Recommended for beginners and investors looking for free US stocks/ETFs and a simple, easy to use trading platform
Founded in 2017, Stake is an Australia-based zero-fee discount broker specialized in US stocks and ETFs The brokerage is overseen by multiple top-tier regulators, including the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Stake is considered safe because it is regulated by top-tier regulators. In addition, Client assets are protected up to an amount of $500,000 ($250,000 cash) under the Securities Investment Protection Corporation's (SIPC) insurance.
Stake operates in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. The core services are the same in these countries, but there are slight differences. In this review, we tested the UK services.
Stake pros and cons
Stake provides free stock and ETF trading on US markets. The account opening process is fully online and fast. The trading platforms are user-friendly and well designed.
On the negative side, Stake only offers stocks and ETFs limited to the US market. The customer service channel offering is substandard. We missed educational tools and materials to help clients get a better understanding of capital markets and trading.
|• Free stock and ETF trading||• Basic product portfolio|
|• Fast and fully digital account opening||• Limited availability of customer service|
|• Easy-to-use trading platforms||• Lack of educational tools|
|🗺️ Country of regulation||Australia, UK|
|💰 Trading fees class||Low|
|💰 Inactivity fee charged||No|
|💰 Withdrawal fee amount||$2|
|💰 Minimum deposit||$50|
|🕖 Time to open an account||1 day|
|💳 Deposit with bank card||Available|
|👛 Depositing with electronic wallet||Not available|
|💱 Number of base currencies supported||1|
|🎮 Demo account provided||No|
|🛍️ Products offered||Stock, ETF|
Stake offers free stock and ETF trading on US markets. There is no inactivity fee, which is a big plus. On the negative side, deposit and withdrawal are not free of charge.
|• Free stock and ETF trading||• Withdrawal fee|
|• No inactivity fee|
|• Transparent fee structure|
|Assets||Fee level||Fee terms|
|US stock||Low||Commission-free stock trading|
|Mutual fund||-||Not available|
|Inactivity fee||Low||No inactivity fee|
How we ranked fees
We ranked Stake's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.
First, let's go over some basic terms related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.
- Trading fees occur when you trade. These can be commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
- Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.
In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of Stake for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.
We also compared Stake's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Freetrade and Revolut. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of Stake alternatives.
To have a clear overview of Stake, let's start with the trading fees.
The trading fees at Stake are low. We appreciated the fully transparent fee structure.
Stock fees and ETF fees
Stake has generally low stock and ETF commission.
Stake has average non-trading fees. The deposit and withdrawal fees below are calculated for $2,000 transfers.
No inactivity fee
Stake charges no inactivity fee and the basic account has no monthly fee. Clients can choose a premium plan called Stake Black for a monthly fee of $9, which offers some additional services but has a similar fee structure.
In addition, Stake charges for deposit and withdrawal, as described below:
- There is an FX fee both for deposit and withdrawal. The FX fee is 0.5% or a minimum $2 for UK customers, while the spot rate plus 70 basis points or a minimum $2 for Australian/New Zealand customers.
- If you choose the express deposit, the fee is 0.5% or a minimum of $2. With an express deposit, your transfer arrives within the next trading day.
- If you transfer USD funds directly to Stake it will costs you $5.
- There is an additional $2 bank processing fee for withdrawals.
- Australian customers can also deposit by credit/debit card. The credit/debit card deposit fee is 2% of the amount or a minimum $2.
Lastly, if you're from Australia, New Zealand, or Brazil, there is a $5 one-off fee for preparing your W8-BEN tax form. This fee is deducted from your first transfer.
Stake has a very simple and easy account opening process. It takes only a few minutes to open an account.
|• Fully digital|
|• Low minimum deposit|
Can you open an account?
At the time of the review, Stake's services were only available in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
What is the minimum deposit at Stake?
Stake requires a minimum deposit of AUD 50 from Australian clients and £50 from UK clients. That is definitely low compared to some other brokers where the minimum deposit can be $2,000 or more.
At Stake, clients can choose from two account types. Besides the standard account, you can open a Stake Black account for a monthly fee of $9. Both types offer an unlimited number of commission-free trades. Stake Black has the same fee structure as the standard account but it also offers a few premium services:
- you can promptly re-invest the proceeds from the sale of your stocks;
- access to detailed fundamental data (company financials, analyst ratings and price targets).
How to open your account
Australian and NZ clients can open an account on Stake's website. UK clients need to download the Stake App on their phones first.
The process is simple, straightforward and takes only a few minutes. You need to enter your personal data and some additional info (e.g. income and employment details).
Deposit and withdrawal
You can top-up your account by bank transfer or credit/debit card in the case of AU clients. However, you can only withdraw your money in your local currency and you will be charged at deposit and withdrawal.
|• Credit/Debit card available for AU, NZ customers||• Only one account base currency|
|• $2 withdrawal fee|
At Stake, the only available base currency is USD.
|Number of base currencies||1||1||1|
If you have a personal bank account in a currency other than USD, then you will be charged a conversion fee.
A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. These usually offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates, as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account only takes a few minutes on your phone.
Deposit fees and options
- An FX fee, which is 0.5% or minimum $2 for UK customers and the sport rate plus 70 basis points or minimum $2 for AU or NZ clients.
- An extra 0.5% is charged for express top-up, which guarantees that the deposited amount will arrive to your account by the next business day.
- If you transfer USD funds directly to Stake, it will cost you $5 per transfer.
- If you fund your account by card there is an additional 2% fee or minimum $1. Funding by card is available only to Australian clients
A bank transfer can take several business days, while payment with a credit/debit card is instant.
You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.
Stake withdrawal fees and options
Stake also charges a fee on withdrawals. There is a $2 bank processing fee. On top of it, expect the same FX fees as charged when you deposit.
*Calculated for a $2,000 withdrawal.
How long does it take to withdraw money from Stake? We tested the credit card/bank transfer withdrawal and it took 2 business days.
You can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.
How do you withdraw money from Stake? Follow the steps described below:
- Go to 'Account'
- Click on 'Funds & Balances'
- Select 'Withdraw Funds'
- Set the amount and the target account
- The FX rate and all applicable fees will appear on the screen before you initiate the transaction
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Web trading platform
Stake's web platform is simple and easy to use with a user-friendly design. However, it lacks some important features like price alerts or workspace customizability. At the time of the review, the web trading platform was available only for customers in Australia and New Zealand.
|• User-friendly||• Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)|
|• Clear fee report||• No price alerts|
|• Two-step (safer) login|
Stake's web trading platform is available only to clients from Australia and New Zealand. The language of the platform is English.
Look and feel
The Stake web trading platform is well-designed, simple, and user-friendly. You can find all functionalities quickly and easily. On the negative side, the platform is not customizable.
Login and security
Stake provides a safe two-step login (two-factor authentication). Bear in mind that this is not set by default, you need to download an authenticator app first and enable the feature on your profile page.
The search functions are OK. It is easy to find individual stocks and ETFs, however, the search function lacks any additional features (e.g. filters).
You can use the following order types:
To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.
For now, clients cannot set order time limits. Limit orders expire at the end of the U.S. trading day (Stake plans to roll out Good-Till-Cancel orders in the near future). Stop orders expire after 90 days if not executed.
Alerts and notifications
You cannot set price alerts and notifications.
Portfolio and fee reports
Stake has clear portfolio and fee reports. You can find these reports if you click on 'Account' followed by 'Reports & Activity'.
Mobile trading platform
Stake has a simple and user-friendly mobile trading platform, with Touch/Face ID login. However, you cannot set price alerts on the mobile platform.
|• User-friendly||• No price alerts|
|• Two-step (safer) login|
|• Touch/Face ID login|
Stake has an in-house developed mobile trading platform. It is simple and easy to use but available in English only.
Look and feel
The Stake mobile trading platform is straightforward and user-friendly. You can easily find all the features it provides.
Login and security
After the first log-in, you can use the app without providing any credentials.
To get more security you can set up a passcode and enable Face/TouchID on a compatible device, which is a convenient feature. Two-factor authentication is also available. You receive a one-time-password via email to be used in addition to your personal password when logging in.
The platform's search functions are easy to use; simply begin to type an asset's name or ticker to view relevant hits. You can also search for companies based on key-words (e.g. 'Oil Refineries', 'Banks', etc.), a feature we liked quite a bit.
One thing we missed was categorization. It would be great to filter companies based on market capitalization, price level, etc.
You can use the following order types:
At the moment, you cannot set order time limits. Limit orders expire at the end of the U.S. trading day (Stake plans to roll out Good-Till-Cancel orders in the near future). Stop orders expire after 90 days if not executed.
Alerts and notifications
You cannot set alerts and notifications on the Stake mobile platform.
Desktop trading platform
Stake does not offer a desktop trading platform.
Markets and products
Stake's product selection covers US stocks, ETFs, and US-listed ADRs. However, other popular asset classes like mutual funds, bonds, cryptos or options are not available at Stake.
Stake specialized in US stocks, ETFs, and ADRs. The selection is larger than at Revolut, which does not offer ETFs but has cryptos. eToro's product offering is superior to both of them.
Stocks and ETFs
Stake is specialized in the US market. You can trade close to 3000 stocks, 1000 ETFs, and more than 200 ADRs. If there is US-listed security you want to trade, you can request it to be added to the platform on Stake's website.
|Stock markets (#)||2||3||2|
A great service at Stake is the possibility to buy fractional shares. Instead of buying a whole share, you can buy only a fraction of it; a handy feature for stocks that cost several hundred dollars apiece.
Stake offers live market data. In addition, it provides company fundamentals, analyst ratings and price targets, but only for premium account holders. On the negative side, other research tools are either very basic or missing.
|• Data on asset fundamentals||• Limited interactive charting|
|• User-friendly||• No/limited set of analytic tools|
|• Live market data||• Some research tools available only for premium account holders|
To help generate trade ideas, Stake provides equity analyst ratings from various research houses. If you have a base account, you will only have access to aggregated data.
Paid plan (Stake Black) users have access to a detailed overview of ratings and price targets.
Stake offers some basic fundamental data, like EPS or earnings.
Stake Black users have access to detailed company financials.
Stake has poor charting tools. There are no technical indicators, and some other editing tools are also missing, such as a trendline editor.
You can only use a basic chart and view some limited key information, such as changes in the stock price during a given period and the trading range.
Stake provides news feed from third-party news providers, like Bloomberg or CNBC. If you click on an asset, you'll find the relevant news to that asset. It's great.
Stake's customer support could use a facelift as customer support channels are limited. There is no live chat or phone support. Our e-mails were answered fast by Stake's helpdesk, but the answers were not always relevant or complete.
|• Fast response time||• No phone support|
|• No live chat|
|• No 24/7 support|
You can contact Stake via e-mail or you can submit a ticket on the website or in the app. We received fast responses to our e-email inquiries and the answers were more or less OK .
We missed the 24/7 availability though.
All in all, there is certainly room for improvement in Stake's customer service options.
Stake offers a limited set of written educational materials. They do not provide any educational or tutorial videos and you can not open a demo account.
|• Easy to understand||• No demo account|
|• No trading platform tutorial videos|
|• No educational videos|
At Stake, the only educational tool you have is under the 'Support' section of the webpage. There is a selection of easy to understand articles about the platform and how the US stock market operates (e.g. market hours, settlement time, taxation, etc.)
We missed other educational tools, like webinars or videos.
Stake is overseen by top-tier Australian and UK regulators. However, it is not listed on a stock exchange and does not disclose its financial information.
|• Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority||• Does not hold a banking license|
|• High level of investor protection||• Not listed on stock exchange|
|• Financial information is not publicly available|
Is Stake regulated?
Yes, it is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Is Stake safe?
To be certain, we highly advise that you check two facts:
- how you are protected if something goes wrong
- what the background of the broker is
How you are protected
Stake transmits client orders to DriveWealth LLC, a company that provides brokerage and execution services to Stake and its customers.
DriveWealth falls under US federal regulation overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Stake's clients are protected up to $500,000 (including up to $250,000 cash) under the Securities Investment Protection Corporation's (SIPC) insurance.
Stake is a young company, established in 2017 in Australia. The longer track record a broker has, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.
Being regulated by multiple top-tier authorities is a sign that Stake is safe.
Stake's fees are great. Clients can execute an unlimited number of stock and ETF trades free of charge and the broker doesn't charge an inactivity fee. The account opening is easy, fully digital and fast. It provides straightforward and well-designed trading platforms.
Stake has some drawbacks though: there are only US stocks and ETFs. There is no live customer service (no phone or live chat support). There are no educational tools available.
Stake is a good choice if you want to trade US stocks and ETFs for free on an easy-to-use trading platform.