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How does Public make money?
How does Public make money?

We want to make sure our members fully understand, in plain terms, how our business makes money. Here’s the breakdown.

Updated over a week ago

Payment for order flow on options trades only

In 2021, we chose to stop participating in Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) on standard equities trades. Three years later, when we expanded our investment offerings to include options trading, we recognized the need to re-engage with PFOF to execute trades effectively. PFOF has some fundamental differences in the options world, and it is a far more equitable source of revenue. With that said, we also made the decision to share 50% of our PFOF revenue from options trades directly with you, the customer. Sharing our PFOF revenue makes Public the cheapest way to trade options. It also upholds our commitment to create a more transparent investing experience. When you trade options on Public, you know exactly how much we earn from each transaction—because we literally give you half of it. We continue to remain PFOF-free on the equities side of our business.

Optional Tipping

Public offers optional tipping for members who want to support our decision to reject PFOF on equity trades as a source of revenue for our business. Tipping is a transparent way for us to monetize and puts control in the hands of our members. Importantly, Tipping is completely optional; whether and how much to tip is entirely up to the member.

You can find more information on Optional Tipping on our FAQ page.

Interest on Cash Balances

If you have uninvested cash in your Public brokerage account, we may earn interest on that cash.

Transaction Fee Rebates on Cryptocurrency Transactions

When you submit an order to buy or sell cryptocurrency using the Public app, Bakkt Crypto Solutions, LLC (formerly Apex Crypto) receives and executes that order. Bakkt Crypto is Public's partner for allowing its users to buy, sell, and hold crypto. In exchange for providing cryptocurrency execution and custodying services, Bakkt Crypto charges you a transparent fee on each cryptocurrency trade, which is shown at order entry and reflected as a transaction fee in the transaction confirmation. Public receives a portion of that transaction fee in exchange for providing Bakkt Crypto the technology that allows them to conduct this business with Public members. The complete fee schedule for crypto transactions can be found here.

Alternative Asset Fees

There are a few fees in connection with Alternative Assets to help offset the costs of asset management, storage, insurance, and operations:

  1. Primary Offering Fee: Most of the proceeds raised in an Alts primary offering are used to purchase the underlying asset and for ongoing storage, insurance and maintenance costs. But a small portion – between 0 and 10 percent – of the proceeds are paid to a Public subsidiary. This fee enables our team to comprehensively analyze, source, and diligence each of our collectible assets, and pay brokerage and related fees.

  2. Secondary Trading Fees: When you trade Alts in the secondary market on Public, a 2.5% trading fee is assessed by Dalmore to each of the buyer and the seller. Dalmore is the registered broker-dealer that facilitates Alts trading at Public.

  3. Carry: In the event of an asset being sold, some assets include a small share of profits (often 10%) being retained by Public or one of its affiliates.

Instant Withdrawal Fees

If you want to withdraw funds from your Public brokerage account to your bank account via ACH, there’s no charge to you. ACH transfers sometimes take several days to complete, which is outside of our control.

If you don’t want to wait, you have the option of making an “instant withdrawal” from your brokerage account to your debit card or checking account for a fee. To learn more about the costs associated with instant withdrawals, please see our Fee Schedule.

Public Premium Subscription Fees

If you sign up for Public Premium, our upgraded membership tier, you’ll get access to proprietary research reports, advanced company data and charts, specialized Member Support, and other features unique to Premium subscribers. Members of Public Premium are charged a subscription fee every thirty days. To learn more about Public Premium subscription costs, please see our Fee Schedule.

High-Yield Cash Accounts

If you open a High-Yield Cash Account, then Public Investing makes money when the cash held in that account is deposited at one or more partner banks. Public Investing also receives a portion of the administrative fees paid to our clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation.

Pulse Partnerships

The Public Pulse service helps companies create deeper relationships with their retail investors. Under the Pulse program, Public partners with companies to share important and timely information with investors via the Public platform. You can tell when content and experiences within the Public app are sponsored by a Pulse partner from the “Presented By” tag.

Since the goal is helping companies better inform retail investors, Pulse partnerships are limited to ETF issuers and publicly traded (or soon-to-be publicly-traded) companies only. We do not work with hedge funds or third-party market makers, in line with our ongoing commitment to putting investors first.

Pulse partnerships are not investment advice and not a solicitation to make an investment; they are informational and educational opportunities for our members.

Securities Lending

Our clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation (“Apex”), operates a fully-paid securities lending program (the “Securities Lending Program”). If a member is enrolled in the Securities Lending Program, Apex can loan out whole shares in their account to investors and institutions (e.g., retail investors, banks, market makers, institutional investors). Shares loaned out by Apex are typically used by borrowers to facilitate short sales. These borrowers pay a market-driven interest rate to Apex.

Apex shares a portion of that interest revenue with both Public Investing and the member. Currently, Public members are paid 10% of the total net proceeds earned and received by Apex for lending their shares.

When a member’s shares are loaned out, they maintain full economic ownership of the securities on loan, and are able to sell the stocks at any time. That said, loaning out shares does have some disadvantages. If Apex loans out shares owned by a Public member, the member waives voting rights in the shares loaned out, may receive payments in lieu of dividends, and those shares lack SIPC protection while on loan. To make up for the loss of SIPC coverage, Apex is required by law to post collateral (in cash or cash equivalents) of greater than 100% of the value of the loaned shares at a partner bank. Finally, loaned shares may be used to facilitate short sales which could place downward pressure on the price of the securities on loan.

Please see Apex’s Fully Paid Securities Lending Disclosures for more information on the mechanics and risks of participating in the Securities Lending Program. You can also find more information on securities lending on our FAQ page.

You may opt-out of the Securities Lending Program at any time by sending an email to us at with “Securities Lending Opt-Out” in the subject.

Questions about our business (or anything else)? Send us a note at

See our Fee Schedule for more information.

All investing involves the risk of loss, including loss of principal. Brokerage services for US-listed, registered securities, options and bonds in a self-directed account are offered by Open to the Public Investing, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC. Brokerage services for alternative assets are offered by Dalmore Group, LLC, member FINRA & SIPC. Cryptocurrency trading services are offered by Bakkt Crypto Solutions, LLC (NMLS ID 1828849), which is licensed to engage in virtual currency business activity by the NYSDFS. Cryptocurrency is highly speculative, involves a high degree of risk, and has the potential for loss of the entire amount of an investment. Cryptocurrency holdings are not protected by the FDIC or SIPC. Brokerage services for treasury accounts offering 6-month T-Bills are offered by Jiko Securities, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC. Banking services are offered by Jiko Bank, a division of Mid-Central National Bank.

Securities investments: Not FDIC Insured; No Bank Guarantee; May Lose Value. ETFs, options, Bonds through Public Investing, alternative assets, cryptocurrency, and treasury services in Jiko treasury accounts are available to US members only.

See for more information.

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