On Public.com, members can build a diverse portfolio of stocks, ETFs, crypto, and alternative assets like art, collectibles, real estate, and more—all within a single platform.In addition to being an all-in-one platform, Public gives you all the insights you need to make informed investment decisions. This includes access to advanced data, custom company metrics, and expert analyst insights through their Public Premium membership. You also have access to an interactive community filled with millions of investors, creators and analysts.
Public has set out to align their business model with their members’ best interests. This includes not participating in payment for order flow (PFOF)—which means they don’t sell your trades to money makers.
How you make money
Public members can upgrade their membership tier to Public Premium and access advanced data, portfolio management tools, and analyst insights. As a Public Premium member, you get unique data on all the assets you care about.
You can organize the assets in your portfolio into custom groups. Then, compare each group's performance side by side, access extended-hours trading—which puts an additional 5 hours trading time in their day (8 AM–8 PM ET)* (Footnote: Review our Extended Hours Risk Disclosure.), and can also set price alerts for your assets.
How Public makes money
As of Feb. 16, 2021, Public is officially PFOF-free and will no longer have order flow as a revenue generator for their business. They are committing to this to better align their financial goals with the best interests of their growing community of investors.
As a replacement for revenue they would otherwise generate via payment for order flow and to compensate for the additional costs of routing to exchanges, they have introduced an optional tipping feature for customers to use when they make a trade. Their clearing firm, Apex, is able to lend shares to investors and institutions that need or want to borrow them. Those parties (e.g., retail investors, banks, market makers, institutional investors) pay a market-driven interest rate for borrowing the shares and may use the borrowed stock to provide liquidity, hedge a position, arbitrage an opportunity, create a structured product, or bet against the price of the stock. Apex then provides Public a portion of the interest they receive as a rebate against their clearing and custody fees.
Is it safe?
Public has aligned its business model with its customers’ best interests from day one. The company maintains an ongoing commitment to put investors first.
Payment for order flow
Many broker-dealers sell your trades to market makers or third parties in a process called payment for order flow (PFOF). Public is officially PFOF-free, which means there is no conflict of interest in their business model. The company’s only customers are Public members.
A transparent business model
One of the reasons why Public believes PFOF is problematic is that it is a non-transparent source of revenue. To help earn your trust as a customer, Public is very open about how they earn money—even dedicating a portion of their website to the topic.
The Better Business Bureau gives Public an A rating. These ratings generally reflect the bureau's opinion of how well a company interacts with its customers. As for Public's record, it hasn't racked up any major lawsuits over the past few years. Its BBB profile shows that it has closed 28 complaints in the past 12 months.
Security is their top priority, which is why, at Public they employ Bank-Grade security with AES 256-bit encryption at rest and TLS 1.2 (or newer) to secure data in transit.. Their registered broker dealer, Open to the Public Investing, Inc. is a member of SIPC so all brokerage account qualify for protection on up to $500,000 on securities held in a brokerage account (Footnote: Alternative Assets and Cryptocurrencies are not held in a brokerage account and are not covered by SIPC). Public is no longer receives revenue from Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) in order to better align their financial goals with the best interests of their growing community of investors.