Best Stock Trading App 2021

Choosing the best stock trading app can be tricky, particularly for those who are new to investing in stocks. It’s important to find a mobile app that meets your personal investment needs. Each trading app should be rated in terms of trading cost, user interface, and trading tools. This article includes a detailed breakdown of the best trading apps in 2021, along with what to consider when choosing the best app for you.

Best Apps for Stock Trading 2021

Here are the top 21 best stock trading apps in terms of cost, user interface, and trading tools.

  • eToro
  • Interactive Brokers
  • Plus500
  • Betterment
  • Firstrade
  • Robinhood
  • Vanguard
  • IG
  • Trading 212
  • e*Trade
  • Charles Schwab
  • M1 Finance
  • Moomoo
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Fidelity
  • Ally Invest
  • Webull
  • Tradestation
  • Acorns
  • Stash
  • SoFi

eToro

eToro is the overall best stock trading app for beginners with its strong crowdsourcing community. It offers a well-designed mobile trading app that is easy to navigate.

Beginner traders have access to a wide range of trading strategies to crowdsource and test out. This includes cryptocurrencies, forex, and CFDs.

Paper trading is available for beginners, with up to $100,000 of virtual money available.

On the downside, eToro’s research tools are limited on the app. Withdrawal and inactivity fees are also charged.

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etoro logo
PROS
CONS
Beginner-friendly 
Limited research
Well-designed user interface
High withdrawal and inactivity fees
Strong crowdsourcing community
Paper trading offered
Free stock trading

Plus500

Plus500 is a great choice for traders outside the US. The mobile app gives beginners an easy way to test out stocks, forex, and CFDs trading.

Plus500 holds one of the highest ratings for CFD trading apps worldwide. It boasts offers over 2000 instruments available. This includes cryptocurrencies, forex pairs, options, and more.

The platform isn’t available to US traders though. The app also has a notable lack of educational and research tools. New traders will have to find additional resources elsewhere.

Plus500 Comparison
PROS
CONS
Wide range of market instruments
Not available in the US
Fast order execution
Lack of educational and research tools
Good Pricing
User-friendly platform

Betterment

Betterment is another good option for beginners and retirement investors. Its trading app is user-friendly and full of educational resources.

The app offers goal-oriented features and tools that are ideal for retirement investors. 

On the negative side, customers on the free planning function are frequently asked to set up a premium account. 

Betterment Logo
PROS
CONS
Variety of portfolio options and customization
Users nudged to set up a premium account
No account minimum 
Low trading fees
Fractional shares offered
Goal-based tools

Firstrade

If you’re after top-quality research tools then Firstrade has you covered. It provides a versatile trading app with a great search function for beginners. 

The app features a range of tools, including detailed trading data and ideas. There is a selection of educational tools available to branch out on strategies.

On the other hand, there is no two-step login feature and price alerts are unfortunately not included. There is also an account minimum of $500 which is pricey compared to other brokers.

Firstrade Logo
PROS
CONS
Zero-fee stock trading
No two-step login feature
Intuitive app design
Minimum account balance
Large selection of research 
Educational tools available 

Robinhood

Robinhood offers a bare-bone trading app. This broker is best for beginners on a budget who are looking for a zero-fee platform. 

Robinhood’s strength is in its simplicity. This bare-bone mobile platform is easy to navigate, which is perfect for new investors. Although there are no educational offerings, so any resources will have to be found elsewhere.

The platform offers very little market research and trading tools, which is a downside for more experienced traders.

Robinhood Logo
PROS
CONS
Commission-free trades on stocks
No educational offerings
No account minimum
Customer support
Simple interface
Access to popular cryptocurrencies

Vanguard

Vanguard’s old-school style won’t appeal to experienced active traders, but this trading app is ideal for beginners. Vanguard is best for retirement savers and buy-and-hold investors.

Its app is simple to navigate and allows beginner investors to easily grow to reach their investment goals. 

With only 10 technical indicator tools available on its charting software, it’s not ideal for active trading.

Vanguard logo
PROS
CONS
Strong market research available
Small selection of charting tools
Simple platform and mobile app 
Large selection of inexpensive ETFs and mutual funds

IG

While IG is a great forex trading platform, this is a pricey option for stock trading. There are high fees for stock CFDs and a high minimum account deposit.

Beginner traders will love IG’s user-friendly mobile app platform though. At the same time, experienced traders have access to a great range of charting tools and indicators.

Another downside is that IG’s account opening process tends to be slow and complicated.

IG Logo
PROS
CONS
Trusted broker with a long-standing reputation
Slow account opening
Great research and educational tools
High stock CFD fees
User-friendly app platform
High minimum account deposit

Trading 212

Trading 212 provides a powerful and robust platform that caters to traders at any skill level. 

The platform offers a fully customizable interface, with user-friendly charting tools. Some key features are price alerts, latest market news, and watchlists.

There are plenty of useful educational resources for traders to familiarize themselves with the tools.

Trading 212 is unfortunately not available in the US, so US traders will have to look elsewhere.  

Trading 212 Logo
PROS
CONS
Zero-fee stock trading
Not available for US traders
Seamless app experience
Premium charting tools
Low minimum deposit

E*TRADE

As one of the most well-known discount brokers, E*trade offers users two top-quality mobile apps to choose from.

The Power E*TRADE platform has a sleek design with a diverse range of trading tools. The app features are easy to use, along with a fast execution speed for more accuracy. 

If you're after a more passive investment approach, then you should look elsewhere. Less frequent traders will face higher commission fees.

e-trade logo
PROS
CONS
Sleek app design
Limited educational resources 
Zero-free stock trades
Higher per-contract options fees for less frequent traders
Paper trading offered
Wide range of research and analysis tools
Prebuilt Portfolio for a fast track to markets

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab offers retirement investors high-quality research and technical tools. Its mobile app comes with detailed trading strategies and data.

The firm provides very efficient customer support through the app in case you need assistance.

On the downside, the Charles Schwab trading app only allows for trading on US and Canadian markets. If you’re an active trader then this isn’t the best choice for you.

Charles Schwab Logo
PROS
CONS
Excellent customer service
Not ideal for active trading
Extensive research tools offered
Only available for US and Canadian markets
Free stock trading offered
High fees for mutual funds

M1 Finance

M1 Finance acts as an automated portfolio builder. The app platform allows clients to create a portfolio suited to their specific trading strategies.

There are no management or trading fees. Plus, you aren’t charged for any deposits or withdrawals.

M1 is not an advisory service, so there are no human advisors available for assistance. Another major downside is the inefficient order execution which means it isn’t ideal for active trading.

M1  Finance logo
PROS
CONS
Fractional shares available
Not great order execution time
No trading management fees
Limited help for financial goal-setting
Flexible portfolio building
Useful dashboard features

Moomoo

Moomoo offers zero-commission stock trading with no inactivity fees for US markets. 

Opening an account is seamless and efficient. The mobile app features many high-quality analytical tools.

On the negative side, Moomoo only allows you to deposit and withdraw via bank transfers. Customer support is also poor as email is the only support option.

MooMoo Logo
PROS
CONS
Free stock trading
Only bank transfers for deposits and withdrawals
Fast and easy account opening
Limited customer support
Quality analytical tools

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is another great trading app choice for beginner investors. This broker stands out with its in-depth research and trading tools. 

It provides both beginner and advanced mobile apps that cater to different investment styles. The apps feature great educational resources to help new investors to get started.

Free paper trading is also offered for beginners, as well as 24/7 hands-on customer service.

TD Ameritrade Logo
PROS
CONS
Low-cost accounts
Some trading tools differ between mobile app platforms
Beginner and advanced mobile apps
Extensive educational resources for beginners
24/7 reliable customer service
Paper trading offered

Fidelity

As a leading full-service broker, Fidelity offers several managed investment options for beginners to choose from. This includes personalized portfolios and advisory services.

The brokerage provides a premium trading platform as well as research. It boasts commission-free trades of stock

While the app doesn’t offer many advanced charting features, this may be best for beginners who are looking for a basic platform. 

Fidelity charges high broker-assisted fees though, which is a downside.

Fidelity Investments Logo
PROS
CONS
Support for a wide range of account types
Limited advanced charting options
Extensive research and education resources
High broker-assistance fees
User-friendly mobile app interface
Zero-fee stock trading
Excellent trading tools

Ally Invest

Ally Invest aims at both beginner and experienced traders in the US. The app offers top-tier self-directed portfolio management along with multiple technical tools. 

If you're wanting to trade smaller amounts though then Ally Invest isn't the broker for you. You’ll also have to look elsewhere if you’re interested in more advanced charting tools.

Ally Invest Logo
PROS
CONS
Pair bank accounts with your investments in one app
Mobile app research somewhat limited
Simple and easy management
Limited trading tools
Zero-fee trading
Wide range of educational resources
Automated portfolio management option

Webull

Webull's selling point is its mobile app platform. This app offers better platform flexibility than many of its competing brokers. Beginners will find the platform’s unique community-building features helpful for learning.

Webull’s downside is in its lack of research and educational tools though. The app's trading tools are better suited for active traders than for beginners.

This broker is best for experienced active traders dealing in stocks through a mobile app.

WeBull Logo
PROS
CONS
Zero-fee stock trading
Limited securities available
Strong crowdsourcing community
Limited customer service 
Versatile mobile platform
Paper trading available 

Tradestation

TradeStation’s app platform is an excellent choice for experienced and professional traders. It focuses on market data and trade executions.

A downside for beginners is the steep learning curve. TradeStation's mobile app requires you to learn a new programming language. 

They provide a range of resources to help you through, and improving your skills will come as an advantage at the end of the day. 

Tradestation Logo
PROS
CONS
Seamless mobile app
Steep learning curve 
Good charting and analysis tools
Only available to US citizens
Ideal for active trading
Wide range of educational resources

Acorns

Acorns is a great stepping-stone for beginner investors looking to build healthy financial habits. Its optional Round-Up app feature automatically tracks your purchases and invests your spare change.

While micro-saving is its main appeal, Acorn is also ideal for retirement and custodial investment accounts.

A downside is the app’s high management fees. It also charges commission fees for some trades, which is surprising for discount online brokers these days.

Acorns Logo
PROS
CONS
Easy-to-use app 
Expensive management and trade fees
No account minimum
Small investment portfolio 
Robo-advisor ideal for beginners 
Micro-savings feature
Good educational resources

Stash

Stash is another great stock training app for beginners to look into. 

The app allows you to build a custom portfolio with value-based investment options. Stash has designed a beginner-orientated mobile platform to simplify the process of selecting stocks.

While there is no account minimum, management fees are higher than competing platforms. There is also a lack of human customer service and assistance.

PROS
CONS
No account minimum
Lack of investment management and human guidance
Valued-based offerings
High management fees
Educational resources
Fractional shares offered
Automated round-up investing feature

SoFi

SoFi, short for Social Finance, offers a convenient mobile app to buy and sell stocks on. Fractional shares are also available for beginners starting on a budget. 

The app offers commission-free trades and fractional shares in an account with a low $1 minimum balance requirement.

SoFi Active Investing is aimed at beginner investors, so experienced traders looking for in-depth stock analysis should look elsewhere.

SoFi Investing Logo
PROS
CONS
User-friendly platform
No tools for in-depth stock analysis
Fractional shares available
Low account minimum and fees

Best For Beginners

eToro is the overall best trading app for beginners. The app has a strong social community in which crowdsourcing is promoted. Beginners have access to a broad range of trading strategies to copy.

The eToro app is well-designed and easy to navigate. Paper trading is also available for beginners to test out up to $100,000 of virtual money. 

Best Free App

eToro is once again recommended as the best free app for traders on a budget. Opening a trading account is free of charge. Plus, traders get to enjoy zero trading commissions. 

Unlike completing app platforms, eToro lets you build a diverse stock portfolio without charging any non-trading management fees.

How To Choose a Stock Trading App?

Safety

Safety is one of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a stock trading app. The best mobile app platform should have strong security measures in place to protect your account. Features such as two-factor authentication should be a necessity.

Fees & Commissions

Different stock brokers charge a range of different trading and non-trading fees. If you’re a retail investor who is just getting started then it’s best to choose a trading app with little or no fees. 

It's important to know what commission rates your broker charges in advance. Annual fees are better than per-transaction fees. This avoids a broker earning commissions through unnecessary transactions.

What Type Of a Trader Are You (Long-Term vs Active Intraday Traders)

Active traders buy and hold securities for only seconds or minutes. This involves taking advantage of brief fluctuations in the price of an asset. 

Long-term investing is more passive. This involves buying and holding securities for months or years. 

Different brokers might give incentives for different styles of trading. You should make sure that a broker’s commission fees suit your trading style.

Regulation

Regulated brokers will be registered with at least one financial regulating body in their country. Each broker needs to follow the rules and regulations set out by these bodies.

Assets and Stocks Available

There is a range of investment products available for you to put your money into. The most common assets are stocks, bonds, and options. You need to choose a brokerage that offers the investment products you're interested in.

Device Compatibility

A brokerage app should be compatible with all iOS and Android devices. You should be able to manage all investments and trades via your mobile phone. The software should be versatile enough for you to easily track your buy and sell orders.

Desktop vs Mobile (what to expect – user experience)

With the availability of mobiles on-hand, the way people interact with their trading accounts has changed. This has forced brokers to offer mobile apps along with traditional desktop platforms.

Brokers nowadays aim to give users the same experience across both desktop and mobile platforms. This includes sharing watch lists and market data. Some apps manage to offer complex portfolio analysis and advanced charting tools as well. 

Account Minimums

Most online brokers have no minimum deposit requirements for opening a brokerage account. Others might require you to deposit several thousand dollars before you can start trading.

Order Types

Trading stocks in a fast-moving market can result in profit loss. It’s important to understand order types beyond the traditional buy and sell orders. 

  • Market Order – A market order is a trade order to buy or sell stocks at the market’s current price. You don’t control the amount paid for the stock trade because the market sets the price.
  • Limit Order – A limit order is a trade order to buy or sell stocks at a set price.
  • Stop Order – A stop order, or stop-loss order, is a trade order that sells a stock once it reaches a specific price. This is designed to limit an investor’s loss.
  • Stop-Limit Order – A stock-limit order is a conditional order that requires placing two prices. This includes a stop price and a limit price. The order becomes a limit order when the stock reaches the stop price.
  • Trailing Stop Order – A trailing stop order is based on the percentage change in market price, not a specific target price. Stock will be sold when it increases by a set percentage.

Account Types

There are several different types of brokerage accounts. The most common types are cash accounts, retirement accounts, and margin accounts. 

Make sure you are aware of which accounts your broker offers. Different brokerages might have investment minimums for different types of accounts.

Order Execution

Order execution is when your broker carries out a buy or sell order on your behalf. All your orders are sent via your trading app to be executed. It's best to have a broker with fast order execution, especially if you’re interested in active trading.

Trading Tools & Research 

User-friendly mobile app tools make successful trading a lot easier for beginners. A good stock broker will offer its customers a wide selection of trading tools to make the most of every trade. 

It’s important that your trading app also provides strong market research. Thorough research is often the key to successful trading. If you're a beginner, you'll need advice on how to analyze data and diversify your portfolios.

A good trading app will have a well-designed and intuitive trading platform. Some key features to look for are watch lists, charting tools, price alerts, and news.

Customer Service

It’s important to have easy access to customer support on your trading app. This especially applies to beginners. 

Make sure that you can quickly get in touch with service staff if you require urgent advice. A good brokerage platform should offer a strong tech support team.

User Interface

A good trading app should be able to present complex concepts simply. It should be easy to navigate. Often the apps with the best user interface choose to focus on a few key features. 

Different trading styles will have different needs from their trading app. It’s best to look for an app that offers features suited to your particular trading needs. 

How do brokerage accounts work?

The first step is to sign up for a brokerage account through your preferred broker from the list above. Most brokers don’t have a minimum deposit requirement to open an account. 

It’s often easiest to open an account online on a desktop platform. You usually have the option to open an account directly through the app on your Smartphone though.

As soon as your account is open, you can download the app and log in. You should be able to get started with buying and selling straight away.

Using an Stock Trading Mobile App

A stock trading app is a great way to easily access your trading accounts on-the-go. A  mobile app offers a mini version of a desktop trading platform. 

Traders use stock trading apps to buy and sell stocks, as well as various other investment products. 

Who needs a brokerage account?

Anyone who wants to invest or trade on a stock exchange needs to have a brokerage account. This is how you place buy and sell orders. Brokerage accounts allow you to manage your investments on-the-go. 

How much do stock brokers cost?

Stock brokers charge a range of different trading and non-trading fees. If you’re a beginner investor then it’s best to choose a trading app with little or no fees. Nowadays it’s easy to find a broker that offers free stock trading and low deposit and withdrawal charges.

How much do I need to start trading stocks?

With the right broker, it’s possible to start trading with as little as $10. Trading commission fees for stocks have dropped to zero at nearly all brokers in recent years. This means you can buy and sell stocks for free. 

Can You Start With $100?

Most brokerages nowadays don't need a minimum deposit amount to open an account. Thanks to zero-fee brokers, it’s easy to start investing with only $100.

To get started properly though, you should aim to diversify your portfolio. This means buying multiple stocks in different positions.

How much can I make trading stocks?

Most traders generally trade stocks as a way to generate extra income. Only a select few investors will generate enough profit for trading to become a full-time career. This requires extremely hands-on active trading.

Are Trading Apps Safe?

Online trading is safe as long as you use a regulated online stock broker and manage your risk. Trading stocks online is inherently risky, so you should never invest more money than you are willing to lose. As a beginner, it’s best to start with a small amount of money.