Public Review

See our Free Money page for the best ways to get free money now (sign up bonuses, missing money, and more).

What do you get when you combine social media with investing in the stock market? A platform that allows its users to follow each other’s strategies, get real-time opinions and advice from expert investors, and participate in group messaging on particular investing topics. The result is a win-win solution for everyone, and that’s precisely what Public does.

Public is a modern investing app that has taken the power of social media and applied it to investing in the stock market. It allows you to start investing regardless of your experience in the stock market and requires no minimum balances or trade commissions.

What else does Public let you do as an investor? And why would you choose them over other popular investing apps like Robinhood or M1 Finance, for example? After much research and firsthand use, I’ve created this detailed Public review.

For a limited time, you can get a free bonus when you create a Public account through this link.

An Overview of Public

In short, Public allows you to become a better investor by learning from other investors who share their profiles. They help you to avoid beginner investor common pitfalls and give you the customization abilities that advanced investors may prefer, such as investing in individual stocks or ETFs, buying fractional shares, free commissions, and no balance requirements.

Features & Benefits of the Public Investing App

To be competitive in the investing app industry, you need to have something different than the competition that has already carved out its market. Aside from being a beginner-friendly investing app, Public aims to make investing social and easier to avoid risks that inexperienced investors might make.

How? They’ll let you know when you’re about to do something risky with your money before placing a trade.

That’s not to say it’s just for beginners, because you’ll find many expert investors on the app as well, whose strategies you can learn from. Having said that, below is a list of the popular features and benefits offered by Public.

Please note that investing in the stock market always involves some risk and you should not invest money that you can’t afford to lose.

Invest in Fractional Shares of Stock

Traditional banks and investment companies would only allow you to invest in a company if you could purchase whole stock shares. Modern technology has enabled investment companies to offer the ability to invest in fractional shares if a stock price is too high. This means you can invest any dollar amount into any company and own a fraction of a share of that company.

Why is this important? It eliminates the barrier of needing more money upfront to invest. If a company’s stock price is $3,000 and fractional shares weren’t available, then you couldn’t invest in that company until you have $3,000. Thankfully, fractional shares investing is becoming more of the norm, allowing anyone to invest in stocks, and Public has joined this movement.

→ Related reading: 13 Legit Ways to Get Free Stocks

Multiple ETF Options

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are funds that consist of a basket of companies. When you purchase a share (or a fraction of a share) of that ETF, your money is automatically spread out among the companies within that fund. Public offers plenty of ETFs to choose from to give you the ability to diversify your portfolio.

Having the ability to manage your own portfolio without any restrictions, while also giving you options to invest in expert funds, is an essential feature for investors of all experience levels. It allows you to invest in individual companies to learn the ropes, while giving you the ability to lower your risk by diversifying your money in funds that consist of potentially hundreds of companies.

Social Investing

How often do you check your social media accounts? Or, better said, how long do you spend on social media each day? Probably up to a few hours a day, at least. Why? To stay in touch with friends and family, see what people are up to, get updates on news, see new trends and hot topics, and discover exciting ideas.

There is power in being able to do all of that in from the convenience of your mobile device. Combine that with investing, and you get a powerful learning hub for the stock market. Social investing is perhaps one of the newest features of the investing world. Investors today use Twitter or apps like StockTwits to socialize about investing topics, but very few apps (if any other than Public) combine the social aspect with your actual investment portfolio.

Social investing allows you to see others’ investment portfolios, make comments on their latest investments, ask questions about different strategies or companies, and see what’s trending among investors. With Public, you can choose whether to let others see your investment portfolio or have it be private. You can follow investors that you like and build a following of your own.

Want some opinion on a particular company or investment strategy? Just post a question to the community and get responses quickly, and perhaps even see the answer to your question in live action from another investor actually implementing your question in their portfolio.

While you can share your portfolio of investments to the Public, you won’t be able to see the balances of other investors. This maintains privacy while still allowing you to see what companies others are investing in.

Group Messaging

Much like Facebook groups, Public lets you start your own group chat or join another group chat based on different investment topics, companies, or trends. This allows you to personalize who you collaborate with about investing and lets you learn even more about the most exciting topics and learn from those you most trust about investing.

Stock Themes to Find New Investments

One of the more common difficulties for investors of all experience levels is how to find new companies to invest in. Sure, stock screeners work to some degree but are often extremely limited on what you can screen unless you pay a premium for the screening service.

With Public, you can easily find new companies to invest in by searching among common topics or investing themes. Examples of this from Public’s investing app are:

  • Stay at home: A list of companies that have adapted to the “new norms” from the coronavirus.
  • Home and garden: A list of companies that help consumers with anything related to home and garden topics.
  • Future ed: Companies that are adapting to the future of digital learning.
  • Creative economy: Companies that have been publicly recognized for their creativity and design strategies.
  • American made: Pretty self-explanatory; companies that make their product in America.
  • Fighting disease: A selection of companies contributing to fighting diseases like cancer and creating solutions for pandemics like COVID-19.
  • Rise of the machines: Companies applying artificial intelligence (A.I.) driven strategies to their product or service.
  • Water Works: This consists of companies whose task is to manage and distribute water throughout the world in clean and effective manners.

And these are just a few to start. Public has almost 40 different themes with lists of different companies. This is especially helpful in discovering companies that you otherwise would have never found via a stock screener and allows you to personalize your investing approach by putting your money in entities that support movements and causes that you’re passionate about.

What’s more, is among the many themes Public has to offer, they also feature expert investors portfolios to help you get even more insight and more ideas on new investments and strategies to implement into your portfolio.

Built-in Safeguards for Risky Investments

This is one of the most unique features offered by Public, that I have yet to see done elsewhere. Public helps investors to minimize risky decisions.

How? Each time you decide to invest in a company considered risky (usually a company that may be considered “penny stocks” or companies with very low market caps), you’ll get a caution alert before making your investment to confirm that you know the company is considered risky business.

To make it even more comfortable and less risky for new investors, Public takes the time to explain things in terms that most adults should be able to understand.

The app doesn’t allow you to day trade (buying stocks and only holding those positions for hours or days), they don’t believe in margin trading (lending you money to buy more stocks), and they don’t sell complex or exotic investments that might be difficult for new investors to understand.

In short, if you’re worried about investing in stocks because you think it’s risky business, you can have peace of mind that Public helps lower the risk by implementing the above strategies on their platform. That’s not to say investing doesn’t involve risk, but Public makes an effort to help you to recognize the common risks investors take. That’s something you won’t find with many other investing apps or platforms.

Learn the Ropes of The Stock Market

As with most investment companies today, Public also offers a free library of common investment topics to explain what they mean and how to apply them to your investment strategy. Anything from general investing topics, stock market topics, and even retirement, you can learn the basics at Public.com.

A few example topics include:

  • How to know when to take profits
  • What is a brokerage account?
  • What is the debt-to-equity ratio?
  • What is EBITDA?
  • Diversification and why it matters
  • What is an index fund?
  • What is the S&P 500?
  • What is a stock split?
  • Risks of day trading
  • How to diversify a stock market portfolio
  • ETFs vs. stocks: What’s the difference?
  • What are penny stocks?

They provide you with content about alternative investment options and how they compare to Public’s investing app. You also get access to a capital gains calculator and a compound interest calculator on Public.com’s educational page.

Cons of the Public Investing App

With Public being a newer investment app, there are certainly a few features that may make or break whether someone chooses to use their platform. A few cons of using Public for investing in the stock market are:

Lack of Detailed Financials for Stocks

Public is most likely meant to be considered basic by nature. But this often has a byproduct of not being enough for some investors. Investors who like to dive deep into a company’s financials or know common ratios such as the return on equity (ROE) percentage or the revenue growth each year, will have to seek outside sources for this information.

News for Stocks is Limited

On the detailed information page about a stock you are considering investing in, you can access some recent news articles about the company. However, as you will see, most of the news is very sporadic and only having a handful of articles per week. Some investors may wish to see multiple opinions and insights from different news organizations, and just one news update per every few days may not cut it for some investors.

Very Basic Social Features

The social aspect of Public is what sets it apart from nearly any other investment platform out there. However, it’s elementary, to say the least. To sum it up, you can only follow other investors, grow your own following, participate in group messages, and see a feed of news and activity from people you follow.

It would be nice to have the option to have the ability to search topics, use hashtags, identify trends with visual graphs (like Google trends), etc. While Public is a newer platform, I’m sure some of these features will be coming soon, but until then, keep in mind the social aspect is about as fundamental as it gets.

Should You Consider Investing with Public?

Suppose you’re a new investor or experienced investor who wants a social aspect to the stock market. In that case, Public is the first mover in this space and is a great place to diversify your investment portfolio. Other investors that will significantly benefit from Public may include:

  • New investors learning about investing in individual stocks and ETFs
  • Expert investors who want to grow a following for their investment knowledge
  • Investors who seek personal insights from other investors – and not just from some paid Wall Street analyst – will enjoy investing with Public
  • Investors seeking to find new companies to invest in using themes to search and find companies
  • New investors that wish to have additional aid avoiding common risks and pitfalls beginners often make

If you want to get started with Public, create an account through this link to get a free signup bonus.