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Public App Review: Is Public Legit & Worth Your Time? (+Pros & Cons)

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Public App Review

publicapp logo

Public is an investing platform that provides stock market information and advice to help you become a better investor. On the app, you can access stock market analyses from other investors and analysts, discover new stocks to invest in, and learn more about stocks and the stock market. Users can also start investing with any amount of money with the platform’s real-time fractional investing tech.

Legit & Safe

Service Fees

Min Investment

Portfolio Mix

Pros

  • Fractional investing – buy stocks from just $1. You don’t have to buy an entire share but can just buy a fraction of a share based on your capital.
  • No transaction fees – the app does not charge any commission or membership fees and you pay $0 in fees when you buy and sell stocks on the app.
  • Learn more about investing – Public offers over 100 free articles to teach new investors about aspects of the stock market, such as IPOs and crypto.
  • Low commission for crypto trades – crypto trades are processed by Apex Crypto, which charges a commission rate of between 1% to 2% for every trade.

Cons

  • Long waiting time for withdrawals – if you want to withdraw your cash from the platform, you will need to wait up to 5 days for the payment to clear.
  • Only available on mobile – there is only 1 way to trade stocks on Public – via the mobile app. Hence, you cannot view your investments from a desktop.

Best Investment Apps

Acorns

Acorns logo

Invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio built by experts

Expect up to 7.5% annually returns with plans starting from $3 a month

Earn bonus investments from 350+ Acorns Earn partners

Fundrise

Fundrise logo

Invest in real estate properties with a $10 minimum initial investment

Historical annual return varies from 8.8% to 12.4% (2019 – 9.47%)

Low annual fees: advisory – 0.15%; management fee – 0.85%

Public App

Public App logo

Invest in stocks and funds from $1 (no membership or commission fees)

Over 5000 stocks and ETFs to choose from (dividend stocks available)

Follow other investors, see their portfolios, and exchange ideas

What is Public App?


Public App is a stock and ETF trading app with a mobile phone brokerage app, the company offers fractional investing, a trendy term also known as micro-investing. 

It means you can purchase small amounts of a stock or ETF without paying the minimum price for a single share. Public App stands out for its social element that lets you follow and connect with friends and experts in the community. 

Public App also has a collaborative community of more than 1 million people—40% women and 45% BIPOC. The primary goal of the company is to help open investing to a broader audience by making stock purchases more affordable.

how to invest money

How Does Public App Work?


Public App allows you to;

  • Invest in many companies with fractional shares of stocks and ETFs. Regardless of the full share price, you could own slices of stock.
  • Enjoy a commission-free trade whenever you want to sell or trade any stock you own, you can do it without being charged. There are also no account maintenance fees, no account minimums, or monthly service fees.
  • Track your investments after you’ve chosen and invested in the stock.

Who is Public App Best For?


  • Beginner investors looking for fractional shares.
  • Investors who want a community element and connection while investing.
  • Long-term investors. 
  • Investors with minimal money to start or contribute regularly. 
how can investors receive compounding returns

How Much Can You Earn with Public App?


The amount you can earn investing with the Public app completely varies from company to company whose stocks you’re buying.

But apart from investing, the Public app offers a high-interest cash account. This means you can generate an annual 2.5% interest on up to $10,000 of your uninvested cash.

Public App Fees: How Much Does it Cost to Invest with Public App?


Public App is a totally free app to use, that has no membership or commission fees. The app doesn’t even charge you any transaction fees. 

However, Public App offers some advanced services requiring additional payment, such as:

  • Broker-manned phone trades – $30
  • Domestic wire transfer – $30
  • Domestic overnight checks – $35
  • Returned checks or stop payments – $30
  • ACAT outgoing – $75
  • Paper statements – $35

Public App Features: What Does Public App Offer?


Obviously, the main Public App feature is that it allows you to easily invest in stocks. But that’s not all this app has to offer. In fact, I’ve found some beneficial features you can leverage.

Buy Slices of Stock or the Entire Thing


The Public app gives you an opportunity to buy either just a slice of stock or the entire thing.

For example, if a stock costs $1,000 per share and you want to invest just $100, you can buy 0.1 shares. Or if a stock costs $200 per share and you want to invest $500, you’ll be buying 2.5 shares.

To buy slices of stocks or fractional shares, you just need to enter the dollar amount that you’re willing to invest. The app will automatically calculate the amount of slices/fractions you’ll be getting for that amount.

User-Friendly Categorization


It’s usually pretty hard to understand anything when you look at a list of stock options, especially if you’re just starting.

Public App, on the other hand, strives to make investing in stocks easy for everyone. That’s why they categorize stocks into user-friendly themes, enabling you to choose the stocks to invest in based on your personal preferences.

So for example, if you’re passionate about new-age industries, you can open the appropriate theme and browse for the companies you can invest in. 

Just a few examples of Public app’s themes are:

  • New Kids on the Block (recently IPO-ed companies)
  • The Future is Female (S&P companies with female CEOs)
  • Cannabis
  • BioTech
  • Self-Driving Cars
  • Etc. 

High-Interest Cash Accounts


In addition to the dividends you earn on your investments, Public allows you to earn interest on your cash accounts. 

The app offers you an interest rate of 2.5% on up to $10,000 of your uninvested cash.

Social Community of Investors


Reflecting its name, Public has a large community forum where traders can share their experiences, recommendations and ask questions. 

For sure, this social forum helps everyone – new and veteran investors alike – to get more information and insights to invest smarter.

Built-in Chat Support


While this may sound like not big of a deal at first, having access to built-in chat support right into your app is a game-changer. 

Especially, when you’re a beginner investor, there’s no surprise that you’ll have some questions. And chat support is there to answer all of your investing questions as well as manage technical issues that you might encounter.

You don’t need your own digital wallet to invest in cryptocurrency with Public App. Public App uses  Apex Crypto to facilitate transactions and securely store your investments.

Public App Requirements


To sign up for with Public App, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Have a legal U.S. residential address
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident, or have a valid visa

Public App Payout Terms and Options?


Public App will automatically send your interest income to your bank account or credit card. For stocks that pay dividends, you have the option to reinvest the dividends or withdraw and you will not be charged a fee for this service.

Public App Risks: Is Public App Safe to Invest with?


Public App is SIPC insured against brokerage failure. Its means each customer is protected up to $500,000 in securities and a limit of $250,000 in cash. Public App also uses AES 128-bit encryption and TLS 1.2 to secure data in transit.

which investment type typically carries the least risk

How Does Public App Protects Your Money?


Public App has put into place all the necessary guidelines, protections, and guardrails to ensure that your money is secure and without threat. For instance, it uses SIPC insurance to protect individual investors from losses. 

Public App Reviews: Is Public App Legit?


Public app is a legit company, holding SIPC insurance. On the App Store, Public App has a rating of  4.7 while on Google Play it has a rating of 4.5 with mostly five-star reviews and positive customer sentiments. 

Many high ratings revolve around the app’s user-friendly interface, friendly customer support, and social features. Other reviewers also praised the community aspect of the platform. Some of the negative reviews complain about long wait periods for withdrawing money, bad service, and a glitchy app experience. 

That said, Public App is a legit platform that makes it easy for you to invest any amount of money in companies that you love while doing it commission-free.

How Does Public App Make Money?


As Public is a commission-free app, you might be wondering how they’re doing money.

In fact, Public app makes money in various ways:

  • Securities lending – some people’s investment strategy includes shorting stock. This simply means that someone will borrow stock in order to sell it at the current market price with the goal to buy it back at a lower price and return borrowed shares to the lender. And Public makes money on this service via a lending rebate.
  • Interest on uninvested cash balances – current interest rate set by the Federal Reserve is 0.2%.
  • Smart order routing – when you execute the trade Public receives a rebate.
  • Subscription fees – while Public doesn’t offer paid premium membership yet, they plan on offering premium features in the future.

Public App Pros & Cons

Public App Pros


  • Free investment platform – there are no commission or membership fees
  • The social forum of investors is a great place to learn more and make smarter investments
  • Ability to trade fractional stocks in real-time
  • 2.5% interest rate on your uninvested cash 

Public App Cons


  • Not available on desktop devices – you can only manage your investments on your mobile apps
  • Lots of investing knowledge

How Good Is Public App Support and Knowledge Base?


Public App has a library of resources on its mobile app. You will find a good selection of articles related to investing and the stock market. You can also access the FAQs, contact them via email, or send a note using the in-app live chat. 

Public App Review Verdict: Is Public App Worth it?


Overall, if you weigh the pros and cons Public App has, it obviously has more benefits than downsides. 

The best thing about the Public app is that you can learn a lot from other investors and leverage their experiences. Not to mention that there are no membership or commission fees you have to pay.

To sum up, Public is a totally free tool to use, which is great if you’re just starting with investing and want to invest small amounts of cash.

How to Sign Up with Public App?


To get started with Public App;

  • Download the App
  • Complete your investment application
  • Verify your information and get an approval notification
  • Fund your account and start investing

Sites Like Public App


Public AppFundriseBettermentAcornsStash App
Fees01%0.25% annual fee$1-$5 per month$1-$9 per month
Account Minimum0$10$0$0$5
Reinvestment optionYesYesYesYesYes
Promotion2.5% APY up to $10K90 days of no advisory fees per referral.Retirement savings fund$75 when you set up direct deposit with Acorns and receive two direct deposits of at least $250 per depositOne month free management

Public App vs. Fundrise


Fundrise Summary

  • Low minimum starting investment of $10
  • High historical returns of 8.8% to 12.4%
  • 0.15% advisory 0.85% management fees
  • Diverse portfolios of up to 16 investments

Fundrise is an investment platform that allows you to invest in real estate projects across the USA. While Funrise and Public App are both popular, Fundrise’s major focus is Real estate investment. Fundrise also has a minimum investment requirement of $10 compared to Public App which has none. 

In addition, Fundrise charges 1% as fees against  Public App which charges no fees. Otherwise, both websites are easy-to-use platforms that provide you with various investment opportunities.

Public App vs. Betterment


Betterment Summary

  • Transparent fees of just 0.25% per year
  • Insured by SIPC for up to $500,000
  • 7+ pre-built portfolios to choose from
  • Start investing from as little as $10

While Betterment allows you to invest in fractional stocks as well, the Public app offers more advanced features that Betterment does not. For example, unlike Betterment, the Public app offers a social forum where investors share their experiences, built-in chat support that lets you get answers to any questions – technical or investing.

And most importantly, the Public app provides you a list of companies you can invest in and gives you a real-time setting for investments, which Betterment doesn’t offer.

Public App vs. Acorns

Acorns Summary

  • Low account fees from just $3 per month
  • Get $5 in your account for referrals
  • Low minimum starting investment amount
  • High average return on investments of 7.5%

Just like the Public app, Acorns is a commission-free investment app that allows you to invest in fractional costs. But the difference between the 2 companies is that the Public app is more transparent than Acorns.

This means, Public app categorizes companies you can invest in, plus gives you additional information about the brands each company owns. Additionally, Acorns doesn’t provide a social forum where you can learn directly from other investors.

Public App vs. Stash App

Stash Summary

  • Start investing from as little as $5
  • Buy fractional shares from just 0.05%
  • Low monthly fee of just $1 for beginners
  • Free insurance coverage of up to $10,000

Stash app is another alternative to the Public app when it comes to fractional trading. However, there are lots of differences these apps have. The main one is financial: while the Public app is completely free to use, the Stash app has membership and service fees. Plus, the Public app offers automatic reinvestment of your dividends, while the Stash app doesn’t.

Other Sites Like Public App


Public App FAQ

Does public have a web platform?


No. Clients are only able to access their Public App accounts from within one of its mobile apps.

Can you trade mutual funds on the Public App?


No, mutual funds, bonds, or any other assets besides stocks and ETFs aren’t currently supported on Public App’s investing platform.

Do I need a phone number to download the Public App?


Yes. Public App makes it convenient and secure to request your number for them to text a link to your phone.

Why does Public need my social security number?


Since the passage of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all investment brokers to verify their identity, address, and citizenship.

Can I use Public App in Canada or Europe?


For now, Public App is only available in the US.

You can use Public App’s limit or stop orders to automatically set up your buy and sell price points. This way you can automate your trades directly from your phone.

Public App

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