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Written by Matthew Cerminaro on January 19, 2021
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Robinhood vs Stash 2021: Best Investing App?

Robinhood and Stash are two companies that are working to revolutionize the way the world invests. By providing investment services at industry-low prices, Robinhood and Stash have one mission. That is, to break down the barriers to entry for all investors, big and small. 

This is done through a variety of features including commission-free trades, fractional shares, and the ability to streamline and automate your finances.

In this article, we will be comparing the features, fees, pros, and cons of both these brokerage services to help you decide between Stash vs Robinhood.



 

Robinhood vs Stash: The Basics

Robinhood was the first commission-free trading app to hit the scene back in 2013. Since then, many other apps have popped up in their wake, tailoring to specific niches or use cases. The Robinhood app is tailored towards beginner long-term investors and shorter-term traders that do not require advanced tools and data.

Stash is an app designed specifically for the longer-term investor. By providing features like retirement accounts and custodial accounts, Stash allows for greater flexibility to fit your specific use case. However, these features do come at a cost as there is no free plan for Stash.

Both apps will allow you to buy and sell fractional shares of individual stocks and ETFs. However, Robinhood also allows investors to purchase options and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin commission-free.

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Robinhood Review 2021: Best Investing App?

  • Trading Fees
  • Ease Of Use
  • Account Types
  • Research/Data
  • Securities Offered
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Stash Review

Stash Review 2021: Best Investing App?

  • Pricing
  • Assets
  • Account Minimum
  • Tools & Features
  • Sign Up Incentive
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Robinhood vs Stash: Summary

  • Both platforms offer a low-cost option for individuals to get started with investing
  • Robinhood is a completely free platform with no monthly charges (except for Gold)
  • Stash charges anywhere from $1 to $9 per month.
  • This fee allows Stash to provide additional benefits like tax-advantaged retirement accounts.
  • Both platforms allow investors to select the individual investments they want to make.
  • Robinhood includes an optional Gold subscription for $5 per month that provides access to additional research and margin trading.
  • Both apps provide extremely easy-to-use interfaces for investors.
  • Robinhood offers a free stock for new investors who sign up using the button below!
FeatureStashRobinhood
Minimum Balance$0$0
Trading Commissions$0$0
Monthly Fees$1/Month To $9/MonthBasic Service Free, Gold For $5/Month
AssetsAbout 1,800 Stocks/ETFsStocks, ETFs, Options, Cryptocurrencies
Account TypesTaxable, Retirement, CustodialTaxable
Fractional SharesYesYes
Dividend ReinvestmentYesYes
Sign Up IncentiveNone1 Free Stock
Portfolio GuidanceYesNo
Best ForInvestors Looking For Limited GuidanceBeginner Active Traders

What Is Robinhood?

Robinhood Logo

Robinhood is committed to being the investing app for the common person. The minimum to get started is $0 and there are absolutely no trading commissions of any kind. Simplicity is Robinhood’s selling point, and by creating a beginner-friendly user interface, Robinhood has accomplished this.

This is by far the most beginner-friendly app out there for getting started with investing in the stock market.

Robinhood offers a wide variety of services for its clients including the ability to trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies. They also offer some other services such as a high-interest savings account and the ability to purchase fractional shares of stocks and ETFs.

Robinhood Features 

Zero-Commission Trading 

The way most online brokers make money is by charging commissions when their clients execute trades. For Robinhood, this extra cost is completely diminished as Robinhood offers zero-commission on all its securities including: stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies. 

Rather than charging commissions on trades, Robinhood has found other unique ways of making money such as:

  1. Earning interest on uninvested cash held within accounts
  2. Charging a monthly subscription for Robinhood Gold
  3. Earning margin interest from margin accounts
  4. Lending out shares to short-sellers
  5. Directing order flow

Zero Account Minimum 

Robinhood does not require a minimum account value on its individual brokerage accounts. You can open an account for free and fund it with whatever amount you have on hand. 

Mobile/Desktop Application

Executing these zero-commission trades is easier than ever on Robinhood’s beginner-friendly mobile application. Robinhood’s application has been touted as one of the best online brokerage applications and was awarded the Google Play Award in 2016. 

If you want to access the brokerage from your desktop, they also have this option available.

Robinhood Free Training

We put together a free 30 minute video training that walks you through the entire process, step by step. This training will help you get up and running in no time at all.

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Fractional Shares 

Robinhood offers fractional shares through its brokerage service, meaning you can buy portions of a stock rather than purchasing entire shares which can become costly.  

For example, Tesla’s market cap has grown to 783.12B over the past few years and its share value has increased to $826.16 (as of 1/19/21). If Robinhood users were looking to purchase Tesla but did not have the capital required to buy a full share, they can buy fractional shares of Tesla and other stocks in $1 increments. 

So, if you are looking to buy some high-priced companies, but may not have the capital required, Robinhood may be a great choice for you. This makes it easier to build a well-diversified portfolio with a lesser amount of money.

robinhood website image

Cash Management 

Idle money that is uninvested within a brokerage account will gain interest through Robinhood’s “Cash Management” online savings account.

YieldAs Of
0.30% APY05/28/2021

This is a relatively high yield for uninvested cash in a brokerage account, and if you are someone who likes to be patient with their money and often have cash sitting around, Robinhood may be a great option. 

Additionally, keeping money in your cash management account prevents you from having to wait for your money to settle when moving it in to Robinhood. This process typically takes 3-5 business days, however, moving between your cash management and investing accounts is instantaneous.

Free Stock + Stock Referral Program 

Robinhood offers a free stock when you sign up for a brokerage account with them.

When you sign up for a Robinhood account, you will get a free stock worth between $2.50 and $200. It is based on a lottery system whether or not you get a cheap stock or an expensive stock.

Then, you can invite friends to earn more free stocks! Once you sign up, you will be given a referral code that you can send to friends. If friends sign up with your code, you will both be given a free stock valued between $2.50 and $200.

The only caveat of this program is that the limit is $500 annually for referrals. 

Best Free Stock Promotions

BrokeragePromotionLink
Robinhood Logo1 Free Stock (Up To $225)Download
Webull Logo2 Free Stocks (Up To $1,850)Download
Firstrade trading platform2 Free Stocks (Up To $400)Download
M1 Finance Robo AdvisorGet $30 When You Deposit $1,000Download
Acorns LogoFree $10 BonusDownload
SoFi Robo Advisor1 Free Stock Up To $1,000Download

Documents & Taxes 

Robinhood makes accessing important documents and tax information easy on its website. Documents can be easily downloaded which takes away the hassle of paper mailing. 

That being said, if you are looking for paper statements and tax forms mailed to you, Robinhood is not the brokerage for you. This is one of the cost-cutting measures they use which allows them to offer this service for free.

Robinhood Gold 

Robinhood Gold users receive the same features as a standard individual brokerage account but have access to high-quality research and margin trading. These research reports are from Morningstar, a well-respected market research company. 

You can try it out for free for 30 days, and after that, they charge $5 per month for it. The market research reports are really useful when making buy and sell decisions.

With Robinhood Gold, you get:

  • Larger instant deposits of $5,000 to $50,000 depending on your account balance (no more waiting for bank transfers)
  • Morningstar research reports on over 1,000 different stocks
  • Level II market data which shows multiple bids and asks on any given stock
  • Access to margin

As far as instant deposit goes, all Robinhood users get $1,000 in instant deposits. That means when you deposit up to $1,000 to invest, you can invest that amount immediately without waiting for funds to settle.

Customer Support

Most of Robinhood’s customer support comes from its extensive FAQ page. There, you can find the most asked questions and get your answers. In terms of talking to a representative, visit the “contact” section of the website and you will find an area to message a live rep. 

A common complaint among Robinhood users is the lack of customer support, however, this is another cost-cutting measure that allows them to offer this service for free.

Robinhood Fees

Although the platform is 100% free to use, there are some additional features you have the option to pay for if you would like additional functionality.

Robinhood Gold 

Clients can purchase Robinhood Gold for $5 per month. This service is perfect for investors who are looking to access top quality research and the ability to trade on margin. 

Margin Fees 

As mentioned previously, margin investing is available for clients who purchase Robinhood Gold. Margin can be accessed for a 5% annualized interest fee billed at the end of the month. 

Investors should be careful buying on margin and be sure that whatever they are borrowing can be paid back, plus interest! 

Robinhood Profiles

Robinhood Pros

  • Very beginner-friendly platform 
  • Zero-Commissions on all trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies 
  • Easy to access documents offered through download on main website 
  • Cash management allows idle money to earn a high yield 
  • Award-winning application that received the Google Play Award in 2016 
  • Zero account minimums required 
  • Fractional shares allow clients to purchase shares in $1 increments  
  • Extensive FAQ page to provide support
  • Free stock when you sign up and a referral program to earn more free stocks

Robinhood Cons 

  • Customer service has been described as hard to reach 
  • No rewards on debit card spending
  • Extensive research is only offered through Robinhood Gold 
  • Margin can only be accessed through Robinhood Gold
  • No retirement accounts or prebuilt portfolios

What Is Stash?

Stash was built on the idea that traditional banking often fails people, and by offering a wide array of services in one place, Stash is aiming to revolutionize the way its clients plan for their future. Stash offers a wide array of services including affordable investing, online banking, automated saving services, and personal guidance features to help you navigate your finances. 

The key difference between Stash and Robinhood is that Stash charges a monthly fee while Robinhood is totally free. Stash offers more guidance when picking investments than Robinhood does.

A standard taxable brokerage account comes at a price tag of $1 per month. This also allows you to use the Stash online savings account as well as the debit card and rewards program. There is no minimum balance requirement with Stash.

If you want a bit more, the $3 per month plan will give you a retirement account. They offer either a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA.

Finally, if you want all Stash has to offer, for $9 per month you will also be able to open two custodial accounts for minors (for example, investing for your children). You also get a metal debit card as well as access to more advanced research reports and a better rewards program.

Stash Features 

Affordable Investing 

Stash offers thousands of different stocks and ETFs to choose from that allow its clients to create a well-diversified investment portfolio. You will find around 1,800 different ETFs and individual stocks available for trading. 

They also offer tools for building a portfolio, which is something Robinhood does not offer. This is very helpful for beginners.

Online Banking 

Stash offers subscribers different online banking accounts that include flexible money management plans and up to 2 days early payday when you set up direct deposit. 

To get started with this service, you can visit the “Banking” section of the Stash website and enter your email address under the “Get Started” section. 

Stock-Back Debit Card

In addition to the online checking account, Stash will also provide you with a debit card that allows you to earn free stock on your purchases.

When you use the card to shop at any of their partner merchants, you'll earn stock in that company. So if you shop at Walmart, you'll get free Walmart stock on your Stock-Back Card.

Additionally, if you use the card at merchants that they are not partnered with, you're able to decide what stock you receive. You can either set your default reward to a specific stock or a broad ETF that tracks the market as a whole.

Mobile Application 

Stash offers a high-quality, easy-to-use, fully functioning mobile application to execute trades, track income, check your bank accounts, and utilize all of Stash’s most important features.

Stash Learn

The Stash Learn feature allows clients to access important articles regarding current market conditions to stay well-informed with news. Stash also allows clients to sign up for a “Learn Weekly” newsletter, a weekly recap of the most important news and personal finance tips. 

Automatic Savings 

Stash’s Automatic Savings tool allows clients to set a fixed goal of weekly savings that is deposited from checking accounts into different accounts depending on the client’s goals and preferences. 

Stash UI

Round-Ups

Just like the popular app Acorns, Stash also offers a spare change round-up investing strategy.

Stash offers round-ups on purchases to passively invest money for you. By rounding up to the next dollar on purchases and distributing that money into your investing account, Stash is automatically dollar-cost-averaging into the market and executing on one of the most well-established investing strategies. 

Fractional Shares

Like Robinhood, Stash offers fractional shares on all the securities that it offers. As previously mentioned, this is very important for investors who may be looking to invest in companies with more expensive share prices.

Roth IRA 

Stash offers Roth IRA accounts with no minimum deposit.

This account offers tax-free incentives on income and receives no withdrawal penalty if the money is withdrawn after the age of 59½. The maximum contribution to this account is $6,000 per year before the age of 50 and $7,000 per year after the age of 50. 

Traditional IRA 

Stash’s Traditional IRA account has no account minimum as well.

This account allows clients to deduct contributions from taxable earned income. There will be no penalty fee for withdrawal of this type of account after the age of 59½. The max contribution for the Traditional IRA is like the Roth IRA as both offer a maximum of $6,000 per year before age 50 and $7,000 after the age of 50 and above. 

Customer Support

Clients can navigate to the “Stash Ask” section of the company’s website and find all the answers to the most common questions. 

Stash users can also contact live representatives between 8:30 AM EST and 6:30 PM EST Monday through Friday. On the weekends, Stash offers customer support between 11 AM EST and 5 PM EST.

Stash has better customer service than Robinhood offers.

Stash Price

Stash Fees 

The fee for using Stash ranges from $1 to $9 per month based on the plan you choose.

Beginner ($1 Per Month)

Coming in at a price of $1/month, Stash’s “Beginner” account allows clients to open a personal investment account, a bank account, the ability to be paid up to 2 days early and access to educational resources.

You'll also have access to the Stock-Back debit card so you can start earning free stock on your spending.

Growth ($3 Per Month)

The Stash “Growth” account can be accessed for $3/month and users gain complete access to the beginner features with the addition of tax benefits for retirement investing. 

If you are using stash for the retirement account automation and benefits, but are not willing to pay the $9/month for Stash+, this may be a great option.

Stash Plus ($9 Per Month)

Stash’s “Stash+” account can be accessed for $9/month and gives clients access to all of the features in the Growth account with the addition of investing accounts for 2 kids, a metal card with 2x stock-back, and monthly market insight reports from top research analysts. 

You'll also receive $10,000 in life insurance protection from their partner Avibra. On the other two plans, you will receive $1,000 in coverage.

Stash Pros 

  • Zero commissions on all stock and ETF trades
  • Online banking is easy to signup for and automatic deposits allow clients to passively invest/save 
  • Roundups naturally create a dollar-cost-average investing approach 
  • Various retirement accounts offered 
  • Mobile application is easy to use
  • Lots of educational resources 
  • Debit card offered with rewards programs embedded 
  • Sign up for a free weekly newsletter to learn about personal finance tips 
  • High-tech platform with many ways to track account progress

Stash Cons 

  • High monthly fees on account subscriptions, especially if you have a smaller account balance.
  • Only stocks and ETFs offered
  • No tactical charting platform offered 
  • Limited research offered
  • Tailored for clients with larger principals and account values 

Robinhood vs Stash: Summary

Both Robinhood and Stash offer a unique investment and savings platform to their clients through their easy-to-use, beginner-friendly mobile applications.

Robinhood is a great option for those who are going to trade actively, as that is what Robinhood specializes in. They also offer a wider variety of securities to choose from than Stash. With Robinhood, you can trade stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto. Stash only offers around 1,800 different stocks and ETFs. This is less than half of what Robinhood offers.

The Stash app is a great option for those who are more interested in saving for their future and are looking for an online service where they can track savings, investments, retirement accounts, etc more easily. They also offer pre-built portfolios and caters to the novice investor. You will not find retirement accounts, custodial accounts, or portfolio guidance on Robinhood. 

Both Robinhood and Stash offer educational tools and research reports. However, Stash has the upper hand when it comes to customer service. A common complaint among Robinhood users is their poor customer service. Stash also offers some other unique banking features and a rewards program which is not something seen on Robinhood.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the specific investor, their goals, time horizon, and which features they are personally looking for in an online broker.

Robinhood offers new users a completely free stock when they sign up and they don't charge any commissions. If you want a bit more handholding, or different account types, Stash may be worth the monthly cost.

Keep Reading:

Robinhood vs Stash
Article written by Matthew Cerminaro
Matt is currently attending Union College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He participates in the student investment fund and is a member of the Union College football team. Matt runs his own personal finance Instagram page and market-related blog where he writes about economics and general wealth accumulation tips.

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