July 19, 2024
Public App Evaluate

The Public app is a do-it-yourself funding instrument, based in 2017, that gives fundamental options for an uncomplicated buying and selling expertise. There are important shortcomings (which we’ll define), however it’s acquired just a few wonderful options that, for many buyers, will largely atone for these deficiencies.

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

The Public app has turn into among the finest on-line brokers because of its simplicity and powerful give attention to training and social engagement.

Who’s the Public app greatest for?

The Public app is greatest for funding freshmen. 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 offers you the choice to purchase a portion of a single share (referred to as a “fractional share”) that will help you purchase belongings you truly imagine in, even when the inventory costs are larger than you possibly can afford. With Public, in the event you’ve acquired no less than $1 to spend, you possibly can make investments.

Moreover, Public offers you the flexibility to comply with and message different buyers to additional your data and understanding. By watching how specialists on the Public app commerce and asking them questions, you possibly can velocity via the educational curve you’d in all probability endure with competing funding apps.

Public app professionals and cons

Slim number of account choices

Comparatively few funding varieties

Advantages of the Public app

Straightforward to make use of

Public is without doubt one of the easier buying and selling platforms. The consumer interface may be very digestible, and its categorization of shares is intuitive.

You’ll be able to start your journey after answering just some questions, and also you don’t want a pile of disposable earnings to get began. You’ll be able to fund your account with simply $1 and begin  buying shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Academic component

Public does extra than simply drop a bunch of investing instruments in your lap and launch you into the wild. For those who’re new to the world of investing, the app does job of educating you the fundamentals. For those who use the sources Public gives, it can civilize you into an adept investor in a brief period of time. It’s acquired loads of “learn how to” posts that pithily clarify widespread questions.

Fractional share buying and selling

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

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

Integrates social media

You’ll recognize the buying and selling knowledge that the Public neighborhood shares with one another—and you may 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.

How can the Public app be improved?

Slim number of accounts on provide

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

Comparatively few funding varieties

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

Sparse options

Furthering the concept Public is greatest fitted to freshmen what it doesn’t provide. This consists of margin loans (which provide the capability to borrow cash to buy inventory) and screeners for shares, ETFs, fixed-income property, and different funding autos. You additionally don’t get many analytical instruments, comparable to charting or portfolio evaluations.

For those who’re prepared 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 app holds its personal in a number of classes, comparable to funding training and ease of use. What’s extra, its capability to interact in fractional buying and selling is a refreshing characteristic that isn’t a given with different apps and fashionable buying and selling websites.

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

$100 ($500 for retirement accounts)

Particular person
  taxable account

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

Alternate options

Mutual funds

Mutual funds
Mounted earnings

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

Different property: 2.5% per transaction

Automated buyer account Switch: $75 outgoing

Public Premium membership: $10/month (or $96/12 months)

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

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 charge ($50 termination charge)

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

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

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 charge for outgoing transfers and IRA closures

As much as 0.2% in expense ratios $10 per 30 days for M1 Plus membership

In-person at native Chase branches
Electronic mail
Social media

For instance, Tradestation—broadly thought of one of many favourite choices for knowledgeable buyers—gives 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 flexibility to hunt assist via 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 in order for you 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 in all probability need to look into platforms that provide you with extra freedom.

Public app: In-depth assessment


Getting began with Public couldn’t be simpler. The app is free to obtain, and just some probing questions later you’re able to go. With a single greenback you possibly can start your funding journey.

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

Funding choices

Public has all the things to curiosity the novice investor. This consists of shares, ETFs, crypto, and various property, comparable to uncommon collectibles. It additionally touts the flexibility to purchase fractional shares.

An attention-grabbing funding new to the platform is the flexibility to put your money in a Treasuries account. Public at the moment pegs the return price at 5.5%, which is considerably larger than most high-yield checking and financial savings accounts. It is a fashionable choice, as a result of it has low threat.

The massive Achilles heel right here is that you would be able to solely open particular person taxable accounts. It is a nonstarter for anybody excited by 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 are not any inventory/ETF screeners.
  •  You’ll be able to’t stage a number of orders.

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


Public doesn’t take the nickel-and-dime method with its customers. You received’t be penalized for issues comparable to account upkeep and opening/closing accounts. It doesn’t implement account minimums. There are not any buying and selling charges or commissions.

Public can also be celebrated for not accepting cost for order stream (PFOF). That is when a brokerage agency is compensated for routing your order via market makers. With PFOF you won’t be getting the perfect 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 choose into Public Premium for further options. You’ll be able to pay both month-to-month ($10) or yearly ($96, which saves you $24 in the event you hold the app for a full 12 months).

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


The Public app has a complete data heart that will help you rapidly be taught the basics of the inventory market, in addition to ideas for investing and retirement. You’ll be able to 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 probably its largest win on this space. Informative articles are nice, however the capability to attach with different merchants (specialists, even) could be a recreation changer. You’ll be able to comply with them and consider their Public investments, and you may even ship them direct messages or create group conversations.

Customer support

Public gives barely above the naked minimal relating to customer support. You’ll be able to reside chat throughout the app or ship an electronic mail. Public additionally has Twitter and Instagram accounts listed on its Contact web page to which you’ll be able to ship a direct message.

Safety and reliability 

Public gives a number of layers of safety in your account. It offers you AES 256-bit encryption at relaxation and TLS 1.2 or newer. It additionally requires two-factor authentication whenever you log in.

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

Firm popularity

Public’s popularity 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 generate profits?

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

The underside line

Whereas the Public app has loads going for it, it’s nearly definitely going to underwhelm critical buyers. And that’s okay—it has by no means claimed to be probably the most well-rounded selection. It shines in areas comparable to simplicity, training, and the flexibility to buy fractional shares.

Continuously requested questions (FAQs)

Is the Public app legit?

Sure. It ranks properly with the BBB and hasn’t had any lawsuits that undermine the corporate’s integrity. It additionally gives bank-grade encryption and two-factor authentication to maintain your data secure.

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 gives 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 throughout the Public app, hit the menu icon within the prime left nook of the display. You’ll discover Account Settings on the backside. Scroll till you see “Transfers.” That is the place you’ll discover an choice referred to as “Withdraw Funds.”