Do you currently pay high fees to invest? Do you only invest small amounts of money and can’t afford the fees most online brokers charge? It’s time to consider these investing apps instead. You won’t pay any annual account fees that eat into your investment returns.
For “hands-off” investors that don’t want to handle the daily investing decisions and portfolio rebalancing, some of these apps will even manage your entire account at no additional cost. If the only reason you still pay a fee to have a traditional broker, like Edward Jones, keep on reading to see how you can save some serious moolah without compromising portfolio performance!
Regardless of your investment background and strategy, these apps can help you maximize your returns at the lowest possible cost. You still may have to pay trading commissions ($4.95 or less usually) but you can still avoid brokerage fees and high mutual fund fees that only seem to benefit your adviser.
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What to Expect from Free Investing Apps
Since you invest to boost your income, the notion of free investing apps boils down to more money in your wallet every month!
Your largest hesitation might be what you must sacrifice to enjoy a free app. After all, you usually get what you pay for.
A phenomenon of the internet age is how the cost of almost everything has dropped compared to the pre-Internet days; investing is no exception. In a single generation, the cost to buy or sell a stock has dropped from $45 per trade to $4.95– even $0 with some brokerages– as anybody can literally execute a trade in seconds through a smartphone app.
These free investing apps let you trade almost anything. Some apps specialize in ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), others might only trade stocks, and some are a full-service brokerage offering stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, and forex.
In addition to the different investment options, you will need to pay attention to the research and charting capabilities. Some are very primitive while others will let you run more than 100 different charts on your phone or tablet.
Whether you are a novice investor or have been investing for 30 years, you can choose a fully automated app and others are entirely self-directed.
When choosing an investing app keep these three criteria in mind:
- Investment options
- Research capabilities
- Is the app self-directed (DIY) or automated?
Knowing how each of these free investment apps works will help you better choose the app that’s right for you. Now, on to our favorite free investment apps.
1. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a two-fold financial platform. Many people use Personal Capital’s free budgeting app to track their spending and create financial goals. They even have a free investment fee analyzer that will looks at your current investments and makes recommendations to find similar low-fee funds.
If you have at least $100,000 to invest, you can invest with Personal Capital and have free access to a financial advisor. Even if you don’t have this much capital to invest (yet), you can still track your current investments for free regardless of which brokerage you use.
If you use more than one broker, this can be the easiest way to see all your money in one place.
Learn more about Personal Capital Today!Learn More
Betterment is one of the most popular “robo-advisors” because of their low fees, ease-of-use, and automatic portfolio rebalancing. They also include tax-loss harvesting for free as well which means Betterment will try to make tax-friendly investments whenever possible to keep your year-end capital gains as low as possible.
To get started investing with Betterment, you only need $1. After filling out the initial questionnaire where Betterment determines your investment goals and risk tolerance, they will invest in an ETF portfolio of stocks and bonds. As you grow older, Betterment will automatically shift your portfolio allocation from stock-centric ETFs to more bonds that are less volatile as you age and near retirement.
The basic management fee is 0.25% on your total portfolio value, but you can have the management fees waived for one year when you transfer your existing investment account to Betterment.
Learn more about Betterment Today!Learn More
Acorns a micro-investing app you link to your credit card or debit card. The app rounds up each purchase and invests the difference in an ETF portfolio.
While this shouldn’t be your primary investing platform, it can be an excellent side hustle that helps you build a small nest egg without realizing money is being taken out of your checking account.
It does cost $1 a month to use Acorns so this app isn’t free to use, but if Acorns can turn your spare change into profit, the dividends can offset the monthly fee.
For just $3/month you can get a robust financial wellness system. Invest spare change, save for retirement, earn bonus investments and much more.Learn More
An up-and-coming free investing app is Webull. All stock and ETF trades are free. You can even trade foreign-listed ADR companies other free investing apps don’t offer. Webull is also launching an options trading platform soon as well.
You can access Webull from their Android or iOS app plus any computer. Webull offers basic research tools online and inside the app. One cool tool you may like is paper trading. This tool lets you simulate trading stock to see what you potential profit or loss can be.
Webull doesn’t require a minimum balance to join. Although a $100+ opening deposit lets you get one free stock. Your free stock will be worth between $8 and $1000. Which stock you get is a mystery.
Learn more about Webull today!Learn More
Do you want an app that lets you trade stocks and options for free?
Robinhood has an investing app and a laptop-accessible platform. This app doesn’t steal from the rich to give to the poor like its namesake. However, you will pay $0 per trade making this the cheapest way to buy and sell stock shares–not ETFs or mutual funds.
If you still rely on research reports and advanced charting before you trade as Robinhood only has very basic charting capabilities. This is how Robinhood can offer unlimited $0 trades.
You can only buy entire shares of stock with Robinhood. If you have $200 to invest and a share costs $198, the remaining $2 will be saved for your next stock purchase.
Robinhood and Webull operate very similar. Read more about the two Here.
Learn more about Robinhood today!Learn More
6. Ally Invest
If you complete more than 30 trades per quarter, Ally Invest lowers your trade fee to $3.95 from $4.95. Those fees are waived for the first 90 days when you transfer a balance of at least $10,000. Even if you aren’t a frequent trader, Ally Invest still has rock-bottom trade fees.
Another reason to consider Ally Invest is that they require $0 to open an account and award-winning customer service.
Learn More about Ally Invest Today!Learn More
7. M1 Finance
M1 Finance is another free app that lets you invest in pre-made ETF portfolios. Or you can build your own “custom pie” that can consist of both stocks and ETFs. You can even buy fractional shares with M1 Finance.
M1 Finance touts itself as a hybrid of a robo-advisor and traditional investment broker. This is because it offers automated investments but also includes customization options.
Note that M1 Finance doesn’t offer 529 plans or 401k plans. However, it does offer IRAs include Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs and SEP IRAs.
The initial account minimum is $100 for brokerage accounts and $500 for retirement accounts before you can make your first trade. You won’t pay fees for account management, portfolio rebalancing, or tax minimization.
A great way to invest in stocks and ETFs for free. That means no trading fees. They also have an app to track your investments easily on your phone.Learn More
If you thought to invest in real estate was only for the rich, think again. Fundrise lets you invest in actual commercial real estate projects. All you need to do is invest at least $500 to get started with their Income eREIT investments.
The only fee you pay for eREITs is an annual fee of 1% of your total portfolio value; a fee you will pay with your ETFs and mutual funds because it still costs money to run an investment fund even if the app is free.
You might consider investing in real estate to diversify your portfolio so you’re not completely dependent on the stock market to earn passive income.
The average Fundrise investor earned the following returns after accounting for fees:
- 2014: 12.25%
- 2015: 12.42%
- 2016: 8.76%
- 2017: 11.44%
- 2018: 9.11%
- 2019: 9.47 %
While real estate won’t always outperform the stock market or have positive gains, people always need a place to sleep and work which means there will always be demand for real estate.
Another advantage of investing in eREITs is that you also don’t have to be the landlord that is responsible for fixing water leaks at 3 am or finding tenants to fill an unoccupied space. Those responsibilities are left to the professionals, you simply finance their efforts and earn interest from their success.
Invest in real estate with as little as $500. While most real estate investing platforms are only open to accredited investors, Fundrise makes it accessible to all investors.Learn More
Because online brokerages continue to slash fees to make investing more affordable than ever, we get to enjoy the benefits. Money that used to pay brokerage fees can now be invested instead and immediately begin earning compound interest. Investing has never been more affordable than it is right now!
And using popular investment apps like the ones mentioned above can help make investing easier and more convenient than ever. Whether you’re investing in stocks, ETFs, or real estate, there’s a free investing app that can help you.
Which investment do you prefer? Stocks, ETFs, Real Estate, Both? And which free investment app have you tried?