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There are so many different investment apps and online brokerages available that it can be challenging to know which one is right for you. In this M1 Finance vs. Webull review, we’ll compare two popular apps that serve different purposes.
While they have some similarities, M1 Finance and Webull have fundamental differences that you should understand before choosing an investment platform. Thankfully, their differences make it easy to determine which one will be the best for your specific needs.
At a high level, M1 Finance is better for passive investing, and Webull is better for active trading.
Both Webull and M1 Finance are currently offering a signup bonus for new users. Sign up for Webull here to get two free stocks worth up to $3,300. Sign up for M1 Finance here to get a $50 bonus added to your account.
M1 Finance Basics
M1 Finance refers to itself as the “The Finance Super App™”.
It’s true that M1 Finance does have some impressive capabilities and there’s no other investment app or brokerage quite like it. You can invest, spend, and borrow from the same platform. Some features are free and others require a paid subscription (more on that in a minute).
Since we’re comparing two investment apps, most of this article will be focused on the investing-related features and capabilities (referred to as M1 Invest).
The most unique feature of M1 Finance is automated investing. It’s sometimes lumped in with robo advisors. M1 Finance is not a robo advisor, but it does serve the same purpose of automation and saving time.
M1 Finance uses what it calls “pies” to allocate your money according to your preferences. You can think of the pie as your overall portfolio, and the specific investments within the portfolio are the slices of the pie. In this case, the slices will be different sizes, as each investment will account for a different percentage of your portfolio.
You’ll select the pie you want to use (or create your own pie), and then all you need to do is add money to your account. When you add money, M1 Finance will automatically invest it according to your pie.
The pie determines the specific assets that are in your portfolio, and what percentage of your overall portfolio goes to each investment. M1 Finance supports fractional shares, so regardless of how much you deposit, it will be allocated based on the percentages in your pie.
You can also have M1 Finance automatically rebalance your portfolio at any time. As the holdings in your portfolio increase or decrease in value at different paces, your portfolio will not always resemble the exact allocation set by your pie. You can get back to that ideal allocation by rebalancing.
Possibly the most impressive part is that this functionality is available for free. M1 Finance offers commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs, and there are no fees to use their basic service. Robo advisors like Betterment offer lower fees than a human financial advisor, but a basic M1 Finance account is totally free.
In addition to investing, you can also use M1 Spend for your banking. This is a free checking account with a debit card, and it will be conveniently linked to your investment account.
Optionally, if you pay for M1 Plus (more on that below), you’ll be eligible for some additional perks like 1% interest on your checking balance, the ability to send checks, and a rewards credit card. The credit card offers 1.5% – 10% cashback on your purchases. At this point, the offers for 5% – 10% cashback are fairly limited, but hopefully, more brands will be added in the future.
M1 Borrow provides a flexible line of credit that’s secured by your investments. It’s available for margin accounts with a balance of at least $5,000, and you can borrow up to 35% of your portfolio’s value.
The most convenient aspect of M1 Borrow is that it requires no application and comes with no set payment schedule. The rates are also much lower than lines of credit from most competitors, but keep in mind that the loan is secured by your investment.
While M1 Borrow is a nice option to have in case of emergency, keep in mind that borrowing against your investment portfolio is going to slow down your progress and does come with risk.
The basic M1 Finance account is completely free, but they do offer M1 Plus, which is an optional paid upgrade. The cost of M1 Plus is $125 per year, but the first year is free. The benefits of M1 Plus include:
- 1% interest on your checking and cash back balance.
- Lower interest (currently 2%) for a line of credit.
- 4 monthly ATM fee reimbursements.
- No international fees on debit card purchases.
- Send paper checks from the M1 Finance app.
- Rewards credit card (pending a credit application).
- Automatically invest your credit card rewards.
- Access to custodial accounts.
Read our M1 Finance review for more details.
Webull is a popular trading app that offers commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, and options. They’ve also added cryptocurrency, and currently, you can trade about 25 different crypto tokens through Webull.
Compared to M1 Finance, Webull is more straightforward in what it offers (at least, for now). There are no banking or borrowing features, just the ability to buy and sell securities from the mobile app or your desktop.
Webull is a free investing app that provides advanced reporting tools and allows you to make free trades of stocks, ETFs, and options. Right now Webull is offering two free stocks when you signup through our link (use the button below) and deposit any amount.
- Commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency
- Buy fractional shares for any amount
- Extended trading hours
- Advanced reporting tools
- IRAs now available
- 24/7 customer service
- No joint accounts
- No custodial accounts
The features of Webull include:
- Commission-free trades of individual stock, ETFs, and options.
- Fractional shares for as little as $5.
- Trading of about 25 different cryptocurrencies.
- No minimums. Get started with any amount of money.
- Advanced research and analysis tools for active traders.
- Extended trading hours (4:00 am – 8:00 pm).
As of now, Webull is free to use with no pro or premium accounts available. It stands out from other free trading apps like Public and Robinhood thanks to the advanced research tools. However, the downside is that Public and Robinhood offer a more beginner-friendly user interface compared to Webull’s.
Read our Webull review for more basics.
M1 Finance vs. Webull Overview
Now that we’ve covered the basics of these two platforms, let’s look at how they compare to each other in a few specific areas.
Pricing and Fees
Both M1 Finance and Webull offer free accounts with no commissions to buy or sell stocks and ETFs. The difference is that M1 Finance offers the option to upgrade to an M1 Plus account for $125/year (free for the first year). Webull currently does not have any type of premium account.
Although M1 Finance does charge for certain features and benefits, Webull currently does not offer the same functionality. If you’re comparing only the free accounts, the two are basically the same in terms of pricing since they charge nothing for the account, and both offer commission-free trades.
It’s easy to get started with M1 Finance and Webull. In both cases, you can start the signup process on a desktop or mobile device. Both companies offer a mobile app, or you can simply use a browser on your desktop to set up the account, and then download the mobile app and sign in.
Of course, since you’ll be creating a financial account, you’ll need to enter some personal information. However, the process is very similar and both M1 Finance and Webull make it easy to get started.
One difference is that you’ll need to fund your M1 Finance account with at least $100 to start using the investing features. However, Webull allows you to fund your account with any amount of money.
One of the biggest differences between Webull and M1 Finance is the way you’ll manage your portfolio. M1 Finance helps you set up your portfolio allocation using its pie concept. You can select from more than 80 professionally-created pies that offer different approaches and different strategies for investing. Or, you can create your own custom pie that will determine how your money is invested.
Thanks to the pie concept and the built-in automation, M1 Finance helps self-directed investors to manage their portfolios in an almost hands-free way.
Webull offers a more traditional brokerage account (similar to TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest, and others) where you can buy and sell investments as you choose, including fractional share investing. You won’t get the automation or portfolio management functionality from Webull.
With M1 Finance, you can invest in individual stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Webull offers stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency, as well as margin trading. Both offer fractional shares of stocks and ETFs.
Neither currently offers mutual funds.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Investing
Another significant difference is that M1 Finance is exclusively intended for long-term investing, while Webull can be used for either short-term or long-term investing.
M1 Finance’s approach using pies and automation is all built around the concept of investing for the long haul. Trades are made only at the beginning or the end of the day, so M1 Finance is not suitable for day trading or other short-term strategies. (Day trading involves buying and selling securities within a single trading day.)
Related Reading: The Best ETFs for Long-Term Growth
Webull functions much differently and you can trade instantly, and even during extended trading hours. You can certainly use Webull if you have a long-term buy-and-hold approach, but you can also use it for day trading and other short-term strategies.
If your Webull account balance is below $25,000, you can make 3 day trades within 5 consecutive business days. If your balance is over $25,000, you have unlimited access to day trading.
With a Webull cash account, only settled funds can be used for day trading. With a margin account, settled and unsettled cash can be used for day trading. (It’s important to note that trading on margin increases your risk of loss.)
Many Webull users have chosen it because of the research and analysis tools that are available. You’ll get tools like a stock screener (no screener for ETFs), charting functionality, fundamental data, and news. These types of tools are not available with most trading apps.
M1 Finance offers very little in the way of research tools. The platform is best for investors who know what they want to invest in or those who use other tools to identify the stocks and funds for their portfolios.
With M1 Finance, you can browse the different pies that are available and see basic details about stocks and ETFs, but there are no advanced tools.
M1 Finance offers individual and joint brokerage accounts, however, joint checking accounts are not currently offered through M1 spend. In addition to a taxable account, they also offer Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs. A SEP IRA is a retirement account for self-employed individuals.
Custodial accounts are also available, but only for M1 Plus users. A custodial account is set up by an adult for the benefit of a minor.
M1 Finance also offers trust accounts, although these accounts require some forms to be filled out on paper. When you select a trust account during the signup process, they’ll mail the additional paperwork to you.
Webull offers individual taxable brokerage accounts, as well as a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or Rollover IRA. Currently, Webull does not offer any type of joint accounts, custodial accounts, or trust accounts.
Ease of Use
M1 Finance is relatively easy to use whether you’re using a desktop browser or the mobile investing app. It features a clean, well-design user interface that’s logical and intuitive. Since M1 Finance does not offer advanced tools for research, the interface is clutter-free, which adds to the ease of use.
From the dashboard, you can view your portfolio, check out the pies that are available, adjust your holdings, and rebalance at any time. Within just a few minutes of using M1 Finance, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of how to manage your account and your portfolio from the dashboard.
Webull excels by offering research and analysis tools, but the ease of use is not as good as some of its competitors that take a more simplified approach. Whether you’re using the mobile app, desktop app, or logging in through a browser, the Webull interface is a little clunky and takes some time to get used to.
Support and Customer Service
M1 Finance offers customer support by email during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. They typically respond within one business day.
Webull offers customer service by phone (1-888-828-0618) or email. If you don’t want to send an email, you can submit a request for assistance directly within the app.
Both Webull and M1 Finance offer a bonus (if you sign up through our referral link) to entice new users to sign up and give them a shot. Since there’s no cost to use either of these brokerages/apps, the signup bonus is free money.
Currently, Webull is offering two free stocks worth up to $3,300. You’ll get a randomly-selected free stock worth $3-$300 when you sign up. You’ll get a second random free stock worth $7-$3,000 when you fund your account with any amount of money. Sign up for Webull through this link to qualify for the bonus.
Currently, M1 Finance is offering a $50 bonus when you create and fund your account. Sign up for M1 Finance through this link to qualify for the bonus.
For more freebies, see our list of ways to get free stock.
To wrap up this M1 Finance vs Webull comparison, let’s summarize the key advantages of each trading platform.
M1 Finance Advantages
- Automated portfolio management. Free alternative to robo advisors.
- More than 80 “pies” created by experts. Use these pies to determine which securities are in your portfolio.
- One-click portfolio rebalancing. Rebalance at any time to adjust your holdings according to your pie.
- Excellent user interface. It’s well-designed and easy to use.
- Joint brokerage accounts. In addition to individual accounts.
- SEP IRAs. In addition to Traditional and Roth IRAs.
- Custodial accounts. For M1 Plus users.
- M1 Spend. Free checking account linked to your investment account.
- Rewards credit card. For M1 Plus users.
- M1 Borrow. Low-interest line of credit secured by your investments.
- For short-term or long-term investing. Unlike M1 Finance, which isn’t suitable for short-term investments.
- Options trading. No commissions and no contract fees.
- Crypto trading. About 25 different crypto tokens are offered.
- Tools for research and analysis. Webull offers more research tools than other trading apps.
- Trade instantly. Trades on M1 Finance are only processed at the start or end of the day.
- Extended trading hours. Trade from 4:00 am to 8:00 pm (before the stock market opens and after it closes).
- 24/7 customer service. Get help by phone or email.
Final Thoughts on M1 Finance vs. Webull
Although M1 Finance and Webull are both investing apps, they serve different purposes and will appeal to different types of investors. Both are excellent options. Determining which is the best investment app requires you to think about your specific needs and approach.
The M1 Finance vs. Webull comparison can be summed up by concluding that M1 Finance is ideal for passive investors and Webull is ideal for active investors.
Use M1 Finance if you’re a long-term investor looking to reduce the amount of time you spend managing your portfolio.
Use Webull if you’re an active trader, or if you’re interested in trading options or cryptocurrency.