Best Fractional Share Investing Sites

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated October 16, 2020

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Stock Trading
January 27, 2020

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Let’s be honest, investing can be a complicated undertaking. If you don’t know the ins and outs of the stock market, it can be a little overwhelming to start investing, especially when shares of the most popular companies are so expensive. That’s where fractional shares comes in. This trading practice allows you to buy a fraction of a share of your favorite companies, so you can spend as little as $1 investing. How do you get started investing in fractional shares? Here are our reviews of the best fractional share investing sites that can help you get started.

Best Fractional Share Investing Sites

RankInvestment CompanyBest ForSTL Rating
1M1 FinanceOverall Investing★★★★★
2AcornsInvesting App★★★★★
3BettermentAutomated portfolio★★★★★
4PublicStock trading★★★★
5StashBeginners App★★★★

Best Fractional Share Investing

RankInvestment CompanySTL Rating
1M1 Finance★★★★★
2Acorns★★★★★
3Betterment★★★★★
4Public★★★★
5Stash★★★★

M1 Finance is the juggernaut of the new investing app world. It offers many of the same investing options as traditional investing firms, along with new options and sleek social aspects that are common to the new crop of investing apps. This includes fractional shares, which it is one of the best at. Here is a more detailed look at the investing site.

M1 Finance Investing

M1 Finance website

M1 Finance Investing image
  • Best for: Overall investing. With minimal fees and options such as fractional trading, M1 Finance is an investing option for the future, leaving tradition investing options like E*Trade in the dust.
  • Price: Like many new tech-focused investing companies, M1 Finance offers commission-free trading. It also does not charge an advisory fee for robo-advisor portfolios, which puts it above other popular robo-advisors like Betterment. It does charge a fee if your account is under $20 or if you have had no trading activity within 90 days.
  • Features: M1 Finance utilizes “pie” investing, which presents you with a recommended pie that divides up your investment options, and you can adjust the pie however you wish. It allows you to have complete control over your investments and invest in companies that you believe in.
  • Fractional shares: M1 Finance offers fractional shares, which allows you to invest in partial shares, making it easier to invest for less.
  • Customer service: In order to get ahold of M1, you will need to go through a dedicated phone number or email service.
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Acorns makes investing extremely easy. The app connects to your financial institutions and sweeps the change from your purchases into an investment account. Say you spend $4.55 on coffee; Acorns will add the extra 45 cents to your investment account. It makes investing very easy and mindless, which is helpful since investing can be so confusing. With fractional shares, Acorns makes it even easier to not only mindlessly invest, but to invest in companies that you believe in, no matter how expensive the whole share price. Here’s a detailed look at Acorns.

Acorns Review

Acorns website

Acorns Review image
  • Best For: Automatic investing, people new to investing and those looking to increase their savings but not necessarily make a great deal of money. You can sign up for Acorns here.
  • Price: Depending on the services, Acorns costs $1, $2 or $3 monthly.
  • Features: You link credit cards and bank accounts to the Acorns app, and it automatically invests small sums of money on occasion. You can choose from among five portfolios, each with a different risk-reward ratio.
  • Other Highlights: The platform will rebalance your portfolio as needed and reinvest your dividends. Plus, Acorns lets you turn off the automatic investing function and make manual investments if you prefer.
  • Customer Service: Acorns doesn’t employ financial advisers, but its staff will answer your questions via phone, email or live chat.
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Betterment is the elder statesman of this group of investing sites, which is saying something since Betterment is fairly new on the scene itself. The investing option isn’t as nimble as the other sites mentioned, and it charges fees that the competition doesn’t, but it also knows investing and can produce better advice and dividends than some of the new crop of investing apps. Here’s our review of Betterment.

Betterment Review

Betterment website

Betterment Review image
  • Best For: Automated Investing. Betterment is the lazy man’s best friend and is also great for anyone just starting out in investing, since it automates trading for you. All you do is fund your account and answer questions about the types of investments you want, and Betterment will do all the heavy lifting for you. You can sign up for Betterment here.
  • Price: The benefit of Betterment is there are no complicated fees, just a percentage charged depending on how much you’ve invested. It’s 0.25 percent annually, no minimum required. For the premium service you must invest at least $100,000, the fee for this is 0.40 percent annually.
  • Features: Since Betterment is an automated service, it doesn’t offer a lot of options when it comes to investing. Its main platform invests in both stock and bond ETFs to create your portfolio. You can also set up various forms of IRAs through Betterment, which will then tailor your investments based on your goals.
  • Other highlights: You can currently get a year of free management, all dependent on the amount you invest. If you invest between $15,000-$999,999 you’ll receive one month for free, If you invest, $100,000-$249,000 you’ll receive 6 months of free management, and if you invest anything over $250,000 you will get an entire year of free management. 
  • Customer Service: Since Betterment does all the heavy lifting for you, of course there are going to be questions, which Betterment is more than capable of answering. You can also get financial planning advice via Betterment.
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Public is a little more limited than many of its competitors, especially since it does not offer an automated investing portfolio option. That being said, it generally doesn’t matter when it comes to fractional shares, since you are buying partial shares in companies one at a time. This does mean that you will have to keep track of your investments instead of letting a robo-advisor have control, but if you prefer it that way, Public is a good option for you. Here is more information about how Public works.

Public Invest

Public website

Public Invest image
  • Best for: Commission-free investing.
  • Price: Public offers commission-free investing, which a lot of new investing options are offering. There are, of course, other fees that you need to watch out for, including broker-assisted phone trades at $30, domestic wire transfers at $30 and paper statements at $35.
  • Investments: If you are looking a flexible brokerage account, Public is a good option. It offers trading for stocks and ETFs, but is limited when it comes to over-the-counter trading and retirement accounts like IRAs. If you are looking for a brokerage-specific investing option though, Public is a good choice.
  • Features: Public allows you to connect with friends and thought leaders to get insights on hot companies, how people are investing and other industry news.
  • Fractional shares: Public is one of the new companies that is now offering fractional shares, which can allow you to invest for as little as $1.
  • Offers: Public is now offering a 2.5% interest on the first $10,000 in your cash account.
  • Customer service: If you need to get ahold of Public, you can contact them via email or chat on its website.
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Never invested before? Need help getting started? Stash is the perfect app for those who have never invested and are afraid to start. It’s simple. You download the app, connect it to your financial accounts, and it will sweep those accounts, rounding your purchases to the nearest dollar and using the change to fund micro-investments in your account through fractional shares. You can start an account for $5, making it one of the easiest investing options available.

Stash Investing

Stash website

Stash Investing image
  • Best for: App for beginners. If you like the idea of investing but don’t want to think about it, Stash is a good investing app option for you.
  • Price: Stash charges from $1-$9 per month to manage your account, which is a little higher than its competitor Acorns. You only need $5 to open an account, which is great for beginners who don’t have a lot of money to invest.
  • Features: A nice feature of Stash is that it collects your “spare change” from your purchases by rounding them all up to the nearest dollar and collecting the change into an account. Once that account hits $5, Stash invests that money into your investment account. It also offers a debit card that rewards you with purchases of fractional shares for your account.
  • Fractional shares: Since Stash deals in transactions that are usually quite small, most of its activity deals in fractional shares. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert, or even know what fractional shares are, to use Stash. The app does all the work for you.
  • Customer service: Stash does not offer human advisors to help you with any investing questions you may have, but it has a dedicated customer service team that you can contact via phone, email or chat.
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What Are Fractional Shares?

Fractional shares are a fraction of a share in a company or an ETF. These shares allow people to invest who may not have had enough money to invest in the past.

What Can You Do With Fractional Shares?

Fractional shares allow you to invest with smaller sums of money than traditional investing would allow. It gives people who don’t have hundreds or thousands to invest the ability to put away as low as $1 at a time. They function in a similar way to whole shares in that you can buy and sell them, but there are limitations when it comes to transferring shares, and not all share are eligible for fractional shares.

How Much Does Investing in Fractional Shares Cost?

The great thing about fractional shares is that most companies don’t charge a commission for fractional trades, which are charged on full share trading. This makes it a cost-effective way of investing for those who don’t have a lot of money.

You can also invest in fractional shares for as little as $1, which makes investing more accessible to those who may not have been able to invest in the past.

Can You Make Money With Fractional Shares?

Yes. Fractional shares work in much the same way as whole shares when it comes to making money. Dividends are paid in much the same way that whole shares are paid, and you can sell your fractional shares whenever you need to. Keep in mind that if you sell when the markets are not open, some sites may wait to sell until the markets open and will use the stock price at that time.

How Small Are the Fractional Shares?

This depends, but some investing firms will allow you to buy as low as 1/1,000,000 of a share, especially for companies whose shares are really expensive. Most companies, however, deal in thousandths or even ten-thousandths of a share.

Are Fractional Shares Available for All Stocks?

There are limitations when it comes to fractional stocks, and not all investing firms allow every stock to be split up. Stocks that are lower than $1, for example, generally aren’t eligible for fractional shares since most companies have a minimum investment of $1 for fractional shares. Some companies put limitations on stocks of companies with low market capitalization.

Bottom line: Check with the investment site about the rules before you sign up.

Who Allows Fractional Shares?

There are only a few investing firms that now allow fractional shares, although many of the larger investment firms are now starting to pick up on the trend. Here is a list of the best fractional shares investing sites that we recommend:

  • M1 Finance
  • Acorns
  • Betterment
  • Public

What Is the Minimum Amount of Share You Can Buy?

This depends on the price of the whole stock. Most fractional share investing sites will allow you to invest for as little as $1. The fraction of share that dollar will get you depends on how much the whole share stock price is. For example, if the whole share stock price is $100, a dollar will get you 1/1o0 of a share.

Can I Transfer My Shares?

No. Most investing sites will sell your fractional shares before you transfer your investments from one investing company to another. If you want to keep your fractional shares, you can do a partial asset transfer to move other investments and leave your fractional shares.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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