Public.com Review

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: October 29, 2021
public.com
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  • Trading Ideas
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1 Minute Review

Public.com is an investing platform that helps people be better investors. Members can build a diverse portfolio of stocks, ETFs, crypto, and soon NFT’s, art, & collectibles, all within a single platform. In addition to being an all-in-one platform, Public gives you all the information you need to make the right investment for you. This includes access to advanced data, custom company metrics, and expert analyst insights through their Public Premium membership. It doesn’t end there, in addition to the research and data on Public, you also have access to an interactive community filled with millions of investors, creators and analysts.

Public puts investors first and doesn’t sell trades to market makers or take money from Payment for Order Flow (PFOF).

 

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Best For
  • New investors looking to learn how to invest
  • Experienced investors looking to grow even further
  • Building a modern portfolio of stocks, ETFs, and crypto on one platform
Pros
  • Fractional shares and crypto
  • Transparency all around, from public portfolios to company beliefs
  • Supportive, educational community
Cons
  • No investing tools like futures, options, or margins
  • Day-trading is discouraged
  • Mobile app-based platform

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 Everyone

Why Public.com Brokerage Over Others?  

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Easy-to-use platform: Public is currently only for mobile phones, but the platform is among the most intuitive and simple in the discount brokerage space. Downloading and setting up your account takes only minutes and you can begin trading as soon as your application is approved. You can easily follow other users like a Twitter account and see who else is trading your favorite stocks. Seeing what others invest in, buying stocks or crypto, and reading up on new insights takes only a few finger taps. 

Investing as a social experience: What sets Public apart is their focus on a community. They’ve built a community alongside investing features, which means members benefit from education from others as they invest. Whether you’re new to investing or a seasoned vet, you can exchange insights with investors from all walks of life. 

Interest on uninvested cash: Most brokers pay a little bit of interest to their clients for uninvested cash. But 2.5%? That’s unheard of — until now. In addition to being free from minimums and commission, Public also offers 2.5% interest on all uninvested cash up to $10,000. A 2.5% interest far exceeds what other brokers offer and even tops some of the most lucrative online savings accounts like Marcus from Goldman Sach and Citi Accelerate Savings. 

Public.com Quick Summary 

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The full name of the company behind Public is called Investing For The Public, Inc. If you can’t tell from the name, its goal is to make the markets accessible to everyone. For many potential investors, the costs of building a diversified stock portfolio are simply too high. If you’re on the

lower-end of the income spectrum, getting enough funds together to buy a single share of expensive stocks like Amazon, Google or even Apple could be a challenge. Public provides free brokerage services with fractional shares, so you can build a diverse portfolio with minimal capital. 

According to their website, Public is on a mission to make the public markets work for all people. For many potential investors, the costs of building a diversified stock portfolio or access to emerging opportunities like cryptocurrency are too high. Public pioneered real-time fractional investing, so you can build a diverse, modern portfolio with any budget.

Asset Classes Stocks, Crypto and ETFs
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 literally 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 options or futures on the platform.

StocksFREE
ETFsFREE
Mutual FundsN/A
OptionsN/A
FuturesN/A
Margin RatesN/A
CryptoNo fees

Public.com Usability

The Public investing platform is similar to Dough, another brokerage targeting new investors with themes, social media aspects and fractional shares. The first thing you do 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:

Intuitive interface: There’s practically no learning curve when it comes to getting used to Public’s mobile platform. You’ll have your account balances, investments, and watchlists all just a tap away. Clicking on a specific asset will give you a page with a plethora of information, including who owns or watches the stock, basic stock information, insights from fellow investors, and relevant news articles. Public even offers a possible explanation about why a stock might be trending in a certain direction. 

Social feed: Public prides itself on a supportive, educational community of investors. Follow friends, analysts, creators, and notable investors to build a feed. A feed keeps you in the loop, and you can exchange ideas with or learn from other investors in the community. Some of Public’s notable investors on the platform include Graham Stephan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Angela Yee. 

Dozens of investment themes: If you want to build a portfolio around a specific idea or say you want to invest in green companies, this is the platform for you. Public organizes the stock market into Themes, curated lists of stocks. There are Themes like Women in Charge, which features companies led by CEOs who are women, and Public Top 20, which features the community’s most popular stocks and is updated every month. 

Public.com Education

Public doesn’t have stock reports from reputable firms like Morningstar, BofA or S&P. Free news reports from sites like Forbes, MarketWatch and Benzinga are available on a news feed listed under each stock. But in-depth security analysis needs to be found elsewhere. Of course, if you’re using a platform like Public, you’re probably not trying to jump in and out of stocks based on changing headlines. 

Public offers programming to educate investors and give real-time analysis. In Town Halls, investors can submit questions to founders and CEOs of their favorite companies. Business leaders then answer the questions live in the app. Meanwhile, in Public Live, investors can listen in real-time as analysts and creators break down market trends. 

If you’re more of a reader, Public has a learning center with dozens of articles and commonly asked questions pertaining to the broader market. Understand concepts like dollar cost averaging or value investing? If not, Public has you covered with helpful guides written without technical jargon. You’ll learn about the benefits of ETFs, how the stock market works, tips for retirement and more.

Public.com Customer Support

Public is based out of New York City with an office in Lower Manhattan. Phone and chat support is available during working hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Public also has a FAQ page with 40 different articles discussing investing, banking and current Public promotions. 

Emailhello@public.comsupport@public.com
Phone212-401-6946
ChatSupport chat in Settings menu

Public.com Offerings

Public.com offers stocks, ETFs, and crypto for any amount of money. Mutual funds and derivatives aren’t available, nor are options and margins, which may not please advanced traders. That’s because Public is focused on long-term investing and choosing assets that you really believe in.

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

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 Crypto 

You can diversify your portfolio with crypto. Public offers 11 cryptocurrencies on its platform:

  • Bitcoin 
  • Ethereum 
  • Cardano 
  • Dogecoin 
  • Litecoin 
  • Bitcoin Cash 
  • Shiba Inu 
  • Stellar 
  • Ethereum Classic 
  • Dash 
  • ZCash

A Brokerage for Everyone

Just how sophisticated platforms like NinjaTrader aren’t for everyone, neither are brokerages like Public. While they operate at different ends of the spectrum, both appeal to a very specific set of investors. 

Public wants everyone to know it can get a piece of the investment pie without access to huge loads of money. You can buy fractional shares, chat with other investors and follow themes that matter to you all while building your investment identity.

Public doesn’t weigh down its users with useless jargon or excessive fees — it’s a simple buying-and-selling process with no frills attached. Public also lets clients earn 2.5% interest on their uninvested cash, a huge perk in a landscape of falling interest rates. 

If you’re looking for derivatives like futures and options, Public isn’t the broker for you. But if you’re new to investing and don’t want to be overwhelmed by business data and flashy charts, Public might be a perfect fit.

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