Last updated on August 19, 2021 by Nick Patrocky

With more and more investment apps coming out every day, having an investment portfolio is easier than ever. In fact, having an investment portfolio can be a good way to grow your savings and to use extra savings in a way that’s both productive and fun. 

Of course, good investing requires good tools. Choosing the right investment app for you helps protect your investments and can make the whole process easier. 

Here are some of the best investment apps available right now, along with a few tips to help you choose the right app for your needs. 

What Do Investment Apps Do?

There are two basic kinds of investment apps, the ones that let you make investments directly on the market and the ones that help with research and information gathering. Both of these types of apps are meant to make it easier for every day people to use the stock market and make a profit off their investments. 

Most investment apps also have some educational content included helping investors learn about trading, whether they’re just beginners or already experts. 

Lastly, some investment apps also provide real-time reporting and market forecasts to help you make investing decisions in the moment. 

A good investment app makes it easier not only to make investments without a financial advisor but also to keep track of the market and trends. Many also provide some kind of rating system to help investors learn which trades are considered safe and which are riskier. 

What Kind Of Investment Apps Are There?

We’ve already mentioned that there are two basic kinds of investment apps. The first kind and the one most people look for when they’re looking for investment apps, are the ones that let you make actual investments and trade directly through the app. 

Trading apps like this usually have a few ways you can trade, like on the Forex market, investing in stocks or options, or trading cryptocurrency. Each app will have a different range of available trades, so it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the right app for the kind of investing you want to do. 

Some trading apps are also more automated. That means that you can create customized investment settings and the app with handling your transactions automatically, without you needing to do anything. 

The other kind of app are research apps. Most trading apps also have some tools to help you research any investment you’re considering, but they aren’t always as detailed as apps focused on market analysis and forecasting. Research apps may have a trading component, but it’s usually de-emphasized. 

A good research investment app is a good option for any investor, from beginners to experts. For beginners, these apps provide some of the information and know-how you need to make good investments. You can also use them to start learning about investing and the markets, even if you aren’t ready to start investing. 

For experts, research apps do some of the legwork for you so you don’t need to work quite as hard to get the information you need before making a big decision or changing your investment portfolio. 

What Do You Need To Start Investing?

Today, it doesn’t take much to start investing, but there are a few things you should have before you get started. 

Capital 

A lot of people think you need to save a lot of money before investing is worthwhile. We put this criterion on here mostly to disprove that notion. Investors can make reasonable investments now with as little as $100 of spendable money. 

It is important to use only money you don’t need for other things like paying bills and day-to-day expenses. Investing can make money in the long term, but you need to be able to put money into the system and not take it out for long stretches if you want to make money. 

Even if you’re trading regularly, you still need to leave your investment capital in your investment accounts to earn a profit. 

The good news is that a lot of apps are making it easier for people to invest with less up-front money and gradually build their investment capital over time. Apps that allow people to buy percentages of stocks and other techniques also make it possible for smaller investors to benefit from the success of large successful businesses, even if they can’t afford the price of a whole stock. 

Patience

One of the most underrated skills of an investor is patience. You need to have the patience to let your investments grow over time without needing to sell and pull money out of the system. 

Knowing when to buy and when to sell also requires patience. Some investors bail at the slightest sign of a downturn, which can limit their earning potential. Use patience to think carefully about your investments and make changes only when you know the time is right. 

Reliable Internet

It might seem like a silly thing to list, but a reliable internet connection is important for investors. Having a good internet connection will make it much easier to stay active and keep an eye on your investments. 

Good internet connection is also essential for moments when the markets make a sudden change, and you need to change your investment portfolio. 

While it’s possible to invest without reliable internet, you’d be better off with automated investments or investing to save rather than working as an active investor. In this case, investing in mutual funds and other low-risk low-reward stocks might be a good way to go. 

1. E*Trade – Best For Active-Investors

E*Trade is one of the most balanced investment apps on the market right now. It’s got a good library of educational tools and information available for beginners, and a comprehensive suite of market trackers for experienced investors. 

As one of the oldest investment apps available, it shouldn’t be a surprise that E*Trade is one of the best options. 

E*Trade is also particularly good for active investors, people who want to make trades and actively work to grow their investment. It’s a reasonable option for day traders, though you don’t have to be that active to make E*Trade a good option. 

There are also some less active options available through E*Trade, thanks in part to a large library of possible investments. 

That said, E*Trade does suffer a little when it comes to their website. The website can be somewhat difficult to navigate, which makes it a more intimidating option for beginning investors. 

2. Acorns – Best For Saving Through Investments

Acorns is an app that was designed for people who struggle to save and set aside money for investments and other important goals. Instead of being a traditional investment app, Acorns is set up to allow investors to place a small amount of money in investments each month. 

But, you also have to pay a monthly fee. With three different subscriptions levels, Acorns can feel cheap but isn’t necessarily a good option for people who don’t have a lot of money to invest.

Instead, Acorns works best for people who want to invest a moderate amount of money each month. 

Acorns is also a fantastic option for families. The option to start investment accounts for children, as well as a wide range of very safe investment options, make it a great way to passively grow your family’s wealth or to build a secure nest egg for the future. 

3. Charles Schwab – Best For Large Investing Balances

Charles Schwab is a great investment app if you’re looking for someone with a wide variety of possible investments. They currently offer investments and trading of stocks, bonds, fractional shares, CDs, mutual funds, ETFs, options, and futures.

While we rate Charles Schwab as being one of the best investment apps for large investors, it’s also beginner-friendly enough for small-time investors with relatively little capital. That’s because Charles Schwab also gives you a lot of different tools to monitor and manage your investment. They also provide a wide library of educational resources to help you fine-tune your investments and learn more. 

Charles Schwab actually offers several different mobile apps and platforms, each of which works better for different situations. That’s one of their advantages, they have a range of options so that it’s easier for individual investors to choose the platform that works best for them. 

4. Fidelity – Best For Automated Investing

Fidelity is well known for its mutual funds and retirement accounts, and it’s good at both. But Fidelity also offers a brokerage side of their business and allows for automated investing, which makes it easier for people who want to invest without putting a lot of effort into their investments to make money. 

Fidelity Zero index funds are a great option for starting investors as well since they don’t have a minimum investment. 

The two trading platforms Fidelity offers, Fidelity.com and Active Trader Pro, are both free for users. Free learning resources give you a lot of learning opportunities, and support teams are available 24/7 to help answer your questions or deal with any glitches in the software. 

5. Merrill Edge – Best For Stock Research

Merrill Edge is a particularly good option for Bank of America customers since the app is integrated with the bank. 

Merrill Edge is also a fantastic option since both the parent company and the original company (Merrill Lynch, which has been bought by Bank of America) have a lot of experience and plenty of experts to draw on. 

However, Merrill Edge does have some downsides. For one thing, you need to have a Bank of America account in good standing, and there are some criteria you have to meet before you can begin investing with Merrill Edge. 

Merrill Edge MarketPro is another good option from Merrill Edge, specifically geared toward active investors who are looking for a good trading app. 

What To Look For In A Good Investment App

Active Or Automated Investment? 

The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of investor you want to be. Being an active investor means trading and taking care of your investment portfolio as it grows and changes. Active investors can potentially make more of a profit faster, but active investing can quickly take a lot of time. 

Day traders are active investors that have turned investing into full-time jobs. 

Automated investment is less active and can be either setting up automatic trading settings or investing in passive long-term options like mutual funds. 

Check Security and Regulation

A good investment app should be regulated by at least one financial agency to help make sure all the available investments are safe and legal. SEC and FINRA are both good agencies to look for and check with to see if an app is safe and well regulated. There is a range of other good options as well, so make sure you’re doing your research and know that your chosen app is safe and secure. 

Good Customer Service

One of the most overlooked features of every investment app is the customer service. Customer service is critical for overcoming glitches, understanding market volatility, making sure important trades went through, and understanding difficult learning material. 

Having a great customer service team is actually critical to making an investment app successful and effective for their clients. 

Low Fees and Investment Minimums

Investing tends to come with relatively small profit margins, which means that your profits can be eaten by fees and commissions fairly quickly. Look for apps that offer low or no-fee trades and investments so that you’re only paying minimal fees if any. Otherwise, you’re likely to lose a large portion of your profit to the fees. 

Summary

Finding a good investment app doesn’t have to be hard, but it is important to take some time to make sure the app you’ve chosen is a good fit. 

Look at different apps for their layout and user interface to find one that feels natural and effective to you. Consider what kind of trading you want to do and how active you want to be, and look for apps that match that profile. Lastly, consider customer service. Make sure your app has a good customer service reputation and offers 24/7 service so that they’re always available if you need them. 

Between those three things, you should be able to find a good investment app that works well for you. 

About the Author Nick Patrocky

My name's Nick and I'm the lead product designer at a fintech startup. I write about freelancing online & also review mobile apps, web apps, and websites.

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