Public.com ReviewCategory: Reviews | Author: Trading Brokers | Date: September 12, 2023
Investing in stocks, ETFs, and crypto can be a rewarding and exciting way to grow your wealth, but it also requires choosing a reliable and trustworthy broker that suits your needs and goals. Public is an online broker that was launched in 2017 and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the US. It claims to offer a unique social investing platform that allows you to trade commission-free, follow other investors, and access a variety of educational resources. However, not all brokers are as good as they seem, and some may have hidden drawbacks, such as limited customer support, high fees, or low security. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive and unbiased review of any broker before deciding to trade with them. In this article, we will review Public and provide our verdict on whether it is a good broker to trade with.
Pros & Cons
- Public.com is a social investing platform that lets you trade various assets with fractional shares and no fees
- Public.com lets you join a community of investors and learn from their insights and experiences
- Public.com provides an educational resource that helps you learn and grow as an investor
- Public.com is regulated by the SEC, FINRA, and SIPC, which protect your securities up to $500,000
- Public.com does not offer other types of accounts, such as retirement accounts, joint accounts, or custodial accounts
- Public.com does not offer other types of investments, such as mutual funds, options, bonds, or futures
- Public.com has a long waiting time for withdrawals
- Public.com is only available on mobile devices
- Public.com charges a markup of 1% or 2% for cryptocurrency trades
Launched in 2017 and registered with the SEC and FINRA in the US, Public offers a unique and innovative platform for investing in stocks, ETFs, crypto, and alternative assets. The broker’s vision is to make investing more accessible, social, and educational for everyone. With Public, you can trade commission-free, follow other investors, and access a variety of resources to learn and improve your skills.
The broker also stands out for its ethical and transparent practices, such as not selling your trades to market makers, routing all orders directly to the exchanges, and providing account balance protection. Additionally, the broker features a powerful suite of tools that allow you to understand every investment, explore real-time and historical data, screen the markets, listen to earnings calls on demand, and get expert analysis. Public also boasts a vibrant and diverse community of millions of investors who share their ideas, insights, and experiences on the platform. Our review highlights Public’s ambition to be a leading broker for social investing, but as always, understanding the associated risks is crucial.
Public is a fully regulated broker-dealer that operates under the oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Public is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects securities customers of its members up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash) in case of broker failure.
Public complies with all the rules and regulations that apply to broker-dealers, such as maintaining adequate capital, safeguarding customer assets, conducting regular audits, and submitting reports to the regulators. Public also follows the best execution practices when routing orders to the exchanges and other execution venues, and does not participate in payment for order flow, which means it does not sell customer orders to third parties for a fee. Public also adheres to the highest standards of security, privacy, and compliance when handling customer data and transactions.
Public uses bank-grade encryption, two-factor authentication, biometric verification, and other security measures to protect customer accounts from unauthorized access. Public also respects customer privacy and does not sell or share customer data with third parties without consent. Public also complies with the anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) regulations, and requires customers to verify their identity and provide relevant information before opening an account.
Public is committed to providing a safe, transparent, and accessible platform for investors of all levels and backgrounds. Public strives to educate and empower its customers with useful information, tools, and resources, as well as a supportive and diverse community. Public also promotes responsible investing and encourages customers to invest in what they believe in.
According to the official website of Public, the registration number of Public’s broker-dealer entity, Open to the Public Investing, Inc., is CRD# 297958. This number can be used to check the background and registration status of Public on FINRA BrokerCheck or SEC Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD).
Platforms & Tools
Public is an online investing platform that allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, treasury bills, cryptocurrencies, and alternative assets. You can also join a community of investors and learn from their insights and experiences. Here are some of the platforms and tools that Public offers:
- Public App: This is the main platform where you can access all the features and functionalities of Public. You can create an account with as little as $1 and start investing in fractional shares of thousands of companies. You can also follow other investors, join groups, and participate in live events. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
- Public Web: This is the web version of the Public app, which you can access from any browser. You can view your portfolio, watchlist, activity feed, and groups. You can also place orders, chat with other investors, and access educational resources. The web platform is compatible with most browsers and devices.
Some of the tools that Public offers are:
- Safety Labels: These are indicators that show the level of risk and volatility of each asset. They are based on historical data, market conditions, and expert opinions. You can use them to make informed decisions and diversify your portfolio.
- Themes: These are collections of assets that share a common theme, such as technology, healthcare, entertainment, or social impact. You can browse through different themes and discover new investment opportunities that match your interests.
- Tickers: These are short codes that represent each asset on the platform. You can use them to search, buy, sell, or watch any asset. You can also use them to tag other investors in your posts and comments.
- Insights: These are data-driven insights that help you understand the performance and potential of each asset. You can view charts, statistics, analyst ratings, earnings reports, and more.
- Education: These are educational resources that help you learn the basics and advanced concepts of investing. You can access articles, videos, podcasts, quizzes, and more.
Public is not only an online investing platform, but also an educational resource that helps you learn and grow as an investor. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you can find useful information and tips on the Public website and app. Here are some of the educational features that Public offers:
- Learn: This is a section on the website that contains articles, videos, podcasts, and quizzes on various topics related to investing, such as the basics of investing, investing strategies, investing trends, and investing psychology.
- Community: This is a feature on the app that allows you to join groups, follow other investors, chat with them, and learn from their insights and experiences. You can also participate in live events, such as Q&A sessions, interviews, and workshops with experts and influencers.
- Academy: This is a feature on the app that allows you to earn badges and rewards by completing educational tasks and challenges. You can also track your progress and see how you compare with other investors.
- Glossary: This is a feature on the app that provides definitions and explanations of common investing terms and concepts. You can search for any term or browse through different categories.
Public allows you to invest in various markets and asset classes, including stocks, ETFs, treasury bills, cryptocurrencies, and alternative assets. These markets offer different opportunities and risks for investors, depending on their goals and preferences. Here are some of the markets that Public offers:
- Stocks: These are shares of ownership in a company that trade on a stock exchange. You can buy and sell stocks of thousands of companies on Public, from well-known brands like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Tesla, to emerging startups like Airbnb, Coinbase, Robinhood, and Spotify. You can also invest in fractional shares of any stock with as little as $11.
- ETFs: These are exchange-traded funds that track the performance of a group of stocks or other assets that share a common theme, such as a sector, industry, country, or strategy. You can invest in hundreds of ETFs on Public, covering themes like technology, healthcare, entertainment, social impact, and more. ETFs can help you diversify your portfolio and gain exposure to different markets.
- Treasury Bills: These are short-term debt securities issued by the US government that pay a fixed interest rate. You can invest in treasury bills on Public with a Treasury Account, which offers a 5.5% yield on your cash with no minimum hold periods or settlement delays. Treasury bills are backed by the US government and held in custody at The Bank of New York Mellon.
- Cryptocurrencies: These are digital currencies that use cryptography to secure transactions and control the creation of new units. You can buy, hold, and sell a growing collection of cryptocurrencies on Public, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and more. Cryptocurrencies are volatile and speculative assets that can offer high returns but also high risks.
- Alternative Assets: These are assets that are not traditional stocks or bonds, such as art, collectibles, royalties, and more. You can invest in alternative assets on Public with fractional ownership and low fees. Alternative assets can offer unique opportunities for diversification and appreciation.
By offering these markets and asset classes, Public enables you to build a multi-asset portfolio that suits your interests and objectives. You can also access real-time data, live audio shows, and reporting tailored to your portfolio on the Public app.
Public offers two types of accounts for its customers: a Brokerage Account and a Treasury Account. Each account has different features and benefits, depending on your investing goals and preferences. Here is a brief overview of each account type:
- Brokerage Account: This is the standard account that allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and alternative assets. You can open a Brokerage Account with as little as $1 and start buying fractional shares of thousands of companies. You can also access real-time data, live audio shows, and reporting tailored to your portfolio. Public does not charge any commissions or fees for trading with a Brokerage Account.
- Treasury Account: This is a new account that allows you to invest in treasury bills, which are short-term debt securities issued by the US government. You can open a Treasury Account with any amount and earn a 5.5% yield on your cash with no minimum hold periods or settlement delays. Treasury bills are backed by the US government and held in custody at The Bank of New York Mellon.
By offering these two types of accounts, Public enables you to diversify your portfolio and optimize your returns. You can easily switch between your Brokerage Account and your Treasury Account on the Public app.
Public is an online investing platform that offers various options for funding your account and withdrawing your money. You can choose the option that suits your needs and preferences. Here are some of the funding options that Public offers:
- Plaid: This is a service that allows you to connect your bank account to Public using your bank login credentials. You can use Plaid to make deposits and withdrawals on the app or the web. Plaid is secure and works with most banks.
- Micro Deposits: This is a method that allows you to connect your bank account to Public by verifying two small test deposits that Apex, our clearing firm, will send to your bank account. You can use Micro Deposits to make deposits and withdrawals on the app or the web. This process can take 5-7 business days, and you will need to provide a bank statement to withdraw funds.
- Debit Card: This is a feature that allows you to use your debit card to deposit up to $1,000 into your Public account. You can use Debit Card Funding on the app or the web. We partner with Wells Fargo and Braintree, a division of PayPal, to enable this feature.
- Check or Wire: This is an option that allows you to fund your account by mailing them a check or initiating a wire transfer. You can use Check or Wire Funding for one-time transfers of funds, but you will need to contact them to withdraw funds in the same manner or connect a bank account using Plaid or Micro Deposits.
To start a deposit or withdrawal on the app, you need to select the slide drawer icon in the top left corner, scroll down to Account Settings, and then scroll down to Transfers. To start a deposit or withdrawal on the web, you need to select the arrow in the top right corner, scroll down to Settings and Privacy, and then scroll down to Banking.
In conclusion, Public is an online investing platform that offers various markets, platforms, tools, and educational resources for its customers. You can invest in stocks, ETFs, treasury bills, cryptocurrencies, and alternative assets with fractional shares and no commissions or fees. You can also join a community of investors and learn from their insights and experiences. Public offers various options for funding your account and withdrawing your money, such as Plaid, Micro Deposits, Debit Card, Check, or Wire. You can access Public on the app or the web, and enjoy exclusive features and benefits with Public Premium. However, it’s worth noting that while Public offers strong features, there are other online investing platforms with longer track records that might be worth considering as alternative options. For additional choices, we encourage you to explore our trading broker reviews.