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Written by Matthew Cerminaro on June 17, 2020
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Robinhood vs Stash 2020: 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. 

Robinhood changed the investing game forever by releasing a revolutionary commission free stock trading app. Now, countless brokerages have followed suit in offering zero commission trading. This app allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies all commission free. 

Stash has a slightly different approach. They offer a bit more handholding than the Robinhood app by offering guidance on what stocks and ETFs to purchase. They offer a variety of prebuilt portfolios. However, they do charge a monthly fee ranging from $1 to $9 per month. 

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

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 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 broker’s make money is by charging commission’s when its 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. 

Click here to open a Robinhood account + get a free stock!

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.

Fractional Shares 

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

For example, Tesla’s market cap has grown to 179.74B over the past few years and its share value has increased to $970 (as of 6/16/20). 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.

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% APY11/17/20

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. 

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. 

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

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 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 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 fractions of companies  
  • Extensive FAQ page 
  • 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 tactical charting platform offered
  • 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 investing platform

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, up to 2 days early payday, and an included debt card that can help earn unique subscriber rewards. 

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. 

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. 

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 receive 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 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.

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. 

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 imbedded 
  • Sign up for 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 its 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. 

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 the 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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