4-star brokerage rating

Public.com Review (Brokerage App)


Overview of Public Investing App


Public.com is a modern stockbroker with a focus on social interaction, accessibility, transparency, and a solid support network.

Investors at Public.com have the opportunity to trade stocks, ETFs, and crypto with no account minimums or inactivity fees. Fractional shares, called ‘Slices’ at Public.com, allow investors more control over how they build and maintain a stock portfolio.

To learn more about the broker and whether it might be a good choice for you and your investment needs, continue reading this Public.com review. We’ve done the research for you.


Public.com Pros...


- Social interaction provides a mix of inspiration and information that helps traders make good decisions.

- The simplified app is easy to use and makes trading both accessible and fun.

- Provided information on securities and market balance is surprisingly well thought out.

- Fractional shares provide good opportunities for investors, no matter how much capital they have.

- In-app support ensures questions and problems are handled quickly.


Public.com Cons...


- The simplified charting may be a turn off for investors used to having more tools at their disposal.

- Cryptocurrency trading is for participation in the crypto markets only. For true digital asset ownership, investors should look elsewhere.

- No desktop trading software (yet).


Public.com Pricing and Minimum Deposit


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $0
Options not offered
Mutual funds not offered
Cryptocurrencies 1%

Investments stocks, closed-end funds, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs
Minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesPublic fees


Investment Vehicles


At Public.com, investors have a fairly limited selection of investment vehicles to choose from. The broker offers stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies.

The available stocks and ETFs listed are all local to the U.S. stock market, and investors can gain international exposure through ADRs and various ETFs that include foreign stocks.


Customer Service


Customer service at Public.com is easy to reach, and they are quite responsive. From both the website and the app, customer service is available via message ticket and instant chat.

Instant chat is available during market hours and a message ticket is, of course, the best way to reach out to the customer service staff every other time.

In addition to the chat function and message ticket process, the same help tool provides keyword powered FAQ search. There are many useful articles available in the help section covering most of the issues investors face.


Cash Management


Public.com does not offer any kind of cash management services other than the brokerage services that it's known for. Investors can maintain individual margin accounts, using stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. Securities may be held in the account for as long as desired, and the low fees coupled with no account minimums to speak of make it easy.

While there are no services that allow bank account-like features, one interesting thing to note is that funds sitting in a Public.com trading account (not tied up in investments) earn a healthy 2% APR which is certainly attractive to long-term savers.

An alternative to earning interest on ‘savings’ is a feature offered through Public’s clearing firm, Apex Clearing, known as Securities Lending. If Public.com users are registered with Apex Clearing for the program, Apex can lend out securities held by a Public.com investor. This program allows investors to make a passive income on their stock and ETF portfolios by earning interest on the portfolio.

It should be noted that allowing Apex to lend out securities does not affect the portfolio itself. Investors can still earn as the securities increase in value, and they can sell the securities at any time they choose.


ETFs


There are many different types of ETFs available on Public.com, and they can be located in a couple of different ways. The simplest way to find a particular ETF is by name in the search bar. If, however, an investor is looking to explore the world of ETFs in hopes of uncovering some new opportunities, doing a little digging becomes necessary.

Fortunately, investors don’t have to work too hard to unearth some nice opportunities. One of the best ways to find specific ETFs is to check the Themes section on the site.


Public.com Review: Investing Themes


Themes are curated groups of securities that share some commonalities. Whether it’s something like Public Top 20, Creative Economy, or Media & Entertainment, all of the listed securities in the category are related thematically. Within each of these groups (themes), investors can find ETFs related to the theme.

As an example, under the theme named “Public Top 20,” users will find the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).


Public.com Review: ETFs


Another interesting way to find ETFs is to leverage the social dynamic of the platform. By searching for terms like #growth, #whynot, #longterm, etc., the search tool brings up conversations including those concepts. Often, within social posts, stocks and ETFs related to the search term are listed and discussed.


Public.com Review: Hashtag


Mutual Funds


At the moment, Public.com does not offer mutual funds, and it does not seem like the broker is planning to go in that direction any time soon.

The inclusion of mutual fund investment opportunities would be a nice surprise. However, with the primary focus being on social interaction, stock investment, and cryptocurrency markets, a fundamental shift in the broker’s business model would need to take place first.


Pricing


When it comes to pricing, investors do not have to pay much in the way of trading fees. There are some charges for wire transfers and brokerage account transfers from other firms, but those fees are standard across the industry.

Here is a breakdown of fees associated with a Public.com account.

Stock and ETF Commissions = $0.00
Stock and ETF Clearing Fees = Always changing but are fractions of a cent
Outgoing ACAT Transfer = $75
Wire Transfers = $30
Insufficient Funds for Incoming Transfers = $30


Open Public Account



Open Public Account


Account Types


When signing up at Public.com, investors have one account type to choose from: an individual brokerage account. That account is later enhanced with crypto trading permissions.

The brokerage account is supplied by Public’s clearing firm, Apex. Apex Clearing and Apex Crypto take care of confirming new accounts and managing the backend details, such as documentation and records related to taxes, trades, clearing fees, and so on.

Users can access account information via the mobile app (not on the website) and on Apex’s website.


Website


Investors visiting the Public.com website can search for stocks, ETFs, and digital currencies with the provided search tools and watchlists. The social media feed is also present, as is a portfolio performance overview list and a news feed.

As noted on the website, however, there are some features present on the app that are not yet included on the web-based platform.


Desktop Platform


Apart from the being able to access the broker on its website, there are no desktop platform options provided by Public.com. With several other socially-focused brokers in the space (many also using Apex Clearing) offering a desktop experience, the absence of one at Public is noticeable.


Mobile Trading


Where Public.com really shines is its mobile trading platform. The easy-to-use app offers all the same great functionality of the website but has a distinctly more native feel to it. It is clear that the broker designed the social trading app with mobile and mobile users in mind.

Right from the app, users can view their portfolio performance over the past day or a longer period if desired. Updates from investors on the social feed are also available, as are new updates, market mover information, and curated themes to consider.

In addition to the information and trading capabilities, Public.com also makes sure that all account management can be handled in-app. Transfers in and out of the app, preference updates, and privacy settings can all be managed with a few simple screen taps. We like that as a mobile-focused broker, investors are not sent to a PC for complex tasks.


Security Research


Researching securities at Public.com is very straightforward. After selecting a security either by name through a search or through one of the curated lists, a dedicated page opens for that security.

Investors can read about the company that they are looking at, see highlights, and also get an idea about trade volume, market cap, and stock price over time.

Analyst ratings, a news feed, and data related to earnings is also available on the stock page.

For traders who look for more than general financial and company data, there is also a social feed showing what other traders are considering in relation to the ticker.


Public.com Review: Security Research


Cryptocurrency Trading


As with the stock and ETF trading at Public.com, Apex is responsible for clearing trades made in cryptocurrencies.

As such, there are no digital wallets for crypto on offer and crypto trading is restricted to buying and selling to and from the dollar. There are no crypto pairs trades available, and it is not possible to transfer crypto into a Public.com crypto account from an outside digital currency wallet.

That said, crypto trading at Public.com enjoys the same simplified approach to trading that investors will be used to on the stock and ETF side of the fence. A basic charting solution, as well as clear buy and sell buttons allowing for both market and limit orders.

It is useful to note that all crypto trades (on the buy side) are charged a 1% fee. So, if a trader were to buy $100 in BTC, an extra $1 would be deducted from the available balance in the account.

Investors at Public.com have their choice of several different digital currencies, including some of the most widely used crypto projects in the world. The list includes assets like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Shiba Inu (SHIB), and many more. For a current list, you may find it here.


Public.com Review: Crypto


Securities Services


As mentioned earlier on, there are a couple of interesting security services at Public.com. One is the possibility to participate in a program that allows Apex Clearing to lend out shares. Any shares that are lent are subject to an interest charge and investors can receive a percentage of the interest collected.

At this time, there are no robo investing tools or personalized coaching, but as Public.com continues to grow, we would not be surprised to see features like that included in the future.


Global Trading


For global trading, Public.com’s response is to offer the same ‘foreign’ securities that are available on every other U.S. exchange. ADRs and ETFs that focus on foreign companies are on this list and provide amply opportunity for traders to gain international exposure.


Recommendations


Mutual Fund Investors: Public.com is not a good place to be for mutual fund investors as there are none. We can recommend Ally Invest, though.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Public.com offer one account type which is an individual brokerage account. TD Ameritrade would be a good pick.

Beginners: Public.com is an excellent place for beginners. The simplified trading tools, wealth of knowledge and research available, as well as the social aspects of the platform, all work together to create an app that anyone can trade on, no matter what experience level they happen to be at.

Active ETF and Stock Trading: Active traders primarily interested in stocks and ETFs may enjoy the simplicity of the Public.com software. However, traders looking for more intricate tools may find the app and web-based trading tools a bit restrictive. Webull, however, would be a good choice.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Many of the investors on Public.com classify themselves as ‘long term investors’. In fact, the platform is set up for more of a fundamental approach to trading, and anyone looking to buy and hold would be right at home. That said, there are no retirement accounts, so if that is a requirement, looking elsewhere would be necessary.

Small Accounts: Public.com is perfect for small accounts. The fractional shares (Slices), zero commissions, and no account minimum all provide opportunities for traders of all account sizes.


Public.com Review Summary


Public.com is an excellent broker for investors looking for a simplified approach without making sacrifices. The information provided as well as the social focus of the platform work together nicely to help investors make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve.

If you are looking for a convenient way to get involved in the stock market, or you just want to use a platform that doesn’t require a lot of extra work, Public.com is certainly worth your consideration.


Open Public Account



Open Public Account


Updated on 11/18/2021.