While it’s missing a few of the more complex investment products, Stash offers access to the following fundamentals:
- Stocks. Browse stocks neatly categorized by industry and fractional shares available for less than $1.
- Funds. Invest in short-, medium- and long-term government bonds from the US and around the world.
- ETFs. Align your investments with your principles with ETFs organized by cause, industry and theme.
Stash markets itself as a platform for beginners. In fact, of its 4 million users, 86% are first-time investors, according to Stash.
But Stash may also appeal to the investor on a mission. It organizes its stocks and ETFs by theme so you can invest in the companies that speak to your investment goals and your personal principles. ETF categories include: bonds, goods and services, women who lead and combat carbon, to name a few.
In addition to its individual brokerage account, Stash also offers retirement accounts, custodial accounts and an online bank account, complete with a debit card that earns rewards and free ATM access. The online bank account comes standard with each Stash subscription, but to access the retirement and custodial accounts, you’ll need to bump up your subscription to the more expensive service tiers.
Designed to make investing simple, Stash is best for first-timers who need guidance and those who want to invest in impact stocks:
- New investors. Stash prides itself on its easy-to-navigate, beginner-friendly platform.
- Small-quantity investors. Fractional shares can be purchased for less than $1.
- Value-based investors. Invest in a selection of missions and causes you care about.
Here’s what’s included in each Stash plan:
- Personal investment account
- Debit account access
- Earn rewards
- Access to articles and learning materials
|Growth||$3||Everything in the Beginner plan, plus:|
- Access to Roth and traditional IRAs
|Stash+||$9||Everything in the Growth plan, plus:|
- Access to 2 custodial accounts
- Debit card with rewards
- Monthly market insights report
In addition to the monthly fee, as with any broker, you’ll also need to pay an ETF expense ratio — typically between 0.06% to 0.75% — for any ETFs in your account.
Stash’s membership tiers are rather unique — it doesn’t charge commissions on trades, but to use its service, you have to sign up for a plan with a monthly subscription fee. Fees range from $1 to $9 monthly, which doesn’t sound like much, but it could affect your bottom line, especially when there’s no guarantee you’ll turn a profit.
How much a Stash subscription could end up costing you
Instead of nickel-and-diming your every trade, Stash charges a monthly subscription to use its platform.
Think of it this way: $1 per month for Stash’s Beginner plan turns into a $12 annual fee. If you invest $500, you’re paying 2.4% — and that’s with Stash’s cheapest plan. Bump up to Stash’s Growth plan, and now you’re paying 7.2%. And with Stash+? This swells to 21.6%. Compare this to some of Stash’s competitors that don’t charge for the use of their platforms, and Stash’s fees become even more unattractive.
That said, the more money you invest, the better these fees shake out. If you’re investing more than $1,200, you’ll pay less than 1% in fees annually for the Beginner plan. But for new investors who aren’t ready to commit large sums to a trading platform, Stash’s fees may bite into potential profits.
Here’s what the Stash application process looks like:
- On Stash’s homepage, enter your email address and click Get started.
- Create a password and click Start my Stash.
- Enter your full name and date of birth. Click Continue.
- Fill out your investment profile by answering questions about your investing experience and financial goals. Click Continue.
- Verify your identity by entering your phone number, home address and Social Security number. Click Continue.
- Enter your bank account information to fund your account
The application process takes less than five minutes to complete. Your first transfer of funds may take three to five business days to clear as Stash verifies your account.
To sign up with Stash, you must:
- Be a US resident
- Be at least 18 years old
- Own a valid bank account
You should have the following details readily available when you enroll:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Social Security number
- Bank account information
Included in all three of its service tiers is access to its financial education blog, Stash Learn. The blog covers an assortment of investment topics, from unpacking industry jargon to navigating Stash’s stock offerings. Investors report that the blog’s high-quality offerings are helpful, practical and educational, helping new investors learn the ropes while providing timely news updates on the financial world at large.
For more in-depth market insights, investors need to upgrade to the Stash+ plan. With Stash+, investors receive a monthly market insights report that covers market, industry and economy trends.
Here’s what makes Stash an attractive option for investors:
- Easy application process. Open a Stash account from your desktop or through the Stash app for iPhone and Android in minutes.
- Resources. Access Stash’s financial education resources and keep track of your earnings
- Automated features. Take advantage of automated savings and stock earning with Auto-Stash and Stock-Back rewards
- Niche ETFs. Select investments based on your social preferences and risk profile.
Consider Stash’s limitations before signing up:
- Monthly fees. Ongoing monthly account fees may start to negatively impact your bottom line.
- Limited investment products. Experienced investors may be disappointed by the lack of access to mutual funds, options and cryptocurrency trading.
Stash was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in New York, New York. It has its own Better Business Bureau (BBB) page but isn’t a BBB-accredited business. All Stash investment accounts are held by Apex Clearing, a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Stash’s online bank accounts are issued by FDIC-insured Green Dot Bank.
And through its partnership with Apex Clearing, investments on Stash are protected up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash balances.
Reviews of Stash are mixed.
Its BBB page is by far the least flattering in its portfolio. As of June 2021, Stash receives an F rating from the BBB for failing to respond to 48 complaints and gets 1.59 out of 5 stars from its customers. But on Trustpilot, Stash maintains a TrustScore of 2.8 out of 5 based on 487 reviews. It also has no registered complaints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Stash’s app store rating is also quite promising, sitting at a hearty 4.2 out of 5 stars for Android and 4.7 out of 5 for iPhone.
Customers complain of Stash’s slow, unresponsive customer service, especially when it comes to closing an account. But many speak highly of the app’s beginner-friendly interface and educational resources.
Touch base with Stash by:
- Phone. Call 800-205-5164 weekdays from 12 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET to speak with a Stash rep.
- Email. Fill out a support ticket on Stash’s website for an email response from the team.
*Signup bonus information updated weekly.
Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.
Stash is a solid pick for beginning investors interested in stocks, funds or ETFs. Its Smart-Stash feature is designed to help you analyze your spending patterns to automate your savings goals. We also awarded a bonus star for its stock-back rewards: a unique program that offers investors a bonus stock on qualifying purchases from the company where the purchase was made.
There’s plenty to like about this beginner-oriented brokerage, but the platform isn’t for advanced investors. Granted, its flat monthly fee favors investors willing to commit larger sums to the platform, but it doesn’t offer access to options, futures, forex and cryptocurrencies. It also lacks sophisticated research software, with no charting tools to speak of and market reports limited to Stash+ members willing to pay a premium.
All in all, the platform is worth considering for new investors seeking a simple platform to swap stocks or ETFs. But with its limited research tools and lineup of tradable assets, advanced traders may want to consider another platform.