Whether you’re a passive investor looking to build a strong long-term portfolio or an active trader looking to generate consistent returns on strategic short- or medium-term trades, a well-designed stock trading app can make the process simpler and more convenient. But with dozens of options out there, each offering a dizzying array of features and resources, how do you pick the right one?
In this quick guide, we’ll talk about what a stock trading app can do for your investing career and go over some of the unique features of the best stock trading apps on the market today — and what kind of investor they each work best for.
Best Stock Trading Apps
Few stock trading apps can offer all the possible perks of mobile investing in one but these innovative options offer a robust mobile trading platform. Each comes with its own unique special features that are tailored to the kinds of investors the developers had in mind when designing them.
Here are some of our favorite stock trading apps along with a quick description of what they do and what kind of investing they’re best for.
Robinhood offers commission-free trading on stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options and some crypto. You can buy fractional shares, set customized alerts and get regular updates with the latest news headlines related to your investments.
This is a great option for beginners because the interface makes it easy to both start trading and learn the ropes of investing. It’s also a good option for those who want to start investing with less capital since its fractional shares make it easy to invest at any budget. However, those who are investing for their retirement will miss out on tax protections — Robinhood doesn’t yet offer IRA or other tax-deferred retirement accounts.
Webull is another commission-free trading platform for stocks, ETFs, options, crypto and more. The depth of analytical tools like charts, graphs and indicators Webull offers make it function more like an advanced trading platform but built into a user-friendly platform designed with mobile-first investors in mind.
It’s a great option for short- or medium-frequency strategies thanks to its low-cost trading and wealth of free charting and technical analysis tools at your fingertips. While investors with a basic understanding of how to use charts and indicators will be able to dive in immediately, there are enough educational resources and an intuitive enough design that beginners can find their way around after playing with the features for a while.
eToro is a platform well known for its crypto trading options along with forex trading. The platform also allows you to invest in stocks and ETFs and mix those assets with your current crypto and forex holdings.
eToro’s platform makes it easy to invest by offering:
- Investing in full stocks and fractionals for as little as $10
- Engagement with real and experienced investors concerning strategies
- Detailed price charting and technical analysis
- Zero commissions
By investing with eToro, you can create a diverse portfolio that is easy to manage via the website or the mobile app.
Moomoo offers its users commission-free trading on over 5,000 stocks and ETFs with free access to Level 2 market data. That data is paired with over 50 technical indicators and other tools that are ideal for active or advanced traders looking for lower costs and more advanced trading tools.
The app also offers short selling on 8,000 stocks, including market sentiment graphing that helps you spot short opportunities. However, the app is light on educational resources so beginners are advised to use Moomoo’s paper trading service at first to learn the ropes before risking money on short-term trades.
5. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is one of the leading options for investors who want access to a wide range of tradeable assets. The app offers stocks, options, futures, ETFs, mutual funds, forex, and even precious metals. Users also have access to foreign markets. With so many assets available, investors will have no trouble building up a diversified portfolio or enjoying a wide range of trading opportunities, no matter which asset they prefer to trade.
There are also several account types including a margin account and an IRA account and both a lite and pro plan type. The pro plan comes with more analytical tools essential for high frequency trading but comes with an inactivity fee charged if you don’t trade frequently enough. The lite plan has a few less analytical tools but no fees for inactivity so it’s better for passive investors or less frequent traders.
6. SoFi Active Invest
SoFi Active Invest is another good option for passive investing that’s tailored to investors who are starting with less capital. Users can open an account with no minimum and buy fractional shares, all while benefiting from free financial counseling from Sofi Active Invest’s team of expert financial advisors. It also offers some automation including automatic portfolio rebalancing, diversification, and recurring investments.
This is a really great resource for beginners and anyone interested in a more hands-off approach to investing that doesn’t require extensive research or fine-tuning a strategy. However, it is light on tradeable assets as it lacks mutual funds, options, and other assets that some investors might want, so make sure it offers the securities you’re interested in before you open an account.
7. Charles Schwab
Another stock trading app with a major bank behind it, Charles Schwab is the ideal app for a wide range of investors. It offers tons of educational resources, extensive fundamental and technical research tools, several account types, and several trading platforms, complete with real-time quotes, screeners, technical indicators, pattern analysis, and more.
However, not every tool and feature is built into every platform. If you’re planning to try out different investing styles, you’ll find yourself hopping from platform to platform. For investors committed to a single style of investing, this won’t be as big of an issue. More passive, buy-and-hold investors will find just about everything they need on TradeSource while active day or swing traders will have access to most of the tools they need on StreetSmart Edge.
8. Cobra Trading
With low commissions and DAS fee waivers for high volume traders, the Cobra Trading app is tailored to day traders and scalpers. The DAS (Direct Access Software) platform offers faster order execution and access to multiple exclusive data feeds. With Cobra Trading, you’re able to connect your brokerage account directly to your DAS platform to enjoy high level analysis and rapid-speed trading all at once.
With an account minimum of $25,000 and fee waivers reserved only for high volume trading, Cobra Trading is definitely best suited to the high frequency, high volume trader. However, for those advanced high frequency traders, the DAS platform access, range of data packages, and short locate monitors make this one of the most robust day trading or scalping apps on the market.
Why Use Stock Trading Apps?
Stock trading apps keep your portfolio at your fingertips. You can check your investments and make trades, all from your phone. While different stock trading apps are built with different users in mind, some of the reasons investors look to a mobile stock trading app include:
- News feeds featuring the latest headlines related to your investments
- Educational resources to help beginners hone their investing skills
- Analytical tools like charts, graphs and indicators to help you plan your short or medium-term trades.
- Automation features so that your phone can do your trading for you
- Alerts that notify you of news, trends and price changes so that you can respond quickly to the market even if you can’t watch the charts all day
Start Investing with Your Favorite Stock Trading App Today
Ultimately, the best stock trading app for you is the one that’s built with the kind of investing you have in mind and that offers the kind of assets you want to trade. For shorter term strategies like swing trading or day trading, look for tons of analytical tools and maybe some automation to make it easier to stick to your strategy. For longer term strategies or retirement planning, look for a stock trading app that offers in-depth research options for digging into stock fundamentals, the kinds of equities you want to include in your portfolio, and maybe the option to open a retirement account.
Whichever stock trading app you choose, you can always come back to Benzinga for more helpful tips and insights as you take the next steps on your investing journey!