It was my nephew’s 3rd birthday and I couldn’t come up with a gift. He has so many toys and clothes already so I knew getting him another dinosaur anything would hold his attention for 1 minute before he opened the next gift.
Where I landed was buying him some stock using the app, Stockpile. Check out my Stockpile review below to see if this app may be for you!
What is Stockpile?
Stockpile is an investment app that allows you to purchase “fractional shares” of stock. Fractional shares are partial shares. For example, Amazon.com is currently trading at $1698 per share.
Stockpile allows you to invest, for example, $200 to purchase Amazon.com stock. Therefore you are purchasing a fractional share or approximately .12 of a share. Instead of spending nearly $1700 to purchase a full share, you can buy into the stock with any amount.
Stockpile’s tagline is “Favorite Stocks by the Dollar” which is exactly what they do. So you can invest as little or as much as you want to buy the exact stock you want.
Can I buy fractional shares of stock?
Yes, you can. That’s the entire model of Stockpile. I actually didn’t realize it was possible until I stumbled upon Stockpile. There are other places you can purchase fractional shares, but dealing with fractional shares is what Stockpile does.
It offers you the opportunity to invest in a stock without having to purchase an entire single share. Buy a 1/2 share or 1/4 share, etc. One of the biggest benefits being you can now afford to invest in any stock you want, including those whose single share price is higher than what you want to invest. So invest as much or as little as you want!
Stockpile Investing App Benefits
The app is geared toward millennials or younger people with assumedly less experience, similar to the Robinhood investment app. It is easy to use and has limited investment options. For a newer investor or one with little experience, it gives you the confidence to get started with the stock market.
Not only is it inexpensive to get started, but Stockpile offers a “Learn” section within the app that reviews investing 101 basics. There are chapters such as defining what an IPO is and describing how a trade is made.
Again, if you are brand new to investing, this is all great information you should know and understand before you start investing money in something.
Beyond Stockpile, there are many other apps I recommend to help you save and make your money work harder for you. Check out 15 money-saving apps you should be using right now.
How does Stockpile work?
Because many of the stocks you might be interested in purchasing are valued at more money than you want to invest, Stockpile allows you to purchase portions or fractions of stock using any amount of money.
To get started with Stockpile, simply:
- Visit stockpile.com and sign up for an account.
- Link your account to your bank and transfer the amount of money over that you plan to invest. (This doesn’t HAVE to be done right away if you are just browsing)
- Begin buying/selling stock whenever you feel ready.
Does Stockpile pay dividends?
Yes. You are purchasing stock and it’s being invested in the same way as any other stock, except it’s typically a fractional share. So you will earn dividends in the same way as any other stock but would be proportionate to your shareholding.
Stockpile does not require any minimums or charge you any fees to open an account. When purchasing stocks outright, they charge a $.99 fee if paying by cash and/or if you have transferred money from your bank to your Stockpile account. The $.99 transaction fee is dirt cheap compared to other investment firms who charge much more.
If you want to purchase shares of stock directly from the app right now and you have no money in your account, you will be charged a 3% fee. For example, purchasing $25.00 of Tesla shares right now would cost you $26.74 ($.99 transaction fee + $.75 credit card fee)
Sell trades are also $.99. So you will be charged another $.99 when you decide to sell your stock. Again, it is really inexpensive to buy/sell a stock.
Stockpile Gift Cards – give the gift of Stockpile
One of the unique options with Stockpile is to give gift cards of Stockpile to a recipient. Stockpile’s CEO and Founder Avi Lee’s idea for Stockpile actually came from his desire to gift stock to his nieces and nephews.
The stocks he was interested in were expensive and he found the process of finding and gifting stocks difficult so he abandoned the idea and reluctantly bought them more toys instead. But the concept was a good one, and one he took action on.
Benefits of gifting Stock
I learned about Stockpile for the same reason Avi, the company’s founder came up with the idea. I’m a novice investor who’s learning. I wanted to give my nephew something other than more toys for his 3rd birthday. I happened to stumble upon this app.
My nephew has a large extended family and his birthday parties typically include many families with tons of other kids. Simply put, they are pretty epic and have lots of presents. I figured he wouldn’t notice not receiving a gift or a big gift from aunt Steph.
So I bought a small gift as simply something for him to open (I know, I didn’t have to do that too), but then put the bulk of what I would have spent on a gift into a Stockpile account for him. I subsequently did the same for him for Christmas.
He’s young, he got many other gifts, he never noticed that what he got from me is less than I would normally give. I feel great knowing the money I’m investing for him now will turn into much more over the years, especially since he’s only three. But I think gifting Stock like this could be given to a recipient at any age.
Reasons to gift stock:
- Gift lives on. Long after the toys or clothes you would have gifted are outgrown, your gift will only increase in value and become something much more meaningful as the recipient gets older.
- It gets the recipient interested in investing early. It’s a great educational tool! Depending on the age of the recipient, they will likely be interested and intrigued at the concept and you may open their eyes to the benefits of saving and investing early.
- The recipient likely is already getting plenty of “stuff.” Rather than adding to the pile of new physical belongings, do the recipient a favor and invest in their future. My daughter’s birthday is on December 22nd. Between that and the holidays, she gets a crazy amount of stuff in December, a lot of which goes to waste. Whether duplication of like-toys she already has or more clothes than she could possibly wear. I would always prefer for her to receive something that’s investing in her future and leave the day-to-day essentials like clothes to mom and dad.
Who to gift stocks to:
- Young children who receive so many gifts on their birthdays or for the holidays, they would never miss a gift from you
- High schoolers who are learning how to manage money and would benefit by getting introduced to the stock market early
- College-age young adults who may be settling down post-college. Investing now may reap some benefits they can use when they purchase their next car or wedding. Or similarly to the high school age youth, you may open their eyes to the world of investing in a good way.
- Young Adults – they’ve graduated from High school or college but may not be able to make ends meet. Maybe they are paying off student loans are trying to save money for a down payment on a house. They would likely really appreciate the gift of stock to feel like they are saving something for their future.
Note: the recipient will have to open a Stockpile account in order to use the gift card. If the recipient is not of legal age, their parents can open an account in their name. Also, only U.S. residents and citizens can open an account.
What type of stock should I buy for someone?
You can leave the gift of stock open and allow the recipient to choose the stock they want to invest in. In my case, I chose on behalf of the recipient. But you can purchase a generic gift card, and allow the recipient the ultimate flexibility in choosing their own stock. Super cool!
Ways to give Stockpile
You can purchase e-gift cards to Stockpile to give to a recipient easily. Think of this in the same way as the American Express or Visa gift cards you see at the checkout line in the grocery store.
First, you choose the stock you want to gift and the amount. In this example, let’s say $50 of Amazon.com.
A fee is charged on top of the base price ($2.99) to cover credit card fees and trading commissions. Having you pay the fees means the recipient will actually receive the base price of the stock. Plus you are charged the $.99 trading fee. So all in you are at $3.98 in fees ($2.99 + $.99) for a total of $28.98 for the $25.00 gift of stock. But, you don’t have to ship the gift, you can send it electronically, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
There is a small discount given if you purchase more than one e-gift card in a transaction.
Physical Gift Cards
Another option in the gift card realm is to mail a physical gift card.
If you would like to actually send a physical gift card, fees range between $4.95 – $7.95 depending on if you are gifting $25, $50 or $100 cards. The fee again covers the trading commission, credit/debit card fees and the plastic for the card so the recipient will receive the full gifted amount.
Order 3 or more cards, and the shipping is free.
Physical gift cards are also sold at some retailers. So as you’re at the checkout of your favorite store, scan the gift card section to see if they are sold in your area.
Set up a Stockpile account on a minor’s behalf
This is how I first got started with Stockpile. I set up an account for my nephew for his birthday last September. I gave him a small gift and purchased stock on his behalf for the rest of the gift. He had so many people come to his party and so many gifts; one less toy was not noticeable.
I didn’t realize at the time there were so many gift card options with Stockpile. Ultimately I did end up simply asking my sister for my nephew’s social security number and got set up that way. I was able to share his account with my sister so she can log in and take a look at the account at any time she wants.
Plus this avoids any transaction fees. Because you are charged a $.99 fee for each transaction, I moved $50.99 from my checking account to Stockpile. Purchasing $50 of stock cost me exactly $50.99 including the fee.
Is Stockpile safe?
Per their website, they are a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which will protect customer’s accounts up to $500,000 (including $250,000 of cash). Stockpile is insured and you are protected. You are not protected, however, against market fluctuations which is a given but should be mentioned. Your investment is not guaranteed to grow.
How can I get free stock with Stockpile?
There was a free $5 Stock offer from Stockpile that recently expired. I’m not sure if the program will ever be reinstated. So as of now, I’m not aware of any sign-on bonus for starting a Stockpile account.
Stockpile Vs. Robinhood
Both Stockpile and Robinhood are entry-level stock purchasing sites targeted at millennials and those with limited stock investment experience.
Although, those experienced with investing may use either of these sites due to low fees and ease of use. Stockpile does charge a $.99 fee for each transaction. Robinhood does not charge a fee, so it costs zero dollars to purchase stock with Robinhood.
You cannot purchase mutual funds with either. Stockpile’s niche is really in the gifting or giving of stock in addition to purchasing partial shares of stock. Robinhood offers commission-free trading which is a huge selling point for many if you’re looking for a basic trading app with easy-to-use features.
I use both. I have purchased stocks using Stockpile for my daughter and have gifted some to nieces and nephews. I also dabble with Robinhood for fun and due to zero transaction fees and ease of use. If you want to try Robinhood, use my affiliate link and we’ll both get free stock.
- Incredibly easy to use. For newer investors who have an interest in getting started with learning the market, there is a low learning curve.
- Low transaction fees. Only $.99 to buy or sell if you already have money transferred from a banking account do your Stockpile account.
- No minimum amount to invest. You can invest as much or as little as you want.
- Fractional shares. Buy the stock you want, no matter what the share price is. If you’ve dreamed of owning shares of a specific stock that is trading at much more than you’d want to spend, you can still buy a fractional share of the stock you want.
- Learn as you go. It’s hard to make a mistake with Stockpile. There have learning sections within the app to help answer your questions and teach you investing basics.
- Reduced Investment Selection — More than 1,000 stocks are available, but thousands more exist on the exchanges. No bonds, options, or mutual funds are available. For beginner investors, you may not even notice or realize.
- U.S. Residents Only — Stockpile is unfortunately not open to non-U.S. citizens and residents.
- No Real-Time Trading — Trades that are executed after 3 pm will be executed the next business day. Trades executed before 3 pm will be executed the same day.
- Gift cards can be cumbersome to actually use. Especially if the recipient is underage they would have to get an adult or parent to open an account for them. Not a deal-breaker but something to keep in mind.
- Fractional shares cannot be transferred to another broker. You can hold them with Stockpile but you will not be able to transfer fractional shares elsewhere.
Stockpile Investment App offers an easy introduction to the stock market for newer investors who are looking to start somewhere. It’s a great gift alternative to a traditional physical item for nearly anyone on your list. Try it today, you really have nothing to lose and only money to gain.
Take one small step today – to help your finances tomorrow,