Is The All-In-One Financial App Worth the Money?
Financial Service

Is The All-In-One Financial App Worth the Money?

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Stash review

Stash

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Bank account: no minimum; Smart Portfolio: $5; Brokerage, Roth and traditional IRAs: $0.01

  • Fees

    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

  • Investment options

Pros

  • Access to a robo-advisor, brokerage account, bank account and retirement accounts in one app
  • Variety of stocks from different companies and ETFs

Cons

  • Hefty annual fee of at least $36

Stash’s pricing options and features

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.

Why a Stash brokerage account might not be worth it

TD Ameritrade

  • Fees/commissions

    $0 commission on stocks, options and ETFs

  • Account minimum

  • Investment options

    Includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, Forex, and futures

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Intuitive trading platform
  • Large selection of mutual funds

Cons

  • Some mutual funds charge high commissions
  • Free research may not all be relevant to novice investors
  • Doesn’t offer fractional shares of stocks

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.

Betterment

On Betterment’s secure site

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For Betterment Digital Investing, $0 minimum balance; Premium Investing requires a $100,000 minimum balance

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For Betterment Digital Investing, 0.25% of your fund balance as an annual account fee; Premium Investing has a 0.40% annual fee

  • Bonus

    Up to one year of free management service with a qualifying deposit within 45 days of signup. Valid only for new individual investment accounts with Betterment LLC

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash

  • Educational resources

    Betterment RetireGuide™ helps users plan for retirement

SoFi Invest®

  • 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

    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

  • Bonus

    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

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, ETFs, crypto, fractional shares and IPO participation

  • Educational resources

    Investors can create a personal watchlist that follows their stocks to stay up to date and receive the latest investing news

The Stock-Back Card and other noteworthy features

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. 

Don’t miss: Debit cards that offer credit card-like rewards and perks

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.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Rewards

    Enjoy 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; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

  • 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

  • Credit needed

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo’s secure site

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    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

  • Regular APR

    17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% ($5 minimum) for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

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.

Bottom line

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.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.


https://www.cnbc.com/select/stash-review/