Public Stock Brokerage App: Up to $10,000 ACAT Transfer Bonus ($500 for $25k, $2,000 For $100k)

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Public is a stock brokerage app that has a similar user interface to Robinhood, but has a big focus on the social aspect of sharing your trades and following the stock trades of other users (thus the name). $0 stock commissions, no account minimums, Android or iOS app-only (no desktop). Interestingly, Public no longer accepts Payment for Order Flow (PFOF). Right now, they are offering up to a $10,000 cash bonus to gather more assets via ACAT transfers, depending the value of assets that you move over. Found via DoC.

  • $150 with $5,000 – $24,999 in transferred assets
  • $500 with $25,000 – $99,999 in qualifying new money
  • $2,000 with $100,000 – $499,999 in qualifying new money
  • $5,000 with $500,000 – $999,999 in qualifying new money
  • $10,000 with $1,000,000+ in qualifying new money

$500/$2,000 is 2% of $25,000/$100,000, and $10,000 is 1% of $1,000,000. As a percentage of assets transferred, these are relatively high bonus amounts at those asset levels. The minimum holding period is 6 months, per their terms:

*Cash bonus will be applied to qualifying accounts one (1) month after the transfer initiation date. Transferred funds must stay in your Public account for at least 6 months or bonus will be revoked.

As with all similar ACAT transfer offers, you can transfer over your existing stock holdings and the cost basis should also transfer over with no tax consequences. You just keep your same shares of Apple or index ETFs at a different broker. If you want to hold cash, you could also own things like Treasury bill ETFs or ultra-short term bond ETFs and earn interest on top of the bonus.

Public will also cover your former broker’s outgoing ACAT transfer fee (usually around $75) if you transfer at least $500:

Public charges no fees for incoming transfers. If your current brokerage charges you on the way out, we’ll even cover the fee if your incoming account is over $500.

Public appears to have created their own tool with a nice user interface to transfer the assets, but on the backend they use the same underlying clearing firm as many other brokerage apps (including SoFi, Stash, Betterment, WeBull, and formerly Robinhood), namely Apex Clearing. More details from their bonus FAQ:

Download the Public app and once your account is set up, go to your Settings. In the “Account” section, you’ll see an option to transfer your stocks to Public.

This offers appears to be available to both new and existing Public users. I am considering doing a partial ACAT transfer of $100,000 in ETFs as that looks like the sweet spot.

New customer to Public? Their referral program offers “free stock” worth between $3 and $300 if you open with a referral code and deposit $20+ (referrer also gets whatever you get). My referral code is mymoneyblog which you can enter on the second page of the transfer promo link above. Thanks if you use it! Alternatively, the shopping portal Swagbucks is offering $16 worth of Swagbucks points right now. If you go the Swagbucks route, it looks like you should first open the account and then go for the transfer bonus.

Side note: If Public doesn’t make money by selling your trade flow, how do they make money? For one, it earns interest on your idle cash by paying you tiny interest as many other brokers do. For another, it lends out your shares of stocks to short-sellers (and keeps all the interest). The strange thing here is that that it appears to do so by default, whereas most other brokers you must opt-in (and they split the interest with you). However, you can opt out at any time:

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

I would opt out, as if they lend out the shares and aren’t paid back, there is counterparty risk involved if the company fails. I am not always opposed to Fully Paid Lending, but (1) I want a share of the profits and (2) I want the broker to be rock-solid financially. Read more at Loan Out Your Stocks For Extra Interest? Fully Paid Lending Income Programs. I e-mailed Public and they replied the same day with confirmation:

Thank you for reaching out! I have added you to our opt-out list. Please allow 24-48 hours for your request to be fully processed by our clearing firm.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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Comments

  1. Is the account insured by someone?

    • Public is an SIPC-insured broker, but if you participate in the fully paid lending (see bottom note) then you may give up some of your SIPC insurance on the shares lent out, so be sure to opt out.

  2. Do they include retirement accounts in this, or only taxable investment accounts?

  3. Wow. That’ll definitely fund your Roth.

  4. Immigrant in CA says

    Can I transfer cash from my bank account to get the bonus, or does it have to be from one of the specified brokerages?

  5. Wrinkle: Public only supports individual accounts, not joint accounts. Strange.

  6. With the massive volatility the last few days, I’ll be annoyed if they decrease the bonus due to market movement during the ACATS transfer.

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