7 Best Investment Apps for Small Business


As a busy small-business owner, you won’t always have time to sit down at a desk and manage your stock market investments. Fortunately, mobile investment apps make it possible to buy, sell, and trade no matter where you are.

But which investing app should you use?

We’ll give you details on the best investment apps―including their features and what makes them stand out―to help you decide.

Caution

Before we start talking about the best investment apps, we want to offer a quick word of caution. Investing in the stock market is not the best idea for many small businesses. It’s risky, and usually that money can be spent better elsewhere. We discuss this more in the FAQs below.
Of course, you know what’s best for your business. That’s why we’re still reviewing the best investment apps. We just urge you to proceed with caution.

Compare the best online brokers
FeatureTD AmeritradeInteractive BrokersTradestationZacks TradeFirstrade
Account minimum$0 $0 $0 $2,500 $0
Maintenance feesN/A$0–$10N/AN/AN/A
Stocks
ETFs
Options
Mutual funds
Bonds and CDs
Futures
Cryptocurrency
Forex
Open an AccountOpen an AccountOpen an AccountOpen an AccountOpen an Account
Data effective 5/11/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
Investment basics

If you need a quick reminder on the difference between stocks, ETFs, and options (or anything else), check out our guide to the stock market.

TD Ameritrade: Best overall

Part of the reason for that is simply that we like TD Ameritrade as a whole. As we discuss in our guide to the best online brokers, TD Ameritrade offers a wide variety of investment products, all with competitive pricing. It also has tons of educational content (both videos and articles), so you can learn everything you need to know to invest wisely.

Starting trading prices at TD Ameritrade
Account minimumStocksETFsOptionsGet an account
$0$0$0$0 ($0.65 contract fee)Open an Account
Data effective 5/11/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Fortunately, you can still get all that through the TD Ameritrade mobile app. TD Ameritrade lets you buy, sell, and trade―all through the app. It also lets you view account statements, get customer support, check out your transaction history, and bunches more. You can even access all that great educational content through the app. As a bonus, TD Ameritrade’s investing app has been optimized for phones, tablets, and even the Apple Watch.

Now, TD Ameritrade’s trading app does have some limitations you should know. Your buying and selling options are limited to stocks, ETFs, and options. (But if you get TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim app, you can also access bonds, CDs, futures, and Forex.) You also won’t have access to some advanced features like conditional orders (but again, thinkorswim does).

Still, for the average business trader, the TD Ameritrade mobile app offers everything you’ll need and more.

Interactive Brokers: Best free trial

There are many things to like about Interactive Brokers’ trading app, but our favorite is the free trial.

If you’re curious about Interactive Brokers, but you’re not ready to commit, you can sign up for its free trial. When you do, you’ll get what’s basically a fake account with $1 million in it. You can then use that account however you want. You can (pretend) buy, sell, trade, and analyze, letting you test everything Interactive Brokers’ investment platform has to offer.

Starting trading commissions at Interactive Brokers
Account minimumStocksETFsOptionsGet an Account
$0$0$0$0Open an Account
Data effective 5/11/20. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

And of course, that free trial lets you test out Interactive Brokers’ mobile app too. Sure, you can download any broker’s app and look at it―but Interactive Brokers lets you actually use it as you normally would, just without any financial risk to you. You can be sure that you love its analytics tools or broker fees before you start committing your cash.

So if you’re at all interested in Interactive Brokers, go ahead and use the free trial to take its mobile app for a spin.

Tradestation: Best for cryptocurrency

Tradestation’s app does everything you’d expect from an investment app, plus one more thing: it lets you keep track of your cryptocurrency deals.

In fact, Tradestation is the only broker on this list that deals with cryptocurrency at all (though TD Ameritrade has plans to allow crypto trading in the future). It’s not just Bitcoin either―Tradestation lets you trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and XRP.

Starting commission prices at Tradestation
Account minimumStocksETFsOptionsGet an Account
$0 or $2,000 (depending on plan)$0$0$0 ($0.50 contract fee)Open an Account
Data effective 5/11/20. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

With Tradestation’s mobile app, you can view real-time quotes for crypto trading and check out advanced analysis. That said, right now you can only trade stocks, options, and futures in the app. You’ll still need to use Tradestation’s desktop version to actually buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrency. Thankfully, Tradestation’s app lets you set custom alerts so you’ll know when you need to hop on a computer and make a deal.

Even with the trading limitations of its app, Tradestation still offers the best investment app for cryptocurrency.

Zacks Trade: Best for broker-assisted trading

First thing first: Zacks Trade’s app is named Handy Trader―not Zacks Trade. But it is indeed the official stock trading app for Zacks Trade, an online broker.

Handy Trader has all the usual features of streaming quotes, market data, and investment portfolio analysis. And as you’d expect, it lets you trade stocks and options―but it also lets you trade bonds and mutual funds, which some other apps don’t.

Starting commission prices at Zacks Trade
Account minimumStocksETFsOptionsGet an Account
$2,500$0.01 if more than $1 per share; 1% of trade if less than $1$0.01 if more than $1 per share; 1% of trade if less than $1$1 for first; $0.75 for additional optionsOpen an Account
Data effective 5/11/20. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

The real standout feature, though, comes down to pricing. Zacks Trade doesn’t charge extra fees for broker-assisted trading. Yes, it charges commission on everything (including stocks, ETFs, and options), unlike other brokers on this list. But other brokers charge $25 or more for broker-assisted stock trading. So Zacks Trade’s free assistance may well be worth the small commission fees.

Between the solid app and the free broker assistance, Zacks app―Handy Trader―could be a good choice for your investment needs.

Firstrade: Best for options

If you’re interested in trading options, then Firstrade has the best app for you.

That’s largely because Firstrade not only doesn’t charge commission on options trading, but it also doesn’t charge a contract fee―unlike pretty much every other broker. So Firstrade makes options trading cheaper for you.

Starting trading prices at Firstrade
Account minimumStocksETFsOptionsGet an Account
$0$0$0$0Open an Account
Data effective 05/11/20. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Plus, Firstrade’s app tries to simplify the options-trading process. It lets you choose from a variety of options strategies (single, spread, straddle, condor, and butterfly, if you really want to know) for your trading, and it gives you the ability to place orders with just a couple taps. All this, of course, is in addition to its other analysis and account management features.

Mail-in application

To get started with a Firstrade business investment account, you have to mail in an application. Yeah, we know. But after that, you can do everything online or via the app.

So for affordable and convenient options trading, you’ll probably want Firstrade’s mobile app.

Honorable mentions

Charles Schwab

Put simply, Charles Schwab requires you to have too much money for us to rank it as a top recommendation. You need a $250,000 relationship with Charles Schwab ($250,000 across Charles Schwab accounts) before you can open a business investment account.

Starting commission prices at Charles Schwab
Account minimumStocksETFsOptionsGet an Account
$250,000 relationship$0$0$0 ($0.65 contract fee)Open an Account
Data effective 5/11/20. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

That said, if you meet that minimum, there’s a good chance you’ll like the Charles Schwab app. It lets you conduct stock, mutual fund, and ETF trades. Plus, you can keep an eye on your account and set up custom alerts.

It’s a solid stock trading app―just with a high bar to entry.

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is another broker that has a fine app―it just doesn’t have enough standout features to make it a top recommendation. Yes, it has all the usuals: trading capabilities, account analysis, real-time market data . . . all of which is solid.

Starting commission prices at Merrill Edge
Account minimumStocksETFsOptionsGet an Account
$0$0$0$0 ($0.65 contract fee)Open an Account
Data effective 5/11/20. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

It does have one drawback, though: like Firstrade, Merrill Edge requires you to mail in an application for a business investment account. But if you’re willing to put up with that inconvenience, and you’re not interested in the standout features of the investment apps above, then Merrill Edge is a totally fine choice for managing your business investments.

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FAQs about investment apps for business

What’s the best investment app for beginners?

Each of the investment apps reviewed above can work well for beginners. TD Ameritrade, our favorite overall, works especially well. It has loads of educational videos and articles, making it ideal for a beginner investor.

Are investment apps worth it?

For many small businesses, investment apps aren’t worth it.

First of all, investing in stocks (or options, futures, etc.) is a risky business. The market is volatile, so you have no guarantee that you’ll make money. Given how hard you’ve worked to make your small business successful, do you want to risk your funds?

Second, the money you invest in the stock market is money you could instead invest in your own business. For example, you could hire new employees, run an aggressive marketing campaign, or purchase new commercial real estate for your business. These investments have the potential to build your business and boost your profits. Instead of investing in Apple’s business, why not invest in your own?

Of course, the answer ultimately depends on your business’s unique situation. Just make sure you carefully consider your options before you go the investment route. You may also want to speak with a financial advisor or accountant beforehand so you fully understand the tax implications of investing your business money.

What’s the difference between business and personal investing?

The biggest difference between investing as a business and investing as an individual comes down to your account type. Businesses need business investment accounts, funded by business checking accounts. Individuals, of course, use individual investment accounts funded by their personal checking accounts.

Unfortunately, many brokers don’t offer small-business investment accounts. For example, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of these popular brokerages:

  • Acorns
  • Ally Invest
  • Fidelity
  • Robinhood
  • Stash

If you wondered why they don’t appear on our rankings, it’s because they don’t offer business investment accounts. Of course, the investment apps included in our rankings do have business investment accounts.

Micro-investing for business

Investing apps like Acorns and Stash are all about micro-investing, or using very small amounts of money to get fractional shares. As of right now, we haven’t seen any micro-investing apps that offer business accounts.

How much do investment apps cost?

We’ve only featured free investing apps in our rankings. None of the apps above cost anything to download onto your mobile device.

That said, you’ll obviously have to take into account any broker fees. For example, you may have to pay a trading fee for some kinds of trades (even with “commission-free” brokers). Some brokers also charge a monthly fee (Interactive Brokers does in some cases) or an annual fee.

You should also keep in mind that some brokers require you to make a minimum deposit to open an investment account.

What are the best investments for 2020?

Statistically speaking, you’re better sticking to index funds rather than actively choosing stocks. Index funds have been shown to outperform active stock management over and over again.1

The takeaway

If you’re ready to create a business brokerage account and become an investor, any of the mobile apps above can work well.

While the nature of investing means we can’t promise they’ll help you meet all your financial goals, each of the apps comes with plenty of features that can help you try.

Interested in an alternative to the stock market? Learn more about the types of business savings accounts.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. CNBC, “Active Fund Managers Trail the S&P 500 for the Ninth Year in a Row in Triumph for Indexing