The top 5 investing apps to help newbies, experts and couples build their wealth from anywhere

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Investing apps have grown in popularity in recent years and for good reason: Just about anyone can get access to the stock market with just a few taps on their phone.

For beginners, investing apps also serve as an affordable and accessible way to start building their wealth. A recent survey by Select and Dynata polled 1,006 U.S. adults and found that younger investors are most likely to use investment apps to inform their investment-related decisions.

The good news is there are many options to choose from. To help you find the right app for your needs, Select reviewed over three dozen apps offered by robo-advisors, fintech start-ups, big banks and traditional brokerage firms. We ranked the top five apps with a focus on investor experience level. (See our methodology for more information on how we chose our top picks.)

Newbies may want to start small by micro-investing through an app like Acorns, which invests users’ spare change. Beginner and intermediate investors alike can automate their investing using a robo-advisor app like Betterment, while the more seasoned investors can trade stocks and options with Robinhood.

Our top five picks stand out because they help investors of all stripes — no matter where they are on their investing journey — build wealth on the go. Below, you’ll see our full list of the top-rated investing apps, plus answers to frequently asked questions about investing apps.

Best investing apps

Investing app FAQs

Best app for automated investing

Betterment

On Betterment’s secure site

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For Betterment Digital Investing, $0 minimum balance; Premium Investing requires a $100,000 minimum balance

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For Betterment Digital Investing, 0.25% of your fund balance as an annual account fee; Premium Investing has a 0.40% annual fee

  • Bonus

    Up to one year of free management service with a qualifying deposit within 45 days of signup. Valid only for new individual investment accounts with Betterment LLC

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash

  • Educational resources

    Betterment RetireGuide™ helps users plan for retirement

Pros

  • $0 minimum deposit
  • No trade or transfer fees
  • Good for automated investing
  • Customizes users’ portfolios around their financial goals, timeline and risk tolerance
  • Users can assign specific investing goals (short- and long-term) to each portfolio and invest using different strategies (less and more risk)
  • Quick and easy to set up account
  • Able to sync external retirement accounts to your Betterment retirement goal so all your accounts are in one place
  • Premium plan users get unlimited access to a financial advisor (otherwise, one-time advisor consultations cost a fee ranging from $199 to $299)
  • Advanced features include automatic rebalancing, tax-saving strategies and socially responsible investing
  • Betterment RetireGuide™ helps users plan for retirement

Cons

  • 0.25% annual account fee
  • 0.40% annual account fee for upgraded premium plan
  • Premium plan requires $100,000 minimum balance

Who’s this for? Betterment is a pioneer in the robo-advising space, so it’s likely you’ve heard the name before. It’s a good choice for those who want to be hands-off with their investments, though more advanced investors have the option to customize through flexible portfolios.

The Betterment Portfolio is made up of low-cost, diversified ETFs. Users cannot buy individual stocks or invest in individual funds, so if that’s what you’re looking for, consider another app on this list.

There is no minimum balance required to invest with Betterment, and the annual account fee is a low 0.25% of your fund balance. Investors with a balance of $100,000 can upgrade to the premium plan, which gives you access to real-life financial advisors for an annual fee of 0.40% of your fund balance.

Betterment’s app is available to download for free in both the App Store (for iOS), where it has 4.8/5 stars, and on Google Play (for Android), where is has 4.6/5 stars at the time this article was written.

Best app for micro-investing

Acorns

On Acorn’s secure site

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum required to open an account, $5 minimum to start investing

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Monthly plans include: Personal ($3 per month) and Family ($5 per month)

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Diversified ETFs which include more than 7,000 stocks & bonds

  • Educational resources

Pros

  • $0 minimum deposit to open an account
  • Invests your spare change from everyday purchases
  • Customizes users’ portfolios around their financial goals, timeline and risk tolerance
  • Automatically rebalances portfolio
  • Offers Acorns Sustainable Portfolios for ESG investing
  • Access to educational articles and videos to learn about investing

Cons

  • Monthly fee can be steep if you’re not investing much
  • No bonus offered
  • Investment options are limited

Who’s this for? Acorns is a financial app that gives you access to a robo-advisor, IRAs and even a checking account. It made our list because it’s a good choice for novice investors looking to start small through micro-investing.

Micro-investing simply means you’re investing small amounts of money in the market consistently so that over time your contributions add up. It’s a good strategy for newbies who want to dip their toe into the investing pool before diving all in.

Acorns allows users to micro-invest using the Acorns’ Round-Ups® feature, which takes users’ spare change and puts it into diversified ETFs. Users link their credit or debit card account to their Acorns account, and the app will do a sweep of the accounts when purchases are made to round up the costs to the nearest dollar and then invest the difference.

The spare change collected from your linked cards are set aside until you hit a $5 threshold, at which point is then transferred into your Acorns Invest account. According to Acorns’ website, the average user invests more than $30 per month through the Round-Ups feature.

You can also set up a recurring transfer (daily, weekly or monthly) from your linked bank account to your Acorns investment accounts starting at as little as $5 a month.

The Acorns Invests account is a robo-advisor, which suggests managed portfolios (made up of various ETFs) based on an investor’s risk level. Investors cannot buy or sell individual stocks through Acorns.

Acorns offers two plans:

  1. Personal plan for $3 per month: The Personal plan includes a checking account, investment account and retirement account.
  2. Family plan for $5 per month: The Family plan includes the three accounts that you get with the Personal plan, plus additional investment accounts for your kids.

While the Acorns Round-Ups feature is a great way to get started investing, it’s important to make sure you’re putting away enough each month to justify the fees. At $3 a month, the fee can quickly eat up a big chunk of your returns if you’re only investing a few bucks a month.

Acorn’s app is available to download for free in both the App Store (for iOS), where it has 4.7/5 stars, and on Google Play (for Android), where is has 4.3/5 stars at the time this article was written.

Best app for active investing

Robinhood

On Robinhood’s secure site

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum required to open an account or to start investing

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Commission-free trading; regulatory transaction fees and trading activity fees may apply

  • Bonus

    Robinhood will add 1 share of free stock to your brokerage account when you link your bank account and fulfill the conditions in your promotion (you’ll be able to keep the stock or sell it after 2 trading days)

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, ETFs, options trading, fractional shares, IPOs, plus certain cryptocurrencies through Robinhood Crypto (depending on where you live)

  • Educational resources

Pros

  • $0 minimum deposit to open an account and invest
  • Commission-free trading
  • Free stock welcome bonus
  • Plenty of investment options for active traders
  • Variety of accessible learning tools

Cons

  • No access to tax-advantaged IRAs
  • Fees outside of commissions may apply
  • Users rely on their own knowledge when building their portfolio

Who’s this for? Robinhood was the first on the investing app scene to charge no commission for users to buy and sell stocks, which prompted many other brokerages to eventually follow suit. Like the other apps on this list, Robinhood also has no minimums to open an account and users don’t need to reach a minimum to start investing, either.

Investors can easily make stock, options, ETF and cryptocurrency trades, but it doesn’t offer mutual funds and bonds, so you may need another investing app to better diversify your portfolio. Users will also have to look elsewhere for IRAs as Robinhood does not currently offer tax-advantaged retirement accounts.

Investors can get access to IPO shares through Robinhood, as well as to commission-free fractional shares so they don’t have to buy a entire share if they want in on a pricey, big-name stock.

Robinhood offers investors free rein to completely build their own portfolio, so the platform is arguably best for active stock traders who have done their research and know a bit about how the market works. Newbie traders can get in on the action, but just be sure you’re comfortable with the risks.

Robinhood’s app is available to download for free in both the App Store (for iOS), where it has 4.1/5 stars (with a whopping 3 million-plus reviews), and on Google Play (for Android), where is has 3.8/5 stars at the time this article was written.

Best app for active investing and saving for retirement

Webull

On Webull’s secure site

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum required to open an account or to start investing

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Commission-free trading; regulatory transaction fees and trading activity fees may apply

  • Bonus

    Get 2 free stocks: Your first free stock when you open your Webull brokerage account and another free stock when you direct deposit any amount into your account

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, ETFs, options trading, fractional shares, IPOs, ADRs, plus certain cryptocurrencies through Webull Crypto

  • Educational resources

Pros

  • $0 minimum deposit to open an account and invest
  • Commission-free trading
  • Access to tax-advantaged IRAs
  • Free stock welcome bonus
  • Plenty of investment options for active traders

Cons

  • Fees outside of commissions may apply
  • Users rely on their own knowledge when building their portfolio
  • Limited educational tools

Who’s this for? Similar to Robinhood, Webull offers commission-free trading on stocks, options, ETFs and crypto, with no minimums required. Users also have access to IPO and fractional shares.

While Robinhood and Webull are both great investing options for active traders, only Webull currently offers IRAs (traditional, Roth and rollover) so users can manage their retirement funds along with their stocks all in one place.

Webull offers users a customizable desktop version of its platform if you prefer to trade on a bigger screen and investors have extensive extended trading hours before and after the market closes: 4:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET and 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday.

Webull’s app is available to download for free in both the App Store (for iOS), where it has 4.7/5 stars, and on Google Play (for Android), where is has 4.4/5 stars at the time this article was written.

Best app for couples investing together

Twine

On Twine’s secure site

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Minimum $5 to start investing

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Monthly fee of $0.25 per month for every $500 you invest (or 0.6% annually)

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Diversified ETFs of stocks and corporate, treasury bonds

  • Educational resources

Pros

  • Low minimum to start investing
  • Invests money in diversified ETFs
  • Automatically rebalances your portfolio
  • Educational blog to help you and your partner get started investing

Cons

  • Monthly fee is higher than some other robo-advisors
  • No bonus offered

Who’s this for? Many people’s first experience with investing is for long-term goals like retirement. But there are a number of other short- and mid-term goals that can be easier to achieve if you invest the money rather than leaving it in a savings account. Twine, designed by John Hancock, focuses on helping couples save and invest together for milestones like a down payment on a future home.

With Twine, couples can choose a joint goal (house, large purchase, children or vacation) and identify a monetary target. Each partner then links their Twine investment and savings accounts to a checking account and sets up recurring transfers. As their balances grow, couples can see a combined account interface that includes each partner’s accounts and shows them their joint progress toward their goals.

Twine’s website says that its portfolios are “designed to beat the returns of your savings account while managing your risk.”

The Twine app is available to download for free in the App Store (for iOS), where it has 4.5/5 stars at the time this article was written. The app is not currently available for Android devices.

Investing app FAQs

How much do investing apps cost?

Price is a big factor when choosing an investment app, so it’s crucial you know what you’re paying for. After all, any costs or fees you aren’t aware of can eat away at your investment earnings over time.

Many investment apps are free to download and offer zero-commission trades, which means that investors aren’t charged for the broker executing the trade.

Investing in mutual funds or ETFs, however, will likely require paying management fees or expense ratios.

According to Investopedia, investors should expect a “reasonable” expense ratio for an actively managed portfolio to be between 0.5% to 0.75%. For passive or index funds, the typical ratio is lower at about 0.2% and can be as low as 0.02% or even less in some cases. These are benchmarks that you can use when shopping around for an investment app.

How do investing apps work?

Investing apps are a way to manage your portfolio and grow your wealth from anywhere.

Start by downloading the app onto your smartphone and creating a profile. You can then transfer funds from a linked bank account. Once your account is approved and funded, you can start buying and selling individual stocks, choosing ETFs or relying on a robo-advisor to manage your portfolio.

Investing apps typically offer different vehicles to grow your money, such as taxable brokerage accounts, robo-advisors, IRAs or even 529 college savings accounts.

Are investing apps safe?

Your money is protected in an investing app just as it is at any brokerage firm. If the brokerage goes under, your money is insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The SIPC will cover up to $500,000 in investments.

How to pick the best investing app?

The best investing app for you will depend on your investment style. Do you want one that does the work for you, or would you rather be in control? Do you want a passive portfolio made up of lower risk funds, or would you rather build an active, riskier portfolio consisting of individual stocks?

Those wanting a more active approach to investing may opt for an app like Robinhood (just make sure you’ve done your research beforehand). Meanwhile, those looking to just put their investments on autopilot and forget about them may benefit more from a robo-advisor like Betterment.

Keep in mind that not all apps offer the same investment assets to choose from. For example, Acorns only offers ETFs, so if you want to trade individual stocks, this app wouldn’t be the best fit. Make sure you do your research and understand everything the app offers (and doesn’t offer) before you sign up.

Our methodology

Select analyzed over three dozen apps offered by robo-advisors, fintech start-ups, big banks and traditional brokerage firms. When ranking our top picks, we looked at the apps’ pricing (trading costs, minimums and account fees), mobile features, educational resources, user reviews and ratings. We also took into account the various investment products that each app offers its users.

Each investing app on this list has at least a 4.1 star rating (out of 5) in the App Store (for iOS) or on Google Play (for Android), with a sizable number of user reviews.

Your earnings through an investing app are subject to fluctuations of the market, and they depend on any associated fees, as well as contributions you make to your account. There are no guarantees you will earn a certain rate of return or current investment options will always be available.

To determine the best approach for your specific investment goals, speaking with a reputable fiduciary investment advisor is recommended.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast are investors in Acorns.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.