What You Need to Know About Investing in Fractional Shares
putting a slice of a pie on a plate

Fractional Share Investing: Where to Buy and What to Know

Since my friends and family are well aware that I write about personal finance for a living, every once in a while they’ll ask me about some money-related topics. Sometimes they’re looking for a credit card or budget app recommendation or perhaps they have a question about banking account interest rates. Well, recently, a friend of mine asked for info on fractional share investing.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it makes sense that not everyone would know about fractional stock shares. After all, while the concept has been growing in popularity to the point where it feels ubiquitous to me, those who aren’t using any of the apps that offer it could certainly overlook it altogether.

So, what is fractional share investing and how does it work? Let’s take a look at some of the basic as well as some of the platforms that currently support this option.

What to Know About Fractional Shares

stacks of coins growing

What is fractional share investing?

Put simply, with fractional investing, you’re able to purchase less than one share of a given stock or ETF. In turn, you’re able to state how much you want to spend on a given asset rather than entering how many shares you want to buy.

This is key as the price-per-share for stocks and ETFs can vary wildly. For example, as of this writing, a share of Amazon ($AMZN) is currently around $180, a share of Sirius XM ($SIRI) is just under $3, one share of Macy’s ($M) is roughly $20, and a single share of Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock ($BRK-A) is a mere $609,000 (although the Class B is a more reasonable $400 or so). But, if you can’t afford to purchase a full share of, say, Amazon right now, you could purchase $20 worth and own one-ninth of a share.

While it may already be pretty obvious why this would be advantageous, let’s get into some of the other benefits, as well as a few potential drawbacks.

Dollar-cost averaging

One great aspect of fractional investing is that it makes it easy to engage in what’s called dollar cost averaging — but at a customized, affordable level. You’re probably aware that the grand goal of investing is to buy low and sell high. Of course, timing the market is nearly impossible and really shouldn’t be attempted (unless you’re a professional with lots of money to risk). Instead, the idea behind dollar cost averaging is that you continue to invest the same amount on a regular basis regardless of what is happening in the market or with a certain stock/ETF at a given time.

For example, perhaps you want to start investing broadly in the market but want to do so slowly. In this case, you might consider buying $10 of something like $VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund ETF) on a weekly basis or maybe $100 a month. You would do this in spite of any headlines you might see about record highs or plunging lows. That way, you’d continue to grow your portfolio without worrying about timing the market.

As you can see, this strategy lends itself perfectly to fractional investing as you can remain completely agnostic to what the price of a full share might be. Furthermore, with this in mind, several brokerages and apps now allow users to set up recurring investments of this nature. Personally, I see this as a great way to get started with investing and building up your portfolio little by little.

DRIP

Another benefit of fractional investing is that it makes it easy to activate DRIP. What is DRIP? It stands for a dividend reinvestment plan (yeah, they use the R and I from “reinvestment” even though it’s technically only one word).

Even as a fractional shareholder, you can still earn dividends on certain stocks and ETFs that pay them out. In turn, in the case of many platforms, you can opt to automatically take these dividends and use them to buy more of the same stock. Alternatively, you can just let your dividends accrue and use them to buy later — but I personally prefer a DRIP setup.

Voting rights

Did you know that, even as a fractional shareholder, you may still be able to vote on company matters? In most cases, your brokerage or a third party they work with will send you an online questionnaire, allowing you to vote on board member appointments, shareholder proposals, and more.

Of course, since these votes are counted by the number of shares you own, the input of fractional shareholders will be extremely minimal. Still, I think going through the process of voting is a great opportunity to see how these public companies work. Moreover, if you happen to have a chance to listen to earnings calls or virtually attend a shareholder’s meeting, these can be eye-opening experiences as well.

24 Hour Market

Market hours

Although the major exchanges in the United States are only open for a few hours each day, trading opportunities have expanded over the years. In fact, now, Robinhood and some others even support 24-Hour Market trading on certain stocks and ETFs. However, the catch here is that, during these off hours, investors may only be able to trade full shares of stock — AKA, not fractional shares. Honestly, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue, but it is worth noting nonetheless.

Transfers

Lastly, should you decide to move from one brokerage account to another, you may want to do some research ahead of time and see what asset types are transferable. That’s because not all brokerages support the transfer of fractional shares. If they don’t, you may need to liquidate this portion of your portfolio before transferring or elect to do a partial transfer and leave your fractional shares in your previous account. While this might not apply to many, it is something to consider if the situation does arise.

Platforms That Offer Fractional Share Investing

Now that you have a better idea of what fractional investing is and how it works, let’s take a look at some of the brokerage apps and platforms that offer it.

Robinhood

Truth be told, for all of the ups and downs that Robinhood has endured over the years, the app remains my favorite brokerage overall. To me, the ease of use and design remain unrivaled. Plus, they were one of the first to introduce fractional shares (at least one of the first that I noticed).

These days, fractional shares are so engrained in the DNA of Robinhood for me that I don’t really remember a time when they didn’t offer them. Thus, when I think of fractional investing, they are always the first one that comes to mind. Of course, I understand that the app isn’t for everyone given their past missteps — so, if that’s you, let’s move along with our list of alternatives.

slices of pie

SoFi Invest

Another fractional investing early adopter is SoFi Invest. Despite that, it seems that the platform now requires fractional share purchases to be at least $5. That’s not exactly a deal-breaker, but it is interesting considering that so many other platforms allow trades of just $1.

Nevertheless, I do enjoy the SoFi Invest platform overall.

Cash App

One of the more surprising places where you can purchase fractional shares of stock is within the Cash App. That’s right — the popular peer-to-peer payment app also supports investing. Once you opt into this feature, you’ll be able to buy and sell various assets in nearly any denomination. What’s more, you can even gift fractional shares to a friend or loved one using the platform.

All things considered, Cash App might not be the most in-depth investing tool on the market — but this feature is easy to use and the gifting element does make it unique in my eyes.

Public

Public is another brokerage app that I’ve had for a long time… that I admittedly don’t use as much as some of the others. As I discovered, they too have a $5 minimum on fractional shares, which is a bit disappointing. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to love about the app, though — and, indeed, Public has become a favorite for many retail investors. In other words, don’t let that slightly higher minimum scare you away.

Schwab Starter Kit

Charles Schwab

Up until this point, we’ve mostly talked about FinTech platforms. But, there are even some more traditional brokerages that have since joined the fractional shares game. Among them is Charles Schwab, which brands its fractional shares as Stock Slices.

Schwab actually has a pretty great offer that highlights its Stock Slices and is aimed at beginning investors. Dubbed their Schwab Starter Kit, this deal allows new customers to earn $101 worth of stock when they open an account and deposit at least $50 within their first 90 days. This $101 in stock will be divided across the top five stocks (as determined by market cap) in the S&P 500. When I took advantage of this offer back in 2022, the five featured stocks were Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, Alphabet, and Apple. However, as of this article’s publication date, Alphabet and Tesla have been swapped for Meta and Nvidia.

In any case, I’m happy to see that this deal is still going as I think it’s a great way for newbies to score some free stock.

Wells Fargo

Incidentally, when my friend asked me about fractional investing in the first place, it was because of an email he received from Wells Fargo. It was then that I learned Wells Fargo has a fractional investing platform — aptly called Stock Fractions. Honestly, I don’t know much about the Wells Fargo Advisors platform, but you can find out more for yourself on their site.

Grifin

Finally, we come to an app I just downloaded last week (and will review soon): Grifin. The idea of this app is that you can link your credit/debit cards, see what companies that you buy from have stock, and then invest as little as $1 toward buying said stock. This app also helps you make a habit of buying fractional shares on a weekly basis — so a super-simple and low-stakes dollar cost averaging routine.

As I said, I’ve just started using Grifin so I can’t speak too much to the platform just yet. But, if that concept sounds appealing, it may be worth a look.


In my opinion, fractional investing has been a gamechanger for the retail investor market. While companies may have previously felt the need to do stock splits in order to keep their shares affordable, these days, such tactics are largely moot. Instead, beginning and even more advanced traders can choose exactly how much they want to invest in a given stock or ETF. So, if you’re been thinking about getting started with investing but were intimidated by some of the share prices you were seeing, I’d recommend giving one of the above brokerage apps a try and seeing how fractional investing and dollar-cost averaging can help you start to build up your own portfolio.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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