> > Public vs. Stash 2024: Which Investing App Is Best?

Public vs. Stash 2024: Which Investing App Is Best?

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Public and Stash are two innovative financial services firms that aim to democratize access to the stock market for beginner investors. While Public launched its financial offering in 2019, Stash entered the investment world four years earlier. More than five million investors currently use Stash, while Public has the financial backing of multiple celebrities such as Will Smith, J.J. Watt, and Sophia Amoruso to get retail investors on board.

The two companies take different approaches in helping their users make their first moves in the stock market. Public focuses on social investing and creates an investing community. Stash is a personal finance app that aims to help small retail investors reach their financial goals through long-term investing.

This review will compare the two companies and look at their main features, investment options, and available account types. We also check out their fee structure, customer support, and what we like and don’t like, so you can determine which investing app is best.

Public vs. Stash: Overview

Public, as well as Stash, target beginner investors and provide inexpensive investment solutions. Both companies apply different strategies while using the same investment vehicles.

Public.comStash Logo
Our Rating



In A NutshellPublic is a social investing platform. What this means is that investors can interact with each other by using the Public’s mobile app. Public facilitates the process of investing by offering fractional shares. The company offers $0 commission trades on stocks and ETFs.Stash is a subscription-based investment platform that offers fractional shares and ETFs for investors in the United States, with zero trading fees involved. Stash offers two plans with monthly fees starting at just $3.
Our ReviewFull Public.com ReviewFull Stash Review

About Public

Public is a social investing platform for self-directed investors. It enables them to trade stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) commission-free. Public believes that everybody should be able to invest in the stock market and provides a low-cost solution through fractional shares.

What makes Public different from other brokers is its social investment approach. Investors can follow each other, share ideas, and exchange thoughts on financial topics. To learn more about Public, have a look at our full Public.com review.

About Public.com
Source: Public

See Also: 12 Best Online Brokers

About Stash

In contrast, Stash is a subscription-based investing platform. The company offers two different plans to cater to the various personal finance needs their investors have. Like Public, Stash also uses fractional shares as their investment method.

While Stash further offers banking, saving, and personalized advice, the firm sees itself more as a tool for long-term investing. For more information about Stash, check out our detailed Stash review.

Public vs. Stash: Main Features

Thanks to their different approaches in providing their services, the two broker’s fee structures and offerings differ. Compare their features in detail to find the one that suits your current financial situation best.

Public.comStash Logo
Account Minimum$0No minimum Investment 4 (*Subscription fees apply, see below for more details)
Fees$0$3 per month (Stash Growth) and $9 per month (Stash+)
Trading Commissions$0 per trade$0 per trade
Investment TypesStocks and ETFsStocks and ETFs
Account TypesIndividual TaxableTraditional IRA, Roth IRA, Individual Taxable and Custodial Account
PlatformsMobile (iOS / Android)Mobile (iOS / Android)
PromotionsFree $10 stock sliceGet a $5 welcome bonus
Fractional Sharesyesyes
Individual Stocksyesyes
Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)yesyes
Best ForBeginner social investorsBeginners looking for more than trading


Using Public, you join a like-minded community and have the possibility of following other accounts and watching other investor’s actions. On the social-media-like platform, users can share ideas, talk in group conversations, and comment on another person’s investment. You can further integrate your phone’s contact book and connect with registered friends and family.

Investing in the stock market is possible through fractional shares. Buying fractions of stocks and ETFs allows small balance users to invest in high-priced assets and diversify their money effectively instead of putting all their money into one stock.

Real-time trading is also supported. Placed orders are executed immediately, enabling investors to benefit from price changes that occur due to market volatility.

To quickly find particular niches and sectors, Public created investing themes to categorize investable stocks and ETFs. This innovative way lets users invest in trends, economic sectors, or personal interests. Examples are ‘Crypto Revolution’, which focuses on the crypto movement, or ‘Cash Cows’, which contains companies that pay high dividends. 

Public also gives you an overview of the biggest winners or losers regarding intraday price fluctuations with its Top Movers feature. This feature allows investors to spot potential bargains or find stocks with positive momentum that might see further price increases.

Dividend investors can use the broker’s dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP). The broker automatically reinvests the paid dividends so investors can grow their money faster.

Ultimately, Public offers Public Talks and Public Learn to educate its users. In Public Talks, financial advisors and experts share their stock market assessments and talk about financial topics. Connected to this educational feature is Public Learn, which aims to answer frequently asked questions.

Main Features Overview

  • Social features: Investors can follow other investors, mimic their actions, and discuss trading stocks and ETFs.
  • Fractional shares: Small balance investors can diversify their portfolio through fractional shares without having to save for a whole share.
  • Themes: Thanks to different themes, investors can directly find particular assets, trends, and sectors they want to invest in.
  • Top Movers: With this feature, users can benefit from an overview of the biggest price fluctuations of the day.
  • Public Talk/Public Learn: Through Talks and Learn, Public aims to explain complex topics easily and understandably for beginner investors.
  • Dividend reinvestment plan: Public automatically reinvests the paid dividends back into stocks or ETFs.


Stash has an array of features that are unlocked depending on the subscription plan you choose. Stash Growth is the entry-level plan which costs $3 per month. With Stash Growth (available at $3 per month), users can set up a retirement account, get retirement advice, and have access to the Stash Smart Portfolio.

The premium package is Stash+ and comes at $9 per month. This plan includes all the features mentioned before, as well as two custodial accounts, a 2x Stock-Back® rewards2, and premium research and advice.

To invest in the stock market, Stash allows you to buy whole or fractional shares of thousands of stocks and ETFs. This feature enables investors with smaller accounts to purchase portions of their favorite stocks and adequately diversify their portfolio instead of putting all of their capital in one high-priced stock.

Using Stash, you also have no maintenance fees or account fees from Green Dot Bank, which lets you transfer money to your investing account immediately and includes the Stock-Back® Visa debit card. The card enables you to withdraw cash from more than 19,000 ATMs in the US and use the early-payday feature3. Stash banking further includes a budgeting app to keep track of your expenses.

One innovative feature is Stash’s Stock-Back® Visa card. If you use the debit card at a merchant contracted with Stash, you can get rewarded with that company’s stock. So, instead of buying stocks of publicly traded gas stations, restaurants, or phone service providers, simply shop at their outlets.

Stash also makes it easy to increase your financial knowledge through StashLearn. Their educational area includes resources for adults and children (Stash Academy for Kids), blog articles, money news, and a newsletter. StashLearn covers multiple topics such as retirement, parenting, traveling, income, marriage, and many more.

Ultimately, retirement, as well as custodial accounts, are also available if you want to invest for your or your children’s future.

Main Features Overview

  • Stash plans: Stash users must choose one of two reasonably cheap subscription plans to use the broker’s services. While the growth plan provides you with the bare minimum, the premium plan is perfect for families. 
  • Fractional shares: Investors can buy portions of stocks and ETFs without having to save for a whole stock.
  • Stash banking: With every plan, you get a banking account and a Stock-Back Visa debit card.
  • Stock-Back: If you shop at a publicly-traded merchant contracted with Stash, you get rewards in the form of stock in that company instead of cashback.
  • StashLearn: Stash offers an extensive education section that helps users with limited financial knowledge get a better understanding of the stock market.
  • Various account types: Investors who want to invest for their own or their children’s future can open a retirement or custodial account.
Stash Invest Main Features
Source: Stash

See Also: 7 Best Micro-Investing Apps

Public vs. Stash: Investment Options

The two financial firms offer fractional shares as their primary investment option. Having said this, Public and Stash use stocks and ETFs for fractional share investing and don’t provide other asset classes.


Public currently offers more than 3,000 stocks and low-cost ETFs from Vanguard, BlackRock, and other providers free of charge. Investors who can’t afford whole shares can buy fractional shares instead to diversify their portfolio.


Stash has a similar offering as Public. The app currently lists 3700+ companies from various sectors and 90+ ETFs as investment options. The ETF selection consists of nine different categories and includes ETFs of bonds, broad markets, commodities, and more.

Public vs. Stash: Account Types 

While Public offers just one account type, Stash has more account options for their users. With Stash, however, your access to the different account types depends on the plan you choose. 


Public currently offers only Individual Taxable Brokerage Accounts. Other account types – such as retirement, joint, or custodial accounts – are not available.


As an investor, you get access to different account types depending on the plan you choose. Stash offers the most common account types and can probably cater to your needs. The following account types are currently available: 

  • Individual taxable brokerage account
  • Joint taxable brokerage account
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Custodial account for your children

Public vs. Stash: Sign up Bonuses and Promotions

To get a new customer to use their services, brokerage firms use sign-up bonuses and promotions to rapidly grow their customer base. Public and Stash both offer promotions to new users at the moment.


Public offers one stock slice worth up to $10 to new customers. To claim this sign-up bonus, you must open an account with Public, download the app, and have your account approved. After approval, you can claim your slice from nine different stocks.

Public Social Network Features
Source: Public

See Also: 12 Best Investment Apps: For Beginners & Pros


Signing up with Stash, you can get a $5 welcome bonus. The way it works is that you add $5 to your investment portfolio and Stash gives you an additional $5.

Public vs. Stash: Fees & Pricing

Public and Stash go down different routes when it comes to pricing their services. While one broker is entirely free of commissions, the other uses a subscription model to cater to its investor’s needs. Stash subscriptions start at only $1 per month.


Public allows you to invest in US-listed stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) commission-free. All investment accounts are free of charge and there are no tiered membership plans to choose from.

However, broker-assisted phone trades cost you $30, domestic outgoing wires will set you back $30, ACHs $30, domestic overnight check deliveries $35, returned checks and stopped payments $30, and ACAT account transfers $75.


To get started with Stash, you have to enroll in one of their two subscription plans. Their monthly flat fees start at $3 and can go as high as $9 for their Stash+ plan. 

Next to the monthly payments, investors have to pay the annual expense ratios of the funds they invest in. However, this is nothing unique to Stash and expenses ratios aren’t very expensive.

Like Public, Stash also has non-trading and non-subscription-related fees. Outgoing ACAT transfers cost you the industry-standard external $75 fee. An ACAT fee is only relevant if an investor chooses to move assets from another brokerage firm.

Stash Features
Source: Stash

See Also: 12 Best IRA Accounts

Public vs. Stash: What We Like (Pros)

There are many things to like about the two brokers featured in this review. Have a look at our lists below to find out more:


  • Commission-free trading of thousands of US stocks and ETFs
  • Investing in fractional shares is supported
  • A dividend reinvestment plan is offered
  • No account minimums
  • Interaction between investors increases financial literacy


  • Investors can invest in thousands of stocks and ETFs through fractional shares
  • Stash doesn’t have any trading fees or investment minimums4
  • Retirement and custodial accounts are available
  • The monthly fees for their subscription models are fairly cheap 
  • New investors can use the firm’s extensive educational materials
  • Stock-Back allows users to earn stocks as a form of cashback5

Public vs. Stash: What We Don’t Like (Cons)

Although Public and Stash offer many things we like about them, we also have to address the things we don’t like so much. These things are:


  • Public has a minimal investment option offering
  • The broker has no web-based or desktop trading platform
  • There are no retirement, custodial, or margin accounts available
  • A robo-advisor service isn’t supported 
  • ACAT account transfer are relatively expensive 


  • Mutual funds, cryptocurrencies, or options aren’t available
  • Stash also doesn’t offer a robo-advisor to its customers
  • Advisory services are somewhat limited to what competitors offer
Fractional Shares with Stash
Source: Stash

See Also: How to Invest in ETFs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Public vs. Stash: Security

Public and Stash both are regulated financial companies. This helps to keep your investments safe. Still, assets can lose value through market volatility which isn’t covered by either broker.


Public is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This means that if Public goes down, all of your Public accounts are automatically insured for up to $500,000, including $250,000 in cash claims.


Stash is a registered member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While such registration does not imply a certain level of skill, it does require Stash to follow federal regulations that protect you, the investor. By law, Stash must provide investment advice that is in the best interest of our client. The company also uses Apex Clearing Corporation for its trading service, which is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). With Stash, you enjoy the same protection as Public users.

Besides, Green Dot Bank6, which provides Stash’s bank accounts, is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This means your investments in your account are protected up to $500,000 total (including $250,000 for claims for cash). For details please see www.spic.org. For uninvested funds, your Stash account is enrolled in something called the Apex FDIC-insured Sweep Program. Deposits to the Sweep Program are covered by FDIC insurance up to $250,000 limit per customer at each FDIC-insured bank that participates in the Sweep Program. Once your cash is deposited with the participating banks under the Sweep Program, such cash will no longer be covered by SIPC. Learn about the FDIC Sweep Program.

Public vs. Stash: Customer Support

Public and Stash make it easy to get in touch with customer support. While Public goes all-digital, Stash uses the rather traditional contact channels.


Public offers multiple channels to reach their customer support but phone support is not one of them. 

As a Public user, you can reach out to customer support through the app, connecting you with a real person in a live chat. Other contact options include support via email and social media outlets that currently include Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


In contrast to the many digital ways you can contact Public’s customer support, you will only find a customer service email address and a phone number on the Stash homepage.

Public vs. Stash: Platform and App

Public and Stash both have beginner-friendly apps for the user base. Whereas Public only offers an app, Stash users can use their computer and mobile phone to access the platform. 


The social app solely relies on its simple mobile app interface to facilitate its financial services. The app is rather basic and doesn’t offer many features. A web-based or desktop platform is currently not available. 

Once you have downloaded the app, you can interact with other Public users within the app. Using the app is also the only way to invest in the 3,000+ offered fractional stocks and ETFs in real-time and interact with your account.

Public.com Group Messaging
Source: Public

See Also: How to Invest in Gold: A Beginner’s Guide


Unlike Public, Stash makes it possible to use your computer and your mobile phone to access the investing platform. With Stash, you can manage everything within the app, which includes investing, banking, budgeting, and saving.

Who Is Public For?

Public is perfect for social investors who enjoy sharing thoughts with like-minded investors. Beginner investors can rapidly learn more about the stock market and benefit from the community’s swarm intelligence.

Fractional shares investing also makes the platform an exciting choice for small account balance investors as well as buy-and-hold investors who don’t trade much.

However, Public isn’t for active traders, retirement investors, or beginner investors that look for a robo-advisor service or portfolio building guidance. 

In A Nutshell

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Zero-commission stock and ETF trades
  • Promotion: Free stock

on Public’s website

Who Is Stash For?

Stash is a one-stop-shop that includes investing, banking, saving, and spending. The broker offers many features that are perfect for beginner investors who want to bundle all their finances in one place. Investors who wish to invest for retirement or their kid’s college education will also find a solid partner in Stash.

In A Nutshell

  • Minimum Investment: No investment minimum(*Subscription fees apply, see below)
  • Fees: $3 per month (Growth) and $9 per month (Stash+)
  • Promotion: Get a $5 welcome bonus
Stash Logo

on Stash’s website

Final Thoughts

Public and Stash offer inexpensive services to their target audiences. The brokers don’t have account minimums and offer investing in stocks and ETFs through fractional shares. These aspects are especially beneficial for cost-conscious investors with small account balances.

Due to their different approaches, you will find features at Public which Stash doesn’t have, and vice versa. Public’s services are completely free and let you join a social community of like-minded people, which is quite unique. Besides, dividend investors can use a dividend reinvestment plan to grow their investments faster. 

However, if you are looking for retirement and custodial accounts, educational materials, banking solutions, and stock-back rewards, then you will have to go with Stash as Public doesn’t offer these features. 

Ultimately, it comes down to which investing approach you prefer. As an informed self-directed investor, you will probably choose Stash over Public. But if a community is essential to you, then you should sign up to Public.

Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.

Nothing in this material should be construed as an offer, recommendation, or solicitation to buy or sell any security. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value.

1 All rewards earned through use of the Stash Visa Debit card (Stock-Back® Card) will be fulfilled by Stash Investments LLC. Rewards will go to your Stash personal investment account, which is not FDIC insured. You will bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the investments that you earn, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash. Stash Stock-Back® Rewards is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates.

2 Double Stock-Back® Rewards is subject to terms and conditions.

3 Early availability depends on timing of payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period.

4 Fractional shares start at $0.05 for investments that cost $1,000+ per share.

5 What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. If stock of the merchant is not available for a qualifying purchase, the security will be in shares of a predetermined ETF or from a list of predetermined publicly-traded companies available on the Stash Platform. See full terms and conditions.

*Offer is subject to T&Cs.** You must complete within the specific time period included in this offer: (i) successfully complete (or already have completed, or re-apply for and complete) the registration process of opening an individual taxable brokerage account (“Personal Portfolio”), (ii) link a funding source to your account; AND (iii) deposit at least $5 from your funding source into your Personal Portfolio. *T&Cs

Roth IRA: Withdrawals of the money (Contributions) you put in are penalty and tax free. Prior to age 59½, withdrawals of interest and earnings are subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. All earnings are tax free at age 59½ or older, assuming your first contribution was more than 5 years prior. Income Eligibility applies.

“Kids Portfolio” is a custodial UGMA / UTMA account. Money in a custodial account is the property of the minor. This type of account is a Non-Discretionary Managed account.

*Offer is subject to T&Cs.** You must complete within the specific time period included in this offer: (i) successfully complete (or already have completed, or re-apply for and complete) the registration process of opening an individual taxable brokerage account (“Personal Portfolio”), (ii) link a funding source to your account; AND (iii) deposit at least $5 from your funding source into your Personal Portfolio. *T&Cs.

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