In the highly competitive domain of American online stockbrokers, possessing a functional mobile application is an absolute prerequisite. This holds true for both traditional, full-service brokerages like Fidelity and Charles Schwab, as well as emerging trendsetters like Robinhood and Webull. The most exceptional trading applications are the ones that cater to your specific requirements and preferences within this crowded market.
To truly excel in the realm of stock market applications, certain criteria must be met: ease of use, impeccable design, a comprehensive online trading experience, and, importantly, the provision of commission-free stock and ETF trades.
For our 2023 Annual Review, we conducted thorough testing of 24 leading stock trading apps offered by 17 brokers. Each app was meticulously evaluated across more than 25 different features. To earn high ratings, a broker had to deliver an exceptional stock trading experience across multiple usability categories. The testing process involved utilizing an iPhone 12 Pro running Apple iOS.
Top stock trading apps compared
As smartphones match the capabilities of average laptops, traders naturally expect their stock trading apps to offer the same features as desktop trading platforms. However, the integration of these tools plays a crucial role.
Standard features like real-time streaming quotes, charting with multiple indicators, and synchronized watch lists are commonly available, while some fundamental offerings may be absent. For instance, fewer than 50% of stock apps provide basic stock alerts.
The finest mobile apps efficiently incorporate a plethora of tools without overly complicating the process of finding what you need. Whether it’s through swiping, tapping a menu, or selecting from a drop-down list, the best apps make navigation effortless. Take a look below to see how our top five contenders compare.
Best Stock Trading Apps for 2023 Lists
- TD Ameritrade – Best App Overall
- Interactive Brokers – Best Specialty Apps
- *TRADE – Best Stock App for Traders
- Fidelity – Best Novice App
- Merrill Edge – Best App for Banking and Research
To find the best app for you, you might consider factors like:
- Ease of use: You’d want an app that is user-friendly and easy to navigate, just like a simple video game that you can easily play without getting confused.
- Research and information: Some apps provide lots of information and research about different stocks, similar to reading articles or watching videos about a topic you’re interested in.
- Security: It’s important to choose an app that takes your privacy and security seriously, just like how you would protect your personal belongings and keep them in a safe place.
- Fees and costs: Different apps might charge fees for buying and selling stocks, similar to how some stores may have higher prices than others for the same item.
- Customer support: It can be helpful to have an app that offers good customer support in case you have any questions or need assistance, similar to having a teacher or tutor who can help you with your homework.
So, the “best” app to buy and trade stocks really depends on your personal preferences and needs. It’s like finding the perfect pair of shoes – what works best for someone else might not be the best fit for you. It’s important to explore different options, read reviews, and consider what features are most important to you before deciding on the best app for your stock trading journey.
What are the pros and cons of using a trading app?
Using a trading app, like an app on your phone or tablet, has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:
- Convenience: One of the biggest advantages of using a trading app is convenience. You can access the app from anywhere with an internet connection, whether you’re at home, at school, or even on vacation. It’s like having a virtual stock market in your pocket that you can use whenever you want.
- Accessibility: Trading apps make it easier for more people to participate in the stock market. You don’t need to be physically present on a trading floor or have a lot of money to start investing. With an app, you can start with a small amount of money and gradually grow your investments.
- Real-time information: Trading apps provide you with up-to-date information about the stock market. You can see real-time stock prices, news updates, and charts that help you make informed decisions. It’s like having a constant stream of news and updates about your favorite sports team.
- Learning opportunities: Many trading apps offer educational resources and tools that can help you learn about investing. You can access tutorials, articles, and even virtual trading simulations to practice your skills before investing real money. It’s like having a teacher who guides you through the process of investing.
- Technical issues: Like any digital platform, trading apps can experience technical issues or glitches. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re in the middle of making a trade. It’s like playing a video game that suddenly freezes or crashes.
- Limited features: While trading apps offer convenience, they may have fewer features compared to desktop trading platforms. Some advanced tools and research options may not be available on the app. It’s like using a simplified version of a computer program with fewer options.
- Potential distractions: Using a trading app on your phone or tablet can be distracting. It’s easy to get caught up in constantly checking stock prices or making impulsive decisions. It’s important to stay focused and make thoughtful investment choices.
- Security risks: Just like with any online activity, there is a risk of security breaches or scams. It’s crucial to choose a reputable trading app and take measures to protect your personal and financial information.