Technology has been huge for lowering investment barriers. There are now so many options that are both accessible and easy to understand by everyone.
One of these options is Stash Invest. Stash is great because the app allows users - who perhaps don’t have a ton of money - to buy fractional shares of a stock. With Stash, you can buy tiny percentages of stocks or ETFs with as little as $0.01 to $0.05.
Stash isn’t the only one offering fractional share investing. Other major brokers now the functionality for free. So keep that in mind as you make your decision of where to invest.
- Automatic investing app with $0 minimum to get started
- Makes investing easy by really simplifying the process
- Fees as low as $1 per month
Personal Portfolios: $0
Smart Portfolios: $5
$1/mo to $9/mo
Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Taxable, Custodial
Get A $5 Bonus After You Invest $5
What Is Stash?
Stash is an app that launched in 2015 after the founders set out to answer the question: why don’t half of Americans invest? They kept coming back to one answer. Most people found investing to be unrelatable and intimidating.
From that premise, Stash Invest was born. It makes it easy to automatically save money and invest it in small chunks. Plus, it includes tons of educational resources and managed portfolios for those who are looking for completely hands-off investing.
What Does It Offer?
With a beginner account, Stash members can invest in individual stocks and ETFs. Or for a higher monthly fee, you can invest in automatically managed Smart Portfolios. Here's a closer look at what Stash has to offer.
Fractional Shares are now available on Stash - which is great if you're getting started with just a little bit of money. Fractional shares of most investments are available starting at $0.01. And customers can buy a piece of any stock or fund trading at more than $1,000 per share starting with just $0.05.
If you invest at least $5 and are subscribed to the Growth or Stash+ plans, you can also invest in a Smart Portfolio. It will rebalance automatically if any of the allocations get out of alignment by more than 5%.
As customers add or remove cash, Stash will automatically move them closer to their ideal smart mix. When a customer adds cash, Stash will buy underweight investments -- and when they remove cash, Stash will sell overweight investments
The goal of Stash (and any investment account) is to build your portfolio over time. Stash Invest makes it fun and easy by creating milestones and ways to encourage you to invest more.
Stash also tries to show you your potential – by both adding new investments and teaching you the value of investing often. Over time, you can check in your home screen and see how your portfolio is doing overall.Purchasing an investment is really easy. You just click on the “Add To Portfolio” button and enter how much you want to invest.
Stash has a feature called Stash Retire, which is a retirement account option for investors. Stash Retire offers both Traditional and Roth IRAs – and offers the same investment choices you’d find in Stash. You can contribute up to the IRA Contribution Limit in a Stash Retire account.
Stash Retire is part of the Growth Plan, and it is slightly more expensive at $3 per month. You can still start investing for free. But that could be quickly eroded by fees if you don’t invest more and see investment gains.
Stash also offers an online banking feature on its app. The accounts come with no overdraft or monthly maintenance fees and include access to a large network of free ATMs nationwide.
Plus, you can take advantage of the following features:
- ASAP Direct Deposit™ — enables customers to get their pay up to 2 days early⁴
- Stock Back™ — a rewards program where customers earn stock every time⁶ they spend
- Round-Ups — puts savings on auto-pilot. Every time customers spend, STASH will round-up the purchases to the nearest dollar. Each time the round-ups total hits $5, STASH will transfer the spare change to the customer’s personal investment account.
Every Stash customer also receives personal guidance across every aspect of their finances. And, of course, the banking aspect connects seamlessly to Stash Invest.
What Are The Fees?
Stash Invest recently updated the pricing and tried to simplify their offerings. They currently have three pricing options - all flat-fee offerings.
- Beginner — $1/mo: This plan offers a basic brokerage account and Stash Banking account. It also offers free financial guidance and provides access to up to $1k of life insurance through Avibra.
- Growth — $3/mo: This plan adds retirement investing and unlocks Smart Portfolios.
- Stash+ — $9/mo: This is their most robust option and is for families who want to save and invest. You'll get up to two custodial investment accounts for your children (note: these are not 529 plans). You'll also earn 2x stock with the Stock-Back® Card and the life insurance access increases to $10k.
Stash's first two plans are identically-priced to Acorns at $1/mo and $3/mo. But only Stash includes banking with its $1/mo plan. It should also be noted that Acorns' highest-priced plan is much less expensive at $5 per month.
How Does Stash Compare?
The biggest drawback of Stash is the cost. While $1 per month ($12 per year) may not seem like a lot, but on a small portfolio, the percentage is very high. On a $100 investment that is 12% in investing fees.
And, remember, that's for an account that doesn't include access to smart portfolios. In other words, you're paying $12 per month for a self-directed trading account. Self-directed accounts are free free at virtually all full-service stock brokers. For this reason, I find it hard to recommend the Stash Beginner plan.
Even when you add robo-advisor service ($3/mo to $9/mo), Stash's pricing can still be high for smaller accounts when compare to robo-advisor platforms that use an AUM (assets under management) pricing model. Betterment, for example, charges 0.25% for its Digital Plan. So for a $1,000 account, you'd pay $2.50 per year with Betterment while you'd pay $36 per year for Stash Growth.
Still, some new investors may be willing to pay more to learn how to invest and form the investing habit. Plus, Stash's flat-fee pricing model becomes more favorable as your account size grows. For example, while you'd pay Betterment $50 per year to manage $25,000, you'd still be paying $36 per year with Stash Growth. Here's a closer look at how Stash compares:
Starting at $1/mo
Starting at $0
Starting at 0.25%
How Do I Open An Account?
If you want to get started with Stash Invest, the sign-up process is extremely simple. (After you sign up check the bottom of the post for ways to quickly grow that balance.)
# 1 – Click Here To Get Started
Click here to check out Stash Invest online and get started on your desktop.
Click here to get Stash for free on the App Store, you’ll be directed to the app store and you can download the app to your phone.
# 2 – Fill Out Your Profile
Next, you’ll fill out your basic information and answer a couple of questions.
These questions will help Stash guide you on making investment decisions. It’s important that you’re honest with these survey questions because they help determine your risk tolerance.
This should only take a couple of minutes.
# 3 – Choose An Investment
Based on the answers you provided, Stash Invest will show you investment options that line up with your risk tolerance (conservative, moderate, or aggressive.) You can click on the different investments to learn more about them. (Don’t worry they’re explained in layman’s terms!)
The great thing about Stash is that they make investing relatable. Instead of crazy names of ETFs and ticker symbols, you invest in “themes” that are based on your wants, beliefs, or likes. We’ll talk more about that below.
Right now, there are over 1,800 investment options (stocks and funds) available on the platform.
You can invest in these for as little as $0.01.
4 – Link Your Bank Account
Link up the bank account you want to have money withdrawn from to make your investments.
It takes about 2-3 days for the money to transfer into Stash.
# 5 – Confirm Your Identity
Verify your identity, create a four digit pin number and you’re all done.
Is It Safe And Secure?
Yes, Stash brokerage accounts are held by Apex Clearing which is a FINRA-registered brokers. Your investments are protected up to $500,000 total by the SIPC. Learn what SIPC insurance covers and what it doesn't. Uninvested cash deposits are protected by FDIC insurance up to $250,000.
When it comes to data security, Stash uses bank-level 256-bit encryption on its website and supports two-factor authentication (2FA) of accounts. As of writing, the company has not been connected to any hacks or data breaches.
How Do I Contact Stash?
Like other fintech platforms, Stash prefers to push its customers towards automated support options. When you visit its support page, you'll see a big button to start a conversation with its AI chatbot. But what you won't easily find is a phone number or email address.
If you look closely though you can find the company's contact information typed in small print at the bottom of the website's footer. Its customer service number is 800-205-5164 and its email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is It Worth It?
If you've been putting off investing for your future due to lack of knowledge or motivation, consider Stash. Its automatic investment tools and educational resources could really help to jump-start your investing journey.
But you'll probably want to consider other options if you're an experienced and cost-conscious investor. For every investing style, there's likely a cheaper solution.
Here are a few of the most common questions people ask about Stash:
Does Stash make you money?
It can. Stash banking customers who use the Stock-Back® Card will earn 0.125% stock on all of their everyday purchases and up to 5% in bonuses at certain retailers. It allows gives away free pieces of stocks to members who attend Stash Stock Parties.
Can you try Stash for free?
Yes and no. While Stash doesn't currently offer a free trial, it does offer a $5 bonus for new members who invest at least $5. That's enough bonus cash to make your first five months free on the Stash Beginner plan.
Can you buy mutual funds with Stash?
No, but you can invest in diversified and low-cost ETFs (exchange-traded funds).
Does Stash offer margin trading?
No, Stash does not allow any of its members, regardless of their subscription tier, to trade on margin.
Can you buy crypto on Stash?
No, cryptocurrency is not currently a supported asset. Stash does say, however, that it's looking into adding crypto investing to its platform in the future.
Access To Human Advisors
Customer Service Number
Customer Service Email
Web/Desktop Account Access
Mobile App Availability
iOS and Android
Get a $5 bonus after you invest $5
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. Nothing in this article should be construed as Legal or Tax Advice. For additional questions regarding Taxes, please consult a Tax Professional. Investing involves risk.
*Clients may incur ancillary fees charged by Stash and/or it’s custodian that are not included in the monthly Wrap-Fee.
1 Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. Investment products and services are not offered by Green Dot Bank, are NOT FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed and May Lose Value. Account opening for the debit account is subject to Green Dot Bank’s approval.
2 Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details
3 Other fees may apply. Fee-free ATM access applies to in-network ATMs only. For our-of-network ATMs and bank tellers a $2.50 fee will apply, plus any additional fee that the Atm owner or bank may charge.
4 Early access to your direct deposit depends on deposit verification and when Green Dot Bank gets notice from your employer, and may vary from pay period to pay period.
5 Opt-in is required. In order to earn stock in the program, the Stash debit card must be used to make a qualifying purchase. Stock-Back Rewards that are issued to a participating customer's personal brokerage account via the Stash Stock-Back Program, are not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed and May Lose Value. Stash Stock-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.
6. What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. See full terms and conditions.
Commissions & Fees
Ease Of Use
Tools & Resources
Stash allows investors to automatically invest in fractional shares of stocks and ETFs as well as in Smart Portfolios.
- Makes investing easy to understand
- Supports fractional share investing
- Smart Portfolios include automatic rebalancing
- Earn free stock with the StockBack card
- Fees can be high as a percentage of your assets
- Only supports stock and ETF investments
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.