If you live in the United States and want to learn the ropes of investing as a beginner, Stash could be for you.
The micro-investing platform makes it possible to invest your “spare change” and start growing your portfolio even when you don’t have a ton of money to set aside.
Love the idea of DIY investing?
Is Stash available to Canadians? What are the alternative investment apps you can use in its place?
Is Stash Available in Canada?
No, Stash is not available in Canada at this time.
To open an account on the platform, you need the following:
- Social Security number
- U.S. citizenship, a Green Card, or certain visa types (E1, E2, E3, F1, H1B, L1, O1, or TN1)
- Bank account with a U.S. bank
You must also be 18 years or older.
The money management apps you can use in Canada as an alternative to Stash include Wealthsimple, Questrade, and Moka.
I discuss them in further detail below.
What is Stash?
Stash is a financial technology company founded in 2015.
Users of the platform can use it to invest for short and long-term goals, budget, save money, and earn rewards (stocks).
As of this writing, Stash had over 5 million users and is available on all devices.
It is also a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
Stash – Main Features
Stash has three main plans with monthly costs ranging from $1-$9 per month. The plans are referred to as Stash Beginner, Stash Growth, and Stash+.
Investing: You can purchase ETFs or stocks and hold them in a personal taxable account, Roth or Traditional IRA. Custodial accounts can also be opened for children.
Stash investment accounts have a $1 minimum requirement and the availability of fractional shares means you can purchase bits of your favourite stocks or ETFs.
Banking: Stash offers banking services including a Stash Visa debit card through Green Dot Bank. Your Stash bank account has no overdraft or monthly maintenance fees. It also has budgeting, mobile check deposits, automatic bill payments, and round-up features.
You can use the Stash Stock-Back card (debit card) to earn stock rewards at more than 11 million places in the U.S.
Also, if you have set up direct deposit to your Stash account, you may be able to access your paycheck up to 2 days early.
Life Insurance: Group life insurance coverage is available to individuals aged 18-54 and is subject to other criteria.
Where Stash Falls Short
Stash is more expensive than competing robo-advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront.
If all you are investing every month is your spare change, a flat $3 or $9 monthly could translate into a high management expense ratio (MER).
Also, the platform scores an “F” rating on the Better Business Bureau, and 3.3/5 on Trustpilot. Many of the complaints appear to be related to poor or delayed customer service support.
Alternatives to Stash in Canada
Whether you are looking for experts to manage your investments or you prefer to go it alone, the following investment platforms are worth checking out.
1. Wealthsimple Invest
It uses technology and low-cost ETFs to design customized portfolios that are diversified across asset classes and geographical locations.
The portfolio that is recommended for you also matches your risk tolerance and investment objectives.
Wealthsimple clients enjoy access to free financial advice, automatic portfolio rebalancing, and dividend reinvesting. And, your account also includes a Roundup feature that can help you invest your spare change.
Accounts: You can invest using TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, personal non-registered, and corporate investment accounts.
Fees: 0.40% to 0.50% per year.
Security: Investment accounts are insured by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) by up to $1 million against insolvency.
Promotion: Get a $75 cash bonus when you sign up through our exclusive link and fund your account with $500 or more.
Questrade is “Canada’s fastest-growing online brokerage”.
With more than 21 years of operating in the Canadian market, $30 billion in assets under management, and competitive low fees, this platform is a must-see if you are serious about DIY investing.
Questrade offers “self-directed” traders access to stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, GICs, and foreign exchange.
Self-directed trading can lower your investment fees, however, it also means you are responsible for what you buy or sell in your portfolio.
Accounts: You can invest using RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, margin, corporate, and personal taxable accounts.
Fees: $4.95 to $9.95 per trade for stocks and ETFs; varies for other assets; ETF purchases are free.
Security: Your Questrade investment account is insured by CIPF.
Promotion: Get $50 in free trades when you open an account and use our offer code SAVVY50.
3. Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple Trade is the only Canadian brokerage platform to offer commission-free purchases and sales of stocks and ETFs.
If you are a beginner investor looking for an affordable way to start trading, my choice is Wealthsimple Trade.
This platform is available on all devices, including mobile phones.
Assets offered: Stocks and ETFs.
Accounts: TFSA, RRSP, and personal taxable accounts.
Trading fees: $0/trade. FX fees may apply to U.S. trades.
Security: Your trade account is protected against insolvency by CIPF (up to $1 million).
Wealthsimple Invest vs. Wealthsimple Trade
If you are wondering how both platforms differ:
- Wealthsimple Invest is the robo-advisory service that offers hands-free investment management i.e. everything is done for you (including stock selection, rebalancing, dividend re-investing, etc.).
- Wealthsimple Trade is a stock trading app you can use to purchase securities online. You are in control of your trading strategy and financial advice is not provided.
Like Stash, Moka can automatically round up your purchases and invest your spare change. It was one of the first spare-change investing apps available to Canadians.
In addition to investing, Moka offers a Moka 360 service that includes:
- Bill negotiation
- Debit repayment
- Cash back rewards
- Financing coaching
Accounts offered: RRSP, TFSA, and personal non-registered accounts.
Fees: $3/month for Moka; $15/month for Moka 360.
Security: Your funds are held at a custodian that provides CIPF insurance.
Promotion: Get a $5 bonus when you open an account here and connect your bank account.
Stash Canada: Investing Apps Like Stash in Canada
Is Stash available in Canada? Learn about investing apps like Wealthsimple Trade, Questrade, and Moka you can use as a Canadian investor.