As featured in the Finances FYI section of the the Seattle Times
By 1st Security Bank
Investing in the market can be one of the most intelligent financial decisions you make, but entry into the world of stocks is often intimidating and overwhelming. Fortunately, brokerages have rolled out the red carpet to retail traders, and getting a piece of your favorite companies has never been easier.
Here is an introduction to different stock trading apps and what makes each unique. With a bit of practice, you’ll be putting your money to work and hopefully bringing back some returns along the way.
Entry-level trading apps
There are a couple of options for beginning traders that will make the early stages of investing easier. Here are some apps to try if you’re entirely new to the stock market:
One of the most creative investment tools out there, Acorns automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference. Instead of single stocks, your spare change is invested in less risky Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
Acorns now offers banking and retirement products, as well. For as little as $3 per month, you can get an Acorns banking card, access to retirement tools like IRAs and bonus investments.
Another all-in-one option, Stash offers banking, savings tools, and even life insurance for as little as $1 per month. Stash allows you to invest in whatever you desire, including fractional shares of expensive stocks.
Stash also offers investment opportunities in ETFs, bonds and commodities, making it one of the most versatile options for beginning traders.
Trading apps for experienced traders
While these apps will allow anyone to join, there are often minimum account balances or other fees that make them impractical for beginners. After you gain some experience, try moving to one of these brokers.
A favorite among pro traders, Fidelity has limited fees and some powerful research tools for its users. Mutual fund and broker-assisted trades will incur costs on Fidelity, but you won’t pay for stock, option and even penny stock trades.
Fidelity has no minimum account balance, so it’s a safe option for beginners. While the desktop version will meet anyone’s demands, the app might not be ideal for frequent traders and charting fans.
One of the original retail brokerages, E-Trade, has been around for decades. Its trading app has consistently been rated as one of the best, and a wealth of information is available to customers.
Unlike other apps, you’ll pay fees on penny stock and option trades on E-Trade. It’s often worth the cost as the app offers tons of features, easy charting and is beginner-friendly. Live streaming quotes are available if you maintain an account balance of $1,000.
There’s never been a better time to be a retail or beginning stock trader. With so many good platforms available to consumers, you can now successfully invest and trade stocks from anywhere you have cell service. Shop around and see which app you like the best. With powerful tools and unlimited information, anyone can find success in the markets.