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Stash Invest review

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

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.

  • Choose 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, futures or cryptocurrency trading.

$0

Stock trade fee

$0.01

Minimum deposit to open

$1 per month

Fee

Details

Fee$1 per month
Asset typesStocks, ETFs

Expert review

Shannon Terrell

Review by


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.

Expert review

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.

Overview

Fees

★★★★★ 4.5/5

Stash charges a flat monthly fee instead of charging per-stock, which means it’s cheaper when you invest more.
Available securities

★★★★★ 2/5

This platform only offers stocks and ETFs.
Customer support

★★★★★ 2/5

It took several days to get a response, though the coronavirus pandemic may have been a factor.
Mobile app

★★★★★ 4.5/5

The mobile app scores well among Apple users but receives slightly lower marks on Google Play.
Research and tools

★★★★★ 2.5/5

It doesn’t offer any charting tools and in-depth market reports are only available to premium members.
Reliability

★★★★★ 5/5

We encountered no complaints about service outages.
Bonus star

1

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.

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 around the world.
  • ETFs. Align your investments with your principles with ETFs organized by cause, industry and theme.

Who is Stash best for?

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:

  • 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.

Products and features

Stash offers investing tools and resources that allow you to fully discover what you want to invest in.

  • Education library. Even without an account, you can access Stash’s money news, articles about personalized savings, investment profiles and more for free.
  • Smart-Stash. This feature allows Stash to monitor your spending and income patterns to determine when you have extra cash to automatically set aside for your investment account.
  • Stash Banking. Stash investors can sign up to receive an online bank account with no account maintenance fees and a debit card that offers access to thousands of nation-wide, free ATMs.
  • Early payday. If you sign up for direct deposit, you can access your paycheck up to two days ahead of your scheduled payday.
  • Stock-back rewards. Each time you make a qualifying purchase with your Stash debit card, you’ll earn a 0.125% piece of stock from the company you made the purchase from.
  • Diversification score. Stash analyzes your portfolio and assigns a diversification score based on your current holdings. It also offers real-time recommendations across asset classes and investment categories to help you improve your portfolio.

How easy is it to use?

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.

What research does it provide?

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.

Pricing and fees

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

PlanMonthly priceFeatures
Beginner$1
  • Personal investment account
  • Debit account access
  • Earn rewards
  • Access to articles and learning materials
Growth$3Everything in the Beginner plan, plus:

  • Access to Roth and traditional IRAs
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, 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 Invest Stash Invest

Get $5 for opening a Stash Invest account

Automatically applied once you open a qualified new Stash Invest account.

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Is Stash safe?

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.

How does Stash keep my money safe?

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.

Stash reviews and complaints

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.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • 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.

Pros

  • 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.

How do I sign up?

To sign up with Stash, you must be a US resident who’s at least 18 years old and owns a valid bank account.

  1. On Stash’s homepage, enter your email address and click Get started.
  2. Create a password and click Start my Stash.
  3. Enter your full name and date of birth. Click Continue.
  4. Fill out your investment profile by answering questions about your investing experience and financial goals. Click Continue.
  5. Verify your identity by entering your phone number, home address and Social Security number. Click 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 from three to five business days to clear as Stash verifies your account.

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.

Compare to other trading platforms

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Vanguard
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Robinhood
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Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Interactive Brokers
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IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
Sofi Invest
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N/A
0%
A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
TD Ameritrade
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or $25 broker-assisted
Stocks
$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 broker-assisted
TD Ameritrade features $0 commission for online stock, but watch out for high short-term ETF and broker-assisted trading fees.
Tastyworks
$0
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Stocks & ETFs: $1/contract to open, $0 to close, $10 max/leg
Futures: $2.50/contract to open, $0 to close
0%
Trade stocks, options, ETFs and futures on mobile or desktop with this advanced platform.
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Bottom line

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.

Frequently asked questions

How we rate trading platforms

★★★★★ 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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