Investing > Stockpile Review

Stockpile Review

Stockpile is a pleasant way for millennials to get into investing, or for investors to gift stock to their loved ones.

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Have you ever received stock as a gift?

Not many have. That’s because there aren’t a lot of brokerage firms that allow users to buy stock gift cards. This is one of the unique aspects of Stockpile — and one which, for good reason, many people love.

Stockpile is an app-based online brokerage focused on making the investing world more appealing to new, young investors. With a simple UI and only the fundamental features, the platform they offer is designed to be accessible to beginners.

Stockpile’s commissions are among the lowest in the industry and there is no account minimum, which is very attractive to beginners who don’t want to make a big initial investment. The gift card service may inspire users to give stocks to their loved ones for birthdays and holidays.

In this Stockpile review, we dive into all the details.

Stockpile is a platform uniquely aimed at young investors, especially millennials. The platform offers low commissions and allows you to purchase fractional shares of famous companies through gift cards.

Fast Facts

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0.99
  • Best for: Young, new investors
  • Highlight: Stock gift cards

Rating

  • Usability: 8/10
  • Research and Education: 4/10
  • Customer Service & Help: 8/10
  • Commissions & fees: 6/10
  • Tools & Resources: 7.5/10
  • Overall: 6/10
Open Account on Stockpile’s website

Investor Warning: Investing with Stockpile involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Past performance of a security, market, or financial product does not guarantee future results. Electronic trading poses unique risk to investors. System response and access times may vary due to market conditions, system performance, and other factors. Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

What is Stockpile?

Stockpile is a platform aimed at increasing the accessibility and ease-of-use when it comes to investing online. The brokerage firm is primarily app-based.

It’s designed to attract younger investors by simplifying stock trading and lowering fees. At the same, there’s always a  tradeoff. For Stockpile, the negative end of that tradeoff is a limited investment selection.

Still, Stockpile has some unique features. The platform enables users to purchase gift cards, allowing friends or family to receive their choice of stock as a gift for birthdays or holidays.

You won’t find in-depth charting tools or research capabilities with Stockpile. This is simply because the platform was designed for those who otherwise wouldn’t have started investing at all.

Overview and Summary

Stockpile’s most important aspects:

  1. Very user-friendly platform with basic features.
  2. Buying and selling fractional shares is possible.
  3. Very limited research capabilities.
  4. Some of the lowest commissions you will come across.
  5. No account minimums and almost no fees across the board.
  6. The ability to send users stock gift cards.
  7. Education designed for entry-level investors, especially young people.

Stockpile Compared

Fees
Commissions

$0.99 per trade

$0

Account minimum

$0

$0

Minimum initial deposit

$0

$0

General
Best for

Young, new investors

DIY stock trading

Highlight

Stock Gift Cards

Pioneer of commission-free stock trading

Promotion

None

Free stock

Rating
Fees
Commissions

$0

$1, $2, or $3/month

Account minimum

$0

$5 required to start investing

Minimum initial deposit

$0

$0 to open account

General
Best for

DIY stock trading

People who struggle to save

Highlight

Pioneer of commission-free stock trading

“Invest spare change” feature

Promotion

Free stock

None

Rating
Fees

Commissions

$0.99 per trade

$0

$1, $2, or $3/month

Account minimum

$0

$0

$5 required to start investing

Minimum initial deposit

$0

$0

$0 to open account

General

Best for

Young, new investors

DIY stock trading

People who struggle to save

Highlight

Stock Gift Cards

Pioneer of commission-free stock trading

“Invest spare change” feature

Promotion

None

Free stock

None

What You Can Trade With Stockpile

The amount of investment types is limited. Users can trade ETFs, stocks, and a number of non-U.S. stocks also called ADRs (American Depository Receipts). It is not possible to invest in cryptocurrencies and commodities directly but you can acquire ETFs built to track securities like lithium and gold. Mutual funds, futures, forex, and options trades are not available on Stockpile.

Fractional Shares with Stockpile

Users can invest in fractional shares. This means you can buy a part of a share in certain cases. For example, a single share of Apple is about $275 currently, but if that’s a bit too much, you can buy a part of one share. This allows investors who like owning stock in huge companies like Apple to diversify their portfolio more easily.

Stockpile Gift Cards

Stockpile Gift Stocks physical package

Stockpile has a very special gift card feature. Clients can use the gift card option to gift stocks to others. You can create a custodial account (for users under 18) and then send a gift to that account. This is nice if you want to set your kids up with some stock, or get them interested in investing. Hundreds of well-known companies like Cisco, McDonald’s, Disney, Microsoft, etc. are available on Stockpile.

Stockpile Gifts, Inc. is the company that issues the gift cards. The cards can be bought as physical gift cards or as e-gifts. They do not have an expiration date and can be redeemed at any time. The gift cards can only be redeemed through a Stockpile brokerage account.

Trading Platform

The platform offered by Stockpile has all the basic functions and not a lot more. Stockpile’s target audience is young investors who are just getting into the investing game and do not need more than the fundamental tools to start with.

Usability Through Simplicity

Stockpile Mobile Trading Platform with chart and portfolio value number

The platform provides only the basics, as it is meant for new traders who are not yet ready for complexity. Users can buy and sell stocks and ETFs and have access to rudimentary research tools. Placing orders is quite simple and it can be done from almost any screen. The user dashboard is clean and gives clients a clear overview of their current investments’ performance.

Features like buying or redeeming gift cards, bank transfers, settings, legal and tax documents, and account history can always be accessed through a menu on the left.

Simple charts, fundamental performance stats, and relevant news can also be viewed by clicking on the tabs in the pop-up window. All in all, the platform is super-simple for any kind of user.

Stockpile’s Drawbacks

Stockpile doesn’t execute trades immediately. Traders are executed at predetermined times during market hours. This means that traders won’t necessarily get the best price they can for their trades. Incoming data has a 15-minute delay and the charts you view can not display a time frame smaller that one day.

Lack of Features Is A Turnoff For Advanced Traders

The platform is simple at the cost of features that would be highly valued by experienced traders. Research tools and raw data are not abundant. Another deterrent for advanced traders is the fact that there are no features like real-time streaming data, advanced order types, order routing options, or basket trading.

Looking for a larger investment selection? Check out our report of the top online stock trading platforms.

Customer Support

Stockpile’s customer support can only be reached by email. There is no phone service or an online chat feature. The icon in the bottom-right corner of the platform’s interface looks like an online chat feature but it is just a fast way to receive email support. However, emails tend to be answered fairly quickly.

The platform is not complicated, so the help and FAQs on Stockpile’s website are usually enough to assist users who have questions about the platform. The most queries about investing basics and how the platform works are answered here.

Stockpile Pricing and Fees

Like all aspects of Stockpile, the pricing system is simple and caters to young people who are looking to get into investing. The fact that there are almost no other fees and account minimums is also a boon for Stockpile’s target audience.

Low Commissions Overall

The commissions are great on Stockpile. All trades have $0.99 commissions. Gift cards are a bit different as the first share you buy has a $2.99 commission but all the subsequent shares you buy are charged $0.99 apiece. Keep in mind that these are not actual shares. Rather, they fractional share amounts that are gift-card denominated.

This means that, if you buy a $20 gift card of Apple stock ($22.99 in total) the recipient will own about 0.075 shares of Apple. If you want a physical gift card, then the pricing is different. Namely, a $25 card has a $4.95 fee, a $50 card has a $6.95 fee, and a $100 card is $7.95.

Very Few Fees To Worry About

Funding your account with a debit card will incur a 1.5% fee for transaction costs. Paying for a gift card with a debit card will incur a fee equal to 3% of the gift card’s value. There is no minimum balance requirement or any other fees. That means you don’t have to pay for withdrawals, incoming or outgoing ACH transfers, account closures, or account maintenance.

Basic Research Capabilities and Education

The research tools users have at their disposal here are very basic. Investors can view basic price charts for various time frames but there are no balance sheets or analyst ratings to analyze. The only other info provided on the platform is a small number of news articles and the basic data on the stats tab. This is likely the platform’s biggest downside and it turns away experienced traders who like to conduct detailed research.

Three apple smartphones running stockpile mobile trading app
Stockpile’s research tools are pretty basic and provide limited information.

Portfolio Analysis

Portfolio progress can be monitored through the dashboard, with one progress-tracking chart. Legal and tax documents can be accessed through the desktop platform but they are not accessible through the app. You can view your previous activity through the desktop app but that’s about it as far as information is concerned. There are no portfolio analysis features like performance projections and allocation options.

Stockpile Education

Stockpile’s education is also focused on a younger, millennial audience. The education is presented in a simple way that can be understood by a total novice or even a child.

The Ticker

The company offers a range of in-depth educational resources useful to beginners. Their blog, called The Ticker, provides good information and uses popular references (like the TV show “The Office”) to get through to the younger audience.

The articles are also aimed toward this age group, for example, there are articles like “5 Investing Mistakes Millennials Make” and “The Best Stocks For Gamers”. The blog even has content about investment types that Stockpiles doesn’t deal with, like IPOs and cryptocurrencies.

Users can get basic advice on investing and budgeting in the “How To” section. The section called “The Campus” has content related to subjects like dividends, risk tolerance, and diversified portfolios. This section also provides quizzes and educational videos. They even have a glossary called “Stockopedia” where you can learn about most investing-related concepts.

What You Should Know About Stockpile

Stockpile offers two main services: the online brokerage and the gift card service.

The Brokerage

Stockpile is aimed toward millennials who want to dip their toes into the investment world and need a simple, easy-to-use platform. This simplicity comes from a superbly designed platform but also a significant lack of features. The software only provides basic tools for market and portfolio analysis. Stockpile is also one of the best brokerages for trading fractional shares.

Stockpile’s Low Commissions

Users can trade Stocks and ETFs but options and mutual funds are not available. This might seem to limit traders, however, the commissions for all trades are just $0.99. This is one of the lowest fee structures you can come across.

Also, there is no account minimum and the only fees you’ll come across are the transaction fees incurred when funding your account with a debit card (1.5% of the total amount). That means there are almost no fees to worry about.

Stockpile’s Gift Cards Explained

The gift card feature is a special property of Stockpile. It allows users to gift stock to other users. The first stock you buy has a $2.99 commission but all after that have the usual $0.99. You can also buy fractional shares for any amount. Basically, if you want to gift a $60 worth of Netflix stock (that’s roughly 0.20 of a single share), you can and it will cost you ($62.99).

When you combine this fee with the debit card transaction fee you get the real cost of this purchase. In this case, it is $60 for the shares + the $2.99 fee + debit/credit card transaction fee which is $1.8 (3% of the $60 you put on your account). So, a $60 gift costs $64.79.

What Stockpile Is Great At

Low costs and the user-friendly interface are perfect for newbies. The education provided by Stockpiles is not only very beneficial for beginners but also made to be interesting to the millennial audience.

No financial Burdens

Stockpile provides all the resources a young investor needs to get started. An easy-to-use platform, super-low commissions, no minimum required account balance, and almost no additional fees. That means you can approach investing casually without worrying about requirements and inactivity fees that many other brokerages have.

Great Entry-Level Education

The education is great for beginners. Investing-related concepts are explained in a way that can easily be understood by almost anyone. The lessons have video content and then there’s also a blog called “The Ticker”.

The blog is very appealing to a millennial audience and has an abundance of great information and advice. Stockpile’s educational resources are no doubt a great boon for young investors.

All in all, Stockpile has made a great system for its target audience, millennials who are beginning their journey as investors. The intuitive platform and the low costs will be very appealing to new entries, and beginner-focused education can help improve the skill of young investors considerably. Parents might also find the gift card option very handy if they want to give their kids a present that will appreciate in value over time.

Where Stockpile Falls Short

Advanced traders have nothing to look forward to here except the low commissions. Stockpile is very different from the top day trading platforms out there.

Investment types are limited to stocks and ETFs and research capabilities are very basic. Experienced investors who like to do a market analysis before trading will find Stockpile’s offer very lacking. Portfolio analysis is also very basic.

The data available on the platform is very scarce and all trades have a delay, which is unacceptable to advanced traders who want everything in real-time. The general lack of features means it is easy to outgrow this platform.

Users who get skilled at trading on Stockpile will likely move on to greener pastures, or in this case, pastures with more data, research tools, advanced order routing and resources for in-depth market analysis.

Stockpile is not a place for experienced traders who approach investing seriously and with devotion. Also, there are arguably better online brokers for beginners.

The Bottom Line

Stockpile is a great gateway brokerage for new investors. The trading platform and educational resources are designed to suit beginners who are looking to ease into the complex world of investing. Parents can use the gift card service to spark curiosity for investing in their kids, and also to give them an asset that will increase in value over time.

Advanced traders will not find what they need at Stockpile. The limitations of investment types and research are a deterrent for experienced people who just won’t be satisfied with the basics. All in all, Stockpile is a company focused on its target audience, the new, millennial investors. As such, the brokerage is great for its audience but is very limited for everyone else.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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