Stash Invest Review 2021

A More Flexible Micro-Investing App

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Stash InvestGetting started with investing can be tough when you don't have a lot of capital to devote to it. For many folks, one of the biggest psychological barriers keeping them from growing their assets is that they don't believe they have enough money to invest. But that doesn't have to be the case. Stash Invest, along with other platforms in the micro-investing realm, is here to prove that you can get started with just a few dollars. Here's our Stash review.

Commissions & Fees - 8.5
Customer Service - 7.5
Ease of Use - 8.5
Education - 8
Savings Options - 9
Compounding - 9

8.5

Stash is a good microsavings platform for newbie investors, with great educational tools and a low minimum required deposit. Unfortunately, its fees run a bit high, making it costly for smaller accounts.

Get $5 When Joining Stash

In some ways, Stash operates like other robo advisors we've reviewed here at Investor Junkie. But unlike Betterment or Wealthfront, Stash doesn't directly manage its customers' accounts. Instead, the service teaches you how to start investing by building a portfolio of ETFs or selecting single stocks.

Stash requires no minimum balance in your account, and there's also no minimum investment required to begin. So it's a great place to start if you want to learn how to invest but don't have a lot of cash to do so.

We took Stash for a test-drive, and this is what we found.

Stash Invest Features

Minimum Investment
$0
FeesBeginner Plan: $1/month; Growth Plan: $3/month; Stash+ Plan: $9/month
Mobile AccessiPhone App, Android App, Blackberry App
Website Access
Accounts
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • ETFs and Stocks Used — Your investment options are usually exchange-traded funds (ETFs), but unlike other robo advisors, there are some individual stocks too. Stash can choose among thousands of investments and will offer what it thinks is most suitable for your risk level.
  • SIPC Protection — Your funds with Stash are covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) through the clearing agency (see below).
  • Third-Party Clearing Agency — Investments with Stash are held through the Apex Clearing Corporation. Apex is the firm that handles the custody of assets, reporting, trade confirmation, settlement, and securities delivery in Stash.
  • Fractional Shares — Stash allows you to hold fractional shares, meaning you can hold less than one complete share in your portfolio. This comes in handy with expensive stocks, such as Amazon, which costs more than $100 per share.
  • Education — Stash provides in-app and email education to help investors learn the basics.
  • Security — Stash is a Registered Investment Advisor and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The app uses 256-bit bank-grade encryption to secure your information. It also uses a secure sockets layer (SSL) to protect information sent between Stash and its servers. Also, Stash does not store your bank login information.
  • Auto Stash — Set scheduled times to make deposits into your Stash Invest account.
  • Stash Retire — Stash has moved into the retirement-savings space by now offering Roth IRA and traditional IRA accounts. You can open an account and invest in stocks for as little as $0.01.
  • Smart-Save — Smart-Save is a feature that calculates when you've got spare cash, then saves a small percent of it. You can adjust your savings rate and withdraw at any time. All savings in your Stash account will earn interest.
  • Custodial Accounts — You can open and maintain a Stash account on behalf of a loved under 18. This is a good opportunity to get a child or grandchild interested in investing and in letting compound interest work its magic.
  • Stash Coach — Stash Coach is a program to help you whip your portfolio into shape. Complete investing challenges appropriate for your risk level and earn points and a ranking. Besides injecting some fun into the investing process, this will help Stash tailor an asset allocation right for you.
  • Cannabis Investing — Stash will now let you add… well… a stash to your Stash. That's because the service has rolled out investment options that take advantage of the rapidly growing cannabis industry.
  • Stash Debit — Stash now offers a bank account with a debit card issued by Green Dot Bank. There are no fees for this account — including overdraft fees. Plus, with a Stash Debit account, you can earn fractional shares of a retail company when you use your card to purchase from that retailer.
  • Stash DRIP — DRIP stands for “dividend reinvestment plan,” It allows investors to do just what it sounds like. Automatically reinvesting your dividends can help you maximize the compounding power of long-term investments while saving you money on commissions and fees.
  • Partitions — Stash's budgeting tool helps investors organize their savings to meet different expenses and goals. This is reminiscent of the envelope budgeting method. You can move money in and out of partitions as needed.

What Is Stash Invest?

Stash Invest was created to help you get started with investing.

According to Stash CEO Brandon Krieg:

“We think the big challenge is getting people to start investing. Some people have no interest or time to learn to invest; robo advisors are great for them. But many others truly want to become investors — to learn the ropes, choose investments, and know where their money is going. Unfortunately, most of them think investing is out of reach, because it’s too expensive, between minimums and share prices, and too complicated.

“We’re tackling the expense and confusion by letting people… choose from 40-plus investment themes (enough for choice without being overwhelming). Our investors want guidance, so we also give them notifications; for example, on a day when the market tanks, we might tell them to take a deep breath and resist the temptation to sell in a panic.”

After completing a questionnaire that determines your risk level, Stash presents you with a list of investment options from which to choose. The choice provided actually gives you more flexibility and control than typical robo advisors offer.

You can invest in what is most important to you, but Stash also provides you with personalized guidance and recommendations to help you along the way.

How Does Stash Invest Work?

To open up an account with Stash, you need to provide your Social Security number and information to link your bank account. You must be at least 18 years old to open an account. The service is available only in the U.S., although there are plans to take it international.

You will then complete a questionnaire that helps determine your investment risk level. Once established, your risk level cannot be changed; however, you can go into the app and revise your suitability questions, which may or may not change your risk level.

Your risk level, either conservative, moderate, or aggressive, is determined based on your age, investment time horizon, and investment goals. Each risk level has its own recommended investments. This is exactly what other robo advisors do, except Stash offers a lot more investment options than the competition. You'll be given a choice of investment themes consistent with your risk level.

Once you've provided the required information, which should take no more than a few minutes, you can start investing.

You can link your bank account directly with your bank login and password or connect with your account and routing numbers. As is the case with other investment platforms, if you choose to link with your account and routing numbers, your linked bank account will need to be verified using a micro deposit. Stash will make a very small deposit into your bank account, which you will need to verify. This process could take up to six business days.

Once your account is established, you'll be able to add or subtract money to and from your linked bank account using the Stash Deposit screen. Deposits and withdrawals are limited to $10,000 per day. You can link only one bank account to your Stash account.

Single Stock Investing

Stash will now let you invest in select single stocks, rather than just ETFs. To read about a company's fundamentals and select an individual stock, select the “Companies” tab in the app.

Currently, there are over 1,800 stocks and ETFs that select individually or invest in fractionally.

Stash Smart Portfolio

In addition to their regular investing options, you can also opt for Stash's Smart Portfolio. This a fully managed account and is essentially a way to easily automate your investing. Using your information and risk levels, they will build a customized portfolio for you based on extensive financial research. If your portfolio drifts 5% from its target allocation, they will rebalance it for you on a quarterly basis.

All you need to do to get started is add money to your portfolio and Stash takes care of the rest. They will also adjust if you take cash out, to make sure that you are always close to your ideal mix of assets.  This portfolio option is only available to Stash Growth and Plus customers.

Stash Debit

Stash recently rolled out a banking account with a debit card issued by Green Dot Bank. There's no minimum balance required to open and maintain a Stash Debit account. And there are also no fees. In fact, there are no overdraft fees with this account.

You can use your debit card to withdraw cash fee-free from Green Dot Bank-associated ATMs. Plus, you can deposit the bank account you've linked to your Stash account, direct deposit, or from a participating CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens store.

Here are some of the features of a Stash Debit account:

  • Stash Stock-Back: When you use your Stash Debit card at a retailer on Stash's investing platform (such as Walmart, Starbucks, and Amazon), you'll earn a percentage of your purchase back as a fractional share of that company. If you use your Stash Debit card anywhere else, you'll earn a percentage back in a Stash ETF.
  • Recurring Transfers: This lets you automatically transfer money from your external linked bank account to your Stash Debit account.
  • ASAP Direct Deposit: When you set up your paychecks to directly deposit into your Stash Debit account, they'll hit your account as many as two days earlier than they'd hit another bank account. (Many large banks hold deposits for a few days to earn interest.)

Stash Pricing

Stash offers three subscription plans. Here's a rundown of the pricing and features for each plan.

Plan Beginner Growth Stash+
Pricing $1/month $3/month $9/month
Features
  • Personal investment account
  • Debit account access
  • Access to Stock-Back Rewards program
  • Free educational tools
  • Personal investment account
  • Retirement investing
  • Debit account access
  • Access to Stock-Back Rewards program
  • Free educational tools
  • Smart Portfolio
  • Personal investment account
  • Retirement investing
  • Investing accounts for 2 kids
  • Debit account access
  • Access to Stock-Back Rewards program
  • Debit card with 2x Stock-Back Rewards
  • Free educational tools
  • Monthly market insights report
  • Smart Portfolio

Stash Invest Screenshots

    Stash Invest Alternatives

    HighlightsBettermentAcornsDigit
    Rating9/108.5/107/10
    Minimum Investment$0$0$0
    401(k) Assistance
    Two-Factor Auth.
    AdviceHuman Assisted
    Socially Responsible

    Stash Invest Pros & Cons

    Pros



    More Investment Options
    —Most robo advisors and micro-investing services construct investment portfolios using a group of between six and 12 ETFs. Stash gives you the option to invest in many investment themes but selects them from among thousands of ETFs and also includes individual stock recommendations.

    Education
    —Stash makes sure that you learn to invest with confidence by providing information on all the basics.

    No Minimum Deposit
    —You can open an account and start investing with only a few dollars; there's no minimum required.

    Stash Debit Account
    —A Stash Debit account will let you earn fractional shares in retailers and ETFs when you use your issued card.








    Cons



    Delayed Trading Execution
    —As a long-term investor, this won’t be a problem, but it could be an issue if you plan to actively trade your account. It's possible that an order placed today won't be executed until the next day.

    Costly for Small Accounts
    —While Stash charges $1/month for accounts under $5,000, that is higher than the 0.25% annual fee Betterment charges. Effectively, Betterment is cheaper for deposits under $4,800.










    Final Thoughts on Stash

    Stash Invest could be the perfect investment app for a beginning investor. Its lack of minimum deposits removes the single biggest obstacle to investing, which is the initial capital base. You can open an account with just a few dollars, then dollar cost average your way to a much larger portfolio.

    The fact you can diversify your holdings with such a small amount of money is an incredible advantage to the very small investor. And Stash provides professional investment advice, including specific investment recommendations. This enables you to be involved in the investment process in a hands-on way; you can learn as you go, always assisted by the advisory service.

    Stash could be the perfect investment app if it offered more competitive fees with smaller deposits. The service is very cost-effective on larger accounts.

    Kevin Mercadante

    Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.

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    49 Comments

    1. Stash is absolutely garbage, DO NOT USE. I experienced nothing but a horror show with them with one issue after another. First when I opened my account, they would not accept my external bank account. So I switched banks and once I got that hooked up, I tried opening the Bank Account with Stash but for some reason I kept getting errors. I opened a support ticket and it was closed without any response at all. So I opened another ticket and then got a response that my Stash Bank Account had been closed and there was no way to open a new one (mind you, this was a brand new account and I never even had one to begin with). But I figured what the heck, I’m already using them I might as well see what they can do. I put in a couple of hundred dollars, which took nearly a week to close. Then I read and article where someone had lost money with them because Stash was not allowing them to withdraw. So I promptly began transferring my money out of Stash, which took about 2 weeks to complete, but they also kept $20 of my invested capital. I closed the account but before the account could close, they charged my bank account $9.99. This was an unexpected charge and ti caused my bank account to overdraft, costing me another $36 on top of that. Stash is a complete nightmare. Barely any features at all for tracking your portfolio and the worst customer support I have ever received from any online company. I will be using Robinhood from now on.

    2. Don’t invest with them!! You can’t ever get your money back! Several of us have requested to close account under 1000 and all have been sent on a wild goose chase on their site chasing links or documents that don’t exist or are accessible via their app. It’s all a crock. They reply as if you’re a child who doesn’t understand what is correct. I’ve liquidated small retirement accounts upon dissatisfaction from several places via a simple phone call. They give you tax crap blah blah blah, guess what?? Anyone who stashes this way is stashing from already taxed income!! I’ve never claimed this account as part of a tax break. To me it’s been nothing more than a glorified savings account!!! They refuse to close the account and return my hard earned money!!

    3. I have held a Stash Account for a few years now. I have been happy with my experience until now. I had closed my receiving bank account and when the $1.00 monthly fee hit, instead of contacting me right away with a courtesy call, they locked my entire account and have had it locked for days now. I had to supply them with my closing statement from the closing bank at which time they were to unlock my account so I could link another bank account. I did this the same day I discovered my account is still locked. It has been three days now and I still can’t access my money. They are holding my funds hostage over a $1.00 service fee. Once this is lifted I will transfer my $4,000 investment dollars into my Charles Schwab Trading account. What bank in the world wouldn’t fix this within one phone call!!! Buyer beware.

    4. I have done both stash and acorns retirement accounts and stash is much better. There are much more options. Because stash offers actual stocks we have the ability to make much more money and the monthly fees are cheaper.

    5. Does the money you invest every month automatically withdraw from ones personal act or do we have the option to transfer money to invest? Also can the amount we invest be different each month?

      1. Kim – Stash withdraws from your account once a week (on Wednesdays) whatever predetermined amount you set (along with the $1.00 fee for accounts under $5,000). You can always increase or decrease the amount, with $5.00 the minimum amount that can be drafted. And yes, if you’d like to add more to your account (like Stashing your birthday money! LOL) you can do that also through the app. If you’re wanting flexibility with how much you spend on investments month-to-month, Stash probably isn’t going to be be a good fit for you. But since I’ve never been very efficient at setting money aside, automatic drafts work for me.

    6. If you put total $3000 you might increase about $10 -15 per day . You can request withdrawn that kind money every week for your gas . Then you will save money whole year don’t need to touch credit card. How do you think?

    7. I have 2 questions, before I do this…
      1) Is there any way my bank account information could be hacked?
      2) Once you make 5K per year, you have to transfer it to another broker?

      1. 1. always a possibility, keep in mind this is needed with pretty much any broker to transfer funds (some allow by mail-in check)
        2. No there is no upper limit in your account size.

        1. what about American territories such as the Marianas Islands (GUAM), etc. Caribbean Islands,(PEURTO RICO,VIRGIN ISLANDS) etc. even though they do say us citizens I want to be clear the territories are included or not.

    8. What scares me is the money in my bank account safe can’t be completely wiped out when I give them my Account information while I am investing

    9. Also, Stash says to email for questions and they haven’t answered anything back and it’s has been 2 days. They have poor customer service.

    10. My stash account will not let me “confirm sale”. It keeps taking me to the notes page to tell me what things do and are…. Why is this?

        1. Stash is currently available to people who live in the U.S., and who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or who have certain types of valid U.S. Visas. For more information on why Stash needs information to verify your identity, please see the Stash website.

    11. I’m very much a newbie in terms of investing. I haven’t invested yet, but have mentioned starting to invest to my fiance and we both would like to start. Before using apps or other forms of investing, does anyone know any good books I can buy to learn more about investing as a whole? Processes, terminology, fees, structure etc. I’m the type of person who likes to have a general knowledge of something before throwing myself into it. I’m asking for input on here instead of going on Amazon and end up buying a get rich quick scheme and it not actually having information I’m looking for. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

      1. Brandon the Motley Fool’s Investment Guide for Beginners was the first and best book I purchased almost 20 years ago. You can find it on Amazon. Simple and easy to understand terms for the beginning investor. I recommend it to all my friends who want to learn.

    12. What gaurantee does the individuals that chooses to join STASH invest….follow the procedures, then somehow their info’s been used unauthorized? Like SSN number & etc. for example?

    13. I have used stash for nearly a year and have learned a lot from its content (expense ratios, small vs large cap, dollar cost averaging). I do worry about the 0.25% fees in the future–they would eventually exceed the monthly contributions. Any suggestions on how I would be able to keep the ETF stocks on my own and disenroll from the Stash Invest?

    14. Thank you for the review on this app i was really worried that it may be another scam i now plan to try stash out ive always wanted to get into investing and never knew how but now i can without all the hassle as well as without the large original capital needed amazing

      1. When you invest, you are buying a small portion of a business. For example, when you invest in a company such as Apple Inc by buying a share, you are buying a very small part of the business. The value of this investment grows when the business grows. Saving on the other hand is setting aside cash for later use. The value of cash decreases over time. In the long term, investments bring more returns compared to savings.

    15. I have had the app and started an account. Just haven’t made a deposit yet. Aside from a brokerage firm, where else can my money transfer to? I do not have or use a brokerage firm. If I could transfer to a paypal account. That would be helpful.

    16. Completely new here,
      Its seems that .25 is a good rate now but onve you hit higher numbers isnt that a big drop in the savings you earned here? Wpuld it be better to keep it under 5k

    17. I want to know what exactly I’m investing in? Which stock? Or is this sort of like a blind investment? How do we know which stocks our money is going into? And how well it’s doing?

    18. For accounts over $5000, you pay a fee of .25%, but I’d assume that you also pay the expense ratio for the underlying ETFs, no? I read that the expense ratio for the Defense Portfolio was .43%, (plus Stash’s .25 fee) for a total of .68% in fees?

    19. Hi, Newby here…

      What is the ‘interest earned’ on uninvested cash balances?….not mentioned, or did I miss that part ? 🙂

    20. Interested in trying this app, but im unsure on how exactly i would be making a profit.. is it worth the time and $5?

      1. While we haven’t tested out a transfer with Stash you do what’s called an ACAT transfer to another brokerage firm. I would contact Stash specifically with your question.

    21. I’m pretty new to investing and late to game as well. As I’m paying off some debt I’m thinking about places to start saving afterward. 0.25% seems pretty cheap on $5,000 per year. What is cheaper? What are average fees for robo investors?

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