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, brokerages are working to bring the full trading experience to their mobile apps, 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 finishers this year are certainly close. With 42 different features 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 Stock Trading Apps 2020
- E*TRADE - Best for Options
- TD Ameritrade - Best Trading Tools
- Fidelity - Best for Everyday Investors
- Interactive Brokers - Best for Professionals
- TradeStation - Best for Traders
E*TRADE Mobile, Power E*TRADE
In our 2020 Review, E*TRADE once again placed first because its apps, E*TRADE Mobile and Power E*TRADE Mobile, are easy to use and feature-rich. Both apps are supported in iOS and Android, while E*TRADE Mobile also supports the Apple Watch. Unique app features include streaming live Bloomberg TV, customized stock screening, third-party research ratings, and a customizable dashboard, among others. Read full review
TD Ameritrade Mobile, Mobile Trader - Open Account
Exclusive Offer: Get up to $600 and trade commission-free with TD Ameritrade.
Like E*TRADE, TD Ameritrade offers not one, but two smartphone apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile (everyday investors) and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader (active traders). Looking at mobile apps specifically, Mobile Trader is my top pick for traders in 2019. Upon login, you are taken straight into your watch lists, which sync with thinkorswim. Charting includes all 400+ indicators from the thinkorswim desktop platform, and chart preferences sync in the cloud. Read full review
Fidelity Mobile - Open Account
Trade Commission-Free: No commissions to trade online U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options.1
Fidelity’s mobile experience is cleanly designed, bug-free, and delivers a phenomenal experience for investors. While active traders may be left wanting more, for the majority, Fidelity delivers, winning our award, No. 1 Investor App, in 2020. Read full review
IBKR Mobile - Open Account
Exclusive Offer: New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate.
Mobile trading with Interactive Brokers is well supported across all devices. From lightning-quick streaming data to full-featured order entry and portfolio management, Interactive Brokers includes everything professionals require to go trade on the go. Read full review
TradeStation Mobile - Open Account
Promo Offer: Commission-Free Trades on Stocks, ETFs & Options Trades
TradeStation's mobile app is meticulously designed and provides the functionality active and professional traders alike need to succeed. Full day trading functionality is incorporated, thanks to Matrix (ladder trading) and complex options trading support. Read full review
Mobile trading with Alexa, Facebook, Twitter, and more
On the innovation front, TD Ameritrade was one of the first brokers to offer an Alexa Skill, and in August 2017, it became the first broker to integrate with Facebook Messenger, embracing the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with its own chatbot. Next, in 2018, Apple Business Chat, which I am using more and more frequently to grab quick stock quotes. Then, in 2019, TD Ameritrade for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both rolled out. All in all, TD Ameritrade is the undisputed leader in mobile and can be found everywhere you are.
Speaking of Alexa, for the millions of Americans who own an Amazon Alexa device, TD Ameritrade, alongside Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Interactive Brokers, all have approved Alexa Skills. Our testing this year did not incorporate testing specific Alexa features; however, based on Amazon’s ratings, it appears TD Ameritrade has the lead in delivering a diverse quality experience.
Mobile trading apps comparison
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.
|Apple Watch App||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Trading - Stocks||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Trading - After-Hours||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Trading - Conditional Orders||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Trading - Mutual Funds||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Trading - Simple Options||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Trading - Complex Options||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Trading - Option Rolling||No||Yes||No||No|
|Touch / Face ID||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Mobile trading app features comparison
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. For example, less than 50% of the industry supports basic stock alerts.
|Watch List Syncing||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Charting - After Hours||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Charting - Drawing||No||Yes||No||No|
|Charting - Study Customizations||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Stream Live TV||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
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 room for innovation.
What is the best stock trading app for beginners?
For beginners in 2020, the best stock trading apps are TD Ameritrade and Fidelity. Between the two brokers, TD Ameritrade has the edge for educational resources and trading tools. Meanwhile, Fidelity offers a more comprehensive research experience for casual investors.
What is the best free trading app?
The best free trading app is TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade offers free trading for stocks and ETFs. TD Ameritrade offers two smartphone apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile (everyday investors) and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader (active traders). Between both apps, Mobile Trader is my top trading app pick for 2020.
How do I choose the best stock trading app?
For traders looking for the best stock trading app features, focus on watch lists, charting, and the order tickets. For example, while all apps support stock and ETF trading, not all brokers offer real-time streaming quotes. Instead, watch list quotes refresh every few seconds or more. Also broker apps like TD Ameritrade and TradeStation do a terrific job with their stock charting tool and alerts functionality. Both brokers offer traders access to several hundred technical indicators, and placing trades is a breeze.
Explore our other online trading guides:
- Best Online Brokers for 2020
- Best Online Brokers for Beginners 2020
- Best Brokers for Day Trading 2020
- Best Brokers for Penny Stocks 2020
- Compare Online Brokers
For the StockBrokers.com tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.
Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
Still aren't sure which online broker to choose? Email us a question! Whether you are a beginner investor learning the ropes or a professional trader, we are here to help. Email us your online broker specific question and we will respond within one business day.