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We Don’t Accept Payment for Order Flow

Over the past thirty years, investing has become much more accessible thanks to the advent of zero-commission trading. Many retail brokers, including Public, don’t charge commissions to place your trades.*

Without commissions, most other retail brokers now rely on Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) to make money. PFOF is a much-debated practice where brokerages send their members’ trades to market makers for execution in exchange for rebates from those market makers. PFOF is problematic because it is non-transparent and also creates a conflict of interest; the brokerage is paid to send trades to market makers, but those market makers may not offer the best prices for the member.

As of Feb. 16, 2021, Public is officially PFOF-free. In the interest of aligning our business model with the best interests of our growing community of investors, we no longer accept PFOF.

Read more: Aligning with our community →

Optional Tipping

Public offers optional tipping for members who want to support our decision to reject PFOF 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.

Securities Lending

Our clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation, operates its Fully Paid Securities Lending Program. If a member of Public is enrolled in the program, Apex can loan out their shares to other investors and institutions (e.g., retail investors, banks, market makers, institutional investors). Those borrowers pay a market-driven interest rate to Apex. Apex then provides us with a portion of the interest they receive as a rebate against our clearing and custody fees. Members do not receive any portion of the interest. Shares loaned out by Apex are typically used to facilitate short sales.

Importantly you are always able to sell your shares and you keep all gains or losses with respect to your shares, whether or not they are loaned. That said, loaning out shares does affect you in some ways. If Apex loans out shares owned by a Public member, the lending member waives voting rights in the shares loaned out, may receive payments in lieu of dividends, and those shares may not be covered by SIPC protection while on loan. Finally, shares borrowed from you may be used to facilitate short selling which could contribute to lowering 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 Apex Fully Paid Securities Lending Program. You can also find more information on Securities Lending on our FAQ page.

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

Interest on Cash Balances

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

Markups on Cryptocurrency Transactions

When you submit an order to buy or sell cryptocurrency using the Public app, that order is passed to Apex Crypto for execution. Apex Crypto buys, holds, and sells your crypto. In exchange for providing cryptocurrency execution and custodying services, Apex Crypto charges you a 1% to 2% markup on each cryptocurrency trade, which is reflected in the price at which Apex Crypto executes your order to buy or sell cryptocurrency. Public receives a portion of that markup.

Here’s how it works:

  • Let’s assume the current market price for a cryptocurrency is $100.

  • You purchase $100 worth of that asset.

  • Applying a 1% markup, Apex Crypto executes your order at a price of $101.

  • You will own slightly less than 1 full portion, given the markup.

Alternative Asset Fees

Public charges a few fees in connection with Alternative Assets to help offset the costs of asset management, storage, insurance, and our 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 do 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, we may take a 10% fee on any profits.

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 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.

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.

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

* Zero-commission” or “commission-free” means $0 commission for Open to the Public Investing, Inc. self-directed individual brokerage accounts that trade U.S. listed securities via mobile device. Other fees may apply. See our Fee Schedule for more information.

Brokerage services for US-listed, registered securities available on Public are offered by Open to the Public Investing, Inc., member of FINRA & SIPC, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Public Holdings, Inc. Brokerage services for alternative assets available on the Public platform are offered by Dalmore Group, LLC, member of FINRA & SIPC. “Alternative Assets,” as the term is used at Public, are over-the-counter equity securities that have been issued pursuant to Regulation A of the Securities Act of 1933 (as amended). Dalmore Group, LLC and Open to the Public Investing, Inc. are not affiliated entities.

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