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If you’re looking for a low-cost brokerage to help you invest, two options stand out above the rest: Public and Webull.
Deciding between these two firms can be a challenge, though, since they offer so many great features for investors. To help you out, we’ve created this Public vs. Webull review so you can determine which broker is right for your needs.
Up next, we’ll do a deep dive into the various advantages and disadvantages of Public and Webull. That way, you can spend less time researching your next brokerage and more time putting your money to work for you.
|$0 per trade
|$0 per trade
|Free $10 stock slice
|Get 2 free stocks
|Fractional share and social investing features with zero commissions
|Provides full extended hour trading and real-time market data
|Beginner friendly investing platform for social investors
|Intermediate active traders looking for a research oriented platform
Overview Public vs. Webull
Public and Webull are relatively new online brokerages, each of which is designed for a different kind of investor. Here’s a quick overview of each company to kick-start our head-to-head match-up.
Public.com is an online brokerage dedicated to helping everyone become a self-directed investor. It was founded in 2017 as a start-up by a group of venture capital firms, but it didn’t officially hit the market until 2019.
Branding itself as the “investing social network,” Public puts an innovative spin on online investing by combining a trading platform with a space where you can share financial insight with other investors. As a result, the firm allows you to directly communicate with other like-minded traders to help you learn more about investing.
Check out our full Public review to learn more.
See Also: 12 Best Online Brokers
Webull is a low-cost online brokerage that’s designed for new and intermediate investors. The company got its start in 2017, and it strives to be a one-stop-shop for investors that want an easy-to-use online trading platform.
With Webull, investors get a streamlined platform that allows them to place trades without the high fees that you find at some larger brokerages. At the same time, Webull offers a slew of exciting features and tools to make the trading process as accessible as possible.
Read our full Webull review to learn more.
Public vs. Webull: Main Features
Now that you have an overview of Public and Webull, let’s talk about each brokerage’s unique features. In this section, we’ll walk you through how each firm works and what features they offer for investors like you.
|Stocks and ETFs
|Stocks, ETFs, Options and Cryptocurrencies
|Individual Taxable, Roth IRA and Traditional IRA
|Mobile (iOS / Android)
|Web-based, Desktop and Mobile (iOS / Android)
|Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)
|Beginner social investors
|Intermediate active traders
As we’ve mentioned, Public is an investing app with a social network twist. This unique combination provides the brokerage with a leg up on the competition, especially for investors that also want to learn more about market trends.
Public’s account holders get access to a social network where you can share investing insight with other members. By doing so, you can develop your trading skills to help you become a confident self-directed trader.
Furthermore, as part of their commitment to financial literacy, Public provides you with access to educational resources. This includes events like Public Talks and Public Learn where you can learn about investing from financial advisors.
Public also goes the extra mile by providing investors with a unique feature called brand transparency. With the click of a button, you can access information about all the brands and subsidiaries that a company holds before you invest. That way, you know precisely what you’re investing in with your hard-earned money.
As far as trading goes, Public offers commission-free stock and ETF trades. You can also purchase fractional shares with Public for as little as $5. Doing so helps you diversify your portfolio with high-priced stocks without the need to have large amounts of capital.
Plus, Public lets you automatically reinvest your dividends back into your current holdings. This allows you to take advantage of the power of compound interest so you can watch your investments grow.
Main Features Overview
- Social networking: With Public, you can communicate with other investors to share trading insights and other tips in an inclusive social community.
- Stock and ETF trading: Public offers access to real-time stock and ETF trading on their commission-free trading platform.
- Fractional shares trading: All Public account holders can buy and sell fractional shares of stocks and ETFs for as little as $5.
- Automatic dividend reinvestment: If you earn dividends off your stocks and ETFs, Public makes it easy for you to automatically reinvest them to help grow your assets.
- Brand transparency: Public’s brand transparency feature helps ensure that you know where your money goes when you place a trade.
- Educational resources: A Public account comes complete with access to educational resources, including live sessions hosted by financial experts.
Like Public, Webull is a fully-featured online brokerage. However, while Public focuses more on turning investing into a social experience, Webull strives to make trading and investing as easy and affordable as possible.
With Webull, account holders have access to a user-friendly trading platform where they can buy and sell securities with ease. The brokerage provides commission-free stock, ETF, and options trades.
Additionally, Webull also allows investors to buy and sell stocks and ETFs after hours using their extended-hours trading. This allows you to quickly respond to breaking news even after the financial markets close.
As a bonus, Webull even supports margin trading. While margin rates are a bit higher with Webull than they are with some other brokerages, the firm has a relatively low minimum asset requirement for margins trading.
Webull also offers direct access to crypto investing. As of the time of writing, the firm is one of the few brokerages that offers commission-free trades on Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash 23 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Finally, account holders with the brokerage get real-time market data at their fingertips, as well as access to virtual trading (a.k.a. paper trading). The virtual trading feature can be particularly helpful for new investors as it makes it easy for you to test out different investing strategies without risking your hard-earned money.
Main Features Overview
- Stock, ETF, and options trading: Webull account holders can buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and options on US exchanges.
- Extended hours trading: All Webull accounts provide access to extended hours trading so you can take advantage of after-hours investing.
- Crypto trading: Webull is one of the few brokerages that supports commission-free crypto trading for the most popular cryptocurrencies.
- Margin trading: Any account holder with a minimum asset balance of $2,000 can access margins trading with Webull.
- Virtual trading: If you want to test out investing strategies without risking any money, Webull’s virtual trading feature is a solid choice.
- Market research tools: Your Webull account comes with free access to real-time market data and several charting tools for simplified financial analysis.
- Fractional Share Trading: For fractional trading is availbale but only on market orders during normal trading hours.
See Also: 7 Best Micro-Investing Apps
Public vs. Webull: Investment Options
Here’s a brief look at the different investment options that you can expect with both Public and Webull.
With Public, investors can buy and sell US-listed stocks and ETFs. While the firm doesn’t currently support mutual funds, bonds, crypto, options, or other investment vehicles, however, Public does allow you to buy fractional shares of any stock on their platform for as little as $5.
As with Public, Webull supports trades of US-listed stocks and ETFs but it does not currently allow fractional shares investing.
Nevertheless, the company does offer options trading as well as nearly round-the-clock access to trades of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
It’s worth mentioning that Webull doesn’t support bonds, mutual funds, futures, or forex. While this might change as the brokerage grows, these limitations are worth remembering when selecting a brokerage that’s right for you.
Public vs. Webull Account Types
When you start investing, you’ll first need to figure out what type of account is best for your needs. Here are the different account types that you can open with each firm:
Public currently only supports individual taxable brokerage accounts. While this means that the platform isn’t ideal for folks that want to save for retirement, it can be a nice option for anyone that wants to invest in non-retirement goals.
With Webull, investors have access to many account types. These include:
- Individual taxable brokerage account
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- Rollover IRA
While Webull’s lack of joint accounts, custodial accounts, and small business accounts might be a bummer for some investors, most traders will find that their current offerings are more than sufficient for their needs.
Public vs. Webull: Sign up Bonuses and Promotions
Although a signup bonus in itself isn’t necessarily the sole reason to open a brokerage account, you might as well take advantage of any promotions that a firm offers. These are the current bonuses you can expect when opening an account with Webull or Public:
All new Public account holders get a free $10 stock slice just for opening an account. Once your account is up and running, the firm allows you to choose your preferred stock from a small list of offerings to help get your investments off on the right foot.
As of the time of writing, Webull is offering a signup bonus to all new account holders. Anyone that opens an account automatically gets one free stock valued between $2.50 and $250 just for signing up.
Additionally, if you open an account and transfer at least $100 into your account, the company will reward you with another free stock. This additional stock is valued between $8 and $1,600. So, there’s a chance that you could start investing with some quality stocks right off the bat.
Public vs. Webull: Fees & Pricing
If you’re going to start investing, you must have a clear understanding of how much it might cost. In this section, we’ll take a look at the fee structures of both Public and Webull.
Public is all about making investing accessible for anyone, so they’ve eliminated commission fees on stock and ETF trades when placed online. They also have no account minimums, so you can get started with whatever funds you have available.
But, they do charge a $30 flat fee for broker-assisted trades placed on the phone. Other fees include $30 to $75 fees for outgoing wire and ACAT transfers, returned checks, stopped payments, and the like.
Webull does not charge commission fees on trades for stocks, ETFs, and options. They also offer commission-free trades on cryptocurrency, which is fairly unique among brokerages.
However, you will have to pay a small fee when selling assets like stocks, ETFs, and options. These fees are charged by regulator bodies like the SEC and the FINRA, so they are not levied by Webull. But, these fees are very small (usually less than $0.01 per share), so they’re not a concern for most investors.
Webull also charges some standard account-related fees, such as wire transfer fees. But, we should note that Webull charges to both send and receive wire transfers. Most other brokerages charge you only to send a wire transfer, while Webull charges $8 to receive a domestic wire transfer and $25 to send one.
See Also: 12 Best IRA Accounts
Public vs. Webull: What We Like (Pros)
Both Public and Webull are feature-packed brokerages that offer many excellent tools for investors. These are some of the advantages of investing with each platform.
- Social network for trading support and insight
- Includes free educational resources
- Commission-free trades on stocks and ETFs
- No account minimum or other maintenance fees
- Allows for fractional share investing
- Intuitive mobile platform
- Live in-app customer support
- No commission fees on stock, ETF, and options trades
- Nearly round-the-clock access to free crypto trades
- Margins trading with low account minimums
- Supports individual taxable and retirement accounts
- Includes web, mobile, and desktop trading platforms
- No account minimums for any account type
- Provides direct access to market analysis tools
Public vs. Webull: What We Don’t Like (Cons)
Although Public and Webull both provide plenty of great features, there are some aspects of each brokerage that don’t quite impress. Here are some drawbacks to keep in mind before opening an account.
- No access to bonds, mutual funds, options, or crypto
- Doesn’t have an online or desktop platform
- Makes your trading activity public to other members
- Only offers individual taxable accounts
- Doesn’t provide access to foreign markets
- No margins trading options
- High fees for incoming and outgoing wire transfers
- Can be difficult to access customer support
- No fractional shares investing
- Slightly confusing pricing structure for selling stocks and ETFs
- Minimal educational resources outside of market research tools
- No access to bonds, mutual funds, or foreign markets
Public vs. Webull: Security
When investing, you should be confident that your brokerage has your back at all times. So, here’s what both Public and Webull do to help keep your money safe.
Public is a member of SIPC, which means that your assets are protected up to $500,000 in securities and $250,000 in cash in the event of a brokerage failure.
As a bonus, Public also uses 128-bit encryption to protect you and your money from fraud.
Like Public, Webull accounts are protected by the SIPC for up to $500,000 in securities and $250,000 in cash.
The company’s clearing firm, Apex Clearing, also has an additional insurance policy on all Webull accounts. This policy covers up to $37.5 million per account holder.
Public vs. Webull: Customer Support
When investing, often there are times where you’ll need to contact your brokerage’s customer support. This is what you can expect from each firm:
With Public, account holders can get timely support from the brokerage in several ways.
In addition to the firm’s online FAQs pages, where you can get answers to most common account questions, Public also has a customer service email address. The firm also offers a live chat feature in the app where you can talk directly with a customer support representative during weekday trading hours.
Webull offers an extensive online help portal where you can find answers to many frequently asked questions.
The brokerage also has a customer service email address and phone number. However, wait times can be long when calling the Webull customer service phone number and it can take a few days to receive a response via email.
That being said, Webull also offers a chat-based support service through the brokerage’s app. When compared to the phone and email-based support services, this chat support is often the easiest to navigate if you want a quick response.
Public vs. Webull: Platform and App
Both Public and Webull are tech-focused brokerages with intuitive, easy-to-use platforms. But, each firm offers different trading platforms for its account holders. Here’s what you need to know:
Public’s platform is only available through a mobile app. The app serves as both a trading platform and a social network where you can discuss your trades and ideas with other investors.
Nevertheless, the lack of a web-based trading platform might be a bummer for some investors, particularly those who like to research stocks and place trades on a computer.
Webull offers several different platforms for account holders to use. For investors that prefer to access their account on the go, Webull has both an app that provides full trading and an account maintenance functionality.
Additionally, Webull supports web-based trades through their website. Account holders can also download the brokerage’s desktop platform. This desktop platform provides access to multiple charting tools, stock screeners, and plenty of other great features for more in-depth market analysis.
Who Is Public For?
Due to its innovative social investing platform, Public is an ideal brokerage for new investors that want the support of an inclusive trading community. Furthermore, Public’s commission-free trading and intuitive app make it a nice option for investors that want a no-nonsense way to access financial markets.
That being said, Public’s lack of retirement accounts and its limited investment types (only stocks and ETFs) mean that it’s not the best choice for people that want to trade bonds, mutual funds, options, or crypto.
But if you want a simple, low-cost, and social way to start investing, Public just might be the brokerage you’re looking for.
Who Is Webull For?
As an online brokerage that puts convenience at the forefront of its design, Webull is a solid option for new to intermediate investors.
Thanks to the firm’s mobile, web, and desktop-based trading platforms, new and intermediate investors, alike, can access the financial markets with relative ease. Furthermore, the fact that Webull supports a range of account types as well as commission-free stock, ETF, options, and crypto trades means that it’s a nice place to find yourself if you’re a new investor.
Like Public, though, Webull’s lack of mutual fund, bond, and fractional shares investing means that it isn’t ideal for people looking to trade those types of securities.
Whether you opt to invest with Webull, Public, or another brokerage, there’s sure to be a trading platform out there for you.
Ultimately, if you’re interested in a low-cost brokerage that lets you join a network of other like-minded investors, Public might be a good choice for you. On the other hand, Webull is a sure bet if you’re relatively new to trading and looking to access a slightly wider range of investment vehicles.
Regardless of which firm you end up with, however, we hope that this article helped you find the best brokerage for your financial needs.
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Gaby is a freelance writer and self-employed business owner with a personal interest in all things finance-related. She has a passion for educating others on how to make the most of their money and loves writing about everything from taxes to crypto.