Consumers are increasingly shifting towards mobile platforms as new tools can help investors gain insight, hone their skills without risking a dime and ultimately trade their portfolio. Below are the top four apps that gained popularity and positive reviews among users in 2016. (StockTouch, a visual stock analysis and tracking app, was also among the most popular in 2016, but after shutting down and restarting during the year, it was shut down again in the first quarter of 2017 and is currently not available.)
Robinhood allows investors to trade stocks with no commission fee. While more experienced traders may be skeptical about the simplicity of the app and the newbies it attracts, there is no denying that it is a game changer. Launched in 2014, Robinhood's target audience is the younger generation of traders with an average age of 26 years old, 25% of whom are first-time investors.
In 2015, Robinhood became the first financial app of any kind to win an Apple Design Award, thanks to its quick sign-up process and easy-to-use interface. The app uses geolocation to suggest relevant stocks. It provides an innovative crowd-sourced, social approach that shares insight and trends from other Robinhood users, looking to build a following. Latest updated versions of the app both for iOS and Android were uploaded in October 2016 and so far have been receiving positive reviews from the users.
In September 2016, the company announced the launch of Robinhood Gold – an advanced version of the platform with a set of premium features, such as extended trading hours, a line of credit and a faster option for making deposits and withdrawals. The company considers Robinhood to be a limited margin account and Robinhood Gold to be a margin account; so to use the Gold feature, an investor must have a minimum balance of $2,000, as per regulations. Access to Robinhood Gold will cost the users a flat fee per month, with the amount varying depending on what level of account you sign up for. (For more details on the service, click here.)
TD Ameritrade Mobile
TD Ameritrade Mobile is offering customers several applications for monitoring the market and making trades. TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader enables the trading of equities, options, futures and forex. Traders can keep the track of the news through integrated live streams from several CNBC regional channels and a financial news service. With access to comprehensive research materials, traders of any level benefit from TD Ameritrade's expertise. Users of this app can chat with other traders and learn about the upcoming events through the interactive market calendar.
TD Ameritrade Mobile app, the second tool offered by the mobile division of the company, is mostly focused on analysis of trends and keeping track of the trader's positions and orders. It provides an opportunity to transfer cash and deposit checks by taking the pictures of them with the phone camera. Moreover, users can find out market information about the companies by simply scanning the bar code of the consumer products in the store. The iOS version of the application is rated higher by mobile store users than the version for Android devices.
E*Trade Mobile's easy-to-use interface helps users locate stocks quickly through a voice search function. Similar to TD Ameritrade applications, E*Trade Mobile provides an opportunity to trade a variety of securities: stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and options. With real-time quotes and news from Morningstar, MarketWatch, Briefing.com, and various wires, along with CNBC Video on Demand, users have access to a wealth of information. Users can select information that is displayed on the customizable dashboard and have access to educational tools and comparison charts. E*trade Mobile's application is available on mobile phones with both operating systems and can be connected to Apple Watch.
TradeHero is a learning app that allows investors to practice trading in a safe environment. Based on the real world data, the app is perfect for users looking to hone their skills or test new strategies without financial risk on simulated stock exchanges from around the world.
Users receive $100,000 to build their fantasy portfolios and compete against each other. The winners have a chance to be listed on the leaderboard as a hero and receive a real cash prize. Participants receive alerts about the performance of their favorite stocks and can get access to the video tutorials and the tips from experienced users.
The most recent updates for the app were launched in October 2016 with predominantly positive reviews from users. Currently the iOS and Android versions of the app slightly differ by functionality, however the company promised to add the missing features in the next versions.