What Is Mobile Trading?

Mobile trading refers to the use of wireless technology in securities trading. Mobile trading allows investors to access trading platforms from their telephones rather than being confined to traditional trading methods via computer. Such technology allows easier access for smartphone users to actively manage their portfolios even when they are away from a desktop or laptop.

Key Takeaways

  • Mobile trading includes being able to access accounts and initiate orders from one's mobile devices.
  • All major brokers have mobile trading apps, and a few of them stand out on features.
  • Here we briefly outline three standouts.

How Mobile Trading Works

While mobile devices, such as Android phones and iPhones, have always allowed users to check the performance of the stock market, mobile trading apps provide access to online trading platforms, which can be utilized to execute trades instantly from anywhere. Every major brokerage has an Android app or iPhone app or both, to allow their customers to trade directly from their mobile devices.

Mobile trading has allowed individuals to become traders and investors, not only from the comfort of their own homes, but also from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. This means that people can trade from work or even on vacation in faraway lands. With mobile trading-only apps, such as Robinhood and its commission-free trading, mobile seems to be the most convenient and indeed cheapest way for most people to trade.

Three Major Mobile Trading Apps

TD Ameritrade

As one of the first companies to pioneer online trading from desktops, TD Ameritrade now offers a variety of mobile apps for trading and investing, which can be tailored to specific trading or investing styles and needs.

The basic TD Ameritrade Mobile app offers a similar experience to what a trader might have on their desktop stock trading setup, customized for mobile. Meanwhile, the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app, is even more powerful—unusually so. The TD Trader app allows an investor to customize their screens as interactive and modular dashboards. From your dashboard, you can obtain company research and analyst reports, deposit and withdraw funds, set alerts, and even find educational content. TD Trader is best-suited for active or more sophisticated market participants, as it is chock full of interactive charts and technical indicators to help you stay up-to-date with the market while on the go.


Robinhood started as a mobile-only app before it launched its website. Robinhood is best known for offering completely free stock trades. While Robinhood won't let you trade assets such as mutual funds or options, it is an excellent choice if your portfolio is made up of stocks and ETFs.

Recently, the company added support for trading Bitcoin as well. The app is focused on providing easy tracking of stocks you own and on your watch-list. While Robinhood trades are free, more sophisticated users can upgrade to Robinhood Gold account, which allows for margin trading and extended-hours trading.


Acorns is a robo-advisor that targets new investors or those who just want to set it and forget it. The app will construct optimized indexed portfolios using ETFs across several asset classes that are suited to your own risk tolerance and time horizon. If you link your bank account or credit card to the app, Acorns will furthermore track your spending and round-up purchases to the nearest dollar. This means that if you spend $3.68 on a coffee, the 32 cents left over to make it a round $4 will be added to your investment portfolio. Acorns charges only $1 per month and you can start with as little as $5.