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Account Minimum: $0
Fees: No Commission or Trading Fees
Best For: Social & Fractional Share Trading
Warning: There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. Trading in any type of financial product including forex, CFDs, stocks, and cryptocurrencies.
Securities.io has a financial relationship with Public and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Public through links in this content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are my own.
Public is an app-based stock trading broker that encompasses a wide variety of features enabling individual stock trading, fractional share trading, and many social trading elements including the ability to view the investments of other traders, and communicate with them through the proprietary app.
These innovative features follow the current trend in making Public very relevant and the accessibility they provide with no minimum deposit or trade amount required catapults them into the conversation as a top mobile and commission-free broker.
- Fractional share and ETFs trading is available
- Completely commission-free trading
- Very accessible and easy to use mobile app
- Social trading features built-in
- Only mobile trading is available
- Assets limited to major shares and ETFs
In terms of trust and regulation, while Public may seem a relatively new name in the sector, they have in fact been around for a long time. The company is regulated by FINRA and protected under SIPC. This will give your protection for portfolio assets up to $500,000 or cash balances of up to $250,000.
Public started operating in 2017 but prior to that, they had been known as Matador. They are also a subsidiary of T3 Securities and their SEC filing shows they have been registered with the body since 2004.
Add to that the fact their app conforms to all security and encryption standards would expect to keep your data safe and secure through the use of AES 128-bit encryption and TLS 1.2 protecting your transfer integrity, then you are very well covered in trading with Public as a transparent and secure choice.
From the perspective of other traders, the reputation of Public is also one of trust. There do not appear to have been any security concerns or complaints filed during their time operating in the sector.
Investing with Public will bring you access to almost 3,000 of the top traded shares and ETFs. This is an excellent selection given the mobile-only nature of the platform. All of the shares available are traded on major US markets like the NYSE or NASDAQ. Outside of this, the offering is limited to protect investors from overly risky investments.
The available assets can also be browsed through classification or theme on the app itself. This makes it easier for you as a trader to find or identify possible shares you may be interested in or which may fit the theme of the portfolio you are building. Stocks and ETFs only are offered as tradable assets by Public at present.
Again though, what really sets Public apart as a great choice for new or casual investors in particular, is the access to fractional trading. This means you do not have to buy a whole stock. Instead, you can invest in a percentage of that major stock that you can afford. This opens the door to first-time traders to get involved in the biggest companies around the world commission-free and at an affordable cost.
As well as being able to gift shares bought through Public to family or friends you will also have a $5 fractional share purchase as a free bonus when you sign up.
Commission & Fees
With commissions and fees, Public is very straightforward in that you will not pay any commissions on trading. There are also no fees attached to making your deposit or withdrawals.
This commission-free style is one that has become widespread in recent years and again does the job of attracting many beginner traders to get their start in stock trading at very low costs.
There are only a few places with Public that you will find any fees and these are typically in non-trading areas such as if you need to make a broker-assisted trade which is $30, or are making a domestic wire transfer. This is also $30. Aside from that, there are only fees for domestic overnight check payments, returned checks, paper statements, and outgoing account transfers.
All of these fees can be easily avoided by the majority of traders for a completely commission-free, and fee-free experience with this broker.
All trading with Public is done through their app. This means there is no desktop or web-based trading platform available and every action you perform with the broker takes place through the app which you can download for both Android and iOS devices and that maintains a high rating through both app stores.
The app being the lifeblood of the entire operation then, you would expect it to be well-designed and intuitive in how it is used. This is exactly the case and for trading, the app is extremely easy to navigate, find the shares or ETFs you wish to invest in and place your trades. This user-friendly approach makes Public a perfect choice again for the newer traders in the industry.
A great addition to the app and broker is the fact you can also engage on the social side with other traders or your friends. This means you can develop some potentially helpful insight as to the investment trends of others as well as start and participate in conversations around investing and certain assets. This handy group messaging style id also a way for you to stay up to date with any recent developments and continue to expand on your own knowledge of trading or certain assets.
As a trader, there are a number of ways to get in touch with the Public team and what they promote through their website as “best in class” customer support.
You can contact them if you need anything through web-based live chat that is available to registered users, send them an email or call during the hours of 9am-5pm EST when the markets are open.
Before calling there are also many dedicated FAQs answered through the Public website section both by the company themselves and other community members. There is every chance then that you will find the answer you are looking for without needing to contact the team.
Education at Public takes a different form than you may find at other brokers. While many of the top trading brokers will have a dedicated education section where you can work through tutorials and structured learning courses, this is not the case at Public.
There is still a lot of educational content to be found through their website, but the majority comes from other contributing community members and traders. The benefit this provides is that all of the content can be based on real experiences which can prove more insightful.
You will also have access to all the latest news in the industry as it breaks and the entire social side of the company that is in many ways an educational resource dedicated to learning more about assets and the wider industry.
Overall, Public is a well-trusted company that is both regulated and has a long-term reputation of good standing within the industry. They capitalize on the current market trend by offering an extremely competitive and commission-free trading environment on fractional shares and more.
Combine this with the undeniable accessibility their top and all-inclusive mobile app ecosystem provides and you have a winner if you are looking to trade major or fractional shares at low cost and with the ability to engage in social trading on the move.
There is no doubt the company in its current form is still young with plenty of room to evolve and grow, but many of the innovative signs point toward a positive future for Public and those trading with them.