock Trading App for Beginners Overall)
TD Ameritrade has a $0 minimum investment requirement and offers a number of exclusive services, such as robust — and free — analysis and results, portfolio-building advice, $0 commissions on equity, choice, and exchange-traded fund transactions, and approximately 300 locations for in-person customer service. There are four exchange sites available to investors.
Charles Schwab concluded the takeover of TD Ameritrade in October 2020, although the two businesses will be integrated within the next 18 to 36 months.
Where TD Ameritrade Shines
Tradable securities: For licensed customers, TD Ameritrade dominates the investment selection segment by providing the maximum spectrum of assets, including options, forex, and bitcoin futures trading.
In terms of less exotic investments, the broker’s range of over 4,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds is comparable to or better than that of other big-name brokers such as Charles Schwab and Fidelity.
With over 700 mutual funds on its website with expense ratios of 0.50 percent or less, and over 1,300 with investment minimums of $100 or less, TD Ameritrade excels in providing low-cost and low-minimum funds. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to investing in mutual funds.
Investor education and assistance: To tell the broker’s digital educational services are plentiful is an understatement. It’s difficult to know where to begin with too much accessible in any medium — films, posts, slideshows, and quizzes, as well as ongoing live streaming lectures and in-branch presentations. Allow TD Ameritrade to lead you through the investing curriculum by choosing your ability level (rookie, scholar, or guru) and browsing the analysis and services it offers. The “Ask Ted” functionality will help you with more detailed questions. “Ted” is a chatbot that will guide you to all of the broker’s investment resources, tutorials, main info, and everything else that comes to mind.
In addition, the organization hosts eight hours of instructional webcasts every day and stages over 40 live activities at local branches each year.
Virtual trading simulator: Surprisingly, only a small number of online brokers have demo trading profiles on their websites. One of them is TD Ameritrade. Its virtual emulator, paperMoney, is a desktop-based application aimed at advanced and regular traders. It comes with $100,000 in practice “money” as well as a margin account. Non-customers should apply for a free 60-day trial — a good opportunity to try a new platform before committing to opening up a real-money account — so it’s only for free via the broker’s two websites and Mobile Trader app.
Choice of trading platforms: TD Ameritrade has two primary trading channels, both of which has a telephone counterpart.
TDAmeritrade.com is an on-ramp website that includes about all a typical investor wants to find, study, view, and exchange stocks, shares, bonds, CDs, and options. The following features are included in the free platform:
- Thomson Reuters, Morningstar, CRFA (formerly S&P Capital IQ), and TD Ameritrade’s own financial experts contributed to this study.
- A landing page that can be customized.
- GainsKeeper, a broker’s instrument for tracking capital gains and losses for tax season.
Separately, the firm offers thinkorswim, a desktop trading site targeted at severe stock, ETF, options, futures, and forex traders. Advanced trading capability, a comprehensive lineup of technical research software and reports, flexible screeners and charting, backtesting technologies, real-time reporting, quotations, market heat charts, and more are among the features modern traders need.
You can’t get to your laptop in time, or you don’t have either of the broker’s smartphone apps? You may also use third-party sites like Twitter Direct Messages, Facebook Messenger, and Apple Business Chat to make some code-red, emergency trades. TD Ameritrade has introduced voice-enabled trading with Google Assistant and in-vehicle mobile experiences this year, allowing investors to keep up to date on market movements while commuting.
Mobile trading: The broker’s smartphone solutions are also available on a variety of websites. The TD Ameritrade Mobile (iOS and Android) software is a companion app to the web platform, and the TD Ameritrade thinkorswim app is a companion app to the online platform of the same name. TD Ameritrade Mobile Web, a browser-based portal designed for mobile devices, is now available.
TD Ameritrade Mobile offers much of the same trading features as the web-based site, as well as Level II quotes (not available on the web platform). Investors will be updated of updates to their portfolios using the app’s personalized watchlists, instructional videos, and a long list of warning choices.
Futures and forex trading, complex option ordering features (three or four legs), and talk assistance from TD’s trading desk are all included in the thinkorswim software.
The TD Ameritrade Portfolios software, which is for controlled fund clients to track their assets, is also accessible. See our analysis of TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios for more information on TD’s robo-advisory program.
Where TD Ameritrade Falls Short
Fractional shares: Investors with minimal resources may want to look elsewhere now that big players including Fidelity and Schwab are selling their own variants of fractional trading. You will invest in fractional securities by the dollar sum rather than by the unit, allowing you to create a portfolio of stocks that might otherwise be too costly to include.
Is TD Ameritrade Right For You?
TD Ameritrade is a once-in-a-lifetime dealer that does everything well. Clients get an extensive list of resources, including portfolio-building advice, hands-on investment workshops, high-quality analysis, trading software, and a large variety of no-transaction-fee mutual funds, for a trader with no commission on shares, ETF, and options transactions. When the broker’s integration with Charles Schwab is full, we anticipate the roster to only get better.
Since everyone’s investing priorities and degrees of expertise vary, it’s critical to consider your stock trading history and how you expect to trade while choosing a brokerage and stock trading app.
Fees, tradable properties, open account forms, and platform ease-of-use are the most critical factors to consider especially when choosing the best stock trading apps for beginners. Since ease-of-use is subjective, spend a few minutes looking through the platforms and even sample profiles until committing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Use a Stock Trading App?
A stock market software may be used to purchase and sell stocks as well as other financial goods. Many people who are familiar with stock market fundamentals and smartphones will easily use a stock trading software.
Start by opening an account with your favorite brokerage firm from the list above. With the exception of SoFi’s $1 minimum, all of the brokerage accounts on this page need no initial investment and have no annual fees. While you can normally open an account directly with the smartphone app, it’s always easier to open an account online through your phone.
To begin buying and selling, download the mobile app and log in after you’ve created your account.
Which Stock Trading Software Is Better for Beginners?
TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are the perfect stock exchange applications for newcomers in 2021. When it comes to educational opportunities and trading instruments, TD Ameritrade has the upper hand. For novice buyers, Fidelity provides a more detailed analysis experience.
How Much Money Do I Need?
Most major brokerages enable you to open an account with no initial deposit. However, this does not imply that you will trade stocks for free. Most brokers demand that you have enough money to purchase complete shares of stock, which can cost anything from $5 to $1,000 a share.
Both Fidelity and SoFi let you purchase fractional stock, which implies you can buy a fraction of a share at a time. This allows you to begin investing in stocks with very little capital.
Nearly all brokers have the equity exchange commissions to nothing in recent years, which ensures you can purchase and sell without thinking about selling costs cutting through your earnings.
What Is the Best Trading Software?
TD Ameritrade is the best free stock trading software. TD Ameritrade, unlike other traders, has two portfolio apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile and thinkorswim Mobile. TD Ameritrade Mobile is a mobile version of TD Ameritrade. Meanwhile, thinkorswim Mobile is aimed at successful traders that need a lot of features. Both applications are excellent.
What Factors Should I Include When Selecting the Right Stock Trading App?
We suggest contrasting product functionality to pick the right stock trading app now that all stock apps deliver $0 stock trades. Watch lists, stock maps, and order tickets are the most often used stock software tools, so make sure they’re great. In our broker reports, we have full snapshots of each stock app to assist readers.
Is It Possible To Start Trading With Only $100?
Yes, really. Many online brokers now enable you to open an account with no minimum investment, commission-free stock and ETF trades, and fractional shares. As a consequence, new traders will begin trading with as little as a $100 deposit. Using our online broker analysis app to analyze functionality and pricing.
What Is the Best Stock Market App in Terms of Technology?
TD Ameritrade was one of the first brokers to sell an Alexa Skill, and in August 2017, it was the first broker to connect with Facebook Messenger, welcoming the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with its own chatbot. Apple Business Chat was added in 2018. Then, in 2019, TD Ameritrade launched both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Overall, TD Ameritrade is the undisputed pioneer in smartphone trading and can be located almost everywhere.
What Are Brokerage Accounts?
To use an investing app, you’ll need to finance a brokerage account, which is a kind of account where you can deposit cash and savings. You will finance your brokerage account with cash and use the money to purchase and sell securities, shares, mutual funds, and other brokerage-supported portfolios.
Since each brokerage has its own set of key features and prices, there is no such thing as a perfect brokerage. Anyone, on the other hand, will find a brokerage that is a suitable match for their needs.
Who Should Use a Brokerage Account?
A investment account will be beneficial to about anyone in the United States. Investing a part of your money is a smart long-term choice as long as you have paid off high-interest loans.
The majority of the brokers on this list do not charge monthly commissions or need a minimum balance. Buying the first stock or ETF will also be done for as low as $5.
How Do I Choose an Online Brokerage?
Your investment priorities can determine which online brokerage and investing applications you use. You’ll need a separate forum than passive investors if you’re involved in aggressive investment. In any situation, it’s crucial to check fees to ensure you’re not overpaying for services you’ll need on a daily basis.
You’ve probably discovered a winner if an app supports the kinds of accounts and finances you like on a site you love using.
How Do Brokerage Accounts Work?
In several cases, brokerage accounts are similar to checking accounts at conventional banks. In reality, if you choose one, several brokerages have checkbooks for brokerage accounts. Similar to a bank, you can add and subtract money, while withdrawal rules apply to some forms of retirement and other tax-advantaged accounts.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) & the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversee brokerage firms in the United States (FINRA). Since accounts can loss value, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insures investments in the event that the brokerage goes out of business.
How Much Is the Brokerage Account Supposed To Cost?
Brokerage accounts can also be free of charge. To escape monthly fee costs, the best brokerages do not charge annual premiums and do not need a minimum balance or operating requirements.
In fairness, most brokerages have reduced stock and ETF trading costs, so you shouldn’t have to pay any commissions on these types of trades.
Is Online Trading Safe?
If you use a licensed online stock trader and not invest more than you can expect to lose, online trading is risk-free. It can be potentially dangerous to trade stocks online. Begin with a small sum of capital, read investing books, and keep it easy by buying and keeping for the long term.
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