ShareBuilder iPhone App

Updated Monday, January 30, 2012

ShareBuilder iPhone App Grade: B

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Note: This iPhone App was tested on the iPhone 4


ShareBuilder's iPhone App has continued to improve since its initial release due to a series of software updates. Version 2.0.1 introduced improvements throughout the app, including updated accounts pages, charts and a new rotatable menu which greatly adds to overall app usability.  Viewing detailed current account information and transferring funds both function as expected.  News articles are available but additional media sources would be welcome.  Retrieving stock quotes, creating watch lists and pulling up charts is well done.  The stock trading platform could be improved with an easier way to close out existing positions.  Options trading was added in version 2.5.  Thanks to the continuous improvements, the ShareBuilder iPhone App is now one of the top mobile trading platforms.

App Store Facts:


Upon opening the ShareBuilder iPhone App, users have the ability to access general menus without logging in while account specific features require user name and password entry.  User names can be stored but passwords need to be entered.  Sessions are saved when closing the app for a short period of time so if users need to switch to another app and then back to ShareBuilder then logging in is not required.

General Usability
In early versions of the ShareBuilder iPhone App we experienced several usability issues, including sluggish performance, problems selecting certain menu items and problems with the app recognizing when to switch into horizontal mode.  Thankfully all of these issues seem to have been fixed with the recent app revisions.  Great job ShareBuilder!

Menu Structure
Navigation of the app is made possible via the lower menu bar and the additional menu that loads from the bottom right corner.  This additional menu rotates by dragging across the iPhone touchscreen.  Very cool design (click on images for larger views):

Below is a breakdown of some of the major app features.

The Accounts menu contains separate tabs that show an account summary, a list of positions and account balances.  Here is a look at the balances page for our account:

Transfer Money
The Transfer Money feature allows users to deposit or withdrawal money or check on the status of recently requested transfers.  This is a nice feature to have built right into the app and is surprisingly missing from many other broker apps.

The markets menu features quotes for the major indexes, a list of the biggest gainers / losers and general market news provided by MarketWatch.  The Market Movers menu can be filtered for top gainers / top losers / most active for stocks that trade on the NYSE / NASDAQ / AMEX.  Here is a view of the top gainers on the NYSE:

The Quotes menu contains separate pages for stock quotes, charts and news.  Stock quote pages contain all of the basics that one would expect, including last price, daily change, volume and 52 week high / low prices.  Stocks can be added to watchlists or traded from this menu as well.

Charts can be viewed for time frames of 1d, 5d, 1m, 6m, 1y, 5y and 10y. Turning the iPhone in horizontal mode reveals expanded charts. Here is a one year chart of Google (GOOG) in horizontal mode:

Just like the market news section, company specific news is again provided by MarketWatch.

Watch List
Watch lists are user customizable lists of securities, their last price and their price change during the current day. Selecting any security from within a watch list brings up the quotes menu for that security. Here is a watch list that we created with some popular technology companies:

Stock Trading
Stock trading is accessible via the main trading menu.  Order types available are market, limit, stop limit and market on close, which is the same as the full web based trading platform.  Most brokers offer at least a few advanced order types, such as stop loss and trailing orders, so ShareBuilder is lacking in this area.

We selected to buy 5 shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) at a limit price of $83.00 and an order expiration of Good Until Cancelled (GTC).  GTC orders are maintained in the ShareBuilder system for up to 60 days until they either execute or are purged.  When we were satisfied with our choices we selected the Review Order button:

Upon submitting our order, we received the following warning message:

The warning message is annoying but did not prevent our trade from being submitted and executed.  Once our order was submitted we checked the status from the order status menu.  Open orders can be canceled, which works as expected, but they cannot be modified.

Once our order executed, our new stock holding appeared in the Positions menu.  Curiously enough, positions cannot be closed out from within this menu.  To close out an open position, users have to go to the trade ticket and manually enter all of their trade information, including the stock symbol and number of shares.  This is less than ideal.

Options Trading
To trade options, we selected Trade from the bottom app menu then select Options from the drop down menu. Next, we changed the action to Buy to Open, entered the symbol for Pfizer (PFE) and selected the Get Option button. This loaded a new menu with drop down boxes to select call or put, expiration date and strike price. We would prefer to have options chains that display bid / ask prices and open interest figures. Once we found the proper contract we were brought back to the trade ticket menu with the symbol populated. From there we typed in the number of contracts, changed the order type to limit and typed a limit price, changed the expiration to good until canceled (GTC) and then selected the Review Order button:

Once our order was submitted we checked the status from the order status menu. As with stock trading, open option orders can be canceled but they cannot be modified.

Once our order executed our new option holding appeared in the Positions menu. As with stock trading, option positions cannot be closed out from within this menu. To close out open positions, users have to go to the trade ticket and manually enter all of the trade information, which includes the selection of the contract. This is less than ideal.

Related Articles:
ShareBuilder Review
ShareBuilder Stock Trading
ShareBuilder Options Trading
ShareBuilder Charts
ShareBuilder Research Tools
ShareBuilder Android App