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If you’re a new trader or you want to make a move to an online broker, you may be surprised at the number of trading platforms out there. But, these platforms can vary a great deal and some are certainly superior to others.
Just because a trading platform is online, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are less expensive to use. Two trading platforms that have excellent reputations and reasonable fees are Public.com and Fidelity.
In Public.com vs. Fidelity comparison, we’ll provide all the relevant details to help you find the right platform to meet your needs.
Public.com vs. Fidelity Summary
The main difference between Public.com and Fidelity is that fidelity is a full-service brokerage with a very broad range of investment options and account types. Public.com, on the other hand, focuses on stocks, ETFs, and crypto. With a simplified approach, Public.com is easy for beginners, but may not offer everything that some investors are looking for.
The Public.com Basics
Join Public to get up to $300 of free stock when you make a deposit.*
Public.com was originally known as Matador and the company started trading in 2018. This is an app-based mobile trading platform that offers commission-free trading via a friendly and easy-to-use interface. This makes Public.com an excellent choice for new and experienced investors alike.
The main standout feature of Public.com is that it has a focus on collaboration between traders. You can share your investing interest with other traders on the platform and see what your contacts buy and sell. At any time, you can ask questions and follow the lead of traders with more experience. This combination of investing and social features is unusual, but it has proven to be popular with the user base.
Public.com was always intended to be a platform that makes investing more accessible for the public (hence the name). Logging into a Public.com account, checking your investments, and then sharing strategies with your contacts is a very rewarding experience. This interaction also helps new investors to improve their skills, gain confidence to grow their portfolios, and help others. There’s no minimum investment to open a Public account, and there are no trading commissions.
Public.com offers fractional shares so anyone can start investing. You'll love the social aspect that makes it possible to connect with other investors. Get a free stock slice worth up to $300 when you open an account through our link.
- Commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs
- Buy and sell 27 different cryptocurrencies
- Fractional shares
- Easy to use and beginner-friendly
- Connect with a supportive community of investors
- "Themes" help you to find investments that interest you
The Fidelity Basics
Fidelity has been around for a lot longer, begging as a traditional brokerage firm in 1946. In recent years, Fidelity has developed an online presence and they currently have more than 20 million investors and $8 trillion in assets.
Fidelity is FINRA and SEC regulated with a full variety of investment products that may be of interest to long-term investors. But, Fidelity has no cryptocurrency trading and they focus on financial products that have been developed in-house.
Some of the key Fidelity features include index funds with a $0 expense ratio, an “Active Trader Pro” trading platform to download, trading on 25 markets, bricks and mortar locations (the U.S. only), access to more than 3,700 no transaction fee mutual funds, a large number of research providers, an extensive collection of education resources, and 24/7 support chat.
Public.com offers access to more than 5,000 stocks and ETFs, and you can purchase full or fractional shares with no trading commissions. Companies can be screened by category which is great if you want to build a portfolio around a specific strategy such as renewable energy. Public.com has the search tools to find the companies that interest you quickly and a full description is provided. This includes details, such as trends, comments, history, and more. Any conversations concerning the company can be read to see what other Public.com investors think.
Public.com also provides investment Themes, which are lists of stocks that have something particular in common. Some sample themes include combat carbon, green power, reuse and reduce, plant-based movement, and many more. Themes can be very helpful for finding stocks and ETFs that interest you. Public.com also has access to 25 of the best-known cryptocurrencies.
Fidelity acts as a full-service broker with a large selection of products, including fixed home securities, around 10,000 mutual funds, a full equities line, and more. Fidelity doesn’t offer futures at this time, but Forex can be accessed.
Fidelity prioritizes its own financial products such as mutual and index funds with a 0% expense ratio. But, they also have access to international stocks, ETFs, options, and more than 25 global stock markets. There are a number of Fidelity accounts, including traditional, rollover and SEP IRAs, Roth, 401ks, 529 college plans, and more. As a Fidelity client, you can choose between a personal, business, or managed account to meet your needs.
Public.com truly stands out from the competition due to the social features that are not found on most investing platforms. The power of the community should not be underestimated. There is a real sense of camaraderie and the collaborative knowledge sharing is impressive.
As a Public.com user, you can monitor the main or stock-specific feeds that facilitate contact with other investors. This can give you ideas, strategies, and feedback based on investments that other users are making or have made already. There are groups where you can network with other users, and this is extremely beneficial for new investors.
Public.com is very easy to use. Simply log in, move through the main functions via the app and you can search for stocks and ETFs. It’s possible to view the portfolios of contacts and browse the stocks via categories, or simply click on a company that interests you.
On the home page, you can find the news feed and recent posts made by other Public.com users. If you want to join in the conversation, click the user’s account profile and you can create a direct message. It’s easy to build your own chat groups and you can follow your favorite fellow investors.
To sign up with Fidelity, you need a verified identity and you must provide personal details (just like any financial institution, including Public.com). If the information is correct, you can formally open your Fidelity account. At this point, you can set your preference to receive statements and tax documents via mail or email.
When the account is created, it’s time to fund it and you can download the Active Trader Pro software to power the trading platform. This platform is customizable. You can set up the workplace to your preferences with features such as news stream monitoring, customized alerts, real-time insights, direct trading from charts, and more. There’s a Fidelity mobile app that allows you to trade within the same classes except for bonds, and there is a slightly limited choice of research and charting tools.
As a mobile trading app, Public.com is well developed for simple research and submitting trades on the go. There are only three order types to select. They are: market, limit, and stop. There are no graph tools and the charts cannot be rotated in a horizontal orientation.
Fidelity has worked hard on making its mobile app feature-rich. The order form has trailing orders and charting is available with key features including horizontal mode, comparisons, multiple graph styles, technical studies, linear or logarithmic modes, and extended hours price history. Fidelity has a mobile check deposit within the app and this is an excellent feature for investors that want to work with a smartphone. The Fidelity app has streaming business news and a podcast center too.
Pricing and Fees
Public.com charges no commission on stock or ETF trades. There are no maintenance fees, charges to open or close the account, and no account minimums. But there are a few fees that apply in certain situations like paper statements cost $5, returned checks incur a $30 fee and outgoing domestic wire transfers cost $25.
Fidelity offers commission-free trading, and they have no minimum deposit accounts. But margin accounts have a minimum deposit of $2,500 with rates of 9.325%. There is a $0.65 fee per option contract charge and a $0.002 fee for options contracts. There is no access to futures trading, but there is access to cryptocurrency markets. Fidelity has no mutual fund charges for Fidelity products, but if you want access to other mutual funds, they charge $49.95.
Public.com is focused on newer investors with minimal research and data options that might overwhelm less-experienced traders. The basic data supplied is sufficient to make simple investment decisions but the greatest research strength is the access to the investment themes and insight from the community. These help the new investor take part in larger trends because you can pick companies based on your own investing interests.
Fidelity has an extensive stock and fund research facility with up-to-date information. Everything that you would want to conduct stock and fund analysis is placed at your fingertips, including real-time analysis, technical trading tools, fundamental analysis, stock and fund analysis, and more.
- Simplicity and ease of use. The interface is beautiful and the simplified options make it easy even for beginners.
- Social features. Public.com users can connect with and learn from friends and other investors in this supportive community.
- Cryptocurrency. Public.com users can trade stocks, ETFs, and crypto from the same account.
- Categorized investment themes. Users can quickly find investment opportunities based on their interests.
- Far more investment options. As a full-service brokerage, Fidelity provides access to mutual funds, bonds, options, and more.
- Greater range of account types. Fidelity offers joint accounts, custodial accounts, a variety of retirement accounts, and more.
- Tools for research and analysis. The simplified approach taken by Public.com improves ease of use, but it means that no tools for advanced analysis are provided. Fidelity offers plenty of tools for those who want to dig in and research investment opportunities.
Both of these online brokers are free to join and there’s no cost to maintain an active account. Fidelity is a platform for more experienced investors that need access to complex tools. For a beginner or casual investor, Public.com is the obvious choice because it won’t overwhelm the user and it’s easy to use. If you are still undecided, we recommend opening an account with Public.com and Fidelity to see which works best for you.
*Public.com offer valid for U.S. residents 18+ and subject to account approval. This is not a recommendation. You can lose money with any investment. Open To The Public Investing is a member of FINRA & SIPC. Regulatory and firm fees apply. New customers receive free stock with value $3-300; 0.3% receive the max value. Cryptocurrency trading offered by Apex Crypto LLC. See Public.com/disclosures/