Written by: Jing Pan

Fact Checked by: Jenny Potter

Last Updated: November 17, 2022

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Best investment apps of 2022

Our top picks

The recent explosion in the popularity of investment apps over the years means investors have a lot more quality choices than ever before.

That means choosing a platform will depend more on your own particular needs, including your goals, timeline, investment preferences and more.

Some platforms are designed for beginners, while others are geared toward experienced traders looking for advanced research and financial tools. And some are designed for trading specific assets, like cryptocurrency or real estate.

Here we break down the best investing apps in 2022 for each major category, so you can easily find the right one for your strategy.

Best for beginners: Acorns

4.5

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0
Fees: $3 personal or $5 family monthly subscription
Assets: Managed portfolio of ETFs (including up to 5% in a Bitcoin-linked ETF)
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash management, custodial
Robo-advisor

Why we like it:

For new investors who just want to put their money to work, it’s hard to beat Acorns. With an intuitive, smart design and no deposit minimums, the platform is clearly focused on reducing barriers to entry.

Acorns is known for its round-up feature, which rounds up the day-to-day purchases you make with your credit or debit card to the nearest dollar and invests those excess dimes.

You just have to choose the premade portfolio that aligns with your background, risk preferences and goals. The portfolios are invested exclusively in ETFs, with the option to include up to 5% of your portfolio in a Bitcoin-linked ETF.

Since the platform is primarily a robo-advisor, individual stock trading and other investment strategies aren’t supported.

Users can also benefit from Acorns’ round-up model in the form of receiving cash back with more than 450 in-app partners.

The app offers a checking account with no minimums and fee-free ATM access at more than 55,000 locations. And the Learn section of the platform empowers investors with videos, articles and tips to grow their investment knowledge.

Two subscription models are available. The Personal subscription costs $3 per month and comes with investing and banking functionality paired with a few bonus features, such as finding a side hustle through a partnership with the job board ZipRecruiter. The Family monthly subscription costs $5 per month and includes all the Personal tier perks plus early investment accounts for kids.

Acorns is a great fit for investors entering the market and looking to learn the basics while using an automated, passive portfolio solution. That said, Acorns lacks more sophisticated robo-advisor features such as tax-loss harvesting, financial tools and goal planning components. Investors looking for more in-depth options will likely find suitable options elsewhere.

Pros

Pros

  • Simple user interface and intuitive design
  • Round-up model makes it easy to invest your spare change
  • Auto-invests your money into ETFs
Cons

Cons

  • Individual stock trading is not available

Best for low cost: Fidelity

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0
Fees: $0 for stocks and ETFs. Options and mutual funds carry additional costs
Assets: Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash management, margin, trust, custodial, education
Robo-advisor option with Fidelity Go account

Why we like it:

Fidelity is one of the most recognized names in the industry, thanks to a robust trading experience with surprisingly low fees.

The platform shines as a full-service broker, offering a wide range of investable assets in a user-friendly, streamlined package.

Investors can open just about any type of account and choose from stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and options trading. Of note, however, forex and futures trading are missing from Fidelity’s lineup. 

The broker offers commission-free stock and ETF trading, with thousands to choose from. Options trading is in line with industry standards, costing $0.65 per contract. Broker-assisted trading fees are higher than average at $32.95, however, so it’s best to utilize the online experience to trade.

An inexpensive robo-advisor service, Fidelity Go, is also available for investors seeking an automated, passive approach.

Fidelity offers a wealth of educational material — including news and research insights — on a range of topics, helping everyone from beginners to advanced traders learn the nuances of sophisticated investing strategies. Numerous trading tools, calculators and charts empower investors with everything they need to pursue their plans.

The combination of available assets to trade, research, financial tools, customer support and solid user experience impress at the low price point.

Pros

Pros

  • Low costs
  • Various account types and investments to choose from
  • Excellent educational materials, research and tools
Cons

Cons

  • Broker-assisted trading fees are higher than average

Best for education: TD Ameritrade

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0
Fees: $0 for stocks and ETFs. Options and mutual funds additional cost
Assets: Stocks, bonds, ETFs, options
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash management, margin, trust, custodial, education

Why we like it:

If you’re eager to expand your horizons, TD Ameritrade provides an unrivaled catalog of educational content that caters to investors of all experience levels.

It’s also a well-rounded platform overall, boasting an extensive range of trading tools, asset options and account choices as well as handy user support.

The education section of the mobile experience is easily searchable, providing users with relevant and impactful material in just a few screens. The quality of the content is outstanding, whether you prefer long-form articles, podcasts, videos, tutorials or webinars.

The Immersive Curriculum area of the portal is one of the most comprehensive educational experiences out there, covering everything from executing trading strategies to concepts like learning fundamental analysis.

Investors also have access to financial calculators and goal-planning tools that help ensure they’re on track when pursuing their preferred investing approach.

The client support center is outstanding as well. Investors will find consistent, quick responses whether you reach out by phone, email or chat.

While a few features are missing, such as direct crypto access, you’d be hard pressed to find another platform that provides such a deep archive paired with a rich suite of tools.

Pros

Pros

  • Extensive catalog of multimedia educational content
  • Easy access to calculators and goal planning tools
  • Responsive client support center
Cons

Cons

  • Can't trade futures or complex options

Best for sophisticated investors: Interactive Brokers

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0
Fees: $0 for stocks and ETFs on Lite platform. $0.0005 to $0.0035 per share on Pro. Other assets have additional charges.
Assets: Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash management, margin, trust, custodial, education
Robo-advisor offered

Why we like it:

Interactive Brokers shines as a powerful trading platform empowering sophisticated traders with all the tools needed to pursue their investment strategy. It provides excellent trade execution functionality for a user base that often relies on frequent trading.

The Interactive Brokers app comes in two main versions: Lite and Pro. Interactive Brokers Lite is geared toward investors not as concerned with getting the most precise order routing execution, where Pro is built for large order quantities and features a pricing menu that reduces with volume.

In addition, Interactive Brokers offers a downloadable version, the Trader Workstation, and a robo-advisor, Interactive Advisors.

Users can trade practically any asset in practically any kind of account while leveraging some of the most powerful charting, research, analysis and calculating tools available in the industry. Backtesting capabilities are provided so investors can fine-tune the nuances of their trading strategies before going live in the market.

The sheer volume of features can make the experience overwhelming for beginners. Educational material and support options are relatively limited as well. 

That said, Interactive Brokers is clearly designed for sophisticated or professional traders that rely on an expansive range of trading tools and order execution quality to pursue their strategy.

Pros

Pros

  • Backtesting capabilities
  • Users can trade practically any asset type
  • Powerful charting, research and analysis included
Cons

Cons

  • Number of features can be overwhelming for beginners
  • Educational material is limited

Best for user experience: E*Trade

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0
Fees: $0 for stocks and ETFs. Options, bonds and mutual funds additional cost
Assets: Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, bonds, futures
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash management, margin, custodial, education
Robo-advisor option

Why we like it:

E*Trade provides a deep feature set in a smart, intuitive package. Whether you prefer to trade on desktop, website or either of the two mobile apps, E*Trade prioritizes a smooth, intuitive flow without sacrificing the ability to make complex trades quickly.

It’s a hard balance to find, but E*Trade excels in this area.

The platform pairs its dynamic user experience with a diverse collection of trading amenities, research content, analysis, charting functionality and investment options, designed to meet investors of every level and trading disposition.

The experience can be tailored to an individual’s experience level, as both passive investors using ETFs for long-term investing and active traders will feel equally at home.

Users can also choose from a robo-advisor management option, Core Portfolios.

The educational section has been refreshed with up to date content, containing a wide range of material that is easy to navigate.

That said, some features you might expect from a sophisticated trading platform, like direct cryptocurrency exposure and international exchange trading, are not offered by E*Trade.

Pros

Pros

  • Intuitive user experience that can be tailored to your investing level
  • Large education section that is easy to navigate
  • Option for robo-advisor
Cons

Cons

  • No cryptocurrency exposure or international exchange trading

Best robo-advisor for goal planning: Wealthfront

4.5

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $1 for cash accounts, $500 for investment accounts
Fees: 0.25% annually for investment accounts
Assets: Portfolios built with ETFs, crypto funds, stocks (for accounts $100K+)
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash management, custodial, education

Why we like it:

Wealthfront stands out in the robo-advisor space for its features that allow you to identify your financial objective and make a plan to get there. Plus, it has a wide range of customizable, automated portfolio solutions. 

In addition to tailored portfolios, Wealthfront offers more pre-built portfolio varieties than many robo-advisors. The Classic portfolio is a low-cost index fund that includes a globally diversified portfolio. Their Socially Responsible portfolio is designed around equity, diversity and sustainability. 

Investors can also choose to allocate up to 10% of their portfolio to cryptocurrency. 

One of the unique features of the platform is automated, daily tax-loss harvesting implemented through Wealthfront’s proprietary algorithm. Portfolio rebalancing is automatic when ETF weighting strays too far from the original allocation.

Wealthfront offers many ways to set and keep track of financial goals directly from your dashboard. Users can choose a goal such as retirement, a large purchase or buying a home. Interactive sliders, suggested deposit amounts and guided portfolio risk levels all come together to bring the goal planning feature to life. 

You can also link external financial accounts to the platform so you have a more holistic sense of your progress to ensure you’re on track.

Pros

Pros

  • Set and track your financial goals from your dashboard
  • Connect outside accounts for a holistic view of your investments
  • Simple features to select a portfolio with ability to customise
Cons

Cons

  • No human financial advisors

Best robo-advisor for beginners: Betterment

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $0
Fees: Digital 0.25%, Premium 0.4%, additional ETF costs
Assets: Portfolio built with stock and bond ETFs, cryptocurrencies
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash, trust

Why we like it:

Betterment is a natural fit for all users who want an automated portfolio thanks to its low fees and intuitive setup process.

The platform’s clear focus on user-friendliness ensures your self-guided onboarding is completely straightforward. By sharing some of your personal financial details, investment background and goals, Betterment recommends a portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance and timeline. 

Your money is invested in ETFs, as the platform follows a passive investment strategy intended to match market returns, adjusted for your risk preferences.

Automated guidance is included in all versions of the platform, such as providing recommendations on funding levels needed in certain accounts to reach your financial destination.

Your portfolio is automatically rebalanced once it moves more than 3% away from your initial portfolio allocation, helping your investments stay on track. Automated tax-loss harvesting also helps you stay optimized in taxable accounts.

A large educational section covers a range of financial-planning topics and investing best practices, letting you build your knowledge at your own pace. And while Betterment has a robust set of tools and calculators, the platform stands out for its human element as well. 

You can access a certified financial planner with no additional charge on the Premier tier or purchase individual packages to access advisors on the Digital offering. For more service-based questions, support is available over the phone, email and through a chatbot.

Pros

Pros

  • Low fees, easy setup
  • Automated guidance to help you meet your investing goals
  • Large education section on financial planning
Cons

Cons

  • Access to financial planners are limited to Premium account, or through a flat-fee

Best for money management: M1 Finance

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $100 ($500 for retirement accounts)
Fees: No management fees or commissions (miscellaneous fees may apply)
Assets: Portfolios built with stocks and ETFs
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, cash management, trust, custodial

Why we like it:

M1 Finance offers a rare combination of automated portfolio management paired with extensive customization. This feature fits a niche in the industry for users who prefer to have more fine control over their strategy, but don’t quite want to go all-in on managing a portfolio themselves. 

More than 60 pre-built portfolio slices, or “pies”, are available to choose from and can be combined to make up an allocation that aligns with your preferred approach. These pies fall into seven categories:

  • General investing
  • Responsible investing
  • Retirement
  • Income earners
  • Hedge funds
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Other strategies

Where M1 Finance really differentiates itself is its money management product. 

A digital banking options include a checking account and credit card, plus a feature that ensures your money is automatically allocated toward your goals. For example, you can set the Smart Transfer tool to max out annual retirement account contributions and direct excess cash to your taxable account.

Pros

Pros

  • Pre-built portfolios offers lots of investment options
  • Cash management tools help automate your investing goals
Cons

Cons

  • Financial planning and advisory services not available

Best for real estate investing: Fundrise

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $10
Fees: 0.15% annual advisory fees, 0.85% annual management fees for eRIET/eFund
Assets: Real estate through REITs
Accounts: Taxable, retirement, trust

Why we like it:

Don’t have enough cash for a down payment? Not keen to be a landlord? Fundrise is an investment app that lets you easily invest in real estate through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Fundrise offers several real estate portfolios geared toward different investors' needs. These portfolios are called Starter, Long-Term Growth, Balanced and Supplemental Income. The investment requirement varies greatly depending on the tier, beginning at $10 for the Starter Portfolio and reaching $100,000 for the Premier level.

Fundrise provides investor materials like asset reports, letters to our investors, notices of dividends received, and tax document releases directly in the app. You can also dig into your portfolio, exploring performance by year, all-time and time-weighted, plus real-time data.

You can also grow your portfolio from the app, adding funds to your investment anytime.

Fees are on the higher side, though the investment strategy isn’t directly comparable to most competitors. On a related note, real estate investments aren’t as easily accessible (or liquid) as other assets. Fundrise recommends investing for a minimum of five years, and requires you to submit a liquidation request in order to redeem your shares. Something to keep in mind when determining how long you’re comfortable investing your money for.

Pros

Pros

  • App is intuitive and allows you to easy fund investments
  • Access to the real estate market with a low starting investment
Cons

Cons

  • Not for short-term investors

Best for cryptocurrency investing: Coinbase

4

Quick Facts

Account minimum: $2
Fees: 0.5% - 4.5% per transaction
Assets: Cryptocurrency
Accounts: Individual, business, merchant

Why we like it:

Coinbase was an early pioneer in the crypto space and now serves more than 103 million users worldwide. More than 150 different coins are available to trade on the platform, providing one of the most extensive marketplace options in the industry.

The app is user-friendly, so it’s easy to quickly find coins you’re looking to trade and invest in. Educational prompts, though limited, encourage you to learn more about different types of coins and blockchain technology.

The fee structure relies on a variety of factors to determine the amount charged, including transaction fees based on the transaction amount. The platform’s premier experience, Coinbase Pro, follows a more traditional tiered pricing structure depending on how much you have invested.

While it’s easy to get started on Coinbase, crypto continues to be a rapidly growing, volatile industry, still in its early stages.

Pros

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • More than 150 coins available
Cons

Cons

  • Educational prompts are limited

Best investment apps at a glance

App
Account minimum
Fees
Assets
Best for low cost
Fidelity
$0
 $0 for stocks and ETFs
Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options
Best for beginners
$0
$3 personal, $5 family per month
Managed portfolio of ETFs
Best for education
$0
$0 for stocks and ETFs
Stocks, bonds, ETFs, options
For sophisticated investors
Interactive Brokers
$0
$0 for stocks + ETFs on Lite. $0.0005 to $0.0035 per share on Pro
Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds + more
Best user experience
E*Trade
$0
$0 for stocks and ETFs
Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds + more
Robo-advisor for goal planning
Wealthfront
$1 for cash accounts, $500 for investment accounts
0.25% annually
Portfolios built with ETFs
Robo-advisor for beginners
Betterment
$0
Digital 0.25%, Premium 0.4%
Portfolio with stock + bond ETFs, crypto
For money management
M1 Finance
$100 ($500 for retirement accounts)
No management or commission fees
Portfolios with stocks, ETFs
For real estate investing
$10
Annual 0.15% advisory fee, 0.85% management fee
REITs
Best for cryptocurrency investing
Coinbase
$2
0.5% - 4.5%
Cryptocurrency

Your investment app questions, answered

  • What is an investment app?

    +

    Investing apps make it easier to grow your money in the market, without the need to work with a traditional, human advisor. Investing apps are software that you may download on your computer, or through your device's mobile app store, through which you can make an account. Once your information is verified, you can select a type of investment account, add funds and select an investment yourself.

    Each app offers different types of accounts to hold your investments, such as retirement or trusts. Likewise, the investment products vary by app. Some specialize in singular strategies like crypto, while others let you buy, sell and trade as you wish. There are also robo-advisors, which automatically invest your funds based on your financial goals.

    Many investing platforms help guide you in your investments through tools that help you identify goals, risk tolerance or values, then recommend portfolios or products that match.

    Others provide less guidance, but more research, data and tools to help you make investment decisions yourself. Some even offer access to advisors for professional advice, as you make the investments yourself.

    The benefits of investing apps is really the convenience. With software at your fingertips, you can buy, sell and trade almost anywhere.

  • How to use an investing app

    +

    Investing apps leverage innovative technology to provide a streamlined, seamless experience.

    You start by signing up for the service via their website, or by downloading the app via your device’s app store.

    When signing up for an app, you’ll be asked to provide personal information to confirm your identity. This might include your social security number, date of birth and gender. Some may ask to verify your identity by supplying a photo of your government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.

    You’ll also set up two-factor authentication, either with your email address or phone number. This is to protect your account from hacks and identity theft.

    You’ll likely be asked about your financial background, including your annual income, the value of your investable assets. You may also be asked about your life goals, investing objectives and even do a survey to gauge your risk tolerance.

    Once you’ve filled out this preliminary information, you’ll be prompted to link a bank account to your profile so you can make secure deposits and withdrawals.

    Then, from the menu of available options, you can choose an investment that aligns with your goals and start filling up your portfolio in just a few clicks.

  • What assets can you trade on investment apps?

    +

    Whatever asset you might be interested in, you can probably find an investment app that will help you buy it.

    Some platforms specialize on a narrow range of related options, such as various cryptocurrencies. Ever-popular robo-advisors typically invest your money in a low-fee, diversified portfolio of ETFs.

    Full-service brokers provide the most broad-ranging options, with the potential to trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures, forex, crypto and more. More advanced account types, such as margin accounts, are also available for use.

  • Can I invest in crypto using an investment app?

    +

    Crypto is becoming more commonplace on robo-advisor platforms and full-service brokers, with the app Robinhood being one popular example.

    However, not all platforms support digital currency, and even those that do won’t support every coin out there.

    Check each platform’s website to confirm it offers the coins you care about before signing up.

    That said, many specialized crypto services, such as Coinbase, provide a long menu of available coins to choose from.

  • Can you have multiple investment apps?

    +

    There’s no limit on how many investment apps you can use.

    And given the growing, expansive range of investment offerings and niches, there’s a chance multiple investment apps may be needed to fulfill your portfolio vision.

    You may decide to test out a variety of options to ensure you find one or more platforms that align with your needs.

    However, it can be challenging to efficiently manage your investing strategy with multiple apps, so typically fewer apps are better than many.

  • Are investing apps safe?

    +

    Most popular investing platforms provide robust security features to keep your personal information and data secure. Check for features like two-factor authentication, encryption to help keep your data, your investments and your identity secure. It is also worth noting if the company is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

    The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) also provides coverage for investors in the form of returning client assets (up to $500,000, or $250,000 for cash) in the event a member brokerage firm fails.

    Of course, investing apps do not protect you from normal investment risk, including risk of loss. Educational material on investing platforms can help to ensure you understand the risk involved with the market and your particular choice

Methodology

Product rankings are determined by the Moneywise editorial team and are based on factors and features that everyday users care about most. We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. The apps featured in this article were independently selected, but please be aware that some products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

Moneywise rates products and services on a sale of 1 to 5 stars, where 5 stars is the best rating possible. Ratings are rounded up to the nearest 0.5 of a star. 

Our rating system is based on the factors that mean the most to the everyday user. These factors include:

  • Account minimums
  • Account fees
  • Trading costs
  • Account types
  • Portfolio and asset types
  • Tools and educational materials
  • Customer support
  • App user experience

We collect data from providers' websites, by using the services and watching demonstrations as required. The data is analyzed and the result is a star rating. Each factor is weighted depending on the category in which the product is being evaluated, in order to ensure it meets the needs of different users like beginners or advanced users.

Our goal is to provide an independent review, and give you the information you need to make a decision on which service is best for you.

About the author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an avid advocate of investing for passive income. Despite the ups and downs he’s been through with the markets, Jing believes that you can generate a steadily increasing income stream by investing in high quality companies.

He wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Toronto. In his spare time, Jing plays basketball, the violin and the ukulele.

Disclaimer

The content provided on MoneyWise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.