My Pearler Review: Should you Invest?

Pearler Logo

This past month I've been testing out the relatively new investing app Pearler. Pearler is an app for investing in Australian and U.S listed Shares and ETFs. The app also has unique community and auto-investing features which I think makes it stand out from the pack.

Here is my review of Pearler:

Why I'm Investing with Pearler

Here are some of the reasons why I'm investing using Pearler:

Auto-Investing on Pearler

The #1 feature that stands out on Pearler is AutoInvesting. Using this feature you can setup Pearler to automatically invest based on certain criteria. You're given three different options for investing:

Pearler Autoinvesting Feature
Pearler gives you three different options for their innovative auto investing feature

If you're not in a position to invest large amounts regularly you can setup Pearler to only invest once a certain amount has been deposited.

Money for auto-investing is taken out of your linked bank account using Direct Deposit, or you can setup pearler to invest based on manual deposits. This is great if you don't quite have the income to invest regularly

Fee Free ETF Investing

Certain ETF's on Pearler can be bought fee free. There are no brokerage fees if you hold onto them for a year. This is encourages a long term mindset – which is what Pearler is all about. Boring investing for the long term!

Each ETF will still charge a management fee (which is factored into the price).'

Some of the ETFs that can be bought commission free on Pearler
Some of the ETFs that can be bought commission free on Pearler

Portfolio Templates

If you're new to investing, then knowing where to start can be a daunting task. On Pearler you can browse through portfolio templates that are popular within the investing community.

Pearler Community

Pearler has integrated some great social trading features. You can browse the profiles of other investors, see their goals and what they are investing in. This is a great way to get inspired and motivated to reach your own financial goals.

Community features on Pearler

What You Need to Know Before Investing on Pearler

Here are some of the common things you need to know before investing through Pearler:

Minimum Investment Amount

Pearler doesn't have a minimum investment amount. But unlike an app like Raiz, if you're investing in Australian shares you need to buy a full share at a time. Pearler does support fractional investing for U.S shares.

Because there is a brokerage fee (unless you're buying the brokerage fee free ETFs) it doesn't make sense to invest small amounts. It's better to save up your cash an invest with at least $500 at a time.

But one cool feature on Pearler is the auto investing. You can deposit money whenever you have some spare and then when it hits a certain amount Pearler will automatically invest that money.

Deposit Options on Pearler

Pearler supports these deposit options:

  • PayID
  • Direct Debit
  • Direct Deposit

I used PayID to deposit because it's instant (Although your bank may delay the first PayID deposit for security reasons). There are no fees for deposits. If you want to buy U.S shares, you need to sign up with OFX (a currency conversion service). This can be done through Pearler. To be honest, I didn't like this part of the app, and would much prefer a more streamlined process for buying U.S shares. Once setup its pretty much a seamless experience.

If you want to setup recurring deposits this can be done using the Direct Debit option or you can setup automated PayID deposits using your banking app.

CHESS Sponsored Accounts

Pearler supports CHESS sponsored accounts. This means you can easily transfer your shares to another broker if you no longer wish to use Pearler. This isn't a big deal for me (I really hate getting sent paper letters from OpenMarkets! It's 2021, who still sends paper!)

Pearler Fees

Pearler does charge brokerage fees which are competitive with other brokers:

  • Australian Shares: $9.50 per trade.
  • U.S Shares: $6.50 per trade

The brokerage fee is higher than Superhero which charges $5 per Australian trade. Although on Superhero there is no CHESS support (or social features).

There is an FX conversion fee when you transfer money from your Australian Dollar wallet to your U.S Dollar wallet to buy U.S shares.

Is Pearler Safe?

Pearler is a legit Australian investing app. They are based in Australia and must follow Australian rules and regulations. Pearler holds an ASIC license. Pearler also supports CHESS accounts. This means if anything was to happen to Pearler, you could easily move your shares to another broker. There is no risk of you losing them.

How does Pearler Make Money

Pearler makes money when you buy and sell shares. They earn part of the brokerage fee that is charged.

I'm assuming Pearler makes money when you exchange AUD for USD (when buying U.S shares). Even though this is done through OFX I'm guessing they make a commission.

Pearler would also earn interest from money you've deposited but not yet invested.

Pearler vs Selfwealth

In my opinion the closest alternative to Pearler is Selfwealth. They charge similar brokerage fees, both have some social trading features and both support trading of ASX and U.S listed shares.

So which do I think is better?

  • Pearler has a better interface – I prefer Pearler's interface to Selfwealths. I use Pearler through the website on a desktop and find it's well designed, clean and easy to use. Selfwealth is definitely starting to feel a bit dated.
  • Selfwealth has more Analysis – Selfwealth offers more details and analysis of stocks. Just remember that analysts are wrong as often as they are right and just because an analyst says buy, doesn't mean you should. Pearler needs to add better charts and more info on each stock (such as dividend yields).
  • Pearler is getting updates– The Pearler platform seems to be evolving quite fast with new features being added all the time. Selfwealth were quite slow to evolve. They've only just added U.S trading and I believe they still don't offer PayID for deposits. Personally I want to use a platform that is getting regular updates and has a strong future.

While I have used Selfwealth in the past, I'm going to be building a portfolio through Pearler and will transfer across my investments.

Get a Free Trade

When you sign up to Pearler using my referral link you'll get a free investment credit. Use this credit to buy shares without paying a brokerage fee!

In Conclusion – My Pearler Review…

I think Pearler is an exciting platform. I like the focus on FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) and being able to follow and get inspired by other investors.

I think Pearler could improve the app by adding more details on each share such as Dividend Yield, which is important for FIRE investors. But overall I really like the app and think it's well designed.

Find out more about Pearler here

This post is for educational purposes and should not be considered as investment advice. This post is based on individual experience and journalistic research.

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