Public.com Review 2022(For beginners, a commission-free trading app)

  • Get a free sign-up bonus of up to $70
  • Apps are available on Google Play for desktop, Apple iOS, and Android.

Public.com review is another commission-free investing app that targets Millennials and Gen-Zers looking to invest in line with their social preferences and like-minded individuals. A popular feature of the stock investing app is fractional investing, 

The company’s mission is to make investing in stocks more accessible, educational, and fun by allowing people to invest alongside their friends and other well-known investors. Similarly to social media platforms that verify public figures with blue checkmarks, 

About the Public App

Commission-free stock trading app Public.com was founded in 2019 following early development and funding. Members can manage stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies from a single platform with the Public.

It doesn’t require minimum deposit amounts or a minimum balance for users to start investing on the platform in an attempt to appeal to younger investors less likely to have lots of cash to invest from day one or on an ongoing basis. You can use the app to make commission-free trades similar to those made on other investing platforms, but it does not accept Payment for Order Flow (“PFOF”).

In essence, PFOF is a way for online discount brokers to earn compensation when they route your trade orders to third parties to execute your orders. Many apps like Robinhood have drawn attention to PFOF for the conflicts of interest it creates between brokerages and users, including incentivizing them to trade more frequently.

READ ALSO: Robinhood promotion

public.com review

Is Public.com right for you?

Editor’s rating4.58 out of 5
Fees0%
Account Minimum$0
PromotionNone at this time.

Overall rating: Let’s learn more about this app in our Public.com review.

FeatureInsider rating (out of 5)
Fees5.00
Investment selection4.25
Platform navigability5.00
Customer service4.25
Trustworthiness4.00
Educational resources/research5.00
Overall score4.58

Public.com: How to get free stock

  • As a free sign-up bonus, the service offers $10 in addition to the ability to give friends and family free stock gifts (fractional shares). Open a free account and make an initial deposit to see if this investing app meets your needs. You can get up to $70 of free stock in a company of your choice if 
  • Investing app Public.com offers some unique social features. The Public.com app lets you follow other investors, share insights with your friends, and meet new people. The community at Public.com is very active, so there’s always something new to learn.
  • Public.com’s use of themes is another interesting feature. A theme is simply a grouping of companies with a similar characteristic (such as female CEOs). Themes can help you find companies to invest in.
  • In addition to these unique features, Public.com also offers commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. New investors can buy full stock or fractional shares, and there is no minimum deposit or balance requirement.
  • They also stand out by not participating in Payment for Order Flow (PFOF), which means they don’t sell your trades. Your trades are instead routed directly to the exchanges.
  • Commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies
  • Purchase fractional shares
  • Minimums are not required
  • Connect with other investors using social features
  • Finding companies to invest in can be done using themes
  • Make your own list of long-term investments

Public.com Features

1. Investment Account Types

Public.com lets you open a taxable brokerage account and a savings account. IRAs aren’t currently available. Members of the public tend to be long-term investors. They can invest in both stocks and ETFs.

At this time, the Public does not offer to check accounts, savings accounts, debit cards, or credit cards. The Public may offer future services that offer these banking products to serve as an all-in-one financial platform.

2. Options for investing

The Public may not be the best fit if you are mostly interested in day trading since options and penny stocks are not available. In addition, there are no investment options for mutual funds, bonds, forex, or futures at the moment.

3. Investment Minimum

The Public does not require a minimum deposit. You can get started for free.

4. Trading without commissions (no trading fees)

Initially, the Public joined the Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) revolution common in commission-free stock trading apps but abandoned Robinhood GameStop’s stock market model. Instead of PFOF, Public routes your trade directly to exchanges. Brokers and customers have no conflict of interest.

In addition to this change, the company now offers optional tipping. In order to help offset the increased costs of direct routing, members can add a small tip to trades. This is optional. Members can choose to pay no commissions on trades.

5. Sign up for free stock

Once your account has been approved, you can claim a free stock. Your free stock will have a value of up to $20, and what you receive (and how much it is worth) is random. A referral from a friend can earn you up to $70 in free stock.

6. Refer a Friend for Free Stocks

Upon inviting a new member who opens a qualified account, an existing member can give both the “referrer” and the “referee” a free stock valued at up to $70. Once the account is approved, users can choose from nine different stocks.

Keep the free stock value in your account for at least 90 days. Depending on whether you expect it to grow more in value, you can keep it longer or withdraw it. Through this program, a single member can earn up to $500.

7. There is a community of investors.

It is aptly named Public since it contains public, social elements that create both a community and a brokerage. Investors can share their own activity in the social component and view other people’s portfolios, including those created by industry experts.

Chat groups can be created with family, friends, or other community members. Discussions about the stock market and investing become social.

8. Reinvesting dividends

Some companies pay dividends to their investors. If you use Public as your investing app, 

9. Profiles of public investors

A person’s profile on the Public Investing App is public, so anyone can view it. Your profile can also be made private. You can see whether anyone you know is already using the platform using your phone’s contacts.

You can also search for investors with similar interests and follow them. Several “certified” profiles are popular and provide investors with new ideas, expert content, and inspiration. Your profile can be made private.

10. Themes

The Public has organized its stocks into several categories or “Themes.” These include (but are not limited to):

crypto Revolution
Women in Charge
Sports
Food Delivery
Diverse Leadership
Combat Carbon
SaaS Companies

For example, clicking Women in Charge will present 51 public companies with female CEOs, such as Poshmark, CVS Health, and Honest Company.

11. Investing in fractional shares

You can purchase fractional shares on the Public Investing app, called a “stock slice” or “share slice.” The stock price of any company you believe in doesn’t matter – you can own a piece of it. Most investing apps that offer fractional shares require you to open a purchase window to see how much of a stock you can buy.

12. Town halls and public events for education

In the Public app, educational content and in-app programming are unique features. Town Halls Public community members can ask their most pressing questions in live AMAs with public company leaders. These events are usually scheduled a month or two in advance. You can read previous Town Hall discussions on Public.com.

13. Public Live and The Open

Investors can have difficulty keeping up with business news because it moves so fast. IPOs, earnings reports, leadership changes, product launches, and other moves affect the public markets every day, and investors want to hear about it.

Using Public Live, members have direct access to business leaders, financial creators, and industry experts as events in the market unfold in real-time. The daily morning show, The Open, unpacks the biggest headlines before the opening bell every day at 9:15 am ET.

14. Volatility Reminders and Safety Labels

Each member has full control over the stocks they choose to purchase. Members of the Public app will be alerted to potentially risky investments even though the app does not provide investment advice. Before buying potentially risky stocks, an order flow shows a Safety Label.

The Volatility Reminders feature is based on the Safety Labels Feature, which flags potentially risky stocks in accordance with the SEC. Among these are micro-cap stocks, leveraged ETFs, bankrupt companies, and highly volatile meme stocks.

15. Protection of your account

Public secures data in transit with AES 128-bit encryption and TLS 1.2, preventing cyberattacks on your account.

Public maintains SIPC insurance for all user accounts in their brokerage account worth up to $500,000. While this does not protect against market risk or loss of principal, it does protect the amount of money held in your account against the failure of the financial institution or Public up to $500,000.

16. Payment for order flow (PFOF) does not exist.

By monetizing their users’ trading activities, free stock trading apps have largely survived the removal of commissions.

They achieve this by implementing Payment for Order Flow (“PFOF”), in accordance with SEC Rule 606 and 607, which requires them to disclose payments received via a quarterly report from the company’s clearinghouse on all non-directed orders.

Public Features

Minimum Investment$0
Stock Trades$0
Options TradesN/A
Mutual FundsN/A
Investment TypesStocks, ETFs,
Accounts TypesTaxable
Access iPhone App, Android App,
Broker Assisted Trade$30
No Fee ETFs0
Customer ServicePhone and Live Chat: M-F 9A-5P ET; Email

Public.com Pros and Cons

  • No account minimums: Public.com does not require a minimum deposit or a minimum balance.
  • An active investing community built with engagement and transparency: The investments of members are public, and you can discuss topics related to investing with other members.
  • No commissions but also PFOF-free: There are no trading fees. Tipping is an option, but it is not required. Further, they do not have an inherent conflict of interest when routing orders to market makers rather than directly to exchanges.
  • Fractional shares: You can buy “stock slices” instead of a full share in the Public app if you don’t have the funds or desire to purchase a full share.
  • Great customer service: Public.com staff can be contacted in a number of ways. You can email them, use the live chat (with real humans), or contact them via social media.

Public.com Cons

  • Custodial accounts: Currently, the Public investing app does not offer custodial accounts. It is still possible for minors to download the app and use the inactive version to invest in stocks of their favorite companies. Traders will not be able to trade shares, but they can follow investors, track stocks in the app, and learn about the stock market.
  • Add a web-based view or desktop app: Public.com does not offer an option to trade outside of the mobile app.
  • Quicker deposit clearing: Members’ bank deposits can often take up to five business days to settle in their accounts. Debit card deposits are instant but are limited to $1,000 per transaction.

Public.com offers several ways to invest.

1. Investing in stocks and ETFs

Public offers more than 9,000 stocks and ETFs, so you can choose from a variety of investment options. Additionally, you can invest fractional shares (at least $1 is needed) and trade commission-free with a taxable brokerage account. Furthermore, it offers a few other features that can help you make the best investment choices.

The “Investing Themes” feature allows you to tailor your portfolio based on your interests. The “Top Movers” feature lets you see which stocks are experiencing the highest or lowest movement each day, and the “Stock Trends” feature compares the most popular investments with the least popular ones. 

2. Cryptocurrencies

Apex Crypto, the Public’s partner, now allows you to diversify your portfolio with digital assets. Public began offering cryptocurrency investing in October 2021, and it currently offers 25 coins and tokens. Among its investment selections are, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Dogecoin
  • Cardano
  • Algorand

Orders will be placed through the Public platform, but Apex Crypto will execute them. Your crypto will also be held by its partner, who will charge a markup between 1% and 2%. 

Commissions & Fees 10
Customer Service 8.5
Tools & Resources 5
Investment Options 6
Ease of Use 9.5
Account Options 3

Conclusion

Despite its limitations, the Public is a solid broker for investors looking to build a community and share ideas. There is a possibility that Public will expand its product offerings, including account types and investment options, portfolio analysis and reporting tools, and so on, given its latest funding round. 

However, beginners looking to develop their investing skills would be better served by a larger broker with a more comprehensive offering into which they can grow. You can make do with a less social trading app if you just want to passively invest with a broker like Vanguard. The Public believes that a sizeable group of new, mobile-only investors will appreciate the social element above all else.

FAQs

Is public com legit?

Is the public legit? Yes. Public Investment is a real brokerage app and is SIPC-insured up to $500,000 per account. Strategic investments can make members money, just as with any brokerage.

What kind of company is public com?

Investing platform Public.com helps people become better investors. Owning on Public gives you access to a rich community of investors, creators, and analysts to create content and education relevant to your portfolio.