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Check the full review of Stockpile – the platform designed to help young and inexperienced investors to understand what the stock market is all about, in an easy, cost-efficient way.
Established in 2010 by Avi Lele, Stockpile is a stockbroker whose primary objective is to make it easier for young people to buy and sell stocks. Stockpile sells gift cards that can be used to purchase the shares of stock, as well as exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Stockpile is a surefire way to get young people and millennials interested in investing in the financial markets. It allows anyone to buy small chunks of shares via gift cards. The platform requires very low minimum investment and offers users meager transaction fees.
Interestingly, the Stockpile journey began on one Christmas season when CEO Avi Lele was looking to purchase substantial long-lasting presents for his loved ones. Lele looked to buy stocks for his nieces and nephews but found the entire process cumbersome, frustrating, and pricey, so he bought toys for them instead.
However, the idea of making it easier for young people to buy and sell stocks easily never left Lele’s mind, so in 2010 he finally launched Stockpile, the only brokerage that allows users to purchase e-gift or physical gift cards redeemable for stock, in a seamless and cost-effective way.
Just like the now-defunct Loyal3 which abruptly called it quits in May 2017, Stockpile allows users to purchase fractional shares and invest in a vast array of firms in the S&P 500. The Stockpile gift card program has two key parts: purchasing the gift cards and redeeming the gift cards for stock.
The cards are issued by Stockpile subsidiary, Stockpile Gifts, Inc., and they come in the form of e-gift cards or physical cards without an expiry date. This way, the buyer can redeem it for socks at any time.
The Stockpile platform is very easy to use. To purchase a gift card redeemable for stocks, simply visit the website and click on the “Buy” icon at the top of the page and select the exact socks you are interested in buying gift cards for at the selection page, then click “Next.”
This takes you to the “Choose Amount” page where you’ll enter the dollar value ($25, $50, $100 or others,) you want on your gift card. After this, click “Next” and you’ll get to the page where you’ll enter the details of the recipient (name and email), and also add your name as the sender, then you’ll click the “Checkout” button.
During checkout, the buyer pays the exact cost of the card plus trading commission and credit or debit card fees. This way, the recipient of the card will get the full amount of the sent gift card.
To redeem the gift card, a recipient will need to open a brokerage account on Stockpile. If the recipient is not up to 18 years of age yet, the parents will have to open a custodial account for him/her.
One good thing about Stockpile is that it also allows users to swap their cards for a retailer gift card if they choose not to redeem it for a stock. A recipient also has the liberty to redeem a card for stock other than the one originally listed on the card.
Platform’s pros include but not limited to:
Some of the key cons are:
User-friendly: Stockpile is designed to function as an introduction to the stock market for young people, and as such the platform is quite easy o use and straightforward. The absence of complex trading tools or research data on the platform makes it very easy to navigate. Users can view the performance of their portfolio on the Stockpile dashboard. Investors can also easily access vital functions such as bank transfers, purchasing or redeeming gift cards, account history, legal and tax documents, settings, and more.
Trade on the Go: Stockpile users can place quick orders through the mobile app which is available on Android and iOS devices. Interestingly, the mobile app comes with a few features not available on the desktop. The most useful of these is the watchlist functionality. On a desktop, users can only search for and view limited data for available tickers, but only the mobile app allows users to add these stickers to the watchlist.
Educational Tools for Young People: named The Ticker, the Stockpile blog offers millennials and young people in-depth and easy to understand educational resources aimed at launching them right into the world of stocks and ETFs. The blog features a “How To” section where users can learn the basics of budgeting and more. Investors can also understand various terms and concepts such as risk tolerance, dividends, the importance of portfolio diversification among others. That’s not all, users can also have access to videos, quizzes, and other learning materials on the platform, plus a decent glossary where some terms are defined.
Relatively Cost-efficient: All trades on Stockpile attracts a transaction fee of just $0.99. However, the first stock purchase comes with a $2.99 fee. Account funding via debit cards attracts a 1.5 percent transaction fee, while an additional 3 percent of the value of the card is charged if the user pays for the card with a credit or debit card.
Responsive Customer Service: although there is no phone number available, users can get support via email within an hour of filing a request or complaint.
Stockpile does not have robust trading and analysis tools for advanced investors, as the platform focuses only on teens and millennials. There is no real-time streaming data, order routing options, basket trading, or advanced order types on the platform.
Another significant drawback is the absence of research tools, indicators, studies, balance sheets, and analysts’ ratings. What’s more, Stockpile cannot attend to the needs or requests of customers via phone or in-person support.
Stockpile’s primary objective is to help young and inexperienced investors to understand what the stock market is all about, in an easy, cost-efficient way. With meager transaction fees and the functionality to redeem gift cards for stocks, Stockpile has no doubt crushed the barrier to entry for kids and millennials into the financial markets, while also providing parents and other adults with an avenue to gift their loved ones a more substantial and long-lasting present than toys.