If you’ve been following Project Financially Free for any amount of time, you may have read a few our stock trading app reviews. There is currently more choice out there than ever before when it comes to investing.
This time around, I’m looking at Stake. A digital brokerage platform born in Australia and now available in the UK. Their mission is to make it easy to trade US stocks for those out with the US. They are now on the ground in the UK, with a dedicated team here and are fully FCA regulated. It’s now starting to pick up a fair bit of steam, and there are plenty of good reasons for this.
But how does Stake hold up against some of the other, more established investment apps in the UK? Is it free to use? How easy is it to navigate the platform and start trading? Let’s dive in and find out with our Stake review.
Stake Review: Quick Summary
Don’t have time right now to read the full review? Don’t worry – here’s a short breakdown to help clue you in.
- Stake offer completely unlimited commission-free trading.
- Stake is available for free with their ‘Starter Pack’ trading account.
- They also offer premium packs (which you can try until 1st July 2020 without charge).
- The app offers tons of detail, as well as more US stocks than the competition.
- App only interface for the time being although desktop is on the way.
- You can only invest in US stocks.
- You can get started from as little as £50.
- App is easy to use and competes well with other apps in the UK offering US stocks.
- You can get started with a Free Stock by signing up via this link.
What is Stake?
As mentioned, Stake is a digital brokerage platform which has recently moved into the UK market. What’s interesting about this platform, is the fact that it exclusively deals in US stocks and companies. That might make it seem like a bit of a niche interest for some UK investors. Though that’s not always a bad thing – As they say, jack of all trades = master of none.
In fact, if it’s your first time in looking into US shares and stocks in general, it’s likely you’ll find the platform to be refreshingly easy to use. It benefits from a very clean, simple design. As well as offering completely unlimited commission-free trading.
The companies you want to trade in come thick and fast, too. What’s more, the platform provides a solid amount of data. It’s pretty comprehensive if you’re fairly new to stock trading. You get a nice market topline overview section, too. So if you want to see how Nasdaq is doing – for example – you can do so with a quick glance.
What’s likely to work well for Stake in the long run is that it appeals to all bases. It’s got perks for day traders as well as for those who are investing in the mid to long-term. It’s pretty easy to manage your portfolio if you’re in it for the long haul. If you’re planning on using it for day trading, you’ll also appreciate the candlestick charts. Something which is lacking in some of the alternative apps currently available. The app will also let you trade on unsettled funds, too.
How Many Stocks Can You Trade In?
At present, Stake offers a large number of stocks and funds, even if it is exclusively US-centric. Right now, you can trade in over 3,500 different US stocks and ETFs. All with zero commission on unlimited trades. This is an area where Stake trumps competitors like Trading 212. Who currently offer less than half that number of US stocks (around 1,500).
If diversification within the US market is the name of the game, then you are going to want to give Stake a closer look.
How Does It Work?
Now we’ve taken a look at what the app aims to achieve, let’s consider how it actually works in practice. Right now, Stake is an app-only service. This shouldn’t be too much of a bind for many modern investors. However, it’s always nice to have a desktop model running alongside. There is a web version available in Australia and New Zealand. Which we have on good authority that this will also make its way to the UK. Although there is no confirmed date for this as yet. We’re only in the early days of the app running on British shores. So there is going to be scope for ongoing improvement.
The bank transfer deposit method is very convenient. This connects your account securely via open banking. Meaning you can deposit funds with just a few clicks. You can pay in from as little as £50, too. Yes – there are other stock trading apps out there which demand less. Although this is still a low barrier to entry for most.
Sign Up to Stake & Get a FREE STOCK!
If you want to take a look at Stake for yourself, get started with a free stock in either Dropbox, GoPro or Nike. Simply sign up via the link below, make the minimum deposit within 24 hours of sign up and receive your free stock.
Is Stake Free To Use?
The only fees you will pay with Stake are when funding your account with a deposit or making a withdrawal. Even then these are minimal: There is a 0.5% fee on the GBP to USD spot rate. Which is very competitive compared to other FX providers. This is only charged on funding and withdrawals though, not on every trade like some other brokers in the UK. Once you’ve funded your account and the money is in USD you have completely unlimited commission-free trading.
What’s immediately great to see here is of course that unlimited free trading option. In fact, the free model actually gives you a fair amount of functionality and flexibility. For example, you get unlimited free trades without having to sign up to a paid subscription level. This competes well with other stock trading apps, so don’t overlook getting started for free.
There are of course going to be a few more perks available if you’re happy to pay for a subscription. If you’re a seasoned trader then it’s worth taking a look at the premium packs available. By all means start with a free account. We recommend it if you’re finding your feet. Or if you’re planning on long term investing and don’t need additional features out with free trades and fractional shares. Though if you find the free option limiting, take a look at the paid subscription options.
From the 1st of July onwards, you can take full advantage of all the new account packs. Let’s take a look at the different levels available and see how they compare.
As you’d imagine, a starter Stake account is going to be a good place to get into the app from. It’s well-positioned for beginners and those who have never invested before. As well as a good option for longer term investors. It’s low-risk, however, there are drawbacks. You don’t get priority treatment and you are restricted to marker orders only. At least for now, you can try the Unlimited account at zero cost until 1st July. If you are making use of the additional features, then you can think about paying the monthly fee.
- Cost: Free
- Ideal For: Beginner investors or those who don’t require any advanced features
- Free Trades: Unlimited
- Fractional Shares?: Yes
- Market Orders?: Yes
- Advanced Orders?: No
- Available: From July 1st 2020
Unlimited accounts at Stake represent the middle tier. It’s a low investment in terms of monthly funds on the whole. Until July 1st, you can sample its features for free. As the midpoint, it offers a bit more pizzazz than starter accounts.
- Cost: $9 per month
- Ideal For: Advanced investors, including those who may have experience in trading through other apps
- Free Trades: Unlimited
- Fractional Shares?: Yes
- Market Orders?: Yes
- Advanced Orders?: Yes – limit orders and stop orders included
- Other Perks: Priority access to new stocks available on Stake as soon as they emerge. GTC orders coming soon. As well as a number of other big upgrades and enhancements due on the horizon.
- Available: Now – and it’s free to use until July 1st 2020.
Black is the top tier available on Stake. Much like Unlimited, you can try it out for free until July 1st. After that, it comes with a monthly fee. This is likely to appeal to investors and traders who really know what they’re doing. You’ll get plenty of VIP treatment. This is potentially a level you’d go for if you have a big portfolio.
- Cost: $19 per month
- Ideal For: Power users and those with high-value portfolios. This service will also appeal to those investors who are looking to VIP services.
- Free Trades: Unlimited
- Fractional Shares: Yes
- Market Orders: Yes
- Advanced Orders: Yes – limit and stop orders included
- Other Perks: Black plans give you full access to all the best customer service options before anyone else. What’s more, you can run day trades on unsettled funds. Plus have access to more data and insight than any other users. Look out for more perks coming soon, as well as GTC orders.
- Available: Now – and it’s free to use until July 1st, 2020.
How Does Stake Compare to Current Competitors?
OK – so let’s see how Stake measures up against the competition. The biggest names, with the closest service offering, currently competing against Stake in the UK are Trading 212 and Freetrade. Both offer US stocks as standard and focus on free / low fee stock trading. Stake already has the edge over Trading 212 in terms of the number of US stocks and ETFs available. Freetrade has even fewer on-board, meaning it falls into third in this regard.
Stake does offer an impressive amount of data and analysis. It outstrips Freetrade here. However, it seems that Trading 212 might actually have the edge in terms of how much detail you receive. That said, Stake provides a good middle ground. Plus, you can always use a standalone platform such as Simply Wall St if you need advanced data analysis.
Stake is easy to use on the whole. We like the scrolling feature where you can see and click into popular searches. You can filter down stocks by sector like Technology, Finance, Healthcare etc, by heading to the search tab. This then also gives you further sub category options to search by; for example if you type in tech you will also see filters for biotech, fintech etc.
Beyond this, Stake even has its own weekly digest on the markets. ‘The Wrap’ is a dedicated breakdown of what’s happened in the past week in the market. As far as I’m aware, there are no other free apps offering anything like this level of insight right now.
Stake is shaping up to be a pretty strong choice for app-friendly investors. It is entering into a very competitive market right now. However, its subscription levels are well-defined. And the sheer number of US stocks available skyrockets it ahead of the pack.
Where Stake really shines is in the volume of US stocks and ETFs. Plus the ease of use and flexibility to move between free to premium packs when and if required. There might be a little more data detail available elsewhere, but you’re never left wanting.
The app’s interface is, overall, easy to use. It would be nice to have some kind of visual portfolio chart in place. That said, you can view your overall portfolio value and view your portfolio breakdown in table format.
The platform does have plenty of perks on board. Particularly the low minimum investment barrier set at £50. Plus the fact that there are unlimited commission-free trades at starter level is a major bonus.
The Wrap is also a fantastic resource which is likely to appeal to seasoned investors as well as newbies. It’s insightful in a way which is likely to introduce new investors to a host of potentially complicated topics.
That’s a Wrap
What’s here for starters is really impressive – few other apps and platforms have this sort of offering from the get-go. It’s also likely that it’s only going to improve as time goes by and user feedback is taken on board. From what we know the team at Stake are very keen to take on and consider user feedback. Which will aid them in continuing to improve an already very promising trading platform.
We certainly recommend you take a close look at the app. Particularly if your interest lies with trading in the US stock market. There is nothing else at this level which competes on that front. Oh, and don’t forget to grab yourself a free stock below to get you started!
Get Your Free Stock
Sign up via the link below, fund your account within 24 hours, and you will receive a free stock in either GoPro, Dropbox or Nike.