Stash review

Stash offers a beginner-friendly platform, but ongoing subscription fees may eat into profits.

Stash is a brokerage geared toward beginners. It shakes up the traditional pricing scheme by charging a monthly membership fee instead of a commission on every trade, which may only benefit certain investors. And its unimpressive research tools and limited investment products may leave advanced traders wanting more.

  • Consider Stash if you’re new to investing or want to purchase low-dollar investments.
  • Consider something else if you’re an experienced investor looking for options or futures trading.
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$0

Stock trade fee

$0

Minimum deposit

What investments does Stash offer?

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 other countries.
  • ETFs. Align your investments with your principles with ETFs organized by cause, industry and theme.
  • Cryptocurrency trusts. Gain exposure to Bitcoin and Ethereum price movements in Stash’s Smart Portfolios.

Who is Stash best for?

Stash markets itself as a platform for beginners. 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 access to an online banking account, complete with a debit card that earns stock rewards and fee-free ATM access. The online bank account comes standard with each Stash subscription.
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.

How Smart Portfolio works

Smart Portfolio is a relatively new feature introduced by Stash. It’s a robo-advisor service that provides a set-it-and-forget-it investing approach, with investments that include stocks, bonds and exposure to cryptocurrency. You simply fund your Smart Portfolio and Stash handles the investing. Smart Portfolio is currently available only to Stash Growth and Stash+ members.
Stash added crypto exposure to Smart Portfolio earlier this year, but investors shouldn’t expect to be owning any actual crypto. Stash invests in what’s called a Delaware statutory trust (DST), which is a regulated investment company with a structure similar to a mutual fund or ETF. Instead of owning actual crypto, these trusts enable investors to gain exposure to the price movement of crypto. These funds are offered by Grayscale, a digital currency asset manager.
Stash’s Smart Portfolio currently offers exposure to two DSTs — Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which offers Bitcoin price movement exposure, and Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE), which offers Ethereum price movement exposure. So while you won’t own actual crypto, your portfolio stands to benefit from any potential positive price movements.

Stash fees and costs

Here’s what’s included in each Stash plan:

PlanMonthly priceFeatures
Growth$3
  • Personal investment account
  • Debit account access
  • Earn rewards
  • Access to articles and learning materials
  • Access to Roth and traditional IRAs
  • Access to Smart Portfolio
Stash+$9Everything 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. The monthly fees ranges are low but they could affect your bottom line, especially when there’s no guarantee you’ll turn a profit. Instead of nickel-and-diming your every trade, Stash charges a monthly subscription to use its platform.

How do I sign up?

Here’s what the Stash application process looks like:

  1. Navigate to Stash’s homepage, enter your email address and select Get started.
  2. Create a password and select Start my Stash.
  3. Enter your full name and date of birth. Select Continue.
  4. Fill out your investment profile by answering questions about your investing experience and financial goals. Select Continue.
  5. Verify your identity by entering your phone number, home address and Social Security number. Select Continue.
  6. 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.

Eligibility

To sign up with Stash, you must:

  • Be a US resident
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Own a valid bank account

Required information

You should have the following details readily available when you enroll:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Bank account information

Research tools

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.

Pros and cons

Pros

Here’s what makes Stash an attractive option for investors:

  • Straightforward 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.
  • Crypto exposure. Investors in either Stash Growth or Stash+ can gain exposure to cryptocurrency through Smart Portfolio.

Cons

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 futures trading.

Is Stash legit?

Stash was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in New York, New York. It has a 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 Green Dot Bank and are FDIC-insured.
And through its partnership with Apex Clearing, investments on Stash are protected for up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash balances through the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC). But keep in mind that SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.

Stash reviews and complaints

Reviews of Stash are mixed, and its Better Business Bureau (BBB) page is by far the least flattering in its portfolio. As of April 2022, Stash receives an F rating from the BBB for failing to respond to 40 complaints. Customers have given Stash a rating of 1.34 out of 5 stars based on 145 reviews. On Trustpilot, Stash holds a 2.0 out of 5-star rating based on 585 reviews.
However, it has no registered complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

BBB ratingF
BBB accreditedNo
BBB customer rating1.34/5 based on 145 customer reviews
Trustpilot score2.0/5 out of 585 customer reviews
Google Play app4.1/5 stars based on 94,960 reviews
Apple app store4.7/5 stars based on 276,007 reviews
Customer reviews verified as ofApril 2022

Customers complain of Stash’s slow, unresponsive customer service, especially when closing an account. But many speak highly of the app’s beginner-friendly interface, educational resources and support for smaller investment amounts.

How do I contact Stash support?

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.

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Bottom line

Stash is a potential option for beginning investors interested in stocks, funds or ETFs. Its Smart Portfolio gives investors exposure to crypto through cryptocurrency trusts, but this doesn’t provide direct investments in crypto. Investors looking to actually own crypto assets should consider opening an account with a crypto exchange.
We also give credit to its Stock-Back® rewards: a unique program that offers investors a bonus stock on qualifying purchases from the company where the purchase was made.
While there’s plenty to like about this beginner-oriented brokerage, 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 and forex. 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.

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