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Best Free Stock Apps for Android and iPhone – 2020 Guide

We explain below what a stock market app is and list the best free stock trading apps available.
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Author: Max Moeller
Last Updated: 08 April 2020

As stock apps are going commission-free, more people are beginning to invest in stocks. But with so much variety to pick from, which stock app should you go for? In this guide, we will present the best stock apps for 2020 and beyond.

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    What is a Free Stock Market App?

    A free stock app is very similar to a traditional stock application like Fidelity or TD Ameritrade. However, those applications charge a fee for every trade made on the platform. This used to work, back when the economy was a little bit different.

    Now, younger people, the millennials, don’t have nearly as much money to invest. To get these age groups involved, free stock apps like Robinhood removed this commission fee, both lowering the risk on and streamlining the investment process.

    Best Free Stock Trading Apps for 2020

    When it comes to choosing a stock app, the right choice depends on how often you want to trade and how much you can invest and commit to this long term. In the following list we will present the best free stock apps acccording to our tests, which should help you find the best tool for your needs.

    eToro: Best choice for non-U.S. residents

    Founded in 2006, eToro is now the leading social trading app. It has over 5 million users in more than 60 countries. Aside from stocks, its users can also trade indices, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and CFD.

    It is famous for being the first online stock broker to provide its traders a social trading app wherein they can copy the portfolio and trading strategies of the best traders on its platform.

    The free stock trading app is available on Android and iOS. Similar to eToro’s web trading platform, the app is easy to use. If ever you have an issue about the app, you can contact its customer support team who can speak a total of five languages and are available 24/5.

    eToro users are not charged for buying stocks as well as ETFs. If traders have leveraged positions, eToro only charges them the ‘spread’ which pertains to the difference between the bid (sell price) and ask (buy price) rates. For example, if the bid is 1.5336 and the ask price is 1.5338, then the spread is 2 pips.

    Available Assets: Stocks, indices, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and CFD

    App: Available on Android and iOS

    Demo Account: Yes

    Fees: Charges ‘Spread” for Leveraged Positions, $5 Withdrawal Fee, $5 Inactivity Fee, No Account Fee and No Deposit Fee

    Minimum Deposit: $200

    Regulation: CySEC, FCA, ASIC, MiFID

    Payment Methods: Credit/debit card, Paypal, Sofort, Rapid transfer, Skrill, Wire transfer, Neteller, WebMoney and UnionPay

    Educational Materials: Suitable for new and advanced traders

    OUR RATING

    • Offers a social trading platform
    • No commission
    • Wide range of financial products
    • Minimum deposit is high compared to its competitors

    Stash Invest: Best app for beginners in the U.S.

    Since 2015, the Stash Invest app is offering its superb services to both new and expert investors. Its users like the fact that they can not only invest but also get banking services through the app.

    Brandon Kreig, one of the co-founders of Stash Invest, said that its company aims to simplify the investing process and help its users learn more tips about investing and savings. Detailed guides are also offered on the Stash Learn section of the app.

    Stash Invest offers three monthly subscription plans. Users who get the Beginner plan will need to pay $1 per month while those in the Growth plan need to pay $3 per month. The Stash+ plan costs $9 per month. All of these monthly plans include investing and banking services as well as a cashback debit card. Users who get the Growth or Stash+ plan will be provided with retirement accounts. Traders who sign up for the Stash+ plan can create two more investing accounts for their kids and earn 2x cashback rewards.

    Available Assets: 200+ Stocks and 60+ ETFs

    App: Available on Android and iOS

    Demo Account: No

    Fees: 3 monthly subscription plans ($1, $3 and $9 per month), No Inactivity Fee, No Investment Fee for stocks, $75 outgoing transfer fee

    Minimum Deposit: $0

    Regulation: SEC

    Payment Methods: ACH transfer

    Educational Materials: Offers in-depth guides about investing and savings that both new and advanced traders will find useful

    • Best for new investors and traders
    • Lowest monthly plan charges only $1
    • Offers a wide range of stocks
    • PayPal deposit is not allowed

    Plus500: Best CFD stock trading app

    Known as the number one CFDs trading platform in Europe, Plus500’s mobile app offers a user-friendly and elegant interface. Its mobile app offers 2,500+ trading instruments.

    Creating an account through the app is easy and will only take a few minutes. Users who are not yet ready to deposit money can try the free demo account. Unlike other trading platforms, the demo account will not expire.

    After getting an account, users can access stock exchange-based real-time charts as well as check some guides that can help them know more about trading.

    Plus500’s users also commend the high level of support they receive whenever they encounter some issues. This is because the customer support team offers 24/7 professional support and can speak multiple languages.

    Available Assets: Trade leveraged CFDs on stocks, indices, forex, commodities, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and options

    App: Available on Android and iOS

    Demo Account: Yes

    Fees: Charges a Minimum of 0.01% Spread, No Deposit Fee, No Inactivity Fee

    Minimum Deposit: $100

    Regulation: FCA, ASIC, CySEC and MAS

    Payment Methods: Debit/credit cards, bank transfer, PayPal, Skrill

    Educational Materials: Suitable for new and advanced traders

    • Has a user-friendly mobile app
    • Provides a free demo account
    • Offers 1,000+ indicators
    • Limited research tools

    Libertex: One of the oldest online stock brokers

    Launched in 1997, Libertex is a well-known CFD and forex broker that serves more than 2 million traders located in 110 countries.

    Like Plus500, it also offers a free demo account for new users. They can also practice their trading skills by using the €50,000 virtual money that comes with their demo accounts.

    The basic features that the Libertex mobile app has are easy order placement, stop loss, pre-order, live quotes, trading signals, technical analyses, real-time news and quick account management.

    Available Assets: Stocks, CFDs, ETFs, forex, cryptocurrencies, commodities, indices

    App: Available on Android and iOS

    Demo Account: Yes

    Fees: €10 Inactivity Fee, €2 to $10 per withdrawal via bank transfer, 1% per withdrawal via Neteller, Charges a transaction fee based on the value of the transaction

    Minimum Deposit: €100

    Regulation: CySEC

    Payment Methods: Credit card, Neteller, Skrill, Sofort, Wire transfer, Giropay, iDeal

    Educational Materials: Suitable for new and advanced traders

    • €50,000 virtual money for the demo account
    • Easy order placement
    • Easy account switching from demo account to real account
    • Charges a lot of additional fees

    Robinhood: Free stock trading app

    Robinhood is one of the leading commission free stock apps and our top choice, beating all other stock market apps. Catering directly to millennials, the sign-up process is incredibly simple and users even get a free stock for signing up.

    There's also no minimum deposit required - a big plus for beginners. Each stock includes Buy, Hold, and Sell ratings pulled from expert analysts, ensuring users have some insight on the quality of the stock.

    The application also includes news, related stocks, volatility, and overall information about every stock option. They're also getting into cryptocurrencies, which users can jump on via the mobile or desktop application.

    All of these features are great for day traders, and the app is fantastic for mid to long-term investors. However, it is worth noting that those looking for more advanced features may want to look elsewhere.

    While the application is missing a lot of advanced information due to its beginner-focused approach, Robinhood does offer Options trading with zero commission fees. This is a nice touch and one of the features that makes this app our top choice.

    Available Assets: Stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and options

    App: Available on Android and iOS

    Demo Account: No but it’s free to sign up

    Fees: $5 per month for the Robinhood Gold Account, No Commission Fee, $22.10 per $1,000,000 of principal (sells only) for the Regulatory Transaction Fee, Sell orders are charged $0.000119 per share (equity sells) and $0.002 per share (options sells) ($5.95 maximum fee for sell orders)

    Minimum Deposit: $0

    Regulation: Regulated by the SEC and is a registered member of the SIPC and FINRA

    Payment Methods: ACH transfer, PayPal

    Educational Material: Suitable for new and advanced traders

    • Good choice for beginners
    • Commission free stock trading
    • No minimum deposit
    • No retirement plans assistance

    How do stock apps make money?

    Stock apps charge commission fees so they can make a profit. If apps stop doing that, how do they bring in money? Well, a few different ways. We’re going to use Robinhood as an example.

    Launching in 2014, Robinhood took off due to its lack of commission fees on transactions. In comparison, many stock market apps charge anywhere from $1 to $7 per trade, according to Investopedia. That said, these alternate platforms provided a ton of information regarding the stock such as news, charts, research, and more, which Robinhood failed to do at the start. While this sounds like a negative, the app used their lack of data to its advertising advantage, claiming that the information provided by these apps was overrated and not worth the fees.

    How else do free stock broker apps make money?

    One way free stock apps including Robinhood make money is via gathering interest on stored cash in investor accounts. That’s actually a traditional method of profit for these platforms. On top of this, Robinhood charges $10 for every phone-assisted transaction made, on top of $35-50 for foreign trades.

    In addition, according to a blog post by Robinhood co-founder and co-CEO, Vlad Tenev, the company earns rebates for every dollar traded. This is best explained through a quote from co-CEO Vlad Tenev:

    “The revenue we receive from these rebates helps us cover the costs of operating our business and allows us to offer our services with no commission. Robinhood earns ~$0.00026 in rebates per dollar traded. That means if you buy a stock for $100.00, Robinhood earns 2.6 cents from the market maker. Other brokerages earn rebates and charge you a per-trade commission fee.”

    A third way is through order flow. This process is based on small orders that are difficult for a broker to fill. So, the application sends this order to a dealer, who pays the application a fee for this privilege. The dealer then takes commission from the order.

    Bloomberg reported last year that Robinhood makes over 40% of its revenue thanks to order flow. This is a controversial method that sends “orders to market makers that allow you to receive better execution quality and better prices,” details the apps website. “Additionally, the revenue we receive from these rebates helps us cover the costs of operating our business and allows us to offer you commission-free trading.”

    While it sounds ideal, this process isn’t entirely transparent. Most stock exchange transactions are processed in a public format, but this is done privately, which raises suspicion.

    Finally, in the case of Robinhood, there is a premium service that charges different monthly fees. The application makes a significant profit from these payments, which investors are happy to pay for the added benefits. The premium service provides extra buying power in tiers of $1000, $1,500, and $2,000. These come in at $6.00, $9.00, and $10.00 a month, respectively.

    Robinhood is still a relatively new stock application. While these no-commission trades have proven invaluable for bringing in customers, we’ve yet to see how the app will survive in the long run. If its methods of profit are sustainable, we may be witnessing the birth of a new form of stock trading.

    How safe are stock trading apps?

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    When it comes to online trading, one of the most important things to consider is platform safety. We would not recommend investors to trade on unregulated platforms due to the fact that it could pose serious risks to your capital. Many unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges get hacked on a weekly basis, most recently Binance with over 7,000 bitcoins stolen on May 7th 2019. However, these security concerns are not limited to crypto exchanges, and stock brokers are susceptible to such hacks or data breaches. Although most registered mobile apps feature a good variety of security measures, security risks persist.

    For this reason, we would recommend a platform which holds several financial regulations such as Robinhoog, and which is reputable, with a large user data base.  We would therefore highly recommend all stock traders to get started with the Robinhood app in order to have a safe experience.

    Tips for choosing a stock market app

    In order to assist you in your search, check out the following tips.

    • Investment types

    There are all sorts of different investment types for the average trader. These include but are not limited to traditional stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrencies, and Options. Depending on what you’re looking for you may want an app that provides one or all of these. It’s also not a bad idea to start with one and move onto a more advanced application later on.

    • Ease of Use

    Of course, while using an app makes the actual investment process easier, this doesn’t help you if the user interface barely works. When looking at the different applications, examine how you flow through the process. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t and make sure you’re not wasting time trying to figure out the menu process.

    • Reputation

    As with any application you’re putting money into, pay attention to its background. Is the userbase generally happy with the provided services? Was the group ever involved in shady business practices or legality issues? See what the world has to say on a service before investing your time and money into it.

    • Research

    Does the tool provide in-app research for investors? What sort of information does it give that can help users make a quality trade? Robinhood, for example, includes expert analysis on if the stock is worth buying, selling, or holding. That and users can view stock-related news without having to leave the application.

    • Automation

    If you’re just getting into the stock market, an automated process might be your best bet. Even with free software, it’s hard to make that first step in giving away your money. Applications like Acorns and M1 Finance have some form of this, allowing users to make a passive income without even trying.

    • Deposit Minimums

    While some applications don’t require a deposit minimum to get started, those that do could charge a lot of money. This upfront fee is usually worth the investment, but only if you can afford it in the first place. M1 Finance and Fundrise charge a $100 and $500 minimum, respectively but also bring with a ton of services to justify the asking price.

    How much money can I save by using a free stock market app?

    You can save a surprising amount of money by using a commission free app. Of course, it depends on the platform, but say you’re paying $5 per trade. Once or twice that’s fine, but if you trade 10 times that’s $50 dollars. This money would be way better off in the stock market making you money, rather than spending it trying to invest.

    Are there any other costs in using these trading apps?

    Yes, there actually are other costs involved. That said, commissions are the most common ones. Below are the other costs you may see when using these apps:

    Margin interest

    This is when an app charges an investor who trades with borrowed money, otherwise known as “on margin”. Depending on the application, you’ll have to pay a variety of different annual percentage rates based on how much you borrow.

    Taxes

    Then there’s taxes. Don’t forget that you must pay taxes on all of your different investments, and short term investments are taxed higher than other capital gains. Moreover, some of these applications charge “fund expenses,” which is taken from your profits automatically. This ensures the platform can keep running commission free.

    How We Rated These Stock Apps

    When looking at the different commission free stock apps, we considered a few different key aspects.

    • ✅Quality of service : What’s most important, of course, is that despite having no commissions, these applications should bring in quality services as well. No fees is not an excuse for lackluster features.
    • ✅Investment types: We also paid attention to the investment types such as stocks, exchange-traded funds, or cryptocurrencies.
    • ✅Ease for use : We also paid attention to ease of use. Are these apps useful for beginners or only experts? Fortunately, there’s a good variety of both. Some services automate the investment process, while others require the user’s attention. Others more stuck with only easy features while some include some advanced options for long-term investors.
    • ✅ Features: Overall, the commission free stock applications we paid most attention to were those that gave the investor options. Each one on this list has a variety of approaches one could take, alongside some features for every time of investor.
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    Conclusion

    If you’ve read our guide from start to finish, you now have a solid understanding of how stock apps work. Each of these apps provides a different experience a little unlike the rest of them on the list. Hopefully, our guide helped you in your decision-making process, and you’ll find one that gets you started and staying in the world of investments. We would recommend eToro out of all of these as they offer low fees, a user friendly interface with a very interesting Copy Trading feature,  and more importantly are regulated by several financial authorities.

    eToro : Best stockbroker for non U.S. countries

    OUR RATING

    • Social and copy trading available
    • CySEC & FCA regulated
    • Buy stocks commission-free
    75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

    FAQs

    Which commission free platform is best for buying stocks?

    It all depends on your investment needs. Take a closer look at the reviews up above to decide which application is best for you!

    What fees do commission free apps charge?

    The charges vary from application to application. While none of these listed have commission fees, there can still be some other charges. For example, M1 Finance has a $100 initial charge to get involved. Make sure you can pay for these fees ahead of time.

    What assets can stock market mobile apps be used to purchase?

    All sorts of different assets. Some applications support traditional stocks, while others bring Options, ETFs, and even cryptocurrencies.

    Do commission free stock apps help me diversify?

    Because there isn't a commission fee on trades, it's much easier for investors to diversify their portfolios. Without a fee, you'll be much more willing to invest into different stocks you wouldn't normally have done so beforehand. Some applications like M1 Finance do the dividing for you. All you have to do is provide the funds!

    Are there any disadvantages to using stock mobile apps?

    In some ways, yes. For example, a lot of these applications are fairly basic and only provide an elementary look at stock markets. That said, they're also a great way to start with stocks, as they save you money and only focus on the essentials. However, if you're looking to become an advanced trader later on, you'll want to move over to more traditional applications once you get the hang of things. Just make sure to find one with low commission fees!

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    Remember, all trading carries risk. Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.
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    Cryptocurrency and games writer. Looking to the future by studying how these two industries can blend.

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