A pleasant way for millennials to get into investing, or for investors to gift stock to their loved ones.
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Stockpile - Reviews & Ratings
• Account Minimum: $0
• Fees: $0.99
• Best for: Young, new investors
• Highlight: Stock Gift Cards
Investor Warning: All investments involve 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.
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.
Overview and Summary
- Very user-friendly platform with basic features.
- Buying and selling fractional shares is possible.
- Very limited research capabilities.
- Some of the lowest commissions you will come across.
- No account minimums and almost no fees across the board.
- The ability to send users stock gift cards.
- Education designed for entry-level investors, especially young people.
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.
If you are searching for more investment types, take a look at the best 6 online stock brokers.
Fractional Shares - Spend the Exact Amount You Want
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 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.
Dev: The pic should be beside the first paragraph of the “Stockpile Gift Cards” sub
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.
Usability Through Simplicity
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 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.
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.
Pricing on Stockpile
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
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.
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.
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
Stockpile offers two main services: the online brokerage and the gift card service.
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.
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.
The Gift Card Service
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
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. 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.