Today, an increasing number of existing and aspiring investors are taking ownership of their portfolios. They’re turning to investment sites and apps to have a direct hand in the market, choosing their investments, executing trades, and taking other actions all of their own terms. Public.com is emerging as a major competitor in the space, positioning itself as a “social” option for investors looking to share information and help each other thrive. But is Public.com right for you? If you want to find out, here are five things you need to know about Public.com.
5 Things You Should Know About Public.com
1. Public.com Is Community-Focused
There are multiple investment platforms available, which can make it hard for investors to choose the best one for their needs. With Public.com, the main differentiator is the social element. Investors can view and track the portfolios or other users, allowing them to see how they’ve invested. Additionally, users can engage with each other to talk about their decisions.
For some, these social elements make investing feel more accessible. If you’d value that kind of vibe, Public.com might be right for you. However, if you don’t think you’d want to speak with other users, Public.com may not give you anything you can’t find elsewhere.
In either case, it’s important to remember that other users aren’t necessarily investment experts. You may see recommendations that aren’t based on anything beyond a user’s gut feeling or personal preferences. There may even be some users who try to stir the pot or intentionally give out bad advice, though this isn’t necessarily common. However, in the end, using user advice as a substitute for legitimate research isn’t a smart move.
2. There’s No Fee to Join or Trade
When you’re getting ready to hop into the world of investing, concerns about fees are common. Fortunately, if you’re using Public.com, you don’t have much to worry about in that regard. There are no fees to join or trade. Additionally, a minimum investment isn’t required, making it easier for anyone with a little bit of cash to get started.
Technically, neither of those features are unique to Public.com. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t nice additions to the overall picture.
3. Theme-Based Recommendations
While many investment apps will make investment recommendations based on traditional categories or trade volumes, Public.com adds a little something different. It’s curated investment recommendations based on quirky themes. For instance, “Stay at Home” featured companies that people turned to during the pandemic when they were stuck in the house, like Slack, Amazon, and Blue Apron.
The theme-based recommendations can help investors choose options that align with the current climate, fit with their values, or match another strategy. It’s simple and accessible. Plus, investors can take a deeper dive into each option on the list, ensuring they make choices that are genuinely right for them.
4. Fractional Shares Are Available
One of the newer options making its way into investment apps is already available on Public.com. You can buy fractional shares – which it calls “slices” – allowing you to invest in a company even if you can’t afford an entire share. Fractional shares can increase in value and earn dividends just like full shares do, making it an attractive approach for anyone who wants to start investing but doesn’t have a lot of cash available.
5. Public.com Doesn’t Use Payment for Order Flow for Earnings
Robinhood has faced some scrutiny due to its use of payment for order flow as part of its earnings. While the practice is currently allowed, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and legislators have had questions about whether it should remain legal.
Public.com doesn’t use payment for order flow to make money. Instead, it uses share lending to short sellers, interest on uninvested cash, and optional user tips for its earnings. For some investors, this differentiator may not seem important, particularly since no action has been taken on payment for order flow even after it was in the SEC’s crosshairs. However, for others, that could make Public.com feel like a better option.
Is Public.com Right for You?
Public.com does have quite a bit going for it, causing its popularity to soar in a relatively short timeframe. However, only you can decide whether Public.com is the right platform for your investment needs. If you enjoy the social features, curated theme-based lists, and other unique features, it might be a strong match. If the differentiators aren’t appealing to you, then you might be better served elsewhere.
However, even if you don’t intend to use the social features or themed lists, Public.com is still a robust platform that supports fractional shares and has other broadly desirable capabilities. As a result, don’t discount it simply because it’s community-oriented, as it could still be a great platform even if you never engage with those features.
Can you think of anything else people should know about Public.com? Have you used Public.com and want to discuss your experience to help others determine if it’s right for them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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