11 best investment apps in February 2023

11 best investment apps in February 2023

11 best investment apps in February 2023
Best investment apps

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Looking for the best investing apps to get your financial life back on track? A solid finance app can handle routine financial tasks, shuffle money into investment accounts, and track spending. But the best investment apps can also let you quickly trade stocks, follow your account in real time, help you learn about the markets and more. Because they can do so much, investment apps have become increasingly popular.

Here are some of the top apps for getting your finances organized and invested. All of these apps are great for beginners, and they make it easy for those just starting to invest or looking to play a stock-picking game for fun.

Here are the best investment apps in February 2023:

  • Betterment – Best app for automated investing

  • Invstr – Best app for education

  • Acorns – Best app for saving

  • Wealthbase – Best app for trading games and contests

  • Wealthfront – Best app for portfolio management

  • Fidelity Investments – Best app for managing money all-in-one

  • Robinhood – Best app for active trading

  • Charles Schwab – Best app for beginners

  • Ellevest – Best app for socially responsible investing

  • Public – Best app for learning about companies

  • Fundrise – Best app for direct investment in real estate

A closer look at the top investment apps in February 2023

Betterment – Best app for automated investing

Betterment is one of the largest and most popular robo-advisors, and for good reason. The app provides professionally managed portfolios using a selection of ETFs that’s calibrated against your own risk tolerance and when you need the money. Betterment can create socially responsible portfolios focusing on climate change or social impact.

Minimum balance required: $0 for digital service; $100,000 for premium service

Fees: Management fee of 0.25 – 0.40 percent of assets annually

Why we like it:

  • If you’re willing to stomach a bit more risk, the app can find you investments with a potentially higher return.

  • If you need a safer portfolio, Betterment can do that, too.

  • A robust (and free) cash management account.

  • You can set up Betterment and then kick back while the pros do the rest of the work.

  • Betterment charges a much smaller price than you’d pay for a traditional financial advisor.

  • The app lets you set goals to invest for, such as a safety net or retirement, and there’s no account minimum.

Who is it best for?: You like having a professionally managed portfolio for a low cost, along with a cash management account.

Invstr – Best app for education

Invstr is what you get when you mix learning, real-life investing and community into an app that’s designed to give beginning investors a way to get into stocks, especially if you like games. The app combines a fantasy stock game, where you can assist in managing a virtual portfolio, with access to investors’ thoughts on stocks and other investments.

Minimum balance required: $0

Fees: $0, $3.99 for Invstr Pro. Can trade stocks, crypto and ETFs commission-free with a $5 minimum investment.

Why we like it:

  • The fantasy game gives you $1 million in virtual money, and you can use the app’s social network and news feed to source ideas. The month’s top performers win real cash, too.

  • If you want to turn some of those fantasy picks into real-life stakes, you can buy fractional shares and whole shares commission-free in the app.

  • The app will even give new users $30 worth of Bitcoin when they open and fund an account with $100. Invstr has also started offering commission-free trading in cryptocurrencies.

Who is it best for?: You want to learn from an investing community, hear why they like certain stocks and play a fun fantasy game.

Acorns – Best app for saving

Acorns remains one of the most popular of the new breed of savings apps, because of how easy it is to use. You really don’t have to pay much attention once you’ve set it up.

Minimum balance required: $0 for savings account

Fees: $3 or $5 per month depending on the service tier

Why we like it:

  • Link a debit or credit card to your account, and Acorns will round up the total on purchases to the next dollar and invest that difference into one of a few ETF portfolios.

  • The cost is a modest $3 per month for Acorns Personal, which includes the investment account, an individual retirement account (IRA), a metal debit card and more. You’ll be able to open one of three IRA versions: the traditional, Roth or a SEP, and can roll over an existing 401(k) or IRA.

  • This tier offers an FDIC-protected checking account, too, with no additional fees, fee-free access to thousands of ATMs and early access to direct deposits.

  • Acorns chooses your portfolio based on the targeted time until your retirement (calculated as age 59 ½), becoming more conservative as you near that age – something to consider when choosing the app.

  • For a total of $5 per month, you can add Acorns Family, which includes the features of the first tier as well as investment accounts for children.

Who is it best for?: You like getting automatic investments while you’re spending without worrying about it. You like retirement investing without the hassle.

Wealthbase – Best app for trading games and contests

Wealthbase is a top player in the world of stock market games, and it may be the most user-friendly investing app out there for having fun and picking stocks. You can set up games with friends to last up to 15 days or even just until the end of the day.

Minimum balance required: $0

Fees: $0 up to 5 players. $20 game fee up to 1,000 players, plus five cents per player per day.

Why we like it:

  • The app marries social media with stock picking. You’ll see a feed of stocks your friends are picking, with daily updates of who’s winning, and you can engage in a little friendly “trash talk.”

  • The app runs very smoothly — no delays to load, no hiccups. Even if you’re not a huge stock-picker, you’ll have fun here. And you can trade crypto in the simulation as well.

Who is it best for?: You like picking stocks and playing games in a social environment with friends and colleagues.

Wealthfront – Best app for portfolio management

Wealthfront is one of the largest independent robo-advisors. For a small fee, it can manage your money, whether that’s in a taxable account or an IRA.

Minimum balance required: $500

Fees: Management fee of 0.25 percent of assets annually

Why we like it:

  • Wealthfront uses hundreds of ETFs to construct your portfolio and takes into account how much risk you want to take as well as when you’ll need the money.

  • As you deposit money, Wealthfront will add it to your portfolio and keep your account balanced and on target toward your goal.

  • Wealthfront’s management fee runs 0.25 percent annually, which is the industry standard but also an eminently reasonable price for the features on offer, including tax-loss harvesting, which effectively covers the annual fee for most clients, says the company.

  • Wealthfront also brings an attractive cash management account (even if you don’t sign up for the investment account), and you’ll receive early access to direct-deposited paychecks and a debit card – all without a monthly fee.

Who is it best for?: All you’ll need to do is add money to the account and Wealthfront manages your portfolio to help you reach your goal. The cash management account is cool, too.

Fidelity Investments – Best app for managing money all-in-one

If you wanted to live your whole financial life on Fidelity Investments, you could do it with little issue – and have the top integrated experience. At Fidelity, you can get an investment account, a checking account, an IRA, a business retirement account such as a SEP IRA, bill paying, a savings account, a robo-advisor account and even credit card accounts, to cover the big ones.

Minimum balance required: $0

Fees: $0 for stock/ETF trades, $0.65 per contract on options.

Why we like it:

  • You can get all your finances in order with one company on one dashboard, and never feel like you’re missing a thing.

  • You’ll get solid research on ETFs and mutual funds, tons of articles on budgeting, investing and personal finance and webinars, too.

  • If you never need help, you’ll be connected with a courteous and helpful Fidelity rep in short order.

Who is it best for?: You want all your financial accounts under one roof, and you enjoy being treated like a valued customer.

Robinhood – Best app for active trading

Robinhood is the app to have if you like a smooth interface and avoiding trading commissions, whether you’re trading stocks, ETFs, options or cryptocurrency. You’ll get to do it all with no commission and using a slick mobile interface that makes smooth work of it all.

Minimum balance required: $0

Fees: No commissions for stock, ETF, options or crypto trades

Why we like it:

  • You can access a stock’s page from a search bar at the top of the screen and then pull up charts and vital statistics.

  • The stripped-down app is simple to navigate, and after a while you’ll move intuitively from screen to screen as you trade the market.

  • A feed that aggregates stories from news and investing sites, so that you keep on top of what’s going on.

  • After you’ve decided what you want to trade and enter the number of shares to buy or sell, swipe up and the order is on its way.

Who is it best for?: You like trading stocks (as well as ETFs, options and cryptocurrency) for free and having a simple way to quickly do so.

Charles Schwab – Best app for beginners

Charles Schwab does well for experts, but it’s also a great app for beginners, because of all the resources it provides. Schwab provides tons of research and education, helping newer investors get up to speed on topics such as investing and personal finance.

Minimum balance required: $0

Fees: $0

Why we like it:

  • Schwab also offers fractional shares, meaning you can invest all your money into your stocks, rather than have idle investment money sitting around.

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Schwab is also great for mutual fund investors, with more than 4,000 no-transaction-fee funds, one of the largest selections in the industry.

  • You’ll also get highly responsive customer service that gets your questions answered quickly.

  • As if that weren’t enough, you’ll get one of the best sign-on promotions around, with a cash bonus that starts with just a $25,000 deposit.

Who is it best for?: You like investing with a friendly company that starts off in the right direction and then helps you along the way.

Ellevest – Best app for socially responsible investing

Ellevest is one of the top-ranked robo-advisors, but it’s also the top app for socially responsible investing. Ellevest’s mission is to help women investors make smart investing decisions (though, of course, anyone can become a client).

Minimum balance required: $0

Fees: $5 or $9 a month (or discounted annually)

Why we like it:

  • Ellevest creates investment portfolios and plans that take into account the differing circumstances of women, such as lower lifetime earnings.

  • Ellevest allows clients to build portfolios that incorporate up to 53 percent of their portfolio in ESG or social impact funds – what it calls its Impact portfolio. These funds invest in companies that have more women leaders, support affordable housing and community services, and have higher standards for sustainability.

  • The Impact portfolio costs only modestly more than Ellevest’s low-cost core portfolio, just $13-$19 per year on average for every $10,000 invested.

Who is it best for?: You want a socially responsible portfolio that can offer attractive returns and also makes it easy for you to invest.

Public – Best app for learning about companies

Public is a trading app geared toward helping new investors learn about business and investing. You can trade stocks, ETFs and cryptocurrency, but what sets Public apart from others is the educational content, including “town hall” meetings with business leaders and its podcast Public Live. Users will also have access to a social feed to discuss stock picks with other investors.

Minimum balance required: $0

Fees: Commission-free stock and ETF trades; $5 inactivity semiannual fee for accounts less than $20

Why we like it:

  • The app offers no-commission stock and ETF trades and also allows you to trade cryptocurrency, though with a commission.

  • Public makes education a key part of its platform.

  • Public does not accept payment for order flow, the somewhat controversial practice of directing trades to certain exchanges for payment.

Who is it best for?: You’re a beginning investor who is looking to learn about businesses and discuss investments with others.

Fundrise – Best app for direct investment in real estate

The Fundrise app allows individual investors to invest in commercial real estate with virtually any amount of money. The app provides information about potential deals, and then you can select the ones you’d like to participate in. But if you can bring more money to the table, you can get access to even less accessible deals. The app even allows you to reinvest your dividends.

Minimum balance required: $10

Fees: 0.15 percent annual advisory fee, annual asset management fee of up to 0.85 percent; 1.85 percent for Innovation fund.

Why we like it:

  • You can invest in commercial real estate without the huge financial commitments usually involved in doing so.

  • Attractive track record on deals sourced through the platform, with an 80 percent total return over seven years for the average investor.

  • You can get access to deals that aren’t generally available or otherwise accessible to less well-heeled investors.

Who is it best for?: You’re looking to invest in real estate using deals sourced and managed by an expert without having to make massive financial commitments.

What to consider when choosing an investment app

When it comes to investment apps, think about how you’ll plan to use them. Do you need an educational tool or are you looking to actually trade and invest? Some apps charge fees that can eat into your investment returns, while others have very low costs and offer commission-free trading. If you’re interested in trading things like cryptocurrencies, you’ll want to make sure that’s a feature offered by the app or broker – not all brokers offer crypto trading.

Deciding how much money to invest

The good news for investors starting out today is that it requires very little money to get started. Fees are so low or even non-existent that you can start with virtually any amount of money. In fact, what you start with matters much less than your saving and investing discipline over time.

The key to achieving ongoing investing success is to add money regularly over time. So you’ll want to add cash to the account and keep investing in your positions regularly over time in order to build wealth.

How much you actually invest depends on your own financial situation and needs. And today’s low-fee brokerages and apps leave more money in your pocket to actually invest.

Investment apps FAQ:

Can you use investment apps to trade stocks?

Some investment apps allow you to trade stocks and other securities, but that depends specifically on the kind of app and what it’s designed to do:

  • For example, brokerage apps such as Robinhood and Fidelity Investments allow you to buy stocks and ETFs.

  • Other apps such as those from robo-advisors Wealthfront and Betterment will buy stock funds and create a portfolio on your behalf.

  • Still other apps such as Wealthbase and Invstr allow you to learn about investing or play investing games.

So the ability to buy stocks with an app depends on the app itself.

Is the money I use to trade on investment apps insured?

If you’re investing money in the market, then it’s not insured and you could lose some or all of your investment. Market-based assets include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options and cryptocurrency. These kinds of assets fluctuate over time, meaning you could make a lot of money or lose a lot, depending on how the market swings.

If you need a highly safe asset, you’ll need to turn to guaranteed accounts such as a traditional savings account, high-yield savings account or CD at an FDIC-insured bank. These accounts insure your money up to $250,000 per account type per bank.

Are some apps better for investing than others?

Some apps provide special features or focus more on education, while others focus largely on executing trades. For example, Wealthbase is a great app for playing stock market games, but it won’t execute trades for you. In contrast, Wealthfront and Betterment will both invest your money for you, so you don’t have to do much but deposit money in your account.

And those apps differ from brokerage apps such as Robinhood, Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments, where you need to know what you want to buy. These brokers also allow you to buy different securities, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more. Robinhood and Invstr allow you to buy cryptocurrency commission-free, too.

So the investment apps can provide a variety of different features and benefits, and you’ll need to select which ones meet your needs.

What assets can you trade on investing apps?

If the app is an online broker such as Robinhood, Fidelity Investments or Charles Schwab, you’ll be able to trade securities such as stocks, bonds, ETFs and options. Other apps that are more educational in nature, don’t typically offer the ability to trade (with real money) at all, such as Wealthbase.

Are investing apps good for active trading?

Some investing apps are popular with active traders, but you’ll want to pick one that offers trading in the type of assets you’re interested in. Active traders might want to turn to Robinhood, Fidelity or Charles Schwab for their low-cost trading in everything from stocks and ETFs to cryptocurrencies (at Robinhood) and options.

Editorial Disclaimer: All investors are advised to conduct their own independent research into investment strategies before making an investment decision. In addition, investors are advised that past investment product performance is no guarantee of future price appreciation.