July 20, 2024
Public App Overview

The Public app is a do-it-yourself funding software, based in 2017, that provides fundamental options for an uncomplicated buying and selling expertise. There are vital shortcomings (which we’ll define), but it surely’s obtained a couple of wonderful options that, for many buyers, will largely atone for these deficiencies.

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

The Public app has turn into among the best on-line brokers due to its simplicity and powerful give attention to schooling and social engagement.

Who’s the Public app greatest for?

The Public app is greatest for funding inexperienced persons. Its greatest options all goal somebody simply studying the ropes and unwilling to instantly dump massive 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 purchase stuff you truly consider in, even when the inventory costs are larger than you’ll be able to afford. With Public, in the event you’ve obtained at the very least $1 to spend, you’ll be able to make investments.

Moreover, Public offers you the power to observe and message different buyers to additional your data and understanding. By watching how specialists on the Public app commerce and asking them questions, you’ll be able to velocity by the training curve you’d in all probability endure with competing funding apps.

Public app professionals and cons

Slender choice of account choices

Comparatively few funding sorts

Advantages of the Public app

Simple to make use of

Public is among the easier buying and selling platforms. The person 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 earnings to get began. You possibly can fund your account with simply $1 and begin  buying shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Instructional aspect

Public does extra than simply drop a bunch of investing instruments in your lap and launch you into the wild. In case you’re new to the world of investing, the app does a very good job of instructing you the fundamentals. In case you use the assets Public presents, it can civilize you into an adept investor in a brief period of time. It’s obtained loads of “methods to” posts that pithily clarify widespread questions.

Fractional share buying and selling

Public’s fractional commerce sharing enables you to buy inventory from corporations 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) by way of Public.

Integrates social media

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

How can the Public app be improved?

Slender choice of accounts on supply

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

Comparatively few funding sorts

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 different investments, comparable to artwork and different collectibles.

Sparse options

Furthering the concept that Public is greatest suited to inexperienced persons what it doesn’t supply. This contains margin loans (which provide the skill to borrow cash to buy inventory) and screeners for shares, ETFs, fixed-income belongings, and different funding automobiles. You additionally don’t get many analytical instruments, comparable to charting or portfolio evaluations.

In case you’re prepared to pay for Public Premium, you’ll 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 app holds its personal in a number of classes, comparable to funding schooling and ease of use. What’s extra, its skill 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


Mutual funds

Mutual funds
Mounted earnings

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

Various belongings: 2.5% per transaction

Automated buyer account Switch: $75 outgoing

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

$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 monthly for M1 Plus membership

In-person at native Chase branches
Electronic mail
Social media

For instance, Tradestation—extensively thought of one of many favourite choices for knowledgeable buyers—presents 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 hundreds 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 would like a lite model of investing to get your toes moist, Public is the way in which 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 evaluate


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 a single greenback you’ll be able to start your funding journey.

Utilizing the Public app 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 obtained the choice to make use of Public’s desktop website for a extra in-depth view of your information.

Funding choices

Public has the whole lot to curiosity the novice investor. This contains shares, ETFs, crypto, and different belongings, comparable to uncommon collectibles. It additionally touts the power to purchase fractional shares.

An attention-grabbing funding new to the platform is the power 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 possibility, as a result of it has low threat.

The large Achilles heel right here is that you would be able to solely open particular person taxable accounts. It is a nonstarter for anybody excited about 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 isn’t any charting performance.
  • There are not any inventory/ETF screeners.
  •  You possibly can’t stage a number of orders.

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


Public doesn’t take the nickel-and-dime strategy 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 circulate (PFOF). 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 greatest curiosity isn’t essentially your greatest curiosity.

Once more, downloading the Public app is free, however you’ll be able to decide into Public Premium for additional options. You possibly can pay both month-to-month ($10) or yearly ($96, which saves you $24 in the event you hold the app for a full yr).

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 info heart that can assist you rapidly be taught the basics of the inventory market, in addition to suggestions for investing and retirement. You possibly can even attend occasions and dialogue teams hosted by third events to additional your schooling.

Social options

Talking of schooling, Public’s social media high quality is probably its greatest win on this space. Informative articles are nice, however the skill to attach with different merchants (specialists, even) generally is a recreation changer. You possibly can observe them and consider their Public investments, and you’ll even ship them direct messages or create group conversations.

Customer support

Public offers barely above the naked minimal in the case of 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 presents 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 once 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 status

Public’s status is sweet. 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?

Moreover 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 need to use everytime you commerce.

The underside line

Whereas the Public app has quite a bit going for it, it’s virtually 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, schooling, and the power to buy fractional shares.

Regularly requested questions (FAQs)

Is the Public app legit?

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

Easy methods to use the Public app

The Public app downloads without cost in seconds, and creating your profile is fast and painless. Public presents many hundreds of shares, that are categorized by “themes” to assist introduce you to potential investments that fit your particular scenario.

Easy methods to withdraw money from the Public app

To withdraw money inside the Public app, hit the menu icon within the high 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 referred to as “Withdraw Funds.”


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