Stockpile Review 2019
A few years ago, Avi Lele decided to surprise his nieces and nephews with some unusual Christmas presents. Instead of more useless toys that were about to end up in the closet sooner rather than later, he decided to buy stocks for his beloved ones.
But just like many other investors, he faced a very common problem – it is hard to buy a few shares as they are very expensive. An idea then came to his mind – what if there was the possibility to buy fractions, instead of a whole share?
That was the reason why in 2010, he founded Stockpile – a company focused on bringing the investment process closer to beginner investors or individuals with limited capital.
Today, Stockpile allows its users to create a portfolio of their preferred instruments for as little as $5.
The following Stockpile review examines the pros and cons of Stockpile – a highly popular investment app that provides the unique opportunity to surprise your friends or family with a gift card that is redeemable for stocks or ETFs. Is there any better way for your kids or younger family members to start shaping their financial culture? Has Stockpile what it takes to belong to the best investment apps?
Commissions and Fees
One of the best qualities of Stockpile, as an investment broker, is the fact that there are no required minimums in order to open an account. There are no account balance requirements and monthly management fees as well. So far so good.
But Stockpile is not entirely free. Just the opposite – the investment app will charge you a fixed fee of $0.99 every time you purchase or sell an instrument.
Stockpile prefer to present their trading fee policy as “a lot less than traditional brokerages” and brokerage accounts and compare themselves with E*TRADE, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.
Although put that way Stockpile does indeed stand out as a really cheap option, the truth is that investment apps like Robinhood, for example, make it look like a relatively expensive choice.
In reality, whether the fee is reasonable or too high, depends on the investment philosophy of each individual. For the “buy-and-hold” type of investors, a $0.99 fee per trade is okay, but on the other hand – if you are focused on capitalizing on small day-to-day price fluctuations, then investing through Stockpile will prove very costly.
Stockpile’s gift card option also comes at a cost. The fee that you will pay for the chance to surprise someone with such a gift depends on its format – whether it is a physical gift or an e-card option.
For physical gift cards:
For e-card gifts:
For example – if you choose the e-card gift option and spend $100 on just one share, you will be charged $5.99 ($2.99 fee and 3% of the sum that you have spent).
The recipient of the gift card is not charged any additional fees. That way, he can spend the full amount. All fees are added prior to your payment for the purchase of the gift card.
Stockpile offers the basics – stocks and ETFs. Although this may seem quite limited for the more demanding investors, the truth is that the range of instruments is just enough to satisfy the needs of the target users base.
On Stockpile, you can take advantage of more than 1000 different instruments, including every stock listed in the S&P 500. The stocks are divided into separate categories – trending, most active, top gainers & losers, as well as the industry they represent.
The best thing here is the fact that Stockpile regularly adds new instruments or stocks that have had a recent IPO. The company even suggests getting in touch if you can’t find the stock you want to invest, for them to “see if they can add it”.
Apart from U.S. listed stocks, users can take advantage of American depositary receipts (ADRs). This is a very useful option for investors, willing to purchase shares of foreign companies.
However, Stockpile does not offer penny stocks, pink sheet or bulletin board securities, as well as stocks trading below $6.00 per share. According to the company, the reason for that is the low trading volume of these instruments and how prone it makes them to price manipulation.
Apart from the wide range of stocks, the investment app offers more than 200 ETFs as well. Navigate to the “ETF” tab on the page with the investible instruments and you will find offerings from Vanguard, iShares, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, First Trust, VanEck, etc.
The listed ETFs cover a wide range of industries, both – on a domestic and international level. Investors can choose from leveraged and common exchange-traded funds covering finance and insurance, precious metals, cybersecurity, consumer goods, health care, alternative and clean energy, internet and technology, pharmaceutical and biotech, etc.
For beginner investors, the instruments traded on Stockpile are more than enough to create a well-diversified portfolio.
Trading Platforms and Tools
Apart from being able to buy and sell instruments, Stockpile also enables its users to hold their shares within the platform, similar to the way it is with traditional brokerage companies.
When it comes to gift shares, it is worth mentioning that instruments that are bought with a gift card usually are fractional shares, which cannot be transferred to your account with another brokerage company.
The truth is that Stockpile does not offer any other advanced trading tools or platforms as this is not its primary focus.
Instead, it tries to simplify the investment process as much as possible. In a user-friendly interface, the investment app shows the user more info about the value of his portfolio and its performance over time.
The Android and iOS apps have the exact same features as the desktop version of the platform, including withdraws and deposits. In fact, the mobile apps offer one additional feature that the website lacks – a watchlist function that can be easily customized according to the investors’ preferences.
Both – the mobile apps and the desktop version of the platform are very clean. There are no tickers or charts that can confuse beginner investors. The truth is that users of any experience and age will find Stockpile’s platforms easy to navigate.
It is worth mentioning that Stockpile is not suitable for day trading, due to the fact that orders are not executed immediately after they are placed. Instead, the platform bundles all fractional share orders together and executes them at the end of each trading day.
There are two main reasons for that: first - the investment app does not target day traders and the second – end-of-the-day execution is an efficient way to minimize the trading costs, thus providing a more affordable service.
The main downside is that the app does not provide any advanced charting or informational features. Performance graphs are not customizable or interactive. Such static charting adds little value even to beginner investors. Apart from that, all listed data has a 15-minute time lag.
Education and Research
If we should highlight the biggest drawback of Stockpile, then it should definitely be the research part. Although the app is built for a buy-and-hold type of investment philosophy and the main target groups are novice and inexperienced investors, it would have been better to add some basic research tools.
Stockpile is built for simple and easy buy-and-hold investing. There are no interactive charts or other detailed research tools such as studies, indicators, trend analysis features, etc.
When it comes to Stockpile’s educational section, however, things are quite different. The material within the “Learn” section of the website is narrowed to investment basics and instructions on how to navigate Stockpile.
It is obvious that the company has realized the need of providing valuable content in different forms, such as videos, quizzes, articles, downloadable guides, etc.
Apart from that, you can also find a basic glossary with stock market jargon words and a forum section where you can post your questions and get them answered by the Stockpile staff.
The company does not have a phone line for you to call, nor a physical office, open to clients. With that said, the customer support on Stockpile is available only by email or social media (Facebook and Twitter). You can also browse the advice and answers from the Stockpile Team within the help section.
You can also get in touch with them via the popup chat but it takes the team approximately a day to get back to you. The reason for that is the nature of the app – it is not built to serve active traders. Yet, it feels like the company could have done better to get closer to its clients.
On the other hand, navigating the app and the website is easy. The powerful search box on the page with the traded instruments can help you find the shares you want to trade by typing the name of the company, a ticker or even a brand that is owned by the company you want to invest in.
Stockpile Review Summary
Commissions & Fees
Trading Platforms & Tools
Education & Research
The truth is that Stockpile was designed to provide people with the opportunity to invest in stocks easily, as well as to teach the younger audience and the beginners about financial markets.
With that said, Stockpile doesn’t try to compete with large brokerage companies, although it compares its pricing model to prove a point on how affordable it is.
Yet, if we do make a comparison, Stockpile will surely be on the losing side. Its relatively low fees cannot add up for the lack of research tools, the limited amount of instruments that can be traded or the end-of-the-day trades execution.
No matter how experienced you are or what is your capital, if you are looking for a low-fee investment solution and are not bothered by the fact that your trades will be executed only on the market close price, then Stockpile will do the job for you.
It also should be awarded bonus points for their creative service to help you surprise someone with not just a single present, but with a whole experience in the form of gift shares.
However, if you are looking for a functional platform that can provide you with the freedom to test and analyze, thus creating a better performing portfolio, then this is not your best shot.
Yet, if you are tempted by the $0.99-per-trade-fee and intend to buy and hold for the long term, then you can do your research with tools like Trade Ideas and execute trades on Stockpile.
A wonderful way to provide the gift of stock
End-of-the-day trades execution
Very informative learning center
Limited customer support
Competitive trading fees
Lack of research tools