Trading stocks is currently a hot topic, all thanks to a recent event where redditors figured out how to stick it to a hedge fund that was trying to short GameStop. On top of this, stocks, in general, have been blowing up during Covid, which is also driving the current interest in trading. This is why I’ve decided to compile a list of the more notable trading apps currently available on the Play Store. Now, I don’t fancy myself a day trader, so I’m not here to review these apps. This is simply a list for our readers to pore over as they consider the available options on Android. Essentially, this roundup serves as an entry point for those who are thinking of dipping their toe into the stock market in preparation for the next wave of stock market fever.
Fidelity Investments is one of the more favored apps out there. It might not offer the most intuitive UI when it comes to trading, but it does offer lots of useful info that’s easy to digest. So it makes for a quality one-stop-shop for all of your day trading needs. While it would appear that Fidelity was part of the group that experienced outages last month during the GameStop surge, the platform wasn’t affected for long, and so far, there are no signs that Fidelity limited transactions. So if you’re looking to start somewhere to grasp how trading works, Fidelity is a solid choice that has shown its trustworthiness.
Webull: Investing & Trading. All Commission Free
Webull is one of the newer apps available, having launched in 2017. It offers one of the more current user-friendly designs as well as zero commissions, and yes, there’s also crypto trading on offer. Of course, thanks to the GameStop squeeze, the userbase jumped significantly, so the service is currently contending with this considerable growth. Current reviews complain of a long-drawn-out application process, and the fact that Webull was part of the group that restricted trading in January hasn’t helped with these reviews. Luckily we know Webull was one of the few to reverse this block somewhat quickly. So as it stands, this is one of the better-designed apps for beginners, its research options are pretty good, so if you’re looking to dabble as a newbie, Webull is still an attractive place to start.
thinkorswim Mobile: Trade. Invest. Buy & Sell.
If you hate commissions, thinkorswim is another trading app that offers commission-free trading. On top of that, this is a well-rounded app that offers real-time chat with trading specialists, a live stream from TD Ameritrade Network for trading information, as well as a section for learning the ropes through trades with fake money, so you won’t have to risk anything as you figure this stuff out. This makes for a good experience as a newcomer, though like many apps in this list, the influx of users has impacted the login system as well as real-time quotes. It’s also clear thinkorswim halted trading on January 28th, so the low review score stems a lot from this issue. Luckily thinkorswim offers a website, a desktop app, as well as this mobile app, so users have a few options if they find the Android app to be slow.
TD Ameritrade Mobile
TD Ameritrade Mobile is another well-rounded app. You can research stocks, create watchlists, and of course, trade. Depositing funds is easy enough (though holds happen), and you can monitor your account in real-time. Like many of these trading services, a lot of new users flocked to this app whenever Robinhood started faltering. TD Ameritrade Mobile has yet to recover from this influx fully. This means the app, as well as the website, can be unreliable at times, and since this is also one of the apps that restricted trading during the GameStop squeeze, reviews have not recovered. But then again, if you’re looking for a no-frills trading app that offers competent stock info as well as trading, TD Ameritrade Mobile is plenty serviceable, especially if you’re starting out. Just don’t expect 24-hours of uptime until the service figures out how to handle all of its new users.
E*TRADE: Invest. Trade. Save.
E-Trade is a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, and it is one of the more well-known trading services out there. The app boasts that it’s commission-free for US stocks, which is always welcome, and it offers investing, banking, trading, as well as content focused around market research. So it’s a full-featured app. Compared to the newer kids on the block, the UI is a bit of an eyesore, and some bugs exist. It’s also worth noting that E-Trade did halt trading of GameStop stock during the whole GME kerfuffle, which hasn’t helped its reviews in the last month. There are also more than a few complaints centered around a recent redesign, so you’re stuck with the current UI that can take some getting used to. Still, if you’re simply looking to dip your toe into investing in a couple of stocks, E-Trade can fulfill that role with ease.
Robinhood – Investment & Trading, Commission-free
It’s more than likely that everyone has now heard of Robinhood. This was the golden child of trading apps, thanks to an intuitive UI designed for beginners as well as the option to purchase crypto, rounding this out as a hip option. But then Robinhood did the unthinkable and restricted trading of GameStop and AMC stock, which was then joined by a handful of other services/apps. So not only is there now a class action against Robinhood, but users have also discovered the customer service is severely lacking, and so the app is still reviewed poorly, even after Google cleaned out the erroneous 1-star reviews spurred by the GameStop halt. It would seem Robinhood has fallen from grace very quickly, though all of the reasons it was one of the preferred apps a month ago still exist. It’s easy to use, and it offers a host of options for trading stocks and crypto, and it’s all commission-free. Now, there is an optional subscription that will net you a few more features, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary for starting out.
IBKR Mobile comes from Interactive Brokers, and this trading app offers exactly that, access to stocks, options, forex, futures, and futures options. Real-time data is included, and the UI is easy to understand, though it’s not very customizable. While I wouldn’t say this is an app for beginners, it’s a nice option for those who hate clutter. So if you already know what you’re doing when it comes to trading stocks and are simply looking for a single-purpose app, IBKR Mobile fits the mold. Still, it would seem the app is currently suffering from sign-in issues, and there’s a lack of quality customer service, so there are plenty of quirks to keep in mind if you choose to go with IBKR Mobile. I’d like to also point out that Interactive Brokers limited transactions when GameStop was blowing up, which is reflected in the app’s reviews.
SoFi: Invest, Budget, & Save – Stock Trading App
SoFi is less focused on trading and is more of a one-stop-shop for all of your banking and investing needs. But that doesn’t mean this app doesn’t offer competent trading tools. As a matter of fact, this is one of the newer trading apps out there, much like Webull and Robinhood, and it even offers a social aspect so you can see what others are doing, which is an interesting feature. There’s a solid amount of info to get anyone started, though, like many of these apps, an influx of users has resulted in a possible delay when depositing funds. It’s also apparent that SoFi halted the trading of GameStop stock in January. Of course, if you’re mainly focused on light trading with a splash of long-term investing, you shouldn’t run into too many issues.
Firstrade Securities Inc.
Firstrade Securities offers a friendly UI, tons of investment information, and is generally easy to use, so it is a good app for beginners. Commissions are free, and the app even supports multiple accounts. Of course, thanks to an influx of users, deposits are taking longer, and customer service is lacking. This is also another app that uses APEX, so Firstrade was part of the group that halted GameStop stock trading in January. Even though this was out of Firstrade’s control, plenty of users were upset by the halt. All in all, this is still a worthwhile app to look into as a starting point, especially if you don’t plan on trading in meme stocks. Just keep in mind that you will have to wait a while for help should you run into any problems.
Okay, tastyworks isn’t much of a looker. That much is clear. This is a single-purpose app that offers stocks, options, ETFs, and futures. While commissions aren’t free, they are low, and the website is heralded as one of the best out there. While the app itself is a little lacking, if you choose to go with tastyworks you will have a solid website as a backup. Sadly tastyworks uses APEX, so it was part of the group that halted trading of GameStop stock in January. So it’s clear this is definitely not the best app for beginners, which is why I’d only recommend tastyworks to readers that are already versed in the art of trading.
Schwab Mobile is the official Charles Schwab trading app, and it offers trading, monitoring, and research material, so it’s well rounded. Still, I wouldn’t call this app beginner-friendly, and thanks to a recent influx of users, the service is pretty spotty. Many users have been having issues with logging in, and so even though there is a fingerprint login, sometimes it just doesn’t work. So if you’re looking for a stable experience, look elsewhere, at least for now. It also doesn’t help that this app restricted buys in January, so now its users have trust issues on top of the complaints about all of the unaddressed bugs.
Merrill may be a recognizable name in the financial field, but its trading app is lackluster. The real-time charts lag, the research material isn’t all that useful, and generally, the whole app feels really slow. So the user experience lacks, that’s for sure. Merrill Edge also took part in the trading restrictions placed on GameStop in January. So even though this app works, allowing users to easily trade stocks, it’s not one of the better options for complete beginners. Sure, you can deposit money easily by taking pictures of checks, and there’s even a fingerprint log-in, plus you can use this app to simply invest, so it also offers familiar banking features, making it an alright choice for those already tied to Merrill’s services. But if you’re looking to start somewhere fresh, I’d look elsewhere first.
- Hero courtesy of Gilly