June 17, 2024

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

Public App

Accounts provided

Particular person/Taxable account

Accessible investments

Shares/ETFs/ Crypto/Alternate options/Treasuries

Upkeep, buying and selling, commissions charges



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


  • Slim choice 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 probably the greatest on-line brokers because of its simplicity and powerful give attention to training and social engagement.

Who’s the Public app finest for?

The Public is finest for funding newbies. Its finest 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 can assist you spend money on belongings you really consider in, even when the inventory costs are larger than you may afford. With Public, should you’ve bought at the least $1 to spend, you may make investments. To open an account, you will want at the least $20 to deposit into your account to get began.

Moreover, Public offers you the power to observe and message different buyers to additional your information and understanding. By watching how specialists on the Public commerce and asking them questions, you may pace by the training curve you’d most likely endure with competing funding apps.

Public app professionals and cons

Slim choice of account choices

Comparatively few funding varieties

Advantages of the Public app

Straightforward to make use of

Public is without doubt one of the less complicated buying and selling platforms. The consumer interface could 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 revenue to get began. You’ll be able to initially fund your account with simply $20 and begin buying shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for as little as $1.

Academic aspect

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 a great job of educating you the fundamentals. For those who use the sources Public gives, it might enable you turn out to be an adept investor in a brief period of time. It’s bought loads of “how you can” 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 should 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 worth of $150, you should buy as little as $1 value (which might get you an .00667 share) by way of Public.

Integrates social media

You’ll respect the buying and selling knowledge that the Public neighborhood shares with one another—and you may simply view different shares on Public that can assist you formulate your personal technique. Public additionally hosts discussions and allows you to direct-message different customers.

Pay for knowledge reporting and insights

For those who’re prepared to choose into Public’s paid membership referred to 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 in opposition to a Morningstar benchmark to assist establish areas of under- or over-exposure to sure inventory varieties or sectors
  • Morningstar’s bull and bear instances for all standard shares, together with unbiased reporting on aggressive pressures, enterprise technique, and extra.

You may also use Alpha, Public’s AI “investing co-pilot,” which can assist you to assimilate somewhat sophisticated knowledge. For instance, you may chat with Alpha about particular shares to study real-time historic data in a conversational manner.

How can the Public app be improved?

Slim choice of accounts on supply

A person taxable brokerage account is the one sort of account you may create with Public. You’ll be able to’t go for joint accounts, margin accounts, or retirement accounts, equivalent 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 buy are shares, ETFs, Treasuries, crypto, and different investments, equivalent to artwork and different collectibles.

Sparse options

Furthering the concept Public is finest suited to newbies is what it doesn’t supply. Unavailable are margin loans (which provide the skill to borrow cash to buy inventory) and screeners for shares, ETFs, fixed-income property, and different funding automobiles.

Once more, should you’re prepared to pay for Public Premium, you’re going to get extra 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, equivalent to funding training and ease of use. What’s extra, its skill to interact in fractional buying and selling is a refreshing function that isn’t a given with different apps and standard 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

Alternate options

$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 thirty days for M1 Plus membership

No upkeep charges or fee charges **
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)

In-person at native Chase branches
Social media

For instance, Tradestation—extensively thought-about one of many favourite choices for skilled 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 power to hunt assist by social media and 1000’s of brick-and-mortar Chase branches across the nation. These are options which can 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 completely different retirement accounts to custodial accounts to trusts and crypto.

All that is to say that if you’d like 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 offer you extra freedom.

Public app: In-depth evaluation


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 simply $20, you may start your funding journey.

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

Funding choices

Public has the whole lot to curiosity the novice investor. This consists of shares, ETFs, crypto, and different property, equivalent to uncommon collectibles. It additionally touts the power to purchase fractional shares.

An fascinating funding new to the platform is the power to put your money in a Treasuries account that are at the moment paying a 5.3% yield***, which is larger than many high-yield checking and financial savings accounts. It is a standard choice, as a result of it has low threat.

The large Achilles heel right here is which you can solely open particular person taxable accounts. It is a nonstarter for anybody concerned with joint accounts, retirement accounts, and many others.


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

  • Backtesting and automatic buying and selling aren’t supported.
  • There isn’t any 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 foremost focus is simplicity.


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

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

Once more, downloading the Public app is free, however you may choose into Public Premium for additional options. You’ll be able to pay both month-to-month ($10) or yearly ($96, which saves you $24 should you maintain 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 many others.


The Public app has a complete data heart that can assist you rapidly study 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 maybe its greatest win on this space. Informative articles are nice, however the skill to attach with different merchants (specialists, even) is usually a sport changer. You’ll be able to observe them and consider their Public investments, and you may even ship them direct messages or create group conversations.

Customer support

Public app gives barely above the naked minimal in terms of customer support. You’ll be able to dwell 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 be able to ship a direct message.

Safety and reliability

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

Public’s repute is nice. It has an A+ ranking with the Higher Enterprise Bureau, is freed from main lawsuits, and has closed 22 complaints up to now 12 months. 

How does the Public app make cash?

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

The underside line

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

Public App

Accounts provided

Particular person
Taxable account

Accessible investments

Alternate options

Account and buying and selling charges

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)

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.

Tips on how 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 scenario.

Tips on how 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 choice referred to as “Withdraw Funds.”

All investing includes the chance 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 different property 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 forex enterprise exercise by the NYSDFS. Cryptocurrency is extremely speculative, includes a excessive diploma of threat, and has the potential for lack of the whole quantity of an funding. Cryptocurrency holdings will not be 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; Might Lose Worth. ETFs, different property, cryptocurrency, and treasury providers can be found to US members solely.
See public.com/#disclosures-main for extra data.
*Whereas there are not any minimums to take care of 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 through the Common Buying and selling Hours. Take into account that different charges equivalent to regulatory charges, Premium subscription charges, commissions on trades throughout prolonged buying and selling hours, wire switch charges, and paper assertion charges might apply to your brokerage account. Please see Open to the Public Investing’s Price Schedule to study extra.
***Yield is an annualized 26-week T-bill fee (as of 12/18/2023) when held to maturity. Price is gross of charges and is topic to alter . Price 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.
It is a sponsored evaluation of Public.com performed by SARAH HOSTETLER for TIME Stamped. The creator performed a person evaluation of Public.com and different brokerage platforms referenced on this article. All opinions and experiences are these of the creator.
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