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What is the best mutual fund app for investments?

Pick one you're comfortable with, as long as the platform allows buying direct plan, growth scheme; free of cost. Beyond this, your specific choice of app won't affect your returns.

Intro 💫

In India, presently there are many Mutual Fund platforms available, for free. Being spoilt for choice, it can get overwhelming to decide which one's best for you.
To begin with, this choice is not as important as you'd like to think. For most apps, if you use one and don't like it, it's pretty straightforward to be able to move to another platform. It's a reversible decision.
But there are a few that you should avoid. For instance, the ones that sell regular plans.
💡 Direct plans of mutual funds must have the word direct in its name. If you don't see direct in the name of a fund, it's a regular plan, and you should not be investing in that fund.
Coming back to existing platforms that offer direct plans to Indian investors, we can broadly categorize these in two main types of mutual fund application/service categories.
  • Third party applications
  • Applications or platforms provided by the fund houses or RTAs

Third Party Applications 🥉

These are provided by third parties (the investor is the first party, fund house / RTA are the second party) which offer various transaction options to users for buying funds directly.
Most commonly, these 3rd parties are SEBI registered RIAs (Registered Investment Advisory); but can also be other AMFI distributors, or an umbrella organization backed by a group of fund houses.
They act like one-stop shop for various mutual funds, provided by almost all the fund houses.
Most common and popular funds are available on most of these platforms. However, if some fund or a fund house is not available in a channel / platform, you should check with their support on when that'd be available.
Some of the popular ones are listed below in alphabetical order.
  1. 1.
    Coin by Zerodha
  2. 2.
    ETMoney
  3. 3.
    Groww
  4. 4.
    INDMoney / INDWealth
  5. 5.
    Kuvera
  6. 6.
    MFUtility
  7. 7.
    Mobikwik
  8. 8.
    Niyo Money / Goalwise
  9. 9.
    Paytm Money
Available functionalities or missing features of these platforms are captured below in a table:
Text
Coin
ETMoney
Groww
INDMoney
Kuvera
MFUtility
Mobikwik
Niyo Money
Paytm Money
Direct Mutual Fund
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Fees
Demat & AMC fees
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Goal Setting
By tagging
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Family Account
For HUF
No
No
Yes
Yes
Limited
No
No
No
Assets other than MF
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
TAX Statements
Yes
Yes
Yes
For Prime members
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
History Tracking
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Automated Reinvestment
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Skip an SIP
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NAV Cutoff Time
Before AMC cut-off time
Before AMC
Same as AMC
Same as AMC
Same as AMC

Explanation of parameters used in the table

  • Direct Mutual Fund Per SEBI regulation, all fund houses must offer a direct plan version of all their funds; where no middle-men can earn a commission for selling that. This reduces cost for the investor buying the fund. It improves returns by reducing cost over long run. Over any given period, direct plan of a fund would do better than regular plan of same fund.
  • Fees There is no charge of any kinds of fees associated with buying units in a direct plan in the app, or setting up / cancelling SIPs. Note that some of these platforms have membership programs, or make some features available for a fee. We're not considering that here - only concerned with the ability to invest in direct plans, for any amount with any number of trades.
  • Goal Setting A feature to set a goal for a specific amount of time so that you will be able to invest for it & track it.
  • Family Account Ability to manage portfolios for multiple accounts (For e.g., spouse, Joint account) from a single user account login.
  • Assets other than MF Ability of the platform to offer other assets like Gold, FD, Stocks, Bonds etc other than just Mutual Fund. Note that Coin by Zerodha offers only mutual fund; to be able to buy shares or bonds or ETFs, you'd need to download other products from Zerodha.
  • TAX Statement Does the platform provide the statements for tax filing purpose (For e.g., Capital Gain Statement), or just to estimate tax liabilities for advance tax payments?
  • History Tracking Ability of the platform to track the history of our portfolio ,irrespective of whether we purchased the fund from the same platform or not. In other words, can an investor just sign up and import their portfolio, built over the years, and track the performance all in one place?
  • Automated Reinvestment Does the platform to automatically change the allocation percentage of your investment to debt & equity based on how near one’s goal is?
  • Skip an SIP Option to skip the SIP for a month or a predetermined time. Note: Several platforms stops the investment and then start a new round again instead of pausing. This might create issues, especially if AMC has put restrictions on new SIPs. Do check with latest updates on your fund, from your fund house.
  • NAV Cutoff Time This time determines the Net Asset Value (NAV), at which you can buy the fund units for that day. If an order is placed after this cut-off time, it'd be processed as an order of next business day. Ideally, you'd want a platform that enforces same cut-off time as the fund house / AMC; and not a restricted form of it. For instance, Coin by Zerodha has a cut-off time of 1:30 p.m. for all funds on their platform; while one can place an order in equity funds after 1:30 p.m. on most other platforms, and still get the NAV of same day.

Application by fund houses and RTAs 🥝

The fund houses also provide web portals / applications to manage the funds, offered by them.
So you might end up managing a bunch of applications to track your portfolio, having to deal with multiple logins on different websites.
Another option can be to use MyCAMS or KFinTrack. While these are provided by CAMS and KFinTech respectively; these don't offer all funds on their platforms, except for the ones from the AMCs whose RTA is also providing the platform.
For instance, if you invest in Axis Bluechip (using as an example, not a recommendation) Direct Growth, it won't show up in MyCAMS app. Because RTA of Axis MF fund house is KFinTech. Similarly, an investment in SBI Small Cap Direct Growth won't be visible in KFinTech app.
Other option is to have all the mutual fund investments from a single fund house.
But that's generally not a good idea, for many reasons (for instance, similarities in fund management styles or investment philosophies can make all the funds from a single fund house perform in a similar way). Practically, most investors would've investments with more than one single AMC.

Verdict 🎎

As long as you are buying direct mutual funds and not paying any maintenance charges, you should be fine with any of the application listed or not listed above.
And if you don't like one that you'd started with, you can easily move to another platform. We highly recommend testing out these platforms, preferably by placing a small order (say, 100 INR in ICICI Liquid Direct Growth or IDFC Insta Cash Direct Growth) and testing the order flow, end-to-end. Then continue with the one you liked!
Below are the options you can consider based on our analysis.
  • Kuvera: If you are a beginner and is trying to get into the market for the first time.
  • Niyo Money / Goalwise: Just wanted to get the money invested for a period of time without worrying about whether the fund should be equity based or debt based or a combination of these.
  • Groww: If you need a platform where you can invest in stocks and mutual fund at the same time.
  • INDMoney: If you want a platform which can track everything from daily expenses / investments, to credit scores.