Stash Review: Is It the Best Investment App for You?

GOBankingRates Score

3.6
Quick Take: For a large clientele of novice and "small" investors, Stash offers a platform for low-cost, easy trading and banking. The advice provided by the site can lead customers to greater skill and success in the market. And Stash has lowered the cost of participation: there are no fees or commissions on individual trades, just three account tiers with small monthly fees. For stock newbies ready to start trading accounts, this is one of the easier and more informative platforms available.
  • Cost and Account Types
    4.0
  • Investments and Portfolio
    4.0
  • Features and Tools
    3.5
  • Customer Experience
    3.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Fractional shares available
  • No trading fees are charged, and no minimum balance is required
  • An account-linked debit card is available

Cons

  • Charges $1 monthly for Beginner accounts, $3 monthly for Stash Growth accounts and $9 monthly for Stash+
  • Does not offer money market accounts or interest-bearing savings accounts
  • Does not support rollover IRAs
  • Trading may be delayed

About Stash

Investing in stocks used to require a real money commitment. There were applications to complete, and applicants had to show good credit and available funds. There were fees and commissions to pay on trades, and brokers served as the gatekeepers to the markets. The road to wealth accumulation in the stock market has broadened.

The Stash platform can help those with limited investable funds to get into the markets and build wealth. “Stashers” have access to a low-cost trading account that provides them with guidance on successful trading strategies as well as savings and money management tools. The goal is to inspire good money habits and help customers set and achieve their financial goals.

The platform is geared toward those with minimal investing experience. The Stash app maintains a curated list of 3,829 companies in many different sectors. The recommendations are based on the customer’s risk-tolerance level. Those who want to avoid higher risk are steered to safer investments. 

There are custodial accounts available for minor children. The platform can set up IRAs for retirement accounts, while the banking tool offers direct deposit, savings guidance, overdraft protection and other useful features.    

Stash Features

Here are some of the features that Stash offers.

Cost and Account Types

There are no fees associated with the banking services. Stashers pay $1, $3 or $9 a month for the different account levels. The higher the fee, the more features available to the user.   

Stash Beginner, the $1 plan, offers:

  • Banking
  • Investing
  • Personalized advice
  • Savings tools
  • A Stock-Back card
  • A $1,000 life insurance policy

The Stash Growth plan, costing $3 monthly, offers all of the Beginner features in addition to:

  • Retirement guidance
  • IRAs (traditional or Roth)
  • A Smart Portfolio account

The Stash+ plan, the top tier at $9 monthly, also offers: 

  • Stock-Back bonuses
  • A $10,000 life insurance policy
  • More advanced investment research and guidance

Stash+ also unlocks custodial accounts for children. A parent, family member, friend or guardian registers a Kids Portfolio and then manages it for the child’s benefit until they reach the age of majority in the state where they live.

Stash does not charge trading fees, and no minimum balance is required. Individual trades on Stash are not charged a commission, and only $1 is required to open an account. Pioneered by Robinhood, this has become standard practice throughout the brokerage industry.

Good To Know

There’s no fee to transfer funds into and out of the Stash accounts, but Stash advises that it can take up to five business days for money to show up when transferred to an external account. When investments are sold, there is a two-day clearing period before the transaction funds are available.

Investments and Portfolios

There are more than 3,800 stocks and ETFs available to Stash investors. This curated group of companies includes a wide variety of economic sectors, including:

  • Energy
  • Health care
  • Real estate
  • Media
  • Consumer goods

The site highlights prominent companies in each sector and offers pages giving basic information and price charts for these companies. For example, the pharmaceutical and medical group recently included pages on Medtronic, Novavax, Inc. and Haemonetics Corp

ETFs are exchange-traded funds, which are portfolios of multiple stocks grouped by an investment theme or sector. ETF shares are traded on an exchange like regular stock shares, and can be actively or passively managed. Stash ETF names reveal their investment approach. Some ETFs include Inflation Defense, Fallback Funds, Public Works and Rate Hike Refuge, among others. 

The Smart Portfolio is an investment product that Stash manages on behalf of its customers. For each customer, a portfolio of stocks and bonds is balanced according to the customer’s own investment goals and tolerance for risk.

Features and Tools

Stash offers a variety of features and tools on its platform.

  • Banking: Banking features on the Stash platform include a digital checking account with no minimum balance and no overdraft fees.
    • Direct deposit paychecks can be received up to two days early.
  • Account-Linked Debit Card: The Stock-Back debit card earns shares rather than cash as purchase rewards.
    • For example, using the Stock-Back card at Amazon, Costco Wholesale or Apple can reward customers with shares of those respective companies.
  • Budgeting: Budgeting tools allow customers to track spending and set up personalized savings goals. 
    • These can be set up to run automatically with a feature called Auto Stash. 
    • Round-ups and automatic savings and investing leave the details to the app and relieve the customer of the need to constantly monitor and adjust how the money is handled. 
  • Stock Party: The Stash Stock Party is a unique regular event at which shares of featured companies are offered free to registered participants.

Stash also offers fractional shares. An investor wanting a piece of Apple was at one time obliged to buy at least a share, and anything less than a “round lot” of 100 shares carried a higher “odd lot differential” fee.

Fractional shares allow Stash clients to invest any amount they want, so the $150 price of a single share of Apple or $900 for a share of Tesla won’t deter them. This has become standard practice on self-managed investment platforms, with Charles Schwab, Robinhood, SoFi and more all permitting fractional share purchases.

Customer Experience

Stash offers email and phone support at support@stash.com or 800-205-5164

As of May 2022, Stash had garnered 373,567 ratings on Google Play and the App Store, where it is ranked #29 rank among all finance apps. The app has also earned a spot on Forbes’ Best Budgeting Apps list.

How Does Stash Work?

To join Stash, new customers must be at least 18 years of age. Users will need a Social Security number, a U.S. bank account, citizenship or a green card and at least $1 for the initial deposit.

Create an Account

  1. On the home page, click “Get Started.”
  2. Enter a password and email address.
  3. Tap “Create Account.”
  4. Go through the shortlist of questions to reveal your financial goals and approach to investing. 
  5. Select a payment plan from the three options available: Stash Beginner, Stash Growth or Stash+. 
  6. Add funds to your account. Transfer from your existing bank account or set up paycheck direct deposit.
  7. Various features of the account type chosen, including IRAs, life insurance and direct deposit, are now available with a few clicks.

Stash vs. The Competition

Several low-cost personal investment apps have arrived in the past few years, with many offering a menu of features quite similar to Stash. Here’s how the Stash account matches up with close competitors. 

Stash vs. Betterment

Betterment allows users to make automatic deposits, get investment advice based on their goals and risk tolerance, and track outside accounts. The major difference is in pricing. While Stash offers three account levels, Betterment charges a flat 0.25% fee for investment accounts up to $100,000 in assets. Accounts with more than $100,000 in assets are charged 0.40%. No-fee checking and money market accounts are also available. 

Stash vs. Robinhood

Robinhood pioneered no-commission investing, allowing fractional share purchases and easy access to initial public offerings. The popular mobile investing app also offers free stock for new accounts, linking to outside bank accounts and referring new users.  

Stash vs. Acorns

Acorns offers two low-cost account plans, at $3 and $5 per month. Smart portfolio investments, cryptocurrency and retirement accounts are available. The banking side offers fee-free checking, a debit card that helps users invest small amounts with round-ups and two-day early direct deposits. Acorns adds an ATM network for further convenience.  

Stash vs. Ellevest

A robo-advisor investment app designed for women, Ellevest features an investing algorithm that accounts for career breaks, a longer lifespan and pay gaps. Users can take advantage of one-on-one financial coaching and regularly scheduled workshops on money and investments. There are three account levels at $1, $5 and $9 monthly, with higher levels giving a better discount on the private coaching fees. The Ellevest debit card offers cash back on purchases.

Who Should Use Stash?

Anyone looking for a simple, convenient and low-cost way to begin saving their hard-earned money can benefit from the Stash platform. The three account levels provide flexibility to savers and investors, with higher levels offering more in the way of tools and advisory services. 

The platform is especially useful for those needing more discipline when it comes to their finances. The automatic settings can help put wealth accumulation on autopilot, allowing customers to “set it and forget it” and dispense with a lot of paperwork and decision-making.

Final Take

Stash operates in a crowded field of “robo-advisers,” assisting users with planning and managing their financial assets. These apps are slightly different in their features and costs. Before diving in, do some research to find the savings and investment platform most suited to your needs and wants.

Start Investing With Stash

Click here to visit the site and learn more.

Stash FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the Stash platform include:
  • Is the Stash app legitimate?
    • Stash is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a financial advisor, and the banking services are backed by Green Dot, a large web-based financial banking and lending platform.
  • Can I buy and sell cryptocurrencies like bitcoin?
    • Yes, Stash offers exposure to Bitcoin and Ethereum through the Smart Portfolio feature. Investors can make crypto trades through a trust investment, similar to an ETF, managed by Grayscale. These trusts hold the crypto and offer shares that track crypto prices, while investors are spared the hassle of buying, storing and monitoring individual coins on their own.
  • Does Stash steal your money?
    • Stash bank accounts are protected from fraud, theft or the bankruptcy of the company. They also carry FDIC insurance, which covers $250,000 per account type.
  • Can you make money with Stash?
    • Investments that gain in value can be sold for a profit, and many will also pay dividends. Bonds that are held on the platform will pay regular interest.
  • Can I lose money with Stash?
    • While savings and checking are protected by FDIC insurance, investments may lose value. The market price of stocks and bonds fluctuates every business day and investors may incur a loss on these investments when they sell them.

Rates and fees are subject to change.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Stash. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Stash.

GOBankingRates maintains editorial independence. While we may receive compensation from actions taken after clicking on links within our content, no content has been supplied by any advertiser prior to publication. We always recommend reviewing the terms and conditions of any offer before signing up or applying.

About the Author

​​A writer and editor with more than 100 book credits in the juvenile and young adult non-fiction format, Tom Streissguth has mastered the craft of explaining complex, difficult subjects clearly. His books have covered history, geography, economics, media and current affairs; he's also written biographies of historical figures for Lerner, Enslow, Facts on File, Greenhaven and other major educational publishers.

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