Trying to figure out where to invest? You’re not alone. According to a recent Gallup poll, 58% of Americans own some amount of stock. However, only 25% of Americans in households earning $40,000 a year or less had stock.
It’s time to change those numbers, and platforms like Public.com are perfect for this mission. Public.com wants to be for the investor, regardless of what their portfolio size looks like.
- View other people’s portfolios: for new investors, seeing what other people are putting their money into is empowering.
- Visually appealing charts for every single stock, ETF, and cryptocurrency.
- A free stock in the company of your choice (available once you deposit at least $20.)
What is Public.com?
Public.com is a platform designed to make it easy to buy and sell stocks, crypto, and ETFs. The focus is on allowing the beginner investor to still enter the market, even if they don’t have a lot of buying power to build wealth.
How does Public.com work?
Public.com works by allowing users to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and crypto. To do this, every user has their own secure account where they can select the stocks or crypto that they want. The interface allows you to select exactly the stock you want, the amount (fractional is fine), and when to trade.
You can choose to buy fractionally, buy whole shares, buy when the price is dropping (limit buy), or do a stop buy (whole shares at the lowest price available as the stock begins to rise to a certain price).
Selling works in the same way for stocks, and crypto is also given similar options for buying and selling.
Public.com fees and costs
- No account minimums
- No commissions on stocks or funds
- No commissions on crypto trades, but there is a 1 to 2% markup built into the price
- SEC Regulatory Fee of $5.10 per $1,000,000 when you sell stocks or ETFs
- Trading activity fee of $0.000119 per share when sold (no greater than $5.95, ever)
- Overnight checks are $35
- Instant Withdrawals are 2% of the amount withdrawn
Public.com pros and cons
- Super easy to use
- Fractional shares
- Educational sections, such as the investing glossary
- No payment for order flow, a practice that prioritizes certain trades over others for a fee
- Future asset classes are still coming soon. Art and NFTs are in the works, but there’s no ETA on when they’ll be available
- No support for Two-Factor Authentication by authenticator apps.
- Limited web interface vs. mobile app.
Super easy to use
Public.com’s focus is definitely on being as easy to use as possible for the beginner investor. It’s extremely easy to navigate, execute trades, and track progress.
Fractional shares aren’t new, but they do allow investors starting out to still build their holdings slowly.
Educational investing info
Confused by investing? Public.com includes a lot of educational resources built in to try to make investing more accessible.
No payment for order flow
Payment for order flow (PFOF) is something that’s been controversial for obvious reasons, but Public.com takes a strong stance against it by pledging not to allow it. PFOF basically allows for certain trades to be executed first for a fee, shutting out smaller investors.
Limited asset classes
You can trade stocks, ETFs, and crypto currently on Public.com. There are more asset classes to come to the site, but this is still in development.
No app-based two-factor authentication
SMS-based 2FA has some weaknesses; an authenticator app like Google or Authy would be better.
Limited web interface vs. mobile apps
The mobile app is where most of the development is, so if you prefer to use the desktop version ,you won’t have all of the same functionality.
Fewer tools for seasoned investors
Investors that have already been around the block a few times will find themselves a bit frustrated by the “super easy” theme of Public.com. There aren’t as many technical analysis tools or charts, which would be overwhelming for a beginner but second nature for a seasoned investor.
Who should use Public.com?
People that have smaller portfolios or are just starting out tend to be overwhelmed by the investing world as a whole. They are the exact people that should check out Public.com. Even seasoned investors will find a good balance between educational features and power. If you want to jump in and trade, you can do that easily enough.
However, if you feel like you need a little more information, it’s already built into Public.com. You can get information on any company, connect with the Public.com community, and trade with ease.
If the idea of extra help isn’t to your liking or you want a more old-school approach, Public.com might not be the best fit.
Public.com has multiple ways to use the platform: online through a Web browser, by Android app, and by iOS as well. You can get the apps through the Android and App Stores easily; the download only takes a minute or two.
Using the Android app during the test was easy, everything was within easy reach. The home screen displays all of your portfolio at the same time, including crypto holdings. We were able to navigate without reading any documentation or watching any walkthrough videos, signs that the app was designed to be intuitive and easy to understand.
Trading tools and features
Public.com has a few features that help them stand out in the face of so much competition.
- Investment themes
- Fractional shares
- The Invest Hat
These are curated lists of companies based on type, including crypto assets. It’s a very easy way to learn more about companies and quickly add to your portfolio.
While fractional shares certainly aren’t a new feature, it does give investors with smaller budgets more power to still invest in the companies that they really want and build their holdings over time.
The invest hat
You can only get Public.com swag through actually being part of the community, which is a clever way to get people to interact and learn more about investing in the process. Well played, Public.com. Everyone loves swag.
While Public.com doesn’t have every single crypto you can imagine, they have taken the time to ramp up their collection to some of the most popular. Here’s the crypto you can trade on Public.com:
- Aave (AAVE)
- Algorand (ALGO)
- ApeCoin (APE)
- Avalanche (AVAX)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Cosmos (ATOM)
- Curve DAO (CRV)
- Dash (DASH)
- Decentraland (MANA)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Ether (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Fantom (FTM)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Loopring (LRC)
- Polygon (MATIC)
- Ren (REN)
- Shiba Inu (SHIB)
- Solana (SOL)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Sushi Swap (SUSHI)
- Tezos (XTZ)
- The Graph (GRT)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Zcash (ZEC)
Buy, Sell, or Trade Gaming NFTs or Tokens with Public.com
The Public.com platform has an NFT marketplace that allows users to buy, sell, and trade NFTs.
How to sign up for Public.com
Step 1: Head to the front page of the site and click “Get Started.”
Step 2: Enter your phone number to get started. It will send a code that you’ll need to confirm on the next page.
Step 3: Enter in the confirmation code you received by text.
Step 4: Enter your personal details, and click Next.
Step 5: Add a profile photo (or skip.)
Step 6: Pick which free stock you would like.
Step 7: Enable investing on the site by following the prompts.
Step 8: Enter your date of birth as it appears on your driver’s license.
Step 9: Confirm Citizenship Status.
Step 10: Confirm Marital Status.
Step 11: Confirm Your Employment Status.
Step 12: Select which situation applies to you, or leave it blank if none of them apply.
Step 13: Enter in your address
Step 14: Enter your full legal name
Step 15: Enter in your full Social Security Number.
Step 16: Select your investment goal.
Step 17: Select your investment experience.
Step 18: Share your annual income.
Step 19: Share the estimated total value of your investments.
Step 20: Opt in to invest in crypto as well.
Step 21: If you see this screen, you’re all set!
You can also choose between funding your Public.com account with a debit card or a bank account. Bank account verification and connection are set up through Plaid, which looks like this:
Best Public.com alternatives
There are a few other alternatives to try instead of Public.com:
- Binance.com: Binance is crypto only, but you can trade over 100 different cryptocurrencies with the same amount of ease.
- Tornado: Like Public.com, Tornado is focused on educating investors and making it easy to have clear, transparent trading options.
- Robinhood: Some people prefer a more “game-like” approach, something that Robinhood does bring to investing. You can buy crypto and stocks, making it a good alternative to Public.
To sum it up
Public.com’s mission is refreshing in the investing and crypto space: they want to make things clear for investors of all levels, and the ability to make transactions easily is only the tip of the iceberg. The educational resources available on Public.com are a sign that the company is learning from the issues in the greater fintech space, and they want to make users feel comfortable with putting their money to work.
add remove Is Public.com trustworthy?
Yes, Public.com is trustworthy. Their motto is “Investors First,” but they also live up to this by having complete disclosure of how they operate, as well as a section on how they make money. They want users to feel completely comfortable, and that goes a long way.
add remove Is Public a good investing app?
Yes, Public is a good investing app. It’s available on both Android and iOS devices, as well as on the Web.
add remove Does Public.com have fees?
According to the website, there are no fees on trading stocks or funds. In addition, there are no pesky account minimums to worry about. However, there are fees for crypto trades built into the price to execute trades. These fluctuate between 1 and 2 percent.
There are also fees for domestic wires, overnight check deliveries, returned checks, and instant withdrawals.
add remove Is Public better than Robinhood?
When looking at Public.com and Robinhood side by side, Public.com does have a better focus on the user experience. It’s easy to navigate, information on stocks and crypto is detailed enough to make good decisions, and traders can set up buy and sell transactions with ease. While Robinhood does attract plenty of users, we think that Public is better than Robinhood for the scope of transactions, as well as the level of support.