Our bottom line
Stake prides itself “as the UK’s first FCA regulated brokerage to offer a direct investment in 4,000+ US stocks and ETFs without charging its customers on trades”. You won’t find FX fees on trades either, since your money is converted into US dollars during deposit – your trading will be entirely handled in USD.
It seems like Stake is seeking to displace the likes of Freetrade, which is another company that doesn’t charge customers on trades. Freetrade does offer some US stocks, but not as much as the Stake app, while it also offers UK stocks. On the other hand, Stake does not offer UK stocks.
Stake offers two accounts: a free (standard) and premium (black) account. The premium account has a $9(£7)/month fee and offers more data on price targets, analysts ratings, trading instantly on unsettled funds and full company financials.
Top features of Stake
Stake offers commission-free trading and no FX on trades. It has no inactivity fee, meaning you can trade comfortably without any pressure. You are also free to move between premium and free accounts when and if required. There are no lock-in contracts or commitments!
Fractional US shares are also available for those who cannot afford a full share. This means you can invest in multiple US stocks and ETFs without a large account.
Stake also offers direct investments in over 4,000 US stocks and ETFs. This is great news for those UK investors who are feeling locked out of trading specific American-listed companies and ETFs from lack of a platform or access.
Stake’s commission prices
Stake has zero commission on unlimited trades. This is good news for investors who are starting with a small account. They get to keep more of their money because it is not subject to commission charges.
The zero approach commission is becoming popular. Most brokerage firms are now warming up to it to keep up with the competition. Stake is not one to be left behind.
Fees you should know about
During deposits and withdrawals, Stake charges a 0.5% FX fee with a minimum of $2. It is important to note that the amount is charged in USD and not GBP.
If you are interested in expedited transfer, Stake offers a 0.5% express fee with a minimum of $2. The funds will be cleared during the next trading day.
On top of the FX fee during withdrawal, Stake charges a $2 bank processing fee with a minimal withdrawal of $10.
A full list of the fees is displayed on the site. The fees are quite competitive, considering there are no trading or inactivity fees.
Buying shares, ETFs and funds with a Stake account
You can invest in over 4,000 US shares, ETFs and ADRs with a minimum deposit of £50. Popular asset classes like bonds, mutual funds and options aren’t available.
Opening a Stake account is straightforward. All you need to do is download the Stake app and register for an account.
Approval is through digital verification, after which you can fund your account and start trading. Funding is done through Open Banking, meaning you are secured by True Layer and only need a few clicks to fund your account.
Note that since Stake offers American stocks and ETFs, US market trading hours are used.
Note that in the UK, you cannot access the trading platform via the website. You can only use the Stake app; this might change in the future.
The Stake app is easy to navigate; you can even search for companies using asset names and keywords.
Stake also allows you to set up a passcode and activate Touch/Face ID on a compatible device. Highly recommended and offered is two-factor authentication. This adds an extra level of security to your money.
Stake’s research offerings
If you have a standard or free account, you might be limited to the number of tools you might need to help you make sound investment decisions.
Stake Black accounts feature a great resource referred to as The Wrap. It offers a weekly digest that provides information about US markets’ activities. This can be very useful to newbies and seasoned investors. The premium account also offers accountholders detailed company financials, which help in making investment decisions. If you’re unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, please seek out your own independent financial advice.
A closer look at charting indicates that the Stake app might be lacking, but there’s room for improvement. Also, note that Stake’s news feed comes from third-party news providers like CNBC and Bloomberg.
Service and support
If you want to reach customer support, your option is to either email them or submit a ticket on the Stake app. This indicates that the app has a long way to go before keeping up with other trading platforms with better support services. It would be best to include options like phone support, live chat and 24/7 support. Their responses are fast, but you might notice a few questions that might not be fully answered.
Is a Stake account a good choice for you?
Well, this depends on your trading account needs. If you are in the UK and have always felt that there is no platform to help you buy particular US shares, it is worth looking at the Stake app. It offers 2,800+ US shares and 1,000+ ETFs, which is higher than its competitors. It could be the opportunity you have been waiting for.
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