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Written by Logan Robison on October 9, 2020
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Robinhood vs Public 2020: Best Investing Platform?

When it comes to investing as a beginner, simplicity is key.

At least that belief is what Public and Robinhood were founded on. Both platforms make it easy for new investors to get involved with clean and crisp apps, no account minimums and no commission fees.

Both apps put the power of investing into the hands of normal individuals without finance backgrounds or exorbitant amounts of cash. These apps allow users to get the full experience without risking their life savings.

Apps like these are changing the investing landscape and will continue to push out new advancements to continue their legacy of looking out for the little guy!

Here's our full breakdown of Robinhood vs Public.

Account Minimum$0$0 ($2,000 for margin investing)
Available AssetsStocks, ETFsStocks, ETFs, Options, Cryptocurrencies
Fractional SharesYesYes
Best ForNew investors with a social aspectNew investors who learn by doing
Reinvestment OptionYesYes
Product Features Overall Price Buy Now
Robinhood review

Robinhood Review 2020: Best Investing App?

  • Trading Fees
  • Ease Of Use
  • Account Types
  • Research/Data
  • Securities Offered
Open A Robinhood Account Here
Public Brokerage Review

Public Brokerage Review 2020: Best Investing App?

  • Pricing
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Account Types
  • Sign Up Incentive
  • Social Investing
  • Research/Data Tools
Invest With Public

Summary: Robinhood vs Public

  • Public allows investors to interact with other investors through chat and comment functions
  • Robinhood is a user-friendly investing platform for new investors
  • Robinhood has a high-interest savings account
  • Both platforms offer investment functions without account minimums or commissions
  • Robinhood offers several more features like options, instant access to cash, cryptocurrencies, and high-yield savings accounts
  • Public offers new users a free $10 stock slice
  • Robinhood offers new users a free stock worth $2.50 to $200
  • Public offers prebuilt portfolios while Robinhood does not
  • The main differentiator here is the social aspect of Public, where it is essentially a brokerage and social media hybrid

What Is Public?

Public is a social investing app that allows new investors to enter the stock market with no account minimums and no commissions.

This app also offers fractional shares meaning that you can invest in companies using dollar amounts and not number of shares.

Public also makes it easy to collaborate with other investors who share a passion for watching their money grow. Connect and chat with friends and meet new investors while analyzing investment opportunities.

Public Features

This brokerage aims to make investing easy and social. The investment themes or prebuilt portfolios are a plus too!

Account Minimums

Public, like many other new age investing platforms, offers investing to all with no account minimums.

You can invest any amount to start and have the same benefits as those starting out with $10,000. This offering means that the playing field has been leveled for retail investors.

No Commissions

Likewise, hefty commission fees reserved the investing field for the wealthy, or at least those who could afford to pay a fee each time they made a trade. Not anymore.

Fees have essentially been waved on all investment platforms, including Public, meaning you’ll never have to worry about paying the company for all the trades you make.

Fractional Shares

This feature is, in my opinion, one of the greatest revolutions in modern day investing.

With fractional shares, gone are the days that require investors to have the full amount of a stock before they purchase. Now, with Public, you can invest as little as $5 into a company without the need to purchase the whole stock.

Keep in mind however, that this does not reduce the risk of purchasing a stock as your returns will be the same as they would be with the full stock. However, this does allow you to allocate your portfolio differently.

Purchasing smaller dollar amounts of a lot of companies reduces your risk when compared to only owning a couple stocks. This is part of having a diversified portfolio.

Investing Options

With Public, you can choose from over 5,000 stocks/ETFs in which to invest. These all come with no commissions and you can even sort through categories of stocks instead of searching for individual corporations.

Included with a description of the company is information like trends, comments, and company history. It also includes list of subsidiary companies that the company owns. This allows you to be relatively informed before making an investment decision.

Public also offers investment themes, which are essentially prebuilt portfolios that are free to invest in. This is one area that makes them stand out against Robinhood.

Some of these themes include...

  • "American Made" - Companies with products made here in the USA
  • "Click It, Ship It" - Those companies involved with shopping from home
  • "Self Driving Cars" - Tesla and other companies involved with this technology

Public commission free stock trading app

Social Investing

Public stands out from the crowd with its social features. Connect with and follow your favorite investors and friends. See where they have invested and chat about their decisions.

Similar to a standard social media offering, you will see a feed of consistently updating actions taken by other investors.

Investors who are new to the game might be intimidated by this knowing that everyone can see your stock moves, but this is a great chance to get feedback on your strategy from advanced and seasoned investors.


Although there are no commission fees, the saying "there’s no such thing as a free lunch" is still true.

Here are some fees to be aware of with Public:

  • Broker-manned phone trades – $30
  • Domestic wire transfer – $30
  • Domestic overnight checks – $35
  • Returned checks or stop payments – $30
  • ACAT outgoing – $75
  • Paper statements – $35

Public Pros

  • Fractional shares
  • No account minimums or commission fees
  • Social aspect with chat and activity feed
  • Free $10 stock slice when you sign up
  • Investment themes, ETFs or individual stocks

Public Cons

  • Limited account options (no retirement, joint, custodial)
  • Limited financial data

What Is Robinhood?

Robinhood, the classic investment app without account balances or commissions was founded in 2013 and is the pioneer of this new investing era. Robinhood believes investing shouldn’t be a sport for the elite, instead, it should be available and accessible to everyone.

This brokerage is known to have one of the cleanest looking apps. Users love Robinhood’s interface because it contains the right amount of data that the average investor will need. However, advanced investors may find it is a bit limiting over time.

Robinhood Features

This brokerage aims to be the most attractive and user friendly app out there for commission free trades.

$0 Minimum

Robinhood was one of the first, but certainly not the last. Like mentioned above with Public, almost all investing platforms now allow users to come and go as they please without worrying about having enough to begin investing.

However, if you are interested in more advanced investing, there is an account minimum of $2,000 to open a margin account.

Commission Free Trades

Robinhood lets investors trade with no commissions.

This includes stock, ETF, option and crypto trades.

Robinhood Gold

Without paying the $5 per month, users need to wait upwards of 3 business days for their funds to finally settle from the bank. Waiting that long often could be the difference between a huge return and a bust.

However, all users get up to $1,000 settled instantly for investing. 

With Robinhood Gold, users can access cash instantly, review level II market data, utilize margin investing, and study professional research from Morningstar on 1,700+ stocks. 

robinhood gold

High-Interest Savings Account

Having an emergency fund is absolutely necessary if you want to protect your nest egg from unexpected emergencies or inconveniences. However, it is important that you keep this cash in a place that will give you the most bang for your buck.

YieldAs Of
0.30% APY9/17/20

This is a huge advantage over traditional banking as interest rates for savings accounts have largely been stagnant for several years. Users that store their money with Robinhood also have access to an optional debit card and 75,000 ATMs where you can withdraw your cash for free.

Free Stock Promo

If you sign up for Robinhood, you will get a free stock worth between $2.50 and $200. The free stock is based on a lottery system.

According to Robinhood’s Terms and Conditions... “There is an approximately 98% chance of the stock bonus having a value of $2.50-$10, an approximately 1% chance of the stock bonus having a value of $10-$50, and an approximately 1% chance of the stock bonus having a value of $50-$200, based on the price of shares at the time of purchase.”

Fractional Shares

Like Public, Robinhood allows investors to purchase a dollar amount of a company instead of complete shares. This is an incredible perk that quite frankly, Robinhood was pretty slow adopting.

With this feature, you will be able to purchase shares of stocks and ETFs in $1 increments.


Robinhood allows you to trade a variety of popular cryptocurrencies 100% commission free. 

It is important to recognize that Robinhood Crypto is not a part of Robinhood Financial LLC.

Robinhood Crypto LLC and as such, is held in a different account which is not regulated by FINRA or insured by the FDIC.

You are also unable to transfer your crypto out of your Robinhood account.

Robinhood Pros

  • 100% commission-free stock and ETF trading
  • Access to cryptocurrency
  • Ease of use
  • Fractional shares make it easy to buy the stocks you love
  • High yield savings account
  • Get a free stock when you sign up

Robinhood Cons

  • Limited research & data
  • Only offers brokerage accounts and not tax-advantaged retirement accounts
  • Customer service is only reachable online, not over the phone

Conclusion: Public vs Robinhood

Both of these apps are built to help investors who have little to no experience investing, access the key to financial freedom; assets.

They both fall under the category of beginner friendly investing apps.

Public lets investors communicate with others to gain insight. They can also follow their favorite celebrity investors who utilize the platform. Stock slices make high value stocks accessible to smaller investors. Lastly, investment themes take the guesswork out of building a portfolio.

Robinhood is basically the simplest way to trade stocks, ETFs, options and crypto. They don't really have much else going on beyond that.

Unfortunately, neither of these investment platforms let users invest in tax-advantaged accounts, which means that these investments are mostly for a short-term win and not focused on the golden years.

However, neither of these investment platforms have account minimums or commission fees so you could give them both a try.

Robinhood vs Public 2020: Best Investing Platform
Article written by Logan Robison
Logan graduated with a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and currently works as a financial analyst for a large retailer. His love for personal finance inspired him to start a YouTube channel, Finance for Normals, where he hopes to give everyday people the basic finance knowledge they need to succeed.

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