Public.com Review: Own Any Stock Starting at $1 & Learn from Real Investors

Disclosure: We’re letting you know that this post contains sponsored links which The Smart Wallet receives compensation for, which may impact their order of appearance because talking about money should always be an honest discussion.

If it’s a public company, you can own a piece of it. Tesla, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and more.

Whether you’re new to investing, have some knowledge, or are a veteran, having an easy-to-use and educational investment platform for your portfolio is important.

That’s why we’re taking a deeper look into Public’s social-investing app, Public.com, which was launched in 2019 and has notable Hollywood, media, and sports figures tied to the company as part-owners. On the investors and advisory board, Will Smith (Co-Founder of Dreamers VC), Tony Hawk (Skateboarding Legend), Sophia Amoruso (Founder of GirlBoss), and Dick Parsons (Former Chairman of Citigroup, CEO Time Warner & L.A. Clippers) are just some of the important minds that believe in the company’s vision to democratize investing.

Public.com believes that everyone should be able to own a piece of any public company that they want. Investing is no longer just for financial experts, advisors, or people with a lot of money. Because with Public.com, you can do it starting with just $1.

How Public.com Works

Public.com is a platform where members can invest in many public companies with fractional shares of stocks and ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds). No matter the full share price, you could own slices of stock.

For example, Tesla is currently at $742 a share (at the time of this writing), and if you don’t want to purchase the full share, you can put in whatever amount you’re comfortable with, even if it’s $1.

Trading is also commission-free.* Whenever you want to sell or trade any stock you own, you can do it without any fees.* There are also no account minimums, no account maintenance fees, or monthly service fees.

*Not investment advice. ^ This is an example of what you might see on your app’s homepage. If you don’t like volatility, look into investing in companies that you know will stick around for a long time.

Why Public.com Might Be Worth Your Time

While there are similar investment apps on the market, Public.com combines the best of both worlds because members can real-time trade/sell stocks commission-free* and buy fractional shares/slices into any public company.

Members that join Public.com are also embraced into the highly active community as well. The strong social aspect lets you follow industry experts, friends, celebrities, etc. to see what they’re buying/selling in the social feed. This type of transparency opens up discussion in the comments and the sharing of knowledge and opinions to help each other grow rather than “going at it alone.”

This is great for those new to investing and an opportunity for veterans to share their thoughts.

While you shouldn’t view it as concrete investment advice, it’s a starting point for you to learn more and a step to take fear and confusion out of investing.

Real community support to learn from

How to Get Started on Public.com

Creating an account on Public.com is free and straightforward.

  1. Download the Public.com app
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions (it’ll aim to get a sense of what your interests are, how comfortable you are with investing, etc)
  3. Link a bank account (This is where your money will be transferred or deposited from)
  4. Start exploring!

You can easily see what industry experts’ portfolios look like, read up on the news in-app, and start investing on the same day.

How Does Public.com Make Money?

To differentiate itself from other well-known apps and to provide transparency for its members, Public.com announced on February 16, 2021, that they were officially PFOF-free. Short for “payment for order flow,” it’s a common revenue generator for fee-free broker apps to receive small payments (or rebates) for directing their clients’ orders to specific market makers.

PFOF can be controversial, as it can create conflicts of interest, but it is legal as long as it’s properly disclosed and updated quarterly. However, Public.com did away with PFOF to align with their customer’s best interests and switched to an optional tipping feature.

When members make any trade, they have the option to “tip” Public.com. The amount can vary by the dollar value of your order and is pre-set by the app.

Public.com also makes money from securities lending (which doesn’t affect members’ experience), and interest from uninvested cash balances at 0.2%.

Is Public.com Legit & Safe?

Short answer: Yes.

Public.com is insured by the SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) up to $500,000 per account.

They also use Bank-Grade security with AES 128-bit encryption and TLS 1.2 to secure data in transit.

How to Get Free Stock

The bigger the community, the more active it’ll be to learn from each other’s successes and mistakes, so Public.com offers referral bonuses.

Invite friends and both of you will receive a free fractional share of stock from a company of your choice (options will vary) up to $20 upon approval. It’s potentially a good way to diversify your portfolio without using your own money.

Final Thoughts

If you want to invest in the companies that matter to you the most, commission-free*, and get access to a helpful community, Public.com is absolutely worth a download to check it out. Especially when you can purchase slices which empowers you to invest in well-known companies without a lot of money upfront.

Both new investors and those that have been in the market for some time would find Public.com valuable.

You might also be tempted to check your portfolio on a daily basis due to the real-time nature (like I did). Purchase what you believe are quality long-term stocks and don’t stress yourself out.

Overall, Public.com makes it very easy for members to buy/trade and provide a community support system that other brokerage apps lack. Try Public.com out and see if it fits your style of investing!

*Offer valid for U.S. residents 18+ and subject to account approval. There may be other fees associated with trading. See Public.com/disclosures/

*Photo credit: Cait Brice | The Smart Wallet