Stake Review – Does this Investing App Beat Others?

We review the trading app Stake that gives you access to US markets and more

Updated: October 18, 2021
Stake Review - Does this Investing App Beat Others?
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Interested in getting into stock trading but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re already experienced in trading and you’re just willing to try out a new digital platform? Either way, Stake might be just what you’re looking for.

What is Stake?

Stake is a digital brokerage platform that’s based in Australia but is currently open to UK users (as well as those in New Zealand and Brazil too, with more expansion planned for 2022). It gives customers the chance to trade on the US stock market and with ETFs, with zero commission on trades. Not many zero-commission trading platforms exist, so is Stake worth your effort or is it an empty promise?

Stake was first founded in 2017 in Sydney Australia, with a view to making it easier to buy and sell US stocks and ETFs, getting around some of the red tape, endless forms and extra fees. It’s aimed at both experienced investors and those who have never bought or sold a share in their life.

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It launched in the UK in February 2020 and has built up a sizeable following. Now, there are over 330,000 Stake users around the world using either the Stake desktop platform or the simple yet sophisticated smartphone app.

Users of Stake are able to trade with over 6,000 different EFTs and stocks in the US market. That’s a lot more than some other apps offer, but at the same time it does limit the market – if you wanted to trade in the UK, Europe or other emerging markets then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Sign up to Stake here

What’s new with Stake?

Stake is a platform that keeps evolving, adding new features and making sure that it always offers the best experience to users. Recently Stake underwent a rebrand and the 2.0 evolution has now launched. This includes updated visuals which include changes to the look and feel of the app, making it even easier to use. Dark mode has been added too, for anyone who prefers a darker screen.

Stake is expanding too – expect the platform to be available to EU customers in 2022. A growing platform and more users mean a bigger incentive to improve too, so users can look forward to more features and updates in the future.

Stake regulation

Whenever you’re using a financial app such as a brokerage platform, you need to make sure the company is reputable so that you can be confident that your money is safe. So, with Stake, you can enjoy that confidence as it is regulated by multiple bodies – at its home, by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, and here in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.

This means that you can trust that your funds are safeguarded and, most importantly, insured. If anything were to go wrong at Stake’s end then you wouldn’t lose all of your money, it’s protected.

Remember though that whenever you trade stocks and shares, you’re taking a risk with your money. It isn’t protected if something causes the share price to drop – and you can’t blame Stake if that happens.

Stake Standard

Stake Standard

Stake Standard is the basic Stake account that is completely free to use. There’s no joining fee, no brokerage fees and you won’t be charged anything if you leave your account inactive.

So, surely your choice is limited when you don’t have any brokerage fees, right? Actually, no. You can still make unlimited trades on US stocks and shares and ETFs, including fractional shares. You get full access to all of the market options too. It really is a great way to get started with investing.

Stake Black

If you’re looking to take your trading a little more seriously then it’s worth considering upgrading to a Stake Black account. Stake Black is the premium offering which does have a fee attached to it. You can either choose to pay $9 per month, or you can pay $90 annually to save yourself 2 months’ worth of fees.

For that extra cost, you do get some useful extras. You’ll be able to see buy and sell ratings from Wall Street analysts – these are the true experts who work with these stocks on a daily basis. You’ll also see price targets on stocks, to get a good understanding of predicted performance.

You’ll have access to every company’s full financials and other relevant data to help you make up your own mind. And you’ll be able to access funds from sales before they settle, letting you be more proactive and clever with moving your money around. This last feature is also a good example of Stake’s support for customers as it was implemented following feedback from existing users.

How to use Stake

You’ve two options on how to use Stake. There’s the desktop platform through your laptop or PC’s internet browser, or the app on your smartphone or tablet.

One of the key things that Stake has focused on is usability, which means both the desktop and app versions are really simple and clear to use. You don’t really sacrifice anything depending on which one you prefer – it’s just whether you like trading on-the-go or you prefer a larger screen to browse through your options.

Once you’ve signed up you can make your deposit at any time and then start buying stocks. Browse the information available (which will vary depending on whether you’re a Stake or Stake Black customer) and then make any purchase orders.

You can then sell with just a tap too – and if you’re a Stake Black user you’ll be able to reinvest your funds straight away before the sale has even been settled.

Stake Fees

Stake Fees

Here’s a quick rundown of all the fees that Stake charges:

  • $0 commission on trades – they’re always fee-free
  • $9 per month to join Stake Black and access extra features (or $90 per year)
  • 5% FX fee on deposits and withdrawals
  • 5% Express Handling fee for next-day fund clearing
  • $5 fee on transfers to your Stake account made using third party platforms
  • $0.051 per $10,000 SEC fee for any sale proceeds
  • $0.000119 per share, capped at $5.95 per transaction as a TAF fee
  • $0 for share transfers from another broker (though your other broker may charge a fee)
  • $200 per account to transfer Stake shares to another broker
  • $0.01-0.03 per share per quarter custodial ADR fees

How to join Stake

One of the key benefits of Stake is how easy it is to join. You don’t need to provide photos of any ID or go through a load of complicated forms. It takes less than five minutes.

Firstly, either download the app or head to the Stake website and click to sign up. You’ll then need to enter your personal details including your address, date of birth and email.

You’ll then be asked to confirm you’re able to trade shares by answering three simple questions. Once you’ve done this you’ll just need to provide your national insurance number to prove who you are, and once that’s verified (in less than sixty seconds) you’re ready to deposit and start trading – it’s that easy.

A few things to note:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old to apply
  • You’ll need a valid UK address
  • You have to be a UK resident, citizen or have a valid visa (student and work visas are accepted)
  • You’ll need a national insurance number or some other form of government ID

How to deposit and withdraw

How to deposit and withdraw

Depositing is really easy with Stake as it uses Open Banking integration. This gives Stake secure (and trusted) access to your bank, so that you can make payments quickly without having to keep entering your card details.

When you add funds, they’ll take until the next day to be available, before 1pm NY time. You can pay a little extra as an Express fund to get them on the same day by market open (9am NY time).

To withdraw you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a bank account linked with your account. Withdrawals will take up to 4 business days and you can make a withdrawal whenever you want, although there is a minimum amount of $10.

Stake support

If you need help learning how to use Stake, they have a good FAQ section on their website which has a lot of information on using the app or desktop platform, and detailed breakdowns of charges and processes involved.

If you’re still not happy that you’ve got the answer you need, you can get in touch with them via the support tool. It’s easy to find if you’re logged in but if not, and it’s a question about joining, then you’ll need to go via the webchat option on the website, which is a little buried at the bottom of the page – it’s clear that the aim is to get you to try the FAQs first.

Some users have reported longer response times too on service queries. It will vary, but don’t expect an immediate response – it may take a couple of days to hear back from the team. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter if you want to try getting a faster response there for a more urgent issue.

One thing to note – Stake will sometimes give you a call if you're not active on the website. It’ll come through as a mobile number, and they'll check whether you're having any issues with the site that might be stopping you from investing, or any concerns. Depending on your outlook, this could either be seen as really good service, checking-in to make sure you’re OK with using Stake, or a little pushy. They don't try to force it on you, and are genuinely looking for feedback, but it's worth noting.

Sign up to Stake here

Pros

  • No commission on buying and selling stocks
  • Excellent UX – both app and desktop are really easy to use
  • Get started right away – simple to join

Cons

  • Limited to the US market
  • Some features are locked behind a subscription

Stake FAQs

Is Stake safe to use?

Is Stake good for investing?

How does Stake make money?

How long does it take to receive funds on Stake?

Does Stake have withdrawal fees?

Ian Lewis
Ian Lewis
Ian is an experienced writer with 15 years’ experience working in journalism and marketing. He’s worked in-house in financial institutions as well as writing freelance pieces for a variety of banking and financial trading websites.

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