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

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Public App Review

Public App logo

As the name suggests, the Public app is a social platform for all your stock market needs. This app enables you to follow other investors, discover companies with high potential, and most importantly, invest with any amount of money.

Legit & Safe

Service Fees

Min Investment

Portfolio Mix

Pros

  • Possible to buy shares in small dollar amounts
  • Free investment platform – there are no commission or membership fees
  • 2.5% interest rate on your uninvested cash 
  • Ability to trade fractional stocks (or the whole thing) in real-time

Cons

  • Only stocks and ETFs from major exchanges
  • Not available on desktop devices – you can only manage your investments on your mobile apps

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Have you ever wished you could start investing in stocks just like famous investors do?

If so, you’ve probably put that wish on the side because of how hard and luxurious it sounds.

The best news is, there are apps that make it easy for you to invest in stocks or even slices of stocks. And one of such apps is called Public.

Keep on reading this Public app review to get all the information you need before committing to investing.

Let’s begin!

What is Public App & How Does it Work?


As the name suggests, the Public app is a social platform for all your stock market needs. This app enables you to follow other investors, discover companies with high potential, and most importantly, invest with any amount of money.

Public app is a great place to start investing. Using the app, you’ll never feel alone or confused about what to do. The app lets users swap insights so everyone can benefit from the knowledge more experienced investors have collected. 

Moreover, the Public app is a commission-free investing platform offering fractional investing with no account minimums or commission fees.

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.

Is Public App Safe & Legit?


Public app is a legit company, holding SIPC insurance. SIPC stands for Securities Investor Protection Corporation and protects each customer’s securities investments up to $500,000 and cash amounts up to $250,000. 

This means that if anything happens to the company or if they go bankrupt, SIPC makes sure they have a fund reserve to let you withdraw your money regardless of the situation.

On the technical side, Public accounts are protected by 128-bit encryption so all data is secured with Transport Layer Security.

Public App Features


Obviously, the main feature of Public app 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.

Let’s see what the Public app offers.

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.

Public App Fees & Commissions


Public is a totally free app to use, which 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

How to Start Investing with Public App?


Starting investing with a Public app is a simple and straightforward process. But let’s go through it step-by-step so you’re sure what you’re doing straight from the beginning.

Step 1 – Download the Public App

Public is a free investing app for mobile devices, so everything starts with the download. 

So logically, the first step to start investing with a Public app is to download it on your iOS or Android device.

Step 2 – Create Your Investor Profile

After downloading the app, just open it to answer a few basic questions to submit your application. The application requires you to fill out some information about yourself, like your age (you must be 18+ years old), social security number and bank information.

Step 3 – Choose Your Stocks to Start with Real-time Trading

Now that you’ve created your investor profile, it’s time to get started with real-time trading. 

You can find more than 5,000 stocks on the Public app to choose from. All of the stocks are organized into different categories, which are called themes. This way, you’ll be able to discover new companies that interest you and match your preferences.

Public provides comprehensive information on each company, including trends, comments and company history. You can also find a list of sub-brands that a parent company might own.

With all this information the Public app provides, you can learn a lot before you commit to investing.

What’s best about this app is how fast and easy it is to start trading. As soon as you open an account and make your first deposit, you’re ready to start trading in real-time. 

Plus, as a bonus, if a current Public app user refers you to the app, you’ll get a free slice of stock valued at up to $50, which is a great start. And your friend will get a free slice of stock once you get it too. So it’s a win-win situation for both of you.

Step 4 – Track Your Investments

After you’ve chosen companies and invested in stocks, it’s time to sit back and wait for the market to do its thing. 

On default, Public automatically deposits dividends into your account. But I highly recommend you opt into the service so that the Public automatically reinvests your dividends. To do so, just send a message to Public app support and they’ll hook you up.

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


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
  • Stocks are categorized in “themes” so you can find the ones matching your preferences
  • Ability to trade fractional stocks (or the whole thing) in real-time
  • 2.5% interest rate on your uninvested cash 
  • Built-in chat support answering all your questions

Cons

  • Not available on desktop devices – you can only manage your investments on your mobile apps

Public App Alternatives


Public App vs. Betterment

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.

Betterment Summary

  • Transparent portfolios
  • No account minimum and low fees
  • Quick and easy account setup
  • Perfect for young investors

Public App vs. Acorns

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.

Acorns Summary

  • Invests spare change automatically
  • $5 sign up bonus
  • $5 Min account investment
  • Average of 7.5% return on your investments

Public App vs. Stash App

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.

Stash Summary

  • Start investing with as little as $5
  • Buy fractional shares of stocks in companies like Amazon or Apple
  • Set automatic deposits on either a weekly or monthly basis into your account
  • Only $1 monthly fee (for accounts under $5,000) or 0.25% annual fee for accounts over 5k

Is Investing with Public App Worth It?


Overall, if we 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.

Public App