- 200Hours of Research
- 33+Sources Used
- 14Companies Vetted
- 8Features Reviewed
- 10Top Picks
Online banking has become the new standard of banking, especially among younger generations. Most banks acknowledge that their customers seek efficient ways to bank, namely for simple tasks such as checking account balances, transferring money, and making purchases. As a result, online banking has become easier to use and more efficient (and inexpensive) than ever.
On top of online banking, the public has access to online investing at the click of a button. Blue Chip stocks remain expensive. Investing apps like Robinhood, Stash, and Coinbase make it easy to purchase stocks, crypto, and mutual funds in increments. Joining the mobile banking and investing revolution has become an obvious choice and keeping your eye out for better services is a must as the industry becomes more competitive.
The following are our list of the top 10 banking and investing apps to consider.
Overall Customer Experience
Best for: Overall Customer Experience
Variety of Bank Account types
No minimum deposit required
At the forefront of innovation
TD Ameritrade got its start as First Omaha Securities, Inc. The brokerage offered discounted commission services after the Securities and Exchange Commission ended the practice of fixed commissions. First Omaha broke ranks and remains an innovator in the industry.
In 1988, the company introduced phone trading by touch tone. Then in 1994, the brokerage acquired K. Aufhauser & Co. The acquisition allowed First Omaha to continue its technology advances. K. Aufhauser receives credit for developing the first online trade.
Ameritrade held its initial public offering in 1997. The broker dealer continued improving its online trading platform. It focused on self-directed investors. Touch tone phone investing evolved into email trading. The company extended its trading hours and developed its Ameritrade Online Investor Index.
The tool helped investors measure performance. Next, Ameritrade helped its investors trade over the SprintPCSSM Wireless Web via mobile device. When the dot com bubble burst, a flurry of consolidation took place among companies such as Ameritrade. In 2001, it purchased NationalDiscountBrokers and 10 more others in the following decade.
When Ameritrade acquired TD Waterhouse USA from TD Bank Financial Group in 2006, it officially became TD Ameritrade. Additional acquisitions thereafter enhanced the broker's ability to offer discounted online trading services to investors.
Starting in 2011, TD Ameritrade built tools that allowed trading on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Now TD Ameritrade boasts over 11 million client accounts and at least one trillion in assets. Their innovation over the years allows them to remain at the top in the online trading industry.
Account types from TD Ameritrade include: individual, joint, retirement, education savings, business/trust, and managed portfolio accounts.
Keep in mind that online trading is subject to taxes just like other forms of income. Several loopholes exist in the United States Tax Code. The account type impacts the amount of taxes for every individual. For more information, consult with a tax accounting professional.
Account holders receive access to: account monitoring, price alerts, news and research, and e-documents.
Investing allows individuals to grow their income. It also comes with risks. Investment platforms give clients access to information that informs their decisions. However, the market sometimes swings in a different or unpredictable direction. Seeking the advice from the professionals helps. Gaining as much insight as possible bodes well for the self-directed investor too.
Remains at the forefront of innovation
No deposit required
Several account options
Best for: Beginners
$0 Commission Trades
No account minimums
Attractive introductory offer
E*TRADE is another favorite trading platform among industry insiders. Some online trading platforms led the way in innovation. They placed a focus on making investing accessible to the public. E*TRADE is no exception.
Launched in 1982, the first online stock trade took place in 1983 through the platform. This started the process of allowing individuals to execute their own trades. It started to leave the human broker behind.
Like TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE has experience on its side. The investing platform always focused on the digital. The company launched its IPO in 1996. Since then it has become a self-described high-tech custody platform. It is also home to the #1-rated stock plan administration platform.
More good news came for the platform and its customers. In October 2020, Morgan Stanley acquired the company. The move increased Morgan Stanley's ability to manage portfolios focused on wealth management.
E*TRADE offers several account types including: brokerage, retirement, core portfolio, managed portfolio, small business. and bank accounts.
Their investment choices include: stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, bonds, CDs, and prebuilt portfolios.
Finally, your trading options include: platforms, margin trading, and execution quality.
The company provides a guide for those who are new to trading. Even veteran traders benefit from brushing up on the basics.
To buy a stock online through E*TRADE, open an account. Put money in the account. Next, pick an investment and place your trade. For first-time traders, the company provides free analysis and research tools. You don't need to make your choices alone.
Once individuals become comfortable with the process, they can build their portfolios. Education and resources remain at their disposal throughout the life of their account.
Brokerage accounts receive access to debit cards, lines of credit, and the fully paid lending program too.
Plenty of research available to clients
Easy to get started
High fees for some transactions
Best for: Savers
Low monthly fees
No account minimum
Acorns is a micro-investing platform that launched in 2012. It takes a different strategy than investing platforms that launched before the dot com crash.
Users link their forms of payment to their Acorns account. When they spend at their favorite retailers and so on, Acorns rounds up the total spent. The difference goes into the investing account. Individuals automate the investing process with their spare change.
Instead of paying transaction fees, members pay a monthly subscription cost of $3 or $5. The two plans are: personal and family.
Both plans include the same features, except the family plan allows families to include their children. They feature: retirement, checking, debit card, bonus investments, and money advice.
Acorns provides products for investing in the future, retirement, earning extra money, early investors, and banking smarter. In addition, the micro-investing platform offers education and information on the basics of money.
An estimated nine million have enjoyed the services provided by Acorns. Subscription fees bill every 30 days. It's possible to cancel the account at any time. Members can view their progress by logging into the app.
Change is invested in pre-built portfolios. Members answer a set of questions. Then the platform picks the best portfolio. For example, some individuals have an interest to invest in ESG funds, environmental, social, and governance. Others simply seek the best performance.
The investing process is automated. To help accounts meet their goals, portfolio rebalancing occurs automatically. It's possible to set the account to invest $5 daily. Dollar cost averaging is another option.
Members who shop at selected retailers earn more rewards.
Low monthly fee
May incur high transaction fees
Best for: Free Investing
Trade stocks and crypto
Multiple account types
WeBull launched in 2017. A simple investing platform and app, members incur $0 commission fees on most trades. Since the investing app is new and simple, new and younger investors enjoy it the most.
Account types include: retirement and individual brokerage accounts.
In addition to the trading features, the platform provides analysis tools such as: charts, indicators, total view.
The desktop version remains fully customizable. It allows the user to place orders, consolidate watchlists, and analyze charts. In addition, members can check their trades across mobile electronic devices.
Stash is a trading app that is similar to WeBull. It's another option for those interested in automating their investing and trading transactions. Start trading with $5, pick the right subscription plan, and enjoy the banking features.
Limited trading options
Best for: Automation
3 different plans
Portfolio of ETFs
After the crash of 1929, the public cooled off on the stock market and credit. The stock market saw other significant ups and downs. In 2021, the stock market remains volatile. However, it's possible to profit from extreme shifts.
The Betterment investing app ranks among the best for automation. It offers three key features: ease, portfolio optimization, and personalization.
Investing categories include: automated investing, retirement, portfolio options, and socially responsible investing.
Betterment's All In One Dashboard provides: money movement tracking, savings tracking, performance tracking, and wealth analysis.
Account set up is simple. After setting up the goals, members have the ability to switch between portfolios. It's possible to switch the level of risk too. Although the platform prefers users sign up for its array of services, users can opt to maintain their checking account somewhere else.
Doubles as a smart money manager
Simple account set up
Track account progress with ease
Fees to speak with a financial advisor
Limited trading options
Best for: Crypto
$5 sign up bonus
$25 minimum account balance
Easy entry into Cryptocurrency landscape
Coinbase boasts a user base of 73 million. They buy, sell, and manage their crypto on this platform. Crypto options include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. The platform provides a meaningful level of security to help members feel at ease.
Like other investing apps, the platform incorporated a debit card. This allows users to withdraw funds and use them for purchases promptly. Plus, the debit card earns rewards.
Beginners and veterans benefit from the platform's educational resources. Guides, tutorials, and the latest news remain at the disposal of the Coinbase members. Individuals can enjoy the platform. Businesses can too.
Platform features for individuals include: ability to buy, sell and manage crypto. A personal wallet, opportunities to earn crypto, debit card for spending cryptocurrency, the ability to borrow against your crypto portfolio, and options to upgrade to their Pro Membership.
Platform features for businesses include: access to prime brokerage firms, ability to accept crypto payments, access to their exchange, asset hub, and online storage.
In addition, the platform has developed a section for developers. They enjoy: building in the Coinbase Cloud, connecting users to buying, selling, and managing crypto, access to the blockchain infrastructure, and linking to mobile wallets.
Coinbase launched in 2012. It's available in over 100 countries and responsible for $255 billion in assets.
Crypto trading for beginners
Offers several crypto options
High transaction fees
Limited access to customer service
Bank with Investing Features
Best for: Bank with Investing Features
$0 fees for most transactions
Up to $3,000 bonus for new accounts
Variety of investments
In many ways, Ally is a one stop shop for banking, investing, and other financial products. From their website, individuals can also obtain mortgages, personal loans, and vehicle loans. Individuals can complete transactions, make changes to their accounts, and keep track of their spending.
Ally consists of three components: Ally Bank, Ally Lending, and Ally Investing.
Ally Investing places a focus on the self-directed investor. It also allows individuals to automate their trading.
This trading platform takes pride in offering simply DIY trading tools. These tools provide a strategic edge too. They include the: trading platform and app, market and company snapshots, and streaming charts.
From the platform and app individuals can look up live news, streaming quotes, and access to knowledgeable brokers 24/7. In addition, they receive stats, news, and metrics. Customers receive the information that allows them to make informed investment decisions.
The streaming charts provide more insight. View the information as lines, mountains, or bars. Analyze stock performances. You can also analyze how indices and ETFs perform over time.
Ally keeps the process simple. It skips unnecessary bells and whistles. To open an account, the sign up is also basic and straightforward. Pick among the self-directed, robo portfolio, or FOREX.
Some individuals want to centralize their financial transactions. For FDIC purposes, it's best to spread out assets over several banks. If your assets total less than the $250,000 threshold, it's OK to bank, invest, and borrow from the same institution.
Availability of FOREX
Consolidate financial activities
Investment products do not receive FDIC protection
Some transactions incur a fee
No availability of transactional trades
Best for: Easy Trading
$0 trading commissions
$0 account minimum
Free stock for signing up
Robinhood became infamous for getting caught up in the AMC and GameStop short squeeze episode in early 2021. The trading platform proved that anyone with a minimum of amount of cash could invest.
Simultaneously, it showed that the newer trading apps can become overwhelmed. Robinhood users have experienced trading stoppages, delays in withdrawing their profits, and chaos that occurs when hedge funds pick the wrong positions.
Nonetheless, the app proved it is designed for the public.
Each member receives the opportunity to trade. They also receive access to educational and financial news resources.
Research tools include: stocker screener, ETF and mutual fund screener, options screener, tools and calculators, trading idea generators, and the latest news impacting the market.
Investing apps like Robinhood keep their fees low and features accessible because they focus on providing services online. These platforms have limited overhead. Thus the platform members and users enjoy access to trading, investing, and better money management.
Great for beginners
Start trading with minimum amount
App experiences instability
Certain limitations and fees apply
Best for: Portfolio Management
Percent-based annual fee
$500 minimum balance
Wealthfront launched in 2008. As socially responsible investing gains traction, it's easier for investing platforms to automate the process for its members. Through the use of algorithms, investing apps such as Wealthfront build portfolios. The user adds money to their accounts and the algorithm takes care of the rest.
The app allows users to automate their investing. Beginners and veterans benefit from the automation. The investing is personalized. After answering a few questions, users receive a portfolio that has a mix according to their preferences.
Investment options include American assets, foreign stocks, and crypto. Pick from stocks deemed socially responsible and bonds too.
It's possible to invest for retirement, education, and as an individual.
In addition, users can plan for big-ticket purchases such as homes,
Doubles as a financial planning platform
Limited online customer support
Bank of America
Bank of America
Best for: Mobile App
No fees associated with app
Variety of account options
Household name with long history
Among all the American banking apps, Bank of America receives the highest marks across the board. In addition, the bank re-designed its app in 2019. The award-winning app became a better version of itself. The re-design improved the seamless experience to over 29 million customers. It also became more streamlined. The biggest improvement became the addition of Erica, the bank's virtual financial assistant.
The banking app and its online counterpart feature: card management, account management, digital services, and payments and transfers.
It offers a layer of security and privacy. Additionally, users enjoy fingerprint sign-in, custom alerts, and access to the security center. If a user spots fraudulent charges on their account, they can take steps to address them with the bank.
When the customer reports the fraudulent activity promptly, the bank protects them against liability during the investigation stage.
Banking customers who set up their complementary banking app account can: pay bills, set up recurring payments, deposit checks, send money to others through Zelle, pay with digital wallets, and check FICO score.
This app also has a built-in budget and spending tool. It allows users to compile reports and analyze how they spend their income. It's a helpful feature for those attempting to save for a big-ticket purchase.
Online banking got its start in 1994. Almost 30 years later, it's far more efficient, cost-effective, and secure. By completing simple banking tasks through the app, the customer helps their bank minimize their overhead costs. Instead of visiting a branch or calling customer service, the customer finds out their balance, if a charge cleared, and if their direct deposit landed in their account yet.
The Bank of America banking app focuses on bank account activity. Those who wish to invest through this bank can obtain a Merrill Edge account. It combines the services Merrill Investing with the backing of Bank of America.
No additional costs to access
No investing features
Strictly a banking app
|Compare Best Services||1. TD Ameritrade Overall Customer Experience View Plans||2. E*TRADE Beginners View Plans||3. Acorns Savers View Plans||4. Webull Free Investing View Plans||5. Betterment Automation View Plans||6. Coinbase Crypto View Plans||7. Ally Bank with Investing Features View Plans||8. Robinhood Easy Trading View Plans||9. Wealthfront Portfolio Management View Plans||10. Bank of America Mobile App View Plans|
|Reviews||1042 reviews||861 reviews||1243 reviews||631 reviews||578 reviews||921 reviews||922 reviews||778 reviews||597 reviews||1243 reviews|
|Account Creation Process||Above Average||Above Average||Above Average||Above Average||Average||Average||Average||Average||Average||Average|
|Customer Support||Above Average||Above Average||Above Average||Above Average||Above Average||Below Average||Average||Below Average||Below Average||Average|
Here's How we Rated the Best Banking & Investing Apps
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Our Research Process
We designed a rubric to objectively evaluate each provider, and our team does extensive research in order to give scores for each metric, like affordability, customer service, average policy value, coverage quality, and more. We analyze thousands of reviews across dozens of sites, along with signing up ourselves so we can compare first hand experiences.