Stake is a global digital brokerage and was the first online trading platform to offer commission-free US share trading for those living outside the US. It has now launched in the UK.
It claims to offer “unrivalled” access to the US stock market, with an easy-to-use app and a simple fee structure.
How does it work?
Stake lets you trade over 3,800 US stocks and ETFs without having to open a US trading account. It offers two accounts, a free one and a premium account. The one you choose will depend on your experience level.
Both account types offer unlimited commission free trades and advanced order types, as well as access to fractional shares.
The premium account gives you more information on the companies you’re investing in, analyst ratings and price targets.
There are no lock-in contracts or commitments, and you’re free to switch between brokerage packs as you like.
You can apply for an account in a couple of minutes, and can then get instant approval via digital verification. Once your account is set up, you can add funds via Open Banking, which offers secure transfers from your bank account. Your money is converted into US dollars when you make a deposit, and your trading is then handled entirely in US dollars. This means you won’t pay FX fees on individual trades.
You’ll get access to real-time market data and the ability to make commission-free trades. You can manage your account within the Stake app.
As Stake offers US stocks, it operates on US market hours, which are 9:30am-4pm ET. You can set buy and sell orders outside of these hours, but the trades will not be executed until the market next opens. Stake will also automatically complete your W8-ben US tax form.
Stake brokerage packs
Stake currently offers the following brokerage packs:
Stake is currently offering Stake Black for free until January 2021. After this, it will cost $9 per month for a Stake black account.
To choose the best app for different categories, we evaluated the share-trading platforms on our site against a range of metrics to select platforms offering stand-out features for specific needs. Keep in mind that our best picks may not always be the best for you, and it's important to compare for yourself to find one that works for you. Read our full methodology here to find out more.
How much does it cost?
With the Starter account, you’ll avoid all commission and account fees. If you want an Unlimited or Black account, you’ll need to pay a monthly account fee, but will also get more advanced trading features.
Stake also has a number of additional fees and charges, but these will differ based on the type of account you have and how you use your account.
Stake fees and charges
Currency exchange fee. You’ll pay a 0.5% FX fee whenever you move money in or out of your account from GBP to USD, or vice versa. Unlike other brokers or trading platforms, you are not charged an FX fee on trades.
Funding fee. There’s a 0.5% express funding fee to deposit money quickly.
Withdrawal fee. You’ll pay $2 per withdrawal to cover the banking fee. This is to avoid a $25 wire fee.
US trading fees. There are also a number of small US trading and administrative fees that you may need to pay, such as SEC fees.
The Stake app
The Stake app lets you track and manage your portfolio, as well as deposit and withdraw funds.
You can search for specific stocks using real-time market data, set up a watchlist and check the status of your account, including current equity, buying power and any unsettled funds.
You can also earn rewards by referring friends to the app, including Stake merchandise and free shares.
How do I apply?
You can apply for a Stake account by downloading the Stake app via the App Store or Google Play. You can then register for an account within minutes by providing basic details about your identity and employment.
You’ll then need to verify your account via email and can then immediately deposit funds into your account via Open Banking.
Is Stake safe?
Stake is the trading name of Hellostake Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. Your use of Stake is also protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (UK).
It is also partnered with members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which means securities in your account are protected up to $500,000.
As with any type of investment, your capital is at risk when you use Stake. There is no guarantee of returns, and you may end up with less than you started.
Video interview with Stake co-founders Matt and Dan
Stake has made a name for itself by helping open up the US stock market to international retail investors. With its simple account system and simple, transparent fee structure, it’s a good choice for investors of all stripes wanting to try their luck with thousands of US stocks.
While there are probably cheaper options for those just looking to get started or those making limited trades, the paid Stake accounts offer share-trading bells and whistles at a reasonable price.
Investors looking to diversify will need another brokerage or platform to access non-US stocks, but if you’re looking to expand your portfolio options, or only interested in US stocks, Stake is hard to beat.
Trade the US market commission-free with Stake
Capital at risk
Join using the referral code finderuk to get a free share
Unrivaled access to over 3,700 Stocks and ETFs
Unlimited commission-free trading with access to advanced order types
Tom Stelzer is a writer for Finder specialising in personal finance, including loans and credit, as well as small business and business loans. He has previously worked as a freelance writer covering entertainment, culture and football for publications like FourFourTwo and Man of Many. He has a Master of Media Arts and Production and Bachelor of Communications in Journalism from the University of Technology Sydney.
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