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Public Investing App Review 2022: Active Investing Community

Ashley Jackson

Public is an investing platform that allows people to invest in stocks, ETFs, crypto, art, NFTs, collectibles, and more – all in one place. Public’s platform helps people be better investors with access to custom company metrics, live shows about the markets, and insights from millions of creators, analysts, and investors.

Overall rating

4.8

Summary: Public is a great option for any investor looking to build a long-term portfolio, commission-free. 

Public

public app logo

$0

Fee Per Trade

$0

Account Minimum


Reviews

5

Account Opening

5

Fees

5

Deposits & Withdrawals

4.5

Trading Platform

4

Markets & Products

5

Research Tools

5

Education

4.5

Customer Service

5

Safe & Secure

Pros

  • Public premium
  • No transfer fees
  • Insights from an investing community of millions
  • Invest in any fractional asset
  • Powerful suite of tools 
  • Live in-app shows about the markets
  • Content and real-time updates relevant to your portfolio
  • Earn free stock when you refer a friend

Cons

  • Limited account types
  • No in-person customer support

Best For

  • All-in-one investing platform 
  • Wide selection of product offerings 
  • Long term investors 
  • Commission-free

Features

HQ6 Harrison Street, New York, NY 10013
AccountsTaxable brokerage account
InstrumentsStocks, ETFs, Crypto, Art, NFTs, and Collectibles
RegulationMember of SIPC & FINRA
Minimum Deposit$0
FeesCommission-free on Stocks & ETF’s, Fees Vary
Demo AccountNone
LeverageNot available
Trading PlatformsAndroid, iOS
State RestrictionsAvailable in all States

In depth review on Public 

Public’s platform was designed to help anyone be a better investor. Members can invest in stocks, ETFs, crypto, art NFTs, and collectibles–all in one place. With access to a powerful suite of tools, daily insights from millions of investors, and curated content and news, so all members can have the tools and resources needed to invest with context. The mobile app is intuitively designed to make it easy for you to navigate top movers and stock trends, as well as, execute a trade in just a few simple taps.  

In addition, there are no minimum opening deposit requirements and Public will also cover your current brokerage fees when transferring to their platform.  

Public is best for 

  • All-in-one platform: In a few taps, you can easily open an account and search through a wide range of stocks, ETFs, crypto, art, NFTs, and collectibles. 
  • Wide selection of product offerings: There are thousands of stocks and ETFs to choose from, plus a growing collection of cryptocurrencies. 
  • Long-term investors: Public offers investors the option to divide investments into short-term and long-term investments. If you try to sell a long-term investment in less than one year, you’ll receive a gentle reminder from Public to hold onto the investment.
  • Commission-free: Public offers commission-free trading on its platform. However, there is a markup on cryptocurrency transactions.  

Public benefits  

  • Public premium: A new monthly membership featuring advanced tools, research, and insights to inform smarter investment decisions. Premium gives you a deeper look at the companies behind the ticker with unique metrics, exclusive research and ratings from Morningstar analysts, and an in-depth analysis of company performance. The subscription-based membership costs $10/mo, with complimentary access offered to members with an account balance of $20,000 or more.
  • Investing community: Discover new investment opportunities and gain exposure to valuable ideas from an active investing community of investors, creators, and analysts. 
  • No transfer fees: You can easily transfer your portfolio over to Public from another brokerage. There are no incoming transfer fees and Public will even cover the costs of your current brokerage’s transfer fee when your balance is more than $150.  
  • Invest in any fractional asset: Invest in any fractional asset like stocks, ETFs, crypto, art, NFTs, and collectibles–all in one place.  
  • Powerful suite of tools: Control how you invest with a sophisticated suite of tools to help power your portfolio.
  • Live in-app shows about the markets: Hear from experts, analysts, and journalists as they break down key market headlines. Submit questions directly to top company executives and hear their answers live during Public Town Halls.
  • Content and real-time updates relevant to your portfolio: Get unique insights about your portfolio: earning calls, company-specific metrics, and more. 
  • Earn a free slice of stock when you refer a friend: When you refer a friend using a referral code, you and your friend could earn stock. The value can range from $3 to $300. However, the majority of referrals (roughly 90%) are likely to earn closer to the $3 mark.  

Public drawbacks   

  • No in-person customer support: There is currently no face-to-face support. But you can get in touch with a customer service specialist from Public’s award-winning CX team by email or via 24/7 live chat if you have any questions.  
  • Limited account types: Currently Public only offers a taxable brokerage account. There is no option to open traditional or Roth IRA accounts.  

Account opening  

5

To open an account, you’ll need to download Public for Android or iOS. The majority of applications are approved within minutes. However, at times you may be required to provide additional documentation that can take up to 10 business days to approve.  

There is no minimum deposit to open an account, although you will need to connect your bank account so that you can make future deposits.  

Fees  

5

Public aims to be as transparent as possible about the fees charged and does not participate in PF. Your trades will never be sold to market makers or other third parties. Instead, all orders are routed directly to the exchanges and other execution venues. With Public, you get unlimited commission-free trades on stocks and ETFs. However, other fees may be imposed on your account including: 

SEC Regulatory Fee $5.10 per $1,000,000 of principal (sells only) 
Trading Activity Fee (TAF) $0.000119 per share (equity sells) 
Crypto Transactions 1-2% markup applied per transaction 
Domestic Wire Transfer out of Public $25 
Outgoing ACAT $75 
Domestic Overnight Check Delivery $35 
Returned Check $30 
Paper Trade Confirmations $2 
Paper Check Request $5 

You can view the entire fee schedule on public.com.  

Deposits and withdrawals 

5

There are a few different ways to fund and withdraw from your account. These include: 

  • Wire transfer 
  • Plaid 
  • Mail a check 
  • Debit card (not available for withdrawals) 
  • Connect your bank manually through Micro Deposits  

To transfer out of Public, there is a $75 brokerage fee.  

Trading platform  

4.5

Users can access the trading platform using the mobile app, which can be downloaded for iOS and Android or the Public for Web version. With both the app and Public for Web, you can buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and crypto all in one place.  

You can stay up to date with top movers and stock trends, plus gain knowledge and share insights with other investors in the community.  

Plus, Public members can organize their portfolios to help them stay on track with long-term investments. If you try to sell a long-term investment before one year, Public will gently remind you to stay invested.  

Markets and products  

4

Public members can get started with a taxable brokerage account. Unfortunately, there is no option for IRA or retirement accounts at present. 

Products include stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. More advanced users looking to invest in options or futures should consider alternative options.  

Fractional shares are available which can help newer investors get started. You can also choose between limit, market, or stop orders.  

Research tools  

5

There are various calculators available inside the Public app.  

With the fractional share calculator, you’ll be able to see how much of a stock you can buy when you have less than the value of one unit to invest. Think Amazon, Google, or Tesla, which require hundreds or thousands of dollars to purchase just one share. Fractional shares allow you to get started with a few dollars and purchase a slice of your favorite company. 

The compound interest calculator helps you to visualize how your investments can grow over time and the capital gains tax calculator can give you an estimate of how much tax will be due when you sell your investments.  

In addition, Public members can stay up to date with the most popular stocks and ETFs trending on the app. Head over to the Investing Themes page to learn more about crypto assets, Metaverse, space exploration, and so much more! 

Education  

5

Whether you’re a new or seasoned investor, Public offers an array of articles and tools built into the app to help you learn about investing. Some of the topics you can learn about inside their library include: 

  • Investing 
  • The Stock Market 
  • IPOs 
  • Retirement 
  • Crypto 
  • Alternative investments 

Customer service  

4.5

To get in touch with Public you can email: [email protected] 

Live chat is available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday – Sunday with a real human available to chat to you.  

Alternatively, Public has a very extensive FAQ page on their website. It can be a good idea to check this out first as there’s a strong chance your question might be answered.  

Safe and secure  

5

Public implements “Bank-Grade security with AES 128-bit encryption and TLS 1.2 to secure data in transit” to ensure the safety and security of your brokerage account. Plus, as a member of the SIPC, your account is insured for up to $500,000.  

Additional features to keep your account safe include: 

  • Two-factor authentication 
  • Compliance with anti-money laundering regulations 
  • Biometric authentication 

Is Public right for you? 

The Public brokerage account is best for long-term investors looking for a more convenient way to build, track, and manage a portfolio–all in one place. Members can also benefit from the sophisticated suite of investing tools and daily insights from millions of investors, creators, and analysts. 

Plus, there is a wide selection of product offerings and no minimum deposit requirement to open an account. 

However, Public falls short in certain areas including the ability to open a tax-efficient account that could help your investments grow free of capital gains tax. As tax can offset a significant portion of gains, investors with larger sums of money may prefer to seek a brokerage with more robust account offerings.