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finder.com’s rating: 3.7 / 5.0
For many young adults, investing can be intimidating. Stash can help ease the upfront cost and simplify what you can choose from to help beginner investors break into the market.
Stock trade fee
Minimum deposit to open
$1 per month
Shannon Terrell is a writer for Finder who studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto. On any given day, you can find her researching everything from equine financing and business loans to student debt refinancing and how to start a trust. She loves hot coffee, the smell of fresh books and discovering new ways to save her pennies.
Stash is a solid pick for beginner 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 advanced traders may be dissatisfied with its limited research tools and lineup of tradable assets.
|Stash charges a flat monthly fee instead of charging per-stock, which means it’s cheaper when you invest more.|
|This platform only offers stocks and ETFs.|
|It took several days to get a response, though the coronavirus pandemic may have been a factor.|
|The mobile app scores well among Apple users but receives slightly lower marks on Google Play.|
|Research and tools|
|It doesn’t offer any charting tools and in-depth market reports are only available to premium members.|
|We encountered no complaints about service outages.|
|We awarded a bonus star for Stash’s stock-back rewards program.|
To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.
While it’s missing a few of the more complex investment products, Stash offers access to the following fundamentals:
Stash markets itself as a platform for beginners. In fact, of its 4 million users, it states that 86% are first-time investors.
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:
Stash offers investing tools and resources that allow you to fully discover what you want to invest in.
It takes less than five minutes to sign up for a Stash account. You’ll be asked to provide some basic personal information, like your full name and date of birth.
And you’ll need to create an investment profile — a simple process that requires you to answer a handful of questions about your investment goals and spending habits. It can take up to five business days for Stash to verify your account, but you’ll be ready to start investing once it’s approved.
The customer consensus on the Better Business Bureau and Reddit is that Stash’s app is great for beginners and easy to learn. Stash investors say the platform is chock-full of educational resources and the app is intuitive enough that newcomers can get up and running with very little downtime.
The bottom line? Stash’s signup process is quick to complete and the platform is easy to navigate.
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’s included in each Stash plan:
|Growth||$3||Everything in the Beginner plan, plus:|
|Stash+||$9||Everything in the Growth plan, plus:|
In addition to the monthly fee, 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.
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 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.
Stash was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in New York City. 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.
Through its partnership with Apex Clearing, investments on Stash are protected up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash balances. Stash uses 256-bit and SSL encryption and is a PCI DSS compliant provider, which means it follows the security protocols mandated by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for protecting customer data.
Reviews of Stash are mixed. It’s BBB page is by far the least flattering in its portfolio. As of October 2020, Stash receives an F rating from the BBB for failing to respond to 32 complaints, and gets 1.8 out of 5 stars from its customers.
But on Trustpilot, Stash maintains an impressive TrustScore of 3.7 out of 5 based on 425 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 4.1 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.
You can read more about what customers say about Stash on the Stash subreddit at /r/stashinvest.
To sign up with Stash, you must be a US resident who’s at least 18 years old and owns a valid bank account.
The application process takes less than five minutes to complete. Your first transfer of funds may take from three to five business days to clear as Stash verifies your account.
Touch base with Stash by:
Stash is best for newbie investors, with financial investing resources like its Smart-Stash feature that can help you build a nest egg. That said, risk is an inherent part of investing so there’s no guarantee you’ll make a profit. And ongoing fees combined with the lack of more complex investment products may deter more experienced investors.
Compare your investment options to find the platform that best fits your investment goals.
★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent
★★★★★ 4/5 — Good
★★★★★ 3/5 — Average
★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar
★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor
We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.
For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.
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