Contributor, Benzinga
December 14, 2023
public.com
Overall Rating:
securely through public.com's website

Public is the only investing platform that lets you trade stocks, ETFs, crypto, bonds, options and alternative assets—like fine art and collectibles—all in one place. Public also provides access to custom company metrics, live shows about the markets, and insights from a community of millions of investors, creators, and analysts.

Today, Public provides more ways to create a diversified portfolio than nearly any other online broker. Members can engage in sophisticated investing strategies and access a wealth of investing insights—from company-specific analysis to live audio shows and town hall-style Q&As. In addition, Public offers a premium membership tier with unique company KPIs, detailed performance metrics, and institutional-grade research. 

 

Best For
  • Stock and ETF investors
  • Crypto investors
  • Investors looking to diversify with alternative assets or bonds and options
Pros
  • Commission-free stock and ETF trading
  • Fractional share investing
  • Advanced data, tools, and insights with Public Premium
Cons
  • You can't transfer crypto to another wallet
  • No mutual funds or precious metals
  • At this time, only offers individual brokerage accounts and not IRAs

public.com Ratings at a Glance

Public.com Fees, Commissions, Margin Rates and Account Minimums
Public.com Usability
Public.com Education
Public.com Customer Support
Public.com Offerings
A Brokerage for Sophisticated Investors

Why Public.com Brokerage Over Others?  

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  • Easy platform to use: The Public trading app is available on both mobile and web,, andthe platform is among the most intuitive and simple in the brokerage space. Setting up an account takes only a few minutes and you can begin trading as soon as your funds clear. Public was the first investing platform to create a built-in social media element that allows you to get insights, information, and investment opportunities from other members. There are millions of investors, analysts, and experts in the Public community.
  • Social trading: Public offers a big-picture view of the companies you care about with unique data like revenue segmentation and subscriber growth. They also send timely updates on why a stock, crypto, or asset you follow is up or down in the market. Public allows you not only to follow stocks and investment themes but also real-life traders and investors. By creating a follow list and watching more experienced users, you can build comfort with your investment process or simply copy trade your favorite follows.
  • High-yield savings: Public.com allows you to build up your savings with a 5.1% APY on your cash accounts. What does that mean? You get the rate with no subscription, maintenance or account fees, and this savings tool comes with 20 times the FDIC insurance you would normally get, protecting your balances up to $5 million.

Public.com Quick Summary 

Public.com is an investing platform that allows you to invest in stocks, crypto, alternative assets, and more—all in one place. Using real-time analytics and premium data, Public.com provides the tools to find the right investment opportunity and make smart decisions about how you want to structure your portfolio. 

Another thing we liked about the Public.com app is that trading in stocks and ETFs is through a registered broker dealer, Open to the Public Investing, Inc., which is regulated by the SEC, is a member FINRA, and offers protection on securities held in a brokerage account (stocks and ETF) up to $500,000 (and $250,000 in cash claims). All accounts on Public.com are also protected by bank-grade AES 256-bit encryption at rest and TLS 1.2 in transfer, which shows that the company behind the app cares about the safety and security of user investments.

Additionally, Public provides free brokerage services on stocks and ETFs, so you can build a diverse portfolio without the cost of high commission fees.

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Asset Classes Stocks, ETFs, Crypto, Alternatives, Bonds, Options
PlatformMobile platform for iOS and Android
Account MinimumNo minimum on standard cash account
Available Account TypesCash accounts only
No IRA or 401(k) accounts

Public.com Fees, Commissions, Margin Rates and Account Minimums

Since Public allows you to invest in fractional shares, there’s no account minimum for purchasing stock. If you only have $5 in your account, you can still purchase a fractional share of Amazon, even though its current share price hovers around $2,000. But since Public focuses on new investors and simplicity, you won’t find any derivatives like futures on the platform.

StocksFREE
ETFsFREE
Mutual FundsN/A
Bonds0.10 - 0.50
OptionsFREE
FuturesN/A
Margin RatesN/A

Public.com Usability

The Public investing platform is similar to Robinhood, another brokerage designed for traders who want a simple and easy-to-use platform. The first thing you do on Public as a new user is choose a username and set up a profile. You’ll be asked to pick certain themes to follow like self-driving cars or meatless food and then follow other investors on the platform. Once you’ve built a social feed, you’ll be able to see who’s investing in what stocks (and how often they’re buying).

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Some of the features that make Public’s platform rate high in usability:

  • Public Premium: For $10/month, Public members can upgrade their membership tier to Public Premium and access advanced data, portfolio management tools, and analyst insights.
  • Advanced data: As a Public Premium member, you can take a deeper look at the companies you care about with unique metrics, such as Tesla vehicle deliveries, Apple product sales, and AMC theater attendance. In addition, Public partners with Morningstar to deliver the bull and bear cases for all popular stocks, along with independent reporting on competitive pressures, business strategy, and more.
  • Portfolio management tools: With Public Premium, you can organize your portfolio into groups based on strategy, sector, or whatever makes sense for you. You can then measure the performance of each group side by side. Premium membership also unlocks advanced investing tools, such as extended-hours trading and the ability to set price alerts for any stock or crypto.
  • Expert analysis: You also get institutional-grade research from Morningstar. You’ll be provided with the bull and bear cases for popular stocks, along with downloadable reporting on competitive pressures, business strategy, and more.
  • Alternative assets: With the recent launch of alternative assets on Public, members can now invest in shares of fine art, collectibles, and more. Public launched the category with over 25 alternative assets, including an original Banksy artwork and a pair of historic, game-worn Michael Jordan sneakers. Soon, Public plans to launch cash-flow-producing alternative assets—such as music royalties, which generate a regular yield. 
  • Dozen of investment themes: If you don’t want to follow along with a group of other investors, you can choose your own investment philosophy and buy stocks who fit your goals and ethics. Over 30 different themes are available with ESG elements, including Combat Carbon, Women In Charge, Green Power and Fighting Disease.

Public.com Education

Public.com has a quality library of resources to educate new investors about the ins and outs of the market. A FAQ section teaches you how to use the platform efficiently, covering topics like funding, bid/ask spreads and how to transfer a current account over to Public.com.

Over at the learning center, Public has dozens of articles on topics pertaining to the broader market. You can learn about the benefits of ETFs, how the stock market works, tips for retirement and more. 

Additionally, if you’re a Public Premium member, you can access institutional-grade research from Morningstar. Premium members can also access exclusive reports on sector trends, stock breakdowns, and economic data from the Public Editorial team.

Public.com Customer Support

Public has an award-winning, US-based customer experience team with FINRA-licensed specialists. Unlike many other investing platforms, Public makes their customer experience team available for live chat directly from the Public app. The company’s FAQ and Learn sections are very detailed and informative, while the support email is active and responsive.

Emailhello@public.com, support@public.com
Phone212-401-6946
ChatSupport chat in settings menu

Public.com Offerings

Public offers many ways to create a diversified portfolio with stocks, ETFs, crypto, alternative assets, and even more investment opportunities in the coming months. Mutual funds and derivatives are unavailable at this time.

Public.com Stocks and ETFs

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Public breaks its stock offerings down by category with a default load-out focusing on ESG themes. Some of these themes (and their accompanying firms) include:

Green power

  • Canadian Solar, First Solar, NextEra Energy, Brookfield Renewable Partners

Meatless revolution

  • Hain Celestial, Conagra, Beyond Meat, United Natural Foods, Ingredion

Reuse and reduce

  • Federal Signal, Clean Harbors, Waste Connections, Republic Services

Water works

  • Ideanomics, York Water, Aqua America, Advanced Drainage Systems

Cannabiz

  • Aurora Cannabis, Tilray, Aphria, Cronos Group, Canopy Growth, AbbVie

Self-driving cars

  • Uber, Intel, IBM, Delphi Technologies, Google, Micron Technology

Public also groups companies by its subsidiaries, too. For example, Amazon is grouped into the meatless revolution theme thanks to its ownership of Pill Pack and Quidsi and also the AI theme because of Alexa and Twitch.

Public.com Alternative Assets

Alternative assets are now live on Public.com. That makes Public the only investing platform where you can invest in things like fine art and collectibles alongside stocks, ETFs, and crypto. 

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Many of these categories of alternative assets have long track records of strong returns and have shown to have a relatively low correlation to the stock market. However, alternative assets tend to be scarce and super expensive by their very nature. Public has changed the game by fractionalizing alternative assets and turning them into fully regulated, SEC-qualified securities.

Plus, it’s all in the same portfolio that has your stocks, ETFs, and crypto. That means you can buy, sell, and hold fractional shares of alternative assets on Public—just like how you could invest in the rest of your portfolio.

Bonds and Options

Public.com now offers bonds and options for competitive price.

When you want to buy bonds, you can purchase:

  • Corporate bonds
  • Municipal bonds
  • Treasury bonds

When choosing these bonds, you can calculate your yield using the Public.com site or app, diversify your portfolio and review a full analysis of all the bonds on the market at that time. Using these bonds, you can generate fixed income that matures at a specific time, allowing you to layer your income over long periods of time.

Options at Public.com come with no commissions or per-contract fees. Transaction costs are significantly reduced using this platform, and you can also:

  • Review all the options on the market
  • Analyze these opportunities
  • Stay on top of the trades you have made
  • Review fundamentals
  • Check straddles and strangles
  • Look over vertical and calendar spreads

With high-level visualization, you can improve your portfolio, try out derivatives investment and do so with all the educational tools you need.

A Brokerage for Sophisticated Investors

Public wants to make the public markets work for all investors. Whether it’s with buying fractional shares, chatting with other investors, or utilizing Public Premium to get unique data on all the companies you care about, Public is continually providing the resources to level up all investors.

If you’re looking for derivatives like futures, Public isn’t the broker for you. But if you’re an active trader who wants to invest in stocks, ETFs, crypto, bonds and alternative assets while utilizing the expertise and insights of other Public members, then this broker is the place to continue your investment journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

How trustworthy is public.com?

A

Public.com is a legitimate investing app that is registered with both the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The brokerage also provides insurance for up to $500,000 for your securities.

Q

Is Public better than Robinhood?

A

Whether public.com is better than Robinhood depends on individual preferences. Public is a commission-free stock trading app that allows users to invest in fractional shares of companies, while Robinhood is also a commission-free trading platform that offers a wide range of investment options including stocks, options, bonds and cryptocurrencies.

Q

Does Public com have fees?

A

Yes, Public.com does have fees. They charge a $1 monthly fee for their standard account and a $9 per month fee for their premium account. Additionally, they may charge other fees for certain services or transactions. It is always recommended to thoroughly review the fee structure of any investment platform before using it.

Disclosure:

This does not constitute investment advice. Investing involves the risk of loss, including the potential loss of principal. Public.com launched in October 2019. Brokerage accounts opened on Public.com are held through the registered broker dealer, Open to the Public Investing, Inc. (Public), a member of FINRA and SIPC. Public provides brokerage services for US listed and registered securities only. Cryptocurrency trading on Public.com is conducted through Apex Crypto LLC. Brokerage services for alternative assets on Public.com are offered through Dalmore Group LLC, a registered broker dealer and a member FINRA and SIPC. Alternative assets and cryptocurrency investments are not covered by SIPC and are not held in a brokerage account. New customers of OTTP receive free stock valued between $3 - $1,000 (0.3% receive the maximum value).

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