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Stash Review 2021: Invest with as Little as $5

Stash is a subscription-based app offering its users a suite of financial products and services to help them get started with investing.

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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 with 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.

Stash Logo
3.8
3.8/5

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 zero trading fees involved. Stash offers various plans with monthly fees starting at just $1.

Pros:

Cons:

What is Stash?

Stash is a subscription-based investment platform that offers fractional shares and ETFs for investors in the United States, with zero trading fees involved.

The firm offers various plans that aim to fulfill the needs of investors with different financial goals, with monthly fees starting at just $1.

Although the firm offers other products, including banking and savings, 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.

What is Stash Invest
Source: Stash

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.

No minimum deposit is required to open an account with Stash.

Stash Invest Features

Stash comes with some great features out of the box, especially if you are a beginner investor.

Account Minimum $0
Fees $1 per month (Stash Beginner), $3 per month (Stash Growth) and $9 per month (Stash+)
Inactivity Fee $0
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
Advice Automated
Promotion Get a $5 welcome bonus
Socially Responsible Investing
Fractional Shares
Portfolio Rebalancing
Tax-Loss Harvesting
Support Phone and Email

Stash Beginner Plan

The Stash Beginner subscription plan costs $1 per month and it has been specifically designed with first-time investors in mind, providing the possibility of buying fractional shares, along with unlimited access to financial advice and educational tools. 

Keep in mind that although Stash does not charge a trading fee per transaction, other fees, like expenses from the exchange-traded funds (ETFs) held in the account or regulatory fees still apply. That said, these tend to be fairly small.

Under this plan, the investors will receive a Stash Stock-Back® card, a Visa debit card issued by Green Dot Bank that entitles the holder to receive rewards in the form of fractional shares. 

Other features of the Beginner Plan include budgeting and savings tools, and a bank account.

Stash Growth Plan

The Growth plan entitles the user to all the features offered in the Beginner package, along with the possibility of setting an individual retirement account IRA or a Roth IRA

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+ Plan

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 Metal Double Stock-Back® Card, which generates twice the amount of rewards that the regular Stock-Back® card offers.

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

Stash banking solutions include a zero-fee checking account provided by Green Dot Bank, an FDIC member bank. The account comes with a Stock-Back® Visa debit card that offers rewards paid in the form of fractions of a stock.

Withdrawals can be made for free within a network of more than 19,000 ATMs in the US.  Other features include an early-pay alternative, which entitles the holder to receive his or her paycheck two days earlier.

Other extra tools include a budgeting app that helps investors track their expenditures, while also assisting them in the creation of a savings plan.

This account is offered under any of the three plans supported by the firm.

How Does Stash Banking Works
Source: Stash

See Also: 12 Best Robo-Advisors: Automate Your Investments

Stash Retirement

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 account.

The retirement solution offered by Stash is only available for clients who have subscribed to the Growth package or the Stash+ plan.

Additionally, Stash offers personalized retirement advice for clients who have signed up for these packages.

Stash Custodial

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 Beginner and 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 shares. They are currently valued at $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 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 like Vanguard, Charles Schwab, and Blackrock, 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.

What are Fractional Shares in Stash
Source: Stash

See Also: What is Micro Investing? Is It the Best Way to Start Investing?

Stock-Back Rewards

Stock-Back® rewards are collected from the use of Stash’s debit card. These rewards are different from traditional cash rewards, as they are automatically transferred to the user’s investment account.

That said, only certain transactions are eligible for Stock-Back® rewards. Non-eligible transactions include cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P (peer-to-peer) payments. 

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, and education, and more .

Moreover, Stash has designed a program known as Stash Academy for Kids, which aims to educate younger generations about wealth management, investing, and other similar topics.

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 & Savings

Stash has designed a budgeting and savings module 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 round-ups, which are automated transfers of the spare change that is left once an expenditure is made.

The app also allows the user to set reminders for the dates in which money has to be transferred to the investment account or out of it.

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 bank account, budgeting and savings 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 $1 per month for the Beginner Plan and goes up to $3 per month and $9 per month for the Growth and Stash+ Plans, respectively.

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 statements.

Stash Pricing
Source: Stash

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

Stash 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 trading fees.
  • 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 savings tools, automatic transfers, and round-ups.
  • The educational materials provided by Stash are advantageous for investors who are just starting out.
  • Stash offers access to financial advisors for clients who sign up for the Growth package.

Stash Cons

  • Stash does not offer a robo-advisory service, which puts it at a disadvantage with other providers who cater to amateur investors.
  • The firm’s advisory services are fairly limited compared to its competitors.

Stash Alternatives

Before committing to Stash, make sure you also check out the following popular alternatives. They both offer comparable features. 

Acorns

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

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.

Stash Logo Acorns Logo M1 Finance
Our Rating
4.1
4.1/5
4.4
4.4/5
4.2
4.2/5
Fees $1 to $9 per month $1 to $5 per month $0
Account Minimum $0 $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

Compare Stash

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.

Stash FAQ

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 entitles investors to coverage of $500,000 in securities on their investment accounts, including a $250,000 cash claim.

Green Dot Bank is the institution that provides Stash’s bank 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.

Summary

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $1 per month (Beginner), $3 per month (Growth) and $9 per month (Stash+)
  • Promotion: Get a $5 welcome bonus

on Stash’s website

Final Thoughts

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.

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