Ready to invest some of your hard earned dollar, but unsure where to start?
Don’t worry – there’s an app for that! With the introduction of investment apps, you can now invest from the comfort of your phone screen.
So let’s talk about The Best Investment Apps 2023!
Summary of The Best Investment Apps
SoFi: 5 stars
Interactive Brokers: 4,7 stars
TD Ameritrade: 4,6 stars
Acorns: 4,5 stars
E*Trade: 4,5 stars
Binance: 4,5 stars
Wealthfront: 4,4 stars
Wealthsimple: 4,2 stars
Webull: 4,2 stars
Fidelity: 4 stars
Betterment: 4 stars
- Robinhood: 3,5 stars
Table Of Contents
If you’re interested in investing your money (as an alternative to having a savings account) then you’ve probably come across this problem.
There’s so many investing platforms! But living in the digital age there’s been tremendous growth in one particular set of tools to help people invest. Investment apps! These handy tools can make it super easy to make huge profits (or losses) at the touch of a button.
How do you minimise the chance of losing money?
Learning is earning!
If you haven’t also read the Best Robo Advisor 2023 I highly suggest that you head over there afterwards. It gives some really good insights into how you can get into investing today as a complete beginner.
Today the greatest tools at your disposal are investment apps. Let’s dive into the best investment apps 2023!
What Is An Investment App?
Gone are the days of having to sit down with a financial advisor when it comes to investing your money.
Instead, today you only have to go as far as your phone.
Investment apps allow you to easily trade your investments and manage your portfolio. They can also display what your investments are doing, in real time.
An investment app also allows you to invest, manage, and save your money while selling any number of stocks, ETFs, bonds, and other securities (yes, even crypto) on the stock market.
It doesn’t matter if you are a new or experienced investor, starting out with a little money or a lot, there is an investment app out there for you!
With investment apps, you can either set up your investments through a portfolio provided to you, or you can actively trade your own stocks.
The apps will also offer you the ability change what your money is invested if you aren’t satisfied with your returns… or for any other reason.
You can do all of this, and you don’t even have to talk to someone – result!
How Do Investment Apps Work?
The way that investment apps work can really be boiled down to a few simple steps…
- Download the app
- Setup your account
- Fund your account
- Decide what type of account you’ll use
- Decide what type of assets you’ll invest in
But now, let’s just describe this process in a little more detail.
Download The App:
Once you have decided which app that you want to invest through (by reading the rest of this post), simply go to your mobile phone’s app store, and download the app.
The majority of the apps out there are free, so you don’t have to worry about paying for them – which is a huge plus compared to brokers, advisors, and even robo-advisors.
Setup Your Account & Transfer Funds:
Once you’ve done that, the next step is to setup your account.
This process will vary from one app to another, but it typically includes you submitting your Social Security or Social Insurance Number, answering some security and tax questions, creating your login credentials, and verifying your identity on the app.
Unless it is an investment app offered to you through your bank or your robo-advisor and your checking account is already linked, you will need to link the app to you bank account.
This is so that you can transfer funds to your investing account and start investing.
At this point, you’ve completed the preliminary setup for your investment app, and are ready to get into the actual investment part of the app.
Decide What Type Of Asset and Account You’ll Use
Deciding what asset you want to invest in will dictate what type of investment account you need.
This really comes down to whether you want something really low risk, like a high-interest savings investment, or if you want something high risk like cryptocurrency.
Choose between bonds (lowest risk), ETFs, stocks, and cryptocurrency (highest risk).
I always recommend that you do your research before this step (check out our invest money section!).
Evidently, you really don’t want to start buying and selling something like cryptocurrency if you have no idea what it is. If you’re keen to learn, we have some great cryptocurrency articles for you.
The assets you choose will not only depend on the risk you want to take, but the amount of effort you want to put out.
If you have chosen to be an active investor, you will want to consistently check the performance of your shares. If you have chosen to be a passive investor, this is where you can let your robo-advisor track and manage your portfolio for you.
Choose your asset.
Choose whether you want to be passive vs active.
Now let’s discuss the best investment app for you.
What Types Of Investment Apps Are There?
There are a ton of investment apps out there, and the number is increasing year over year.
Some of these investment apps may be part of a bank that you deal with, while others may be part of the robo-advisor that you recently downloaded.
Alternatively, some apps may be complete standalone apps that just offer a platform for you to access stock markets.
Additionally, some of these investment apps will focus more on education and teach you how to invest, while there are others that will focus more on trading and helping you reach your financial goals.
Some investment apps will allow you to start with spare change, while others require a healthy investment to start.
You also need to decide if you want to stick with only stocks and bonds, or ETFs, or all three. Because that’s also going to change the type of app you deal with.
And let’s not forget that not all investment apps trade cryptocurrencies, so if that interests you, you need to look for another app that allows for that.
Of course, with different services provided, different investment apps will charge different fees. Many investment apps have low costs and commission-free trading, while others will charge more for their services.
To make this convoluted long answer simpler, there are loads of different investing apps!
Here’s a little “cheat sheet” of all the different types of apps out there:
- Hosting: bank, robo-advisor, standalone.
- Focus: education, trading, saving.
- Initial deposit: low, high.
- Cost and fees: free, fees-only, high cost.
- Type of investment: stocks, bonds, ETFs, crypto, blend.
If you already know which type of investment app is best for you – use the table of contents at the top to jump to our recommendation.
Are Investment Apps Active Or Passive?
Some investment apps can be considered active, while others are more passive. As we mentioned above, this largely depends on the type of asset traded.
Are you a budding Wolf of Wall Street (minus the drugs and debauchery)?
Then you’ll be trading high turnover assets and need to take a very active approach! The most common active investment apps are the ones that focus on crypto, stocks, some ETFs and other fast-moving and more risky assets.
On the other hand, passive apps – like the ones offered through a bank – will focus on slower moving ETFs, bonds, and other assets. Generally these are less risky, and require less oversight.
If you decide that you are interested in your money growing but you don’t have the time to actively watch your investments, you will want to look for passive investment apps.
When you choose to have your investments go through a robo-advisor, they will build and manage your portfolio for you.
What Do I Need To Use An Investment App?
Any mobile device that can connect to the internet. As mentioned previously, you will also need to have the app linked to your bank account.
Now, although some investment apps require substantial deposits to start, not all do. Some investment apps will even allow you to open your account without a minimum balance.
Regardless, you need to have a bank account that is able to link to an investment app or platform – which most banks nowadays can do.
However, that is really all you need.
- A phone
- A funded bank account
What Is The Best Investment App?
Time to get stuck into the real question. Which investment apps are the best?
There are so many different types of app that it’s hard to choose just one app to rule them all.
Some apps are better than others in certain areas.
We’ve therefore chosen one best investment app for each invividual category… Fee-free, totally free, beginner investor, and much more.
Before we break this down I’ll run through what you should look for when choosing a best investment app. This way you can apply this logic to any app you’re considering.
What Should I Look For In An Investment App?
Some apps focus on education and allow you to play stock market games (with fake money).
You’ll likely have seen screenshots of these portfolios on Reddit or from friends… Unfortunately, it ain’t real – your friend is not the next Warren Buffet.
Other apps focus more on executing real trades for you.
- Decide what your goals are, and make sure the app offers what you need. Include short term goals, monument goals and even retirement.
- Know how much money you can and, are willing to invest.
- Make sure that the app you choose allows you to trade in what you want. Don’t pick an app that only invests in ETFs, when it is cryptocurrency that you want to invest in.
- If socially responsible funds are important to you, make sure the investment app you choose offers these!
- Figure out what you are prepared to pay in fees.* Lots of apps offer you $0 fees and $0 account minimums.
*Fees can take a bite out of your investment gains over time, but if you decide that you want the extra customer service or educational tools available to you, then those fees may be worth it.
- Finally, interested in promotions? Check if the investment app you’re looking at offers them. Offers change over time, confirm this before signing up.
How Much Money Should I Have To Use An Investment App?
You can really have as much money as you want when you start with your investment app.
You can have huge amounts of money and set it up with a boutique investment app. Or you can start with very little money.
As I mentioned, a lot of these apps have $0 account minimums to get started.
Between that and the low fees that are offered, there is no reason that you couldn’t start with as little as $5.
Obviously this would take a long time to build up, but $5 is better than nothing, and it’s a good place to start!
Fractional shares are also offered through some investment apps, meaning that you can buy in without having a ton of money.
In case you’ve been wondering exactly what a fractional share is (sorry, I know I’ve mentioned them several times already), here’s what it is…
Say, for example you want to buy shares of a company, and you have $100. However, that won’t work because just 1 share of that company’s stock is $200.
With a fractional buy, you’re able to buy ½ of a share from that company with your $100, and still own a piece of the pie.
Often the key to investing is to add money consistently over time. This is how you will build your wealth. Using an app makes this even easier.
Do Investment Apps Protect Your Money?
When you invest money into the market, it won’t be insured, and you could possibly lose it. This includes not only stocks, cryptocurrency and ETFs, but mutual funds and bonds as well.
This is why when you set up your investment app, the survey will ask what amount of risk you are prepared to take. If you are letting them set up your portfolio, they will base your investments on this.
If you are choosing to invest on your own actively, you will want to make sure that you know what you are investing in. A mutual fund has a hugely different risk profile to most cryptocurrency.
If on the other hand, you are looking for your funds to be protected, you may want to stick with a savings account or something that is from an FDIC-insured bank.
A great example of this is a CD Ladder.
Investment apps have to go through rigorous testing and security checks to even be legal; so they are extremely secure with your money.
If you’re worried purely about the safety of your money when transferred to the app itself… all of the apps chosen for our list of Best Investment Apps 2023 are highly rated and highly secure.
HOWEVER – the market comes with no guarantees. Once your money is invested, no app can save you from a poor investment decisio
What's The Best Investment App For Beginners?
Let’s first dive into which investment app is best for beginners.
This app was actually created to simplify investing and help remove the ‘scary’ factor.
They not only guide you through the process, but they optimize your portfolio and keep you on track through automatic rebalancing.
You don’t even need a lot of cash to invest in the beginning as they have a $0 minimum investment.
A handy feature of this app is that it simply rounds up the price of your purchases to the nearest dollar, then it takes that spare change and invests it into ETFs automatically.
This is a great way to get you started in investments. They charge you a flat fee as low as $1/month for an individual.
With low fees, no minimum, a very user-friendly design, and some really handy automation built in, Acorn offers an app that is amazing for first-time investors who are looking to dip their toes into the market.
For this reason Acorn earns our award of Best Investment App For Beginners.
What's The Best Investment App For Socially Responsible Savers?
With the growth of green investments, green companies, and socially-responsible companies, the awareness of socially responsible investments is growing.
Luckily, there’s now an investment app tailored to all you socially responsible savers and investors.
Socially responsible investing (SRI) is becoming increasingly popular. It allows you to focus on what is important to you whilst (hopefully) also making healthy returns.
The Betterment app initiates investments through their robo-advisor app. It not only creates your portfolio based on your risk tolerance and preferences, but it can create entirely socially responsible portfolios as well.
Choose whether your investments should focus on broad impact, climate impact or social impact.
Being a larger investment app, Betterment also allow you to plan for different goals; save for your children’s education, a new home, or even retirement. All whilst helping the planet.
Now don’t you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Ok, we might not like the user interface as much as some of the other choices, but you can’t argue with their mission statement.
If being socially responsible is one of your priorities, Betterment is one of the best investment apps for you.
What's The Best Shariah Compliant Investment App?
There are many laws, religions, and cultures around the world.
These often help you to decide what you should and shouldn’t do.
This stretches into the financial markets, with some people in countries following Shariah law not being able to use some apps because of their features and investments.
However, there is one app that stands out as being aware of these cultural policies. They have made a concerted effort to create a more globally-accessible investment app.
Shariah compliance is using investment tools that are governed by the tenets of Shariah. Muslim investors as well as those that follow this belief system are interested in investment funds that comply with socially responsible investing.
One of the investment apps that offers this type of investing is Wealthsimple. They offer their customers the option to invest in companies that follow Shariah rules and regulations.
Wealthsimple has the Shariah World Equity Index ETF (WSHR). WSHR not only maintains Shariah-compliant values, they also have low costs and put thought into their portfolio construction.
This means that they have exclude companies from this fund that derive more than 5% of their income from alcohol, tobacco, pork-related products, weapons, conventional banking or insurance companies, and adult entertainment. They also exclude any companies with excessive leverage.
The companies that are part of this portfolio are weighed by the risk, not market capitalization. All are thoroughly screened.
This solidifies Wealthsimple’s position as one of the best investment apps for 2023. Or more specifically, our Best Shariah Compliant Investment App.
What's The Best Investment App For Learning To Trade?
Everyone has to learn somewhere.
We’re not all going to be trading like Warren Buffet as soon as we download an investment app.
Lucky for us, there are apps out there that are tailored for the brand new investor… And one just happens to stand out.
SoFi offers you a one-stop-shop when it comes to your finances.
More specifically, your investments.
If you are just starting out, this may be the investing app for you.
They have $0 fees and $0 account minimum.
They also provide you with education about investing, as well as offering other investment tools.
The user interface is also excellent and easy to pick up.
A pretty damn solid choice for a new (or old) investor.
By letting you start out with fractional shares called “Stock Bits”, SoFi simplifies things right out the gate. They offer SoFi ETFs to the new investor, which weigh companies by their growth, not just market capitalization.
You can either choose an automated portfolio or self-directed investing.
SoFi also have financial advisors available to you, if that is something you’re interested in.
Based on the above, it was an easy decision to include SoFi on the list of best investment apps for 2023. For a thorough Sofi Review try here.
What’s The Best Free Investment App?
Most of the apps we’ve mentioned, like WealthSimple and SoFi, are totally free to use.
However, there is another investment app that we have to mention. This one gained international popularity (or notoriety) because of a certain video game retailer.
Guessed who it is yet?
The GameStop short squeeze gained tremendous popularity among the Reddit crowd in early 2021. One particular investment app was used by a majority of those buying into GME (Gamestop) stock.
Consequently, this investment app appeared on websites and news-stations around the world.
That’s right… its Robinhood.
For investors that want to pay as few fees as possible, Robinhood may be your best bet.
They not only charge you $0 in commissions, but they also have a $0 account minimum. They cut out most of the fees you may find associated with other investment apps.
This means that you can invest in US-exchange listed stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrency without paying any fees. You will have to have at least $1 for fractional shares though.
Robinhood does not offer any managed portfolios though, so you need to remember that it’s up to you. They also don’t offer retirement accounts, which means that your investments will be taxable.
If they made your list of best investment apps 2023, why give them only 3.5 stars?
Robinhood do offer an excellent investment app.
However it’s hard to forget or forgive the events surrounding the Gamestop squeeze.
For those who had skin in the game (myself included), Robinhood committed a cardinal sin. They prevented users from buying GME stock at the peak, only allowing it to be sold.
Many traders feel this prevented the short squeeze from reaching the true peak. Stock prices subsequently fell and many investors lost money.
This appeared to benefit the hedge funds, not the average commercial trader.
Many users therefore called for a widespread Robinhood boycott.
Robinhood has since given a range of reasons for their actions, including external pressures and cashflow issues. If I were slightly more cynical I might suggest there were financial incentives that convinced Robinhood to stop people trading.
But who knows what the true reasons are!
Nonetheless, if the above doesn’t bother you then Robinhood remains one of the best investment apps for 2023.
A lot of the investment apps offer fee-free investment.
This means that there are no fees per trade.
A couple of the ones that we mentioned in this blog are SoFi and E*Trade.
But now let’s talk about Webull.
Not only does Webull let investors trade stocks for free, they also offer commission-free trades on options and ETFs.
There are also no-fee trades on cryptocurrency and they don’t require a minimum deposit when you open your account.
Webull also have promotions for new users, as well as referral bonuses. This can really help out when you are starting to invest.
They offer their users extended trading hours, which can be helpful if you have a packed schedule. They also allow you to set up a taxable account as well as an IRA account if that interests you.
A downside to this investment app is that they do have a limited number of investment types, being only stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies.
As with other investment apps, they do pass on regulatory and exchange fees as well as charges for wire transfers. Keep that in mind when you are setting up your app.
E*Trade is one of the best low-cost investment apps.
E*Trade offers you a few different options when setting up your investment app. These depend on how involved you want to be with your investments.
They offer a wide range of assets if would like a self-directed account (active).
They also offer automated options that are personalized, as well as portfolios that are prebuilt for the investor (passive).
E*Trade has a huge research library that allows you to check out stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, future and options so that you can learn about what you are investing into.
They also provide you with the details on dividends, earning and any other pertinent information about the company.
With the variety of account types this app offers, your fees can also vary. For the active investor, you pay $0 fees for stocks, while for the passive investor, you will have an annual fee, as you do with all robo-advisors.
Of course, for the high net-worth individuals that are looking for more, their fees are also higher.
In addition to this, you’ll notice that E*Trade is one of the few apps on this list that has a pretty big learning curve – unless you know what you’re looking for.
Many brokerages charge low or no fees for trading stocks, ETFs or options, so that you will be trading commission-free. You do need to check if they have any recurring fees as we have mentioned though.
Also, be aware that there are often fees charged by the stock exchanges and regulators, though you may not notice this because they are already in the asset prices.
This was explained in more detail when we discussed How Does eToro Make money?
What's The Best Passive Investment App?
Passive investment apps are something we keep coming back to.
For many new (and even experienced) investors, it’s better to not have to worry about your investments at every hour of the day.
The next app is therefore one of the best investment apps for ‘set it and forget it’ investing. It doesn’t get much more passive than that!
You may remember that we talked about Wealthfront in our robo-advisor blog.
They are great for passive investors – because thats what robo-advisors do…
They take care of everything for you.
Simply sign-up with this investment app, fill out your personal information as well as a survey. This survey will ask you about the level of risk you are comfortable with as well as what your financial goals are.
They will then provide an appropriate portfolio for you. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Wealthfront will charge you a management fee of 0.25%, and requires a minimum account balance of $500.
This investment app doesn’t deal in fractional shares, but if you want your investments to do their own thing, without human contact, this is the way to go.
What’s The Best Active Investment App?
On the flip side of passive investment apps, there are those of us that love to be heavily involved in our investments.
You want to be buying and selling throughout the day. Really taking an active role in your own money.
(We all know what we’re really doing is staring at graphs all day, willing our portfolio to grow).
An active investor of course needs an active investing account.
If you are interested in having an investment app that allows you to be an active trader, TD Ameritrade may be the one for you.
Not only do they offer you amazing market research and great trading platforms, they also offer you $0 commission on trades and a $0 minimum deposit.
For the active trader, they have you taken care of for day trading, options trading and futures trading.
Being an active trader, you want to stay on top of your accounts.
With their technology and AI, you can access your account through Apple Messages, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more.
TD Ameritrade is the app that really focuses on bringing out the budding trader in you, and focuses on hosting more active investments like stocks and options as opposed to index funds, ETFs and bonds. More here.
It’s worth noting that many of the best investment apps above also allow active trading. Anything with regular stock and cryptocurrency trading can be managed very actively.
What's The Best Goal-Driven Investment App?
What do we mean by “goal-driven”?
Some apps out there allow you to access research and learning materials, and truly work to keep you accountable for your earning and saving goals.
The app we’ve chosen as the best in this group really focuses on making you a part of your finances.
Your investments are there to help you reach your ultimate financial goals. This can certainly focus your efforts!
Fidelity offers access to tons of research, as well as data. You can then make strong, informed decisions about your investments.
It doesn’t matter if you are an active trader or starting to look at retirement, they offer resources for all.
Fidelity bring everything to one level for you, so again it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner investor, an active trader, or if you are more focused on your retirement investments. This allows you to plan for and action your financial goals.
Fidelity offer a strong trading platform – well two actually – and they are both free to their customers.
Fidelity has more than 3700 mutual funds without transaction funds.
Whilst fidelity has a strong reputation for their mutual funds, they also offer investors the option to trade stocks, bonds, ETFs and options.
Fidelity also offers its investors the option to purchase fractional shares, which allows them to further diversify and invest in higher-cost shares.
What's The Best Investment App For Crypto?
This app really has secured its place as a market leader for crypto investments.
Of course, as cryptocurrency increases in popularity, so does the number of crypto investment apps.
However Binance has managed to hold it’s position.
It not only offers industry-low fees, but it offers more than 50 coin-currencies to trade within the US. Worldwide, they have over 90 tokens and coins.
They also offer their investors low trading costs, which is probably one of the reasons it has high user ratings. You can easily link your debit card to this investment app. Many competitors (like Coinbase Pro) require bank transfers – which can be sloooooow.
Binance also offers its investors trading options, not just for the casual trader, but also for more advanced users.
What's The Best Investment App For Alternative Investments?
Alternative investments include those investments that don’t fit into your conventional equity, income or cash categories.
This can include real property, private equity, venture capital, hedge funds and so on. It can also include artwork, farmland, crypto and other collectibles.
The list goes on and continues to grow.
If it isn’t a standard financial asset… It’s alternative.
Fundrise is another of the best investment apps for 2023.
We picked Fundrise for their innovative approach.
They allow average investors to buy into private residential or commercial properties by pooling their assets together.
This is done through a real estate investment trust, or REIT. They then invest into income producing real estate and either buy and sell properties, manage buildings, or they hold mortgages.
They also have an option to pool money together to buy land, build on it and then sell it.
You can get into this for as little as $10 (for a starter portfolio) and it has an easy platform to use.
What's The Best Investment App For International Share Dealing?
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like an eccentric millionaire, with offshore accounts and deals in international funds, then boy do I have the app for you!
Interactive Brokers is available to investors in 218 different countries and territories, and offers different assets from different countries around the world.
Through being international, this investment app can offer you a large selection of investments, still with a $0 account minimum and $0 fees. They also offer their investors fractional shares of stock.
This investment app offers options not only for the casual investor, but for the advanced trader as well.
They offer you the option to trade in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, fractional shares, options, futures, forex, metals… and yes, access to some crypto.
Finally, this investment app offers you extensive research as well as customer support.
So now you can finally live out that fantasy of trading your favorite stocks, that you can’t pronounce the name of, from anywhere in the world.
How We Scored The Best Investment Apps
In order to figure out which investment app was worthy of our readers… we did some hard testing.
This involved downloading and opening accounts with over 20 investing apps!
We tested the user interface, fee structures, assets offered, notification options, educational value and more.
This was no small feat!
We also reviewed user experience on the app store reviews, business articles, third-party reviews, tech reviews, tech magazines, finance groups and more…
From there we built a spreadsheet, scored apps across six domains and calculated an overall rating from 0-5 stars.
While many apps offered some desirable features, the ones listed stood out as market leaders in their respective categories.
But, regardless of what we’ve found and droned on about in this blog… It’s always important for you to do your own research too. Don’t forget to try apps out. With the free ones, there’s no harm downloading it and testing them out.
You’ll quickly figure out which features you like/hate and which app best supports your type and tenure of investment.
We didn’t anticipate this being a long post, but condensing so much information (and 20+ hours of testing!) was very hard!
As you can see from the blog, there are many options available to you when you are looking for an investment app
A lot of them offer similar features and fees, it is a matter of deciding which one has all of the right things for you.
- Active Vs Passive
- Asset Class
- Preferred Fee Structure
- Level of education/research tools included.
- If you want to invest in companies that are socially responsible
- If you are looking for promotions
Alternatively, decide on the most important feature for you and choose the one we’ve suggested in the subheading.
Or just go for the one you like the sound of!
All of the investment apps we’ve chosen are really solid choices.
But, anyway, that about wraps up everything I can tell you about investment apps.
To take your investing game to the next level, get stuck into our other investing articles now!