With Stash’s Smart Portfolio feature Stash can manage its customers' accounts to diversity their portfolio based on the customers' risk level. This feature is available for the Stash Growth and Stash Plus subscription plans.
Stash requires no minimum balance in your personal portfolio, and there's also no minimum investment required to begin. So it can be 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
|Fees||Beginner Plan: $1/month; Growth Plan: $3/month; Stash+ Plan: $9/month|
|Mobile Access||iOS, Android|
- ETFs and Stocks Used — Stash users can choose among thousands of stock and ETF investments and its Diversification Analysis tool will keep track of how your investments compare and provide investment recommendations based on your risk level to help you diversify.
- SIPC Protection — Your funds with Stash are held by the clearing agency Apex Clearing Corporation which is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) (see below).
- Third-Party Clearing Agency — Investments with Stash are held through the Apex Clearing Corporation, a third-party SEC-registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. 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 invest in fractional shares, meaning you can hold less than one complete share in your portfolio. This can come in handy with expensive stocks that can cost more than $100 per share.
- Education — Stash provides in-app, on the web, and email education that can 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.
- Auto Stash — Set scheduled times to make deposits into your Stash account.
- Retirement Accounts — Stash offers access to Roth IRA and traditional IRA accounts with the Stash Growth and Stash+ plans. You can open an account with as little as $1.00 and start investing in stocks or ETFs with as little as $0.012.
- Custodial Accounts — You can open and maintain an investment account for kids on behalf of a loved one under 18. This account is offered in the Stash+ Plan. This could be a good opportunity to get a child or grandchild interested in investing and in letting compound interest work its magic.
- Invest in Legal Cannabis— Stash also offers access to investment options where users can invest in the legal cannabis industry. Stash recommends following the Stash Way, which includes regular investing, diversification, and investing for the long term.
- Stock-Back® Card — Stash offers a bank account with a debit card issued by Green Dot Bank called the Stock-Back® Card. There are no fees for this account — including overdraft fees. Plus, with a Stock-Back® Card, you can earn fractional shares of investments when you use your card.
- Stash DRIP — DRIP stands for “dividend reinvestment plan.” It allows investors to do just what it sounds like. You can automatically reinvest any dividends you may receive, which can help you maximize the compounding power of long-term investments.
- Partitions/Goals — Stash's budgeting tool can help 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?
Launched in 2015, Stash Invest was created to help you get started with investing. Co-founders Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson left their jobs on Wall Street to make investing easy and affordable for everyday Americans. With Stash you can invest in what is most important to you, but it also provides you with personalized guidance and recommendations that can 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.
You will then complete a questionnaire that can help determine your investment risk level. After establishing your risk level, you can later 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. Stash may offer suggested investments that are based on your risk level. While other robo advisors may offer similar Stash can offer a lot more investment options than the competition. You can choose amongst various investment themes with some guidance from Stash along the way.
Once you've provided the required information and completed account opening requirements, which can be completed in 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. 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. Using an account and routing number could take up to six business days to process.
Once your account is established, you'll be able to add or subtract money to and from your linked bank account using the Transfer screen. Current one-time Deposits and withdrawals are limited to $10,000 per day from an external bank account to Stash Personal Portfolio/Custodial/ Smart Portfolio. It’s $6,000 from an external bank account to a Stash Retirement account. You can link only one external bank account to your Stash account.
Single Stock Investing
With Stash you can invest in select single stocks and 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 you can invest in.
Stash Banking Account
Stash also offers a banking account with a debit card issued by Green Dot Bank. There's no minimum balance required to open and maintain a Stash banking account. However, to receive your Stash Debit card, you must deposit at least $1.00 to the bank account balance. There are here are also no hidden banking fees. In fact, there are no overdraft fees with this account.
You can use your Stash debit card to withdraw cash from Green Dot Bank-associated ATMs. Plus, you can deposit cash into the bank account by opting into direct deposit, transfer cash from an external bank account, or deposit cash at any participating retailers including CVS Pharmacy®, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart for a fee up to $4.95 using your Stash debit card.
Here are some of the features of a Stash banking account:
- Stash Stock-Back® Card: When you use your Stash Stock-Back® Card at a retailer on Stash's investing platform (such as Walmart, Starbucks, Netflix and Amazon), you can earn a percentage of your purchase back as a fractional share of that company. If you use your Stock-Back® Card anywhere else, you can earn a percentage of a stock or ETF of your choosing.
- Recurring Transfers: This lets you automatically transfer money from your external linked bank account to your Stash banking account.
- ASAP Direct Deposit: When you set up your paychecks to directly deposit into your bank account on Stash, it can hit your account up to two days earlier than it may hit with another bank account.
Stash offers three subscription plans. Here's a rundown of the pricing and features for each plan.
Stash Invest Screenshots
Stash Invest Alternatives
|Minimum to Open Account||$0||$0||$0|
|Socially Responsible Investing|
Stash Invest Pros & Cons
More Investment Options—Stash gives you the option to invest in many investment themes from among thousands of ETFs and individual stocks.
Education—Stash makes sure that you learn to invest with confidence by providing information on all the basics.
No Minimum Deposit—You can open a personal portfolio account and start investing with as little as $1; there's no account minimum required.
Stock-Back® Card—With a Stock-Back® Card you can earn fractional shares in retailers and ETFs when you use your issued card.
Four Daily Trading Windows—As a long-term investor, this may not 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 annual fee other platforms may charge.
Final Thoughts on Stash
Stash could be the right investment app for a beginning investor. Its lack of minimum deposits2 removes an obstacle to investing, which is the initial capital base. You can open an account with just a few dollars, then can build your portfolio with dollar cost averaging.
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 a better investment app if it offered more competitive fees with smaller deposits. The service can be cost-effective for larger accounts.Disclaimer - Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.
¹For securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares start at $0.05.
²Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. pursuant to a license from VISA U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.” because the article mentions the debit card.
³You’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.
⁴Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details.
⁵Stock-Back® is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A, or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.