Beginner investors have many different investment options when searching for online brokers. However, not all online investing platforms are created equally, nor do they offer the same investing experience.
Some platforms—such as M1 Finance—allow users to completely automate their investing strategies, whereas others only support manually-made trades. Some platforms still charge investors a per-trade fee, while many have jumped onto the commission-free trading bandwagon.
In this short article, we’ll be taking a look at a lesser-known investment app and website: Public.com! The platform is completely free of trading fees, supports a variety of asset trading types (including cryptocurrency trading and ETF trading), and even allows investors to purchase fractional shares.
Of course, every platform has its downsides, so where does Public.com fall flat? By the end of this article, you’ll have your answer. Keep reading to find out if this service could become your go-to investing service
Get Started with Public.com
What is Public.com?
Public.com is a unique investing platform designed to provide a streamlined yet diverse trading experience for novice investors. That said, there’s no reason why more seasoned investors can’t enjoy the platform as well!
In terms of trading potential, Public supports a wide range of asset types. It supports fractional share trading of stocks, ETFs, crypto, and alternative assets. Combined with its zero-commission trading, this means investors can begin investing with as little as $5 in their account.
The platform offers multiple educational resources that traders can use to develop a comprehensive investment strategy, excellent customer support, and a unique social media aspect.
Traders using Public.com can instantly connect with the public community of investors on the platform, allowing them to share trading ideas and investment strategies with fellow members.
Public.com offers a few different investment opportunities, including stock trading, crypto trading, alternative asset trading, and trading exchange-traded funds. However, like many other beginner-friendly investing apps, it doesn’t support more advanced types of trading like options contracts.
This platform—which can be accessed from either the website or the trading app—supports commission-free trades of fraction shares. By allowing fractional investing shares, traders aren’t limited to only investing in stocks where they can afford the entire share prices. This makes the stock market more accessible to casual traders.
Public.com allows traders to easily invest in the stock market and doesn’t require a minimum investment, but the platform does impose some limitations. While advanced investors will likely appreciate the ability to invest in fine art alongside stock shares, they will only be able to do so from taxable brokerage accounts
Currently, the platform does not support tax-advantaged brokerage accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s.
The social features are where the “Public” name begins to make sense. Making investment choices in the stock market can often feel like a solo venture. However, Public.com aims to make your trading experience a little more personal by offering a form of social investing.
While “social investing” often refers to socially-responsible investing (which Public does offer), in this case, we’re referring to something entirely different. When you join Public, you’re asked to choose a username for your profile.
Depending on your investment choices, you’ll start to see different posts from other investors show up in your news feed. The feed allows you to follow other traders, see their portfolios, listen to different opinions, and share investment advice.
The social feed isn’t necessarily a critical feature that you absolutely need to take advantage of, but it is one of the unique, core features that Public.com has to offer.
Public offers two memberships: the free plan and the “Premium” plan. The basic plan includes all of the features mentioned in this review so far. Essentially, the basic plan allows everyday investors to invest in public companies, popular cryptocurrencies, ETFs, and alternative assets on a public platform, but it doesn’t provide them with any trading support.
The premium plan offers subscribers market data and portfolio management tools to help them take their trading to the next level. Thanks to Public’s partnership with Morningstar, Public Premium members have instant access to expert opinions and analyses.
The Premium plan also supports extended trading hours and subscriber-only content, which is a great value for only $10/month. Unfortunately, you can’t sign up for Premium directly. You have to join the waitlist, and wait for your account to be approved!
Like any other trading platform, Public.com shines in some aspects and falls short in others. Here are the key takeaways you’ll want to know about this platform.
- Offers commission-free trades & allows traders to purchase fractional shares
- Supports thousands of stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and alternative asset types
- Doesn’t require a minimum deposit for opening an investor profile
- Provide multiple education resources for members
- Premium subscriptions are offered but not required
- Only supports limited account types (no retirement accounts or joint accounts)
- Individual brokerage accounts
- Doesn’t support mutual funds, margin trading, futures, or options contracts
- Social networking features may not appeal to advanced investors
- Although day trading is technically possible using Public.com, the platform is not ideal for day trading
Is Public.com Right for You?
The platform can be used by active investors, but there are better alternatives for day & swing trading. Since it doesn’t support mutual funds, options, futures, or margin trading, investors seeking these types of investment opportunities will have to look elsewhere.
However, for casual long-term investors, Public.com is an excellent platform to invest with. Offering excellent customer service, the option to purchase fractional shares, a low minimum investment, and support for alternative asset types, it seems to have all the basics covered.
Whether you opt for the free membership or sign up for the Premium waitlist, we think most investors will be able to benefit from using Public. It’s simple, straightforward, and yet flexible enough to fit most investing styles.
If you’re interested in joining this commission-free stock & asset platform, get started today by clicking here!
Get Started with Public.com