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Sometimes, even just thinking about your finances can feel overwhelming and leave you with more questions than answers — have you been saving enough money for retirement or do you have enough money in your emergency fund in case of unexpected expenses, to name a few.
Thankfully, there are fintech companies out there providing financial apps and services that seek to make investing and saving easier for consumers, whether by automatically sweeping extra money into an emergency fund or curating an investment portfolio based on your financial goals.
Stash is one such service, created in 2015 by two former Wall Street employees, Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson. Stash aims to help people build long-term wealth. For a monthly fee, users can access a robo-advisor investing service, retirement and brokerage accounts and a bank account with a debit card that earns stock rewards.
Below, Select takes a closer look at how Stash works and whether or not it's worth the money.
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Minimum deposit and balance
Bank account: no minimum; Smart Portfolio: $5; Brokerage, Roth and traditional IRAs: $0.01
Fees vary based on the pricing tier: Stash Growth is $3 a month and Stash+ is $9 a month
Investment vehicles offered
Robo-advisor, Traditional and Roth IRAs, Brokerage account, Custodial Accounts, Bank account
Stocks and ETFs
For starters, Stash is an online and mobile financial service, available through the App Store and Google Play. There are two pricing tiers to choose from: Stash Growth and Stash+.
Both options offer customers access to financial counseling services, a brokerage account, a Roth or traditional IRA, a Smart Portfolio, life insurance coverage through Avibra and a bank account with the associated Stock-Back® Card, a debit card that lets you earn stock rewards.
Stash Growth costs $3 a month, while Stash+ costs $9 a month — over the course of a year, Stash Growth would run you $36, while Stash+ will end up costing $108.
By paying an extra $6 for Stash+ each month, you'll receive access to the same perks as Stash Growth, plus more extensive financial counseling, two custodial accounts (meant for your kids), a higher rewards rate on the debit card (2X the stock rewards) and more life insurance coverage ($10,000 instead of $1,000). Note that the financial counseling offered by Stash+ does not mean personalized advice through a human financial advisor, but written guides and how-to articles.
With Stash's brokerage account, you can start investing in two types of asset classes: Individual stocks and exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. When you buy a share of an ETF, you're essentially buying a basket of stocks and/or bonds — these can also be bought and sold throughout the day on an exchange.
Stash offers a variety of ETFs, ranging from value and growth stocks to commodities and bonds. You can also purchase stocks from individual companies such as Chipotle or Adobe, or fractional shares of stock — for example, one-tenth or one-one-hundredth of a share of stock. The Stash brokerage account has no commission fees, so you won't have to pay a broker for buying or selling your investments, which are covered up to $500,000 by Apex Clearing.
There are, of course, expense ratios, or annual management fees for funds, for the ETFs you purchase. Note that since Stash charges a monthly fee for its services, you may be paying higher fees than you would with a traditional $0 commission trading platform. For example, if you were to invest $1,000 in the Stash brokerage account, you would also be paying $36 annually because of Stash's monthly charges, on top of an expense ratios.
A better alternative may be to use a different investment platform such as TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest, or Vanguard, which Select ranked among the best free stock trading services. These brokerages do not charge a fee just to have an account.
$0 commission on stocks, options and ETFs
Includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, Forex, and futures
Stash also offers its users a Smart Portfolio, a robo-advisor product that creates an investment portfolio based on your personal financial goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. The Smart portfolio rebalances on a quarterly basis, changing the allocation of your portfolio if it ever drifts from your goals. Customers need to invest at least $5 to use this feature, which, it's worth noting, does not offer tax-loss harvesting.
There are a number of alternative robo-advisors services available that may be better suited for you. Select ranked Betterment as the best robo-advisor option for consumers based on factors such as fees and investment options. With Betterment, you'll have to pay a 0.25% annual fee based on what you're investing, which means if you were to invest $1,000, you'd only have to pay $2.50 more per year in addition to the expense ratios. However, if you're investing more than $15,000, the Stash robo-advisor may be a better option than Betterment, as annual fees would be $37.50 with Betterment (and would continue to rise the more you invest) versus a flat $36 for Stash.
SoFi is also worth considering if you're looking for an all-in-one financial services platform similar to Stash, as it offers banking, investing and lending services. SoFi Invest offers commission fee trading and a robo-advisor with no management fee. However, since SoFi curates some of it own ETFs, you may find that your investment portfolio is composed heavily of SoFi ETFs which generally have higher expense ratios than index fund ETFs from companies like Fidelity and Vanguard.
Minimum deposit and balance
Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For example, Betterment doesn't require clients to maintain a minimum investment account balance, but there is a ACH deposit minimum of $10. Premium Investing requires a $100,000 minimum balance.
Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected, account balances, etc. Click here for details.
Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash
Betterment offers retirement and other education materials
Terms apply. Does not apply to crypto asset portfolios.
Minimum deposit and balance
Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No account minimum for active or automated investing, or to participate in IPOs. $5 minimum to own a fractional share of a company. $10 minimum to trade crypto
Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Active investing has zero commission fees for trading stocks and ETFs (exchange and fund management fees may apply). Automated investing has zero management fees
Download the SoFi app and get up to $1,000 when you open an Active SoFi Invest® Brokerage Account. Make your first crypto trade of $10 or more and earn $10 in bitcoin. SoFi covers up to $75 of any transfer fees your brokerage may charge when you transfer an account to SoFi
Stocks, bonds, ETFs, crypto, fractional shares and IPO participation
Investors can create a personal watchlist that follows their stocks to stay up to date and receive the latest investing news
One of Stash's other touted features is its Stock-Back® Card, a debit card associated with a digital bank account, which is FDIC insured through Green Dot Bank. There are no minimum balance fees, no overdraft fees, and users have access to more than 19,000 fee-free ATMs.
Rather than receiving cash back or rewards points, cardholders can earn rewards in stock of their choice. Note, however, that the amount of stock you'll actually earn is pretty meager — Stash Growth users can earn 0.125% back on purchases while Stash+ customers can earn 0.25% back.
While the Stock-Back® Card is a debit card, you might be better off using a rewards credit card instead, as they tend to offer more rewards and give you an opportunity to build your credit score — most will let you earn at least 1% cash back, which is only slightly less than 10X the rewards rate of the Stock-Back® Card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a good no-annual-fee card option, allowing cardholders to earn 3% cash back when shopping at drugstores and dining at restaurants (including takeout and certain delivery services) as well as 1.5% back for all other purchases. Another comparable choice is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which offers 2% cash rewards for all eligible purchases.
Enjoy 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Special Offer: Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned! There is no limit to how much you can earn. Every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match.
0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers
20.49% - 29.24% variable
Balance transfer fee
Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee
Member FDIC. Terms apply.
Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.
Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate.
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Balance transfer fee
Introductory fee of 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)
Foreign transaction fee
See rates and fees, terms apply.
In terms of other notable features, Stash provides a round-up function, which will round up any purchases you make with your debit card and set aside that money for investing. Once you have at least $5 accumulated, Stash will transfer money over to your investment account.
Stash also offers custodial accounts — brokerage accounts for children that are managed by parents, grandparents or children, which come with Stash+ subscriptions — as well as retirement accounts such as a Roth or traditional IRA, which are offered to all members.
While Stash can be useful for amateur investors who want to have a debit card, a traditional or Roth IRA and a bank and brokerage account all within one app, that access comes at an expense — the annual fee is $36 for the lowest tier of services, while it's $108 for the premium-level tier.
If you're a bit more experienced at investing and want to save money on fees, consider using a $0 commission trading platform. However, the Stash Robo-advisor can be a good option for investors planning on investing more than $15,000 through the service.
The Stash Stock-Back® Card also offers meager rewards — using a rewards credit card would be a good alternative since they tend to offer higher rewards rates even if it means you're getting cash back or points and miles back for your everyday purchases instead of stocks.