Public App Evaluation 2023: Professionals and Cons

It’s clear from the recognition of on-line boards about investing (hello, Reddit), that lots of newbie traders worth the recommendation of fellow traders as a lot as — or greater than — that of an precise monetary advisor.

So it was solely a matter of time earlier than an funding app constructed the group proper into its platform.

Public is without doubt one of the earliest energetic investing apps and the one one which places individuals and group on the heart of its platform.

By our Public app assessment, we’ll present you what this app affords for newbie traders, together with funding choices, charges and necessities (trace: little or no), monetary training and extra.

What Is Public?

Public is a well-liked energetic investing app that boasts a people-first focus and commission-free inventory market buying and selling.

By the app, you should purchase and promote fractional shares of shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrencies, NFTs and various property like modern artwork and collectibles. Most customers use the app for long-term investing, however you need to use it to construct a portfolio as an energetic dealer, too.

Public was one of many earliest apps to make fractional shares straightforward to commerce on-line, opening up funding alternatives to tons of on a regular basis traders who might by no means afford to maintain up with the likes of Wall Road.

Options of Public

The Public investing app is designed to make shopping for and promoting securities accessible, enhance your monetary data, and join traders to share, study and construct a group.

Public Evaluation: Options and Providers

Options Particulars
Minimal funding $0
Commissions $0
Premium stage choice Sure
Portfolio combine Fractional, ETFs, crypto NFTs and alt property
Retirement account choices No
School financial savings account No
Socially accountable investing Sure, numerous methods
Tax loss harvesting No
Automated rebalancing No
Entry to human advisors No
Banking No
Neighborhood Comply with traders; suggestions
Monetary training Guides and tutorials
Bonus $1 to $300 slice of inventory given randomly
Customer support [email protected]

How Does Public Work?

Public is designed for energetic investing. It affords steering via instructional assets and group that will help you curate the portfolio of your alternative for short- and long-term investing.

Opening an Account

To open a Public account, you must be a minimum of 18 years outdated and a U.S. citizen, everlasting resident or visa holder with a sound Social Safety quantity and U.S. tackle.

To get began, you possibly can obtain the app for iOS or Android and create your account. Don’t overlook to incorporate a profile image to attach with the group!

There’s no minimal deposit required to open your account — however you possibly can’t make investments till you progress cash in to speculate with.

You possibly can fund your account by connecting your checking account through Plaid (check in together with your on-line banking username and password) or confirming your account via microdeposits. You may as well fund your Public account with a debit card. You possibly can solely withdraw funds to your checking account without cost, or through wire switch which comes with a price of $25.

Earlier than you begin investing, the Public group recommends you browse its Investing Themes to find what sorts of shares and funds you wish to personal. You possibly can make investments as little as $1 at a time.

Public Charges

The Public app is free to make use of. You don’t should pay a subscription price or account administration charges to have an account on the app, however you possibly can improve to Public Premium for $10 per 30 days to entry superior inventory market insights and firm metrics to tell your buying and selling selections. You’ll pay no commissions, and no charges for fundamental actions like depositing and withdrawing cash or transferring your portfolio steadiness from one other dealer.

You’ll simply pay charges for much less widespread actions like home wire transfers, dangerous checks and paper statements.

In lieu of buying and selling charges, Public consists of an choice to tip together with your trades. You continue to get completely commission-free inventory buying and selling, however the firm hopes customers will help the platform via honest suggestions for the service, as that is one among few methods it earns cash.

You’ll pay a buying and selling price if you happen to put money into crypto via Public, which is cut up between the corporate and its crypto dealer, Apex Crypto. You’ll find the breakdown of their charges right here, which range based mostly in your order quantity.

Signal-up Bonuses

Once you open an accepted brokerage account and deposit as little as $20, you’ll qualify to obtain a reward valued from $1 to $300.  The corporate defines a “reward” as a fractional share of a delegated inventory, ETF, or crypto asset.  The quantity of your reward is chosen randomly, with 95% of recent shoppers getting a reward with a worth of $1.The probabilities of getting extra get harder from there, with roughly 4.9% of contributors receiving a reward with a worth of $5, and roughly 0.1% of contributors receiving a reward with a worth of $300. Learn extra particulars in regards to the sign-up bonus.

In the event you obtain the Public app, you’ll obtain a $10 inventory slice.

Public Funding Choices

By Public, you should purchase and promote shares obtainable on U.S.-based inventory exchanges, through fractional shares and ETFs. It affords greater than 5,000 shares and funds, protecting the vast majority of publicly traded corporations within the U.S. It additionally affords a rising listing of crypto property, with greater than 25 obtainable as of this writing.

Not like many micro-investing apps, Public does not provide curated or managed portfolios. You need to select every asset you need in your portfolio. It additionally doesn’t help mutual funds.

It does, nonetheless, recommend “investing themes,” curated lists of shares and funds that align with a set of pursuits or values, like:

  • Girls in management
  • Academic know-how
  • Variety in management
  • Sports activities
  • American made
  • SaaS corporations
  • Hashish companies
  • Inexperienced vitality corporations

Tax Administration

Since you actively handle your Public portfolio your self, you’re accountable for tax administration of your investments. Public doesn’t provide tax loss harvesting.

Entry to Investor Neighborhood

Public doesn’t provide you with entry to skilled monetary advisors for private monetary recommendation. As a substitute, its distinctive attraction is its robust group of traders and the social media–fashion feed of inventory suggestions and different traders’ exercise.

By the app, you possibly can peep different traders’ portfolios and observe them to maintain up with their strikes out there.

The app additionally has built-in studying instruments, articles and academic occasions that will help you perceive the inventory market and grow to be a greater investor.

Public Buyer Expertise

Public’s one-on-one buyer help is all on-line. You possibly can contact customer support via reside chat when you’re signed into your account within the app or through e-mail at [email protected], but it surely doesn’t listing a telephone quantity.

As a substitute of sturdy reside help, it publishes an intensive self-service assortment of Assist articles to reply your questions in regards to the app. And also you at all times have the group to lean on for funding questions.

The Public app has greater than 1 million customers and it enjoys a score of 4.7 out of 5 stars within the Apple App Retailer (iOS) and 4.3 out of 5 stars on Google Play (Android).

Professionals and Cons About Public

Public is a well-liked investing app, but it surely has advantages and downsides like some other.


  • Fee-free buying and selling
  • No minimal funding
  • Fractional shares obtainable
  • Straightforward to seek out socially accountable investments
  • Energetic investor group
  • Strong investor training assets


  • No managed funds
  • No human advisors or robo-advisor
  • Sparse buyer help
  • No tax-advantaged funding accounts for retirement or faculty financial savings

Extra Methods to Resolve About Public

Public is likely to be best for you if….

  • You’re a newbie investor and wish to study extra.
  • You’re fascinated about energetic buying and selling.
  • You take pleasure in studying from a group.
  • You wish to put money into your pursuits or values.

Public may not be best for you if…

  • You’re not fascinated about managing your personal investments.
  • You desire a self-directed retirement account.
  • You wish to open a school financial savings account.
  • You’re not fascinated about connecting with an investor group.

Regularly Requested Questions (FAQs) About Public

We’ve rounded up solutions to the most typical questions on Public investing app.

Public is a well known and well-liked investing app with greater than 1 million customers and an organization valuation of greater than $1 billion as of February 2021, in line with TechCrunch. The corporate is a member of the SIPC, which insures investments as much as $500,000.

How Does Public Make Cash?

Public consists of an choice so as to add a tip if you make a commerce, although you possibly can nonetheless commerce completely free, and it affords a Premium subscription for $10 a month. It additionally earns cash in methods which can be widespread for monetary establishments: securities lending, curiosity on funding account balances and markups on crypto transactions. The corporate is backed by enterprise capital.

Does Public Earn Cost for Order Circulation?

No. Public beforehand earned cash via fee for order stream (PFOF), a kickback brokerages obtain for trades on their platform. Since Feb. 16, 2021, it’s discontinued the observe and now not earns cash this manner.

Is Public Investing Protected?

Like several investing you do via a reputable dealer, your investments with Public are SIPC-insured as much as $500,000. As with all investing, you threat shedding cash if the property you purchase via Public lower in worth.

Dana Miranda is a Licensed Educator in Private Finance®. She’s written about work and cash for publications together with Forbes, The New York Occasions, CNBC, The Motley Idiot, The Penny Hoarder and a column for Inc. Journal. She based Wholesome Wealthy to publish tales that illuminate the variety of {our relationships} with work and cash.

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