M1 Finance vs Public 2024

Jeremy Biberdorf
By: Jeremy Biberdorf
Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. This means we earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase a product through our links.

The modern world of online trading is quickly saying goodbye to commissions and hello to commission-free trading. As the stock market continually becomes more accessible to less wealthy investors, companies have had to find ways to entice new customers to use their financial products.

However, while many people may be interested in the idea of investing, not everyone has the patience—or the time—to build a diversified portfolio from the ground up. Fortunately, many modern platforms are being designed with the beginner in mind, allowing anyone to begin their investing journey with minimal effort.

We’ll be taking a closer look at two such services in this M1 Finance vs Public comparison piece. Offering a low barrier to entry, a simplistic style of investing, fractional shares, and plenty of educational support for newer investors, these platforms seem great at first glance.

Is there anything you should be aware of before signing up? Let’s find out!

M1 Finance is Better for:Public is Better for:
Passive investingActive investing
Banking solutionsTrade-based social networking
Retirement accountsCrypto investing

While comparing these two platforms, it’s important to look out for any fees or extra charges that may be added to your taxable accounts. It’s common for fees to be charged based on your AUM (assets under management); maintenance fees are also something you may run into.

Applicable fees, available asset types, and platform limitations are always things you should pay close attention to when trying to choose a platform for your investment accounts.

M1 Finance Public
Platform Type Robo-advisor Investment platform
Free Features Automated investing, research access, line of credit Trading, educational resources, social networking, fractional shares, mobile app
Paid Features High interest APY, lower interest on margin loans, smart transfers, 1.0% cashback M1 Spend account), extended trading hours, custodial accounts Market data, portfolio management tools, trading support, extended trading hours
Subscription Fees $125 annual fee for M1 Plus $0 - $10 per month
Best Use Passive investing Fractional investing
Current Promotion Learn More Learn More
Modest Money Overall Rating
5.0 rating based on 5 ratings
4.5 rating based on 5 ratings

Factor 1: Free Features

First, we’ll take a look at the free features offered by each platform.

Public requires less to get started

  • Both platforms are beginner-friendly
  • M1 requires a minimum initial balance of $100
  • Public doesn’t have a minimum deposit required

M1 Finance

This platform supports mutual funds, stocks, and crypto. M1 Finance doesn’t offer much in the way of investment choices, but this is on purpose.

Newer investors often find making investment choices intimidating. However, M1 Finance eliminates this issue, instead giving investors their choice of “pie” based on their preferred investment strategy/risk level. Each pie is a pre-built portfolio containing various assets.

These pies are free of management fees, support fractional shares, and even offer dynamic rebalancing for a truly hands-off investing experience.


Unlike M1 Finance’s investment platform, Public takes a more hands-on approach. Although it still supports fractional shares, Public allows investors to build their own investment portfolio by choosing individual stocks and assets.

Investors can begin their journey of fractional share investing with as little as $5, and the platform even offers crypto trading! Thanks to zero-commission trading fees, Public is perfect for long-term investors who want to be in complete control of their portfolio (but don’t want to waste a lot on fees).

Factor 2: Paid Features

Next, let’s look at the benefits of a premium membership on each platform!

M1 Finance Offers an Instant Premium Experience

  • M1 Plus unlocks new account options for users
  • Public’s Premium plan is supplemented by MorningStar
  • M1 Plus can be subscribed to at any time

M1 Finance

M1 Plus is M1 Finance’s premium membership. It offers the chance to commingle your taxable brokerage with your personal finances, providing benefits for both. M1 Plus members get an M1 spend account (complete with a debit card), lower interest on margin loans, and extended trading hours.

They’re also able to use the “Smart Transfers” feature, which allows users to automate transfers between their Spend and Investment accounts.


The majority of the stock trading platform’s investment opportunities are accessible with a free account. However, a Premium account does offer a few benefits.

You’ll have access to a few features that will certainly help you make informed investment decisions and take advantage of new investment opportunities. Premium members are provided with market data and expert analyses (courtesy of MorningStar), as well as a small variety of portfolio management tools.

Active investors should try to get a premium membership on this investing platform, as on-demand data can be extremely beneficial for everyday trading activity!

Factor 3: Subscription Costs

Lastly, let’s take a look at the subscription costs. Having a premium membership can be helpful, but not if the fees cut into your profits and substantially delay you from reaching your investment goals!

Public costs slightly less

  • Public Premium costs less than $100 per year if billed annually
  • M1 Plus is billed annually
  • Public Premium offers both monthly & annual billing

M1 Finance

M1 Plus is only billed annually. The plan costs $125 per year, which averages out to around $10.42 per month.
Learn More Abut M1 Finance


A year of Public’s Premium plan is offered for $96 ($8 per month) if you pay for the entire year upfront. However, if you’d prefer to be billed monthly, the cost rises slightly to $10 per month.
Learn More About Public.com

M1 Finance vs Public: Our Summary

Both platforms are great for beginning investors who need a streamlined way to reach their financial goals. That said, they clearly take a different approach to investing. The platform you should choose ultimately depends on whether you’re an active or a passive investor.

If you’d like to manage your investments and finances on a single platform, enjoy cashback on debit card purchases, set up custodial accounts for younger family members, and have your portfolio managed automatically, then M1 Pro is a great option. Only interested in hands-off investing? M1 Finance is the plan for you.

You can sign up for M1 Finance by clicking here.

On the other hand, if you’re a hands-on investor who wants to individually pick, manage, and monitor your stock choices then Public is a much better choice. Offering commission-free trading, MorningStar market data, and an extensive community of online traders, Public is great for investors who just want to dive right into the market.

Click here to start investing on Public with as little as $5!