Stash Review: Is Stash Investment Legit? Does Stash Investing Work?

Stash is a personal finance app that aims to simplify investing.

Available for iOS and Android, Stash offers investing and savings tools, the Stock-Back Card, fractional share purchasing, a $5 cash intro offer, and more.

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How does Stash work? What can you do with Stash? Is the free $5 offer legit? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about Stash.

What is Stash?

Stash is a personal finance app available for iOS and Android. Like Robin Hood, Stash aims to make investing easy for anyone. Whether you’re an experienced investor or trying to buy stocks for the first time, Stash could be the right choice for you.

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As of July 2021, Stash has more than 5 million users. The app also offers a payment card called the Stock-Back Card, a debit card that rewards you with stock in major brands in exchange for making purchases.

Stash has three subscription programs, including its $1 per month, $3 per month, and $9 per month plans. All subscriptions come with the debit card, although the $3 and $9 per month subscriptions come with additional account options (like Traditional and Roth IRAs and custodial accounts), financial subscription services, and other perks.

How Does Stash Work?

Stash aims to make investing easy for beginners. The app has a $0 minimum balance to open a personal portfolio, making it a good option for those with any amount of money to invest. Stash also offers retirement and custodial portfolios.

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If you’re looking for an easy way to invest, then Stash may be the right option. The app makes it easy to select stocks and exchange-traded funds. In exchange for a $1 to $9 per month subscription fee, you get access to a brokerage account, Stash’s online bank account, and a debit card with a rewards program (even at the lowest $1 per month subscription level).

For investors willing to spend more, Stash offers a retirement account (either a Roth or traditional IRA account) at the $3 per month subscription level. For $9 per month, Stash offers two custodial accounts for minors, additional rewards bonuses, and a subscription to a monthly investment advisory, among other perks.

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Stash launched a fully-managed, automatically rebalanced portfolio option in 2021 called Smart Portfolios. Available to the $3 and $9 per month tiers, Stash Smart Portfolios works similar to the robo-investing services offered by other brokerages, automatically balancing your portfolio with a hands-off approach to investing.

Stash Features

Here are some of the most important things you need to know about Stash and its subscription options:

Minimum Account Balance: $0

Account Management Fee: $1 per month, $3 per month, or $9 per month

Investment Expense Ratio: 0.16% for non-thematic funds, 0.25% for all other funds

Other Account Fees: Subscription fee, no annual fee, no inactivity fee, $75 outgoing transfer fee

Investment Options: More than 3,000 ETFs and individual stocks

Available Accounts: Individual brokerage accounts, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, online debit account, multiple types of custodial accounts

Robo Investing: Smart Portfolios (automatic rebalancing on withdrawals and contributions and quarterly rebalancing)

Other Tools: Automatic dividend reinvestment (DRIP), retirement calculator, diversification analysis, Stash Coach (for investor education), and debit card rewards.

Stash Advantages

Stash’s biggest advantage is that it helps beginner investors learn to invest. If you’re new to the world of investing and are looking for a hassle-free way to get started, then Stash may be the right option for you. Here are some of the advantages of using Stash.

Easy to Pick Stocks and ETFs

You can buy 3,000 stocks and ETFs through Stash. Stash’s user interface makes it easy to see what each investment is about, giving you crucial information about each asset at a glance.

Before buying a stock or ETF through Stash, you can easily view the following information:

  • An overview of the investment and what it is
  • A risk analysis bar graph indicating the riskiness of the asset
  • The ticker symbol and price
  • ETF descriptions with the expense ratio and a list of the ETF’s holdings

If you want to learn more about a stock or ETF, then you can dive deeper into Stash’s interface. Each asset has a question mark that lets you learn more.

Unique ETF Categorization

Sorting through ETFs can be confusing. Top products from Blackrock and Vanguard can all sound so similar. Stash makes it easy to distinguish between ETFs by giving them unique names.

Instead of using SPDR for the popular biotech ETF, for example, Stash calls it “Modern Meds.” Meanwhile, Stash calls Vanguard’s small-cap ETF “Small But Mighty.” You can also view ETF categories like Clean & Green (for clean energy), Do the Right Thing (for socially responsible companies), Women Who Lead (for companies with female leaders), and Rate Hike Refuge (for a floating rate bond ETF), among other unique ETF options.

Automated Investing

Like other modern brokerages, Stash makes it easy to automatically invest your cash. Stash has several automatic investing features that make it easy to save your money. You can round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, for example. Once that amount totals up to $5, Stash sends the money to your investment account, giving you regular $5 infusions of cash into your investment account.

Stash also makes it easy to automatically reinvest dividends (via DRIP). With Stash’s DRIP, you can automatically reinvest dividends across all account types.

Other automated investing tools available through Stash include:

Set Schedule: You can set a schedule with Stash and automatically invest according to that recurring schedule.

Round-Ups: Automatically round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar amount, then send that difference to your investment account (once it reaches a minimum of $5).

Smart Stash: Stash can analyze your spending habits and transfer ‘extra’ money automatically to your portfolio.

Overall, the Stash automated feature makes it easy to save more money every day and every month. For investors who struggle to put aside money for their investment accounts, Stash’s automated investing tools can be a game-changer.

$5 Bonus

Stash offers a $5 bonus for signing up today. If you sign up for a Stash account and deposit at least $5, then you will get a $5 bonus.

Budgeting Options

Stash also offers a range of budgeting and personal financial planning options. You can create partitions in your Stash debit account, for example, allowing you to separate parts of your account for different expenses and goals. You can save for shorter-term goals in your normal spending account.

Custodial Accounts

Stash offers custodial accounts for parents creating an account for their children. If you want to help children get started with investing, the Stash’s custodial accounts (available at the $9 subscription option) may be the right choice.

Smart Portfolio

Stash has a Smart Portfolio system that makes it easy to create an investment portfolio based on your unique goals. Here are some of the Smart Portfolio features users like with Stash:

Smart Mix: Stash’s investment picks are guided by trusted financial research and your own risk level. You give Stash basic information, and you can intelligently diversify your portfolio.

Fractional Shares: You can buy shares of companies for as little as $5 within your Smart Portfolio, buying fractional shares of ETFs or companies.

Smart Transactions: If you add or remove cash to your Smart Portfolio, Stash will automatically rebalance your portfolio, moving you closer to your ideal investment mix.

Stress-Free Investing: The goal with Smart Portfolio is to give you smart rebalancing. If your portfolio drips 5% away from its target allocation, then Stash will rebalance it quarterly.

Flexible Plans: The Stash Growth and Stash+ plan both include access to the Smart Portfolio, although the Smart Beginner plan does not.

Available Investments with Stash

Stash lets investors buy whole or fractional shares of 3,000+ stocks and ETFs. One of Stash’s best features is the way it sorts stocks and makes it easy to select stocks by theme, categories, and more. You can easily support a specific mission or cause with Stash’s curated list of ETFs, for example.

You can buy the 3,000 stocks and ETFs in Stash through the following customization options:

Stocks by Industry: Choose from industries like consumer staples, energy, finance, health care, and industrials.

Stocks by Categories: You can choose ETFs based on categories like bonds, broad markets, commodities, diversified mixes, and global exposure.

Industry-Specific Companies: View companies in specific industries, including technology, health care, and energy companies.

Bonds: Buy bond ETFs through Stash. Stash’s themed bond ETFs are made up of loans to companies and governments bundled together into a single fund. The company offers bond ETFs with unique names like Big Business Bonds, Don’t Tax On Me, Uncle Sam: Short-Term, Long-Haul Bonds, and Park my Cash.

Search: If you don’t want to use the categorization options above, then you can search for specific stocks or ETFs within Stash, then view at-a-glance information about each stock before deciding whether to purchase it.


Like all personal finance apps, Stash puts a heavy emphasis on security. Stash uses 256-bit encryption, biometric authentication, and other leading technologies to keep your account secure.

Stash’s bank accounts are also FDIC insured up to the legal limits via a partnership with Green Dot Bank. Plus, account balances up to $500,000 are protected through Stash’s partner company, Apex Clearing Corporation.

Buy Fractional Shares

Stash offers unique purchasing options, including the ability to buy fractional shares. This option has become more popular among investing apps, especially as prices of trendy stocks (like Amazon, Tesla, and Apple) have risen beyond what a beginner investor can afford.

Fractional shares are also available through other major brokerage accounts, including Robinhood, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade.

You can buy a fractional share at any dollar amount. When buying Apple, for example, you can choose share options like $5, $25, or $50. Instead of buying a full Apple share for $133, you get a pre-selected dollar amount. In fact, if your investment costs less than $1,000 per share, then you can invest as little as $0.01. The minimum investment for assets above $1,000 is $0.05.

Stock-Back Program

Stash offers a unique system called the Stock-Back program, where you get rewards in exchange for spending money. Any qualifying purchases made using your Stash debit card earn a percentage back in stock. If you spend $100 on qualifying purchases with your debit card, for example, then a portion of that goes towards buying a stock or ETF of your choice.

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Stash Disadvantages

Generally, users are happy with Stash, and it’s particularly popular among beginner investors who feel overwhelmed by traditional investing platforms. More experienced investors may find better options, but Stash has few disadvantages compared to competing investing platforms.

Pricing and Fees

Stash’s fees can be costlier than competitors’ fees. Stash has a subscription fee model that raises rates for smaller investors, although larger investors may have more competitive pricing with Stash. Stash offers a service (easy stock and ETF picking) in exchange for a fee. If you use the platform’s full rebalancing options and other perks, then you can get good value. However, if you’re simply buying stocks and ETFs in your account, then you should be able to find commission-free options.

Expensive ETFs and Costly Management Ratios

Stash’s ETFs make it easy to invest in targeted causes, but they also come with higher fees. Expect to pay management expense ratios of 0.25% with Stash’s ETFs, which is costlier than the average MER.

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Stash Pricing

Stash charges higher fees than competing options like Acorns and Wealthfront. However, because of the unique subscription system, investors with higher balances will pay less, while investors with lower balances will pay more. If you have a $500 balance with Stash and pay for the $1 per month subscription fee, for example, then you’re paying fees of 2.4%. If you have a $5,000 balance, then that fee drops to 0.24%.

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Stash does not charge commissions on stock trades within the app.

Here’s how Stash’s pricing breaks down:

Stash Beginner ($1 Per Month)

  • Recommended for first-time budgeters and investors
  • Personal investment account
  • The Stock-Back Card
  • Savings tools
  • Personalized advice
  • $1,000 of life insurance coverage through Avibra

Stash Growth ($3 Per Month)

  • Recommended for those who want to expand their long-term wealth-building plan
  • Includes everything in Stash Beginner
  • Roth or Traditional retirement account (IRA)

Stash+ ($9 Per Month)

  • Ideal for savvy wealth-builders and debit card spenders
  • Includes everything in Stash Growth
  • Investment accounts for kids (custodial accounts)
  • Monthly market insights report
  • $10,000 of life insurance coverage through Avibra

How to Get Started with Stash

It’s easy to get started with Stash – even if you’re completely new to investing.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1) Download the Stash mobile app for iOS or Android.

Step 2) Answer a few questions. Stash asks you a few basic questions when you first sign up. You’ll disclose your financial goals, investment horizons, and other information about your investing and budgeting habits.

Step 3) Pick a plan. Choose your subscription plan, including the $1 per month, $3 per month, or $9 per month subscription options.

Step 4) Add money to Stash. You can add money to Stash automatically or manually. It takes a few minutes to set up a direct deposit with Stash. Or, you can choose to send all or a part of your paycheck straight to Stash. You could even receive your paycheck two days early with Stash.

Step 5) Bank, budget, and create goals with Stash. Use Stash’s automatic budgeting and savings tools to organize your cash into different spaces within the app. You can also create goals and track your spending.

Step 6) Invest how you like. You’re set up with Stash. You can invest how you like, buy fractional shares, purchase 3,000+ stocks and ETFs, and begin making purchases with your Stock-Back Card while earning rewards in Stash.

When buying stocks and ETFs for the first time, you’ll notice a different experience than you get with other trading apps. Stash is built for long-term investing instead of day trading. All Stash market transactions execute during four trading windows each weekday (including morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and later afternoon).

Stash Reviews: What Do Users Have to Say?

Stash has good reviews online. It’s particularly popular with beginner investors who want to dip their toes into investing for the first time. More experienced investors, however, may want to choose a commission-free brokerage if they’re simply buying stocks and ETFs.

Stash has strong reviews on the iOS app store, carrying an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 with 243,000+ reviews. On the Google Play Store, Stash has an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 with 67,000+ reviews.

Here are some of the pros and cons shared by app store reviewers:

Reviewers like the all-in-one convenience of Stash, including the debit card, brokerage account, and automatic investing features, and more

Some reviewers take issue with Stash’s purchasing system, which only buys stocks four times per day (once in the early morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and late afternoon); if you want to instantly buy a stock at a specific price, then Stash may make that difficult

Many reviewers liked the automatic investing system, especially if they’re previously had issues contributing to their investment accounts

Stash popular with beginners and intermediate investors, especially those who are getting started for the first time and want to enjoy the excitement of watching their investments grow over time

Some reviewers are unhappy with the customer service provided by Stash, although others seem satisfied with responses

Overall, Stash is popular with beginner investors who are investing for the long term. If you’re looking for a commission-free trading app that lets you make multiple swaps per day, then Stash isn’t the right choice. However, if you’re looking for a hassle-free, user-friendly way to invest, then Stash may be the best option.

About Stash

Stash was launched in 2015. As of 2021, the company has over $455 million in VC funding, 5 million users, and 300+ employees.

Stash’s founders, Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson came from Wall Street. While working on Wall Street, they realized wealth creation systems – particularly investing – were stacked against everyday Americans. They quit their jobs with a mission to make investing easy and affordable for everyone.

You can contact Stash or get answers to your questions at https://ask.stash.com/

Final Word

Stash is a personal finance app with 5 million users. The app makes it easy for anyone to buy shares or ETFs in a hassle-free way. Investors can get started with as little as $5.

To learn more about Stash and how the personal finance platform works, visit online at Stash.com.

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