Mobile Trading: How to Trade on the Go with Your Smartphone

By Arslan Butt

Picture yourself sitting on a sun-soaked beach or hiking through the majestic mountains while keeping tabs on your investments with just a few simple taps. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? Welcome to the world of mobile trading – where modern technology, coupled with robust applications, enables you to trade on the go seamlessly. In today’s fast-paced environment, we want instant access to our investments and portfolios, just like we do with everything else. Gone are the days when trading was confined to desktop computers and crowded trading floors. So buckle up as we explore how you can tap into the power of smartphone trading and learn how it feels to have Wall Street in your pocket!

Mobile trading is a convenient way to trade stocks, bonds, and other investments using a smartphone or other mobile device. With mobile trading apps from major brokerages like TD Ameritrade and Robinhood, individuals can buy and sell securities from anywhere in the world with an internet connexion. Trading-only apps, such as Robinhood’s commission-free trading, have made mobile trading the most affordable way for most people to trade.

Mobile trading has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more investors choosing to trade on the go with just their smartphones. Every major brokerage now has an Android app or iPhone app, or both, allowing customers to access a wealth of data and place trades from literally anywhere in the world with an internet connexion. In this section, we’re going to explore some of the most popular mobile trading apps that are currently available.

Robinhood is undoubtedly one of the best-known mobile trading apps. The company was founded in 2013 and set itself apart from its competitors by offering completely free stock trades – something that had never been done before. Since then, Robinhood has expanded its offering to include cryptocurrency trading as well.

TD Ameritrade is another highly popular mobile trading app, especially for investors who are looking for advanced features such as interactive dashboards and access to company research and analyst reports. TD Ameritrade offers two powerful apps – TD Ameritrade Mobile and thinkorswim – both of which are packed with features designed to meet the needs of even the most discerning traders.

If you’re a new investor who’s just starting out or someone who doesn’t want to spend hours monitoring market trends, Acorns might be a good choice for you. This robo-advisor helps you construct optimised indexed portfolios using ETFs across several asset classes suited to your own risk tolerance and time horizon. You can set it up once and then essentially forget about it, letting Acorns do all the heavy lifting while you focus on other things.

We also encourage you to delve into our newest creation, the Immediate Connect trading app. Crafted with a focus on user requirements, we believe it’s well-suited to fulfill your trading goals and meet your anticipations. Please note that Immediate Connect is a product provided by the same organisation that manages this blog.

Now that we’ve explored some of the most popular mobile trading apps, let’s take a closer look at Robinhood specifically.

Robinhood: Commission-Free Trades

Immediate Connect 1

As already mentioned, Robinhood has gained immense popularity over the years by offering something that other brokers didn’t – commission-free trades. This has made Robinhood the go-to choice for many young investors, who are just starting out and want to keep their trading costs low.

In addition to stock trading, Robinhood also allows customers to trade in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum through Robinhood Crypto. The platform is intuitive and streamlined, with a clean interface that makes it easy to place trades quickly and efficiently.

However, one of the main criticisms of Robinhood is that it doesn’t offer as many features as some of its competitors. For example, you won’t find access to company research or analyst reports here. Additionally, there have been some questions raised around the quality of execution on Robinhood’s platform due to its large user base.

Another issue with Robinhood is security-related. In 2019, the company suffered a significant data breach which led to the exposure of sensitive customer information such as names, email addresses, and even social security numbers for some users. This incident served as a reminder that while mobile trading may be convenient, it’s essential to take steps to protect your personal information.

That said, if you’re willing to accept these limitations in exchange for commission-free trades and a user-friendly platform, then Robinhood might be the right choice for you. Just like any tool though, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

Now that we’ve explored Robinhood specifically let’s move on to discussing some general advantages of mobile trading.

  • As of 2022, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim mobile app was reported to have over one million downloads on Google Play Store alone, demonstrating its popularity among traders.
  • In a 2020 survey of more than 4,000 investors conducted by J.D. Power, it was found that 79% of respondents cited the importance of having access to mobile trading as a factor in choosing their broker.
  • A study published in 2021 revealed that approximately 68% of active traders use mobile trading platforms at least once a week, highlighting the increasing adoption and reliance on mobile technology for investment management.

TD Ameritrade: Advanced Features

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When it comes to mobile trading, TD Ameritrade stands out amongst the sea of competitors. The broker offers two robust apps for investors to choose from: TD Ameritrade Mobile and TD Ameritrade thinkorswim. Both provide a full range of trading and investment features that allow traders to stay informed and manage their investments on the go.

TD Ameritrade Mobile is an easy-to-use app designed for everyday investors. It has all the basic features you’d expect from a mobile trading app, such as watchlists, news, charts, and order management. However, what sets this app apart from its competitors is its seamless integration with the web platform. Investors can access all their accounts, including IRA and 401k plans, on both the app and the website without any extra charges. This makes TD Ameritrade Mobile a top choice for long-term investors who need to manage their retirement accounts.

On the other hand, thinkorswim is a more advanced app geared towards active traders who demand more power. It’s a full-service trading platform that offers in-depth market analysis tools and advanced charting options. The app also provides real-time data, so investors can trade directly from their smartphones without missing an important deal.

Some may argue that this level of complexity may intimidate new or casual investors. However, TD Ameritrade thinkorswim strikes a balance between sophistication and usability. Its high-level analytics tools are integrated seamlessly into its easy-to-use interface for quick analysis and execution.

Think of thinkorswim like a high-performance sports car: it has all the bells and whistles needed to make quick trades at any time but also requires practise to operate correctly and unleash its full potential.

With these two powerful apps at its disposal, TD Ameritrade has become a top pick for investors of all levels who seek to engage in mobile trading.

  • TD Ameritrade stands out as a top choice for mobile trading due to its two robust apps, TD Ameritrade Mobile and TD Ameritrade thinkorswim. While TD Ameritrade Mobile is designed for everyday investors and offers basic features such as watchlists, news, charts, and order management in a user-friendly app, thinkorswim is a more advanced platform geared towards active traders who seek sophisticated analytics tools and advanced charting options. Despite this complexity, thinkorswim strikes a balance between usability and sophistication, making it an excellent choice for investors of all levels seeking to engage in mobile trading. With both platforms’ seamless integration with the web platform, including IRA and 401k plans, TD Ameritrade has become a top pick for long-term investors as well.

Acorns: Robo-Advisor for New Investors

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While TD Ameritrade offers excellent tools for active traders, beginner investors are also well-supported through the mobile trading app Acorns. Acorns is a unique robo-advisor that takes advantage of modern technology to make investing accessible and easy for everyone, even those with limited experience or resources.

With Acorns, investors can invest money automatically in diversified portfolios constructed by ETFs across several asset classes based on their risk tolerance and long-term goals. This automated approach makes it an ideal platform for those new to investing, as they can sit back and let the investment process happen without having to worry about understanding how the stock market works.

Acorns also allows users to access over 350 companies specially chosen by its investment experts. These companies are often well-known brands like Apple, Amazon, and Nike. Therefore, users can invest in something they know at a low entry cost.

Some financial experts may argue that this hands-off approach means that investors will not develop important skills like asset allocation or fund selection. However, novice investors should learn the basics before delving into active investing practises that may cause them more significant losses than gains. Thus, Acorns can be viewed as a gateway to deeper knowledge and later become comfortable with more complex trading strategies.

Think of Acorns’ algorithm software as a personal trainer who provides routine process. Beginners need to learn the rules first before taking on more advanced challenges.

Advantages of Mobile Trading

Trading App Advantages

Mobile trading has revolutionised the way individuals invest in today’s fast-paced society. There are several advantages to mobile trading that can benefit both seasoned investors and newcomers alike.

For one, mobile trading provides flexibility to trade on-the-go. Instead of being confined to a desktop computer, investors can easily trade from their smartphones wherever they are – whether it be in between meetings, during their lunch break, or while travelling.

Additionally, mobile trading offers real-time market updates and notifications. This means that investors can stay up-to-date with market changes and make informed decisions in real-time.

Another advantage of mobile trading is its accessibility. In the past, investing was often an exclusive arena only for those who could afford to pay a broker to do the work for them. However, with mobile trading apps, anyone can start investing regardless of their financial background or location.

Furthermore, mobile trading apps offer commission-free trades which reduce costs for investors. Though some traditional brokers may charge hefty fees for transactions, many free trading apps like Robinhood and Webull now offer commission-free trades and zero account minimums.

Think of it this way: before mobile trading, investing was like driving a car with restrictions – limited by your physical location and a high cost of entry. Now, with mobile trading, investing is more like riding a bike – affordable and accessible from almost anywhere.

So far we’ve discussed flexibility and accessibility as two main advantages of mobile trading. The next section will explore convenience in more detail.

Convenience and Accessibility

When discussing the advantages of mobile trading, convenience must also be mentioned as a key factor. Mobile trading allows investors to seamlessly buy and sell securities at any time without requiring significant preparation or effort beforehand.

One way that mobile trading is convenient is through its user-friendly interfaces. Most mobile trading apps are designed with the user in mind, making it easy to navigate and conduct trades.

Further, mobile trading eliminates the need for brokers or financial advisors. Investors can now directly buy and sell stocks without relying on intermediaries which can save time and money.

Additionally, most mobile trading apps allow investors to access their accounts and trade 24/7. This means that individuals can control their investments even when stock markets are closed or traditional brokers’ hours have ended.

Another convenience that comes with mobile trading is the ability to monitor portfolios on-the-go. Investors can track the progress of their portfolio in real-time from anywhere using their smartphone.

The ease and simplicity of mobile trading can be compared to online shopping. In a few clicks, you can buy what you need, without leaving your home or speaking to a salesperson.

As we’ve seen so far, mobile trading has several advantages including flexibility, accessibility, and convenience. However, there are also some disadvantages that must be considered which we’ll explore in the next section.

Disadvantages of Mobile Trading

Trading App Disadvantages

Mobile trading has undoubtedly revolutionised the way we invest in stocks and securities. However, with all the advantages come a few disadvantages that traders need to consider before relying solely on mobile trading. Here are some of the potential drawbacks of mobile trading:

Firstly, while mobile trading offers the convenience of being able to trade anywhere, anytime, this can also lead to impulsive trades. New investors may be tempted to make trades impulsively while they are out and about, rather than taking the time to research and analyse their options. This could lead to poor investment decisions based on emotions rather than logic and analysis.

For instance, imagine being at a restaurant with friends during happy hour and receiving a notification from your stock trading app regarding an amazing trade opportunity. You may be tempted to make a quick purchase without thinking through it thoroughly. And in that relaxed atmosphere, you might not have access to all the market data you need to complete the transaction effectively.

While similar impulsive trades can happen on desktop platforms too, traders should understand that making investment decisions is often better done while sitting down at a desk where one can access online research tools or news stories rather than out in public when one feels compelled by social dynamics.

Secondly, mobile devices present particular challenges compared to desktops when it comes to screen size. Even with improvements in screen resolution technology, mobile devices cannot display as much information at once compared to larger monitor screens; which can slow down the process of analysing charts or other research necessary for making informed decisions.

It’s like working on a jigsaw puzzle with hundreds of pieces on a small table compared to having more space where you can view more pieces without becoming overwhelmed or missing things.

Finally, there are network reliability concerns to consider, particularly for traders who travel frequently or live in areas with poor connectivity. Mobile trading apps require reliable internet connexions, so if you are investing on the go and happen to experience network disruptions, it could lead to significant losses in your investment portfolio.

For example, perhaps you’re in a location with poor signal quality and decide that that does not matter because the trade seems obvious enough – the mobile app may present data its algorithms interpret incorrectly based on a disconnect or incorrect data point which is missing due to packet loss caused by a poor signal. Later when connected, those factors may change drastically and lead to unexpected results.

The above-listed disadvantages do not imply that mobile trading is inherently bad; however, they highlight some of the important considerations investors should make before committing exclusively to this type of trading. When it comes to protecting investor assets, security concerns represent another vital consideration to keep in mind.

Security Concerns

Just like any online action that involves money transactions, security is a paramount concern for traders who conduct their business via mobile devices. In today’s world of sophisticated cyberattacks, hackers can target stock brokerage apps just like any other digital platform.

Using an unsecured mobile device over a public or shared connexion can open an investor up to potential threats such as “Man-in-the-middle” attacks where malicious actors intercept sensitive data as it travels through a public network – even with SSL/TLS encryption increasingly becoming common.

While brokerage firms work hard to improve platform security and cryptography technology development offers better safeguards , it is still important for investors to practise good personal cybersecurity hygiene such as never sharing login credentials across different accounts and checking transactions often enough looking out for suspicious activity.

For instance, look at what happened several years ago when we experienced the breach at Equifax. By taking advantage of vulnerabilities in Equifax’s system, information for millions of customers was compromised. In the same way, attackers may exploit vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in a brokerage firm’s mobile trading app to steal investor private data such as personal account information and trade history.

Trading apps are also susceptible to malware attacks where investors download apps from phishing emails or unsecure third-party stores.

Imagine an attacker who creates a fake stockbrokerage app to get unsuspecting traders to expose their login credentials by pretending that it is a legitimate application. Once they have access to these accounts, attackers can sell share holdings or withdraw funds at will without investor consent.

With the increasing importance of cybersecurity, it is imperative that traders take proactive steps to secure their mobile devices and diligently protect their investment accounts. It’s up to users who are on the move to maintain good online security habits, including keeping their mobile devices up-to-date with regular software releases, frequently changing passwords using two-factor authentication where possible. Ultimately staying vigilant against possible cyber threats in order to keep their investments safe and secure has become paramount in this increasingly connected world.

Selecting the Right Mobile Trading App

Choosing the right mobile trading app can be a confusing process, especially with so many options available in the market. However, not all apps are created equal, and selecting an app that meets all your requirements is crucial for a successful mobile trading experience.

One of the first considerations when choosing a mobile trading app is to ensure that it supports the stocks or securities you are interested in. Different apps support different asset classes, and some may have restrictions on certain types of securities. For example, Robinhood is known for its commission-free trades; however, it does not support mutual funds or bonds.

Another factor to consider is the ease of use and functionality of the app. The best mobile trading apps should have user-friendly interfaces that are easy to navigate and offer advanced features such as real-time streaming quotes, charting with multiple indicators, and synced watch lists. These features coupled with easy access to account details allow traders to make quick decisions and manage their investments more efficiently.

There are also security concerns when it comes to mobile trading apps. It’s essential to choose an app that incorporates robust security measures such as two-factor authentication and biometric login options like FaceID or Touch ID. Security breaches can lead to significant financial losses; hence these measures instil confidence in users and ensure their peace of mind.

Furthermore, you should consider the cost associated with using different mobile trading apps before making a final decision. Most reputable brokers will offer commission-free stock and ETF trades but may charge fees for options trades or other transactions. Other factors to consider include research tools provided by the app, customer service support levels offered by brokerages, educational resources available on the platform.

Some traders prefer to use one platform specifically for their mobile trading needs while others may prefer multi-platform setups where they have multiple applications open on different devices. Multi-platform setups may offer greater flexibility while single platform setups may be simpler and more straightforward to manage.

With these various factors in mind, comparing the features and costs of different mobile trading apps can be a daunting task. However, by conducting thorough research, analysing your trading needs, and weighing out the pros and cons of each app, you can select the right one for your investment goals.

Comparing Features and Costs

When it comes to mobile trading apps’ features and costs, no two platforms are alike. Therefore it’s essential to analyse each feature carefully against your specific requirements to identify the best fit for your needs. Here are some of the critical features that you should consider when comparing mobile trading apps.

Firstly, advanced charting is an important feature to consider for traders who prefer technical analysis. The best mobile trading apps will offer multiple indicator options across various time frames to give traders a deeper insight into market trends.

Secondly, order types and trade executions speed vary significantly between brokers. Some apps may execute trades faster than others while offering a wider range of order types such as limit orders, trailing stops or conditional orders.

Additionally, research tools provided by the platform are crucial for identifying potential investment opportunities. The best mobile trading apps provide access to financial news updates and analyst reports from reliable sources.

Customer support is equally important and impacts user experience. A broker’s reputation and level of customer service offered speaks volumes concerning its ability to help users with their queries or issues they might face when using the app.

Lastly, costs associated with using mobile trading apps should also be factored in when making a final decision. Some brokers charge zero commissions on equity trades but may charge a fee for options trades or impose other transaction fees.

Other brokers may have an all-inclusive pricing model that includes the cost of transactions, data feeds, and any other services provided. This can be beneficial for frequent traders who transact in large volumes.

By comparing these various factors associated with each mobile trading app, traders can identify which platform meets their needs best. However, it’s essential to stay informed as these factors evolve over time and the brokerage industry continues to advance.