Stock trading is not a new practice. Technically, it has been around for hundreds of years.
It has really transformed into a critical part of the world economy in the last 100 years though.
Why is this? The easy answer to that question is because they make stock trading faster than ever.
To establish why that is the case, let’s take a moment to talk about what stock trading apps do for you and also our comparison of the best stock trading apps...
Table of Contents:
- 10 Best Stock Trading Apps
- 1. eToro
- 2. Plus500
- 3. Pepperstone
- 4. Charles Schwab
- 5. SoFi
- 6. Webull
- 7. Fidelity
- 8. JP Morgan
- 9. AvaTrade
- 10. IG Markets
- 11. Interactive Investor
- 12. Robinhood
- 13. Wealtfront
- 14. Betterment
- What Do Stock Trading Apps Provide
- What You Need to Know about Stock Trading Apps
- Top Trading Jargon Words Decrypted
10 Best Stock Trading Apps UK
However, not all apps perform as well as they should. Some may be more detrimental than beneficial for your financial goals. This is where HostingData steps in.
We’ve dedicated much time and energy to identify the best stock trading apps.
So, how did we come up with this list? For one, we looked at their features. Are they really useful? Are they just gimmicks made to stand out?
Likewise, the interface matters. Users have to find exact pieces of information and perform actions fast whether they’re on their phone or laptop.
Last but definitely not least, fees and the overall value matter, especially with regards to upfront charges and minimum deposits.
Now then, scroll down to see what we’ve uncovered in our journey to determine the best stock trading platform UK investors should consider.
Service Provider Rating Sign up *1. eToro ★★★★★ Open Account **2. Plus500 ★★★★★ Open Account ***3. Pepperstone ★★★★★ Open Account 4. Charles Schwab ★★★★★ Open Account 5. SoFi ★★★★★ Open Account 6. Webull ★★★★★ Open Account 7. Fidelity ★★★★★ Open Account 8. JP Morgan ★★★★★ Open Account 9. AvaTrade ★★★★★ Open Account 10. IG Markets ★★★★★ Open Account 11. Interactive Investors ★★★★★ Open Account 12. Robinhood ★★★★★ Open Account 13. Wealthfront ★★★★★ Open Account 14. Betterment ★★★★★ Open Account
* eToro disclaimer: Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees.
** Plus500 disclaimer: 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
*** Pepperstone disclaimer: Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75.6% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
1. eToro (Best UK Stock Trading Overall)
One of the Biggest Trading Platforms in the World
There are few stock trading apps that are as widely used, widely available, and widely capable as eToro.
Encapsulating what eToro offers is difficult, because one can see just from browsing through it that the app’s intention is to consolidate as much of the world market as it can.
Making an app that allows you to access all of them is a titanic task. And that is exactly what eToro accomplishes that is so significant. You can buy almost anything from anywhere in just about any form. Nothing is off limits, as long as you can actually afford it.
And if there is a form of security that eToro does not allow you to trade, then its communication tools allow you to discuss trades with people that the app does not support. At the same time, eToro’s security features make sure that this system is not abused by scammers.
Perhaps the greatest boon eToro offers its users is its knowledgebase. This allows its massive size to be far easier to navigate than it would be otherwise, which is important given the scope of the application.
Like many stock trading apps, eToro has minimum deposits and commissions. This means that you can only start trading once you have a certain amount of money in your account, and part of the money you make will be taken by the platform. This is standard practice, but worth mentioning.
The real drawback of using eToro is related to its main advantage: Its size. Because eToro interacts with so many markets that it can be hard to navigate the app. But more than that, it has so much available on it that the information that is being presented to you can quickly become difficult to assign value to.
Obviously, eToro’s previously mentioned knowledgebase helps with this, but it can only do so much. The end result of this size is that anyone who does not go into eToro with an investment plan will quickly find themselves lost and confused. This is generally only a temporary hindrance, however.
In general, the experience of using eToro to trade is great. It is diverse, allowing for most investment strategies to be utilized to their fullest, no matter what kind of stock trading you are getting into.
2. Plus500 - One of The Best App Features
81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Sometimes you are looking for something a little more complex. There are a lot of apps out there that are aiming for—some might say preying upon—the retail investor.
But the issue with those is that they are often highly limiting in the capabilities they give the user, making them hard to optimize.
There is an awkward space in between retail investor and day trader. It does not really have a name, so let’s call it “intermediate traders”.
These are people who know enough to invest wisely, but do not have enough capital to yield huge dividends from their investments.
Of course, many people think they are an intermediate trader. It can be hard whether or not your capabilities translate to the larger market. But as with all skills, the only real way is to find out.
Plus500 is a great place to start doing that. It is a trading platform that is easy to use, while at the same time giving the user access to some of the most cutting-edge trading tools and securities out there.
Can you find these things on other apps? Yes. But Plus500’s knowledgebase gives information on online trading with the platform by providing you step-by-step guide on how to use the securities it gives you. This means that even if you are not as intermediate as you thought, you can still close the gap.
The main issue that Plus500 users are going to face is that an increase in complexity means an increase in risk. Plus500’s interface is good, and their knowledgebase will keep you informed, but the ease of access this grants you means that there are far fewer barriers between you and a bad investment.
This drawback is rarely going to convince anyone to avoid the platform, as people come to feature-rich platforms like this because of the risk. But it should be noted, as the securities it offers are volatile.
In addition to this, the app does have a burgeoning complexity issue. Again, this is a situation where the good qualities of the interface and knowledgebase are at odds with the reality of trading in this manner.
When trading CFDs, picking a security at random, you will still have situations when you are learning how to trade them that will feel like you are losing money for no reason. Complexity in what you trade means you are going to lose money and not really know why.
Plus500UK Ltd authorised & regulated by the FCA (#509909)
3. Pepperstone - Ultimate Flexibility and Control
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75.6% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Amusingly, Pepperstone takes third-party support to another level than the rest. The brokerage firm has no trading platform of its own.
Instead, its WebTrader and mobile app versions are designed to run three third-party online platforms: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader and TradingView. It’s an unusual approach but its numerous awards over the years indicate that many people see it as the best stock trading app.
Pepperstone has 1,200 instruments, more than plenty for clients to evaluate price charts from different perspectives. Traders can customize both charts and indicators. And with two of its trading platforms offering variable spreads, clients trading stocks in liquid markets gain a competitive edge.
The three trading platforms offer flexibility to clients. Stock traders with some programming background can use cTrader to code in C# and utilize the open API. Granted, cTrader has no platform for macOS, but that’s where the two versions of MetaTrader come in:
MetaTrader 4 has a market scanner called Autochartist, which does the job of detecting promising price movements for you.
To prepare you for stock market activities, its Risk Calculator informs clients about the degree of market movements in the coming hours. Furthermore, the scanner can provide regular stock market reports and assess market volatility.
On the other hand, MetaTrader 5 could be one of the best stock trading platforms in the near future.
It has 38 built-in indicators, object-oriented programming, an economic calendar, and the capacity to execute 500 total orders. Essentially, it has the strengths of MetaTrader 4 but also introduces a great processing output and more advanced trading tools.
Clients hoping to improve trading strategies can use any of the three trading platforms for backtesting, but cTrader has no access to historical data.
Lastly, the company offers demo accounts. Yes, you can request multiple demo accounts. We think it’s the best practice stock trading app UK traders should consider, especially when you combine practice accounts with all the learning materials.
Customer support is only available 24/5. For stock traders that need quick assistance at any time of the week, this can be an issue.
Are commissions free on Pepperstone? No. However, you can choose what’s best for your wallet. Razor account commissions for MT4 and MT5 are almost the same except for the USD currency. On the bright side, Pepperstone doesn’t mind if you don’t log in for months or years. There’s no inactivity charge.
4. Charles Schwab - Best Stock Trading App for Growth
Growth strategies represent half of all stock trading strategies. They also happen to be the kind of strategies that most often benefit retail investors. Retail investors are investors that are not professionals at investing.
Someone who makes their living, as an example, fixing cars and uses part of their paycheck to trade stocks. That is a retail investor.
Growth strategies of stock trading benefit retail investors because they are low risk and pay their investment back in a big way over a long period of time. This also makes them low maintenance.
In short, they are a classic case of low risk and low reward. Perfect for making a retirement fund. But at the same time, not the sort of thing you are going to want to invest in if you are trying to make money every day. This is the kind of stock trading that the Charles Schwab app specializes in helping you do.
How does it help you with this? By giving you access to the kinds of stocks and trades that benefit a long-term growth strategy. The main resource it connects you to in the interest of this strategy is mutual funds. Mutual funds are a type of investment structure where multiple people pool their money.
This pool of money is then used by a broker to trade and invest your stocks in various ways. Each contributor to the mutual fund will then get a payout based on what the mutual fund yields. This method of trading stocks allows everyone in the mutual fund to get far more out of their trades than trading alone yields.
Charles Schwab helps you find opportunities like these, and helps you understand them. It is a trading app designed for someone who is new to trading and comfortable with taking things slow. Of course, they also allow you to do high speed, income based trading, but it is not the focus of the app.
This all makes the main drawback of Charles Schwab exactly what you think it is: They benefit beginners more than advanced users, and retail traders more than traders with experience looking to strike it rich.
Of course, between new traders and retail traders, that covers most of the people who will be using an app to trade stocks on any given stock market. That is why this app gets an endorsement.
In any case, Charles Schwab does not have access to the most markets, and its safety features will feel limiting to some. It also omits securities like CFDs and stock options, which some traders like a lot.
5. SoFi - Best Diverse Stock Trading App
There are more ways to invest in stocks than just trading stocks. You can trade stock options, which entitles you to the ability to buy the stock, without obligating you to actually taking ownership of it. You can trade CFDs, which allow you to take some risk and set the price of the stock way ahead of time.
All of these and more are available through SoFi. This is a trading app that is focused on giving you freedom. And “giving you freedom” is not just about giving you access to different types of securities. It also means providing things like loans. Loans are important, as they allow you to buy stocks on margin.
Buying stocks on margin allows you to buy stocks that you would not normally have access to. The process of buying on margin means getting a loan to buy stock. This is what SoFi offers you, among other things: You get a loan from them, buy a stock, and then begin to make money off that stock.
Ideally, the money you make is larger than the payment of the loan. That way, everyone wins. You get to make some money, SoFi gets your loan payments, and the previous owner of the stock gets paid.
Margin, CFDs, options, and other types of securities are usually omitted from stock trading apps that are aimed at beginners and retail investors. SoFi’s audience is more focused on day traders and people looking to develop their enterprises. This is why it also provides a good knowledgebase to learn from.
Of course, there is a reason why these securities are not included on many other apps. And that reason is that they are far more risky than other ways of spending your money. You can buy meaningless stock options, guess wrong on CFDs, and especially get things wrong trading on margin.
It is worth noting that none of these situations are malfunctions of the platform or the securities involved. It is all working as intended. These things just take skill to use, or you are burning money.
Still, while these things are risky, there is an extent to which people would not be interested in trading them if they were not risky. If they lacked risk, they would lack high reward. That is what SoFi provides.
6. Webull - Best User Friendly App
Stock trading is complicated. Anyone who says it is simple is either trying to play it cool or woefully uninformed. But while there is basically no way to make it simple, you can make it less painful. That is what Webull sets out to do. In addition to providing tons of great services, the core of Webull’s experience is its app.
This app is designed with usability in mind. That means that no matter how much information it has to share with you, the interface will never confuse you or misguide you.
Keeping things clear in that way is not as easy as it might sound, especially with the stock market being as complicated as it is. Webull’s main method of keeping things streamlined is by having a customizable dashboard that you have a ton of input in as a user. This dashboard can focus on different things.
For example, if you want it to show you just the raw stock prices, it can focus on that. If you want it to display the value of your own stocks, that is also an option. It can even show you your stocks over time, as well as trends in the market. Or you could let the app itself take the wheel and show you news.
All of these options combine with its clear interface to make for an easy to navigate experience that also ends up informing you about the biggest changes in the stock market. That means buying stocks is easier and tends towards being more successful than if you did not have this information available.
The issue many people have with Webull is that it does not take any risks. More specifically, it does not allow users to take any risks. It lacks some of the higher risk securities that many users favor. This can make some users feel as though the information Webull provides them goes to waste.
If you cannot use that information to take risks, then what are you using it on? Obviously, you can still use it on securities that are considered less risky. But that is just not satisfying to some users.
7. Fidelity - Best Stock Trading Bank App
Fidelity offers quite the wide range of services. So wide, in fact, that some people will go all their lives using their apps and services and be shocked to discover what else you can do with these services.
Most people know Fidelity as a bank. And indeed, their app lets you deposit your paycheck, manage your funds, take out loans, and so on and so forth. But that is not all they do. As you might expect from the fact that they are on this list, Fidelity also serves as a stock trading app.
This intersection of functions benefits a lot of people. Not many people know this, but banks actually take part in a lot of stock trading. For the people who know this, it is their least favorite part of banks.
Many banks will hold thousands of people’s money, but then use that money to trade stocks. As long as the amount of money the bank has access to has increased by the time any given person goes to withdraw their money, then there is no harm done by using other people’s money to trade.
But trading like this is risky. What if a bank uses other people’s money to trade, and then loses all that money? Or what if the stock market crashes and loses all of everyone’s money?
Fidelity bank helps you avoid those concerns. They do not invest your money, but instead offer advice on how you can invest your own money yourself. They take commission fees, but for the most part this just means that your bank is helping you develop your money.
Fidelity even gives you access to riskier securities, like options and CFDs. This is uncommon with such a retail trader-friendly app, but it is worth noting that they do not advise you to take these trades.
They simply make it an option. That, combined with their app’s incredible customizability, make them a great option for both new traders and veteran traders who also want a bank to store their money in.
Earlier we mentioned the commission fees Fidelity takes. It must be said, these commission fees are larger than many other apps. It should also be said that while Fidelity encourages you to trade, most of the advice they give is automated. That means that while they give you advice, it might not be good.
Granted, their articles, news, and knowledgebase are all curated like any other app. But it is important that you do not get one confused for the other. The Fidelity app will suggest trades to you based on an algorithm, not based on an actual analysis of the market.
Even so, Fidelity is still a great option for anyone who wants their banking and stock trading in one place.
8. JP Morgan - Best User Rewards
In the current, highly competitive world of stock trading apps, every app is looking to get your attention. They all provide incentives for using their app over all others.
Most of the features we consider essential to a stock trading app started with a broker offering something that users went on to find indispensable.
Why bother with complex incentives that are hard to manage when you can just pay users to use your app? This is what JP Morgan’s stock trading app does. From the same company that owns Chase banks, the JP Morgan stock trading app works similar to the Fidelity one in that it connects to your bank.
But where JP Morgan sets itself apart is in the rewards it provides its users. Starting with a £18,800 account, JP Morgan will reward you for having an account above a certain value. For some people, £18,800 is going to seem like a lot. But remember, this is not just the money you use to trade stocks.
Because the app links to your normal Chase bank account, you can reliably keep your savings or checking holdings in your JP Morgan app account and trust that they will not go anywhere. Think of the app not just as a stock trading app, but an extension to the functionality of your normal bank account.
In addition to this, JP Morgan’s app has access to many markets and features no commission fees. This is standard practice for apps that come from banks. Essentially, you are given access to the same markets they are.
When it comes to downsides, the first is that JP Morgan’s rewards are probably not of a size that the average day trader is interested in. They cap out at £470 for an account of £188,000 or more. If you have an account in excess of £188,000, you might not even notice that you were gifted £470.
The app also has issues retaining beginner traders. It is an intuitive app, but the lack of substantial knowledgebase means that more retail investors will not know what they are getting into. This means that while you can go from a Chase bank customer to a user of this app, it might not be easy.
The last issue is the limitations on the securities you will have access to. It is all stocks, no foreign currency or commodities. This goes back to it being based on the bank’s own stock trading.
9. AvaTrade - Best Advanced Stock Trading App
Think of the last new software you bought. Whether it was a video game, a tax organizer, or a word processor, you probably had to read and agree to a license agreement before you were able to use it.
Well, when you read that license agreement, were you scrolling through it to get to the “accept” button? Or were you at the edge of your seat, enthralled by the nuance of what was in front of you? It might sound unusual, but there are some people to whom contract law is a fascinating subject.
It is for these people that stock trading apps like AvaTrade were made. AvaTrade is not as dense as an end user license agreement but it does have a lot going on. It is a web of information about the different securities it has, as well as the markets to which those securities belong. This makes it hard to read.
But it also makes it invaluable to anyone who knows how to navigate it. The market is a big place and finding the information you need to make educated decisions can be daunting. But in a more user-friendly environment, that information is not even there at all.
AvaTrade’s key selling point is the fact that no stone is left unturned by it. You want to know how Boeing’s stocks were trading in 1979? You want to know the exact contract verbiage of loans in 2008? You want a clear picture into what made Enron fall apart? AvaTrade has got you covered.
Naturally, this means that they have quite a bit of trading options available to you as well. They also have a great deal of communication tools between traders. These are critical for making sure that even if the app itself does not allow the trade you want to make, you can hash it out yourself.
The issues with AvaTrades way of doing things are probably obvious just from having them described to you. When a platform’s biggest advantages are complexity, then you better believe that it is going to make things borderline inaccessible to many people.
You do not need a degree in economics in order to use AvaTrade. But you do need a lot more time and patience than many people have. It does not help that its menus are sub-par, oftentimes communicating the bare essentials of the information they mean to communicate.
But despite all of this, the low commission fees and dense market analytics mean that there are few stock trading apps that do exactly what AvaTrade does. If you prefer your stock trading apps to be all-encompassing and are not concerned with them being user-friendly, then this is the one for you.
10. IG Markets - Best Device Compatibility
It is easy to look at all the different apps on the market and get thinking that you can perfectly anticipate how to use them without actually using them. This frame of mind is endemic to the current state of marketing in the world; advertisements teach us that you can experience something by hearing about it.
But the reality of the situation is that how a product works in theory will always be better than how it works in practice. This is called “user experience”, and it is the core of IG Markets’ design philosophy.
There are a few things that sets IG Markets apart from other stock trading apps. It has access to a good number of securities, though it omits the more risky ones. It also has great tutorials for people who are first getting into trading. But all of these are things that you can find elsewhere. What sets it apart?
The answer to that is compatibility. IG Markets has apps for the computer, tablet, and phone. But the thing is, each of these apps is slightly different. Which makes sense—each of those devices is also different. In making slight changes to their interface, they allow you to trade easily on all devices.
This is important for retail investors. Not all trading is going to be done at a desk, with complete focus. For some people, trading is going to be something they do on a couch. Or on a train heading to work.
In those cases, you need IG Markets’ intuitive interface and curated app design. These allow you to make these trades with controls that are not normally known for being as accurate as standard computer controls. In short, trading becomes as easy to do as the device is to use.
While IG Markets makes great apps and provides a lot of the basics for good trading, the focus on user experience means that they limit the capabilities of the user by quite a bit. This will be felt the most by people who are trying to make an income from trading on their mobile and tablet apps.
This makes sense, as trading on a computer is designed to be more similar to trading in real life. And as is the case with trading in real life, trading on a computer is designed to make each individual trade take as little time and effort as possible, while maximizing how many trades you can get through.
Trading on a phone or tablet takes little time and effort, the nature of the user-friendly interface means that you will not really be able to get to the next trade in an efficient manner. Or rather, you will not be able to get to the next trade while staying informed.
If you wanted, you could use IG Markets to burn through trades at a rapid clip. But you could not easily research the trades you are making before, during, or after making them.
They still give you access to analytics and a knowledgebase, but you can feel the divide between the trading portion of the app and the learning portion of the app when you are using the mobile version.
11. Interactive Investor - Top-Notch Value and Pricing
Considered by some traders as one of the best stock trading apps in the UK, Interactive Investor charges a flat monthly fee of at least £9.99. The charge for UK and US trades on the standard Investor plan and Pension Builder (SIPP) plan is £5.99. This commission also applies to members of ii’s Friends and Family service, who benefit from a free ii subscription. Customers on the Investor and Super Investor service plans will continue to get their first trades free each month. Super Investor service plan users will also benefit from trades in non-US international shares for £5.99 per trade.
This can deter some would-be clients, but it’s a move that offers financial transparency: It forgoes charges that become more expensive the more stocks you trade on the app.
Now, the Interactive Investor website is compatible with 128-bit SSL encryption. It works with browsers that only support 128-bit SSL encryption too, but online stock traders shouldn’t use such a risky browser in the first place.
The Manchester-based platform has access to more than 40,000 stocks in 17 global exchanges — and Interactive Investor is regulated by the FCA. Interactive Investor can be a go-to platform for traders looking to learn more about trading and keep up-to-date with financial developments around the world. Anyone can sign up for free to use a Research Account, which grants access to online forums, newsletters, and multiple portfolio tracking. Overall, Interactive Investor is a trustworthy, highly regulated platform that offers a unique set of trading services for a flat monthly fee.
Interactive Investor covers everything from pensions to savings allowance, but its trading platform deserves the most recognition: The mobile app works on both Android and iOS devices. Instead of typing your account details, you can log in by face and touch ID methods.
Using the Interactive Investor app, clients can add funds, manage orders, and check the day’s best and worst-performing stocks in the UK and beyond. The app interface has a modern look and the navigation is smooth.
The charts need functionality improvements. It should have a wide array of drawing tools and technical analysis tools. The charts themselves are visually competent, but clients need ways to evaluate the stocks and the market overall.
12. Robinhood - Best Community
The thing about Robinhood is that you have probably heard about Robinhood. It shows up in the news sometimes, either because it did something controversial or because it made someone rich. The reason it is so famous is because it was the first stock trading app to really make the phone market its native habitat. It started as a phone app.
In some ways, stock trading apps being considered viable on the mobile market was a result of Robinhood’s runaway success. The result of that has been Robinhood being two things: The first is huge. It has one of the biggest communities around stock trading in the world. And the second thing is that everyone’s eyes are on it.
The funny thing is that anyone who has used Robinhood is probably thinking, “How could it possibly be said that Robinhood has a good community?” They wonder this because the Robinhood community is known for being responsive, if nothing else.
That means whatever you say, do, or ask, someone will comment. While this definitely has its drawbacks, it means that you will always be able to find people willing to engage with you through the Robinhood app’s community. They can be a knowledgebase and an analytics supplier all in one.
Robinhood is also known for having a huge number of markets and securities available. All of this is easy to access, as is befitting for the stock trading app that has long been the most popular on phones.
As mentioned before, the responsiveness of the community can easily turn into toxicity. The diversity of opinions within this community can also make it difficult to tell truth from lies.
And while the app is easy to use, it also has a history of making some stocks unavailable in order to keep its userbase from manipulating the markets. This has the ironic effect of manipulating the markets anyways, which Robinhood’s userbase is understandably frustrated by.
13. Wealthfront - Best Automated Stock Trading
Automated stock trading is the dirty little secret of the digital trading world. It is an open secret, as strictly speaking it is totally legal. But it is something that just about everyone has an opinion about.
If you are setting out to do automated trading, then you are going to have to work way too hard to get it working on just about any app.
Most apps have some sort of tool to keep automated trading from working on them. These can range from prohibitive commission fees, to trade per minute limits.
Wealthfront is designed for helping you get started in automated trading. They do not provide you with a bot, but they do nearly everything else you need. That means giving you the industries, the indexes, and all the data points and stop points a stock trading bot needs to function safely.
Of course, they also have safety features to make sure your bot does not malfunction even if you did not set it up perfectly. Naturally, these features are there as much for Wealthfront as they are for you.
While Wealthfront allows you to trade in a way that no other app lets you do, it is highly limited as a result. Anyone who has traded stocks traditionally or through a more traditional app might have trouble recognizing the manner by which Wealthfront expects you to do your trading.
Even people who are accustomed to using bots to trade will find some of Wealthfront’s settings off-putting. Their biggest issue is the tools they give you for setting up your bot within their service. They only have a few options for risk management if your account has less than £75,000 in it.
Of course, most of your bot’s settings are expected to be managed by you. This is a platform that benefits someone who knows how to make a bot rather than buy one. While it fulfills this niche well, Wealthfront is very much set into that niche.
14. Betterment - Best Beginner Stock Trading App
The saying goes, “You need to spend money to make money.” Rarely does that feel more true then when you are trading stocks. You have to spend money for the stocks, of course, but before you even get there you have to set up an account. That requires a minimum deposit on most stock trading apps.
When you make a trade you have to pay a commission fee. If you make a bad trade and end up trading at a deficit, then the commission fee turns it into a net loss no matter what.
Essentially, it is really easy for a new trader to feel like they are bullied out of trading stocks on an app just due to all the little costs that build up. Betterment is a stock trading app that solves that problem by being free, charging annual fees rather than commission or monthly fees, and being easy to use.
It has access to a good (but not huge) number of markets and keeps its beginner target demographic in mind by providing excellent stock trading tutorials. Betterment puts a lot of emphasis on foreign trading as well, making it easy to learn your country’s tax laws on stock trading.
This is an interesting blind spot for many knowledgebases, so it is interesting to see it represented here.
As always, a focus on beginners means a lack of tools for advanced users. Although in this case the highly responsive customer service might actually benefit advanced users too, so it is not that simple.
The real issue with Betterment has to do with the way it “guides” your investments. With the standard account you are being overtly directed towards mutual funds and ETFs. This is because these methods of investment are far safer than others. But many people will be suspicious of that much guidance.
What Do Stock Trading Apps Provide?
As you probably know, stocks are documents that represent your financial share in a company. A company can have any number of stocks; each stock represents a portion of that company's total wealth. If a company has 30,000 stocks, then each stock is worth 1/30,000th of the company's value.
Most people know this even if they have never traded before in their life. But it is important to state this, as stock trading apps take this simple interaction and turn it into a highly complex artform.
The different ways that you can invest in these stocks are called “investment strategies”, and there are basically an infinite number of different strategies. But of all the various ways of investing that exist, they all fall under two main principles: You are either and never both investing in income or growth.
Income strategies are strategies meant to make money in the short term, while growth strategies are meant to make money in the long term. Stock trading apps help with both, but in different ways.
Stock Trading Apps & Income Strategies
Whatever stock trading app you get, as long as it can trade stocks you can employ an income-based trading strategy. We defined income strategies as “short-term” strategies, but what does that mean?
The simple version is that you are looking for stocks that you can buy at a low price and sell at a high price as quickly as possible to make money. You are not buying the stocks to invest in the company from which the stocks are sold. You are buying the stocks with the intention of selling them.
Income strategies like this are common among “day traders”, or stock traders that make their primary income from buying stocks at low prices and selling them at high prices. So, consider this: Imagine you work on Wall Street. You buy stocks at a rate of only one stock an hour due to the process being slow.
What if instead of buying one stock per hour, you could buy three stocks per hour? Or ten? Even 50? If you are looking to continuously buy and sell stocks all day every day, then you need the ability to trade these stocks as efficiently as possible. That is what stock trading apps allow you to do.
Stock Trading Apps & Growth Strategies
Income strategies benefit from stock trading apps due to the increased speed of trading on the apps. But what about growth strategies? How do they benefit from stock trading apps?
The thing you have to understand about growth strategies is that they are organized in very long timescales. A growth strategy will usually require you to invest in a business that expects to see growth over the next ten to 15 years. But how do you even know which businesses will see growth like that?
This is the next big thing stock trading apps provide: Advanced analysis of the stock market.
Many stock trading apps have knowledgebases, web seminars, and specialized charting tools for figuring out exactly what is going on in the stock market. These are critical for figuring out what businesses and industries have seen ten years or more of growth, and which ones will continue to see that growth.
But even the apps that do not support these knowledgebases, web seminars, and specialized charting tools will at least allow you to view the markets in a more holistic way than any in-person stock market.
Stock trading apps also give you unrestricted access to indexes. These are databases of stocks, companies, commodities, and even entire industries. You can use these to chart how money is flowing through the market. Though these are available through in-person trading, they are less common.
In-person trading usually means a person is restricted to the indexes (and indeed, the stocks and other securities) that are geographically close to them. Stock trading apps remove this restriction.
What You Need to Know about Stock Trading Apps ✍🏻
How Do I Start Trading?
Stock trading has its risks, especially since it typically has short-term objectives rather than the long-term goals inherent in passive investing.
Learning the ins and outs of the stock market and the financial world can be tedious, but it’s crucial if you want to make better trades and minimize losses.
1. Create Your Brokerage Account
The first thing you should do is set up a brokerage account, which will then allow you to deposit investments with a top investment firm. Research about the best stock trading app available in your region.
Basically, you own the assets — it’s just that the broker does the actual work of executing your trades. This step generally takes minutes and you won’t have to shell out anything yet.
2. Know the General Types of Trade Orders
Now that you have an account, you can log in to the website or trading app of your broker. This is where you can make your trades.
You’ll see different order types, but for now, you only have to be acquainted with the two general types: market order and limit order.
A market order is the most common type of trade:
You’re immediately buying or selling a stock at its present rate. A stock you want to buy will cost equal or approximate to the ask price (or offer price) set by the seller. Consequently, a stock you’re selling will get offers equal to or near the bid price, which is typically lower than the ask price.
Thus, the market order is relatively straightforward to understand. However, the price you sell or acquire a stock for may differ from when you actually placed the trade (i.e., at the last traded price) if the market is fluctuating or shifting fast. If you want to purchase or sell stocks as fast as possible, go for market orders.
On the other hand, a limit order is when you trade stocks at either a particular price or an even better deal.
Now that you know about market orders and limit orders, get a demo account and make practice orders. Your brokerage firm or platform will provide your practice account with virtual money.
3. Set a Budget and Goal — Then Make Your First Order
Before you execute orders, think about your financial position. Don’t rush into the stock market with all the money you have. Similarly, determine the maximum level of risk you’re willing to take for each trade.
Think of an objective as well. Create your first stock market goal. Doing this can help narrow your stock picks from possibly thousands of options. At this point, go ahead and make your first stock order on the brokerage firm’s website or trading platform.
What is Stock Trading?
The process of purchasing and selling company shares is what we call stock trading. From an investment perspective, a stock is the same as one’s partial ownership of any publicly-traded company or corporation.
Thousands of people can buy stocks of the same company, giving them each a share of ownership. The best stock trading apps in the world are designed to handle millions of stocks being traded each day.
For short-term stock traders, movements in the stock market matter a lot whether they happen by the week, day, hour, or even by the minute.
In stock trading, you have to understand active trading. Simply put, it refers to buying and selling stocks depending on cursory price fluctuations. You don’t keep your positions open for long.
There are four general kinds of active trading, and you can practice more than one at a time:
When you say you’re an active trader, some people will immediately think that you’re a day trader. This just goes to show how well-known this approach is, with its defining characteristic being that positions are opened and closed on the same day.
Not everyone thinks this is a form of active trading because the timeframe can extend to months. But highly experienced position traders do partake in active trading: They can close their position just within a few days if their trend analysis of charts supports the short-term move.
If position traders look for trends, swing traders focus on the exact point a trend stops. Why? Whenever a trend reaches its end, the market experiences a degree of volatility as fresh trends develop. Swing positions often stay longer than day-trade positions but they don’t match the longer period of position trades.
This refers to making strategic positions based on price gaps. In other words, you buy a stock for its bid price and then offer it to traders at its offer or ask price, which is generally higher than the bid. Due to the risks inherent in this approach, trades are only held for a short duration.
How to Trade Stocks
Answering the question of how to trade stocks is quite simple, there are 2 unique options.
The two general ways of trading stocks are pit trading and electronic trading. From their names, you can guess that the former is conducted in a physical setting while the latter occurs in a digital space.
Pit trading happens, well, in the pit — a specific section in the trading floor of a stock exchange building. This is where brokers buy and sell stocks.
However, pit trading is no longer the major form of stock trading. Some argued that the physical aspect of it offered transparency, but most major stock exchanges today have since shifted to electronic trading, which is not only less expensive to operate but also better in terms of speed and efficiency.
Our five picks for the best stock trading app are a form of electronic stock trading. You still have a broker executing your orders, but for the most part, you just need your computer or smartphone (and capital) to participate.
How to Risk-Manage
Stock trading isn’t about winning all the time. You may face losses significant and small — and you will make mistakes. These are normal, but nobody wants to crash and burn in the financial industry all the time. Here are a few tips on reducing risks while navigating the stock market:
Find a Reputable Broker
Individual brokers and brokerage firms all have the same responsibility, but they differ in performance and quality. Once you’ve grasped your experience level in trading and realized your preferred strategies, find a top forex broker, or any other that suits them.
For example, if you’re going to be a day trader or an active trader in general, you might want the best stock trading app UK traders can get in terms of low or even zero-percent commission fees.
Also, a platform or brokerage firm that offers top-tier execution speeds and mobile notifications will benefit your trading style.
Don’t Forget about Backtesting
Top online trading platforms and algorithms, in particular, allow people to automate their actions in the stock market. However, you shouldn’t take this pre-programmed approach just because you feel good about the results.
Before doing any sort of automatic stock trading, backtest your strategy. This means gathering historical data to perform trading strategy simulations. Backtesting can then reveal how likely (or unlikely) it is that your plan will lead to favorable outcomes. There are software applications and programmers that can do this for you.
Beware of The Internet
Gossip and rumors are prevalent online — and they can be dangerous for your wallet. On one hand, forums dedicated to trading can be beneficial. But it’s common to see internet users talking about unknown stocks that they argue will exceed expectations soon.
Most of the time, these so-called anonymous financial tips are from malicious people. They do
this on forums and social media because they secretly already bought a ton of shares from the company they’re hyping up. So when others take the bait and create fake demand, their shares skyrocket in value.
If you want to find an online community to discuss stocks, check if the best stock trading app online has an exclusive forum where only verified clients (i.e., people who provided real personal information to set up their accounts) can participate.
Top Trading Jargon Words Decrypted 📔
When a big company has been around for a long time and has a proven track record in financial growth, then it can be called a blue-chip stock. These companies are at the top of their industry and each has billions in stock market value.
Granted, a company doesn’t have to do dividend payments to be considered a blue-chip stock. Nonetheless, the majority of them have done so for many years.
Your stocks, cash, exchange-traded funds, and bonds, among others (even including real estate), comprise your portfolio.
Think of it as the main folder keeping everything that you can offer to the market. Traders can opt to store and develop their own portfolio, but they can also pass its management to a finance expert.
If your stock surges in value for a while, it’s experiencing a rally. Likewise, a sudden rise in the price of a bond or index is a rally. This usually occurs when the stock market is in a period of stagnant or falling prices, but it’s possible to happen when the opposite occurs.
The stock market is described to be bullish if the value of a considerable number of stocks increases or is foreseen to do so in the coming months — or even years.
Professionals in the stock market have not set an official number for determining a bull market run.
However, there’s a general notion that a bull market run happened if the stocks increased by a fifth of their value after having lost the same percentage, only to then lose the same value gained afterward.
And when the stock market is in decline for a relatively long period, then it’s said to be a bear market.
In simple terms, this is the difference between the selling price and the buying price. For example, if you’re selling a stock and set the ask price to £40 and the bid price is £32, then the bid-ask spread is £8. Now, if the bid-ask spread is significantly thin, it’s called a haircut.
Each year, companies craft detailed reports about their business. Shareholders
of publicly traded companies read them to get an overview of financial and executive matters.
If the figures and narrative highlights inside indicate a strong annual performance, shareholders have a good reason to keep their shares longer — or even acquire more.
Initial Public Offering (IPO)
When a private company transitions into a public one, it can declare a public share issuance or an IPO. This just means that the public (such as stock market traders) can now purchase a stock of the company as well.
This typically occurs when the stock market is volatile and you can spot signs of a significant decrease in the value of a specific stock.
The process begins with a trader asking another entity to lend their shares to them. If the other party grants the request, the trader sells those shares. And then when the stock value dwindles, the trader buys enough shares (now at a price lower than what they sold them for) to give back to the other party.
What’s the Difference Between Stock Trading and Investing?
Stock trading and investing involve active participation in the financial market. Some people may argue that trading is essentially investing as well since it involves the allotment of cash or capital to meet an economic objective.
However, stock trades and investments are two different things — and time is the distinguishing factor.
Stock trading is primarily a short-term process. It’s more attuned to the day-to-day market fluctuations. Unless you’re a position trader that will wait as long as investors, you typically open and close positions many times over a short period.
On the other hand, investing takes a lot of time.
Daily, weekly, or even monthly market volatilities won’t make investors budge — they’re in it for years or decades because they have long-term goals. Investors will keep on buying and holding onto more stocks, mutual funds, and bonds over a significant portion of their lives to expand and diversify their portfolios.
Thus, you can think of investors as those who accept defeat in battle so long as they can claim victory in war. More often than not, the best stock trading app can double as the best investment app.
What Is the Best Stock Simulator App?
Rushing into the world of stock trading is a big no-no, especially if you have no background in financial literacy whatsoever. Still, you’ve probably asked yourself the following question:
How Can I Practice Stocks Without Using Real Money?
Well, your best option is a stock simulator app, which is designed to replicate stock market apps. While it can offer real-world market information and help you learn about stock trading, you’re not spending any real money or making actual trades in the stock market.
If you have an Android device, try Stock Trainer: Virtual Trading. It includes 20 world stock markets and stock charts spanning a decade. You’ll learn about limit orders, guaranteed stops, and portfolios in no time.
Similarly, MarketSim is available on iPhone and iPad devices. It was released back in 2016, but the app still receives regular updates. In this app, you have £10,000 in virtual cash to make your trades. There’s no trading limit and you can choose among more than 5,000 stock symbols.
Innovations in digital and financial technology have made stock trading more accessible to any person with a computer device and Internet connection (and a budget).
The apps are even competing among themselves for the title of the best online trading platform for beginners, showing that trading apps are trying to make their craft newbie friendly.
Stock trading apps help people manage their portfolio, execute orders, and browse market charts no matter where they are.
eToro might be our top pick, but we hope that our comprehensive review of stock trading apps will help you find one that best matches your trading strategy and goals.