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Best Free Stock Trading Apps for December 2023

Review Updated
Matt Frankel, CFP®
By: Matt Frankel, CFP®

Our Brokerages Expert

Nathan Alderman
Check IconFact Checked Nathan Alderman
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

If you're looking to start trading stocks on the go, there's some good news. Not only have virtually all major brokerage firms done away with commissions on stock trades, but the actual process of buying and selling stocks right from an app your phone is easier than ever before.

Below, we’ll break down what you should know about stock apps to pick the best trading app for you.

There are a lot of options to compare, even on this page. It can be overwhelming! If you're looking for a place to start, here are three free stock trading apps our experts recommend and why they like them:

  • Robinhood: Top-tier mobile experience. Robinhood has the best user interface we’ve found and also pioneered the concept of zero-commission stock trading upon its 2015 launch. For beginners that want to trade stocks, ETFs, options, or even cryptocurrencies, Robinhood is a good option.
  • SoFi Active Investing: Standout all-in-one financial app. In addition to its investment platform, SoFi's stock app also offers personal loans, mortgages, private student loans, credit cards, and high-yield savings accounts. If you want a good investment experience and all your accounts in one place, this is a good choice.
  • Fidelity: Phenomenal overall stock trading app. Fidelity combines everything we'd want here -- a user-friendly mobile experience with access to many investment options. And, of course, $0 commissions for online stock and ETF transactions.
Robinhood
Open Account for Robinhood

On Robinhood's Secure Website.

Ratings Methodology

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

Robinhood offers a user-friendly mobile trading app that allows trading in stocks, options, and cryptocurrencies.

Fees:

$0 for stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies

Account Minimum:

$0

Open Account for Robinhood

On Robinhood's Secure Website.

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

SoFi Invest delivers for investors a full-service financial institution in an app, in addition to a great trading platform and experience.

Fees:

$0 for stocks, $0 for options contracts

Account Minimum:

$0

Special Offer Circle with letter I in it. For new accounts: Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $10 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. IRAs: Only offers made via ACH are eligible for the match. ACATs, wires, and rollovers are not included. Offer ends 12/31/23.

For new accounts: Get up to $1,000 in stock when you fund a new Active Invest account. For IRAs: SoFi will match 1% of your contributions to your IRA.

Open Account for SoFi Active Investing

On SoFi Active Investing's Secure Website.

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner

Our Rating:

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

Fidelity is one of the largest and one of the most well-rounded brokerages available in the US today. Importantly, Fidelity offers $0 commissions for online stock and ETF trades, plus one of the best online trading apps that's good for both beginners and seasoned investors.

Fees:

$0 commission for online U.S. stock and ETF trades

Account Minimum:

$0

Open Account for Fidelity

On Fidelity's Secure Website.

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

E*TRADE sports two of the best stock trading apps: one that shines for its ease-of-use, and one tailored to advanced active traders.

Fees:

Commission-free; other fees apply

Account Minimum:

$0

Special Offer Circle with letter I in it. Open a new eligible E*TRADE brokerage or retirement account, find your account within 60 days of opening, and earn a cash bonus of up to $600 or more, depending on the size of your deposit. Offer good for one use per customer, on a single account.

Open and fund and get up to $600 or more

Open Account for E*TRADE

On E*TRADE's Secure Website.

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

Merrill Edge® Self-Directed is a great option to consider not only for users of Bank of America (which it is a part of), but also those who are looking to invest and bank under one roof and with a highly capable app.

Fees:

$0 for online stock and ETF trades

Account Minimum:

$0

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

Ally's stock app offers an easy-to-use trading platform and commission-free ETFs.

Fees:

$0 stock and ETF trades

Account Minimum:

$0

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

Webull offers a user-friendly stock investing platform with more features than some of its app-based rivals.

Fees:

$0 per trade

Account Minimum:

$0

Open Account for Webull

On Webull's Secure Website.

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

A full-featured broker with an excellent mobile trading app to complement its desktop platform.

Fees:

$0 stock and ETF trades

Account Minimum:

$0

Editor's Note: TD Ameritrade is transitioning to Charles Schwab

Over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2 - Sept. 5, 2023), most existing TD Ameritrade accounts were transitioned to Charles Schwab accounts. We’ve removed TD Ameritrade from our list of Best Stock Trading Apps since any new accounts will be transitioned to Charles Schwab accounts in the future. Here at The Ascent, you can trust that we’re constantly evaluating our top broker picks to bring you the most up-to-date information.

First-Hand Reviews of the Best Free Stock Trading Apps:

Fidelity

Best for: Investors who want to trade stocks and other investments with all the features of Fidelity's brokerage

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the Fidelity app home screen.

A screenshot of the Fidelity app transact screen.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

Fidelity gets our pick for the best free stock trading app. It offers everything we look for in a brokerage while still maintaining an easy-to-use mobile platform. For a non-app-based broker, this is impressive, especially when you consider the impact some of the disruptive mobile-first brokers like Robinhood and Webull have had on the industry in the last few years. If you're looking for the best online trading app, this app should be on your list to consider.

Fidelity's app is highly customizable. Investors can set up a customized news feed, view stock research, and even deposit checks and pay their bills.

Aside from the app, Fidelity itself is just a well-rounded broker. They offer $0 stock and ETF commissions, highly-rated mutual funds, international trading, and fractional share options. Plus, they come with decades of experience and millions of users, creating a sense of reliability you just can’t ignore.

It’s a good option for beginner and more seasoned investors alike.

App store rating:

  • iOS rating: 4.8/5 stars
  • Android rating: 4.2/5 stars

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Fidelity personally:

"The "Transact" page on the Fidelity app could not be better designed. From that single page, you can do everything from deposit checks and make trades to chat with customer service. It's such a clean and user-friendly site that beginners would not immediately feel lost."

-Dana George, Writer here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service

Pros:

Cons:

  • Higher margin rates than many peers
  • Options commissions are on the higher end of the spectrum
  • No cryptocurrency functionality

Robinhood

Best for: Investors who want a mobile-first platform and don’t need all the bells and whistles for stock and options trading

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the Robinhood app home screen.

A screenshot of the Robinhood app notifications screen.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

Robinhood is a no-frills, easy to use trading app. Compared to other brokers that have been around for years and are just now getting around to optimizing their apps, Robinhood is a newer, fresh-faced broker that was built mobile-first.

While it doesn't have many extra features like educational resources or free research tools, Robinhood offers user-friendly trading in stocks, options, and cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin). One of the standout features is $0 options commissions and no fee per contract. Even many of the best options brokers charge a fee per contract, so this is a nice perk with Robinhood.

Robinhood launched in 2015 and is newer to the brokerage world, meaning it doesn’t have the long-term reliability of brokers like Fidelity or Charles Schwab that’ve been around for decades. But the Robinhood team has done a lot of work since inception to improve their product, like adding IRA account options and building a nice desktop experience.

If you don’t need the bells and whistles of extensive customer service and just want a straightforward, easy-to-use stock app, this is a good option.

If you’re interested in mutual fund investing or robo-investing services, you’ll want to look at other online trading apps.

App store ratings:

  • iOS rating: 4.2/5 stars
  • Android rating: 4/5 stars

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Robinhood personally:

"My favorite Robinhood feature is access to all your notifications in one place. These include buy/sell requests, buy/sell completions, shareholder updates, and Robinhood app updates. Less fun, it also includes things like margin call warnings. Robinhood feels video-gamey in a good way."

-Cole Trethaway, Writer here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service

Pros:

  • No commissions
  • User-friendly trading platform
  • Allows fractional share investing
  • Functionality includes options and cryptocurrencies as well as stocks

Cons:

  • Few educational resources
  • No access to stock research unless you pay for an upgraded account
  • No mutual fund investing or robo-advisory service

SoFi Active Investing

Best for: Investors who want access to other financial products as well

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the Sofi Invest app home page.

A screenshot of the Sofi Invest app Investing tab.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

SoFi Active Investing offers both active investing (stock trading) and automated investing (robo-advisory) services. It's one of the few apps with commission-free options trading.

And unlike several other tech-focused investment apps, SoFi Active Investing offers traditional and Roth IRAs. The best part -- all of these features (lending, saving, investing, and more) are available through a single, highly-rated app.

The big differentiator for SoFi Active Investing is that it’s designed to be an all-in-one financial community. In addition to its investment platform, SoFi Active Investing's stock app also offers personal loans, mortgages, private student loans, credit cards, and high-yield savings accounts.

If you’re only using SoFi Active Investing for a brokerage account, the app may get cluttered with all their other offerings. And if you’re hoping to buy mutual funds, that unfortunately isn't offered. But if you’re using SoFi Active Investing for other products, this app is a standout for having everything together in one place.

App store ratings:

  • iOS rating: 4.8/5 stars
  • Android rating: 4.0/5 stars

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses SoFi Active Investing personally:

"The SoFi Active Investing app is fairly easy to use, especially compared to some other apps I've used. It wasn't hard to figure out where to go to buy stock and see my portfolio. And I liked the free stock I got for opening an account; it was from a fairly well-known company that I was curious about anyway. (Some apps give you stock you've never heard of or would never buy.)"

-Brittney Myers, Writer here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service

Pros:

  • Offers stock investing, automated investing, and cryptocurrency trading
  • Fractional shares are available
  • Commission-free options trading
  • Retirement accounts are available
  • Lots of other financial products

Cons:

  • No mutual fund or cryptocurrency investing
  • Doesn't offer stock research or an advanced trading platform

E*TRADE

Best for: Easy-to-use platform for average investors, and an advanced app for active traders

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the E*TRADE app home screen.

A screenshot of the E*TRADE app Markets screen.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

E*TRADE is a good one-stop-shop for most things an investor needs in an online trading app. In fact, E*TRADE actually sports two stock apps: the regular E*TRADE app and the Power E*TRADE app designed for active traders. Both of these online trading apps are completely free.

Users of the regular E*TRADE app get an easy-to-use app that gives them access to most of the features that an average investor would expect: an intuitive platform for placing trades, managing your account, staying up-to-date on news, and performing stock research and screening.

It also offers the low-fee standards we look for: 0% commission fees on U.S. listed stock, mutual fund, ETF, and options trades. There is a $0.65/contract fee for options trades, which isn’t uncommon in the market, but if you want to trade options, there are better fee-free brokers on this list..

If you’re an active trader, you may want to opt for the more advanced Power E*TRADE app. This top trading app provides real-time technical analysis of stocks, advanced options trading features, futures trading, and excellent charting capabilities.

Unfortunately, neither app allows for cryptocurrency, forex, or fractional share trading, so you’ll want to look elsewhere if this is important to you. For average investors that are searching for free trading apps with different options depending on where you are in your investing journey, this could be a good option.

App store ratings:

E*TRADE app:

  • iOS rating: 4.6/5 stars
  • Android rating: 3.9/5 stars

Power E*TRADE app:

  • iOS rating: 4.5/5 stars
  • Android rating: 3.9/5 stars

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses E*TRADE personally:

"I love the “Add to Watchlist” feature on individual stocks within the E*TRADE app. And while I like that they include news, earnings, and jobs reports, it’s more info than I, as a pretty passive trader, usually need."

-Alexi Ueltzen, Outreach Specialist here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service

Pros:

  • Feature-packed, easy-to-use regular app
  • Advanced app ideal for active traders
  • Strong in-app news and research offerings
  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades

Cons:

  • Does not support fractional share investing
  • Does not support cryptocurrency investing (except some futures trading)
  • Does not have access to international exchanges

Webull

Best for: Active investors who want a simple and user-friendly trading platform

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the Webull app home screen.

A screenshot of the Webull app watchlist.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

Webull is a mobile-focused trading app with an easy-to-use interface. It most closely compares to Robinhood: both apps were built to be mobile-first and are two of the newer brokers on this list.

Where Webull really sets itself apart, however, is with a wide array of advanced screening tools and customizable charts. There are dozens of technical indicators you can dig through, with the ability to customize all the accessible data in a format and priority you prefer. They even have a virtual trading simulator called “Webull Paper Trading” where you can test your strategies without risking any actual money.

It’s also one of the cheapest brokers on the market. While most trading apps on this list offer $0 commission stock and ETF trades, having no per-contract options fee really sets a broker apart. On this list, only Webull, Robinhood, and SoFi Active Investing, can proudly say they offer that.

Unfortunately, Webull does not offer mutual funds or a wide variety of educational resources and therefore is not a great option for beginners. But for more intermediate traders looking for a low-cost, easy-to-use mobile platform, this could be a good option.

App store ratings:

  • iOS rating: 4.7/5 stars
  • Android rating: 4.4/5 stars

RELATED: See The Ascent's Webull vs. E*Trade review

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Webull personally:

"I've had my Webull trading account for three years and primarily did my trading using my mobile device. I love that the app allows you to check your individual account's risk level based on your investments. However, I felt it wasn't as user friendly when I first started trading and took some adjusting. Other trading platforms have offered walkthroughs of their platforms which made a difference for me."

- Sharice Wells, Editor here at The Motley Fool

Pros:

  • Commission-free stock trading
  • Options trading is available
  • More features than most other app-based trading platforms
  • Offers traditional IRAs
  • Allows investors to trade cryptocurrencies
  • Offers fractional share trading with a $5 minimum

Cons:

  • Investors cannot trade mutual funds or OTC stocks
  • Few educational resources
  • Most market data and research require subscriptions

Merrill Edge® Self-Directed

Best for: Investing and banking in one

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the Merrill Edge app Home screen.

A screenshot of the Merrill Edge app Performance screen.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

Since Bank of America owns Merrill Lynch and houses all its financial products under one roof, Merrill Edge® Self-Directed, its brokerage offerings, and the investing app are a clear great fit for Bank of America customers. But that's not the only audience it's a fit for.

Merrill Edge® Self-Directed is a top stock trading app to consider for anyone focused on finding one place to manage the majority of their money needs under one roof. Especially when you consider the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, where you can get fee discounts on products ranging from banking products to credit cards just by keeping them all within the Bank of America ecosystem.

The mobile app offers most of the functionality you get on the desktop platform: streaming data, multi-leg (complex) options, and mutual fund trading.

As is the standard across most brokerages, Merrill Edge® Self-Directed offers commission-free trading for online stock, ETF, and options trades. Note, an options contract fee of $0.65 per contract does apply. Plus, investors wanting access to invest in cryptocurrencies will want to consider alternatives.

App store ratings:

  • iOS rating: 4.6/5 stars
  • Android rating: 3.9/5 stars

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Merrill Edge® Self-Directed personally:

"As a long-term investor I don't want a lot of noise in my investing app. I want the important information and I want to be able to find what I want to find when I want to find it. I don't want to be enticed to trade and I don't want to see a barrage of short-term results in my face. The Merrill Edge® Self-Directed app fits all of this. I invest to get results - I get my entertainment elsewhere. I also like that the app ties in well to the rest of the Bank of America ecosystem, so I can navigate between my investing and other accounts."

–Matt Koppenheffer, General Manager here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service

Pros:

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades
  • Wide array of account types offered
  • Nation-wide branch access
  • Preferred Rewards program

Cons:

  • Trading platforms can be beat
  • No cryptocurrency investing

Ally Invest

Best for: Investors who want their bank and investment accounts in the same place

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the Ally Invest app home screen.

A screenshot of the Ally Invest app Stock Analysis page.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

The Ally Financial app is more than just a stock trading app. In a nutshell, Ally is a great financial app that also has impressive investing functionality, making it an excellent choice for people who want to trade stocks in the same place where their checking and savings accounts are maintained.

Ally, similar to SoFi and Merrill, brings convenience to the market. For people who want all their finances in one place, Ally offers brokerage accounts, the Managed Portfolios robo-advisory service, a high-yield savings account, checking accounts, CDs, mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, and more.

The app itself is easy to use, but it should be noted it’s not an exact replica of the desktop platform. It only supports stock, ETF, and options trading, whereas the desktop platform allows for fixed-income and mutual fund trading as well. Similarly, advanced options tools and screeners are not available on the mobile app.

If you want to trade stocks, ETFs, or options within the app, and you value all your finances in one place, Ally Invest could be a great option for you.

App store ratings:

  • iOS rating: 4.7/5 stars
  • Android rating: 3.8/5 stars

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Ally Invest personally:

"I've used Ally Invest for 5 years, and the interface is easy to use, with helpful shortcuts to tasks and customizable dashboards. One of the features I like the most is the research section with a Screener that includes Analyst Top Stocks, Market Movers, Value Stocks, and Money Makers. I also like that you can find ETFs by Morningstar Rating, Price, Asset Class, and more."

-Ally Wines, Head of Prospect Marketing here at The Motley Fool

Pros:

  • A feature-packed, app-based trading platform
  • One of the lowest mutual fund commissions we know of
  • IRAs are available for retirement saving
  • Offers banking and investment accounts in one app

Cons:

  • No sophisticated trading platform for serious traders
  • Doesn't offer no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds

Charles Schwab

Best for: Serious investors who want to build a portfolio for the long term

What the app looks like:

A screenshot of the Charles Schwab app home screen

A screenshot of the Charles Schwab app Watchlist.

Why this stock app made our list of best trading apps:

For investors who want to be able to buy and sell stocks on the go but also benefit from a full-featured brokerage account, Charles Schwab could be the brokerage with the best stock trading app for you.

Charles Schwab has a great selection of mutual funds, supports a variety of different account types, and allows customers to buy and sell fractional shares of stock. And for those who want to put some or all of their investing on autopilot, Charles Schwab also has one of the best platforms for robo-advisors, called "Schwab Intelligent Portfolios".

They have some of the best customer service in the business, which reflects the years of experience they have working with all kinds of customers. Unlike some of the newer brokers, Charles Schwab has been around for decades, and their diligence to communication and reliability shines through in their service.

Charles Schwab's app is easy to use, although most of the detailed research and education is better used in the desktop experience. Compared to an app like Robinhood that’s clearly been optimized for mobile use, Charles Schwab's app is still catching up on the mobile-first usability.

Still, the array of investment offerings and reliability of Charles Schwab really outweigh the extra time it takes to learn your way around the mobile app. It's our favorite pick for beginners who want access to educational resources and a selection of impressive long-term investment options.

App store rating:

  • iOS rating: 4.8/5 stars
  • Android rating: 3.7/5 stars

First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Charles Schwab personally:

"I've used Charles Schwab for about 2 years now, and it's just a solid broker in every way. The app itself can be a bit clunky at times, but they've improved it a ton in the last 2 years I've been using it, and I love that I can quickly see how all my accounts are doing in one place. I would recommend it to beginner investors who need educational resources and customer support -- I've used both a lot and have had great experiences."

-Brooklyn Welch, Content Strategist here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service

Pros:

  • One of the most feature-packed brokers in the United States
  • Allows fractional share trading
  • Lots of educational features and research offerings
  • Great selection of mutual funds, including Charles Schwab's proprietary products
  • Users with Schwab 401(k) plans can access their account through the app

Cons:

  • No cryptocurrency trading
  • Margin rates are on the high end

Our Other Trading Apps Favorites:

Best Trading Apps Comparison

Broker/Advisor Best For Commissions Next Steps
Robinhood Offer Image
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Best For:

No-frills stock and options trading

Commission:

$0 for stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
SoFi Active Investing Offer Image
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Best For:

Diverse investing needs

Commission:

$0 for stocks, $0 for options contracts

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
Fidelity Offer Image
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Best For:

Full-featured broker

Commission:

$0 commission for online U.S. stock and ETF trades

E*TRADE Offer Image
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Best For:

Mobile trading platform

Commission:

Commission-free; other fees apply

Merrill Edge® Self-Directed Offer Image
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best For:

Diversified investing needs

Commission:

$0 for online stock and ETF trades

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
Ally Invest Offer Image
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
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Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best For:

Investing and banking in one

Commission:

$0 stock and ETF trades

Webull Offer Image
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4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
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Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best For:

User-friendly trading platform

Commission:

$0 per trade

Award Icon 2023 Award Winner
Charles Schwab Offer Image
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best For:

Full-featured broker

Commission:

$0 stock and ETF trades

What the best free stock trading apps offer

There's no such thing as the best stock trading app for every investor. And if there is, we certainly haven't found it. Some investors want things like stock research and educational tools, while others simply don't care about having access to that and just want a user-friendly way to buy and sell stocks. With that in mind, here are some things the best stock trading apps might offer. Before making your choice, you should decide which features are most important to you.

  • Commission-free stock trading
  • The ability to buy fractional shares of stock
  • Support for different account types, such as IRAs, custodial accounts for minors, joint accounts, and more
  • Cryptocurrency trading
  • Options trading
  • Competitive margin rates
  • Mutual funds -- and preferably a good selection that are available with no transaction fees
  • User-friendly trading platform
  • Sophisticated trading tools for active investors
  • Other financial products like bank accounts, loans, credit cards, etc.
  • Educational tools
  • Access to stock research

What is the best stock trading app for iPhone?

Here are our best trading apps for iPhone with their iOS app store ratings:

Best Trading App: iOS Rating:
Fidelity 4.8/5 stars
Robinhood 4.2/5 stars
SoFi Active Investing 4.8/5 stars
E*TRADE 4.6/5 stars
Merrill Edge® Self-Directed 4.6/5 stars
Ally Invest 4.7/5 stars
Webull 4.7/5 stars
Charles Schwab 4.8/5 stars

What is the best stock trading app for Android?

Here are our best trading apps for Android with their Google Play ratings:

Best Trading App: Android Rating:
Fidelity 4.2/5 stars
Robinhood 4/5 stars
SoFi Active Investing 4/5 stars
E*TRADE 4.6/5 stars
Merrill Edge® Self-Directed 3.95 stars
Ally Invest 3.8/5 stars
Webull 4.4/5 stars
Charles Schwab 3.7/5 stars

What is the best trading app for beginners?

There's no such thing as the best trading app for every investor. Free stock trading apps are great for beginner investors. These types of stock apps are easy to use, convenient, and offer a wide range of products. Beginner investors should first choose which features are most important to them. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Commission-free stock trading and low fees
  • Wide range of investment products, such as stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and cryptocurrency
  • User-friendly trading platform and sophisticated trading tools
  • Access to stock research and educational tools

Free stock trading apps pros and cons

Pros

The advantages of using free stock trading apps like these for your investment needs generally have to do with convenience. The best apps for stocks will allow you to buy and sell with just the click of a button, anywhere in the world where you have a data connection. This makes them great brokers for beginners and for seasoned investors.

Cons

The major downside to using any free stock trading apps -- even those offered by best stock brokers -- is that you're never going to get as much functionality as you would with a desktop-based trading platform. Many applications for trading don't have features like stock research and educational resources, even if the web-based versions of their platforms offer such features.

Are stock trading apps safe?

Most stock trading apps are offered by large investment brokerage companies, which offer secure investing tools. You should look for an app that has up-to-date security features, and are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The SIPC protects up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash, if the brokerage firm fails.

How much does it cost to start trading stocks?

There's no official minimum amount of money you need to start buying stocks.

Some brokerages have minimum required deposits, but many online brokerages have none. Those let you buy in with as little as a few dollars, purchasing fractional shares of stocks instead of full shares.

If you want to buy a full share of a specific stock, the minimum amount you'll need to get started is the cost of that stock -- which varies widely across companies. To ensure a diversified portfolio, we often suggest buying a minimum of 10 stocks, so that would put your minimum investment at the cost of those 10 stocks plus any commissions and fees paid to your brokerage.

What investments can you buy with free trading apps?

The free trading apps listed here will let you buy stocks, but the actual investment universe available depends on the particular app. For example, some of the apps allow trading in over-the-counter (OTC) stocks, while others don't. Some allow you to buy stocks directly on foreign stock markets in addition to U.S. exchanges. And some offer the ability to buy and sell options and mutual funds, while others are limited to only stock trading.

In addition, some of these apps offer automated investing or robo-advisory services, which essentially create and maintain an investment portfolio for you. The bottom line is that investment selection varies from one trading app to another and should certainly be a factor when deciding which to use.

How to choose a stock trading app as a beginner

No broker is perfect for everyone, but some brokers are better aimed at beginners.

Here are some of the factors to consider when you pick an online stock broker:

  • Cost structure: Do they charge monthly fees or commissions on trades?
  • Account minimums: Note the minimum deposit needed to open your account. For some brokerages, there's no minimum, but some might be as high as $500.
  • Variety of funds: As a beginner, you might not want to choose individual stocks. Look for brokerages that invest in no-fee mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) so you can invest without being a stock market expert.
  • Features and support: If you want to grow your investing knowledge and skills over time, look for an app that includes educational resources and strong customer support.

Best Stock Apps Methodology

Trading app products are rated on a scale of one to five stars, primarily focusing on fees, ease of use, and quality of the trading platform and research offerings. Our highest-rated products generally include the following:

1. Low costs to invest

We run a comprehensive review of routine fees, since account management costs can have a meaningful impact on your ability to invest profitably. Items assessed may include:

  • Stock, ETF, and mutual fund commissions
  • Margin rates
  • Maintenance and transfer fees

2. Great customer support and service

A high level of scrutiny is put on a brokerage's service and support, especially considering that a customer will likely interact with their brokerage's support team on multiple occasions. Items assessed may include:

  • Presence (or not) of branch offices
  • Quality of online and phone support

3. Strong product quality and features

Today's stock apps need a well-rounded suite of products and features to stand out in our ratings since we think brokerages need to provide a one-stop shop that meets an investor's comprehensive needs. Items assessed may include:

  • Trading platform and mobile app quality
  • Research offering quality
  • Broad access to ETFs and mutual funds

FAQs

  • When choosing between online trading apps, you should find one with low account and trading fees, a wide range of investment products, investment research, and educational tools. You should also look for a top trading app that has a trading platform that best suits your trading style.

  • All the stock apps on this list are pretty easy to use -- that's one of our top criteria for selecting it as one of the best trading apps on the market. However, our two top picks for the easiest stock apps to use are Fidelity and Robinhood. Fidelity has a user-friendly mobile experience with access to many investment options, as well as $0 commissions for stock and ETF trading. Robinhood also has an excellent mobile experience, with an interface designed specifically for mobile use.

Our Brokerages Experts