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Founded in 2015 by two former Wall Streeters, Stash was created as an alternative for small investors who tend to be treated unfairly by the traditional investment management industry — which charges higher fees to those with the lowest balances.
By using technology, Stash currently helps over 5 million investors in managing their investment portfolios through fractional shares. Fractional shares allow users to own a portion of an entire stock, thus helping retail investors who may have a small budget to properly diversify their portfolio, despite the limitations of their low account balance.
With that in mind, Stash presents itself not as a trading platform, but as a long-term investment tool that can help retail investors in achieving their financial goals through saving and investing money in the financial markets.
on Stash’s website
Quick Summary: Stash is a subscription-based investment platform that offers fractional shares and ETFs for investors in the United States, with no add-on commission fees. Stash offers two plans with monthly fees starting at just $3.
What is Stash?
Stash is a subscription-based investment platform that offers fractional shares and ETFs for investors in the United States, with no add-on commission fees.
The firm offers various plans that aim to fulfill the needs of investors with different financial goals, with monthly fees starting at just $3.
Although the firm offers other products, including banking, in this article, we will focus on the investing service offered by Stash, which works as a regular trading platform but was conceived for long-term investors rather than active traders.
See Also: 12 Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading
How Does Stash Work?
Stash offers an array of investing accounts depending on your needs. Whether you are looking to open an IRA account or an individual taxable account, chances are Stash has something for you.
Investing Account Types
Stash currently offers the following types of accounts:
- Individual taxable accounts
- Joint taxable accounts
- Online debit accounts
- IRA & Roth IRA
- Custodial accounts for kids.
Opening an Account
An account can be opened with Stash by visiting the company’s official website and clicking the sign-up button in the right upper corner of the screen.
After that, the user will be prompted to create an account with his or her email and a secure password.
The registration process goes on to prompt the user to respond to a series of questions that aim to determine the investor’s financial goals; then one of the firm’s subscription plans has to be chosen.
Finally, Stash will allow the user to deposit money into the account, and once the money has been received, the investor can start adding securities to his or her portfolio. Trades will be executed during four different time windows throughout the day.
Stash Invest Features
Stash comes with some great features out of the box, especially if you are a beginner investor.
|Minimum Investment||No minimum Investment (*Subscription fees apply, see below for more details)|
|Fees||$3 per month (Stash Growth) and $9 per month (Stash+)|
|Investment Types||Stocks and ETFs|
|Account Types||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Individual Taxable and Custodial Account|
|Platform||Mobile (iOS / Android)|
|Assets Under Management||Over $1 billion|
|Promotion||Get a $5 welcome bonus|
|Socially Responsible Investing|
|Support||Phone and Email|
Stash Growth Plan
The Growth plan offers users the possibility of setting an individual retirement account IRA or a Roth IRA, a personal portfolio, and a Stock-Back® Card1, where the user can get Stock-Back® reward2.
These accounts are tax-deferred, which means that the proceeds from any transaction made with the account will not be taxed unless a withdrawal is made.
The Growth package also provides the holder with personalized retirement advice from the firm’s team. The subscription fee for this package is $3 per month.
Stash+ is the premium package offered by this fintech company, entitling the holder to all the features mentioned above, along with two investment accounts for kids (known as custodial accounts) and a Stock-Back® Card1, where the user can get 1% Stock-Back® rewards3.
Stash+ users will also enjoy a monthly market insights report that should help them in managing their investment portfolios under certain market conditions.
The cost of this package is $9 per month.
Stash banking solutions include access to a checking account provided by Stride Bank, N.A., an FDIC member bank1. The account comes with a Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® that offers rewards paid in the form of fractions of an investment.
Withdrawals can be made for free within a network of more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs in the US4. Other features include an early-pay alternative6, which allows the holder to receive his or her paycheck up to two days earlier5.
Other extra tools include a budgeting feature, called Goals, which helps investors track their expenditures while also assisting them in the creation of a savings plan.
This account is offered under either of the plans supported by the firm.
See Also: 12 Best Robo-Advisors: Automate Your Investments
Stash Retirement is a service that offers individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs to individuals and households that can benefit from the tax-deferred status of a retirement account to save money to cover their expenses during a later stage of their lives.
The account works like the taxable investment account, as investors can purchase securities (including US-listed stocks and ETFs, at zero commission). The account also offers the benefit of reinvesting the entire proceeds without having to pay taxes unless they withdraw money from the account7.
The retirement solution offered by Stash is available in both Stash plans.
Additionally, Stash offers personalized retirement advice for clients who have signed up for these packages.
A custodial account is one that holds assets for a person who is not legally permitted to do so — in this case, kids.
These accounts are offered by Stash as a way to assist parents in saving for their child’s (or children’s) college education, or other purposes, and the money can be accessed once they turn either 18 or 21, depending on their state of residency.
Custodial accounts can be set for an extra cost for users who have signed up for the Growth plan. However, two custodial accounts are included as part of the Stash+ package.
Other features include an educational module that parents can use to teach their kids about investments. Fractional shares can also be purchased for these accounts.
Stash Fractional Shares
Fractional shares are an innovative way to give investors with a small account balance the possibility of properly diversifying their portfolios by allowing them to own a portion of a stock or ETF rather than having to purchase an entire share — which in some cases could take a big portion of their balance if the stock’s price is very high.
Take, for example, Amazon or another company’s shares that are currently valued at over $3,000 per share — an amount that, in many cases, is often higher than the entire balance of an individual investor’s account.
Stash allows investors to buy a fixed dollar amount of Amazon or other company’s shares, and as a result, the investor is granted a fraction of the stock.
Diversification is important for any investment portfolio in order to reduce drawdowns over time, and fractional shares bring the benefits of this practice to small investors.
Stash currently offers a large selection of ETFs from well-known providers, along with fractional shares for thousands of individual stocks like Amazon, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, and Microsoft.
Investors can buy as little as $1 of any stock or ETF available within Stash’s platform.
See Also: What is Micro Investing? Is It the Best Way to Start Investing?
Stock-Back® rewards are collected from the use of Stash’s Stock-Back® Card.1 These rewards are different from traditional cash rewards, as the reward is used to \automatically purchase investments in the user’s investment account.
That said, a few transactions are not eligible for Stock-Back® rewards. Non-eligible transactions include cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P (peer-to-peer) payments.2
Stash Financial Education
Stash offers a wide range of educational tools for investors who would like to increase their financial knowledge of money management.
This includes a Learning Center comprising multiple materials that deal with topics such as retirement, parenting, travel, career, income, financial decisions, marriage, education, and more.
Stash also has a newsletter they periodically send out to clients and subscribers. They have also created a Teach Me section in which users can find useful blogs on savings, budgeting, investing, credit, insurance, and debt management.
Stash Budgeting & Saving
Stash has designed a budgeting and saving tool within their system that allows the user to establish financial goals while giving each dollar they receive a particular purpose — whether that is for covering expenditures or to keep growing their portfolios.
Users can track their progress by using the firm’s web-based or mobile platform, and interesting features are included, like Stock Round-Ups6, which are automated transfers of the spare change that are left once an expenditure is made on a user’s Stock-Back® Card.1
The app also allows the user to set reminders for the dates on which money should be transferred to the investment account or out of it, based on their financial plan.
Platform and Mobile App
Stash’s mobile app is available for both Android and Apple devices. It allows users to manage every single product and solution offered by the firm, including the banking account1, budgeting and saving feature, and investment account.
Stocks and ETFs can be purchased via the app, and trades will be executed at one of four different time windows during the day.
Additionally, users can use the app to keep track of their progress based on the financial goals they have set, and they can upgrade their subscription at any given point in time.
Stash Smart Portfolio (New)
Smart Portfolio is a new feature offered by Stash to help users build long-term wealth and diversify their investment portfolios.
Stash will create and manage a fully diversified ETF portfolio based on the user’s financial risk profile, time horizon, and goals. The portfolio is automatically rebalanced if the asset allocation deviates by more than 5% from the original mix.
The portfolios are picked with the goal of optimizing risk-adjusted returns using the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). The portfolios aim to provide broad exposure across different asset classes (i.e. stocks and bonds), industries, and regions.
The Smart Portfolio feature is only available in their Growth and Plus subscription plans. If you’re a beginner investor looking for a way to invest passively, this feature may be what you have been looking for.
Stash Pricing & Fees
Stash works as a subscription-based service, which means that users pay a flat monthly fee that starts at $3 per month for the Growth Plan and goes up to $9 per month for Stash+ Plans.
Although Stash does not charge a fee for trading the different instruments offered within its platform (including stocks, fractional shares, and ETFs) most funds charge an annual expense ratio. These expenses have to be paid by the investor apart from the subscription fee.
Other non-trading fees and non-subscription-related fees include a $75 charge per account for outgoing ACAT transfers and a $5 charge per statement for paper account statements and tax statements7.
See Also: 12 Best Investment Apps: For Beginners & Pros
- Stash provides investors with the possibility of owning fractional shares of thousands of individual stocks and ETFs.
- The firm offers a user-friendly interface through which investors can manage their money and investments by using either their computers or mobile phones.
- Stash does not charge any add-on commission fees8.
- The subscription-based model is fairly cheap compared to other alternatives in the market.
- The firm offers a wide range of tools designed to help individuals in managing their money and achieving their financial goals. This includes budgeting and saving tools, automatic transfers, and Stock Round-Ups6.
- The educational materials provided by Stash are advantageous for investors who are just starting out.
- Stash offers access to financial advise for clients who sign up for the Growth package.
- No tax-loss harvesting or other tax optimization strategies are offered as part of their robo-advisor services.
- The firm’s advisory services are fairly limited compared to its competitors.
- No access to human advisors.
Before committing to Stash, make sure you also check out the following popular alternatives. They both offer comparable features.
Acorns offers the same services as Stash but at a relatively lower cost (their subscription fees range from $1 to $5).
Moreover, Acorns succeeds in providing investors extra guidance during the portfolio-building process — they provide users with pre-designed portfolios that are pitched based on their age, income, risk tolerance, and financial goals.
Given the lower fees charged by this provider and the extra help they give investors, Acorns emerges as a better alternative for investors with a small budget compared to Stash. Read our full Acorns review to learn more.
M1 Finance offers the same service as Stash, but free of charge. This makes M1 Finance a better alternative to Stash to some extent. Additionally, M1 Finance offers pre-designed portfolios for hands-off investors who would rather let algorithms do all the work when it comes to managing their investments.
That said, trades made with M1 Finance are executed during one or two trading windows during the day (depending on the plan the user chooses) while Stash executes orders during four different time windows. Read our full M1 Finance to learn more.
|Fees||$3 to $9 per month||$1 to $5 per month||$0|
|Account Minimum||$3 per month||$0||$0|
|Promotion||Get a $5 welcome bonus||None||None|
|Highlight||Fractional share and values-based investments||Invest your spare change features||Automated investing account at no cost|
|Best For||Beginner investors||Hands-off investors||Beginner investors|
Find out how Stash stacks up against the competition.
Who is Stash Best For?
Stash is one of the best alternatives for investors who want to enjoy the best of online investment services — low fees, a user-friendly trading platform, and financial management tools, combined with the possibility of managing their portfolios themselves.
The firm’s four daily trading windows should be good enough for long-term investors to execute their trades in a timely manner, and fractional shares can help investors who have a relatively small balance to properly diversify their portfolios through owning a wide range of securities that would be otherwise inaccessible.
On the other hand, Stash may not be the best fit for inexperienced investors who prefer more hand-holding when it comes to investment management. The firm’s services are more oriented toward self-directed investors who have a certain degree of understanding of the financial markets.
These are the most frequently asked questions around the Web with regards to Stash.
Is Stash Legit?
Stash is a US-based financial services firm that is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which puts it at the top of the list when it comes to credibility, because the US agency is considered a top-tier regulator across the world.
Is Stash Secure?
Stash offers its trading services through the Apex Clearing Corporation, a reputed broker-dealer firm properly regulated by FINRA and the SIPC that provides trade execution services and custodial accounts for multiple financial services firms in the United States.
Additionally, Stash’s banking products are provided by Green Dot Bank, a financial institution that is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
How Does Stash Protect My Money?
Apex Clearing (Stash’s broker-dealer) is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). 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.
Stride Bank is the institution that provides Stash’s banking accounts. This bank is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which means that deposits made with Stash are covered to a limit of $250,000 per customer.
Which is Better: Acorns or Stash?
Acorns emerges as a better provider than Stash for investors wanting a hands-off approach, as the firm offers a selection of pre-designed portfolios that they recommend to users depending on their financial goals, age, and risk tolerance.
Stash is a better fit for investors who prefer to build their portfolios themselves, although they charge higher fees than Acorns for almost the same services.
- Minimum Investment: No investment minimum1 (*Subscription fees apply, see below)
- Fees: $3 per month (Growth) and $9 per month (Stash+)
- Promotion: Get a $5 welcome bonus
Stash is without a doubt a strong player in the disruptive fintech environment, especially when it comes to personal finance solutions. The introduction of fractional shares and subscription-based investment management services has debunked the long-standing model of percentage-based fees charged by most platforms.
That said, some of Stash’s rivals seem to have come up with a better value proposition in terms of fees and scope of service, which puts Stash in second or even third place on the list for those investors looking for a platform that lets them build their portfolios on their own.
“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 Stash Banking services provided by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. The Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® is issued by Stride Bank pursuant to license from Mastercard International. Mastercard and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated. Any earned stock rewards will be held in your Stash Invest account. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.
2 All rewards earned through use of the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® will be fulfilled by Stash Investments LLC and are subject to Terms and Conditions. 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. In order to earn stock in the program, the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard must be used to make a qualifying purchase. Stock rewards that are paid to participating customers via the Stash Stock Back program, are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. If you make a qualifying purchase at a merchant that is not publicly traded or otherwise available on Stash, you will receive a stock reward in an ETF or other investment of your choice from a list of companies available on Stash. See Terms and Conditions for more details.
3 1% Stock-Back® rewards available only on Stash+ ($9/mo) and only for client’s first $1,000 of Qualifying Purchases in each calendar month program. See Terms and Conditions for details.
4 Get fee-free transactions at any Allpoint ATM, see the app for location details, otherwise out-of-network ATM fees may apply. For a complete list of fees please see the Deposit Account Agreement for details.
5 Early access to direct deposit funds depends on when the payor sends the payment file. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
6 This Program is subject to terms and conditions. In order to participate, a user must comply with all eligibility requirements and make a qualifying purchase with their Stock-Back® Card. All funds used for this Program will be taken from your Stash Banking account.
7 Stash Subscription fee starts at $3/ month. You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the Custodian. Please see the Advisory Agreement for details. Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement. Stash offers three plans. For more information on each plan, visit our pricing page.
8 Ancillary fees charged by Stash and/or its custodian are not included in the subscription fee.
Clients may incur ancillary fees charged by Stash and/or it’s custodian that are not included in the monthly subscription fee.
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
Fractional shares start at $0.05 for investments that cost $1,000+ per share.
“Retirement Portfolio” is an IRA (Traditional or Roth) and is a non-discretionary managed account. Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA, or a tax deduction, or if a reduced contribution limit applies to a customer. These are based on a customer’s individual circumstances. You should consult with a tax advisor.
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.
Traditional IRA: Withdrawing prior to age 59½, generally means you’re subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. Withdrawals after age 59½ are only subject to income tax but no penalty.
“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.A “Smart Portfolio” is a Discretionary Managed account whereby Stash has full authority to manage. Diversification and asset allocation do not guarantee a profit, nor do they eliminate the risk of loss of principal. Stash does not guarantee any level of performance or that any client will avoid losses in the client’s account.
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Alejandro is a financial writer with 7 years of experience in financial management and financial analysis. He writes technical content about economics, finance, investments, and real estate and has also assisted financial businesses in building their digital marketing strategy. His favorite topics are value investing and financial analysis.