Stake: A trading platform for US stocks and ETFs
Access to more than 4,500 US stocks from New Zealand with no brokerage fees.
Stake is a trading platform and app that enables Kiwis to trade US stocks. Launched in 2017, it provides access to more than 4,500 US stocks and ETFs, including some of the biggest global companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon.
This review looks at what investments you can access through Stake, how much the service costs, and its pros and cons.
Pros and cons
- No brokerage fees. You don’t have to pay any brokerage fees when you buy and sell US stocks with Stake.
- User-friendly platform. Stake offers an intuitive user interface and easy-to-navigate system. It also makes it easy to search for specific stocks based on a range of important parameters and research potential investments.
- Access US stocks. If you want to gain access to the US markets and some of the world’s largest companies, Stake could be just what you’re looking for.
- Mobile app available. Stake offers a trading app for Android and iOS devices, and both versions have generally received positive reviews from users.
- Phone and email customer support. In addition to an online help centre, Stake also provides phone and email customer support.
- Not all features are free. Some of the more advanced features and research tools Stake offers are only available on a paid plan.
- Fees do apply. You’ll need to compare Stake’s 1% exchange fee and other charges with the fees of other platforms to find the most cost-effective trading service for you.
- Can’t access other markets. You can’t use Stake to buy shares traded on the NZX or other global markets.
What can I invest in with Stake?
Stake allows you to trade over 4,500 stocks and ETFs on US markets, plus more than 200 ADRs (American Depository Receipts) of global companies. It provides access to stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.
- Access some of the world’s biggest brands. Stake offers New Zealanders easy access to major international brands like Apple, Tesla, Facebook and Google.
- Fractional investing. Instead of buying individual shares, you can invest smaller dollar amounts (minimum $10). For example, if one Google share costs $1,200, you have the option of investing just $100 if you choose. If you invest $1,800, you’d own 1.5 shares.
- User-friendly platform. Stake’s platform is easy to pick up, regardless of your trading experience. It’s user-friendly enough that you can familiarise yourself with the features in just a few minutes and start trading right away.
- Advanced filtering options. Users can apply a range of advanced filters when looking for stocks to trade. For example, you can filter by stocks that are trending, most up, most down, most traded or most watched. You can also filter by a range of categories including food, travel and technology or even the size of the company.
- Discover related stocks. When you select a stock to look at, the platform also suggests a range of related stocks based on what others are trading. This is a helpful tool to discover some less well-known stocks.
- News and analysis. You can access the latest news and analysis for each individual stock from various sources across the Internet. Plus, access Stake’s own blog and stock commentary too.
- Charts.You have the option of switching between regular stock price charts and candlestick charts to see how a stock has performed over the past day, week, month, year or three years.
- Advanced order types. You can choose to buy or sell at market as well as place a limit or stop order. Trade settlement takes the standard T+2 for US stocks – two days on top of the day you made the trade – and you can easily cancel any orders before they’ve been placed, with no additional charge.
- US tax compliant. When you trade US shares as a non-US citizen you must fill out the W8-Ben US tax form to avoid paying 30% tax instead of 15% on your profits to the US government. While this can take several weeks and involve lots of paperwork with some other brokers, Stake streamlines the process by automatically submitting the form for you when you sign up for a $5 one-off fee.
How much does it cost?
Stake doesn’t charge any brokerage fees when you buy and sell US stocks. However, other fees do apply. These include:
- Exchange fee: 1% (US$2 minimum fee). This fee applies when you deposit to or withdraw from your account. It covers the cost of changing your New Zealand dollars into US dollars.
- USD deposits: US$5. If you want to deposit into your Stake account, this flat fee applies.
- Express funding fee: 0.5%. This additional fee applies on top of the exchange fee if you want the funds you deposit to be ready by the next trading session.
- Withdrawal fee: $2. This bank processing fee is charged when you withdraw funds from your account.
- Tax filing fee: US$5. This one-off fee covers the cost of filing your W-8BEN tax form with US tax authorities.
Stake also offers a premium paid plan, Stake Black, for $9 a month. This allows you to access in-depth financial data, analyst ratings and other sophisticated trading features. At the time of writing, Stake Black was available for free as part of a limited-time offer.
Is Stake safe?
Stakeshop Pty Ltd is registered as an overseas company in New Zealand (NZBN: 9429047452152), but is not regulated by the Financial Markets Authority. However, it is registered and regulated in several other countries, including in the UK by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
Stake makes it clear that it never touches any customer money. Instead, your funds are sent straight to its regulated FX partner, OFX, and then to DriveWealth, its brokerage partner in the US. DriveWealth is also regulated by FINRA and is a member of SIPC, which protects customers for up to $500,000 of securities.
You can also enable two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of security for your account, while Stake also claims to encrypt and securely store all data.
How to sign up with Stake
You can create an account with Stake online in minutes and have your account funded and ready to go that same day.
Click the “Go to site” button on this page Stake and follow the prompts to enter your personal details including name, residential address and contact details.
Create an account by selecting a username and creating a unique password. You’ll need to verify your ID throughout the process, so make sure you have your driver’s licence handy.
If you’d like to invest in US stocks and ETFs, Stake is well worth considering for a number of reasons. It’s easy to use, offers competitive fees, and the minimum trade size of $10 makes it easy to get started.
However, it doesn’t offer access to other global markets, and it’s worth checking what features are available to free vs paid members.
Ultimately, you’ll need to compare Stake against other platforms to see whether it’s right for you. Our Stake vs Hatch vs Sharesies comparison is a good place to start.