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Stash Stock-Back Card Review – Invest as you Spend

At a Glance
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4.3 / 5
Rating

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Stash

  • Sign-Up Bonus: None
  • Rewards: 0.125% stock on all eligible purchases; up to 5% bonus stock at participating merchants
  • Benefits: Stash’s bank account includes sub-accounts that help you separate cash for savings goals and short-term spending, the opportunity to get paid up to two days early, automatic savings tools like transaction round-ups, and fast cash deposits at major retailers like Walgreens and CVS
  • Fees: $1 per month for Stash Beginner; $3 per month for Stash Growth; $9 per month for Stash+

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

Stash is one of a growing number of online stock brokers that allow users to invest in fractional shares of stocks. Stash caters to beginner-level investors, though more seasoned investors can find a lot to love in it too.

It’s the Stash Stock-Back Card that really sets Stash apart from the competition though. The Stash Stock-Back Card is a debit card backed by Green Dot Bank and tied to users’ FDIC-insured Stash checking accounts. Although the card does ask users to open a taxable brokerage account (Stash Invest) as a condition of issue, it doesn’t require a credit check like traditional credit cards do. Purchases made with the Stash Stock-Back Card also don’t accrue interest charges because they’re debited from users’ accounts immediately.

Because the Stash Stock-Back Card doesn’t charge fees of its own and doesn’t require a lengthy application process, there’s no reason not to keep it in your wallet once you’ve opened your Stash account. But it does pay to know how to get the most out of this powerful little debit card.

Key Features

The Stash Stock-Back Card, Stash online bank account (debit account), and Stash Invest account — a robo-advisor investment account — have some important features worth noting. On the card side, these include Stock-Back rewards and opportunities to earn bonus stock. On the banking side, perks include the opportunity to get paid by direct deposit up to two days early and a handy automated savings feature that Stash claims helps users save three times more than the average American.

Earning Stock-Back Rewards

Most purchases made on your Stash Stock-Back Card earn 0.125% stock — that is, a dollar amount equal to 0.125% of the purchase value, or $0.125 per $100 spent. Stash+ plan members earn 2x stock, or 0.25% of the purchase value ($0.25 per $100 spent). Stock rewards are credited and issued by Stash Investments, LLC, a Stash subsidiary.

When you make a qualifying purchase at a publicly traded merchant, such as Starbucks or Amazon, your stock reward will be shares in that company. When you make a qualifying purchase at a subsidiary of a publicly traded merchant, your stock reward may or may not be shares in the parent company, subject to Stash’s discretion. Rewards associated with purchases from merchants that are not publicly traded companies are “default investments” — shares in individual stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available on the Stash platform.

Bear in mind that Stash’s stock rewards’ value can fluctuate as the market moves. Unlike traditional card rewards currency, shares of stock may lose value. You can always monitor your positions’ value and buy or sell shares in the Android- and iOS-friendly Stash investing app.

Earning Bonus Stock-Back

Purchases with select participating merchants earn up to 5% stock — that’s $5 for every $100 spent. The roster of bonus merchants is subject to change. See the Stash Stock-Back Rewards Card’s terms and conditions for more details on this and other facets of the stock-back program.

Stash Bank Account

Your Stash Stock-Back Card is tied to a checking account (the Stash bank account) with a suite of useful features:

  • Early payday up to two days early via direct deposit with participating payers
  • Sub-accounts that allow you to separate your cash into “needs” and “wants”
  • Automatic savings tools like transaction round-ups and auto-invest to boost your savings rate
  • No overdraft fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Automated tools to track your spending
  • Fee-free access to about 19,000 ATMs
  • Fast cash deposits at major retailers like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart

Important Fees

The Stash debit card doesn’t charge an annual or monthly fee on top of Stash’s unavoidable plan fees, discussed below. In fact, it doesn’t charge any regular fees at all.

Additional Benefits

Stash Stock-Back Card users enjoy all the perks and benefits of Stash membership at no additional cost. Here’s a sampling of what’s included in Stash Beginner, the $1-per-month entry-level plan:

  • An automated investment management (robo-advisor) that builds and rebalances diversified portfolios of low-cost ETFs — exchange-traded funds issued by companies like Vanguard — with modest expense ratios and SIPC coverage
  • Portfolios tailored to investors’ risk tolerance
  • Personalized investing advice and guidance for new investors and seasoned pros alike
  • Useful saving tools, including round-ups — spare change transfers on card purchases — and automatic transfers on direct deposits
  • $1,000 in life insurance through Avibra

For $3 per month, Stash Growth users get everything in Stash Beginner, plus:

For $9 per month, Stash+ users get everything in Stash Growth, plus:

  • Custodial accounts for kid-friendly investing
  • Exclusive Stock-Back Card bonuses
  • Premium research and advice
  • $10,000 in life insurance through Avibra

Advantages

The Stash Stock-Back Card’s biggest advantages include that it doesn’t charge interest on purchases, select purchases earn up to 5% bonus stock, the connected Stash bank account offers a ton of perks (as do Stash account plans), and the application process does not require a credit check.

  1. No Interest on Purchases. The Stash Stock-Back Card is a debit card, not a credit card. It doesn’t charge interest on purchases, period, although it also doesn’t allow users to carry balances from month to month.
  2. Up to 5% Bonus Stock on Eligible Purchases. Purchases with certain merchants earn bonus stock at far higher than the baseline rate of 0.125% (or $0.01 per purchase, whichever is greater). Bonus merchants are subject to change, but you can expect recognizable names like Amazon and Apple in the roster.
  3. The Stash Bank Account Has a Host of Perks. The Stash Stock-Back Card is attached to a potent bank account with a host of user-friendly perks, including the opportunity to get paid up to two days early by direct deposit (early payday), access to 19,000 fee-free ATMs, and fast cash deposits at major retailers like Walmart and Walgreens.
  4. All Stash Plans Come With Value-Added Benefits. Beyond its super-convenient online bank account, Stash offers tons of value-added benefits for all users — and more for Stash Growth and Stash+ users. These include life insurance worth at least $1,000 through Avibra, personalized investing advice, and access to tax-advantaged retirement investment accounts (Stash Growth and Stash+).
  5. No Credit Check Required. Green Dot Bank doesn’t ask Stash Stock-Back Card applicants to complete a credit check as part of the approval process. You’ll just need to prove you are who you say you are and sign up.

Disadvantages

The Stash Stock-Back Card’s biggest disadvantages include the lack of a free Stash plan, the fact that Stock-Back rewards can lose market value, and the fact that bonus stock comes from specific merchants rather than broader purchase categories.

  1. No Free Plan. Although the Stash Stock-Back Card doesn’t charge a monthly or annual fee of its own, all Stash accounts do cost at least $1 per month to keep open. There’s no free Stash plan.
  2. Stock Rewards Can Lose Value. Unlike traditional card loyalty currency, Stash’s stock rewards are tied to the price of an underlying asset — common stock — and can therefore gain or lose value after they’re earned. This is a double-edged sword for Stash users and something to keep in mind if you value predictability.
  3. Bonus Stock Comes From Specific Merchants, Not Spending Categories. Stash’s bonus stock comes through purchases made with specific participating merchants rather than purchases in broader spending categories, such as travel or dining. If you don’t regularly shop with these participating merchants, you might struggle to earn much (or any) bonus stock.

Final Word

The Stash Stock-Back Card is a useful everyday spending aid for Stash users. It’s a potentially generous one as well, offering cardholders opportunities to earn up to 5% bonus stock with participating merchants. That’s a better rate of return than most cash-back credit cards, although traditional credit card rewards programs aren’t vulnerable to the whims of the stock market. Bottom line: If you’re already committed to using Stash for your everyday banking and investing needs, there’s no reason not to bring your Stash Stock-Back Card along for the ride.

Verdict
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4.3 / 5
Rating

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Stash

The Stash Stock-Back Card is a rewards debit card that’s great for investors eager to put everyday purchases to work in the market. Although it does require a paid Stash account, it doesn’t necessitate a credit check and doesn’t carry any fees of its own.

If you’re going to sign up for a Stash account and use the platform to manage your savings and investments anyway, you might as well put your Stash Stock-Back Card to good use.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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