Robinhood vs. Stash
Robinhood is the go-to stock trading app for millennials. So how does Stash compete?
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Robinhood, the pioneer for mobile trading apps in 2017, now faces stiff competition from a handful of new, user-friendly mobile trading apps.
Incredibly, Robinhood reported 4.3 million daily average revenue trades in June of 2020. This exceeded figures from brokers such as TD Ameritrade, Interactive Brokers, Charles Schwab, and E-Trade. Suffice to say, stock trading via mobile apps has become incredibly popular.
Both Robinhood and Stash are quite intuitive, but Stash offers some more benefits for retirement accounts. Continue reading for a quick comparison of these two online brokers.
DIY stock trading
Pioneer of commission-free stock trading
Minimum initial deposit
DIY stock trading
Pioneer of commission-free stock trading
Investor Warning: All securities trading, whether in stocks, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), options, or other investment vehicles, is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss. Robinhood Financial encourages its Customers to invest carefully and to use the information available at the websites of the SEC at http://www.sec.gov and FINRA at http://FINRA.org.
While Stash aims to make the process of researching and selecting investments easier, it offers 400 ETFs and just over 3000 stocks.
These are hand-selected for their performance, but experienced investors may want more.
Here are some quick highlights and results from our review:
Overview of Robinhood and Stash
- Robinhood is a free mobile trading app that also lets you trade stocks, options, and ETFs for $0 in fees
- Includes access to customizable alerts and watchlists, as well as basic candlestick charts
- Access cryptocurrency trading if you live in certain states
- No guidance or research tools
- Only has email support for customer service
- Not the best for retirement accounts, since there are no mutual funds
- Stash is an innovative mobile invest app that offers more guidance on picking investments
- No investing minimums and monthly subscriptions start at $1/month for Beginner tier
- Investors can select from 400 plus ETFs and over 3000 stocks
- Stash groups stocks and ETFs by the theme to make it easier for novice investors
- Better customer support options including phone support from Monday to Friday
Fees and Commissions
Robinhood has always been the free stock trading app. You can trade stocks, ETFs, and options for $0. There is no per leg or per contract cost for options, which made it one of the best low-cost trading options for investors until 2019 when most brokerages followed suit and reduced their commissions to zero.
Now, Robinhood has a pretty similar fee structure to almost every other discount brokerage. The only difference is you won’t pay addition per options contract, and you can order complex four-leg options as well.
The only fee that Robinhood charges is a $5 subscription fee if you want access to margin orders with the Robinhood Gold plan. Otherwise, everything is free.
Stash has a totally different approach to investing that must be explained since it’s essential to understand their fee structure. Stash is not designed for a traditional investor. Stash the mobile trading app, is available for iOS and Android.
You can start investing with as little as $5. In return, you will be able to buy fractions of shares in stocks or those that are grouped in hand-selected exchange-traded funds or ETFs.
Basically, you buy a share of an ETF, which is connected to a larger fund that holds more expensive stocks. Stash will let you buy a fraction of a share, which means that you invested in a small portion of a more expensive ETF. Nothing in this material shall be construed as an offer, recommendation, or solicitation by Stash to buy or sell any security. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value.
Investors who like to play complex orders or work with options won’t like Stash, and that’s okay. This app was designed for people who do not really know a lot about investing.
There are also account subscription fees with Stash as follows:
- $0 account minimum balance
- $1/month for their most basic plan called Stash Beginner
- $3/month comes with everything in Beginner plus retirement accounts and Smart Portfolio
- $9/month includes the above plus custodial accounts, as well as other services
Their expense ratios average to about 0.25% for ETFs. There are also no hidden and no add-on commission fees when investing with Stash.
Winner: It’s hard to say who wins this one, but the most low-cost option would be Robinhood. You can invest without paying anything, and there are no minimum account balances. Stash’s simplistic view towards investing may not be for everyone.
Both of these brokerages focus on a limited number of investments that are most popular with younger investors. Robinhood typically does not offer the same breadth of investments as other brokerages, but in this case, you can invest in more asset classes than with Stash.
Robinhood offers you the ability to invest in the following:
- Complex options
- Cryptocurrency (in some states)
While there are no mutual funds or futures, Robinhood keeps it simple and doesn’t charge any fees either. They have also recently launched Robinhood Crypto, but it’s only available in certain states. You can trade in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin.
Stash is best for beginner investors who want guidance on selecting investments without multiple asset classes. You can open tax-advantaged individual brokerage account called a Personal Portfolio and taxable individual retirement accounts with Stash investments.
Basically, Stash tries to research the best ETFs and groups them for you, so that you can invest based on interests and industries.
Winner: You simply get more selections with Robinhood, although these are limited as well. If you are a beginner and simply want to join in on the game, you may like Stash’s approach to fractional ETFs.
Trade Experience and Security
Robinhood offers a streamlined, simplified approach to investing. While there is no manual account management, you get the basics. All trades can be performed on the mobile app.
Trade tickets are simple to place when you’re working with equities. You simply add the number of shares you want to trade and place the order. At first, the app’s default setting is to send market orders.
You can change this to a limit or stop order by clicking on the stock order type. The bid and ask prices are delayed and not updated in real-time like with other online brokerages. This delay makes it impossible to figure out the best prices in a fast-moving stock market, so it may lead to some issues if you are an active trader.
In fact, you might want to open another brokerage app with streaming data to ensure that you are placing the right order if you simply want to take advantage of Robinhood’s $0 fee guarantee.
Robinhood’s trade technology is a bit different than the industry. The brokerage reports their order flow on a per-dollar basis instead of a per-share basis.
The idea is that this is more accurate when presenting arrangements they have made with other market movers. This type of order flow technology could lead to more issues, specifically with inaccurate trade execution.
You can’t really customize your experience or automate bulk orders with Robinhood or Stash.
Stash simplifies investing for beginners by allowing them to invest by theme. However, it guides investors to select investments based on goals, risk level, and interests, and focuses on stock, bonds, and ETF investment types.
With their basic plan, you pay $1/month for access to a Personal Portfolio and can invest in shares within collections based on interests, such as tech stocks.
There are over 3000 stock choices to invest with Stash, but this is rather limited compared to Robinhood and all other brokerages. It is best for those who do not know much about investing but wants to learn with guidance on how to improve their portfolio.
The app does not use any type of traditional orders. Instead, you are buying fractional shares of ETFs that are grouped together by Stash to be easier to understand. You can invest with as little as $5, and you can automatically invest on the regular with Stash’s set schedule feature. However, the fees are high even for small balances, and it has a high ETF expense ratio.
With Robinhood, you have login encryption and security challenges. Also with Robinhood, you are protected from fraud and loss through SIPC with both brokerages for up to $500,000.
Stash investments are held by their partner and custodian Apex Clearing Corporation, a third-party SEC registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. Apex Clearing is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)4. This means your investments in your account are protected up to $500,000 total (including $250,000 for claims for cash).
For details please see www.spic.org. For uninvested funds, your Stash account is enrolled in something called the Apex FDIC-insured Sweep Program. Deposits to the Sweep Program are covered by FDIC insurance up to $250,000 limit per customer at each FDIC-insured bank that participates in the Sweep Program. Once your cash is deposited with the participating banks under the Sweep Program, such cash will no longer be covered by SIPC. Learn about the FDIC Sweep Program. They also use two-factor account authentication.
- Everything is free and simplified
- Simple market orders available
- No IRA accounts
- Easy-to-use for beginners
- Encryption and security challenges
- Invest with as little as just $5
- Very simplified investing with fractional investing
- Automatic investing with Set Schedule
- High fees for small balance accounts
- High ETF expense ratios
Winner: It’s easier to place active trades with Robinhood. With Stash, you get automated investing options that teach you how investing works, but it won’t work for most experienced traders or anyone who wants to trade in options or mutual funds.
Online Advisors and Educational Offerings
Both Robinhood and Stash are limited in their advisory, research, and education offerings. You can purchase a range of stocks, ETFs, and options with no fees, but the app and website do not feature streaming quotes.
When it comes to Robinhood, you won’t find any education centers or robo-advisory tools. It’s best for those who can learn elsewhere or who already have a strategy and want to save money on commissions.
Stash is different, however. Many novice investors will like Stash because it does offer some guidance and teaches you about stock sectors. It’s mostly an automated investor that allows you to pick your interests by themes and groups ETFs together that you will like. Basically, you can set it and forget, and Stash will use its technology to automatically invest for you.
There are some educational articles and videos with Stash, but it’s pretty simplified with explanations on their approach to fractional ETFs and investing regularly. However, you won’t learn about options strategies from this app.
Winner: Stash may be the better app for guidance, as it focuses on educating investors and guiding them through their investing portfolios.
Mobile and New Trade Tech
Robinhood and Stash are easy to use on mobile. They were designed to be used on-the-go, making quick trades on your smartphone with just a tap of your finger.
With Robinhood, you get a news feed, customizable alerts, basic charting, and the ability to listen to earnings calls. You can use the app on iOS and Android. You can also trade on margin, and you can access a cryptocurrency exchange if you live in a supported state.
Stash is all about mobile investing, which is why everything can be done in the app. You can access all of your accounts and trade in 400 different ETFs. They also have a retirement calculator and financial education, which offers more guidance within the app.
- Place market orders for stocks, ETFs, and options in app
- Customizable alerts
- No streaming quotes or guidance
- Offers cryptocurrency trading
- Intuitive mobile app designed for beginners
- About 400 ETFs and 3000 stocks available
- Goal tracker3 and some tools available in-app
- Automated investing through Set Schedule Smart Portfolio on Stash Growth and Stash+
Winner: Stash is more fluid and easy-to-use, but there are more options to trade on your phone with Robinhood.
Which One is Right for You?
The right mobile trading app for you depends on your experience level and how you like to invest. Robinhood is for more traditional investors who want to place their own orders and like specific investment selections including stocks, ETFs, and options.
Stash works well for beginner investors who don’t know much about different investments or strategies. However, they may like the tech industry or they want to support different industries. These themes are used to group ETFs together, and with the expert guidance of Stash, investments can be made easily into your portfolios.
Overall, Robinhood inches out ahead of Stash due to its investment selections, including cryptocurrencies, which makes it pretty special. However, if you are looking to retire with a nest egg and want more guidance, then it’s best to use Stash.
Frequently Asked Questions: Robinhood and Stash
Is Robinhood or Stash Better for Retirement?
Robinhood is not designed for retirement planning. While you can invest in individual taxable accounts, there aren’t any options for IRAs or even investing in mutual funds.
However, Stash does allow you to set up multiple accounts, including traditional and Roth IRAs. While there are no mutual funds, you can use Stash to automatically fund your accounts with shares of ETFs or stocks. For the novice investor trying to save for retirement, Stash offers better tools and investing options than Robinhood.
Can You place Your Own Market Orders with Stash?
Stash is meant to be a mobile investing app for beginners with automatic investing tools. While this is easy to use and builds money over time, you can turn this off and invest on your own.
However, the platform is not like any other brokerage, and you can’t place traditional market orders or complex orders. The most you can do is select the fractional ETFs and shares that you want to invest in.
Does Stash Offer 24/7 Customer Support?
No, but Stash does offer more than Robinhood. You can call their offices Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM ET. Email support is also available.
Robinhood only provides email support.
Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View Important disclosures.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Investing involves risk and investments may lose value.
Fractional shares start at $0.05 for investments that cost $1,000+ per share.
Stash Subscription fee starts at $1/ month. You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the Custodian. Please see the Advisory Agreement for details. Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement. Stash offers three plans, starting at just $1/month. For more information on each plan, visit our pricing page.
A “Smart Portfolio” is a Discretionary Managed account whereby Stash has full authority to manage. A “Personal Portfolio:” You can choose your own investments only in a “Personal Portfolio” which is a Non-Discretionary Managed account.
“Retirement Portfolio” is an IRA (Traditional or Roth) and is a non-discretionary managed account. Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA, or a tax deduction, or if a reduced contribution limit applies to a customer. These are based on a customer’s individual circumstances. You should consult with a tax advisor.
1 Offer is subject to Terms and Conditions. You must complete within the specific time period included in this offer: (i) successfully complete the designated registration process of opening an individual taxable
brokerage account advised by Stash Investments LLC that is in good standing (a “Personal Portfolio”), as displayed by the interactive instructions shown via the Stash platform, (ii) link a funding account (e.g. an external bank account) to your Personal Portfolio, AND (iii) initiate and complete a minimum deposit of at least five dollars ($5.00) into your Personal Portfolio.
2 Stash Stock-Back® Rewards is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.
3 Money moved into a Goal must be moved back to the bank account available balance to be used and does not earn interest.
4 To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.
Find out how Robinhood and Stash stack up against other competition.
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