Top 3 Investing Apps That Let You Invest For Free In 2019

Investing Simple is affiliated with Webull and M1 Finance. This relationship does not influence our opinion of this platform.

For the average retail investor, there has never been a better time to get started with investing in the stock market. Improvements in technology and algorithmic trading over the last 10 years have allowed new types of investment apps and brokerages to emerge. Many of these apps and brokerages are offered completely free to United States users.

In this article, we are going to outline 3 of the top free investment platforms and apps. Some of these picks are very well known and others still growing in popularity. Here is our review of the M1 Finance, Webull, and Robinhood investing apps. Each platform offers a different user experience, so it is important that you do your research before choosing which investing app to use.

webull vs m1 finance vs robinhood.png
Best Free Investing Apps 2019

1. M1 Finance App

M1 Finance is a new type of investing app that allows you to automate your investing 100% for free. You can invest in a variety of ETFs and stocks on the M1 Finance platform. Once you build your portfolio and deposit funds, you can sit back and allow your portfolio to be automatically rebalanced by the M1 Finance platform. Your entire stock market portfolio can be put on autopilot!

1
M1 Finance Investing App

M1 Finance works by creating a portfolio called a pie. Within each pie you choose the specific stocks and ETFs that make up your pie. For example, you could have a pie that is 50% Facebook stock and 50% Netflix stock. You can have an unlimited number of pies on the M1 Finance platform as well as the option to put 100 holdings within one pie. For example, you could have a growth pie and an income pie on M1 Finance!

M1 Finance also offers expert pies created by securities professionals on their platform. M1 Finance is the only platform we have come across that offers this service on a completely free investing app. These prebuilt pies are designed for specific investment goals. You can invest for your retirement, follow specific industries and sectors, as well as follow your favorite hedge fund managers. M1 Finance offers these prebuilt pies completely 100% free. For those who do not want to build a portfolio from scratch, this can be a great option.

Click here to get started with M1 Finance!

M1 Finance Expert Pie
M1 Finance Expert Pies

Pie investing through M1 Finance allows you to maintain a diversified portfolio even if you have a smaller investing account. One of the problems investors have faced for years is having a well diversified portfolio without having tens of thousands of dollars to invest. M1 Finance has created a solution by allowing you to invest in fractional shares for free!

For example, you can invest $100 into a pie that is 50% Alphabet stock and 50% Netflix stock. Traditionally, you would need over $1,000 dollars to build a portfolio consisting of only these 2 companies. M1 Finance has changed the game by offering fractional shares. This allows you to hold smaller portions of stocks within your portfolio and increase your overall diversification.

Automation is a big part of the M1 Finance platform. M1 Finance has a variety of features that allow you to passively manage your investments. Out of the 3 platforms we are comparing in this review, M1 Finance is the most automated. That is why, in most cases, M1 Finance is the best choice for passive investors.

M1 Finance Features

Dynamic Rebalancing: This is one of M1’s most useful features, giving you the ability to streamline your investments. When you deposit funds, M1 Finance will allocate those funds across the holdings in your portfolio. When you withdraw funds, M1 Finance will sell off proportional positions in your portfolio making sure you stay fully diversified. Dynamic rebalancing allows you to withdraw and deposit funds knowing that you will always be fully invested and you won’t need to actively buy or sell positions yourself.

rebalancing
M1 Finance Automatic Rebalancing

Built In Tax Efficiency: M1 Finance allows you to minimize your tax liability by using tax efficient strategies when selling investments. M1 Finance is the only free investing platform we have come across that offers a tax efficient selling strategy for free.

When you withdraw money from your M1 Finance account, your investments are sold in this order:

  1. Losses that offset capital gains

  2. Securities or groups of securities that result in long term capital gains (lower tax rate)

  3. Securities or groups of securities that result in short term capital gains (higher tax rate)

By using these tax minimization strategies, M1 Finance aims to keep more of your money invested. By doing so, they are saving you money in the long term and allowing for more compounding to build in your account over time.

Click here to get started with M1 Finance!

Investing Schedules: Within the M1 Finance app, you have the ability to set up recurring deposits or withdrawals into and out of your account. M1 Finance will automatically invest or sell funds in order to satisfy your cash needs. When we said you could automate your entire portfolio with M1 Finance, we meant it!

M1 Finanace -Recurring investments.PNG
M1 Finance Recurring Investments

Cash Balance Control: M1 Finance allows investors to set their preferred cash balance within their account at all times. If you were to need cash out of your account, you have it ready to go. You may also wish to hold a cash balance if you are dollar cost averaging into the market. Investing portions of your cash into the market over a period of time may be less risky during volatile market conditions. If you do not enable this feature, you will remain fully invested through M1 Finance.

The Verdict: M1 Finance

In most cases, M1 Finance is a great platform for passive investors. Most of their features cater to a long term passive investor who is sensitive to fees and taxes. M1 Finance has many strengths such as their smart rebalancing, tax minimization strategies and fractional shares. Another advantage is the ability to create your own portfolio of stocks and ETFs that fit your specific needs. If you are not comfortable with building your own portfolio, you can choose from M1’s expert pies that are built by their own securities professionals. M1 Finance would not be an ideal platform for active traders or people who make frequent trades in and out of the market. If you are looking for a platform for active traders, keep on reading!

Click here to get started with M1 Finance!

2. Webull App

Webull is an investing app you probably have not heard of before, but it made our list for a number of good reasons. Webull is a commission free stock and ETF trading app. Webull is designed for the active trader who is looking for a more dynamic, research oriented interface. Webull has a variety of features that benefit traders such as technical indicators, research agency ratings, financial calendars and free margin trading as well as short selling. With easy access to margin, research tools, and live data, Webull has built an ideal platform for active traders.

Webull review investing simple
Webull Investing App

Webull is an app that is designed for the intermediate trader who already has some experience with the stock market. If you are a complete beginner, you might experience information overload. If you are a somewhat experienced trader, Webull will give you all of the data you will likely need.

Webull Free Stock Promotion!

If you sign up via our link, you will get a free stock worth up to $1,000! You don’t need to fund the account to get the stock, you just have to open it.

Click here to open an account and receive a FREE stock with Webull!

Webull Features

Technical Indicators: Webull has a variety of technical indicators available on the platform. You can choose from up to 22 technical indicators such as moving averages, relative strength indexes and more. Here is the full list in our complete Webull review.

webull data investing simple review
Webull Trading App

Virtual Trading Simulator: Webull has a very useful feature called the virtual trading simulator. This feature lets you create a virtual portfolio with fake money to test out strategies before risking real money. This is an ideal feature for someone just starting out, who may need to gain more investing knowledge and know how before investing real money.

Smart Alerts: Webull lets you set a variety of alerts for different holdings. You can be alerted when a price level is hit, or a rate of change has hit a defined level. There are also alerts for volume levels or changes, this can be useful for traders get a sense of where the stock may be headed in the short term.

Financial Calendar: The financial calendar feature keeps you informed on all the latest and upcoming financial news. Important events such as upcoming IPOs, dividend payouts and earnings releases are all provided to you in a calendar format on the Webull app.

webull news stream investing simple
Webull News Stream

Margin Trading: Webull allows margin trading on its platform to certain users. You must have a minimum account balance of $2,000 to be approved for margin trading.

After Hours Trading: Webull offers after hours and premarket trading for free. You can trade securities from 4 am to 8 pm on the Webull platform offering more flexibility in placing trades.

Commission Free Short Selling: There are no trading commissions to short a stock in Webull. Short selling occurs in a margin account, but all trades are completely free.

The Verdict: Webull

Webull is a relatively new and growing trading platform, with new users discovering its unique functionality everyday. In most cases, Webull is an ideal platform for active traders looking to place trades 100% for free. With easy access to margin, research tools, and live data Webull has built a great platform for active traders.

If you sign up via our link, you will get a free stock worth up to $1,000! You don’t need to fund the account to get the stock, you just have to open it.

Click here to open an account and receive a FREE stock with Webull!

3. Robinhood App

Robinhood is one of the most well known commission free trading platforms. It is easy to use and targets the beginner investor who is looking to save money by avoiding commission costs. Robinhood allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and options commission free. The Robinhood user interface is simple and digestible and provides a good user experience for a complete beginner.

Robinhood Logo
Robinhood Investing App

What you will find after using Robinhood for a while is that the platform becomes very limiting. While it is easy for a beginner to use, you will probably outgrow it in a few months. The lack of sophisticated charting and technical/fundamental metrics is a common complaint among Robinhood users. On the other hand, Robinhood was designed to be a beginner friendly platform.

Robinhood Features

Commission Free Trading: Robinhood allows users to trade stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies completely free. All investors benefit from saving money on fees. This is specifically useful for active traders who make frequent day to day trades.

Simple Interface: Robinhood is known for its user friendly interface. Its application is easy to use and not overwhelming like other platforms can be. This may be a benefit for certain investors who are just starting out and would like a simple and easy to use platform. For investors looking to conduct more research and build trading strategies, you may find the Robinhood platform is fairly limited.

Robinhood Gold: Robinhood offers a subscription service called Robinhood Gold. In the Robinhood Gold plan, you have the ability to trade pre and post market starting at 9 am and ending at 6 pm. Robinhood Gold lets you trade on margin once your account has a $2,000 minimum balance. Robinhood Gold costs $10 to $15 per month for this service.

The Verdict: Robinhood

Robinhood is one of the most well known free investing platforms. Being one of the first, Robinhood has spread in popularity faster than many of its competitors. That being said, we believe Robinhood may lack features that other free trading platforms offer. For example, margin trading and after hours trading is offered for free by Webull. You can only access these features on the Robinhood Gold subscription platform which costs $10-$15 per month. Short selling and research tools are additional features offered by Webull that Robinhood does not provide on their platform. Robinhood’s greatest strength is it’s ease of use and accessibility compared to other similar trading platforms. Robinhood also lacks many of the automation features offered by M1 Finance.

FeatureM1 FinanceWebullRobinhood
Commission Free TradingYesYesYes
Account TypesIndividual Taxable, Joint, IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, Trust AccountsIndividual TaxableIndividual Taxable
Account Minimum$100$0$0
InvestmentsStocks and ETFsStocks and ETFsStocks, ETFs, Options, Cryptocurrencies
Prebuilt PortfoliosYesNoNo
Automated RebalancingYesNoNo
Tax MinimizationYesNoNo
Fractional SharesYesNoNo
Short SellingNoYes (Commission Free!)No
MarginYesYesYes
After Hours TradingNoYes (For Free!)Yes (Robinhood Gold $10-$15 A Month)
Analyst Ratings NoYesNo
Technical IndicatorsNoYesNo
Virtual Trading SimulatorNoYesNo

Which App Is The Best?

Everyone has a different preference for the ideal features offered on their investing platform. We believe the best platform completely depends on what type of investor you are. If you are an experienced active trader who likes to make frequent trades then Webull may be a better fit for your investment style. For those of us who are passive long term investors, who don’t make frequent trades, then I would check out the M1 Finance platform. Robinhood may be the best platform for beginner investors or traders who are looking for a relatively easy to use platform. Dividend investors would likely lean toward M1 Finance as this platform allows automated reinvestment of dividends. Each platform has its own unique features. In the end they are all free so you can try all three platforms to see which one you like best.

 

Leave a Reply