Mobile Trading Apps

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer

Monday, February 19th, 2018

Trading and accessing client information via mobile devices is a trend that is rapidly gaining momentum around the world, and brokers are betting big on the future. Not surprisingly, every online broker has resources devoted to mobile development as the demand for information, entertainment, and social and commercial services skyrockets on the Internet.

While mobile trading platforms cannot match the exponential growth of Instagram, Snapchat, and similar services that have attracted hundreds of millions of users, they are becoming increasingly popular among traders and brokers. An example of the dramatic shift from desktop to mobile is nowhere more apparent than in the fact that more visitors access Facebook every day via their mobile devices than they do with their PCs.

Despite the fact that most brokers have had mobile apps for many years, there is still plenty of room for brokers to innovate. Many online brokers are wagering that mobile investing isn’t just about viewing a portfolio, maintaining a basic watch list, and placing simple trades. Instead, they are working to bring the full trading experience to mobile, including trade tools, advanced order types, detailed charting, complex options, cloud syncing, screeners, and much more.

No single broker has “cracked the code” to the ultimate mobile investor experience yet, but our top three finishers this year are certainly close. With 52 different variables being assessed for mobile trading alone, scoring high marks is no walk in the park. We conducted all our tests on iOS devices, and focused primarily on the iPhone.

Best Brokers for Mobile Trading Summary

Based on 52 variables, here is a summary of the top five broker apps (iPhone, Android) for mobile trading.


1. E*TRADE - Scored 97%
Current Offer: Trade Free for 60 Days & Get Up to $600. Join today!

E*TRADE was the pioneer of mobile trading, with its original Blackberry and iPhone apps. Thanks to its talking baby commercials, E*TRADE Mobile became immensely popular and led the industry for many years. Today, it charges $6.95 per trade and the mobile experience remains top notch across iOS and Android, delivering an impressive list of features. Read more...


2. Fidelity - Scored 96%
Exclusive Offer: Get 300 commission-free trades and 2 years to use them.

Fidelity Investments charges only $4.95 per trade for stock trades and provides retail investors a clean mobile investing experience for both Apple iOS and Android devices. For its mobile offering, we gave Fidelity 4.5 out of 5 stars in our 2018 Review. The company was also awarded Best in Class for 11 categories. Among its exceptional offerings is a full, personalized home screen experience in its mobile app. Read more...

TD Ameritrade

3. TD Ameritrade - Scored 95%
Exclusive Offer: Trade free for 90 days + get up to $600 cash

TD Ameritrade has the best mobile trading apps, Mobile (built for casual investors) and Mobile Trader (built for advanced traders). Mobile Trader was awarded #1 Trader App in our 2018 Review. TD Ameritrade charges $6.95 per trade and goes beyond its excellent mobile offering with industry-leading tools as well, thanks to its desktop-based thinkorswim platform. Read more...

Interactive Brokers

4. Interactive Brokers - Scored 86%
Current Offer: Trade on over 100 market centers in 24 countries.

While Interactive Brokers is not designed for new or casual users, its thorough mobile app, IB TWS, is built with the core features professional traders need to trade efficiently. Alongside a $10,000 minimum deposit, it charges up to $20 per month between two minimum activity fees to deter non-professionals. Stock trades start at $.005 per share ($1 minimum), and options trades start at $.70 per contract.  Read more...

Merrill Edge

5. OptionsHouse - Scored 85%
Current Offer: Invest in a new account and get up to $600.

Merrill Edge may be best known for its excellent Preferred Rewards program through its parent company, Bank of America, but the brokerage arm of the giant bank provides great tools for investing online, too. The Merrill Edge mobile app offers customers a well-rounded experience that includes support for nearly every device and the primary features investors need to navigate the markets. Read more...

Mobile Trading Broker Apps

Looking at the results, E*TRADE was our winner, earning 97% of the possible points in this category. E*TRADE, like TD Ameritrade, provides two separate apps, although our testing focused just on their primary app, E*TRADE mobile, which most of their customers use.

etrade mobile watch list

E*TRADE Mobile shines for its diverse set of features and tools. In fact, our testing of 52 different variables found that E*TRADE lacks only one feature: portfolio asset allocation charts. Some functionality, for example fully customizable screening, is offered only by one other broker, Interactive Brokers. The app’s weakness is found in its charting package, which only includes 11 optional technical indicators. Nevertheless, there is a lot to like.

E*TRADE mobile screener

For traders, TD Ameritrade stands out for offering two separate apps, Mobile and Mobile Trader, for traditional investors and active traders, respectively. Mobile Trader, which won our #1 Trader app award, is the ultimate experience for traders, providing a comprehensive offering. In terms of charting, no one comes close to matching Mobile Trader’s rich tool set and 397 optional technical indicators. The app syncs entirely with thinkorswim, which is our #1 desktop platform pick in 2018.

td ameritrade mobile trader stock chart

On the innovation front, in 2017 TD Ameritrade became the first broker to offer a full functionality chat bot through Facebook Messenger. And, for the millions of Americans who own an Amazon Alexa device, TD Ameritrade, alongside Fidelity, both have approved Alexa Skills. Our testing this year did not incorporate specific features of the Amazon Echo; however, based on Amazon’s ratings, it appears TD Ameritrade has the lead in delivering a diverse quality experience.

td ameritrade facebook messenger stock quote

Speaking of innovation, Fidelity won our award for #1 Investor App, thanks partly to its customizable feed experience. Upon logging into the Fidelity app, customers are greeted by a personalized stream of portfolio and watch list analysis, market news, and research, alongside updates on the US market and international markets. The feed backdrop is a beautiful scenic image that rotates each time the app loads. While TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader reigns supreme for traders, Fidelity Mobile is our favorite app for investors.

Fidelity mobile account dashboard

Across the industry as a whole, although some functionality such as real-time streaming quotes, charting with multiple indicators, and synced watch lists are now pretty much industry standards, other functionality remains less common. Only 31% of the industry offers conditional orders, just 23% of the industry supports viewing open orders on a stock chart, and still only 46% of the industry supports basic stock alerts.

E*TRADEFidelity TD AmeritradeInteractive BrokersMerrill Edge
Customizable Homescreen Yes Yes No No Yes
Watch List Syncing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charting - Technical Studies1173976822
Apple Watch App Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile Trading 5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars

The process of placing orders continues to become easier for customers, thanks to innovations with order entry functionality. Placing regular stock trades and single-leg options trades is now a breeze, regardless of the broker used, and for brokers who offer complex options trading, it is mostly painless. Filling in an order ticket for a four-legged spread trade can be tricky on a PC, let alone trying to trade one on a tablet or smartphone. Several brokers are taking innovative steps to make the process seamless, and we will be very excited to see which route becomes the industry standard over the next few years.

The world of mobile trading continues to evolve rapidly. While online brokers have come a long way from where they were even a year ago, there is still considerable scope for innovation.

Mobile Trading Brokers Summary

Online Broker Best For Minimum Deposit Commissions Overall Rating
E*TRADE E*TRADE Mobile $500 $6.95 97%
Fidelity Fidelity Mobile $2,500 $4.95 96%
TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader $0 $6.95 95%
Interactive Brokers IB TWS $10,000 $0.005 per share 86%
Merrill Edge Merrill Edge Mobile $0 $6.95 85%

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/20/18 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

TD Ameritrade, Inc. and are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options. Offer valid for one new Individual, Joint or IRA TD Ameritrade account opened by 9/30/2018 and funded within 60 calendar days of account opening with $3,000 or more. To receive $100 bonus, account must be funded with $25,000-$99,999. To receive $300 bonus, account must be funded with $100,000-$249,999. To receive $600 bonus, account must be funded with $250,000 or more. Offer is not valid on tax-exempt trusts, 401k accounts, Keogh plans, Profit Sharing Plan, or Money Purchase Plan. Offer is not transferable and not valid with internal transfers, accounts managed by TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC, TD Ameritrade Institutional accounts, and current TD Ameritrade accounts or with other offers. Qualified commission-free Internet equity, ETF or options orders will be limited to a maximum of 250 and must execute within 90 calendar days of account funding. No credit will be given for unexecuted trades. Contract, exercise, and assignment fees still apply. Limit one offer per client. Account value of the qualifying account must remain equal to, or greater than, the value after the net deposit was made (minus any losses due to trading or market volatility or margin debit balances) for 12 months, or TD Ameritrade may charge the account for the cost of the offer at its sole discretion. TD Ameritrade reserves the right to restrict or revoke this offer at any time. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Please allow 3-5 business days for any cash deposits to post to account. Taxes related to TD Ameritrade offers are your responsibility. Retail values totaling $600 or more during the calendar year will be included in your consolidated Form 1099. Please consult a legal or tax advisor for the most recent changes to the U.S. tax code and for rollover eligibility rules. (Offer Code 264) TD Ameritrade Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2017 TD Ameritrade.