The 6 best stock APIs to use in 2020

Last Updated Nov 14, 2020
Emma Jagger

Engineer, maker, Google alumna, CMU grad

Investing can be a risk for anyone, even those who are experienced in doing so. However, access to data through systems like FactSet and Bloomberg have made investing in the right stocks easier to do. 

These types of databases are expensive and can end up costing up thousands of dollars just to be able to do some testing and collect your insights. This is where stock APIs come in. 

There are now better options like the stock APIs that allow you to have a low-cost option that won’t break the bank to purchase, and there are some that are offered for free in some cases too. Some don’t even have any cost for sign-ups

You don’t have to be a hedge fund employee or running your own trading company to be able to use these options, but it might help in order to find the best stock APIs. We have found and reviewed the best APIs for you to make it easy to choose the right one for you to start investing. 


What is a stock API? 

When it comes to investing, a stock API can be a helpful tool, but not everyone is familiar with what this is. Well, a stock API is a database that gives you past and present data on traded assets that are currently in the market. 

This means that you can access data on different investments so that you can make a better decision about where you want to invest your company’s or your individual money. This can help you become a professional investor and start your career, but it can also help those who just want to dip their toes in the investing pool too. 

These stock APIs often offer the current prices of the following topics: 

  • public stock options
  • ETNs
  • ETPs 

These prices can be used to generate technical indicators that make up trading strategies and help you to monitor the changing market. 

Some of them will have the prices from just a few months back, but others will have the last few years of stock prices. This will let you see the ups and downs in the market, which can help you know when you should invest in certain companies and when to keep your stocks and wait it out. 

With better predictions about the financial stock trends, you can have a better grasp of what you can with this data and information in the real-world and be able to make some money trading stocks. 

The best stock APIs work as low-budget options for those who can’t afford, or just don’t want to pay the absorbent pricing of other products, so they can start investing and making money. 

How to use a stock API? 

Using a stock API is fairly simple, and you first need to sign up for the system that you want to use and then get the API key, which is what you will use to make requests. These requests are what will allow you to get the information you are looking for. 

Some stock APIs will allow you to make multiple requests an hour and day. Most come with an average of a thousand to several thousand requests each day. 

These are usually attached to the same API key, so your key will allow you the maximum number of requests so that you can get the highest amount of information from the stock API. 


What are the best stock APIs? 

The best options for stock market APIs are not always the easiest thing to find, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there. We have taken a look at the best of the best choices to see which hold up to the others and made a list of the top six. 

  1. Alpha Vantage 
  2. Intrinio 
  3. Xignite 
  4. IEX Cloud 
  5. Tradier 
  6. Polygon.io 

These are some of the best stock market data APIs that will help you begin your investing journey and get you to the professional standing, or let you get your feet wet for the first time. 


The best stock APIs 

  1. Alpha Vantage 

AlphaVantage API


The Alpha Vantage API is one of the best stock APIs because it gives you real-time data about the stock market prices along with previous prices as far as years back so you get the trends as well. 

This stock market data feed API has both cryptocurrency and FX data feeds so you can get the most up to date information available. 

This choice also comes with over 50 different technical indicators, plus, they are backed by tons of in-depth market research by industry professionals that make the data you receive reliable. 

This API is also pretty easy to get started on because it has API documentation on their site that you can look through and get a look at what the library looks like. 


Pros 

  • Real-time data information 
  • Gives past and present prices 
  • Shows market trends throughout history 
  • Easy to get used to

Cons 

  • Free option doesn’t allow requests 
  • Not the cheapest choice 

  1. Intrinio 
Intrinio financial data API


The Intrinio financial data API is another good option for investors because it offers a large amount of historical data for use that dates back as far as 50 years. However, though they have lots of historical information, they also have current data for around 5 years.

This choice also offers subscriptions to real-time financial data that you can use to track current trends and prices so you are up to date. 

Intrinio is also a stock ticker API that allows you to use multiple tools to see your data in charts and graphs so that it is easy to read, even for novice investors. 

This API offers multiple plans for subscriptions to use the system, which range from one-time-use packages to consistent Enterprise use and custom options.


Pros 

  • Ticker API 
  • Has multiple subscription plans 
  • Has custom plan options 
  • Real-time financial data feed 

Cons 

  • Prices are not specified without choosing a specific plan 


  1. Xignite 
Xignite market data API

Xignite is a great choice of stock exchange API since it offers financial data about the stock market that is guaranteed to be of high-quality and reliable. 


This choice of API offers coverage across the globe and is one of the largest options out there. This allows you to have the most information going further back in history trends and prices for a bigger picture of the stock market on a larger scale. 

The Xignite API is one of the best stock APIs because it is one of the easiest choices to use. Also, this API offers the ability to scale up your business as your company or personal needs grow. 

This choice is a stock API that was created by developers and is well-designed, is simple to integrate, and works at incredible speeds. This will get you the information that you need within seconds so you are always on top of your game. 

Pros 

  • Fast speed times 
  • Large coverage area 
  • Historical stock API 
  • Reliable and well-designed 

Cons 

  • Free trial for only a week 


  1. IEX Cloud 
IEX Cloud market data API


IEX Cloud is a financial data API that offers its users curated information on financial trends as well as international data. This will allow you to find data across the globe. 

This choice of API is ideal for those who want their information quickly as this site boasts of fast speeds and reliable information so you won’t need to worry about speed while you work. 

One thing that sets this apart from lesser options, and what makes it one of the best stock APIs, is that it allows you to pay for only the data that you want to use. This makes it an affordable option for those who don’t need that much information so they don’t need to pay upfront costs or monthly subscriptions. 

IEX Cloud also has security measures in place to ensure that your data used for signing up is safe. Altogether, there are 95,000 securities. 


Pros 

  • No monthly cost for little data 
  • Lots of security 
  • Quick and easy to use 
  • Has information from global sources 

Cons 

  • May cost more for those who need a lot of data 
  • No free trial available 


  1. Tradier 
Tradier financial data API for developers


Tradier is one of the best stock APIs that offers a large amount of data at a high speed. This API streams your data to you so that you will always get it quickly and easily. 

This choice of API offers a no-free sign up that doesn’t make you pay for an account before you can receive any data. Although there are paid options to choose from so that you can customize your data access, this cuts down on upfront costs. 

Another plus with this choice of API is that the paid subscriptions all come with both public and private watchlists. 

The free version doesn’t come with as much, but it will soon have paper trading and account data and trading available along with their delayed market data. 


Pros 

  • Free and purchasable options 
  • Purchased options have two watchlists 
  • No sign-up fee for initial set up 
  • Free option will soon have more features 

Cons 

  • Free option has delayed data not real-time 


  1. Polygon.io 
Polygon.io financial data API


The Polygon.io stock API is a trusted choice that offers unlimited access to both historical and real-time financial data. There are three options to choose from that you can use to fit your needs.

There are all for personal use but cost between $49 and $199 per month for access to the data. The highest price comes with the most coverage of the three options. 

This choice offers a free option for the first 7 days of use, which can let you use the system and get a hang of it before you make a commitment. 

This choice is for personal use and provides market coverage for all the areas that you need so you have all the financial data to make your stock decisions. 


Pros 

  • Trusted choice with many customers 
  • Has historical and real-time financial data 
  • For personal use 
  • Multiple purchase options 

Cons 

  • Higher price than others 
  • Highest cost has the best coverage 


What to look for in a stock API? 

Searching for the best stock API can take some time, but this is likely just because there are so many different choices to sort through. These are popular choices for getting financial information from data feeds, but not all offer the most reliable information. 

When you need to get information about investing to get you started trading stock, whether it is just for yourself or for a business purpose, you can use these stock information APIs to get the data you need. 

However, you want to make sure that you are getting the stock API that you really need, and not just access the first choice you find. So, here are several things that you should consider when you are looking for a stock API so you can start investing. 


How fast it works 

When you are in the financial sector, things tend to move very quickly. This is especially true for the stock market, and though there are trends that you can adjust for, you can’t know what the future will hold. 

Because of this, when you want to know pricing and historical data about certain stocks, you need it at that moment. Waiting a long time to access that data can be the difference between you buying or selling a stock, which makes a difference to your wallet.  

When money is involved, you want your data to be right, and on time. Having a fast stock API is important, and you want to look at the speed of these APIs. 

Pretty much anything that you use the internet for, you can find reviews and comments about it. These will allow you to see how fast the speed truly is so that you will know what you are in for.

If one option that you were seriously considering happens to have great reviews and previous users are satisfied with the speed, then you can feel confident in using that API. However, you might find out that your top choice doesn’t live up to customer expectations. 

If this happens, it is better to learn that ahead of time, so don’t take this as a bad thing. Instead, use these reviews to help you make your decision and find the best stock APIs possible. 

This will allow your investment to be better overall, and it can make you even more money.

User experience

Reading about an API and using it are two very different things, and although you might have a bit of knowledge about them, that doesn’t equal experience. You want to find an API that won’t be too far passed your skills, and find one that is simple and easy to use. 

Whether you are a beginner, have used a stock API once before, or have used them on occasion, you don’t want a difficult-to-use product. 

As I mentioned before, you want an API that works quickly. This means that you don’t want to have an interface that is tough to use and will slow you down as you work. 

Having an interface that is difficult to navigate can take a lot more time to use, which will affect the speed at which you get your financial data. Even if you have a fast API, the speed can be affected in other ways, and this is one that can get pretty frustrating at times. 

So, take a look at how the stock API works to see if it is easy enough to use, and how well you think you can deal with it. The easiest option is likely the best for you. 

Documentation 

The best stock APIs stand out among the others, and one way that they do that is by offering documentation on all the maintenance and developmental aspects of the system. 

This documentation is meant to help you use the API better and there is often at least one example of how to do each step of the process. It also offers different types of resources for training, which could be videos on what to do, how to fix any issues you encounter, or how to use the API with certain languages and systems.  

Taking a look at the documentation can tell you a lot about the API, and if there are any customer support help available. With technology, unfortunately, you will likely run into a problem or two down the line. 

If there is no one that you can call for help, then you might be affected more than you think. Not being able to get the financial data you need will hurt your investing strategy. 

So, ensure that they have documentation, that it has all the training resources that you’ll need, and find out what type of support they offer their customers. 


Rates

Depending on how the stock APIs choose to do their pricing, you could end up paying a lot upfront or have to pay a high monthly charge. The financial data you are getting is worth a price, but you want to ensure that you are not overspending. 

Some cheaper options don't have a high cost but come with lots of data that you can use. These are often slower and come with more difficult interfaces. However, these might be the best stock APIs for you if you are on a very tight budget.

Others might come with both historical and real-time data and have a high price, but they offer easy navigation. If this is a price that you are willing to pay each month, then the easier-to-use system will allow you to have the most data at the fastest speeds.  


Stock APIs FAQs 

Do all stock APIs cost money? 

Although most do come with a purchase plan that has a monthly payment, some offer some free access with limits. However, several great options will offer a free trial period for new users to test out the system. This can be a good way to gain access without having to pay upfront.

Are stock APIs better than Bloomberg? 

If you are used to using Bloomberg, which has a high cost, then you will likely be very happy to use stock APIs. This is because the cost is significantly lower than Bloomberg and its counterparts. Stock APIs, even in the higher range, cost around $199 or lower, which is much lower than you have likely been paying to use Bloomberg. 

So, it is better? That is hard to say, but it does offer great features for a much lower price. 

How do I sign up for a stock API? 

If you like any of the choices that were listed above, you can simply click on the link to the website. There you will find a sign-up button, which you can click on, and it will take you to a webpage where you can put in your information. This will be the way to sign-up, and if you know which plan you want to purchase, you can do that there as well. 

How do I know which is the best stock API for me? 

If you are unsure about which one to choose, you should try out the trials for the ones that you are considering. This will allow you to see how the API works, and how easy it is to navigate. Once you find one you are most comfortable with, you will have your perfect fit. 

Conclusion 

Getting into investing might sound more difficult than it is, but you do have to know a bit about finances and the trends of the market. With the help of a stock API, you can have access to all the information you will need to see the past and present trends and make your decision about which stocks to sell or buy. 

The best stock APIs are listed above, and each one comes with its own set of features. Take a look at our buyer’s guide, then go back and take a closer look at the options listed.

When you find one that you think will work best for you, you will be able to start investing and get a leg up on your competition.