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The 5 best penny stock apps: Top trading apps for beginner investors

What is the best penny stock app? Charles Schwab is ZDNet's No. 1 pick. We researched and compared different trading apps to determine our top choice and other honorable mentions. Build your savings with minimal investment using these penny stock apps.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

It does not have to cost you a ton to get involved in the stock market. In fact, it could cost you just a handful of pennies or as much as $5 when you use penny stock apps.

penny stock apps can be a simple way to invest your money with just a minimal financial investment, thus eliminating the heady risk of larger investments. Instead, the best penny stock apps offer a user-friendly way to invest your money with a low startup cost. But where is one to start?

We survey today's best penny stock apps, analyzing key features and factors before presenting the best penny stock apps for your financial future. 

Charles Schwab app review | best penny stock app

Charles Schwab is a well-known name in the financial world, so it makes sense that it is a trustworthy name in investing and our overall best pick for penny stock apps. It offers a user-friendly app in the form of Schwab Trading Software that is simple to use both domestically and internationally with Charles Schwab's signature service. There are multiple charting options, plus you can integrate with your social media to remain plugged in at all times. It is an app worthy of both the casual and regular investor with a straightforward approach that is user-friendly to even beginner investors. To get started, you will need to open an account. There are no minimum trade requirements, although you will face a flat transaction fee for each trade. 

Cost and fees

There are no monthly service fees, but Charles Schwab does charge fees per trade, according to the fee schedule below.

Type of trade

Cost per trade

Automated phone trade

$11.95 (including $5 automated phone fee)

Broker-assisted trade

$25

Pros

  • Multiple platforms
  • No monthly fees
  • Excellent mobile app 

Cons

  • Lacking automated cash sweep
  • No FX trading
Etrade app review | best penny stock app

You will need to create a brokerage account to begin trading, but once you do, you're all set to begin investing. There are a ton of investment tools you can use to help with strategy, such as resources for retirement planning and market news to keep you abreast of market changes. It is extra guidance that is incredibly beneficial to investors, especially those novices that are still navigating their way around the market. Commissions are reasonable, allowing you a generous discount when you have 30 or more transactions. It is a benefit that is rarely seen among penny stock apps, saving you money when you are active on the platform. You have the option to conduct either self-directed online or broker-assisted trades, but first, you have to fund the account, which can take a little while, depending on the funding method you choose. However, you do have the option to use the free Transfer Money service, deposit a check, or send a wire transfer. If you need help, there is excellent customer service with 24/7 availability via phone for any help you may need.

Cost and fees

E*Trade charges a straightforward fee schedule.

Type of trade

Cost per trade

Online orders (less than 30 per month)

$6.95

Online orders (30+ per month)

$4.95

Broker-assisted trades

$25.00

Pros

  • Discounted trading costs for bulk transactions
  • No minimum deposit required
  • 24/7 customer support 

Cons

  • Slow to fund accounts 
  • No cryptocurrency available
Fidelity app review | best penny stock app

In order to benefit from Fidelity's penny stocks, you first must acknowledge the risks involved before you can begin trading. In addition to its caution, this is a company that is helpful both with its website and its app. They are easy to navigate and host several invaluable tools through its Learning Center to help you, providing the latest in-depth research complete with a screener to help you choose the right penny stocks for your needs. The app offers a streamlined interface with the ability to make notations as you go. That makes it an excellent fit for beginners, but experienced investors are sure to find these resources helpful, as well. There is also the Active Trader Pro desktop program you can use for active trades. International trading is permitted, with over 20 countries and more than 15 currencies available for greater ease and accessibility. 

Cost and fees

Fidelity does not charge a commission fee for trading.  

Pros

  • Fantastic for order execution 
  • Built-in stock screeners 
  • Active Trader Pro access 

Cons

  • Limited to U.S. citizens only
  • No auto-refresh feature 
Robinhood app review | best penny stock app

Robinhood is a well-known name when it comes to investing in apps, and that is no different with penny stocks. Stocks max out at $5, and there is the ability to add fractional shares to your portfolio. You can even invest in penny stock EFTs and mutual funds. Simply search or filter by price, so you only see penny stocks below the cost of $5 per share. Penny stocks are limited, however, with access restricted to those companies listed on the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It is an extra built-in benefit that novice users can appreciate because it eliminates some of the risk typically associated with penny stocks. When it comes to funding your account, transfers are a simple matter. Robinhood allows you to transfer up to $50,000 per business day, but you can access $1,000 immediately. 

Cost and fees

Robinhood does not charge any commission, new account, or opening fees. However, there is a fee of up to $6.49 per trade for its trading activity fee.

Pros

  • More legitimate trading options
  • Free to trade
  • Fractional shares available 

Cons

  • No OTC trades
  • Waiting time for deposits to clear 
TD Ameritrade app review | best penny stock app.jpg

TD Ameritrade is another well-known name for investing with options for both personal and managed accounts. There is a flat fee for trades, and there also are no fees for EFT and mutual fund transactions. You have your choice of either the powerful web platform or you can opt for the app. Either way, it is a simple matter to submit a trade ticket. The app, Thinkorswim, especially shines for its advanced tools and resources. You can trade not only EFTs and mutual funds but also forex, futures, and options, depending on your portfolio. With over 400 different analytics, it is an app that is suitable for the experienced investor and packed with resources for the beginner. You can even trade via third-party platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Messages for emergency trades with Google Assistant for faster trading and reporting.

Cost and fees

TD Ameritrade charges $6.95 per trade, but there is no minimum opening balance requirement, nor are there commissions. 

Pros

  • Few fees
  • No required opening balance
  • Tons of transaction-free stocks

Cons

  • Does not offer fractional shares
  • No direct access to cryptocurrency

What is the best penny stock app?

Charles Schwab is ZDNet's No. 1 pick. It offers a user-friendly app, is available on multiple platforms, has no monthly fees, and is great trading app for beginner investors.

Penny stock app

Cost per trade 

Charles Schwab

$11.95 - $25.00

E*Trade

$4.95 - $6.95

Fidelity

$0

Robinhood

Up to $6.49

TD Ameritrade

$6.95

Which is the right penny stock app for you?

With several options to choose from, it can be a bit difficult to decipher which penny stock app is best for you. These are our expert suggestions to help. 

Choose this penny stock app...

If you want...

Charles Schwab

A well-rounded app

E*Trade

Tools to help 

Fidelity

The best research to help with your investing

Robinhood

Beginner-friendly trading options

TD Ameritrade

A simple interface that is easy to use

How did we choose these penny stock apps?

In our search for the best penny stock apps, we reviewed many different options and services to offer the right option for your needs. We considered several different factors, including these:

  • Access: One of the most important things is the ability to access several different stocks. There is no shortage of penny stocks out there, but not all penny stock apps may have the exact trades you want. 
  • Interface: We look for a clean, streamlined interface that is simple to navigate, regardless of whether you are a beginner or not. 
  • Availability: Some penny stock apps may be limited in their availability, requiring you to trade on certain days or during specific hours. Many of the best penny stock apps offer 24-hour availability for added convenience. 
  • Fees: Budget is always a concern, so we chose the best penny stock apps with reasonable fees. Many of the options on our list skip the commission fees or have no requirement for your minimum opening balance.  

We also consider user experience, studying real reviews to get the inside scoop on how effective each app is for penny stock trading. 

What is a penny stock?

A penny stock is also known as an over-the-counter (OTC) stock. They require a minimum starting investment, typically ranging between $0.10 and $5 for most of the best penny stock apps. They have low liquidity and typically come with significant risk. 

Do penny stock apps make money?

Penny stocks are notorious for their high-risk nature, allowing investors to lose just as easily as they gain if they are not careful. Stocks under $5 are generally high-risk because they generally come from newer companies that have not gained their financial footing in the market. For this reason, they are inexpensive but also steeped in risk. 

What is the best penny stock app?

The best penny stock app is Charles Schwab, thanks to its user=friendly app and strong company background. It is an app packed with resources and tools that is suitable for both the novice and experienced investor. 

Are there alternatives worth considering?

In our search for the best penny stock apps, we came across several options. These are some of the other penny stock apps we considered for our list.

While researching your trading options, be sure to check out our expert recommendations for the five best crypto apps and the five best investment apps

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