July 19, 2024
Public App Evaluate

The Public is a do-it-yourself funding instrument, based in 2017, that provides fundamental options for an uncomplicated buying and selling expertise. There are vital shortcomings (which we’ll define), nevertheless it’s received a couple of glorious options that, for many traders, will largely atone for these deficiencies.

Public App

Accounts provided

Particular person/Taxable account

Obtainable investments

Shares/ETFs/ Crypto/Options/Treasuries

Upkeep, buying and selling, commissions charges



  • Straightforward to make use of
  • Academic
  • Fractional share buying and selling
  • Integrates social media


  • Slender number of account choices
  • Comparatively few funding varieties
  • Sparse options

TIME’s Take: The Public app is the proper place to get your toes moist

The Public has turn out to be the most effective on-line brokers because of its simplicity and robust deal with training and social engagement.

Who’s the Public app greatest for?

The Public is greatest for funding rookies. Its greatest options all goal somebody simply studying the ropes and unwilling to right away dump giant sums of cash into the market.

For instance, Public provides you the choice to purchase a portion of a single share (known as a “fractional share”) that will help you spend money on belongings you really consider in, even when the inventory costs are larger than you possibly can afford. With Public, if you happen to’ve received at the very least $1 to spend, you possibly can make investments. To open an account, you will have at the very least $20 to deposit into your account to get began.

Moreover, Public provides you the power to observe and message different traders to additional your data and understanding. By watching how consultants on the Public commerce and asking them questions, you possibly can velocity by means of the training curve you’d most likely endure with competing funding apps.

Public app execs and cons

Slender number of account choices

Comparatively few funding varieties

Advantages of the Public app

Straightforward to make use of

Public is among the easier buying and selling platforms. The consumer interface could be very digestible, and its categorization of shares is intuitive.

You possibly can start your journey after answering only a few questions, and also you don’t want a pile of disposable revenue to get began. You possibly can initially fund your account with simply $20 and begin buying shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for as little as $1.

Academic component

Public does extra than simply drop a bunch of investing instruments in your lap and launch you into the wild. In the event you’re new to the world of investing, the app does a very good job of educating you the fundamentals. In the event you use the sources Public affords, it may well allow you to turn out to be an adept investor in a brief period of time. It’s received loads of “easy methods to” posts that pithily clarify frequent questions.

Fractional share buying and selling

Public’s fractional commerce sharing enables you to buy inventory from corporations with sky-high costs, even if you happen to don’t have the funds to buy a complete share.

For instance, if you wish to purchase inventory from an organization with a share worth of $150, you should purchase as little as $1 value (which might get you an .00667 share) through Public.

Integrates social media

You’ll admire the buying and selling knowledge that the Public group shares with one another—and you’ll simply view different shares on Public that will help you formulate your personal technique. Public additionally hosts discussions and allows you to direct-message different customers.

Pay for knowledge reporting and insights

In the event you’re keen to decide into Public’s paid membership known as Public Premium (solely $10/month), you’ll get useful rankings and reporting, largely with the assistance of funding analysis and administration firm Morningstar:

  • The power to personalize your investing expertise to align together with your investing technique with customized portfolio teams and self-directed worth alerts
  • Full breakdown of your asset allocation in contrast towards a Morningstar benchmark to assist determine areas of under- or over-exposure to sure inventory varieties or sectors
  • Morningstar’s bull and bear instances for all in style shares, together with impartial reporting on aggressive pressures, enterprise technique, and extra.

You can even use Alpha, Public’s AI “investing co-pilot,” which might help you to assimilate reasonably difficult knowledge. For instance, you possibly can chat with Alpha about particular shares to be taught real-time historic info in a conversational method.

How can the Public app be improved?

Slender number of accounts on provide

A person taxable brokerage account is the one kind of account you possibly can create with Public. You possibly can’t go for joint accounts, margin accounts, or retirement accounts, akin to conventional or Roth IRAs.

Comparatively few funding varieties

You gained’t discover many funding choices—for instance, no mutual funds and foreign currency trading—with Public. What you should purchase are shares, ETFs, Treasuries, crypto, and various investments, akin to artwork and different collectibles.

Sparse options

Furthering the concept Public is greatest fitted to rookies is what it doesn’t provide. Unavailable are margin loans (which provide the capability to borrow cash to buy inventory) and screeners for shares, ETFs, fixed-income belongings, and different funding autos.

Once more, if you happen to’re keen to pay for Public Premium, you’re going to get further options, together with superior knowledge and evaluation, third-party analysis, portfolio-management instruments, and improved customer support.

How does the Public app examine?

The Public holds its personal in a number of classes, akin to funding training and ease of use. What’s extra, its capability to interact in fractional buying and selling is a refreshing function that isn’t a given with different apps and in style buying and selling websites.

A look at competing funding platforms exposes Public’s varied deficiencies.

$100 ($500 for retirement accounts)

Particular person
Joint Retirement Entity

Particular person taxable account
Retirement accounts (IRA and Roth IRA)

Particular person
Joint Retirement (IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA)
Belief Custodial

Particular person
  taxable account

Mutual funds

Mutual funds
Mounted revenue


$125 payment for outgoing account transfers ($50 inactivity payment)

Inventory: $0 for as much as 10,000 shares (then as much as 0.5 cents per share)

Choices: Between 60 cents and $1 per contract

Mutual funds: $14.95 commissions.

Funding: $35 IRA account payment ($50 termination payment)

Crypto: Between $2 + .60% and .025% (relying on the dimensions of your orders and when they’re marketable)

No commissions for on-line shares, ETFs, mutual funds, and choices $75 account switch payment

Choices: $0.65 per commerce (plus $25 if representative-assisted)

As much as $20 per commerce transaction for representative-assisted mutual funds

No administration charges for accounts between $5,000 and $100,000

$100 termination payment for outgoing transfers and IRA closures

As much as 0.2% in expense ratios $10 per thirty days for M1 Plus membership

No upkeep charges or fee charges **
Crypto: As much as 1.25% payment

Different belongings: 2.5% per transaction

Automated buyer account Switch: $75 outgoing

Public Premium membership: $10/month (or $96/yr)

In-person at native Chase branches
Electronic mail
Social media

For instance, Tradestation—broadly thought of one of many favourite choices for knowledgeable traders—affords vastly extra market knowledge, intricate charting capabilities, and automatic buying and selling methods.

In the meantime, JP Morgan Self-Directed Investing shines in customer support, with the power to hunt assist by means of social media and 1000’s of brick-and-mortar Chase branches across the nation. These are options which might be unusual amongst investing apps.

M1 excels in its providing of account choices, which vary from particular person and joint accounts to a number of totally different retirement accounts to custodial accounts to trusts and crypto.

All that is to say that if you need a lite model of investing to get your toes moist, Public is the best way to go. When you’re dry behind the ears, you’ll most likely wish to look into platforms that provide you with extra freedom.

Public app: In-depth evaluation


Getting began with Public couldn’t be simpler. The app is free to obtain, and only a few probing questions later you’re able to go. With simply $20, you possibly can start your funding journey.

Utilizing the Public could be very self-explanatory, and it does a very good job at making knowledge clear and understandable. And whereas it largely embraces minimalism, you’ve additionally received the choice to make use of Public’s desktop website for a extra in-depth view of your information.

Funding choices

Public has all the pieces to curiosity the novice investor. This consists of shares, ETFs, crypto, and various belongings, akin to uncommon collectibles. It additionally touts the power to purchase fractional shares.

An attention-grabbing funding new to the platform is the power to position your money in a Treasuries account that are at present paying a 5.3% yield***, which is larger than many high-yield checking and financial savings accounts. This can be a in style possibility, as a result of it has low threat.

The large Achilles heel right here is which you can solely open particular person taxable accounts. This can be a nonstarter for anybody all for joint accounts, retirement accounts, and so forth.


There’s a lot that Public doesn’t do. For instance:

  • Backtesting and automatic buying and selling aren’t supported.
  • There is no such thing as a charting performance.
  • There aren’t any inventory/ETF screeners.
  • You possibly can’t stage a number of orders.

Customization isn’t a precedence with Public. Its principal focus is simplicity.


Public doesn’t take the nickel-and-dime method with its customers. You gained’t be penalized for issues akin to account upkeep and opening/closing accounts. It doesn’t implement account minimums. There aren’t any buying and selling charges or commissions for shares and ETF trades positioned throughout market hours. Different charges akin to regulatory charges, prolonged hours buying and selling, and so forth. apply. You possibly can view Public’s Payment Schedule [here](https://public.com/disclosures/fee-schedule/).

Public Investing can be celebrated for not accepting fee for order movement (PFOF) on fairness trades. That is when a brokerage agency is compensated for routing your order by means of market makers. With PFOF you may not be getting the most effective deal. “Zero-commission” buying and selling platforms make some huge cash with PFOF—so their greatest curiosity isn’t essentially your greatest curiosity.

Once more, downloading the Public app is free, however you possibly can decide into Public Premium for further options. You possibly can pay both month-to-month ($10) or yearly ($96, which saves you $24 if you happen to hold the app for a full yr).

There are additionally varied charges for the standard suspects: wire transfers, returned checks, extended-hours trades for shares and ETFs, and so forth.


The Public app has a complete info middle that will help you rapidly be taught the basics of the inventory market, in addition to ideas for investing and retirement. You possibly can even attend occasions and dialogue teams hosted by third events to additional your training.

Social options

Talking of training, Public’s social media high quality is maybe its greatest win on this space. Informative articles are nice, however the capability to attach with different merchants (consultants, even) could be a recreation changer. You possibly can observe them and think about their Public investments, and you’ll even ship them direct messages or create group conversations.

Customer support

Public app offers barely above the naked minimal in relation to customer support. You possibly can stay chat inside the app or ship an e-mail. Public additionally has Twitter and Instagram accounts listed on its Contact web page to which you’ll ship a direct message.

Safety and reliability

Public app affords a number of layers of safety to your account. It provides you AES 256-bit encryption at relaxation and TLS 1.2 or newer. It additionally requires two-factor authentication once you log in.

Regarding insurance coverage, Public Investing is a member of Securities Investor Safety Company (SIPC). Your securities are protected as much as $500,000, which incorporates $250,000 for money claims.

Firm status

Public’s status is sweet. It has an A+ score with the Higher Enterprise Bureau, is freed from main lawsuits, and has closed 22 complaints previously 12 months. 

How does the Public app earn a living?

In addition to Public’s premium membership, the corporate makes cash from curiosity on money balances which might be uninvested. Moreover, the app has a tipping possibility that you should use everytime you commerce.

The underside line

Whereas the Public app has so much going for it, it’s virtually actually going to underwhelm severe traders. And that’s okay—it has by no means claimed to be probably the most well-rounded selection. It shines in areas akin to simplicity, training, and the power to buy fractional shares.

Public App

Accounts provided

Particular person
Taxable account

Obtainable investments


Account and buying and selling charges

No upkeep charges, buying and selling charges, or commissions
Crypto: As much as 1.25% payment

Different belongings: 2.5% per transaction

Automated buyer account Switch: $75 outgoing

Public Premium membership: $10/month (or $96/yr)

Regularly requested questions (FAQs)

Is the Public app legit?

Sure. It ranks effectively with the BBB and hasn’t had any lawsuits that undermine the corporate’s integrity. It additionally affords bank-grade encryption and two-factor authentication to maintain your info protected.

The right way to use the Public app

The Public app downloads totally free in seconds, and creating your profile is fast and painless. Public affords many 1000’s of shares, that are categorized by “themes” to assist introduce you to potential investments that fit your particular state of affairs.

The right way to withdraw money from the Public app

To withdraw money inside the Public app, hit the menu icon within the prime left nook of the display screen. You’ll discover Account Settings on the backside. Scroll till you see “Transfers.” That is the place you’ll discover an possibility known as “Withdraw Funds.”

All investing includes the danger of loss, together with lack of principal. Brokerage providers for US-listed, registered securities are provided by Open to the Public Investing, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC. Brokerage providers for various belongings are provided by Dalmore Group, LLC, member FINRA & SIPC. Cryptocurrency buying and selling providers are provided by Bakkt Crypto Options, LLC (NMLS ID 1828849), which is licensed to interact in digital foreign money enterprise exercise by the NYSDFS. Cryptocurrency is very speculative, includes a excessive diploma of threat, and has the potential for lack of the complete quantity of an funding. Cryptocurrency holdings usually are not protected by the FDIC or SIPC. Brokerage providers for U.S. Treasuries are provided by Jiko Securities, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC. Banking providers are provided by Jiko Financial institution, a division of Mid-Central Nationwide Financial institution.
Securities investments: Not FDIC Insured; No Financial institution Assure; Could Lose Worth. ETFs, various belongings, cryptocurrency, and treasury providers can be found to US members solely.
See public.com/#disclosures-main for extra info.
*Whereas there aren’t any minimums to keep up an account, a minimal deposit quantity could also be required on the time of account opening.
**Fee-free buying and selling of shares refers to $0 commissions for Open to the Public Investing self-directed particular person money brokerage accounts that commerce the U.S.-listed, registered securities electronically throughout the Common Buying and selling Hours. Understand that different charges akin to regulatory charges, Premium subscription charges, commissions on trades throughout prolonged buying and selling hours, wire switch charges, and paper assertion charges could apply to your brokerage account. Please see Open to the Public Investing’s Payment Schedule to be taught extra.
***Yield is an annualized 26-week T-bill charge (as of 12/18/2023) when held to maturity. Charge is gross of charges and is topic to alter . Payment schedule at public.com/disclosures/fee-schedule.T-bills are bought in increments of $100 par worth at a reduction; any remaining stability after buy is held in money. All investing includes threat of loss. Previous efficiency is just not indicative of future outcomes. Dangers. US members solely.
This can be a sponsored evaluation of Public.com performed by SARAH HOSTETLER for TIME Stamped. The writer performed a person evaluation of Public.com and different brokerage platforms referenced on this article. All opinions and experiences are these of the writer.