Are investment apps safe?
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Lots of people now use an app to manage their investments. With so many on the market it can be difficult to know if they’re trustworthy. This guide will help you learn if investment apps are safe. We’ll explain what they are, if they are safe, and compare the top ones around.
What is an investment app?
It’s an application that lets you track your portfolio as well as buy and sell assets from your mobile device. These apps can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet and connect you to the markets from anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night. Most brokerage firms offer apps that give you the same functionality as their desktop versions.
Similar to online investing, apps can include specific asset classes or a selection of assets. For example, if you wanted to invest in the stock market, you could use an app from a brokerage that specialises in shares. You could also go with an app that has a range of different markets available.
There are two types of investment apps and below is a brief explanation of each:
- DIY apps: These types of apps are the most common. When using a DIY app you’ll have full control over what, how, and where you invest. DIY apps are offered by most the best brokerage firms and are best suited to investors with some experience. eToro, Hargreaves Lansdown are a couple of examples.
- Robo-advisors: A new kind of approach to investing known as Robo-Advisors has become popular recently. When using a Robo-Advisor you simply download an app, fill in some information about what your goals are, deposit some money, and the app invests automatically for you. Nutmeg is one of the most popular Robo-Advisors.
Are investment apps safe?
Yes, they generally are, although it is important to remember that you can still lose money while investing. Apps from brokers or service providers that are regulated by the proper governing bodies are considered the safest. Users are better protected through compensation schemes which provide a safety net if an app goes out of business.
There are apps that some people deem to be unsafe. Investment apps that could be considered unsafe are from brokers that conduct their business in an unsatisfactory manner. For example in 2021 when Robinhood halted sales of Gamestop shares, it came under major user backlash.
Most investment apps belong to well known brokerage firms, or Robo-advisor services that have been in operation for many years. The financial industry is heavily regulated and shady business practices are difficult to pass these days. Investment apps are for the most part safe and in the section below we’ll take a look at a few features to consider when choosing one.
How to tell if an investment app is safe
There are a lot of features you can consider before downloading an app to tell if it’s safe or untrustworthy. Before depositing money you’ll want to make sure the app is secure – you can follow the guidelines below to help:
Investment apps should be properly regulated. Every region has its own laws and regulations so you should make sure any app you’re planning to use is regulated in your jurisdiction. Regulation also provides compensation and you can easily check if an app is regulated by checking its disclaimer where its licence number will be.
Using online review sites is one of the easiest ways to find out how safe an app is. Some apps have a large number of users and you can find lots of ratings and other people’s experiences using reviews. If you find lots of poor reviews its probably best to stay away while if they’re mostly positive then you can have confidence the app is probably safe.
Investment apps should be completely clear about their fees, or how they make money if they let you invest for free. You will be able to find this information on their websites or within the app itself. Make sure you take the time to understand how much you will be charged as any surprises could eat into your profits.
A secure app is a top priority when it comes to safety. Two-factor authentication is offered by some and is a good way to add an extra layer of security when logging into your account. Most apps now can be unlocked using fingerprint or facial recognition. SSL encryption is also important and is used to encrypt data transferred between your account and a server.
If you ever run into difficulties while using an app you’ll want to make sure your issue is resolved quickly and efficiently. Each app will offer a different level of customer support, some may be through the app only while others may have a phone number. A good app with strong support will likely care about its customers safety.
Are there any risks to using an investment app?
There are some risks involved when using an investment app. All investing has a certain element of risk attached to it. The stock you’ve bought could go down in value with market fluctuations for example.
The growing trend of commission free and fractional share trading has also increased the number of inexperienced users trying their hand at making money. There is a risk that these apps make it too easy for beginners to invest. However, Robo-advisors are a way to help less experienced users invest without any prior knowledge.
What are the safest investment apps to use?
Our investment experts have tested the most popular apps on the market and selected the ones which are ranked the safest. They have been tested for a range of safety and security features and you can download them and start investing in just a few minutes.
Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.
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