How to Start Trading Stocks for Free (and With No Minimum Balance Requirement)

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We all have that friend. The one who’s constantly checking the stock market like it’s a game and mumbling things like, “Ugh, I should’ve traded that yesterday!” You roll your eyes, but you also wonder: What am I missing out on?

Many financial experts encourage young people to invest in the stock market. Sure, it comes with risk, but it could pay out long term.

The only thing is… where do you start?

Lord knows you don’t want to ask that friend. Instead, you can start with as little as $ 1 and open fee-free account with SoFi Active Investing.

Investing for Beginners: Don’t Pay to Play

SoFi Active Investing leans into a “learn by doing” approach. That means you can experiment with buying and trading stocks — no fees and no account minimums attached.

If you buy something and immediately regret it? You can trade it seconds later. No penalty. (Honestly, it’s perfect for those of us with commitment issues.)

But maybe you have questions before you get to the whole buying and trading part… Take all the time you need to explore stocks through your SoFi dashboard.

For example, maybe you’ve heard everyone abuzz about Roku stock. Search for it on your dashboard, and you’ll see that SoFi has outlined the stock’s market price, its performance history and even recent company news hits — everything you need to know to make an informed decision is right there.

Pro tip: Add stocks you’re interested in to your SoFi watchlist. There, you can monitor their daily performances. Like what you’re seeing? Make a move as soon as you’re ready to buy.

If you want some human input? Reach out to a SoFi financial adviser for free via phone, email or chat at any time.

How to Open a Fee-Free Investing Account

Are you ready to give this whole investing thing a try?

Here’s how to start:

  1. Sign up here by clicking “Invest Now.”
  2. Connect your bank account. This will fund your investments. (There are bank-level layers of security, and SoFi won’t store your info, so you’re safe!)
  3. Ready to go? Click “Add Buying Power” to deposit money into your SoFi Active Investing account. Choose a one-time transfer or set up recurring monthly transfers. It’ll take up to four business days for this money to land in your SoFi account.

From there, invest the money from your SoFi account into stocks of your choice.

Don’t feel like you’re marrying these stocks. You can buy and trade fee-free at any time the market’s open, but remember: Some of the smartest investors suggest riding out the market’s ups and downs long term for the greatest gains.

Oh, and if you want to really get serious? Download the SoFi app. Then, when that friend starts talking about stocks, you can add your two cents.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her boyfriend inspired the character of that friend in this article.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder

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Sam's Club Membership Offer

SEC Suspends Trading In Oklahoma-based Bitcoin Miner’s Shares

The U.S. Securities watchdog has suspended trading of shares in Oklahoma-based cryptocurrency exchange and mining firm Bitcoin Generation (BTGN).

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it took the action due to concerns about the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace about BTGN’s public statements regarding the viability and valuation of a bond that it purportedl
RTT – Top Story

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Major Averages Turning In Mixed Performance In Mid-Day Trading – U.S. Commentary

Stocks have seen considerable volatility over the course of the trading session on Thursday as traders digest the latest batch of earnings news from big-name companies. The major averages have spent the day showing wild swings back and forth.
RTT – Top Story

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Dow Lingering Near Unchanged Line In Mid-Day Trading – U.S. Commentary

With many traders sitting on the sidelines, stocks continue to turn in a relatively lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Wednesday. The Dow has been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line, although the broader Nasdaq and S&P 500 remain in positive territory.
RTT – Top Story

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Major Averages Close Mixed Following Choppy Trading Day – U.S. Commentary

Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Tuesday following the strong upward move seen in the previous session. While the Dow remained in negative territory, the broader Nasdaq and the S&P 500 spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
RTT – Top Story

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The Ledger: ‘ICO’ Settlement Learnings, Apple Card, Bitcoin Trading Faked

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been cutting deals in recent months with cryptocurrency projects it has deemed to be in violation of the so-called Howey test, a rule-of-thumb for determining whether an asset qualifies as a security and, therefore, must be registered with the agency. I spoke with some of the entrepreneurs who ran afoul of the commission to learn what they might have done differently and where they believe the industry is headed.

Victor Santos, CEO of Airfox, a peer-to-peer lender that raised $ 15 million in a 2017 “initial coin offering,” or ICO, expressed regrets about his company’s fundraising on a call with Fortune. As part of an agreement reached with the SEC in the fall, Airfox agreed to pay the agency a penalty of $ 250,000, to offer investors a refund of their money plus interest, and to file regular, audited financial statements moving forward, turning the startup into something of a quasi-public company. “What we’re hoping for is by us being compliant,” Santos says, “we’ll be ready when new regulation comes out.”

Santos is hoping his interaction with regulators will “open up the mind of the SEC to create new types of frameworks, like Switzerland has done,” he tells me. Particularly, he would like U.S. regulators to recognize different classes of crypto assets, such as “payment,” “utility,” and “asset” tokens, that fall under different legal regimes, some outside the traditional classification of securities. (For comparison, see this legal brief on the Swiss state of affairs out of PricewaterhouseCooper.) Whichever way the chips fall, Santos says he felt that working with the SEC would be a better bet for his company in the long term than fighting it.

“The golden days of crypto, with free-flowing capital everywhere, without know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering [compliance] anywhere–that’s not gonna last,” Santos says. His advice to peers: “Outside of moving to Switzerland,” he says, “you have to register with the SEC.”

Another cryptocurrency project, Gladius, which raised just under $ 13 million in a 2017 ICO to build a decentralized content distribution network, also recently settled with the SEC. The outcome was similar to Airfox’s, except Gladius dodged having to pay a financial penalty to the commission. The SEC let the company off the hook with a lesser punishment because Gladius was the first cryptocurrency business to self-report its violation to the agency in the fall–a move that 20-year-old CEO Max Niebylski described on a call with Fortune as “jumping into the jaws of the beast and making it to other side.”

Now Niebylski says he is offering input to the SEC on ways the commission might update its regulations. One area Niebylski deems to be “grossly outdated,” he says, is a stipulation requiring companies to be able to reissue securities. This condition is, typically, not a problem in a world that transacts in classic equity shares. But as any cryptocurrency enthusiast will tell you, blockchain-land is incompatibly quirky. Investors who lose the private keys to their digital wallets have little recourse to recover their precious cryptocurrency. Once tokens are gone, they’re gone.

It remains to be seen how U.S. regulators will ultimately come to grips with the cryptocurrency question. The Brookings Institute’s Timothy Massad, former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is calling on the SEC to take the lead as the industry’s main watchdog. Meanwhile, Ted Livingston, CEO of the Tencent-backed chat app Kik, has pledged to fight an expected SEC enforcement action relating to his startup’s 2017 token sales. The courts may have the final say.

Amid all the uncertainty, at least one thing remains clear: the SEC is willing to forgive the sins of transgressors, at least in part, as the Gladius case shows, as long as they come clean. Regulators have kicked the log, in the other words, and now we must to see what creepy-crawlers slither out from underneath.

GOT TIPS?

Send feedback and tips to ledger@fortune.com, find us on Twitter @FortuneLedger or email/DM me directly at the contact info below. Please tell your friends to subscribe.

Robert Hackett
@rhhackett
robert.hackett@fortune.com

DECENTRALIZED NEWS

To the Moon… Apple debuts credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard. Square wants to pay Bitcoin developers in Bitcoin. Banks should warm up to fintech startups. ICE’s Bakkt, which has yet to launch, is valued at more than $ 700 million.

…Rekt. Bitcoin is in the dumps. Most of the trading is fake, anyway. U.S. budget deficit is out of control. Ex-Enron CEO is exploring blockchain. Mexico considers banning crypto exchanges. Facebook failed to protect people’s passwords. Recession watch: the yield curve inverted.

BALANCING THE LEDGER

Bermudian Premier David Burt dropped by Fortune’s offices to share his plans for stimulating the island’s economy on the latest episode of Balancing The Ledger. He discussed cryptocurrency regulations, taxi-hailing apps, and Canada’s disastrous QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange.

BUBBLE-O-METER

Fake it till you make it. The overwhelming majority of spot Bitcoin trading on unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges is fake, claims a lengthy report out of Bitwise, an asset manager vying to list the world’s first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, or ETF. Out of aggregated $ 6 billion in average daily Bitcoin trading volume reported by the top 81 exchanges on CoinMarketCap.com, a popular industry tracker, only about 5% is real, says Bitwise. That’s a mere $ 273 million.

FOMO NO MO'

Golden goose. Facebook is reportedly planning to launch a price-fixed “stablecoin” backed by a basket of global currencies. Ted Livingston, CEO and cofounder of the Tencent-backed chat app Kik, believes that the company’s ultimate ambition is to dethrone the U.S. dollar as the world’s global reserve currency. While that might sound extreme–especially given that Facebook hasn’t even debuted its product yet–Livingston details the path by which this might be achieved in a post on Medium.

Not that long ago the world’s reserve currency was gold, where the value of a dollar was pegged to the value of gold. But then one day the US decided to unpeg the dollar from gold, paving the way for the dollar to replace gold as the world’s reserve currency. So here is my question: what will stop Facebook from doing the same?

We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Ledger. Find past editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here. Question, suggestion, or feedback? Drop us a line.

Fortune

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Major Averages Turning In Mixed Performance In Mid-Day Trading – U.S. Commentary

Stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Tuesday, although a steep drop by Boeing (BA) has contributed to a pullback by the Dow. The broader Nasdaq and S&P 500 are holding on to notable gains on the day.
RTT – Top Story

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Major Averages Just Below Unchanged Line In Mid-Day Trading – U.S. Commentary

Stocks have fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Thursday but have largely maintained a slightly negative bias. The choppy trading on the day extends the lackluster performance seen over the two previous sessions.
RTT – Top Story

SPECIAL NEWS UPDATE:

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Stocks Turning In Lackluster Performance In Mid-Day Trading – U.S. Commentary

After an initial move to the downside, stocks have turned in a relatively lackluster performance over the course of the trading day on Thursday. While the Dow and the S&P 500 remain in the red, the Nasdaq has been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
RTT – Top Story

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Major Averages Turning In Mixed Performance In Morning Trading – U.S. Commentary

Following the significant weakness seen in the previous session, stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in morning trading on Tuesday. The Dow and the Nasdaq have moved in opposite directions, while the S&P 500 is bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
RTT – Top Story

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Stocks Move Higher In Morning Trading, Nasdaq Outperforms – U.S. Commentary

After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have all climbed into positive territory, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a notable advance.
RTT – Top Story

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Stocks Showing A Lack Of Direction In Morning Trading – U.S. Commentary

After initially moving to the downside, stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages climbed off their lows of the session but have recently been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
RTT – Top Story

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Stocks Extending Recent Upward Trend In Morning Trading – U.S. Commentary

Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Wednesday, extending the strong upward move seen over the course of the three previous sessions. The major averages continue to recover after tumbling to their lowest closing levels in well over a year on Christmas Eve.
RTT – Top Story

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Asian Markets Lower On First Trading Day Of 2019

Asian stock markets are in negative territory on Wednesday, the first trading day of 2019, in the absence of fresh cues overnight from Wall Street, which was closed for the New Year’s Day holiday. Worries about global economic growth dampened investor sentiment after results of a private survey showed that China’s manufacturing activity in December contracted for the first time in 19 months.
RTT – Top Story

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Associated British Foods Affirms Outlook; 8-week Trading In Line With Guidance

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of Associated British Foods plc (ASBFY.PK, ABF.L), the Chairman Michael McLintock said the Group still expects adjusted earnings per share for the financial year to be in line with the 2018 financial year. He reiterated the Group outlook statement for the current financial year that was included in the annual report.
RTT – Earnings

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Stocks Climb Firmly Into Positive Territory In Morning Trading – U.S. Commentary

After ending yesterday’s volatile session modestly higher, stocks are seeing further upside in morning trading on Wednesday. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory, continuing to recover from Monday’s sell-off.
RTT – Top Story

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Major Averages Posting Modest Losses In Afternoon Trading – U.S. Commentary

Stocks have fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Tuesday but largely maintained a negative bias following an initial move to the downside. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
RTT – Top Story

SPECIAL NEWS UPDATE:

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Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Stocks Remain Mostly Positive In Mid-Day Trading – U.S. Commentary

After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Wednesday. The major averages are bounding following a recent sell-off, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq bouncing off its lowest closing level in over seven months.
RTT – Top Story

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Cannabis company’s stock wasn’t so high on first trading day

Acreage Holdings, the cannabis company that touts ex-House Speaker John Boehner as a high-profile board member, didn’t fire up on its first day of trading. In fact, the pot company’s first day of trading in Canada, where marijuana-equity speculating is becoming a popular sport, was decidedly meh. Acreage shares added 2.5 percent on its debut,…
Business | New York Post

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