12 Best Investment Apps To Get Started With Any Budget

Mobile investing has been on the rise for several years, with over 150 million users in 2021, up more than threefold from 2016.

With today's best investment apps, your finances are just a few taps away on your mobile device. But the array of options and features can be overwhelming, especially for novice investors.

What's the difference between investment products and retirement accounts? Do you need a checking account or an individual brokerage account? Can you transfer money automatically? What about management fees?

Our list of the best investment apps will help you determine which mobile app fits your financial needs.

Best Investment Apps at a Glance

If you're short on time, here are a few of the best options in popular categories.

  • M1 Finance – One of the most flexible investing apps that allows you to create unique portfolios and purchase fractional shares.
  • Robinhood – Perhaps the most well-known trading app that allows free stock trades.
  • Betterment – One of the original robo-advisors for those who like a hands-off approach to investing.
  • Fundrise – An app that makes passive real estate investing accessible to the average investor.

1. Empower Personal Dashboard: Best Investment Tracking App

Formerly called Personal Capital, Empower Personal Dashboard's, $100,000 minimum investment may be too high for some, but everyone can use their free tools to track external investment accounts and net worth.

For those interested in a more human-centric financial management, Empower Personal Dashboard offers access to a team of financial advisors or even your advisor if you invest $200,000 or more. You pay more for this feature than a robo-advisor, starting at 0.89% and going down to 0.49% for larger accounts.

Track Your Investments With Empower Personal Dashboard

Available on Android and iOS.

2. M1 Finance: Best All-in-One App

M1 Finance is one of the best investing apps available. It's like a flexible blend of Betterment (robo-advisor) and Robinhood (free stock trading), with its unique spin on asset allocation.

While most robo-advisors lock you into their pre-selected mix of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), M1 Finance offers different features. They offer “pies,” which allow you to create your own portfolio allocations. For instance, if you are a big fan of Tesla, you can make a pie that includes 25% Tesla stock and 75% of whatever else (diversified ETFs, other individual stocks, etc.)

You can also take a hands-off approach, invest in pre-defined expert pies, and still benefit from automatic rebalancing plus free stock and ETF trades.

Another unique feature of M1 Finance is M1 Borrow, which allows you to borrow up to 35% of your taxable account value at a low-interest rate (3.5-5.0% as of this writing). The good news is you can use these funds for anything – buying a car, fixing your house, etc. Since the value of your investment account secures the loan, there is no set timeline for repayment.

This feature is a great option to use in an emergency or source of short-term borrowing when you need it.

Start Investing With M1 Finance

Available on Android and iOS.

3. Stash: Best for Fractional Share Investing

Stash personal finance app is a great place to start investing as a beginner. You can trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptos to diversify your portfolio. Stash features offer fractional share options, financial planning tools, banking, and a Stock-Back card. While they charge a monthly fee, Stash also offers all features you need to manage your finances.

After signing up, Stash will ask a few questions about your financial goals so they can offer helpful financial tips. Next, you'll pick a plan, add money to your account, and start. You can use their bank account as an automated investing platform to invest in fractional shares, create a budget, and track your spending. You'll even earn stock rewards for your everyday spending.

Start Investing With Stash

Available on Android and iOS.

4. Fundrise: Best for Real Estate Investing

Fundrise offers passive real estate investing to the masses and boasts 300,000 active investors and over $160 million in dividends since the app's inception. The app offers access to commercial real estate equity and debt deals through managed funds called eREITs. In exchange for performing asset management, Fundrise charges a 1% annual fee, which isn't exactly low cost.

This is a solid option for those interested in real estate investing but without much money to get started, plus the app is easy to use and offers a good user experience.

Start Investing With Fundrise

Available on Android and iOS.

5. Acorns: Best for Automatic Savings

Acorns was one of the original investing apps and is still around and thriving.

One of Acorn's main benefits is its “round-up” feature, which gives you an easy way to save money regardless of your financial situation. Acorns links to your bank account and sweeps spare change from each purchase into your Acorns account. So if you spend $3.30 on your morning coffee, it automatically rounds up to $4.00 and deposits $0.70 in your savings account.

While it's not the same as learning how to make extra money, it's close to finding free money in your couch cushions! By working behind the scenes to add to your savings, you don't even have to think about it, which often helps people save more with less effort.

Once the money is in your account, investing with Acorns is pretty simple too. Depending on your age, investing goals, and time horizon, the app recommends one of five different portfolios. While the lack of control over your investments may be a con for some, it's a great app to help you save and invest long term if you prefer a hands-off approach.

Start Investing With Acorns

Available on Android and iOS.

6. SoFi Invest: Best for New Investors

SoFi started in the student loan space and has branched out in recent years to offer many other financial planning products. Aimed at younger investors, SoFi Active Investing offers free trades of stocks and ETFs and the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, all with a $0 account minimum. It also provides the ability to trade fractional shares.

More advanced traders will probably want access to more options, such as mutual funds, bonds, and more. However, with low account minimums and even access to free financial counseling, SoFi is a solid option for new investors.

Start Investing With SoFi Invest

Available on Android and iOS.

7. Robinhood: Best for Free Stock Trading

Robinhood is a free app that lets you trade stocks, mutual funds, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrency. Their claim to fame is no commissions or fees and no account minimum. If you want to start building your portfolio, Robinhood is one of the simplest and cheapest platforms.

The app is streamlined and easy to use, allowing you to quickly and easily trade stocks and track your portfolio. Robinhood is a solid choice if your investing strategy centers around commission-free trading.

Start Investing With Robinhood

Available on Android and iOS.

8. Betterment: Best Robo-Advisor

Betterment was one of the first and most successful Robo-advisors, providing tools and questionnaires to help you find the right mix of investments for your age and risk tolerance.

Betterment will ask for your income and investing goals when signing up. From there, it will help you craft a balanced portfolio to achieve your goals. Its management fee of 0.25%. For 0.4%, you can get access to a human financial advisor.

Another useful feature in the app is automatic tax-loss harvesting, which helps you buy and sell to achieve paper losses you can use to offset gains on your taxes.

Start Investing With Betterment

Available on Android and iOS.

9. Ally Invest: Best Full-Featured Broker

If you are an active trader, you may need more features than many simple investing apps can offer. Ally Invest offers $0 commissions on eligible U.S. securities, a $0 minimum balance, a large selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds, and very low-fee options trading, making it one of the best investment apps.

For the experienced investor, Ally also offers Forex trading, portfolio rebalancing features, and tons of research and technical indicators not available in some other apps.

One of Ally Invest's standout features compared to traditional brokers is its web-based live trading platform. Instead of downloading software to access the trading platform, you can open it in your web browser from whatever computer you are using.

Start Investing With Ally Invest

Available on Android and iOS.

10. Vanguard: Best for Index Fund Investing

Vanguard is the grandfather of modern investing apps. They introduced low-fee index fund investing way back before it was cool.

While there aren't many bells and whistles (or technically even an app), Vanguard makes it super simple to invest in quality index funds that consistently offer some of the lowest fees.

Start Investing With Vanguard

Available on Android and iOS.

11. Stockpile: Best Investment App for Gifting Stock

Are you looking to give your kids more than toys and clothes for Christmas? The Stockpile app was founded by a CEO who wanted to provide stocks for his nieces and nephews.

With the Stockpile app, you can give a gift card redeemable for stock shares. It also allows you to buy fractional shares. So if you wanted to invest in Amazon but didn't have a few thousand dollars, you could buy a partial share for $100 or $200.

Start Investing With Stockpile

Available on Android and iOS.

12. Webull: Best Free App

Webull is another investment app that allows zero commissions and no deposit minimums to access its trading platform. You can invest in ETFs, mutual funds, and stocks.

As you become more familiar with investing, you can take advantage of their full extended trading hours, in-depth analysis tools, and fully customizable desktop platform.

Start Investing With Webull

Available on Android and iOS.

Final Thoughts

Investment apps allow for a wide array of stock trading apps and investment options out there; it can be confusing or overwhelming to find the best apps. Hopefully, these descriptions will help you choose what is best for you and relieve the stress of investing.

You'll never find the best online stock trading app for you unless you get started. Whether you're starting small and learning how to invest $1,000 and double it or growing your portfolio to $100,000 or more, investing is one of the best ways to build passive income and net worth.

With enough time, the power of compounding will help you build wealth beyond what you thought possible.