Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your investing to the next level, choosing the right stock market investing platform is key. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one is best suited for your needs. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the top 5 stock market investing platforms for beginners. We’ll cover the features, pros, and cons and help you determine which platform is the best fit. Let’s dive in!
Robinhood – Best for Commission-Free Trading
Robinhood has become one of the most popular investing apps, especially among millennial investors. It’s best known for its commission-free trades and easy-to-use mobile app.
Here are some of the key features of Robinhood:
- Commission-free trading – This is the biggest draw of Robinhood. You can trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency without any commissions or fees.
- Intuitive mobile app – Robinhood’s app is beautifully designed and very user-friendly. It’s easy to find the information you need and make trades on the go.
- Fractional shares – You can buy fractional shares for as little as $1. This makes investing more accessible.
- Educational resources – Robinhood offers plenty of articles, videos, and tutorials to help you learn as a beginner.
- Referral bonuses – You can earn free stocks by referring friends and family to Robinhood.
Some downsides to note:
- Limited account types – Robinhood only offers taxable accounts. You can’t open retirement accounts like IRAs.
- Minimal research tools – The research capabilities and charting tools are lacking compared to other brokers.
- Customer service issues – Robinhood has faced some criticism for poor customer service and frequently being unavailable.
Overall, Robinhood is a top choice for beginners who want commission-free trading and an easy-to-use platform. It’s especially good for investors who plan to trade stocks and ETFs frequently.
Webull – Excellent for Research and Charting
With its robust charting tools and research capabilities, Webull is another great investing app for beginners. Some key features:
- Advanced charting – Webull has over 100 technical indicators and drawing tools for analyzing charts. Charts are beautifully designed as well.
- Commission-free trades – Like Robinhood, Webull offers zero-commission trades on stocks, ETFs and options.
- Virtual paper trading – You can practice trading risk-free with a paper trading account.
- Educational resources – Tons of courses, webinars, and videos to boost your investing knowledge.
- Great research tools – Get analyst ratings, earnings estimates, SEC filings, and more to research stocks.
- Mobile focus – Webull’s desktop platform is lacking. The mobile app is far superior.
- Account approval delays – Opening a new account can take 1-2 days as Webull reviews your application.
- Margin trading – Webull encourages the risky practice of margin trading. Could promote bad habits for beginners.
Webull is a great choice for beginners who want an app focused on research, education, and virtual trading. The advanced charting tools make it very popular among technical traders as well.
TD Ameritrade – Excellent for Education
With fantastic education for every level of investor, TD Ameritrade is a wonderful broker for beginners. Here are some standout features:
- Extensive educational offerings – From in-person events to webcasts to videos, TD Ameritrade has an enormous selection of educational resources.
- PaperMoney – Test your skills and try new strategies risk-free with TD Ameritrade’s virtual trading platform.
- Streamlined online courses – TD Ameritrade has structured courses to take you from investing basics to advanced options trading.
- Free retirement planning – They offer free one-on-one retirement planning sessions, even for small account sizes.
- Great trader community – Connect with other traders and copy their strategies if you desire.
Some potential cons for new investors:
- Platform feels outdated – The website and apps don’t have the sleek, modern aesthetics of other brokers.
- Advanced tools can be overwhelming – With its focus on education, TD Ameritrade provides tons of tools that beginners may find confusing.
- Account minimums – You’ll need $2000 to open a brokerage account and $25,000 for margin trading privileges.
TD Ameritrade is ideal for beginners who want an established, trusted broker with unmatched educational resources. The community, virtual trading, and structured learning make it easy to get started.
Fidelity – Offers Excellent Research and Education
Fidelity is one of the largest and most respected brokerages. They offer leading research, education, and trade execution. Some notable features:
- Industry-leading research – Get stock research reports, market analysis, Bloomberg TV, and more from top research firms.
- Robust education center – Fidelity provides many webcasts, videos, articles, and other tools to boost investing knowledge.
- Active trader community – Connect with other traders, use discussion forums, and copy successful portfolios.
- Fractional share trading – You can buy fractional shares commission-free with as little as $1 at Fidelity.
- Excellent trade execution – Fidelity consistently provides fast, reliable trade execution prices.
Some potential drawbacks:
- Dated website design – Like TD Ameritrade, Fidelity’s platform design leaves something to be desired.
- Numerous account options – The many different account offerings can be confusing for new investors.
- Advanced trading platforms – Tools like Active Trader Pro cater more toward active, advanced traders.
Thanks to its leading research, education, and trade execution, Fidelity is a wonderful broker for beginners seeking to learn and boost their investing skills over time.
Public – Best for Beginners Seeking a Modern Platform
As one of the newest players in the game, Public offers a modern investing platform tailored to new investors. Here’s an overview:
- Intuitive, mobile-first design – The Public has a beautiful, easy-to-use iOS and Android app. It’s very user-friendly.
- Community-driven investing – See what stocks people are talking about and invest alongside other members.
- Fractional shares – Invest in slices of stocks and ETFs with any amount of money.
- Themes and trending lists – Discover new investment ideas with their themed lists and trending stocks.
- No account minimum – You can open an account and start investing with any amount of money.
Some potential cons:
- Very limited toolset – The Public has virtually no research tools or charting capabilities.
- No retirement accounts – Only taxable accounts are offered. You can’t open an IRA.
- No options trading – Stock and ETF trading only. No margin trading or options.
Public is a great choice for total beginners who want an easy-to-use, mobile-focused platform. While the toolset is minimal, the community-driven approach is perfect for new investors learning the ropes.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Investing Platform
When selecting a brokerage firm, here are some key factors beginners should consider:
- Account minimums – Many brokers require a minimum deposit to open an account. Make sure the broker fits your starting investment amount.
- Fees and commissions – Controlling costs is crucial for beginners. Compare commission structures and account fees across brokers.
- Educational resources – Look for ample education suitable for your investing knowledge level. This can include articles, videos, live events, and more.
- Virtual trading – Paper trading and simulated accounts allow you to develop skills risk-free. Check if the broker offers these features.
- Mobile app experience – As a beginner, you’ll likely use the mobile app frequently. Ensure it’s easy to navigate with the tools you need.
- Customer service – Look for responsive customer support in case any issues arise. Live chat, phone support, and online ticketing systems can be beneficial.
Doing thorough research is essential in finding the best investing platform for your needs as a beginner. Keep your individual goals and preferences in mind when evaluating each broker.
Key Takeaways: Choosing the Best Investing Platform as a Beginner
Here are some top highlights to remember as you select your brokerage firm:
- Robinhood is best for commission-free trading and easy use, especially for stocks and ETFs. Just beware of the lack of retirement accounts.
- Webull excels for active traders who will take advantage of advanced charting and virtual paper trading.
- TD Ameritrade stands out for its unparalleled range of educational resources and community support.
- Fidelity delivers excellent research, education, and trade execution. Look here for fractional shares too.
- Public is ideal for total novices who want a mobile-first, community investing platform. Just expect minimal tools and research capabilities.
The most important factors when choosing a platform include fees, account minimums, education, virtual trading capabilities, and mobile app experience. Do your due diligence to find the best broker for your investing skill level and goals.
With this guide, you now have a clear overview of the top stock market investing platforms for beginners. The broker you choose is an important investing foundation. So do your research, select the platform that best fits your needs, and start investing more effectively today.