Public App Review [Is The Public Investing App Safe & Legit? 2021]

Bucky Wucky Finance > Investing > Public App Review [Is The Public Investing App Safe & Legit? 2021]
Public App Review

Bucky Wucky does have sponsors, and we may work with companies to provide you with the best content, information, and data on business and personal finance. Some links on our site may be affiliate links. While our sponsors may pay us, we only work with companies that align with Bucky Wucky’s values.

Public App Review

With the introduction of the internet and mobile devices, it is easier than ever to trade and invest in the stock market. Online trading first became big in 2007, as websites made it easier to buy and sell stocks; thirteen years later, the market has grown to become one of the biggest industries in the world. Today there are hundreds of online trading platforms that enable users to trade in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrencies, and so much more. 

One of the most popular online trading platforms out there is Public, a promising ETF and stock trading app that has recorded enormous successes since its establishment in 2017. Let’s take a close look at Public’s online trading platform, review its features, and check out what makes this app worth using to so many people small investors. 

Onto our Public App review!

What Is Public?

Public is an ETF and stock trading app. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of T3 Securities Inc and employs the service of a third-party company, Apex Clearing, for administrative and clearing the platform for traders.

Public was originally called Matador and began operations in 2017. One feature Public shares with many online traders is that the platform allows its users to trade without paying any commission fees, no order flow payment, and no required minimum deposit placed before you start trading. 

However, Public does have a tipping system, which allows users to offer tips to the brokerage when they are satisfied with the brokerage for executing a trade; in managing the tipping system this way, there appears to be an agreed interest between the brokerage and the investors, thereby avoiding conflicts of interest amongst the parties.

One of the features you should be aware of when trading on Public is that all information you provide on the platform is available to the public to browse. The brokerage platform offers no privacy or security to users’ data while trading on the platform, hence its name Public.

Also, if you’re a budget buff and you’ve been seeking a brokerage platform where you can purchase stocks from some of the biggest companies at half or even a quarter of the original stock price, then search no more, Public is the platform for you. Thanks to Public’s offering of fractional shares, also called slices, investors with a tiny budget can now acquire a part of the big companies.  The fractional share feature lets you purchase an entire share of stock in pieces, instead of the whole sum, giving you a part as small as 0.1% of a share.

Public’s fractional shares come in handy when you intend to buy high-priced shares of popular stocks like Samsung which typically trade at over $1,500 per share. Public lets you own a ‘slice’ of Samsung by breaking the $1500 price per share into fractional shares, which it then sells on the platform.

On the downside, Public has very restrictive access to some of the best features that make overall trading effective. Popular securities like bonds, mutual funds, or other investments are not supported on Public’s platform, so you will not really be able to diversify your portfolio using this app. Additionally, Public doesn’t offer its users a wide suite of tools and research capability like many other online trading platforms do either.  

Let’s take a deeper dive with our Public App review below.

No Fees or Commissions

Public doesn’t charge any fee or commission, whether for stock or ETF trading for new or old-time clients. There aren’t any fees for registration either, and the platform doesn’t charge any monthly fee for services, or on deposits and withdrawals. Public is able to offer its low-cost services for many reasons. For starters, the trading platform offers and encourages clients to tip the platform for every trade made. This tip is a voluntary process and does not create any conflicts of interest between the brokerage platform and the client. 

Additionally, other platforms that claim to provide free fees and commissions on trade, still collect hidden SEC, TAF, or service charges on their platforms. But the difference is clear when it came to Public, according to users on the brokerage platform, Public bills users nothing when trading on its platform, not even SEC, TAF, or any hidden charges.

Fractional Share Investing

One of the biggest advantages to using Public.com as a small investor is the Fractional Share investing feature. Fractional share trades allow anyone, no matter how small your budget might be, to own a piece of the biggest companies and best stocks on the market. 

Fractional shares function by Public dividing a single share of stock to the smallest fraction possible. This division of shares into small parts is often referred to as slices. Users who can’t afford to buy a single share of a high-priced stock are thus able to purchase them when they are “sliced up.” Users who can afford to buy full shares of stock are also able to use the platform as well.  

Buying fractional shares of stock is a simple process. For instance, if Amazon stock costs $2000 per share, a user who had $200 to invest would normally be out of luck.  However, with fractional share purchases on Public, that user can go ahead and purchase 0.1 or 10% of the per share of Amazon, making him the owner of a share slice of the eCommerce giant. Also, if a user requires $3000 shares from Amazon, that’s 1.5 or 15% of the per share of the company. This allows the user to take control of the amount of stock he possesses while trading on the platform.

Investor Profiles on Public

To register on Public, users need to provide certain details to the platform, such as your name and a phone number confirmation.  Once your user ID is confirmed, Public requires you to create a username and provide basic information about your address for the profile.  Of note, Public won’t ask you for sensitive information like your social security number and will never reveal details about your banking or payment platform to the public. 

However, after signing up on the platform, anyone registered in Public can view your account profile; they can also use your information to develop their own investing strategies. In fact, the app is almost like a social media platform for trading. As a user yourself, you could also check to see if people you know are on the trading platform by connecting the contact details of your phone to the brokerage platform. 

Safety Labels

Since its creation in 2017, Public has been dedicated to helping new investors proceed carefully. One of the innovative ways Public strives to do this is through the introduction and use of Safety Labels. Safety Labels are a tool on Public that assists traders in identifying which stock or ETF is very risky and which are considered generally “safe” trades. Safety Labels are like indicators or warnings that the company you’re about to make investments in is a high-risk investment class.  

While every investment in exchanges is considered a risk, some are riskier than others.  For example, a company that has incurred losses since going public and has had to sell some assets to address high levels of debt would be considered a high-risk investment, especially when compared to a company that has earned steady profits since inception. Also, a company that has filed for bankruptcy would have a higher risk than a company that is financially solvent.  

Public Logo

Themes

Stocks and ETF trading can be found by the category to which they apply. Public calls these categories “themes”. Themes are like SEOs for the brokerage platform; you simply type a keyword or a category (theme), and then the platform offers you suggested companies to trade in, in accordance with your theme. While this idea would seem like a popular one, many users have complained about having search results ending up with companies completely unrelated to a user’s chosen theme.  For instance, a user once identified an experience with the platform when he typed ‘tech giants’ the platform brought out suggestions like YouTube, Amazon, and Microsoft.  These suggestions left the user perplexed and spending most of his time figuring how these companies related directly or indirectly to the theme ‘tech giants.’ What was most surprising was that not a single company in the ‘tech giant’ category was listed.

Account Security

Is Public App safe? The security offered by a platform is one of the general features that help users invest with confidence. With numerous websites and companies having faced serious data breaches, investors expect their platforms to be secure. These security features are particularly important for expert traders who seek to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into the platform. 

Fortunately, Public offers a great deal of protection to its clients’ funds and personal data, which in turn lets its clients trade with confidence. There are many reasons why users feel content with investing on the platform. For starters, Public is a SIPC-insured company, which means that all investments made by customers on the platform are protected up to $500,000. Cash funds deposited on the platform up to the amount of $250,000 are also covered by insurance.

Public also has its accounts under protected with 128-bit encryption. The brokerage platform also has its app protected by Transport Layer Security that is an end-to-end data security protection system. 

How Public Works

Is Public App legit? Yes, Public App is a legitimate trading platform. If you’re looking for an inexpensive platform that lets you trade stocks and ETFs freely, then Public might be the platform for you. However, if you are looking for additional investment support, advice, and tools, you may want to consider other investing platforms or a traditional brokerage. Nonetheless, Public can be a good fit for expert traders because the platform offers minimal direction to get traders active on trade. If you want a no-nonsense, effective trading platform and don’t need a suite of investing tools and data, this might be the platform that works for you.  

Opening an account on Public is relatively easy, even for people new to online trading platforms. Public definitely scores high marks for its ease of use, with new users able to create a profile, sign up, and start trading. However, the only type of account users can sign up for right now are brokerage accounts, there are no other types of accounts available, at least not yet.  

However, as stated earlier, although the platform is secure, it does make nearly all of your transaction data available to the whole public. However, extreme transparency aside, the system works fast; once you’ve registered with the brokerage platform, you can immediately start trading without wasting any time. All you need to do is log into the platform, fund your account with whatever basic sum you possess, and then find your way to the search option where you will find ETFs and stock to start trading on. 

Investment Options

Another thing to consider about Public is the narrow range of investments available.  Currently, users can only trade stocks and ETFs only. Unlike traditional brokerages or other online platforms, there are no opportunities to trade cryptocurrency, foreign currencies, mutual funds, or bonds, on Public. However, if you’re a new or small investor without a great deal of money to use for investing, Public can be a great place to start. Many of the trades on Public are executed for amounts of $30. Most users also claim it’s easy to navigate and learn to trade using the platform as well. 

Access to Public Trading Platform

There are other limitations to the bare-bones Public trading platform.  Public only provides its clients a single taxable and savings accounts only, this invariably means trading cannot take place in form of corporations, society, or groups. There are no other types of accounts available, either.  Also, the brokerage platform is contained mobile-only and can only be accessed using a phone or iPad and not through desktops, laptops, or other devices. The brokerage platform doesn’t have a web version and isn’t available on the blackberry app store. If you want to use your computer to execute trades, you’ll have to choose some other platform. 

Customer Service

How any online trading platform handles its clients’ concerns and complaints is critical, and most of these platforms recognize this; in most cases, trading platforms are very responsive to users’ concerns and problems. Over the past decade, most online trading platforms have developed a wide variety of methods to communicate with clients, from emails to phone calls, text messages, live chats, social media and so much more. 

Public App Reviews

Public App Reviews

We checked three different sites to assess user reviews of Public:  Trustpilot, the Apple App Store, and the Play store. On the Apple App store, the Public scores a whopping 4.7 Stars on a 5-star rating scale. The app store review consists of over 10,000 users on the platform and is ranked as overall excellent in terms of performance.  

The Google Play store for Android users gave Public an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of a 5-star rating, so the online brokerage platform ranks high again amongst its Android users. This score was gathered through over 7000 reviews and has an excellent performance.

On Trustpilot, the online brokerage platform didn’t do so well compared to its App Store and Play store ratings. Public had a rating of 1.7 stars out of a 5-star rating. The number of Public reviewers on Trustpilot was 40, which falls way below the 1000 threshold standards and hence cannot be relied upon.

Public Competitors and Alternatives

PUBLIC APP REVIEW COMPARISON WITH OTHER TRADERS 

Public is one of the significant players in the brokerage industry. However, there are other excellent traders to watch out for, some of these brokerages are compared side by side with Public.

  1. Robinhood:  Robinhood allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, and some other items at zero commissions and fees. Similar to Public, the platform doesn’t have a minimum investment or deposit fee. However, the platform also does not have virtual trading and some other tools.
  2. Webull: the Webull platform allows you to trade with no fees or commissions payable. There is also no minimum deposit or investment. The platform allows virtual trading but no mutual fund or bond trades.
  3. Zacks Trade Pro: this brokerage platform allows clients to trade in stocks and ETFs without any commissions and fees. There is no minimum deposit payable, neither is there a minimum investment. The brokerage platform allows clients to trade on mutual funds and bonds and also has a virtual trading feature.

Public Pros & Cons

Here are some pros and cons for our Public App review you should definitely consider. 

Pros

  • The Public platform allows users to buy fractional shares.
  • Public lets users follow other users on the platform, so they can learn from watching more seasoned investors managing their portfolios. 
  • A user account on Public requires no minimum balance or deposit.
  • The Public platform is user-friendly with a simple, intuitive user interface.
  • Public allows users to invest free from fees and commissions.

Cons

  • The brokerage platform doesn’t have a website.
  • Public offers very limited investment options.
  • There are limited tools and resources for users.
  • Much of the information about transactions on this platform is visible by others. 

Public Review: Parting Thoughts

Public is a fabulous platform for novice and small investors to start trading. Aside from the limited tools and resources, beginner traders would have no difficulty trading on the platform. However, the online trading platform, with its meager tool suite, limited account, limited security trade options, and the lack of a web-based platform may make Public less than ideal for some investors. So, take a look at Public on your own when you get a chance, and see if the app is a good choice for you. 

Thanks for reading our Public App review.

You might also like our Wealthfront review.

Find Us On Social Media

Own A Home And Need Cash?

haus calculator

Switch & Save On Your Car Insurance

Newsletter

Join our mailing list!

Apply For A Clearbanc Business Loan