how-does-stash-make-money

How Does Stash Make Money?

Stash is a FinTech platform offering a suite of financial tools for young investors, coupled with personalized investment advice and life insurance. The company primarily makes money via subscriptions, cashback, payment for order flows, and interest for cash sitting on members’ accounts.  

Background

Stash is an American financial technology company founded by Brandon Krieg, David Ronick, and Ed Robinson in 2015.

The platform offers a suite of financial tools aimed squarely at young investors to encourage them to spend, save, and invest wisely.

To that end, Stash offers personalized investment advice and a life insurance option. For those with children, there is also the capacity to set up a custodial account.

Stash is an integrated product. When a consumer purchases with a Stash debit card, they receive Stock-Back® rewards in return. This allows them to invest in fractional shares or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Stash revenue generation

To drive revenue, Stash offers investment, banking, and retirement services via the subscription model. The company also makes money from referral fees and any returns Stash account holders make on their investments.

Let’s take a look at the mechanisms for revenue generation in more detail.

Subscriptions

Consumers can sign up for one of three subscription plans: Stash Beginner, Stash Growth, and Stash+. Each plan offers varying degrees of personalized investment or retirement advice.

The premium plan, Stash+, incorporates the Stock-Back® rewards system.

In 2020, Stash removed asset-based pricing on its plans. It now charges users a flat fee for each plan irrespective of the amount of capital invested.

However, the company does charge an investment management fee of 0.16% for non-thematic funds and 0.25% for all other funds.

There is also a $75 fee for an outgoing transfer.

Cashback scheme

When a consumer uses their Stash card to buy from a participating merchant, a percentage of the purchase price is invested in that merchant’s stock.

With every eligible transaction, Stash collects a fee for connecting the buyer with the seller.

Payment for order flow (PFOF)

When an investor using the Stash platform places a stock order, it is then sent to a market maker who compensates Stash for bringing in deal flow.

PFOF processing is a somewhat controversial practice, so the exact compensation amount is not public knowledge. 

Interests

Stash also makes use of the cash sitting in member accounts by lending it out to other institutions.

In return, the company collects interest from these institutions – otherwise known as net interest margin (NIM).

Again, the exact compensation Stash receive is unclear. But according to research agency Statista, the net interest margin for all U.S. banks was 3.35% in 2019.

Key takeaways:

  • Stash is an American financial technology company with a focus on improving the financial literacy of young investors.
  • Stash derives the majority of its revenue from a subscription-based model comprising three, tiered plans. Each offers varying access to personalized advice and added features. In 2020, the company switched to a flat fee plan structure instead of taking a percentage of the total amount of capital invested.
  • Stash also makes money from the somewhat controversial practice of order flow payment where a financial institution acts as a broker for the customer. The company also takes a percentage of eligible transactions as a commission under the Stash rewards scheme.

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