Before we get into our Stash App review, how about an overview of who and what Stash is.
The Stash app, available for both web and mobile, is an offering of Stash Financial Inc. which is based out of New York, New York.
Initially launched as a low-cost investment platform, in 2018 began offering mobile banking services as well. As of July 2019, the Stash app has 3.5 million users.
What is the Stash Investment App?
For younger investors—and frankly, lots of adults too—getting started with investing can be not only confusing, but it can also be hard when you just don’t have the savings to spare.
Most who are planning on advanced education are concerned as to how they will finance it. And sure, there are options like SoFi student loans or Great Lakes student loans, but having a vehicle that could help you save and invest for at least a portion of your education expenses is something to think about.
That means less that you’ll have to pay back in the future!
Enter the Stash Investment App, a tool that can help you get started for as little as a $5 investment. This is what we call micro-investing, where all those little amounts can add up.
What makes Stash different from other advisors? It doesn’t manage your account for you. What it does is teach you how to start investing by allowing you to build a portfolio of EFTs or any selection of single stocks.
|The Stash App lets you:|
|Invest||Start investing for as little as $5 in your choice of flexible investing and retirement accounts|
|Bank||Stash offers bank accounts with no hidden fees and a debit card that earns you stock as you spend|
|Save||Automatically save with their suite of tools|
|Learn||Let Stash teach you how to invest and save with confidence |
Stash App Review: Features Overview
Let’s start with the highlights and then expand on a few of them a bit.
- Auto Stash
- Custodial Accounts
- ETFs and Stocks Used
- Fractional Shares
- Marijuana Investing
- SIPC Protection
- Smart Save
- Smart Stash
- Stash Coach
- Stash Retire
- Third-Party Clearing Agency
Lots of features, right? But since all the above might be nothing more than meaningless jargon to you, here’s a bit more insight.
- Auto Stash. Allows you to schedule dates to auto-deposit into your Stash Invest account.
- Custodial Accounts. This makes student loans for parents much easier. Any parent or guardian—or any adult for that matter—can set up and maintain an account for those under 18 years of age.
- ETFs and Stocks Used. Stash scans thousands of invests and chooses the one it thinks is best for your risk level.
- Rounds-ups. This feature allows you to round up daily purchases and add the difference to your investment account. For example, if you purchase $32.55 in gas, the amount is rounded up to $33 and the difference–$0.45—is invested.
- SIPC Protection. Your funds are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
- Smart Save. This feature will calculate any spare cash you may have then takes a small percentage of it and invests it. This is completely customizable.
- Smart Retire. Smart now offers Roth IRA accounts with a minimum of $15.
- Stash Coach. Your own personal investment trainer—of a sort. This feature is a program that helps you and teaches you how to manage your portfolio. How to get it in shape and keep it in shape. It offers investment challenges that work in line with your risk level where you can earn points and rank. Doing these challenges will help Stash customize an asset allocation that is perfect for you specifically.
Stash App Review: Where Stash Shines
› Investment Guidance
I mentioned above that one of the ways Stash differs from the others is that they actually teach you how to become an investor instead of just managing an investment account for you.
Granted, that might not be what everyone wants, but for those who prefer to be hands-on, this is a fabulous option.
So if you are a beginner in the world of investing, and you see yourself being a life-long investor, this one of the main features where Stash not only shines but rises above the crowd.
When you initially set up your account, you are asked a series of questions that will help the service determine your goals and risk tolerances. You are then provided with a list of EFTs that’s been tailored to your financial situation.
From there it’s up to each user to build their own portfolio. But don’t panic. Remember the Stash Coach that is explained above. You have help!
If EFTs aren’t your thing, you also have the option to choose from about 150 single stocks. These include:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Alphabet (Google’s parent company)
- Best Buy
- Delta Airlines
- General Electric
- Home Depot
… and many more.
› Micro Investing
So, how does Stash work at being a good choice? Not everyone has hundreds or thousands of dollars laying around, right? And learning how to invest with that kind of money could be dangerous.
Enter the Stash minimum investment of $5.
How does Stash make this possible? By offering fractional shares. The stocks are initially purchased by Stash and then split up amongst its pool of investors.
› Rewards Program
Depending on your account level, you get varying reward levels. These rewards are added fractions of the fractional shares that you have in your portfolio.
› Custodial Accounts
Help your children learn the art of investing early. You can facilitate this by setting up a custodial account for any child under the age of 18.
Stash App Review: Where Stash Falls Short
- Stash subscription fee
- EFT Expenses
- Initial Transparency
Sadly, not everything shines in our Stash App review. From the Stash subscription fee to their expenses, Stash is costly to use. Which, for an investment app, seems a little counterintuitive, don’t you agree?
› Stash Subscription Fee
There are 3 subscription levels to choose from. And while the lower tier account only requires a $1 fee that may sound as if it’s inexpensive, it’s actually quite high when you look at from the perspective of percentages. Particularly if you maintain a low balance.
Ironically, if you move up to the next tier which is the $3 account, things are even worse. And this is the account for retirement savers. Where other IRA account providers often waive fees on retirement accounts, it seems as though Stash is out to penalize you.
› EFT Expenses
All of Stash’s available EFTs have an average expense ratio of about 0.30% per annum, which high when compared to their competitors.
› Initial Transparency
While the signup process is fast and easy, it isn’t so investor-friendly.
To some extent, you need to sign up blind. As part of the process, you are required to choose a regular deposit amount. Instead of giving you all the information you need upfront in order to make that decision—what options are available to you and what are they going to cost—you are expected to complete the process while still ignorant of the all the facts.
Moving on with our Stash review, let’s talk about their account tiers.
› Beginner – Cost $1/month
- Personal investment account
- Debit account access
- Earn Stock-Back™ (opt-in required)
- Free financial education
› Growth – Cost $3/month
All of the above plus:
- Tax benefits for retirement investing
› Stash+ – Cost $9/month
All of the above plus:
- Investing accounts for 2 kids
- Metal debit card with 2x Stock-Back™
- Monthly market insights report
Which is the right account for you? Chose depending on your needs. For example, if you’re saving for retirement, go for the Growth account at least.
Stash Customer Support
What do you do if you need help with your Stash Investment App?
First, it doesn’t provide any kind of telephone or chat support. If you have questions you are limited to contacting them via their “Submit a Question” button on their Support Page. They do say they deal with these questions daily.
Is the Stash App Right for You?
Now that you’ve read our Stash review, what do you think? Is it right for you? Even if not directly, have we confirmed the answers to questions some have like is the stash app legit?
If you are new to investing and want some guidance and the ability to make micro-investments, you should definitely consider giving the Stash App a try.