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Written by Logan Robison on November 17, 2020
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Webull vs Public 2021: Best App For Beginners?

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webull review

Webull Review 2021: Best Free Investing App?

  • Pricing
  • Data & Charting Tools
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Account Types
  • Sign Up Incentive
  • Assets
Download Webull
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

In this review, we dive into two great platforms for beginners known as Webull and Public.

Both are relatively new, but both have very unique roles to play. Webull is built for new investors who are eager to test their skills by using features like the free trading simulator. However, Webull doesn’t leave you in the dark and offers a large variety of technical indicators and research tools to help you make the best decisions.

Public, while also focused on new investors, makes a name for itself by merging two worlds; social media and investing. Public allows users to connect and chat with other investors. They do this all while offering over 5,000 stocks with no account minimums or trading commissions.

Here are the similarities and differences between Webull vs Public.

Account Minimums$0$0
Fractional SharesNoYes
Account TypesRetirement, Individual BrokerageIndividual Brokerage
Trading CommissionsNoneNone
Trading FeaturesStocks, ETFs, Margin Investing, Short-SellingStocks, ETFs
PlatformsMobile app, web version, desktop versionMobile app

Summary: Public vs Webull

  • Public allows investors to interact with other investors through chat and comment functions
  • Webull allows users to trade on a mobile app, web, or desktop platform
  • Both platforms offer trading without commissions or account minimums
  • Webull has advanced data and research that is free to use coupled with paper trading
  • Public offers automatic dividend reinvestment while Webull does not yet have that capability
  • Webull offers retirement accounts which Public does not
  • You get 1 free stock worth up to $1,600 when you sign up for Webull + deposit $100
  • Public offers you a free $10 stock slice when you open an account
  • Public offers prebuilt portfolios or investment themes that are free to invest in
  • Webull does not offer any kind of prebuilt portfolios
  • Public offers fractional shares while Webull does not

What Is Webull?

Webull was founded in 2017 as an app-based brokerage for investors looking to explore stock and ETF trading. Since then, they have expanded into options trading as well.

While Webull does provide a lot of data, they have gone to great lengths to make sure this data is user friendly and as simple as possible. They aim to supply you with all of the data and research tools you need in an easy to navigate platform.

Investors of all experience levels should be able to navigate the platform with relative ease and make investments.

Key Features

Webull offers many great features in order to put the power back in the hands of the investors. These features include commission-free trades, mobile, web-based, and desktop apps, paper trading, and investing data and research.

Commission-Free Trades

Webull offers over 5,000 stocks and ETFs, all of which trade with no commissions. Coupled with this are the options that are available with $0 commissions, $0 contract fees, and $0 assignment or exercise fees. This puts a whole lot of money back into the pockets of options traders.

In addition to trading capabilities with no commissions for active traders, Webull also offers retirement accounts and is one of the only commission-free trading apps with no account minimums or account fees on their IRAs. This means you can start saving for retirement with whatever you currently have.

Webull offers traditional, Roth, and Rollover IRAs. All of which can be leveraged at different stages in the investing lifestyle to increase wealth and gain financial stability.

Margin trading is also available for investors who have over $2,000 in their account. The margin rate is variable and is determined by the size of the margin loan.

Free Extended Hours Trading

The US stock market is open to most investors from 9:30 am - 4:00 pm EST Monday through Friday. However, some investors can trade before the market opens or after the market closes.

All investors on Webull have this ability and will be able to trade from 4:00 am - 8:00 pm EST Monday through Friday. This gives investors on the platform additional time to react to market-moving events like earnings reports or breaking news.

It should be noted that there is typically more volatility outside of normal market hours though because there is less trading going on.

Mobile and Web-Based Platforms

With Webull, you can trade on both their mobile phone app and their online web platform. This is something that not many companies offer. You can log in and manage your account on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and the web. Webull has made it possible and convenient to manage your trades from wherever is most convenient for you.

In addition, Webull offers a desktop app which you can download and utilize as a software program on your desktop as opposed to simply trading on the web version.

Using the desktop platform will provide investors with substantially more resources and tools for making effective investments. The Webull Desktop 4.0 platform is one of the most comprehensive free trading platforms we have come across in our research.

webull market data

Paper Trading

When you sign up for paper trading, Webull gives you $1,000,000 to trade with.

These funds of course, are not real, but they mimic the market exactly so you can see what would have happened based on your decisions.

These market simulations can help you test the waters and determine if you are up for the job of investing your own hard-earned cash. The fun doesn’t stop there, Webull is also known to hold competitions to see who’s who of trading.

In 2019 it offered a first-place prize of $500 to the winner of the event.

While the emotions involved with paper trading are not the same as those of real trading, it can be a great way to get your feet wet and learn the ins and outs of the platform before your hard-earned cash is on the line.

Data & Research Tools

Webull offers both fundamental and technical data. This means that no matter who you are, when you are investing in a company, you should know the basics about their income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. These are all available within the Webull platform.

More technical research is likewise available with Webull. Take advantage of the 20+ technical indicators to gauge your investment making decisions. These technical indicators are pretty advanced for most investors and many free brokerages simply don’t offer them.

However, a word to the wise, all this information can be a bit overwhelming. So do your research and make sure you are focusing on the most important data points without suffering from analysis paralysis.

Webull Pros

  • Slick mobile app
  • Plentiful data and research
  • Paper trading platform to try before you buy
  • Free stock when you sign up and deposit $100
  • Retirement accounts available

Webull Cons

  • No fractional shares
  • Overwhelming amount of data for total beginners
  • Not a long track record

What Is Public?

Public has inserted itself into the over-crowded space by integrating a well-loved feature into investing... Social media!

That’s right, Public has brought a new product to market by merging two completely different worlds; investing and social media. This platform enables investors looking to make money and friends to collaborate with like-minded individuals who share a passion for building wealth.

Public Features

Public offers standard features like zero account minimums, no commissions, and fractional shares but mixes it with innovative offerings like chat/social functions to make Public a great option for first-time investors.

Social Investing

Public allows investors to follow investing favorites and connect with friends and see their investing activity. Observe where your friends are making moves and putting their money through a Facebook-like feed of comments and actions.

Some new investors might feel a little uneasy at the thought of divulging their stock moves and preferences. However, don’t let this feature intimidate you. Instead, recognize that although you don’t know everything, neither does anyone else. This is a great chance to get feedback on your strategy from advanced and seasoned investors.

In addition, you can follow investors you look up to on the platform in order to learn from the best.

Account Minimums

Public, just like the many brokerage accounts that came before and the many that will come after, has no account minimums on their investment accounts. This means you can invest as much, or as little as you want to start out your investing journey.

Previously, almost all brokerage fees required large sums of money to begin investing and this was seen as a large barrier for those trying to improve their finances. This feature of no account minimums means that the playing field has been leveled for all retail investors.

Public Brokerage top movers and losers

No Commissions

Public has waived all commissions on stock and ETF trades. This is a great benefit for all users!

Now, each dollar that you make in returns, you get to keep (excluding capital gains taxes).

Public also offers automatic dividend reinvestment (DRIP). This is great because investing your dividends is a lot like compound interest. You get to earn money on the money you have accumulated thanks to the dividends paid out! This is one advantage that Public has over Webull.

Of course, you can still choose to take your dividends as cash, but most long-term investors will do well to reinvest their dividends to speed up their portfolio's growth.

Fractional Shares

Fractional shares allow investors to invest in dollar amounts and not whole shares of companies. This feature is one of the greatest innovations in modern-day investing. However, it is still not mainstream quite yet. Public sets itself apart from many other brokerage firms by allowing you to invest the exact amount you can afford.

Instead of saving up to purchase an expensive stock, you can attack that slowly by investing a certain dollar amount as frequently or as infrequently as you want until you own the whole stock. This reduces the amount of idle cash you'll have sitting on the sidelines with your portfolio.

With Public, you can invest as little as $5. Fractional shares is another feature that has leveled the investing playing field and one that makes Public stand out.

Investing Options

Public has over 5,000 stocks to choose from. These include big-ticket companies like Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. With Public, you can organize watch lists and even search for categories of companies instead entering specifics.

For example, if you want to invest in women- or minority-led companies, Public has a category for that. This can significantly cut down on your research time if you're not looking to go too in-depth.

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 touts several ETFs created by some of the biggest names in investing: BlackRock, Fidelity, and Vanguard. These firms certainly know how to build top-performing portfolios of stocks so investing with them is often the more intelligent route.

By taking advantage of these low-cost options, investors can easily diversify their portfolios without spending hours researching individual companies.

Public Brokerage Stock Investing


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 fees do not apply to the majority of investors, however, if you're thinking about taking one of these actions, you'll want to be aware of any potential fees.

Public Pros

  • Fractional shares
  • No account minimums or commission fees
  • Social aspect with chat and activity feed
  • Dividend reinvestment plan to take advantage of compound interest
  • $10 free stock slice when you sign up

Public Cons

  • Limited account options (no tax-advantaged retirement accounts)
  • No mutual funds
  • No ability to day trade
  • Limited financial data

The Verdict: Webull vs Public

The decision between Webull compared to Public comes down to what you are looking for out of your brokerage.

Both are going to offer you stock and ETF trading that is 100% commission-free. However, Webull takes this a step further by offering commission-free options trading and margin accounts.

If you want to invest for retirement, Webull offers IRAs while Public does not. That being said, you are able to purchase fractional shares as little as $5 with Public. You can only buy whole shares on Webull.

Webull is designed for beginner to intermediate traders who want access to lots of research tools and data. Public has less information available, making it more beginner-friendly. Public is for those who are looking to make investing a social experience.

If you plan to do much active trading or day trading, Webull will be your best bet since Public does not allow day trading. However, if you're just looking for something simple to set up for the long term in a few minutes, you might be better off going with Public.

At the end of the day, both are free, so maybe try each one to see which you prefer!

Robinhood Logo1 Free Stock (Up To $200)Download
Webull Logo4 Free Stocks (Up To $3,700)Download
Firstrade trading platform3 Free Stocks (Up To $600)Download
Public LogoFree $10 Stock SliceDownload
M1 Finance Robo AdvisorGet $30 When You Deposit $1,000Download

Keep Reading:

webull vs public
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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