Stockpile is an app-based brokerage that aims to make investing in the stock market more accessible and less intimidating, especially to younger people. A simple, streamlined interface makes buying and selling stocks and ETFs quick and easy, while gift card options encourage users to make shares of stock the gift of choice for birthdays, holidays, and graduations.
Stockpile’s trading fees are among the lowest in the industry at just $0.99, but the tradeoff is a limited product range and minimal research tools. This platform was built for those who might not otherwise try investing at all, so you won’t find in-depth charting tools or paper trading options. Stockpile is best for those looking to dip their toes into the stock market, as well as for people who want to give a gift of stocks or simply encourage younger generations to start investing early.
Simple, user-friendly interface
Low commissions on trading
Gift card options
Custodial accounts to help kids and teens learn about investing
Limited securities available--no options, bonds, futures, or Forex
Minimal research and analysis tools
No best price guarantee or order routing options
The Stockpile platform is incredibly simple. Stockpile’s gift card options make it easy for users to give shares to others (these are custodial accounts for those under 18), so the platform is set up to be as simple and user-friendly as possible.
Upon login, the Dashboard allows you to quickly see your current holdings and overall performance. Just below this is a quick link to the Buy Stock page, where you can select a stock or ETF to view from a range of icons featuring each ticker’s logo. You can also reach this page through the menu to the left.
Users can view tickers based on what’s trending, top gainers, or select specific industries. Clicking on a ticker’s tile automatically opens a popup window where you can select the amount of money you’d like to invest in the stock. A few more clicks, and the trade is executed. However, you can also find a simple chart, some relevant news and some basic performance stats by clicking on the other tabs in the popup window. All in all, it takes just 5 quick clicks to go from login to purchasing a new stock.
Stockpile offers fractional share investing where a user chooses a dollar amount to invest, rather than a number of whole shares. This allows investors with low account balances to invest in big-ticket stocks like Amazon and Alphabet. Fractional share orders must be bundled before execution, which is why Stockpile only executes orders at pre-set times.
Stockpile’s platform is designed for basic trading functions: you can buy and sell shares of stocks and ETFs and do some basic research on each ticker. For more advanced investors, however, this platform likely won’t be the right fit. You won’t find real time streaming data, order routing options, advanced order types, or basket trading.
Stockpile executes all trades at pre-set times, which could indicate that Stockpile prioritizes cost efficiency on the backend above price improvement for investors.
Stockpile is primarily an app-based brokerage, though the desktop platform offers most of the same functionality. Because this product is built to be an introduction to the stock market for new and young investors, there isn’t much in the way of research tools or raw data, which makes the platform simple to navigate.
Whether on the desktop product or the mobile app, placing an order can be done from almost any screen. Your user dashboard gives you data on the performance of your current investments. A menu on the left provides links to other functions including bank transfers, buying or redeeming gift cards, legal and tax documents, account history, and settings.
One usability issue to note is that data is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Charts also do not allow users to view any smaller time frame than the current day. Hour-to-hour or up-to-the-minute data is not available.
Mobile and Emerging Technology
The Stockpile app is available for both iOS and Android devices and has a few functionalities not found on the desktop platform. The most useful of these is the watchlist. While the desktop platform allows users to search and view limited data for any available ticker, only the mobile app allows you to add tickers to a Watchlist, which is viewable from the dashboard upon login.
News relevant to your current holdings or tickers on your watchlist is available on the dashboard. The desktop platform provides a news tab on each ticker’s popup window, but it does not provide a curated news section upon login.
While the desktop platform does not offer any two-factor authentication, the app does allow for Fingerprint ID.
Range of Offerings
Available securities are limited to stocks, ETFs, and some non-US stocks, also known as American Depository Receipts (ADRs). While users can indirectly invest in things like gold and lithium via ETFs built to track those securities, it is not possible to directly invest in cryptocurrencies or commodities through the Stockpile platform. Forex, options, futures, and mutual funds are not available.
News and Research
For experienced traders, the dearth of research tools on Stockpile will be the biggest drawback. While users can see basic price charts for various time frames, there are no studies or indicators to plot, no balance sheets to study, no analyst ratings to review.
The Stats tab on each ticker’s popup window offers some basic data, such as 52-week highs and lows, dividend yield, and P/E ratio. Other than that, the only information provided for any given ticker is a small selection of relevant news articles and a brief “about” section with basic info about the company or fund.
The Dashboard is the only place where your portfolio progress is viewable, with a single chart tracking your progress. Using the desktop platform, you can access your legal and tax documents, though these are not available through the app. The desktop platform also allows you to see your previous activity, but this is the extent of the information available. You won’t find detailed portfolio breakdowns, allocation options, or performance projections.
Stockpile’s support staff are available only via email. There is no phone number available. Both the desktop and app platforms show a little chat icon in the lower right-hand corner, but this functions merely as a quick way to email support, not an actual online chat. However, a message sent through this “chat” function was answered via email within one hour.
The Stockpile website has a Help Center page, where users can find answers to most questions about how the platform works and investing basics. Since the platform doesn’t offer a wide range of securities or tons of techy research tools, there isn’t a lot the FAQ section needs to cover.
Education and Security
While the Help Center answers basic investment questions, the Stockpile blog offers more in-depth educational resources. Aptly named The Ticker, Stockpile’s blog is very clearly aimed at Millennials with references to the TV show “The Office” and targeted articles like “5 Investing Mistakes Millennials.
The “How To” section offers basic guidance on things like budgeting, and “The Campus” provides articles breaking down concepts like risk tolerance, dividends, and why diversified portfolios are a good idea. This section also offers downloads, quizzes, and videos to help users learn. “Stockopedia” offers a decent glossary, though entries are not in alphabetical order (and you can find better definitions on Investopedia.) The blog also offers educational pieces on securities that Stockpile doesn’t offer, such as cryptocurrencies and IPOs.
All trades on Stockpile cost just $0.99. Gift cards for stock cost $2.99 for the first stock and and $0.99 for each additional stock. These are not shares of stock, they are gift-card denominated amounts of fractional shares, so if you buy a $50 gift card of Amazon.com, Inc. stock ($52.99 total), your recipient will own roughly .03 shares of Amazon.
If you fund your account with a debit card, an additional 1.5% fee is charged to cover transaction costs. If you pay for a gift card using a credit or debit card, the transaction charge is 3% of the value of the gift card.
There are no other fees for account maintenance, withdrawals, incoming or outgoing ACH transfers, or account closures. There are no monthly account fees or minimum balance requirements.
What You Need to Know
Stockpile’s product is unique among online brokerages. With a focus on helping inexperienced investors learn the basics of the stock market, Stockpile’s platform isn’t built for advanced traders or those looking a broad selection of securities. Instead, Stockpile offers a way for kids, teens, and young adults to learn about investing in an accessible and user-friendly way. Gift cards, affordable $0.99 trading commissions, and credit and debit card funding options help users build investment literacy regardless of age or account size.
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