9 Best Free Stock Trading Apps for May 2024 – The Motley Fool

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It’s easier than ever to buy and sell stocks, options, and other investments on the go. Most major online brokers have mobile apps, and some even design their apps to be the primary way to access and manage your account.
With that in mind, read on for our top free stock trading apps for 2024, what you should know about each one, and some of the important things to keep in mind while you’re deciding which is best for you.
There are a lot of options to compare, even on this page. It can be overwhelming! If you’re looking for a place to start, here are some free stock trading apps our experts recommend and why they like them:
No-frills stock and options trading
$0 for stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies
Diverse investing needs
$0 for stocks, $0 for options contracts
Full-featured broker
$0 commission for online U.S. stock and ETF trades; trade fractional shares for as little as $1
Mobile trading platform
Commission-free; other fees apply
User-friendly trading platform
$0 per trade
Diversified investing needs
$0 for online stock and ETF trades
Investing and banking in one
$0 stock and ETF trades
Full-featured broker
$0 stock, ETF, and Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource® trades
When we researched online brokers to create this list of brokerages, some of the things we looked for were low costs, a variety of account types, and great customer service ratings. Everyone’s investing journey is different, but I’ve found these three factors are important for anyone to have a great investing experience.
There are are a few things we like to look for when comparing free stock trading apps:
On Robinhood’s Secure Website.
Open Account
Our Rating:
Robinhood offers a user-friendly mobile trading app that allows trading in stocks, options, and cryptocurrencies.
$0 for stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies
Earn an uncapped bonus
On Robinhood’s Secure Website.
SoFi Active Investing
Open Account
Our Rating:
SoFi Invest delivers for investors a full-service financial institution in an app, in addition to a great trading platform and experience.
$0 for stocks, $0 for options contracts
Get up to $1,000 in stock when you fund a new Active Invest account.
On SoFi Active Investing’s Secure Website.
Open Account
Our Rating:
Fidelity is one of the largest and one of the most well-rounded brokerages available in the US today. Importantly, Fidelity offers $0 commissions for online stock and ETF trades, plus one of the best online trading apps that’s good for both beginners and seasoned investors.
$0 commission for online U.S. stock and ETF trades; trade fractional shares for as little as $1
On Fidelity’s Secure Website.
Open Account
Our Rating:
E*TRADE sports two of the best stock trading apps: one that shines for its ease-of-use, and one tailored to advanced active traders.
Commission-free; other fees apply
Open and fund and get up to $1,000
On E*TRADE’s Secure Website.
Open Account
Our Rating:
Webull offers a user-friendly stock investing platform with more features than some of its app-based rivals.
$0 per trade
On Webull’s Secure Website.
Merrill Edge® Self-Directed
Our Rating:
Merrill Edge® Self-Directed is a great option to consider not only for users of Bank of America (which it is a part of), but also those who are looking to invest and bank under one roof and with a highly capable app.
$0 for online stock and ETF trades
Ally Invest
Our Rating:
Ally’s stock app offers an easy-to-use trading platform and commission-free ETFs.
$0 stock and ETF trades
Charles Schwab
Our Rating:
A full-featured broker with an excellent mobile trading app to complement its desktop platform.
$0 stock, ETF, and Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource® trades
TD Ameritrade has been acquired by Charles Schwab, and the company expects all accounts to be transitioned by the end of 2024. We’ve removed TD Ameritrade from our best-of lists to align with this development. Here at The Ascent, you can trust that we’re constantly evaluating our top broker picks to bring you current recommendations.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want a top-rated app from a full-featured brokerage.
Fidelity offers one of the highest-rated free stock trading apps among the full-featured online brokers. It has few account fees, the ability to trade on 25 different international stock markets, fractional share investing, and more. Its app offers live streaming quotes, charting tools, and additional features.
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Fidelity personally:
“The ‘Transact’ page on the Fidelity app could not be better designed. From that single page, you can do everything from deposit checks and make trades to chat with customer service. It’s such a clean and user-friendly site that beginners would not immediately feel lost.”
-Dana George, Writer here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service
Read our full review of Fidelity.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want an easy-to-use and free platform to buy and sell stocks.
Robinhood was a pioneer in the free trading app industry, and still shines today. It remains one of the only places to trade not only stocks, but options and cryptocurrencies, with no commissions, and fractional share trading is offered on the platform. It also offers a $5 per month Robinhood Gold subscription product that unlocks some great features, including a high APY on uninvested cash and preferable margin rates.
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Robinhood personally:
“My favorite Robinhood feature is access to all your notifications in one place. These include buy/sell requests, buy/sell completions, shareholder updates, and Robinhood app updates. Less fun, it also includes things like margin call warnings. Robinhood feels video-gamey in a good way.”
-Cole Tretheway, Writer here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service
Read our full review of Robinhood.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want an easy-to-use free trading app to buy and sell stocks and options.
SoFi’s free app provides many different banking products and services, and that includes a brokerage platform where users can buy and sell stocks and options with no commissions. It offers some unique perks, especially among free trading apps, such as access to new IPOs, commission-free options trading, and more. However, it is light on advanced trading tools, so it might not be as appealing to active or more experienced investors.
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses SoFi Active Investing personally:
“The SoFi Active Investing app is fairly easy to use, especially compared to some other apps I’ve used. It wasn’t hard to figure out where to go to buy stock and see my portfolio. And I liked the free stock I got for opening an account; it was from a fairly well-known company that I was curious about anyway. (Some apps give you stock you’ve never heard of or would never buy.)”
-Brittney Myers, Writer here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service
Read our full review of SoFi Active Investing.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want a full-featured experience with powerful trading tools in a free trading app.
E*TRADE was one of the pioneers of online stock trading, and while it is best known for its desktop and web-based platform, it also offers one of the best trading apps among the full-featured brokers. It offers excellent research and screening tools, as well as a top-rated advanced trading platform (Power E*TRADE) that is available as a separate app and is free to use for E*TRADE customers.
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses E*TRADE personally:
“I love the ‘Add to Watchlist’ feature on individual stocks within the E*TRADE app. And while I like that they include news, earnings, and jobs reports, it’s more info than I, as a pretty passive trader, usually need.”
-Alexi Ueltzen, Outreach Specialist here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service
Read our full review of E*TRADE.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want to actively trade stocks and options.
Webull is designed to be the best free app-based platform for active and experienced stock traders, and it does a good job of it. It offers some advanced trading tools that other free mobile-first platforms don’t, and it is one of the few platforms where you can trade options completely free with no per-contract fees. It offers IRA investing for retirement, and has a few cryptocurrencies available for trading on the platform as well.
RELATED: See The Ascent’s Webull vs. E*Trade review
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Webull personally:
“I’ve had my Webull trading account for three years and primarily did my trading using my mobile device. I love that the app allows you to check your individual account’s risk level based on your investments. However, I felt it wasn’t as user friendly when I first started trading and took some adjusting. Other trading platforms have offered walkthroughs of their platforms which made a difference for me.”
– Sharice Wells, Editor here at The Motley Fool
Read our full review of Webull.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want a full-featured platform with an app-based feel.
Merrill Edge® Self-Directed is one of our top free stock trading apps for a few reasons, and that’s especially true if you’re already a Bank of America customer (Merrill Edge’s parent company). The platform offers stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, and CDs, and a wide variety of account types are available.
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Merrill Edge® Self-Directed personally:
“As a long-term investor I don’t want a lot of noise in my investing app. I want the important information and I want to be able to find what I want to find when I want to find it. I don’t want to be enticed to trade and I don’t want to see a barrage of short-term results in my face. The Merrill Edge® Self-Directed app fits all of this. I invest to get results – I get my entertainment elsewhere. I also like that the app ties in well to the rest of the Bank of America ecosystem, so I can navigate between my investing and other accounts.”
–Matt Koppenheffer, General Manager here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service
Read our full review of Merrill Edge® Self-Directed.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want a mobile-first experience with more investment choices.
Ally Invest is one of our top free trading app choices for a few reasons. It not only offers commission-free stock trades, but offers mutual fund investing through its app, and with no commissions whatsoever. Ally Invest also offers a top-rated robo-advisor platform through its app, which can be a great choice for investors who want to automate some or all of their investments.
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Ally Invest personally:
“I’ve used Ally Invest for 5 years, and the interface is easy to use, with helpful shortcuts to tasks and customizable dashboards. One of the features I like the most is the research section with a Screener that includes Analyst Top Stocks, Market Movers, Value Stocks, and Money Makers. I also like that you can find ETFs by Morningstar Rating, Price, Asset Class, and more.”
-Ally Wines, Head of Prospect Marketing here at The Motley Fool
Read our full review of Ally Invest.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want a full-featured brokerage experience on the go.
Charles Schwab is one of the largest and most well-known brokers in the world. While its free trading app isn’t quite as easy to use as some of the mobile-first trading platforms, it makes up for this in features. Charles Schwab offers a ton of investment options, such as mutual funds, bonds, futures, and more. It also offers virtually every type of account you might need, and has a top-rated robo-advisor.
First-hand review from one of our employees, who uses Charles Schwab personally:
“I’ve used Charles Schwab for about 2 years now, and it’s just a solid broker in every way. The app itself can be a bit clunky at times, but they’ve improved it a ton in the last 2 years I’ve been using it, and I love that I can quickly see how all my accounts are doing in one place. I would recommend it to beginner investors who need educational resources and customer support — I’ve used both a lot and have had great experiences.”
-Brooklyn Welch, Content Strategist here at The Ascent, a Motley Fool Service
Read our full review of Charles Schwab.
Best free stock trading app for investors who: Want to get started with investing and prefer an all-in-one fee structure to a percentage-based one.
Stash is designed to take the stress out of investing by providing an easy-to-use trading platform, as well as robo-advisory services. The self-directed side of its platform offers no add-on commission fees and ETF investing, as well as features like automated recurring investments that can make it easier to build a diversified portfolio.
On the robo-advisor side, Stash offers its Smart Portfolio, which automates an appropriate portfolio for investors who want to put their strategy on autopilot. Stash pricing works differently than most other automated investing platforms, with two monthly subscription plans available.
Read our full review of Stash.
At The Motley Fool Ascent, brokerages are rated on a scale of one to five stars. We primarily focus on fees, available assets, and user experience; however, we also take into account features like research, education, tax-loss harvesting, and customer service. Our highest-rated brokerages generally include low fees, a diverse range of assets and account types, and useful platform features.
See our full methodology here: Ratings Methodology
When choosing between free online trading apps, you should find one with a wide range of investment products, investment research, and educational tools. You should also look for a free trading app that has a trading platform that best suits your trading style.
All the free stock apps on this list are pretty easy to use — that’s one of our top criteria for selecting it as one of the best trading apps on the market. However, our two top picks for the easiest free stock apps to use are Fidelity and Robinhood. Fidelity has a user-friendly mobile experience with access to many investment options, as well as $0 commissions for stock and ETF trading. Robinhood also has an excellent mobile experience, with an interface designed specifically for mobile use.
Our Brokerages Experts
Writer, Analyst
Matt is a Certified Financial Planner™ and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice for The Ascent and its parent company The Motley Fool, with more than 4,500 published articles and a 2017 SABEW Best in Business award. Matt writes a weekly investment column (“Ask a Fool”) that is syndicated in USA Today, and his work has been regularly featured on CNBC, Fox Business, MSN Money, and many other major outlets. He’s a graduate of the University of South Carolina and Nova Southeastern University, and holds a graduate certificate in financial planning from Florida State University.
Fact checker
Nathan Alderman has worked with The Motley Fool since 2005, making errors his arch-enemies in a variety of roles including a six-year stint as the dedicated fact-checker for The Motley Fool’s premium newsletter services. As The Ascent’s Compliance Lead, he makes sure that all the site’s information is accurate and up to date, which ensures we always steer readers right and keeps various financial partners happy. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Nathan spends his spare time volunteering for civic causes, writing and podcasting for fun, adoring his wife, and wrangling his two very large young children.
Brokerages we evaluated for consideration on this page: Acorns, Ally Invest, Axos Self-Directed Trading, Betterment, Cash App Investing, Charles Schwab, Delphia, Domain Money, Ellevest, Empower, eToro Brokerage, E*TRADE Core Portfolios, E*TRADE, Fidelity, Fidelity Cash Management, Fidelity Go®, Firstrade, FOREX.com, Interactive Brokers, J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing, M1 Finance, Magnifi, Marcus Invest, Merrill Edge® Self-Directed, moomoo, NinjaTrader, Personal Capital, Plynk, Prosperi Academy, Public, Robinhood, Rocket Dollar, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, SoFi Active Investing, SoFi Automated Investing, Stash, Stockpile, Tastytrade, Titan, Tornado App, TradeStation, Tradier, Vanguard, Vanguard Digital Advisor®, Wealthfront, Webull, Zacks Trade.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent, a Motley Fool service, does not cover all offers on the market. The Ascent has a dedicated team of editors and analysts focused on personal finance, and they follow the same set of publishing standards and editorial integrity while maintaining professional separation from the analysts and editors on other Motley Fool brands.

Fidelity disclosure
Fractional share quantities can be entered out to 3 decimal places (.001) as long as the value of the order is at least $1.00. Dollar-based trades can be entered out to 2 decimal places (e.g. $250.00)
Robinhood disclosure
All investments involve risk and loss of principal is possible. 
Securities are offered through Robinhood Financial LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Cryptocurrency services are offered through an account with Robinhood Crypto, LLC (NMLS ID 1702840). Robinhood Crypto is licensed to engage in virtual currency business activity by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Cryptocurrency held through Robinhood Crypto is not FDIC insured or SIPC protected. For more information see the Robinhood Crypto Risk Disclosure.
Trades of stocks, ETFs and options are commission-free at Robinhood Financial LLC.  Other fees may apply. Please see Robinhood Financial’s Fee Schedule to learn more.
Fractional shares are illiquid outside of Robinhood and are not transferable.  Not all securities available through Robinhood are eligible for fractional share orders. For a complete explanation of conditions, restrictions and limitations associated with fractional shares, see the Fractional Shares section of our Customer Agreement
Robinhood Gold is an account offering premium services available for a $5 monthly fee. Not all investors will be eligible to trade on Margin. Margin investing involves the risk of greater investment losses. Additional interest charges may apply depending on the amount of margin used. Bigger Instant Deposits are only available if your Instant Deposits status is in good standing.
E*TRADE services are available just to U.S. residents.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 – 2024 The Ascent. All rights reserved.

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