Public is on a mission to accelerate all people’s prosperity. We do this by making it possible to own the companies you believe in, with any amount of money — commission-free.
As a commission-free stock brokerage, we are often asked, “How do you make money?” We believe transparency is an important pillar of building trust, so here we go.
This is how we make money.
New: Optional Tipping
Without commission fees, brokerages lean on other forms of revenue to sustain and grow their businesses, including Payment for Order Flow (PFOF), a much-debated practice in which a brokerage firm receives rebates on trades routed through its clearing firm.
The main criticism of PFOF is that it creates misalignment between the financial aims of the brokerage and the interests of its clients. As of Feb. 1, 2021, Public is moving away from PFOF as a revenue generator for our business. We are committing to this to better align our financial goals with the best interests of our growing community of investors.
As a replacement for revenue we would otherwise generate via payment for order flow and to compensate for the additional costs of routing to exchanges, we will soon be introducing an optional tipping feature for customers to use when they make a trade. Members can choose to add a tip to their trade to support our commitment to not participating in payment for order flow.
Importantly, members can choose to execute their trades without commission fees or tipping if they so choose. You can find more information on our FAQ page.
Our 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 us a portion of the interest they receive as a rebate against our clearing and custody fees.
Importantly, this solution does not impact your investment experience, meaning you continue to have the same investment exposure and are always able to sell their shares. You can find more about this at Public.com/disclosures/.
If our members would like to opt out of this program, we allow them to do so at any time by contacting our support team.
Interest on Cash Balances
We earn interest on uninvested cash balances. The current interest rate as set by the Federal Reserve is 0.2%.
Currently, we don’t have any paid-for premium features, but as we develop the platform we intend to introduce new products for which we might charge a subscription fee.
If you ever have questions, the team is always here for you, so feel free to give us a shout on the app’s Live Chat or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org! 😁