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Robinhood is offering new users 1 free stock worth between $3 and $225 when you open an account and fund it with any amount of money.
Written by Logan Robison on October 11, 2021
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Robinhood vs Public 2021: 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.

When compared with many of the other investing apps out there, these two are the most beginner-friendly. This makes them a popular choice for those that are just getting into investing for the first time.


Public vs Robinhood: The Basics

Robinhood is the pioneer commission-free trading app and offers stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies. The simple interface has helped them attract a new generation of investors.

Public is a cross between Robinhood and a social media app like Twitter. The app has a main feed where you can read posts from other investors and share your thoughts. You're also able to follow other investors and see what they are investing in.

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.

Product Features Overall Price Buy Now
Robinhood review

Robinhood Review 2021: Best Investing App?

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

Public App Review 2021: Best Investing App?

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

Robinhood vs Public: Summary

  • 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 to store excess cash
  • Both platforms offer investment functions without account minimums or commissions
  • Robinhood offers several more features like options and instant access to cash
  • 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

Offer valid for U.S. residents 18+ and subject to account approval. See Public.com/disclosures/.

FeaturePublicRobinhood
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

What Is Public?

Public Logo

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

The app is very unique thanks to the focus it places on the social aspect. This is not something that many other investing apps are looking at, but for Public, it is one of the cornerstones of the platform.

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

Additionally, Public 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.

Best Free Stock Promotions

BrokeragePromotionLink
Robinhood Logo1 Free Stock (Up To $225)Download
Webull Logo2 Free Stocks (Up To $1,850)Download
Firstrade trading platform2 Free Stocks (Up To $400)Download
M1 Finance Robo AdvisorGet $30 When You Deposit $1,000Download
Acorns LogoFree $10 BonusDownload
SoFi Robo Advisor1 Free Stock Up To $1,000Download

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 the ability to invest 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 newer 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 of stocks. This is part of having a diversified portfolio.

With only $100, you can own fractional shares in 20 different companies, as opposed to only being able to invest in 1 or 2 full shares. This is helpful because when one stock goes down, your other stocks may offset that decline.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP)

Public offers a free Dividend Reinvestment Plan that investors can take advantage of. When stocks you own pay out dividends, you can choose whether to take them as cash, or to reinvest them back into stock of that company.

When you reinvest your dividends, you're able to take advantage of the power of compound interest and allow your portfolio to grow exponentially. This will also prevent you from sitting on excess cash if you want to stay fully invested.

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 a 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

Many other brokerages charge for pre-built portfolios. However, on Public these are completely free to invest in.

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.

Plus, you can keep tabs on investors you look up to and see what kind of investments they are making.

Fees

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

Most of these costs will not apply to the majority of investors, however, in the off chance they do, it's important to keep them in mind.

Public Pros

  • Fractional shares allow for further diversification
  • No account minimums or commission fees
  • Social aspect with chat and activity feed
  • Dividend reinvestment plan to take advantage of compound interest
  • Free $10 stock slice when you sign up with the button below
  • Investment themes, ETFs or individual stocks

Public Cons

  • Limited account options (no retirement, joint, custodial)
  • Limited financial data
  • No ability to day trade on the platform

What Is Robinhood?

Robinhood Logo

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 traders 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. As 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. This type of account will allow you to borrow additional funds from Robinhood for a fee to invest.

Robinhood Free Training

We put together a free 30 minute video training that walks you through the entire process, step by step. This training will help you get up and running in no time at all.

GET THE GUIDE

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. 

Investors that are on the fence can choose to take advantage of a free 30 day trial of Robinhood Gold when they sign up using our link.

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% APY08/31/2021

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.

Keeping your uninvested cash working for you is a must and the savings account offered by Robinhood allows investors to do just that.

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.”

Regardless of what stock you get, free is free!

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.

This makes it easier to diversify, as well as invest all of the funds in your account to eliminate any cash drag.

Cryptocurrency

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. Check out our complete review of Robinhood Crypto for more.

Customer Service

Robinhood provides members with a highly detailed customer service help center with hundreds and hundreds of questions and answers. If members are unable to find the answer they are looking for, they can also email or request a phone call. Both emailing and requesting a phone call are managed within the app under "Help" inside of settings. Members can expect an answer to their email within 1 business day or a phone call within 30 minutes.

While this may not be as convenient as a simple phone number that you can call, it is more efficient for Robinhood as many questions can be answered in the help center.

Portfolio Breakdown

Within the Robinhood platform, investors can access a personalized portfolio breakdown. This will break down the percentage of your portfolio held in different asset classes.

Then, investors can further segment each asset class based on the industry of the stocks or ETFs they hold.

By taking advantage of this feature, it's easy to see where your portfolio might be overly-concentrated and find potential areas for diversification.

Robinhood has also created various lists of stocks in every industry. This way, you can search for investments based on the sector rather than looking for individual companies.

Users are also able to create their own lists to segment investments based on any criteria that are important to them. As a result, it's easy to keep track of any future investments you might want to invest in in the future.

Robinhood Profiles

Robinhood Pros

  • 100% commission-free stock and ETF trading
  • Access to cryptocurrency
  • Top of the line user interface that is easy to navigate
  • Dividend reinvestment plan
  • Fractional shares make it easy to buy the stocks you love
  • High yield savings account for excess cash
  • Longer track record
  • Get a free stock when you sign up

Robinhood Cons

  • Limited research & data
  • Only offers brokerage accounts and not tax-advantaged retirement accounts

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.

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 know what they do best and that is what they focus on.

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 and see which you prefer.

Keep Reading:

Article written by Logan Robison
Logan graduated with a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and currently works in merchandising for a large retailer. In his free time he loves to hike and camp with his wife and son. Logan is also heavily involved in real estate investing and manages a blog and email newsletter for pet owners (thepetbrief.com).

Platform Reviews

Power Your Investing

Choosing the right product and service is essential for your investing. Here are some of the tools and services to help your portfolio grow.
Robinhood
Robinhood provides an easy-to-use free trading platform for beginner investors. Robinhood has $0 account minimums. Get a free stock when you open an account below.
Try Robinhood
M1 Finance
M1 Finance offers a free investing platform where users can build portfolios of stocks and ETFs. Users can also choose from a variety of pre-built portfolios offered for free.
Try M1 Finance
Fundrise
Passively invest in private real estate deals with as little as $10. Fundrise allows you to own residential and commercial real estate across the U.S. starting at a 1% annual fee.
Try Fundrise
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