With a myriad of investing options for the app-savvy investor, it’s no surprise that Public, an app with social and investing options, rises above the rest. More than just an investing app, Public provides education and social networking along with all the tools you’d expect in a Robinhood-like app. 

But is Public the best option for investing? Does the in-app social networking live up to the hype? Read on to learn our opinions on the app that “makes the stock market social.” 

The Basics of Public

Here’s all the info you need to hit the ground running with Public:

  • Commission-free
  • No minimum deposit
  • Tradable assets: stocks and ETFs
  • Founded in 2018
  • Fractional shares available
  • Mobile friendly only
  • Option to make portfolio visible to other investors on the app
  • Chat rooms with other investors
  • No day trading available

Even though Public just launched a few years ago, they have more experience than you might think. They are a rebrand of Matador, which was one of the first investing products that solely used an app.

And the four founders, Jannick Malling, Matt Kennedy, Peter Quinn, and Sean Hendelman know how to bring in the big bucks–investors in Public include Will Smith, NFL player J.J. Watt, CEO of Girlboss Sophia Amoruso, and Youtube star Casey Neistat.

Put the Public in Public

 A key aspect investors must understand about Public is that your portfolio, and everyone else’s portfolios on the app, are public to other users if you choose it to be. 

 [An image of some of the famous investors in Public. Black and white photos of Will Smith, Scott Galloway, Sophia Amoruso, J.J. Watt, Scott Belsky, Morgan DeBaun, Shari Redstone, and Casey Neistat are included. Image from Public.com.]

These public portfolios allow you to browse through to see what other people are investing in. This feature helps you build your financial literacy and become a more savvy investor overall. 

Celebrity profiles are also easy to find and view. You can compare your own investment choices to these profiles and learn how to be a better investor. 

 The chat rooms are another key feature of the app. You can create group chats and share links to stock information directly in the chats. 


By opening up a dialogue with other investors similar to yourself, it’s easier to learn investing quickly and compare your investing style to others’. Discuss recent market dips, send each other your favorite stocks, or debate long-term investing plans all within your group chat in the app. 

Slicing The Pie

Public, like Robinhood, is known for offering fractional shares of stocks, so you don’t have to pay the full price of a stock in order to own a piece of the company. 

Another important detail is that Public initiates all of your stock orders immediately instead of waiting a few days, like many brokerage services. This gives you a better idea of the exact market you’re working with, especially if you’re investing in volatile, risky stocks that could change on a dime. 


Your earnings on your holdings get put into your cash account, but you can select an option to automatically reinvest them. That means you can make money on your money without having to think twice about it. 


 [An image of a group text in the Public app. One member asks the other member to send stock information about Cloud Nine. The link to Cloud Nine shows the dollar value, the percentage increase, and the change over time via a graph. Image from Public.com] 

Give the Gift of Investing

One social feature of Public is that you can send stocks as gifts to your friends on the app. And, if you refer your friends, you both get a slice of a stock valued up to $50. 

 The site includes a comprehensive article on how to gift stocks and what you need to know when doing it. The gifting feature is just another way that Public is a fun, social, and smart trading app. 


How Public Makes Anyone an Investor

The app works to live up to its slogan in many ways. Their transparent profiles are incredibly helpful for young and beginning investors just getting started. In the past, people kept their portfolios and money decisions hidden behind closed doors. Public wants to change that by making the world of investing more accessible to all. 


The ability to purchase just a slice of a share makes investing more available to many people. You can diversify your assets and invest just $5 into highly-valued stocks, some of which go for $1,000 or more. Previously, not having the option to buy fractional shares kept many people out of investing. But now, with just $5, truly anyone can become an investor! 

And, by being able to discuss the markets with your friends via easy in-app messaging, you can up your investing game very quickly. Let your investing buddies help you keep up to date with the ever-changing markets. 

[An image of the black and white Invest hat from Public.com. The trick with this hat is that you cannot buy it–you need to be a vocal and helpful part of the Public community. You can also tweet to increase your chances of getting it. Image from Public.com.]

Learn The Market

Public provides tons of resources to help you learn the market and make smarter investments. The Learn section has information on recent IPOs, retirement planning, and stock market basics such as guides on ETFs, penny stocks, and making sense of market volatility. 


They even have sections comparing their app to competitors such as Robinhood, Acorns, and Wealthfront. This coincides with their commitment to transparency so people can make the right decision for themselves without all the marketing fluff. 


Combining these useful and detailed articles with transparent investing profiles can provide a fast-track to becoming a successful investor. 

The Public Cash Account

Public is not only for investing in stocks–with your investing account, you have access to a cash management account as well. The 2.5% APR on cash accounts up to $10,000 is well above the national average and can help you make money on your money. 


To keep your investments and cash safe, Public is insured by the SIPC on investments up to $500k. 

What Public is Not For

Public is good at what it does: fractional share and ETF trading alongside a high-yield cash account and great social networking tools. But there are a few things Public doesn’t offer, which you will have to look elsewhere for:


  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Day trading
  • Human or robo advising 
  • Web friendly version 
  • OTC (over-the-counter) stocks
  • Trading for people living outside the U.S. 

[An image with the Public logo, pictures of popular companies’ logos, and the words “Own the companies you believe in.” The ability to trade fractional shares of high-valued companies is a key feature of the trading app Public.]

The Unique Payment Method of Brokers

Many apps and brokerages use Payment For Order Flow, which is the small percentage that brokers take for directing trades. When brokers receive this money from third parties, conflicts of interest automatically become a problem. 


Public has a unique approach to this issue, however. Instead of using the traditional PFOF model, they allow investors to tip their brokers for conducting the trade. Tipping is entirely optional, and you can tip however much you’d like to. 



Is Public Free to use?


Yes. The Public trading app is free to use, with no fees or account minimums. 


Can followers on the Public app see how much I invest?


No. Followers do not see the exact amount of money you invest even if your Public portfolio is set to “public.” They only see which stocks you invest in. 


Can I use Public without people seeing my trades?


Yes. You can set your portfolio on the Public trading app to “private.” This means no one will be able to see the stocks you’re trading.


Can I day trade on Public?


No. Day trading is not allowed on the Public app. 


Does Public have crypto?


No. Public does not currently offer cryptocurrency trading. 


Heading: Our Perspective


We highly recommend Public as your primary stock trading app. The app offers a combination of Robinhood-style, fractional share investing alongside social networking and great resources for anyone who’s new to the game.


We believe that discussing the markets with your friends (and maybe even browsing celebrity profiles!) makes you a more savvy investor. The simple and sleek design is visually pleasing and easy to use without a major learning curve. Browsing themes is fun and helpful, too, bringing a socially-conscious option to investing. Overall, Public is a great choice for your investing needs.