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Founded in 2017, Public is an investment app offering cryptocurrency trading, commission-free stock and ETF trading, and community trading features for those who favor DIY trading over advisor-assisted investing or automated investing.
In addition to offering a $0 minimum requirement, Public allows you to filter its investment selection to see the securities that best align with your preferences. Public is available on both iOS and Android.
Not sure if Public is right for you? Keep reading to see how it fares against similar investment platforms.
Public, M1 Finance, and Tornado all offer stocks and ETFs, but Public’s cryptocurrency selection makes it stand apart from the crowd.
You’ll pay more in fees at Tornado than you will with Public or M1 Finance, but both Tornado and Public are the best options for those who value educational resources, community investing, and social media-style features.
M1 Finance could be a better fit for investors in search of a wider range of account types and auto-invest features.
Ways to invest with Public.com
Stocks and ETFs
Public currently offers more than 9,000 stocks and ETFs, so you’ll have a variety of different investments to choose from. Your taxable brokerage account also allows for both fractional share investing (you’ll need at least $1 for this) and commission-free trading. Plus, it offers a few other features that can help you choose the best investments.
Its “Investing Themes” feature allows you to toggle your portfolio according to your interests. The “Top Movers” tool lets you view which stocks are experiencing the highest or lowest movement during each day, and its “Stock Trends” feature compares the most popular investments to the least popular ones.
While Public is quite suitable for active traders who want to take their investments into their own hands, it’s arguably an even better fit for those who can benefit from the community-like investing features it provides.
Public also lets you inform your decisions with the market moves of other traders and/or public figures. You can use the feed to follow different members to see what they’re investing in, and you can also share your investment knowledge and decisions with other users. Public additionally gives you the power to create chat groups with other investors, and you can also participate in investing events and listen to live conversations through the app.
You can also now diversify your portfolio with digital assets, thanks to Public’s partner, Apex Crypto. Public launched cryptocurrency investing on its platform in October 2021, and it currently offers 25 coins and tokens. Its investment selection includes, but isn’t limited to, the following:
Though you’ll be placing orders through the Public platform, Apex Crypto is responsible for executing them. Its partner also holds your crypto and charges a 1% to 2% markup on each transaction. Another thing to keep in mind is that crypto trading isn’t available for residents of New York, Guam, or the US Virgin Islands.
The Better Business Bureau gives Public a B rating. These ratings generally reflect the bureau’s opinion of how well a company interacts with its customers; in addition, the BBB also cites that its rating stems from the fact that 25 complaints were filed against Public.
When evaluating companies, the bureau also considers things like type of business, time in business, licensing and government actions, and advertising issues. It’s important to note, however, that its ratings don’t guarantee whether a platform, like Public, will be reliable or perform well. Therefore, it’s equally important to do your own due diligence before settling on an investment app.
As for Public’s record, it hasn’t racked up any major lawsuits over the past few years. Its BBB profile shows that it has closed 25 complaints in the past 12 months.
Rickie Houston is a wealth-building reporter for Business Insider, tasked with covering brokerage products, investment apps, online advisor services, cryptocurrency exchanges, and other wealth-building financial products. He is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Previously, Rickie worked as a personal finance writer at SmartAsset, focusing on retirement, investing, taxes, and banking topics. He’s contributed to stories published in the Boston Globe, and his work has also been featured in Yahoo News. He graduated from Boston University, where he contributed as a staff writer and sports editor for Boston University News Service. Learn more about how Personal Finance Insider chooses, rates, and covers financial products and services »