Penny stocks are garnering a lot of attention due to their low capital requirements and high upside potential. With high rewards, though, comes a proportional amount of risk; penny stocks are volatile and unpredictable speculative investments. Fortunately, a penny stock trading app with real-time quotes and analysis can help investors reduce risks by choosing stocks with the best potential.
A good penny stock trading app helps you conveniently monitor stocks on your smartphone, utilizing streaming data, real-time alerts, spot analysis, and quick trade execution to your advantage. But not all penny stock trading apps are the same. Lacking any of those capabilities, a trading app can put you at a disadvantage. In his roundup, we identified the best penny stock trading apps in six distinct categories to help you find the one that best fits your needs.
Best Overall : Charles Schwab
A perennial leader in the full-service and discount brokerage space, Charles Schwab has translated its standout customer experience to its mobile app, making it our pick as the best overall penny stock trading app.
One of the top brokerage firms in the industry
Excellent customer service
Zero commissions and account minimum
Free access to world-class research and analysis tools
Vast number of tools and resources can be overwhelming
Since its founding in 1971, Charles Schwab has been obsessed with providing its customers with the best overall investing experience, winning many industry awards along the way. Its commitment to low-cost investing, technological innovation, excellent customer service, and world-class research and education resources has produced a dynamic mobile app with all the features penny stock investors need. That’s why it’s our pick as the best overall penny stock trading app.
Charles Schwab started the race to the bottom for stock commissions as the industry's first discount brokerage. So, it’s not surprising that Schwab led the way to zero commissions on all stock trades, including penny stocks.
Even with that, all Schwab customers have complete access to its full range of services, including its StreetSmart platforms and high-end stock screeners. The vast number of features and reports available can almost be overwhelming.
You also have access to penny stocks traded on multiple exchanges, including over-the-counter (OTC) and the pink sheets. Investors can access the StreetSmart platform to conduct in-depth research and analysis and then use their mobile app to get quotes, make trades, track positions, and manage their investments. The app also allows you to deposit checks and transfer assets. All of this can be accessed by voice command, which can also fetch you answers to your investment questions.
It is important to note that Charles Schwab merged with TD Ameritrade in 2020, so there could be changes to the Schwab trading platform. However, when two of the premier online brokerage companies get together, one can only expect great things to come.
Read our full Charles Schwab Review.
Best for Novice Investors : Robinhood
Robinhood’s fast, intuitive, smartly designed, and zero-cost mobile trading app has attracted a generation of young investors, making it easy and fun to trade penny stocks, which is why we chose it as the best penny stock trading app for beginning investors.
Intuitive, easy-to-use app
Zero commissions on trades
Many investing options
Free share of stock deposited in new account
Over-the-counter penny stocks not available
Web platform has limited capabilities
Since its founding in 2013, Robinhood’s mobile stock trading platform has been a magnet for millions of younger stock investors. In addition to zero-commission trading, the app is streamlined, highly intuitive, and easy to use, making Robinhood our top pick as the best penny stock trading app for beginning investors.
The free investing app also allows for commission-free trading in stocks, ETFs, options, and alternative investments like gold and cryptocurrency. While it doesn’t offer the kind of tools and resources used by sophisticated investors, it does provide basic market research tools along with real-time quotes and the ability to track trades and watchlists. Robinhood does offer a “Level 2” service with access to more tools and research and faster clearance of cash for a $10 monthly subscription.
Robinhood doesn’t require a minimum deposit to set up an account, and it will even deposit one share of stock in your account when you open it. The only downside is OTC and pink sheet stocks are not available for trading.
While you can use its web platform to make trades, it’s limited compared to the full-featured mobile app. That could be a negative for anyone who isn’t adept at using their thumbs to make quick trades. For younger investors with more nimble fingers, Robinhood’s app is almost too easy to use, which could be trouble for undisciplined investors.
Read our full Robinhood Review.
Best User Experience : TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade has always set the standard for high-end technology platforms with sleek designs, intuitive navigation, and robust features, all built with the end-user in mind. Its mobile trading app is no different, which is why we chose it as the penny stock trading app with the best user experience.
Leader in web and mobile platform technology
Top-quality research tools
Access two types of trading platforms
Zero commissions on non-OTC stocks
No account minimums or fees
OTC trade commission of $6.95 per trade
Some uncertainties regarding merger with Schwab
Since 1975, TD Ameritrade has delivered for its clients with industry-leading technology platforms offering the best in tools, research, real-time streaming data, and service. Its mobile trading app is no different, which is why it is our pick as the penny stock trading app with the best user experience.
If your biggest concern in picking a penny stock trading app is trading costs, then TD Ameritrade may not be for you. You can get by without paying any commissions when trading non-OTC stocks. But, if you want to trade OTC penny stocks, you will pay $6.95 per trade. There is no minimum deposit required to set up an account.
However, if you’re looking for the most comprehensive research tools and analysis software, you can’t do any better than TD Ameritrade. Depending on your experience level or trading frequency, you can choose between a couple of their trading apps. The regular TD Ameritrade app is suited for new investors or those who trade less frequently, while the award-winning, premium thinkorswim app is best for advanced or active traders.
Both apps let you trade and monitor your stocks with live feeds and charts. While both apps offer a range of research tools, with the thinkorswim app, you have access to tools to help you assess a penny stock company’s value and evaluate the timing of a stock purchase based on price action and volatility.
It should be noted that, in 2020, TD Ameritrade merged with Charles Schwab, another leader in the online brokerage industry. While it’s not yet known what the new trading platform will look like, you can expect it to have best-in-class features and capabilities.
Read our full TD Ameritrade Review.
Best for Tools & Resources : E*Trade
E*Trade is another pioneer and innovator in online trading technology, and it brings all of its mobile trading app, making it our choice as the best penny stock trading app for tools and resources.
Industry pioneer in online trading platforms
Two app options depending on investors’ needs
Streamlined, easy-to-use mobile and desktop platforms
Access to one of the more robust web platforms in the industry
Zero commissions on non-OTC stocks
$6.95 commissions for OTC stock trades
Possible changes to platform following merger with Morgan Stanley
E*Trade, a full-service online brokerage company, was one of the first to create an electronic trading platform and has been a leading innovator since its founding in 1982. Like its industry-leading web platform, E*Trade has stacked its mobile trading apps with everything a penny stock trader could need, which is why it is our choice as the best penny stock trading app for tools and resources.
E*Trade charges $6.95 per trade on OTC stocks ($4.95 per trade after 30 trades in a quarter). But it charges zero commissions on all other penny stocks with no account minimum.
However, if you want access to some of the best tools and research capabilities in the industry, E*Trade is your best bet. What better way to enhance your trading opportunities and mitigate your risks than with streaming data, real-time quotes, and a high-end stock screener?
Users can choose between two mobile app versions—the regular E*Trade app or the Power E*Trade app. Both offer a seamless trading experience for new investors and professional traders alike. The advanced version is a full-service platform providing money management capabilities along with breaking news and streaming Bloomberg TV.
All E*Trade mobile users have access to its vast resources of learning and trading tools available on its desktop platform, including research reports from Thomson Reuters, TipRanks, and others.
Morgan Stanley acquired E*Trade in 2020, but the company insists the customer experience of its platforms won’t change.
Read our full E*Trade Review.
Best for Active Traders : TradeStation
TradeStation, long favored by active and professional traders for its low costs and best-in-class trading execution and tools, makes its institutional-quality platform available on its mobile app, making it our choice as the best penny stock trading app for active traders.
Institutional-quality trading platform
Two mobile app options
Fast trade executions
Vast technical analysis and research tools
$2,000 account minimum for TS Select option
$10 per trade surcharge for TSgo users on desktop platform
Since 1982, TradeStation has built itself into an award-winning trading platform active and professional traders like to call home. Known for its lightning-fast trade executions and institutional-quality platform, TradeStation makes it all available for its mobile app users, which is why we chose it as the best penny stock trading app for active traders.
TradeStation offers two mobile app options—TS Select and TSgo—both offering zero-commission trades on penny stocks and all other equities. TSgo users can access the desktop platform for trades and other resources, but there is a $10-per-trade charge. There is no account minimum or commissions for all stock trades.
The TS Select app requires a $2,000 account minimum, but users can trade on the desktop platform for free. Also, for trades involving more than 10,000 shares, you’ll pay $0.005 per share on the trade. If you plan on keeping your per-trade volume at or below 10,000 shares, TS Select would be the best option for beginner penny stock traders.
Users have access to several training resources, including webinars, market insights, and community forums. You’ll also have access to simulated training where you can open a simulated account and test trading strategies in real-time or using historical data.
Read our full TradeStation Review.
Best for Penny Stock Research : Fidelity
Fidelity is one of the premier online brokerages globally, but its hallmark has always been its world-class research, which it also makes available for penny stock investors, making it our choice as the best penny stock trading app for penny stock research.
Premier online brokerage companies
Free access to flagship trading platform by all customers
Zero commissions and account minimums
World-class stock research and analysis
Stock screener tools for finding the best stocks
Non-U.S. citizens are not eligible to open an account
As one of the top online brokerage companies, Fidelity frequently makes many “best of” lists for different reasons, but its research capabilities have always been tops. Now, all Fidelity customers, including penny stock investors, can access its research and analysis tools through Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro platform. That makes Fidelity our choice as the best penny stock trading app for penny stock research.
Fidelity is among the top online brokerage companies that do not charge a commission for stock trades, including penny stocks, and there is no account minimum. All Fidelity customers, regardless of trading frequency or account balance, have access to its Active Trader Pro platform, parts of which translate to its mobile app.
The mobile app has a clean design, making it easy to buy and sell the large number of penny stocks Fidelity offers. It also delivers timely portfolio, market, and research information with the ability to tailor the news and content. Users can get stock quotes and intraday valuations, check balances, track positions, and transfer money.
Fidelity’s stocks screener is the only one we could find that searches for stocks that trade specifically on OTC exchanges, with filters that can narrow the search to fewer than 1,000 stocks. By comparison, screeners used by TD Ameritrade, and E*Trade can only narrow the search to more than 10,000 stocks.
Read our full Fidelity Investments Review.
If you could take all the best features of the mobile apps on this list and roll them up into one, you would have the Charles Schwab penny stock trading app. That includes a highly intuitive and easy-to-use interface, top-notch tools and resources, world-class research capabilities, and a superior user experience. Schwab mobile app users get all of that without paying a dime in trade commissions or account fees.
With Schwab, there are no limitations on which penny stocks you can trade, and, with its screening and research tools, you can quickly identify the best potential penny stocks and assess their risk. While investing in penny stocks poses more significant risks, investors can at least have some comfort knowing they have access to best-in-class trading and educational tools to make more informed decisions.
Compare the Penny Stock Trading Apps
|Course||Min. Deposit||Fees||Commission Rates||Other Investment Options|
|$0||None||$0 on all stock trades||Stocks, bonds, funds, ETFs, options, futures|
Best for Novice Investors
|$0||None||$0 on all stock trades||Stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, crypto|
Best User Experience
|$0||None||$0 for non-OTC stocks, $6.95 for OTC stocks||Stocks, bonds, funds, ETFs, options, futures|
Best for Tools & Resources
|$0||None||$0 for non-OTC stocks, $6.95 for OTC stocks||Stocks, bonds, funds, ETFs, options, futures|
Best for Active Traders
|$2,000 for TS Select||None||$0 on all stock trades, $0.005 per share over 10,000 shares||Stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, futures, crypto|
Best for Penny Stock Research
|$0||None||$0 on all stock trades||Stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, futures|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Should I Look for in a Penny Stock App?
The quickest way to narrow down your choices for a penny stock app is to compare costs. Holding your costs down is key to maximizing profits while minimizing losses. With many of the top penny stock brokerage firms offering high-quality apps free of commissions, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for cost.
Next, look for ease of use. Apps that are difficult or clumsy to navigate can end up costing you money. A good penny stock app will have a clean design and a streamlined process for getting quotes and executing trades.
The availability of investment options is also essential. Some penny stock apps limit your investing to non-OTC stocks, or they may charge a commission for OTC trades. You should also have access to a wide range of other investments, such as stocks, bonds, and ETFs.
Penny stock apps that offer solid research and analysis tools, or access to a desktop platform that offers them, are essential to uncover potential winners and reduce your risk. A penny stock app or platform with good educational resources is a big plus.
How Much Do Trading Apps Cost When Buying or Selling Penny Stocks?
Not long ago, most brokers charged commissions or a flat rate for buying and selling penny stocks. Today, you should be able to trade penny stocks at no cost with no account minimums. You just have to look for possible hidden fees or limitations, such as a cap on the number of shares you can trade for free. Plus, if you ever have to use a live broker to execute a trade, you could pay a fee.
Are Penny Stock Trading Apps Risky?
A penny stock trading app could introduce some risks if it is not high quality. The ability to identify the right penny stocks, execute trades quickly, and monitor your positions is key to optimizing your investment experience. Apps that don’t offer live streaming or real-time quotes could put you at a disadvantage. Generally, when you choose a penny stock trading app from a top online brokerage company with sound research and analysis capabilities, you can actually reduce your risk.
Can I Make Money Using Penny Stock Trading Apps?
Of course, you can make money, but you can lose your money just as easily. Penny stocks, especially those selling for less than five dollars, are considered high risk because the companies are either not yet financially sound or have yet to find a market for their product. Plus, penny stocks are not heavily traded, which could be a liquidity risk if you had to sell them quickly.
Essentially, penny stock investing is speculation. They can be highly volatile and unpredictable. Penny stock investors should only invest with money they can afford to lose.
How We Chose the Best Penny Stock Trading App
We took a look at the 12 of the top penny stock apps and compared them based on critical factors such as reputation, costs, ease-of-use, investment options, research and analysis tools, access to other platforms, and any unique features. On closer inspection, we used the same criteria to identify the best penny stock trading apps in six categories.