Best Investment Apps 2022

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Best Investment Apps 2022

In recent years, the number of stock trading and robo-advisor choices has grown. While more competition and innovation is good news for investors, determining which platform best meets your needs may be difficult. We thoroughly examined these US-based services to find the top platforms for numerous categories to assist in evaluating the finest alternatives in the market.

The rise of investing applications has paralleled the change of consumer preferences, with an increasing number of individuals preferring to handle their money primarily via tablets or smartphones. This move has been welcomed by stock trading and robo-advisor firms, who have focused on enhancing their mobile app experiences. Brokers’ desktop trading platforms have traditionally had more features and capabilities than mobile trading platforms, but the experiences and functionality have grown more identical. This enhanced consistency across mobile and desktop gives investors with a more coordinated experience in terms of notifications, watchlists, and updates, while also making it easier to manage your money and track your investment objectives.

Wealthfront stated on Friday, September 2, 2022, that it and UBS had agreed to cancel the imminent purchase, leaving Wealthfront as an independent corporation.

Best Investing Apps:

Wealthfront: Best Automated Investing App

  • Account Minimum: $500
  • Fees for most accounts are 0.25%, with no trading commissions or fees for withdrawals, minimums, or transfers.

Wealthfront is a robust, digital-only investing solution that provides consumers with full money management options in a beautiful, streamlined interface. The financial coaching, account aggregation, goal setting, investment, and banking tools are user-friendly and easy to use. Wealthfront’s Self-Driving Money lets you further automate your finances by employing a rules-based method to transfer money across accounts while optimizing for your objectives, giving you even more control over your financial journey.

In terms of features, usefulness, and simplicity of navigation, the mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms are both excellent and on level with the desktop experience. The software is clearly built with the purpose of minimizing superfluous data inputs or typing, instead relying on more user-friendly sliders, drop-down menus, and auto-fill capability. When joining external accounts, you’ll still need to provide user IDs and passwords, but the procedures are normally simple and consistent. While E*trade’s Core Portfolio robo-advisor solution won our Top Robo-Advisor for Mobile Experience category, Wealthfront was our best overall robo-advisor, with a refined, smart user experience and access to a far broader variety of comprehensive money management tools.

Pros
  • Comprehensive financial planning tools

  • Path’s digital-only financial advice is the finest in class.

  • Considered smartphone experience meant to decrease mistakes and improve functionality.

  • Self-driving money allows you easy financial administration through your smartphone.

Cons
  • External account syncing can be inconsistent

  • No discounts for larger balances

  • No human financial advisors

TD Ameritrade: Best Stock Trading App

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: No fees on stocks, ETFs, or per-leg options trades. Each option contract costs $0.65.

TD Ameritrade distinguishes itself by providing a mobile trading experience that is more straightforward than the desktop version while keeping a robust feature set. The mobile trading tools are well-organized into simple operations and menus. This straightforward layout includes watchlists, orders, managing positions, options, and chart modification. When you use the TD Ameritrade app, the process is simplified to concentrate on what you need for buying and selling as well as monitoring your total portfolio. The workflow with thinkorswim, on the other hand, is similar to the downloaded platform and enables you to modify charts, evaluate positions, and much more.

Regardless of whatever app you use, TD Ameritrade’s mobile experience includes all of the tools you need to manage your money on the move. The applications are a robust and dynamic alternative to the full desktop counterparts. While thinkorswim customers will continue to prefer the desktop version, the TD Ameritrade app may serve as the main trading platform for its consumers.

Pros
  • Mobile applications that are well designed and more streamlined than desktop counterparts

  • Choice between two apps appeals to users of all backgrounds

  • Charts, updates, and customizations synchronize seamlessly across mobile and desktop platforms.

  • Extensive investment selections and trading functionality

Cons
  • Thinkorswim mobile is the only way to draw on charts.

  • TD Ameritrade doesn’t offer fractional share trading

  • Some utilities are only accessible on one platform, making hybrid users difficult.

TD Ameritrade: Best App for Beginners

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: No fees on stocks, ETFs, or per-leg options trades. Each option contract costs $0.65.
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TD Ameritrade also takes home the prize for best app for novices, with a strong teaching emphasis that allows users to better understand the market and investing. TD Ameritrade offers a variety of educational opportunities to investors of different backgrounds. However, using the app to access TD Ameritrade’s education isn’t as comprehensive as using the website. The instructional component has been reduced in order to emphasize investing on the move rather than learning about investing on the go. Even this condensed educational experience is much more thorough than the competition, since TD Ameritrade draws from one of the most extensive collections of knowledge available.

Clients may get started with TD Ameritrade without committing to the platform by trading using a paper account, which allows investors to learn about the market without risking any money. The thinkorswim mobile app is required for paper trading on mobile. This is a terrific option for prospective traders to try out, but it might be frightening if all you want to do is simple investment. Overall, the mobile experience provides a full sense without being overwhelming, enabling you to choose features that fit your skills. This allows for a more gradual introduction to investing, making TD Ameritrade a good alternative for new investors.

Pros
  • The mobile app was created with user convenience and education in mind.

  • Wide-ranging educational tools to empower investor knowledge

  • A combination of trading platforms and investment opportunities for a wide range of people

  • Extensive learning paths that cover everything from the fundamentals to sophisticated investment methods

Interactive Brokers: Best App for Active Traders

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Maximum of $0.005 per share or 1% of trading value for the Pro platform, $0 for IBKR Lite.

While TD Ameritrade offers the finest self-directed trading app, Interactive Brokers (IBKR) wins our top app for active traders category. Sophisticated traders will feel right at home since the mobile experience incorporates all of the fundamental elements of the desktop Traders Workstation (TWS) capability, which is one of the most comprehensive trading platforms available. Users will also have access to every asset class accessible, including cryptocurrencies for direct coin trading, in addition to unparalleled research, analysis, and strategy tools.

For experienced traders who are already familiar with TWS, the overall mobile experience is typically seamless. The mobile app offers synced functionality, with watchlists set on the app viewable on the desktop offering as well. While the primary elements of the IBKR app retain virtually all of the capability of the desktop version, given the complexity and breadth of the whole TWS platform, there are some fair limits. The desktop version provides a plethora of additional choices for research and trading techniques. Despite these limitations, the Interactive Brokers app stands out as the best alternative for active traders due to the wide selection of assets and markets it provides.

Pros
  • The mobile interface effectively mirrors the essential features of the full desktop version.

  • Screeners for app stocks and option techniques that mirror online offerings

  • Mobile charts are informative, easy to use, and provide valuable indications.

  • Outstanding order execution processing

  • Attractive, low margin interest rates

tastyworks: Best App for Options Traders

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0 for stock transactions, $1 to begin options trades (limit at $10 per leg), and $0 to cancel options trades.

Tastyworks specializes in options trading, with an emphasis on user-friendly tools, education, and seamless design. This unwavering emphasis on options trading—and nothing else—has propelled tastyworks to the top of our list of the best apps for options traders. The process is designed with options order management in mind, resulting in an efficient and rapid trading experience. The mobile app supports the same order types, asset classes, and quotation streaming as the desktop version.

While tastyworks’ option process optimization sets it apart in this area, it does have some noteworthy mobile limitations, such as a lack of news, research, and sketching capabilities. Graphs on mobile devices cannot also be rotated horizontally, which is the platform’s largest limitation. Simply said, tastyworks is an excellent broker for options traders, and the vast majority of those traders will want to trade from their desktop whenever feasible. However, the tastyworks mobile app is solely dedicated to options trading, while other brokerage mobile applications must balance options functionality against other commonly traded asset classes. This implies that tastyworks’ mobile app is more limited in comparison, but it still serves options traders when they are not using the desktop version.

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Pros
  • Mobile user flow is optimized for full options trading

  • Easily edit multi-leg options trades

  • In comparison to the competitors, this product offers an excellent combination of tools and affordability.

  • Full offering of asset classes beyond options

Cons
  • Account opening isn’t supported on mobile devices

  • Price alerts and order notifications aren’t available

  • Heavy option traders will not find the mobile experience to be an adequate desktop alternative.

  • App isn’t optimized for trading anything outside of options

Compare the Best Investment Apps

CompanyFeesAccount MinimumMobile App
Wealthfront0.25% for most accounts, no trading commission or fees for withdrawals, minimums, or transfers.$500Android, iOS
TD AmeritradeFree stock, ETF, and per-leg options trading commissions. $0.65 per options contract.$0Android, iOS
Interactive BrokersMaximum $0.005per share for Pro platform up to 1% of trade value, $0 for IBKR Lite$0Android, iOS
tastyworks$0.00 stock trades, starting at $1.00 to open options trades $0.00 to close$0Android, iOS

How to Pick a Broker That’s Right for You

The Evolution of Investing Apps

Because of the fast progress of technology, investors today have more market information, transparency, and investing possibilities than ever before. This technical change was first more noticeable in desktop trading sessions. However, as more investors choose to utilize mobile devices, brokers have prioritized enhancing these experiences as well. As a consequence, in terms of functionality, simplicity of use, and synchronization, many app and desktop experiences are extremely near to parity. The provision of the same investing features across all trading platforms is quickly becoming industry standard.

However, more skilled investors and active market participants, such as traders, are unlikely to feel totally comfortable transitioning to mobile-only experiences. There are physical limits to mobile screen size that will irritate chart lovers, and many of the more robust features and tools on trading platforms are often absent or watered down on mobile versions. Heavy traders, in particular, appreciate the greater degree of personalization available exclusively on a desktop platform. However, for most investors, the decision between mobile and desktop investing platform versions is now primarily a question of personal taste. Investors who want to purchase and hold or trade on the side throughout the year may now do it exclusively on mobile applications without losing out on anything if they never use their broker’s desktop platform. The market’s rapid transition from trading by phone to trading by computer to trading by smartphone has been genuinely astounding.

Desktop vs. Mobile Experiences

Because of the enhanced trading experience they give, desktop trading platforms continue to have a large client base. However, with the rise of app-only retail investors, brokers can no longer concentrate only on the desktop experience. Mobile-first and mobile-only brokerages already exist, and traditional brokers must build their desktop and mobile interfaces at the same time to remain up.

Many brokerages have modified their product strategy to concentrate on offering a uniform experience across numerous devices in order to accomplish this. This implies that regardless of platform, you can generally find comparable procedures and crucial tools. This comes with a trader-specific caveat, since many desktop systems designed for aggressive traders must sacrifice much more when shifting to mobile than brokerages with platforms designed for regular investors.

However, as smartphone technology has advanced, the amount of this feature reduction has diminished, and more brokers are aligning and synchronizing important elements like as analysis, research, screening tools, money movement, and charting across both mobile and desktop processes. Complex trading methods that were previously confined for desktop experiences, such as multi-leg options trades and dependent orders, have lately been permitted on apps as well.

What are the advantages of using an investing app to trade stocks?

The main benefit of utilizing an investing app to trade stocks is convenience. Investing applications have taken advantage of fast mobile technology improvements to make investing and trading stocks simpler than ever. You probably have your mobile device with you all the time, enabling you to respond to market changes and monitor your assets in situations where it wasn’t previously practicable. The ease of use of mobile trading has also increased market accessibility for individuals of diverse backgrounds, interests, and experience levels. A trading terminal with four displays is no longer required. Increased broker competition and innovation in the form of new applications and platforms have decreased access barriers such as cost and education. With a supercomputer in your pocket, you can access real-time market data while on the road and trade appropriately.

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What are the disadvantages of using an investing app to trade stocks?

While investing apps are gaining feature parity with desktop counterparts, there are still significant capability gaps that affect specific kinds of investors. The gaps vary depending on the investing platform and user preferences, but you may anticipate certain product changes in terms of charting and analytical capabilities between desktop and mobile trading experiences. Some investment applications also exclude asset categories or market exchanges accessible in the desktop version. Another downside of app-based trading is the limited screen size of mobile devices in comparison to full computer displays. These characteristics mostly influence active traders, although they may be detrimental to any investor depending on their tastes and trading techniques.

Another concern often linked to mobile investment applications is the gamification of finance and overtrading. Having ongoing access to your portfolio throughout the day, and potentially being prompted to look at it by badges and alerts, might cause an investor to overreact to day-to-day market noise. Active traders, of course, thrive on market volatility, but long-term investors are often harmed when they respond on short-term market movements. Gamification is a similar problem in which certain investing applications are intended to encourage everyday activity by providing in-app incentives and recognition. Again, if you want to be an active investor, this is excellent, but if that is not your objective, it is a disadvantage. This is why Robinhood was not one of our top choices. While it has an indisputably beautiful platform, there are also questions about paying for order flow and gamification, which undermine some of the overall good that Robinhood has done in attracting new investors to start trading.

Is there any other advice you’d offer someone who is considering using a stock trading app?

App-based trading puts financial markets right at your fingertips, no matter where you are. It is vital to determine your objectives, interests, and investment plan before contemplating investing using a mobile app. Knowing your own investing experience and educational possibilities may also help you choose the best trading platform for you. It is also critical to examine the broker as a whole, not simply the mobile app. A beautiful app, for example, cannot compensate for the effect of higher-than-average fees and poor execution.

As you compare various applications, you may discover that some platforms provide paper-based accounts that allow you to explore without exposing your own funds. Testing out other app-based investing options may also provide you with additional knowledge, allowing you to fully compare and contrast aspects that fit your tastes. All of these variables might help you decide which app is best for you.

What’s the difference between finance apps and Investing apps?

This review will concentrate on investment applications rather than financial apps. Investing apps enable you to purchase and sell assets and, in practice, are the applications given by brokerages to trade in your account. There is a broader universe of financial applications available, and some brokerages include finance app functionalities in their investing apps (i.e. external account syncing with financial analysis on your total holdings).The main difference between a financial app and a stock app is that you cannot trade stocks or assets via them, even if you can link your brokerage accounts to the app. Investment applications, on the other hand, allow you to study investments, monitor positions, and make new orders without leaving the app. Finance applications are often limited to displaying your brokerage account balance as part of your overall financial picture. Budgeting apps are among the most popular financial apps, and we examine them independently from our investing app evaluations.

Methodology

Investopedia is committed to delivering honest, detailed evaluations and ratings of online brokers to investors. Our ratings are the result of months of reviewing all areas of an online broker’s platform, such as user experience, trade execution quality, products accessible on its platforms, pricing and fees, security, mobile experience, and customer support. We created a grading scale based on our criteria, gathering thousands of data points to include into our star-scoring system.

Read our full methodology.

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