The Ultimate Guide to the Best Trading Apps for Beginners

Trading apps have exploded in popularity in recent years. With the rise of retail investing and commission-free trades, beginners now have easy access to the stock market right from their phones. But with hundreds of trading apps to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right one.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the 11 best trading apps for beginners in 2023. We’ll cover the key features, pros and cons, and costs of each app. Use this guide to find the ideal trading platform to fit your needs as a new investor.

What to Look for in a Beginner Trading App

Before diving into the top apps, let’s discuss what features you should prioritize as a new trader:

User-Friendly Interface

Look for a clean, easy-to-use interface without too many complex charts or advanced tools. The app should be intuitive for first-time investors.

Educational Resources

Robust educational materials are crucial to help you learn as you trade. In-app tutorials, articles, videos, and even live webinars are ideal to build your investing knowledge over time.

Paper Trading

Many apps offer paper trading accounts where you can simulate trades with fake money. This allows you to practice risk-free before putting real money on the line.

Fractional Shares

Buying fractional shares allows you to invest in expensive stocks like Amazon or Google for as little as $1. This expands your investing capability as a beginner.

Automated Investing

Some apps offer automated investing services, such as robo-advisors, socially responsible investing, or copy trading. This does the stock picking and portfolio management for you.

Reasonable Fees

Focus on low or no fees for standard stock and ETF trades to avoid excess costs as you build your account. But don’t sacrifice too much functionality just to save money.

Now let’s get into the 11 best trading apps for beginners in 2023!

1. Robinhood

Robinhood pioneered commission-free trading and forced the industry to follow suit. The app remains a top choice for beginner investors thanks to its intuitive design and easy account setup.

Key Features

  • $0 commissions on stock, ETF, and options trades
  • Fractional share investing
  • Intuitive mobile app interface
  • News feed and educational articles
  • Extensive charting with tools for technical analysis
  • Cash management account with debit card
  • Cryptocurrency trading


  • Completely free stock and ETF trades are ideal for new investors on a budget
  • Easy to navigate mobile app great for beginners
  • Fractional shares open up expensive stocks and ETFs
  • News feed provides market info and watchlist customization


  • Very limited customer service and support resources
  • Less research tools, data, and charting compared to full-service brokers
  • Frequent outages and technical issues with the app
  • Controversies around restricting trading during market volatility


  • $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options trades
  • Margin trading starts at 2.5% interest rate
  • $5/month for Robinhood Gold premium features and access to margin

Overall, Robinhood remains the best commission-free trading platform. But the lack of education and customer support may make it frustrating for total beginners. It’s a great starter app, just be prepared to eventually upgrade.

2. Webull

Webull competes directly with Robinhood by offering commission-free trades aimed at new investors. But Webull adds more trading tools and market data for a more advanced experience.

Key Features

  • $0 commissions on stock and ETF trades
  • Fractional share investing
  • Intuitive mobile and desktop apps
  • Advanced charting tools and screeners
  • Level 2 market data
  • Robust stock research reports
  • Paper trading accounts


  • Commission-free trading like Robinhood
  • Excellent mobile and desktop apps
  • Advanced tools and screeners rival bigger brokers
  • Great for technical analysis and active trading
  • Paper trading helps you learn risk-free


  • Light on educational resources for investing newbies
  • Mobile app can feel crowded for beginners
  • Less fractional share capabilities than Robinhood
  • No support for retirement accounts


  • $0 commissions on stock and ETF trades
  • Margin trading starts at 4.99% interest rate
  • $0 for paper trading account

Webull excels at providing active traders with solid trading tools and market data. But total beginners may still prefer Robinhood’s more simplistic experience until they gain investing knowledge.

3. SoFi Invest

SoFi Invest stands out by blending easy-to-use DIY trading with automated investing in a single app. It’s a great learning platform for new investors.

Key Features

  • $0 commission stock and ETF trades
  • Automated investing options including robo-advisor
  • Fractional shares on over 50 popular stocks
  • Beginner-friendly mobile app
  • Budgeting and money management tools
  • Career and job search assistance


  • Commission-free stock trading
  • Excellent robo-advisor and automated tools
  • Top-notch mobile banking app for hands-on learning
  • Good educational articles and webinars
  • Unique extra benefits like career services


  • $125 minimum to use automated investing
  • Less fractional share capabilities than some competitors
  • Tools can be limiting for advanced active trading
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  • $0 stock and ETF trades
  • 0.25% management fee for robo-advisor
  • $1/month for SoFi Relay budgeting features
  • $9.95-19.95 monthly fee for active investor pro account

SoFi Invest is ideal if you want to combine DIY stock trading with robo-advisor investing for a well-rounded learning experience as a beginner.

4. TD Ameritrade

With fantastic education for beginners and powerful tools for advanced traders, TD Ameritrade caters to investors of all skill levels.

Key Features

  • $0 commissions on stock, ETF, and options trades
  • Easy-to-use website and thinkorswim desktop app
  • Robust investor education including videos and live workshops
  • Advanced trading platform with Level 2 quotes and real-time data
  • Paper trading to test strategies with fake money


  • $0 stock and ETF trades are commission-free for beginners
  • Leading investor education resources help you learn
  • thinkorswim rivals platforms for active traders
  • Great portfolio analysis tools
  • Paper trading perfect for practice as a beginner


  • Less fractional share investing capabilities
  • thinkorswim can be complex for brand new investors
  • No automated investing or robo-advisor offering


  • $0 stock, ETF, and options trades
  • $6.95 + $0.75 per options contract for options trades
  • Free paper trading account

With $0 online stock trades, fantastic education for first-timers, and tools to grow into, TD Ameritrade is a great broker for beginners to advanced traders alike.


A long-time leader, E*TRADE is a well-rounded broker providing an easy transition from beginner to advanced investor.

Key Features

  • $0 stock, ETF, and options trades
  • Full-featured web and mobile apps
  • Virtual trading and paperMoney accounts
  • Robust charting, screening, and stock research tools
  • Power E*TRADE Pro platform for active trading
  • E*TRADE Learn educational videos and articles


  • $0 commissions across stock, ETF, and options trading
  • Excellent power trading tools in Power E*TRADE Pro
  • paperMoney virtual trading great for practice
  • E*TRADE Learn provides structured education
  • Good retirement account options


  • Less fractional share investing than some brokers
  • $6.95 + $0.75 fee per options trade can add up
  • Mobile app can be busy for brand new investors


  • $0 stock, ETF, and options trades
  • $6.95 + $0.75 per options contract fee
  • Margin interest rates from 8.15% to 9.30%

With $0 commissions, virtual trading, and expanding educational materials, E*TRADE has a lot to offer. It provides a seamless experience as you grow from beginner to advanced trader.

6. Fidelity

Fidelity stands out with $0 trades, excellent investor education, and research. Combined with robust retirement and account options, Fidelity excels for beginners.

Key Features

  • $0 commissions for stock, ETF, and options trades
  • Easy-to-use website and mobile apps
  • Deep investment research and education
  • Commission-free fractional ETF investing
  • Automated investing options
  • Extensive retirement account options


  • $0 stock and ETF trades plus fractional investing
  • Fantastic investment research for picking stocks
  • Easy-to-grasp investor education modules
  • Great fractional ETF investing for diversification
  • Many account options from HSAs to 529 college plans


  • Standard retail trading interface less robust than rivals
  • Fractional shares only available on select ETFs
  • Requires $50,000 balance for robo-advisor


  • $0 stock, ETF, and options standard trades
  • $0.65 per options contract
  • No account minimums or maintenance fees

With $0 stock and ETF trades, fractional shares, and tremendous education, Fidelity is arguably the best overall broker for beginners looking to learn.


Public sets itself apart with social community features tailored to younger investors and beginners.

Key Features

  • $0 stock and ETF trades
  • Social community and profiles
  • Fractional shares as low as $1
  • Curated stock collections and trending lists
  • Choices of themes like eco-friendly investing
  • App focused simplified interface


  • Customized purely for younger investors
  • Unique social features and community
  • Fractional shares open expensive stocks
  • Themed investing caters to interests
  • Clean mobile interface great for new investors


  • Very mobile and app focused, less desktop
  • Less tools and research than traditional brokers
  • Limited investment selection beyond stocks/ETFs
  • No retirement accounts


  • $0 stock and ETF trades
  • $10-$15/month for Public Plus with analysis tools
  • $0 for standard invest accounts

Public provides an easy entry point for younger beginners tailored to their interests. While light on robust education, the social features help you learn from peers.

8. Stash

Stash makes investing approachable for new investors. With themed investing options and fractional shares, it’s easy to build a customized portfolio.

Key Features

  • Themed investment options
  • Fractional share investing from $1
  • Automated account setup and management
  • Educational content and tips
  • Banking features like stock-back rewards


  • Easy themed investing suitable for beginners
  • Fractional shares help build diverse portfolio
  • Automated tools make getting started simple
  • Good educational tools and content


  • $1-9 monthly fee can add up over time
  • More limited control over investments
  • Lower overall account functionality
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  • $1/month starter plan
  • $3/month growth plan
  • $9/month premium plan
  • Add-ons like retirement accounts cost extra

For hands-off learning, Stash provides an easy on-ramp. But you trade robust education and active trading tools for simplicity and automation.

9. M1 Finance

M1 Finance combines easy automated investing with the ability to customize your portfolio. The “pie” visualizations bring investing to life.

Key Features

  • Automated and customizable “pies”
  • Fractional shares and auto-rebalancing
  • $0 commissions on stock and ETF trades
  • Intuitive visual interface
  • Retirement accounts available
  • M1 Borrow lending program


  • Automated pies make investing easy
  • Fractional shares and auto-rebalancing
  • Visual interface is great for beginners
  • $0 commissions on stock and ETF trades
  • Good combination of automation with customization


  • Less overall investment selection than traditional brokers
  • Must use premade pies or build your own
  • Lacks robust third-party research and data
  • No paper trading


  • $0 commissions for stock and ETF trades
  • M1 Plus premium $125 annual fee unlocks lower margin rate and more features
  • No account minimums

M1 Finance hits the sweet spot between automation and control for first-time investors looking to learn hands-on.

10. Dough

Dough rolls up stock trading, fractional shares, education, and social community into one easy-to-use investing app tailored to beginners.

Key Features

  • $0 commissions on stock trades
  • Fractional share investing
  • Social community chat and profiles
  • Educational resources and quizzes
  • Customizable themes and recommendations


  • Fractional shares open the market to beginners
  • Education center teaches the basics directly in the app
  • Social features help you learn from other investors
  • Themed picks are suitable for first-time investors


  • Very limited investment selection beyond stocks
  • Less robust research and data tools
  • No retirement accounts or IRAs


  • $0 commissions on stock trades
  • $1/month access to premium features like tax reporting
  • No minimum balance

Dough provides a well-designed experience tailored directly to investing beginners through education, fractional shares, and social community.

11. Invstr

Invstrgamifies the process of learning to invest for millennials and first-time investors. The virtual currency helps you practice risk-free.

Key Features

  • Virtual currency to practice trading
  • Social community chat and networking
  • Bite-sized lessons and tutorials
  • Custom quizzes and achievements
  • Real-time market news and data


  • Virtual currency allows risk-free practice
  • Gamification makes learning interactive and fun
  • Social features connect you with other investors
  • Accessible education for total beginners
  • Also provides standard brokerage services


  • Education focused, less trading functionality
  • Limited investment selection beyond stocks
  • No fractional share or retirement account options


  • Free access to lessons, practice, and virtual currency
  • $1.99-$12.99 pricing for premium features and live trading

The gamified learning and virtual currency provide a risk-free foundation for stock market beginners with Invstr.

Key Takeaways

Here are some top highlights for choosing the best trading app as a beginner:

  • Focus on $0 commission brokers like Robinhood, Webull, and SoFi Invest to avoid fee surprises.
  • Consider fractional shares (offered by brokers like Robinhood and Public) to invest in expensive stocks for as low as $1.
  • Look for robust education, including modules, videos, and even live events to learn as you go.
  • Paper trading accounts let you simulate trades risk-free before spending real money.
  • Automated investing options like robo-advisors can manage your portfolio while you learn the basics.
  • Prioritize easy-to-use interfaces and mobile apps tailored to first-time investors.

The right broker for you depends on your specific goals, interests, and preferred learning style. With this guide you now have the key information to choose the best trading app for your needs as a beginner. The brokers here provide the perfect foundation to gain investing confidence and skills over time.

“If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

- Warren Buffett

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