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Find the best investment apps for beginners

Learn about the investment apps you can start using today

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Smart investors know what they need from an investment app, but for a beginner, that’s hard to do. The ideal app for a beginner is easy to use, educational and cheap enough that you can get started today.

Our picks for beginner investment apps

Here are our top investment apps for beginners:

  • SoFi: Our pick for a stock trading app
  • TD Ameritrade: Our pick for $0 commissions on trades
  • E*TRADE: Our pick for a range of trading options
  • Robinhood: Our pick for fractional shares
  • Acorns: Our pick for micro investing
  • Betterment: Our pick for a robo-advisor app
Our pick for a stock trading appSoFi
  • Free to use
  • Easy-to-learn investment platform
  • Portfolio management available
SoFi Logo Compare Offers on Personal Loan Pro

SoFi’s app is a solid option for beginning investors. You only need $1 to open an account, and there’s no minimum required to keep it open. The app itself is easy to use, letting you invest in various assets, including stocks and ETFs. The company does not charge trading fees or commissions, either.

Another nice feature of SoFi is that it offers a lot of information and resources on its website to help you understand what you are investing in and how the process works. However, this info is not as in-depth as what some other platforms provide.

To learn more, read verified SoFi reviews and complaints.

Our pick for $0 commissionsTD Ameritrade
  • $0 commissions for stocks, ETFs and options
  • No account fees or minimums for self-directed accounts
  • Portfolio management available

TD Ameritrade actually offers two mobile trading apps: the TD Ameritrade Mobile App and thinkorswim mobile. However, the TD Ameritrade Mobile App is a better platform for beginners.

TD Ameritrade has no account fees and no commissions for stock, ETF and option trades you make yourself. This company does charge a fee for managed accounts, though.

Managed accounts also require you to maintain a minimum balance ranging from $25,000 to $250,000, depending on your account. However, if you want to invest without help, there are no minimum account requirements.

To learn more, compare TD Ameritrade reviews and complaints.

Our pick for a range of trading optionsE*TRADE
  • No account minimums
  • $0 commissions
  • Educational materials for new investors

E*TRADE also offers two mobile trading platforms: the E*TRADE Mobile app and the Power E*TRADE app. New investors probably won’t be able to take full advantage of the Power E*TRADE app yet, though.

The E*TRADE Mobile app is easy to use, and there are numerous investment options available on it, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures, options and ETFs. E*TRADE also provides similar benefits to our other picks: no account minimums, $0 commissions and frequent promotional offers to encourage you to sign up.

Compare E*TRADE reviews and complaints to learn more.

Our pick for fractional sharesRobinhood
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • $0 commissions
  • No account minimums

Unlike some other investment companies, Robinhood’s is focused on mobile users. With its app, you can invest in options, ETFs and stocks (including fractional shares) without paying commissions. That means you can get started investing for as little as $1.

Accounts do not have an asset minimum. Premium accounts will cost you a monthly fee that starts at $5, but beginners likely don’t need the in-depth features and research they provide.

For more, read recent Robinhood reviews and complaints.

Our pick for micro investingAcorns
  • Invest spare change
  • Smart portfolios available
  • Automated investments

Acorns is a good choice for beginners who want a simple way to invest. Once linked to your credit cards or checking accounts, this app rounds up your spending to the nearest dollar and invests the change in an ETF portfolio. You can also set recurring investments starting at just $5 per month.

While there is no minimum investment required, Acorns does charge fees:

  • $1 per month for the Lite plan
  • $3 per month for the Personal plan
  • $5 per month for the Family plan

Acorns is a relatively unconventional investment app, but its hands-off approach is probably ideal for some beginners. Just familiarize yourself with its features and services before signing up.

Compare Acorns reviews and complaints to learn more.

Our pick for a robo-advisor appBetterment
  • Automated investing
  • No account minimums on basic plans
  • Simple payment structure

Betterment is a more complex app, but new investors should be able to manage it. While this company also helps with cash management and retirement planning, we’re focusing on its investment capabilities here.

Like some of our other picks, Betterment offers automated investing, but its capabilities are a little more robust than some of its competitors. In a basic sense, Betterment lets you use robo-advisors to invest in low-cost ETFs. You can start with as little as $10, but the company charges an annual management fee ranging from 0.25% to 0.4%, depending on your plan.

To learn more, read verified Betterment reviews and complaints.

Investment apps FAQ

The amount of money you need to start investing depends on the platform you use, but some allow investors to start with less than $1.
Yes, but not all apps allow users to trade the same assets. They often allow you to buy and sell stocks, options, futures, ETFs, mutual funds and bonds.
Most investment apps are available to people ages 18 or older. Some online stock brokers for beginners may allow teens to invest, but a parent often must be responsible for them.
Investment apps are some of the best ways to get started investing without a large deposit. Check out our top picks above to get started.

Bottom line: Which investment app is best for beginners?

Investment apps are one of the best ways to get started investing. Platforms for beginner investors are typically easy to use and have low barriers to entry, but some investment companies and online brokers also offer premium services that allow you to pay a bit more for financial advice or advanced features.

The right app to help you get started making good investments depends on your needs and preferences, so learn as much as possible about an app before using it. This should help you know what to expect once you deposit your money and start trading.

Methodology

To make our picks, we gathered a list of nearly 20 apps and outlined what each app offered, how easy each one was to use and the features each app provides. We also looked at their account options, assets and pricing. We then selected our picks based on how they ranked against each other in these areas.

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The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.