Are all investing apps the same? - Choosing an investing app that’s right for you

It’s never been easier to invest. Thanks to investing apps on smartphones, you can buy and sell investments and check on your investment portfolio almost anytime, anywhere. The ease of access to investing markets has also led to several different investing apps flooding the app market as well. Not all investing apps are created equal, and some may not even be safe to use. If you’re looking for a new investing app here are a few things to consider.

  1. Is your chosen investment app registered?

To legally offer trading and investment advising services in securities, investment apps, just like investment advisers and firms, must be registered. Just because an investment app is available in the Apple Store or the Google Play Store does not guarantee that it is registered with securities regulators.

Checking registration is very simple. Just go to the CSA National Registration Search. To become registered there are specific requirements an investment platform must meet and they must continually comply with securities laws. Unregistered apps have no requirements to operate and may not offer the typical investor protections that a registered app must have in place.

If you’re investing in crypto assets using an investment app you should know that crypto asset trading apps are also required to be registered to legally operate in Canada. You can find an up-to-date list of registered crypto trading platforms on our website.

  1. Avoid red flags of fraudulent investment apps

When was the last time you looked for a specific app and simply downloaded and installed on your phone without even thinking about it? Apps are so easy to find and download that most people don’t even pay attention to what they’re doing when putting them on their phones.

Fraudsters are taking advantage of our lack of attention and the growing number of apps out there by creating spoofed websites that include download links and spoofed apps that imitate legitimate investing apps. This is becoming especially common in the crypto asset app investment space. When downloading and installing an investment app there are a few red flags you can watchout for to identify these spoofed fraudulent apps.

Avoid unsolicited offers to download investment apps from anyone you meet online or receive through email, forums, Reddit, or social media. This especially applies to any new ‘friends” or love interests you meet online and have not met in person.

Check and double-check that the investment app you plan to download is the one offered by your preferred registered financial institution or firm. You may also want to check that the financial offers an app. Fraudsters often try to spoof these legitimate apps.

 Investment apps with bugs, glitches, typos, or grammatical errors in text, and strange in-app requests like phone authorization requests or wire transfers are highly suspect.

Check online reviews of any investment app you are interested in to see if anyone has been scammed using it and for other useful info that may help you determine if it’s right for you. You can also find information about scams and fraud from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

  1. Fees, services and features

As we said before, not all investment apps are created equal and that includes their fees, services, and features. Fees can vary considerably between different investment apps. That can include fees or commissions for trading, currency conversions, and account management. Ensure you know what the fees are and that you are comfortable with them before opening any accounts.

Services offered by investment apps can also vary. Is there a specific alternative investment product you’re interested in investing in? Make sure the app you’ve chosen offers it before opening an account or you could be disappointed. Services like margin, investment products, and trading options are things to research before downloading an investment app.

Lastly, don’t forget about features. Are you interested in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)? Not all investment apps offer DRIPs, and some may offer them differently. What about research tools or other helpful features to help you make more informed investment decisions? Again, not all apps offer the same tools to help with your investing decisions.