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Public is an app for social investing that allows people to invest in leading companies no matter what size of investment they are looking to make. You can buy fractions of large priced stocks and ETFs, follow themes based on interests and learn from the other members of the community when it comes to their trading strategies.
Public has been around since 2017, formerly being called Matador. It is a subsidiary of the broker-dealer that goes by the name of T3 Securities. Public runs on a commission-free model and there is no minimum deposit needed to get started.
You are able to make your current portfolio public so other users of the platform can see it and you can check out other people's portfolios. This Public broker review looks at the different aspects of this platform.
With Public you do not have to buy a whole share in order to invest in a big company. With many major shares being many hundreds of dollars each, you can invest in a fraction of a share through Public.
Public is a social investing app. It allows you to view other people's portfolios and share your own. You can also gift shares to your friends and families and engage with the community.
Public has developed a stellar reputation for fairness and ease of use. The best encryption technology is used and accounts are SIPC-insured.
There are absolutely no trading fees charged by Public, which is ideal for all types of investors.
There is not much in-depth data or research that can be done on the different shares and ETFs that are available to invest in.
No desktop offering
Public is solely a mobile app offering, so some investors will be disappointed to learn that there is no desktop offering.
Public makes the stock market social. Follow other investors, discover companies to believe in, invest with any amount of money.
Commissions & Fees
Public aims to be a broker that is commission-free, which is a popular trend in recent times. There is also the ability to add and withdraw funds from your Public account without any fees. This makes it an ideal way for beginner investors to get their feet wet in this space and to learn the ropes without running up costs.
There will be fees associated with certain advanced services, as well as certain forms of payments. These include making trader through the phone, making a domestic wire transfer or domestic overnight checks, returning checks or stopping payments, ACAT outgoing and if you want to receive paper statements. There is also no fee associated with transferring funds to Public from another broker.
Public makes its money through securities lending, interest on cash balances, smart order routing and subscription fees instead of charging trading fees. Overall, this low cost approach is very good and certainly is ideal for those who are cost conscious.
Platform & Tools
The main draw of Public is that it allows investors to fractionally trade the shares of large stocks. Therefore, if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars buying one of the major stocks, you can buy a fraction of it. You can then use your other funds to diversify your holdings. You can even gift stock to your family and friends.
There is no trading platform per se, you simply use the Public interface to search for the stock or ETF you want to invest in. You can't invest in the likes of bonds, mutual funds, currencies etc. You also don't have many research capabilities with the platform.
For the social side of the app, you can browse what investments the other people on the platform are making. There will be a risky label for any investments that have determined to hold high risk as outlined by the SEC. Advanced traders won't be a fan of the lack of research capabilities, but this will be ideal for most casual and beginner investors.
Public is app-based, meaning that you are able to quickly use your mobile device to buy or sell your favorite stocks or check on your portfolio. This app is available for both Android and iOS users. Naturally, it will be disappointing to some people that you cannot access Public through your desktop.
You can find the Public app in the respective app stores for Android and iOS devices, with it not taking up much space. All of the functions outlined in this review will be available through this mobile app.
The only account type you will have available to you through Public is an individual, taxable brokerage account. To sign up for this account only takes a few minutes.
You do need to have a valid social security number, have a residential address in the US and be a US citizen or permanent resident or have a valid visa. You cannot get the likes of joint accounts or IRA accounts. The process of getting started is very easy, allowing you to add funds to your new account once it has been set up.
You are able to get a referral reward when you recommend someone to the platform and they sign up for an account. For new accounts, there is no minimum deposit that you need to make, which is ideal for beginner traders who may want to start off small.
Deposits & Withdrawals
There is no minimum amount that you need to deposit with Public, which is different to a lot of similar brokers out there today. You will also not be subject to any commission or transaction fees by Public. For some transaction options such as a domestic wire transfer or a check facility will have a charge that is levied by the third-party that will need to be considered.
There is no fee involved if you are transferring funds from another broker account to Public. If the other broker charges a fee for this transaction, Public will cover it if the balance being transferred is more than $150. There is a fee if you are transferring money from Public to a different broker.
If you have an issue regarding your Public account or simply want to ask the support team some questions, you have a few different options. You are able to get in touch with the team by giving them a call over the phone, sending them an email or using the live chat function. These lines are open from Monday to Friday starting at 9 AM and closing at 5 PM EST.
Security & Fairness
With the Public app, you are going to be covered under SIPC for up to $500,000 worth of securities. For just cash balances, only $250,000 of it will be covered per account.
To keep your personal data safe, the latest AES 128-bit encryption is used, with TLS 1.2 securing your data when it is being transferred. Public has a great reputation among investors as being very easy to use and having any and all problems quickly resolved as they crop up. Overall, Public is a safe and secure platform to use, always looking after the needs of its customers.