Stash vs M1 Finance 2022


Compare M1 Finance vs Stash Invest for online investing: cost, brokerage fees, IRA accounts, and differences. Which firm is better?



Two Rivals: M1 Finance and Stash


Beginning investors will find lots to like at M1 Finance and Stash. They both try to make investing as easy and as effortless as possible. But which one should new traders choose? This article has an answer.


Pricing


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
M1 Finance $0 na na $0 $0
Stash $0 na na $3 or $9 per month $3 or $9 per month


Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
M1 Finance
Stash


Promotions


M1 Finance: Get $10 cash bonus for $100 deposit at M1 Finance.

Stash Invest: Get $20 cash bonus with this referral link.



Investing Methods


Stash is a self-directed broker that provides whole-dollar investing in a limited selection of stocks and exchange-traded funds. Somewhat oddly, the brokerage firm does not offer all stocks and ETFs that trade on the big U.S. exchanges; so if you open an account with the broker, you may find your intended assets missing.

Besides some stocks and ETFs, many American Depository Receipts are missing at Stash as well. The brokerage firm does not offer any mutual funds, bonds, options, or cryptocurrencies.

But then again, neither does M1 Finance. Like Stash, M1 provides whole-dollar investing only. Also like Stash, M1 has trading windows throughout the day when orders are submitted to the exchanges. It’s not possible to send orders yourself at either firm.

One thing M1 Finance offers that Stash doesn’t is Pies. These are baskets of securities that are similar to funds, albeit legally distinct. Stash creates Pies with various themes like Responsible Investing. With an M1 Finance account, you can also create your own Pies and put whatever securities in them you want.

Like Stash, M1 Finance only offers trading in stocks and ETFs. But unlike Stash, every listed stock and fund is available, including many ADRs.

Although Stash doesn’t have Pies, it does have an ETF portfolio builder tool. There is no charge to use it. But Stash does charge a monthly fee for every account. M1 Finance does not.

Winner: M1 Finance


M1 vs Stash


Trading Software


To actually buy something, you will of course need some digital tools. And when we say buy, we do mean buy on the front end; neither broker permits shorting.

M1 Finance has a simple website for research, charting, and order entry. The company doesn’t have a desktop program or browser platform. M1 is all about simplifying everything as much as possible.

The broker’s website has very simple charts. Line format is the only display option, and there are no graph tools. The order ticket has no special features of any kind.

Our testing of Stash revealed a very similar experience. The broker has very basic tools on its website without a desktop program or web-based trading platform.


Stash Invest or M1


Winner: Pretty even here


Mobile Platforms


The simplicity of the two brokers’ websites is transferred over to their mobile apps. Both platforms offer a user-friendly environment to search for stocks and ETFs and submit an order request. Once again, there is no order ticket per se, just an order request. Each broker is responsible for actual order submission.


M1 Mobile App


Neither app has mobile check deposit, which is a major faux pas. Also missing are advanced charting tools. M1 Finance’s mobile app can display a chart horizontally, something that Stash’s app can’t do.

Winner: M1 Finance


Cash Management


Both brokerage firms provide their clients with free Visa debit cards. Stash has a unique round-up service that will send spare change from a purchase to a linked investment account with the broker.

Smart-Stash is another esoteric service that monitors spending behaviors and moves money to a Stash account at defined points. And the broker’s stock-back program is a great way to earn fractional shares of stocks by using the debit card. Stash customers can withdraw cash fee-free at 19,000 ATMs with the card.

M1 Finance doesn’t offer these services, but it does provide one free ATM fee refund per month (4 per month with a $125 annual fee).

Winner: Stash


Stash versus M1


Education and Research


Stash and M1 are geared towards newbies, so of course they offer some educational materials. These tend to be on the brief side, however. Stash customers (and guests) can browse through learn.stash.com to find materials. Unfortunately, security profiles at Stash are very short.

Asset profiles on the M1 Finance site are also very minimal. They deliver news articles, number of employees, dividend yield (if any), and a few other points. For general education, M1 offers short articles in similar fashion to Stash. M1 also has a blog; during our research we found posts on personal financial topics in addition to investing posts.

Winner: Draw


Margin Borrowing


Stash does not yet offer margin accounts. M1 Finance does, and the cost of borrowing is a very low 7.25%. If you want an even lower rate, M1 Finance will give you a 1.5% discount in exchange for the $125 annual fee. M1 customers at either rate can borrow up to 35% of an account’s value, but they first must have at least $10,000 in assets.

Winner: M1 Finance


Other Services


IRAs: While both companies offer Individual Retirement Accounts, only M1 Finance has the SEP account.

IPO Availability: Not available at either firm.

Fractional-share Trading: With these two brokers, fractional-share trading is the only option.

Dividend Reinvestment Program: Both M1 Finance and Stash offer a Dividend Reinvestment Plan. Stash actually requires it for retirement accounts. M1 Finance has a $25 minimum reinvestment amount. Stash has no minimum.

Extended Hours: Neither broker offers extended-hours trading or even the full-day session. Stash has four trading windows, while M1 Finance has just one (two with its $125 annual fee).

Winner: Stash


Promotions


M1 Finance: Get $10 cash bonus for $100 deposit at M1 Finance.

Stash: Get $20 cash bonus with this referral link.



Recommendations


Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: With a selection of target-date Pies, M1 Finance gets our recommendation.

Beginners: Because M1 Finance has pre-built Pies with themes, we think M1 is the better option here.

Stock/ETF Trading: M1 Finance is the only broker in this contest with the full range of stocks and ETFs. It’s the obvious choice.

Small Accounts: For investors with less than $100 to deposit ($500 in a retirement account), Stash is the only option. M1 Finance maintains those minimums. Above those levels, M1 Finance is better because it doesn’t charge a monthly fee.


M1 vs Stash Assessment


Young investors can find much to like about either firm. Stash has some good cash-management tools, while M1’s pre-built portfolios remove a lot of the groundwork from self-directed trading.


About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.