Our Comprehensive Stash App Review: Will This App Really Make Investing Easier?

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For many of us, investing might seem inaccessible.

If we’re trying to scrape up money for rent each month, how can we afford to invest? Or maybe we do have a little bit of savings established… but why risk it? Plus: How the heck do you start investing?

More and more microinvesting apps are popping up to help people who are new to investing — and we’re kind of stoked. These apps aim to make investing more inclusive and less intimidating.

The Stash app lets you start investing with as little as $1. Plus, it doesn’t throw you in with the wolves of Wall Street. It can help you through each step, cushioning the intimidation factor for new investors.

Trying to decide whether to use Stash for investing? To help you make the best choice, we’ve reviewed the app ourselves.

In this review:

What Is Stash?

Stash is a microinvesting app — an investment app that lets you put small amounts of money into the stock market.

Here’s a little more information about the company from its LinkedIn page:

Headquarters: New York, New York Co-founders: Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson
Industry: Financial Services Company Type: Privately Held
Year Founded: 2015 Number of employees: 201-500

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How Does Stash Invest Work?

TL;DR: Here are the basics of using Stash.

Minimum Investment $1
Fees Subscription fees range from $1-$9 per month
Mobile Access iPhone app, Android app, U.S. only
Cancellation Policy If you want to cancel a transaction, you must do so in the app. You can only cancel pending transactions.

Good fit? Let’s look a little more closely.

How to Sign up

Signing up with Stash is simple. Visit its website or download the app.

Hey, pssttt… when you sign up through The Penny Hoarder, Stash will give you a $5 bonus after you link your bank account and put at least $5* in your investment account.

Once you sign up, you can answer a few questions, which can help Stash determine your risk tolerance: conservative, moderate or aggressive. Then you can link up your bank account.

Once that’s all set, take a moment to get familiar with the app.

The “Invest” button on the bottom toolbar allows you to begin exploring your investment options. If you want some guidance, Stash can offer handpicked investments for you. Just tap “Get recommendations,” and it’ll give you recommendations on how you can better diversify your portfolio and manage your risk.

Investing With Stash

Stash lets you buy stocks and ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, a bundle of stocks that have something in common.

With ETFs, your money goes toward a fund, which invests in those bundled stocks. This allows you to purchase fractional shares, or pieces of stocks, so you can own a piece of typically more expensive stocks such as Apple, with as little as $1.

To get started with your first investment, go into your Stash account, and tap “Invest.” You can then search for stocks and ETFs. If you’re looking to invest in a company, you can search directly for it using the search bar, or you can search by company categories, including energy, finance, media and tech.

For ETFs, you can also explore by your interests, including global exposure, missions and causes, and technology and innovation.

If you find a company or portfolio that piques your interest, read a brief overview of the investment, peep the risk level, and if you’re looking at an ETF, you’ll see a list of its top company holdings. Tap over to the performance section for a visual of how the portfolio has performed in the past.

Take some time perusing your options. It’s actually kind of fun and exciting, and it’s nice to know exactly where you’re investing your money.

Once you choose the investments you’d like to mke, select “Add to Portfolio.” You’ll be prompted to determine how much you want to invest.

You can also opt for a feature called Auto-Stash to set an amount you’d like to funnel into the investment each week or each month. Start with as little as $1.

Once you’ve got some money tucked into your chosen investments, you can check in to see how it’s doing by looking at your portfolio. Your Stash investment page breaks down your total portfolio value, as well as the total return.

An illustration shows parts of the stash app
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

If you want even more insight into your investing portfolios and habits, check in with your Stash coach, an automated investment adviser, who you’ll find when you tap “Home.”

The coach offers investing suggestions and hands out points when you’ve completed a task that betters your portfolio. Whether you take these actions it advises is up to you.

How to Withdraw Money From Stash Invest

To take money out of your Stash investment account, you may have to sell shares of the stocks you’ve invested in.

To sell investments in the app:

  1. Select the investment you want to sell.
  2. Click “Sell.”
  3. Select either “Sell” to sell a portion or “Sell All” to sell the entire amount.
  4. To sell a portion, enter the amount you want to sell, then hit “Next.”
  5. Select “Confirm Changes.”

You can set investments to sell anytime in the app, and Stash will actually sell your investments when the market is open. The amount you get from the sale depends on the value of your investment during that selling window.

After a sale, the SEC requires Stash to hold your earnings for two business days. Then it will release your money into your Cash Balance.

You can withdraw money from your Cash Balance to a linked bank account anytime.

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More Stash Features

Invest, Stash’s personal investment account, is its flagship feature. However, the app has expanded since its inception. Now Stash also offers more ways to earn and save money.

Smart-Stash

If you’re less keen on investing and more focused on saving, you can use Stash’s Smart-Save feature. It can help you build your savings.

To set up Smart-Save: If you already have a Stash account, log in. Under the “Auto-Stash” tab, scroll down to find “Smart-Save.”

When you opt in to the feature, Stash will start saving your money automatically, based on your spending habits and income. It’ll only save what you can afford, and if your bank account dips below $100 — or any higher amount you set — it’ll stop withdrawing.

You can get daily alerts via text to see exactly how much you’ve saved. You can turn off Smart-Save at any time.

The Smart-Save feature is not a savings account offered by a bank. Funds are added to your Cash Balance, which is connected to the bank account linked to your Stash Invest account.

 

Retire

Stash Retire is the app’s retirement investing option. Through Stash, you can open a traditional or Roth IRA to save for retirement. You can fund your retirement account the same ways you can fund a Stash Invest account.

Custodial Accounts

You can open custodial accounts for minors, whether you’re their parent or not.

You’ll fund custodial accounts the same ways you fund a personal Stash Invest account. When the kid reaches the age of majority (this varies by state), they get to take control of the account and continue to invest or withdraw the money.

Stock-Back® Rewards

Stash lets you earn free stock investments while you shop.

You’ll get a Stash debit card if you open and fund a Stash banking account, which is managed through Green Dot Bank.

When you use your Stash Visa debit card, you’ll earn Stock-Back® rewards, which are small pieces of stocks related to your purchase. For example, if you shop at Walmart, you’ll earn a piece of Walmart stock.

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Is Stash Safe?

Yes, Stash is legitimate, and no, it’s not a scam.

Many major consumer complaints seem to have stemmed from user error — accounts not being properly shut down.

Remember: You can’t just delete the app from your phone and expect to get your money back and for the monthly payments to stop. Follow the directions to properly close an account.

If you have any questions the Stash FAQ page can’t answer, you can contact the company’s customer service team.

Stash is all about security, too. It has 256-bit encryption (that’s what a lot of banks use) and you can set up fingerprint or facial recognition access.

When you create an account, you’ll sign up with your username and create a password. You’ll also create a four-digit security code, which you’ll be required to enter each time you open the app. You can set up thumbprint access, too.

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Stash Fees: How Much Does It Cost?

Stash offers three subscription plans that charge a monthly flat fee. Choose a plan based on which Stash features you want to access.

Beginner

The Stash Beginner plan costs $1 per month. Plus, Stash has no hidden fees.

Growth

If you want to add a retirement account, you’ll pay a $3 monthly fee.

Stash+

As a Stash+ member, which costs $9 per month, you get access to two custodial investment accounts included in your subscription. Stash+ members also get a fancy metal debit card and earn double Stock-Back® rewards.

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Pros and Cons

This photo illustration shows the stash app on a phone as well as a wallet with $5 coming out if it.
Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder

With any app or platform, you’ll find it has its own pros and cons. Here are a few of Stash’s pros and cons:

Pros:

  • You’re able to start investing with as little as $1.
  • It offers ETFs broken down by category, so you’re able to see exactly what types of companies you’re investing in, and you can make decisions based on your interests or beliefs. The app provides educational information on each ETF.
  • Stash aims to make investing less intimidating. It walks you through the process, and if there’s ever a term you don’t understand, chances are, Stash can help explain it.
  • The Auto-Stash feature helps you automatically invest as little as $1 each week or month. This helps set your finances to autopilot, so you don’t have to actively deposit money into your account.
  • Penny Hoarders can get an extra $5 when you sign up through this link and fund your Invest account with at least $5.
  • You can also open a retirement account and bank account, and it’ll all be on the same platform. No need to check 10 different apps to keep tabs on your money.

Cons:

  • It costs between $1 to $9 per month to use. When you compare that to your returns, it might not be worth it. Do note, though, you can get that $5 bonus when you sign up.
  • Stash doesn’t send email or push notification updates on your investment account balance. Trust us: We’re not big fans of getting bombarded with these, but when you have money in an account, it’s nice to keep tabs on it. It’s possible to forget about your money in Stash unless you’ve built a habit of checking the app.
  • As with all investing, there’s risk. Even though you’re investing small amounts of money, you’re still playing with the volatility of the stock market, so it’s possible you could lose money.

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Stash App Comparison

If you’re the type of person who wants to study various products before committing to just one, we don’t blame you. Here’s how Stash stacks up against some of the best investment apps on the market:

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For a detailed look at two popular apps, check out our head-to-head comparison of Acorns vs. Stash.

Think Stash could be the perfect way to ease yourself into the investing pond? Get started and claim that $5 bonus after you deposit $5 in your account.

Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This article contains general information and explains options you may have, but it is not intended to be investment advice or a personal recommendation. We can't personalize articles for our readers, so your situation may vary from the one discussed here. Please seek a licensed professional for tax advice, legal advice, financial planning advice or investment advice.