Hello Stake is an online brokerage platform that also offers a fully-fledged app. The provider stands out for several reasons – notably for its commission-free offering. That is to say, you can buy over 3,800+ US-listed stocks and ETFs without being charged a dime.
The platform is available in several regions – including that of Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America. However, for the purpose of this review, we are going to focus on the UK version of Hello Stake. With that said, its platform is somewhat similar across all of the countries it supports.
In this review, we unravel everything there is to know about the Hello Stake app. We discuss what assets you can invest in, whether there are any hidden fees, and crucially – how safe your money is.
Launched in 2013 – Degiro is an online brokerage firm that is now home to Hello Stake is an online and mobile brokerage company that has a clear USP – to offer US stocks to those based outside of America.
On top of giving non-US residents access to the NYSE and NASDAQ – the Hello Stake app allows you to invest on a commission-free basis. This means no fees, dealing charges, or monthly subscriptions to worry about.
You will, however, need to pay a currency conversion charge of 0.5% when you make a deposit – at a minimum of $2. If you’re looking for more enhanced features from a stock app, Hello Stake also offers a premium account. This covers instant buying power, pro-level financial data, analyst ratings, and more.
Ordinarily costing $9 per month, you can get the premium plan for free until January 2021. All in all, Hello Stake is what we would call a ‘skin and bones’ mobile investment app. In other words, you can easily buy and sell US-listed shares. But, additional features and trading tools are somewhat thin on the ground.
What Stocks Can You Trade on the Hello Skate App?
As above in the section above, Hello Stake is targeting non-US investors that wish to gain exposure to the American stock markets.
Although at first glance this might sound like an innovative offering – it really isn’t. In fact, any UK stock trading app that is worth its weight in gold will not only allow you to buy US shares with ease – but multiple other markets.
For example, the likes of eToro allow you to buy the best stocks from 17 UK and international markets in a commission-free manner – while Hello Stake focuses on just the two leading US exchanges.
Nevertheless, the Hello Stake app covers the biggest and most recognisable companies listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ. This covers everything from Tesla, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Nike, IBM, Berkshire Hathaway, and Ford Motors.
ETFs at Hello Stake
On top of stocks, the Hello Stake app also gives you access to ETFs. Once again, all ETFs are US-listed.
Other Assets at Hello Stake
Other than US shares and ETFs, the Hello Stake app does not support any other asset classes. This means that you are missing out on indices, forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies and more.
Hello Stake Account Types
The Hello Stake app offers to account types – a free account and an ‘upgraded’ paid-for account.
Most users at Hello Stake will stick with the free account. This allows you to purchase more than 3,800+ shares and ETFs on a commission-free basis.
Upgraded Account – $9 Per Month (Free Until January 2021)
Hello Stake also offers an upgraded account that costs $9 per month. However, you can get your hands on this account for free until January 2021.
The additional features that you get with the Upgraded Account are:
Instant Buying Power: This allows you to invest in a new stock or ETF the very moment you offload an investment.
Pro-Level Data: This gives you access to enhanced financial data on the stocks listed by Hello Stake
Superior Enhancements: This doesn’t relate to anything specifically. The feature merely promises to constantly give you access to new and improved features.
Analyst Ratings: This feature shows you what the sentiment is on US-listed stocks – as per Wall Street analysts
Price Target: This allows you to see what price targets have been set by leading stock market traders
Put simply, the ‘Upgraded’ Account is nothing short of poor – and certainly not worth $9 per month. For example, the likes of enhanced financial data, analysts ratings, and price targets are all available for free elsewhere.
In fact, the best stock trading apps in the space include this data on standard accounts anyway. By all means, it’s probably still worth upgrading to see what these so-called enhanced features are like for yourself for as long as the free trial is in place.
Hello Stake Fees & Commissions
The main selling point of Hello Stake is that it gives you access to US shares in a super cost-effective basis.
The key points are as follows:
You will not pay any commission or dealing fees when buying stocks and ETFs
This is the case when you buy and again when you sell
There is no monthly fee or subscriptions (other than the Upgraded Account)
While it is notable that the Hello Stake app allows you to invest on a fee-free basis – it isn’t the only provider in this space. On the contrary, eToro, Robinhood, and Stash all offer commission-free trading. Then you have the likes of Capital.com and Plus500 – which both offer commission-free stock CFD trading.
The difference between the aforementioned apps and Hello Stake is that the former offer much more in terms of core features, tools, and tradable markets.
Non-Trading Other Fees
When it comes to making a deposit, you will be charged a 0.5% FX fee. For example, if you deposit £500 then you will pay £2.50. With that said, the minimum FX fee taken by the Hello Stake app is $2.
As such, smaller deposits will pay a higher percentage rate in real terms. If you are able to deposit funds into your Hello Stake with US dollars – then the platform will charge you a flat fee of $5.
Hello Stake App User Experience
Although the Hello Stake app does lack certain features and tools that you might expect from a mobile broker, the platform is super-easy to use. This is great if you are are a novice and simply want to invest in a seamless manner.
For example, opening an account is straight forward as you are guided through each step by the app. This is also the case when it comes to depositing funds. In terms of the investment process, this is also seamless.
You simply need to search for the stock that you want to purchase and enter the amount you to buy in US dollars. Crucially – whether you hold an Android or iOS device – the Hello Stake app has been built specifically for your operating system.
Hello Stake App Tools
In terms of what tools the app comes with, check out the list below.
Perhaps the most notable tool found on the Hello Stake app is that of its fractional ownership offering. This allows you to buy ‘part’ of a share – which is a crucial feature when buying US stocks. This is because heavyweight firms like Apple, Facebook, Tesla, IBM, Microsoft, and many others have a stock price that is in the hundreds of dollars.
But, by using Hello Stake, you can buy just a few dollars worth of a share. For example, if IBM is worth $100 and you invest $5, then you would own 5% of a share. Any future dividend payments that you are entitled to would then be reflected at any proportionate to what you invest.
The Hello Stake app offers three order types:
Limit orders: Choose which price your stock or ETF investment is executed at
Market orders: Have your stock or ETF investment executed at the next available price
Stop Limit: Otherwise referred to as a stop-loss order, this allows you to determine what price your open position should be closed at when it hits a certain loss. For example, you can sell your Apple shares when they are down by 4%.
Unfortunately, the Hello Stake app does not include take-profit or trialling stop-loss orders. For this, you’ll need to use an app like eToro, Plus500, or Capital.com.
The team at Hello Stake will send all account holders a weekly email that contains various market insights. This might be a brief discussion on the week’s biggest winners and losers, or certain sectors and industries to look out for.
Features Lacking at Hello Stake
The skin and bones service offered by Hello Stake means that you are missing out on some of the core features listed below:
Leverage and margin trading
Price alerts and notifications
Technical and fundamental analysis
Hello Stake App Bonus
Although the Hello Stake app was previously running a promotion whereby it gave new clients a free share – this no longer appears to be the case. That is to say when you click on the respective promotion, you are presented with an error page.
Hello Stake App Demo Account
There is no demo account facility available on the Hello Stake app – which is a shame. If this is something you’re after, eToro offers demo accounts to both new and existing account holders. The facility comes pre-loaded with a $100,000 paper balance, and the platform mirrors real-world market conditions.
Payments on the Hello Stake App
On the one hand, the Hello Stake app does not allow you to deposit with a debit/credit card or e-wallet. However, you can still benefit from instant deposits as the app is partnered with Open Banking (via TrueLayer). For those unaware, the provider is a regulated financial payment gateway that sits between you, your bank, and the merchant (Hello Stake in this example).
As such, you can instantly deposit funds into your Hello Stake account and thus – purchase shares straight away. Although you won’t pay a deposit fee per-say – it is important to remember that all incoming transfers come with a 0.5% FX conversion charge.
Much like the deposit process, all withdrawals on the Hello Stake app are subject to a 0.5% FX fee. It typically takes two business days for the payments team to authorise your withdrawal request. As such, a withdrawal made on Friday might not be processed until Tuesday.
The Hello Stake app offers a premium withdrawal service, too. At 0.5% of the withdrawal amount – the funds will arrive in your bank account the next working day. This comes at a minimum of $2.
Hello Stake Minimum Deposit
There is no minimum deposit amount at Hello Stake, which is great. However, don’t forget about the $2 minimum fee that is applied via the FX charge. In other words, if you deposit just $10, you’re paying an effective rate of 20%.
Hello Stake Contact and Customer Service
Upon using the app, you will see a pop-up little logo at the bottom right-hand side of the screen that says ‘Ask Us’. Our initial thought was that this was a conventional live chat facility – which would have been great. However, this is simply an automated FAQ box that shows you help articles based on what you type.
When we finally found the contact button, we were asked to fill in a support ticket. As such – not only is there no live chat facility, but you can’t contact Hello Stake by telephone, either. We have to say that this is really disappointing – especially if you are in need of urgent assistance on your account.
Is Hello Stake Safe?
In a nutshell, Hello Stake is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that your funds are safe at all times. For example, the trading app will be required to store client funds is separate bank accounts from its own.
In even greater news, the Hello Stake app (via DriveWelath, LLC) is a member of SIPC. This protects you up to the first $500,000 ($250,000 in cash) if the broker were to go bankrupt.
Additionally, the Hello Stake app offers two-factor authentication (2FA). This adds an extra layer of security on your funds.
How to Use the Hello Stake App
If you like the sound of what Hello Stake offers and wish to open an account today – follow the steps outlined below.
Step 1: Download the Hello Stake App
Head over to the Hello Stake website via your mobile browser and download/install the app. To clarify, the app is available on both iOS and Android devices.
Step 2: Open an Account
Hello Stake will now guide you through the account opening process. This will require some personal information – such as your full name, home address, date of birth, and national insurance number.
The app will then run this information against third-party sources. If it is able to verify your identity electronically, you’ll be able to proceed to the next step. If not, you will receive an email from Hello Stake request a copy of your passport or driver’s license. You will also need to provide an official document that verifies your home address.
Step 3: Transfer Funds
Once your account is opened, you can transfer funds from your UK bank. This part of the process is taking care of by Open Banking (via TrueLayer). You will be asked to log in to your online bank account via the app and then enter the amount you wish to transfer. Take note, Hello Stake nor TrueLayer have access to the details you enter – as everything is encrypted.
Step 4: Buy a Stock
As soon as your funds arrive (which is usually instantly), you can buy your first stock. The easiest way to do this is to search for the stock that you wish to buy. Then, it’s just a case of entering the amount that you wish to invest.
Don’t forget – the Hello Stake app supports fractional ownership. As such, you can invest any amount that you like – even it’s just a fraction of the actual stock price.
Finally, click on the ‘Buy’ button to complete your order.
How to Sell on Stake App
If you want to sell your shares, head over to the portfolio section of the app and find the stock you wish to sell. You’ll then be asked to enter the amount that you wish to offload. This can be some or all of the shares that you have outstanding.
Hello Stake vs eToro
When considering the main selling point of Hello Stake – offering US-shares to non-US residents, this might sound like a smart idea at first glance. However, it really doesn’t offer any unique or innovative at all. On the contrary, there are hundreds of non-US stock trading apps that allow you to buy US shares. In fact, the likes of eToro allow you to buy shares from 17 international exchanges on a commission-free basis.
Charge per Trade
£8 per month (after one year)
£4 per withdrawal
Once you get past the commission-free offering, the Hello Stake app is just a little too basic for us. For example, there is practically nothing in the way of research, analysis, or educational tools. Furthermore, while Hello Stake gives you access to stocks and ETFs – eToro also offers indices, cryptocurrencies, metals, energies, forex, and more. Once again, everything at eToro is not only commission-free, but there are no monthly charges.
Additionally, you will be missing out on the eToro Copy Trading feature by using the Hello Stake app. This allows you to select an expert trader and copy their orders like-for-like. This is not only great for newbie traders – but also for those of you that are interested in passive income.
Hello Stake Stock App Pros & Cons
Below you will find an overview of our Hello Stake stock app findings.
Invest completely fee-free
Supports 3,800+ stocks and ETFs
Access the US stock markets from overseas
Instant deposits via Open Banking
Easy to use
Regulated by the FCA
Virtually no research or educational resources
No debit/credit cards or e-wallets
0.5% currency conversion fee on all deposits and withdrawals
No stock markets supported other than the US
No demo account
Does not support CFD trading or leverage
In summary, it’s difficult to get excited about the Hello Stake app. Sure, you can buy shares in US companies without paying any commission – but this isn’t anything overly special. As noted earlier, FCA broker eToro not only offers commission-free trades on US stocks – but 16 other markets.
This includes the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, and more. Additionally, there is a serious lack of features. For example, there is nothing in the way of research or education – unless you are prepared to pay $9 per month. Even then, the financial data available to you is readily available on other fee-free trading apps.
You will also be missing out on other asset classes by using Hello Stake. For example, if you’re looking to trade cryptocurrencies, oil, gas, or forex – you’ll need to look elsewhere. As CFDs aren’t supported either – there is no option to apply leverage or short-sell stocks.
All in all, if you’re looking for a commission-free stock app that offers heaps of features and tools – we would suggest checking out eToro. You can get started with the eToro stock app right now by clicking on the link below!