11 best investment apps in 2021

Fernando Figueiredo

It’s super easy these days to trade in stocks and other financial products using nothing but your phone – and it can be affordable, too. If we thinkg about the GameStop case from early 2021, when huge numbers of Reddit users caused stock in the video game retailer to soar, we can get an idea of how important these apps are becoming in the investing scene.

In this article you can find some of the most popular investment apps out there at the moment, so you can get a feel for which one might be best suited to you. Also, you'll see how Wise can help you to manage your finances in different currencies.

What is an investing app, though?

Before we get going, here’s just a brief definition for you. Investing apps let you do mobile trading, which means making real buys and sells on the stock market using nothing but your phone. People can do this on a very small scale, with little money at stake, or potentially with more to play for.

But as well as trading on the volatile stock market, plenty of apps offer something much more stable: a way to plan your longer-term finances. There are many apps out there for people who want to slowly build up their assets over time, so that they can save for a house, or enjoy a comfortable retirement.

You probably don’t want to be firing up that sort of app every ten minutes to distract you from work – it’s more of a long-term sort of thing. But, just like with so much in life, mobile technology has helped make something that was once complex and opaque seem as easy as a few taps.

Best investment apps in 2021

Choosing an investment app might not be as quick as you can imagine - there are plenty of options out there and you should have a read on them before jumping into decisions. Make sure that you read through their products before you know which one suits you better - things like types of investment available, account type, will surely be important to your decision. The following list will tell you about some of the best investment apps currently in the market:

1. Robinhood: free stock-trading app

One of the most famous names in stock trading apps, Robinhood is used by active investors – people who want to buy and sell stocks and other financial products for themselves. If you want long-term financial planning, you might consider other options.

Robinhood can be an attractive offer because the fees really are minimal. There’s 0% commission on trading and a $0 account minimum too. There are regulatory trading fees and fees on extra products, though¹ ².

2. Acorns: investment app for beginners

Acorns is specifically designed for newcomers to the world of investment, and encourages investing tiny amounts – little acorns – that have the potential to grow into mighty oaks.

It provides plenty of advice and guides you through the process with ease, and you can earn bonus investments when you shop at certain stores as well. It’ll cost from $1 to $5 a month.³ ⁴

3. TD Ameritrade: bank-run investment app

With the heft of TD Bank behind it – now partnering with Schwab – TD Ameritrade offers a wide range of trading possibilities for both newbies and old hands.

It actually has two apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile and thinkorswim, which is also the name of its highly regarded trading platform. Thinkorswim is the one for you if you love diving deep into detail.⁵ Many aspects of TD Ameritrade are fee-free, but broker assistance generally costs $25, and there are a few other fees too including $0.65 per contract fee if you’re doing options trading.⁶

4. Betterment: ethical investment app

Betterment specialises in socially responsible investing (SRI), which is great if you want to keep tabs on where your money is actually being made. It’s what’s known as a robo-advisor, which means your portfolio is automatically managed based on how much risk you can tolerate.

With various other financial products on offer including checking accounts, Betterment is well worth a look if you’re looking ahead to the long term and concerns like retirement. Two plans – Digital and Premium – respectively charge 0.25% and 0.40% of the amount invested.⁷

5. Fidelity: stock-trading app for beginners

Fidelity is another app with no commission fees, and it’s also strong on helping you learn and plan for your future. It has plenty of options available but also aims to keep things simple for you via its app.

With both stock trading and long-term financial plans on offer, Fidelity is a strong contender if you want to sample a range of investment products.⁸ With a lot of different products on offer, the fees depend on what you’re looking at. For Fidelity Go, a robo-advisor, there’s no advisory fee for balances under $10,000; or a fee of $3 per month or 0.35% per year for higher amounts.⁹

6. SoFi: easy-to-use investment app

SoFi Invest is another all-in-one investment service whose app is well thought of as easy to use. It offers a wide range of products from active investing to retirement accounts or participation in IPOs; and the wider SoFi company also does loans of various sorts.

Like Robinhood, there’s no commission, and the account minimum is $1.¹⁰ There are some fees, of course¹¹, but SoFi is easy to use, and it gives you the option to either manage your portfolio actively, or leave it in the hands of its automated service.

7. Wealthfront: automated investment app

Wealthfront keeps its eyes on the long term, encouraging long-term savings growth for people looking ahead. It only offers an automated portfolio, but it can still be carefully personalized based on your chosen risk level.

It charges an annual advisory fee of 0.25% and claims that an average client should make 3x that back through tax savings. A handy feature called Autopilot aims to put your uninvested cash to work automatically, to further maximize the amount you’re earning interest on.¹²

8. E-Trade: detailed investment app

ETrade has a wide range of options from stock trading to long-term portfolios, and it also has a lot of information in its online library that can teach you about investment in detail.¹³

There’s also a lot of research you can use to help guide your investment choices, so if attention to detail is your thing then it could be worth a look. Stocks and options trading are commission-free, although options contracts cost $0.65 and futures contracts $1.50. For personalized investments expect to pay a percentage annual advisory fee.¹⁴

9. M1 Finance: free investment app

M1 is another app that really is low on fees: there’s a lot that you can do for free on there. It’s not one for the avid speculators out there, but rather for people looking to build money in the longer term.

As with some other apps, its investment offering is automated, but you can customize it in detail before getting started. And as you’d expect, M1 offers various other products that you can pay for if you want. It even integrates with a debit card so you can spend money with it too.¹⁵

10. Vanguard / Beacon: newly launching investment app

Vanguard is a very big name in finance and asset management, and its app has drawn on its considerable expertise for investors. But it’s now launching a new app called Beacon, featuring a new design meant to rival the newer kids on the block.¹⁶

Will it deliver? And what will it cost? We’ll have to wait and see, but if you trust Vanguard in general, it’s bound to be worth a look.

11. Ellevest: investment app aimed at women

If you’re frustrated by male dominance in the world of finance – and that would be fair enough – then Ellevest could be worth your time.

Its investment algorithm considers things like career breaks, pay gaps, and even women’s greater life expectancy, when it handles your money. Factoring all that in, it comes up with a diverse portfolio tailored to your needs. You don’t have to be a woman to use Ellevest, though – it’s open to all.¹⁷

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Learn more about Wise


1.Robinhood About
2.Robinhood Fee Schedule
4.Acorns.com Pricing
5.TD Ameritrade.com Mobile Trading Apps
6.TD Ameritrade Pricing (checked 26 March)
7.Betterment.com Investing
9.Fidelity Go (checked 26 March)
10.SoFi.com Invest
11.SoFi.com Invest
12.Wealthfront.com Investing
13.E*TRADE Knowledge
14.E*TRADE Pricing (checked 26 March)
15.M1 Finance
16.Vanguard.com Mobile Apps
17.Ellevest.com Investing

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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