Compare the best stock apps
The rise of the retail investor has brought stock trading apps to the mainstream. Use this page to find the best app, whether you’re looking for somewhere to trade quickly or want help investing for the long term.
What are the best apps for investing in stocks?
You need to decide what you want the app to do before you choose one. There are apps aimed at day traders, others for long term investors, and still more that use artificial intelligence to invest your money for you. Here are some of the top options, whatever your goals are.
Top apps for short term stock trading
If you plan to trade quickly and often, you want an intuitive app with low fees that gives you as many options as possible. That way, you can use tools and charts to time your entry and exit from the market, without paying out lots of money in fees every time.
Top apps for long term stock investing
Value or growth investing is a popular way of trying to build wealth over time. You want to be able to own shares in a company, earn extra money from the dividends they pay out, and sell them later after they’ve increased in value.
Top robo-advisor apps for saving and investing
Sometimes the best way to invest your money is to let someone else do it for you. These apps let you guide their strategy by signalling your risk tolerance and the industries – like green energy or technology – you want to invest in. Then you can sit back and let them manage your portfolio for you.
What should I look for in a stock market trading app?
Safety, security, and an easy to use platform are three of the most important things to look for. While specific features might affect the apps you choose from, take all these factors into consideration before you make a final choice. That way you’ll get to the best experience in the end.
Design and ease of use
One of the main advantages of using an app is making it easy to buy and sell company shares. You want to be able to find your way around and use all the features available. If you’re a beginner this is even more important, you want useful information to be laid out in a way you can understand as you learn.
Reputation and regulation
You want to be confident in the app you’re using. As with anyone you trust with your money, you want to be sure they aren’t going to disappear with it. Stock brokers have to abide by strict regulations, from the FCA in the UK and FINRA in the US, so look for proof of this before you sign up.
Similarly, brokers should have insurance to protect the customer in case they go bankrupt. Longer term investments like ISAs and IRAs are protected by government regulation too, check your app abides by all of this before you download.
Tools and charts
These can be very useful when you start trading. If you’re going to do the work yourself, you want to be able to study a stock’s performance before you buy. Look out for apps that offer charts you can do some technical analysis on. Other tools worth looking for are comparison features, say between a fund’s performance and the market average.
Fees and commissions
Many apps advertise themselves as free but they have to make money somewhere. Usually it’s with fees for specific actions, like trading, deposits, or withdrawals. Other companies will make money on the ‘spread’, the difference between the buy and sell price they offer on a share. Comparing the size of the spread can be a good way of choosing between apps – the smaller the better.
You want to keep your money and assets secure all the time. Look out for the different security features an app offers; do they use encryption? Two-factor authentication? What about protection against fraud? And how do they deal with your private data? Be wary of any app that skimps on these features.
You want flexibility on your app, with lots of different trading options. New traders just getting started might want to stick to simply buying and selling shares but as you get more experience there are lots of ways to trade. Here are some popular ones you should look out for:
This is the standard way of playing the stock market. You buy shares in a company, with the aim of making money either from it going up in value or in the form of dividends. When you sell it, ideally you make a profit on the difference in price.
Contracts for difference (CFDs) are a way of speculating on how an asset is going to perform without owning it. They’re popular on retail trading apps like eToro and Robinhood and can be a way of trading cryptocurrencies and commodities as well as stocks.
Trading with leverage means making bigger trades by putting up only a small amount of the overall value as a deposit. You borrow the rest from your broker but remain liable for the entire trade. You can make big wins this way but it’s very risky as losses can escalate quickly.
Spread betting is a way of betting on the performance of an entire market, rather than individual stocks within it. You place a bet on whether it’s going to go up or down, and earn a profit of your stake multiplied by the amount of points the market moved. The reverse is also true: you lose your stake multiplied by how much it goes the other way.
These are just the most important features to look out for. The ideal app is packed with even more that can help you make money. Demo accounts, where you trade with fake money to start with, are great for beginners. So are educational tools, tutorials, and push alerts to let you know how your shares are performing.
Quick answers to key questions
Can I trade stocks on Android and iOS devices?
Yes. Most apps are available on both operating systems. A few are exclusive to one or the other, but you can easily find out which apps are available on your phone by going to the Google Play store or the App Store.
How much do stock trading apps cost?
To download: usually nothing. Setting up an account is also usually free for trading apps but once you get into the realm of long term investing you might need to subscribe before you can use all the services. Even for free stock trading apps, there’s usually a cost somewhere in the form of additional fees or commissions.
Do I have to verify my identity with a stock trading app?
Yes, usually there is some form of verification but the methods vary. Expect to have to provide some contact details and a form of photo ID to prove who you are before you can trade.
Do apps charge fees for trading stocks?
Some do, some don’t. Apps aimed at retail investors have led the charge towards free trading. Traditional stock brokers have been forced to reduce their fees to compete but often do still charge.
Exactly how they charge varies widely, It could be a fixed rate, a percentage of the trade value, or some let you perform a certain amount of trades a month for free. It’s very important to check this before you start.
Should I use a stock trading app?
It depends what you want to do. We generally recommend them: they’re easy to use and now that we run so much of our lives through our phones, there’s no reason stock trading should be any different.
If you can’t decide yet, we’re here to help. It’s always a good idea to take some extra time to think about your investments, and the platform you use to make them is no different. Below are some of the pros and cons of using an app, followed by a couple of final points.
- Trade stocks and manage your portfolio wherever you are
- Many apps come with slimmed down versions for beginners to help you understand the market
- However you want to trade, there’s going to be an app that offers it
- Storing app-only accounts on your phone can be risky if you lose it or have it stolen
- Some apps don’t offer all the features of the main online account
Should I buy stocks with an app now?
Whether now is a good time depends on the market conditions and the economic climate in general. For instance, are there any recent developments that could affect the shares you want to buy? To help you make the best decisions on whether to dive in now, use our latest news and analysis to help you:
Coinbase: As investors are worried about dependence on transaction fees, here’s what CEO Armstrong has to say about it
Goldman Sachs will report Q1 earnings results on April 14th. Here’s the next target for buyers
Is Bank of America a buy or sell in April?
Where can I learn more about stocks?
The best place is where you already are: the Invezz website. We have lots of educational content to help you learn about the stock market and the different types of stocks you can buy. To find out what’s hot, our news section is the place to go.
Yes. There is no restriction on the number of apps you can use. In fact, you might be better off using lots of different apps to get the best experience.
Yes, although this might vary depending on where you are in the world so make sure to check.
It depends. In most countries, yes. If you live somewhere with strict regulations on internet usage then you might find that you can’t.
Downloading them is usually free. These companies make their money elsewhere, so you might have to pay trading fees or to withdraw your money. It’s important to check the fee structure before you start.
Yes, apps have been developed over a long time to keep them as safe and secure as possible.
Yes, in a manner of speaking. The stock brokers themselves are strictly regulated by financial authorities across the world and have to put in place lots of consumer protections. So if you choose a respected, established company then you can be confident the app is regulated too.
It depends where you live. Usually you do have to pay some kind of capital gains tax, especially if you make a lot of money on your trades. In the UK, for example, you have to pay tax on gains over £12,300. It’s very important to check the capital gains tax laws in your region.
It depends on the service you use. There are no additional fees for using an app compared to an online account but brokers in particular can charge trading fees as well as fees for deposits and withdrawals. Trading fees are important to check, some brokers charge a fixed rate each time, others charge a percentage of the trade value.
Again, it depends. Apps that offer a wide range of trading options tend to let you short stocks as well. Simply put, when you short a stock you borrow the shares from your broker and sell them, and not all apps want to act as a market maker like this. Check with your broker before you sign up.
Generally, yes, although you should be very careful. If there are no trading limits then you can try scalping but beware of the spread between buy and sell price, trading fees, and the fact it’s very difficult to make money this way. If you are going to do it, use stop limits to protect you from big losses.
It depends on the app. What you need is specific trading options like futures and options to be able to offset the risk of buying or shorting a company’s stock. Managing your risk by hedging can be complicated, so make sure you know what you’re doing.
Yes. One of the major advantages of using an app is the ability to access your online account wherever you are.
Each app should offer an option to reset your password, so as long as you can still access the email account you signed up with there’s no problem.
No. Uninstalling an app doesn’t normally delete your account. So long as you don’t delete the account itself without withdrawing your money, you won’t lose it.
As long as you pick a reputable option, they’re minimal. The risks are more psychological: it can be very easy to trade on an app without doing your due diligence. So be careful, and make sure your phone is secured with a pin and password in case you lose it.
It depends on the platform. Paypal is increasingly accepted as a means of payment by many brokers and exchanges, but you may not be able to if you’re depositing to an ISA or long term investing account.