Frequently Asked Questions

Wave Frequently Asked Questions

Plynk General FAQs

Most commonly asked

What is Plynk?

Plynk is an investing app designed to help make investing easier for beginners. Our goal is to help you start investing, build confidence, and grow your knowledge along the way.

Within the Plynk app, you can open two different accounts: a brokerage account (for investing in stocks and funds) and a crypto account (for investing in cryptocurrency).

What can I invest in with Plynk?

The Plynk app allows you to invest in a wide selection of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and 4 cryptocurrencies.

Who can use Plynk?

We created Plynk with the beginner investor in mind. Plynk is available to US residents who are at least 18 years old.

Getting started

How much money do I need to start investing?

There’s no minimum required to open a Plynk account, and you can start investing with as little as $1.

Please note: Fees apply to individual crypto trades.

Where can I download the Plynk app?

The Plynk app is available for iPhone® in the App Store, opens in new window and for AndroidTM in the Google Play Store, opens in new window.

How do I open an account in the Plynk app?

Within the Plynk app, you can open two different accounts: a brokerage account (for investing in stocks and funds) and a crypto account (for investing in cryptocurrency).

Once you’ve downloaded the Plynk app, you’ll go through the steps of opening the account(s) you selected. We’ll ask you some basic questions and verify your identify (for security purposes). You’ll then create a username and password to use to log in to your account in the future.

What’s a brokerage account?

A brokerage account is an investing account that gives you access to the stock market. It holds the stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that you invest in.

What if I forgot my username?

If you've forgotten your username, you can contact customer service at

What if I forgot my password?

If you’ve forgotten your password we will have you create a new one, follow these steps:

  1. Open the app and select “Need help logging in”
  2. Fill in your personal information
  3. Select “Submit”
  4. Verify your identity with a one-time password sent to your mobile device
  5. Once verified, you can create your new password

Support and pricing

How can I contact customer support with questions?

Plynk has an extensive list of account-specific FAQs in the Menu section of the app under Help. If you still can’t find the answer you need, you can get in touch with our support team by selecting “Contact us” in the app or by emailing us at

How much does Plynk cost?

The Plynk app is free for the first 3 months. After that, you’ll pay a $2.00 monthly fee to continue using the app.

Security and privacy

What information do you collect and why?

Social Security number: Plynk asks for your Social Security number to verify your identity and protect against fraud. As a financial company, we’re required to collect, verify and record identification information.

Phone number: Plynk asks for your phone number to ensure the security of your account through your mobile device. We send you a one-time passcode when you log in to your account for the first time to verify it’s you setting up the account, and also when you change your username or password.

Address: Plynk asks for your address to (1) verify your identity and (2) mail you a tax form.

What can I do to keep my account secure?

Develop a strong password that:

  • Contains 10 or more characters, including numbers, letters and special characters
  • Is different from passwords you use for other accounts or apps
  • Doesn’t reference your birthday, street address, family member names, social media handles or number sequences (such as 1111)

Don’t share your password with anyone else

Use the biometric/fingerprint login feature

Log out after each use

Regularly check your account activity

Plynk Brokerage FAQs

Current Promotions

For more detailed information on our current offers, visit our promotion terms.

$10 Sign-up bonus

How do I earn up to $50 in bonuses with Plynk?

Plynk customers can earn up to $50 in bonuses by taking advantage of both the $10 sign-up bonus and the “Learn & Earn” investment match (up to $40).

How do I get the $10 sign-up bonus?

We’ll deposit $10 into your Plynk brokerage account within 30 days once you satisfy the following criteria as a new customer:

  • Download the Plynk app and create a brokerage account
  • Plynk approves your account
  • Link an eligible bank account

Please note: There is a limit of one sign-up bonus per customer, and the $10 cannot be withdrawn or transferred for 30 days after it’s deposited into your Plynk brokerage account. If you’ve invested your sign-up bonus, there’s no 30-day waiting period necessary before you sell your investment(s) and withdraw the cash.

What can I do with the $10 sign-up bonus?

You can invest your sign-up bonus in stocks or funds as soon as it’s deposited into your Plynk brokerage account. To explore investments that could align with your interests, check out the Plynk Explore feature in the app. You can also buy crypto, withdraw, or transfer your sign-up bonus 30 days after it’s deposited into your brokerage account.

Learn & Earn investment match

Can I earn both the sign-up bonus and the Learn & Earn investment match?

Yes! If you're eligible, you can earn both the sign-up bonus and the Learn & Earn investment match.

How do I get the “Learn & Earn” investment match?

This promotion will run from August 18 to October 20, 2022.

There are 2 parts of this promotion. Here’s how they work.

Part 1:

  1. Read the following article in your Plynk app: Beating inflation through investing.
  2. Buy any investment by October 20, 2022.
  3. We'll match that investment up to $20.

Please note: To be eligible, you must read the selected article in your app before buying the investment.

Part 2: (Extra credit)

  1. Complete Part 1 of the promotion.
  2. Read the following article in your Plynk app: Time in the market vs timing the market.
  3. Set up a recurring investment. The first trade of your new recurring investment series must execute by October 20th.
  4. We’ll match the first trade of your new recurring investment series up to $20.

Which investment(s) will Plynk match?

For Part 1 of the promotion, Plynk will match the first investment you buy after reading the selected article—as long as you buy it by October 20, 2022.

For Part 2 of the promotion, Plynk will match the first trade of the new recurring investment series you set up after reading the selected article—as long as that first trade is executed by October 20, 2022.

If you use the Add to cart feature to buy your investment, the first investment you add to your cart after you read the lesson will be matched. Any investment added to your cart before the promotion starts (August 18, 2022) are not considered for the match.

Please note:  Plynk will match your investment(s) in any stock, ETF, or mutual fund available in the Plynk app! Just remember, an investment in your account’s core money market position or a cryptocurrency is not a qualifying trade.

How long do I have to buy an investment(s) to remain eligible for the match?

You have until October 20, 2022, to buy your investment(s) after reading the selected article(s).

This means you can read the selected article(s) and buy your investment(s) during multiple visits to the Plynk app—you don’t have to do it all at once!

Do I have to invest exactly $20 in Part 1 and in Part 2 to get the matches?

No, you can invest any amount you’d like, but Plynk will only match your investments up to a total of $40—up to $20 for Part 1 and $20 for Part 2 (Extra credit).

Here are a few examples to help clarify the process:

If you invest $5 after reading the selected article, Plynk will match that $5 investment.

If you invest $20 after reading the selected article, Plynk will match that $20 investment.

If you invest $60 after reading the selected article, Plynk will match $20 of that investment.

Part 2 (Extra credit):

If you set up a new recurring investment of $5 after reading the selected article, Plynk will match the first trade at $5 in the series of recurring investments.

If you set up a new recurring investment of $20 after reading the selected article, Plynk will match the first trade at $20 in the series of recurring investments.

If you set up a new recurring investment of $60 after reading the selected article, Plynk will match $20 of the first trade in the series of recurring investments

When will I receive the investment match?

You can expect to receive the investment match in your Plynk account the week after you place your trade.

Plynk is matching your investment itself, so you'll receive a fractional share of that same stock or fund, not a cash deposit.

What if I’ve already read the selected article(s)?

We love to hear that! To be eligible for the investment match, you’ll need to read the required article(s) again in the Plynk app during the promotion period: August 18 to October 20, 2022.

Can I sell the share(s) I receive from this investment match?

You may sell investment(s) that Plynk has matched any time after you are issued the matched share(s). But if you sell, you must wait 30 days to withdraw or transfer the cash value from the sale(s).

If I have a recurring investment set up, does that count toward this promotion?

Plynk will only match new investments made during the promotional period: August 18 to October 20, 2022.

So if you set up a new recurring investment during the promotional period after you read the selected article, Plynk will match the first trade (up to $20) in the series.

However, if you had a recurring investment set up before August 18, 2022, that is not eligible for the match.

$25 Referral bonus

Who is eligible to earn a referral bonus?

All Plynk customers with a linked bank account, who deposit $25 into their Plynk brokerage account between August 18 and November 17, 2022, are eligible to refer friends and family for a cash bonus.

Does my $10 sign-up bonus count toward the $25 deposit required to be eligible for the referral bonus?

No, the $10 sign-up bonus does not count toward the $25 deposit required to refer friends or family.

How do I earn a referral bonus?

Once you’ve linked your bank account and deposited $25, simply text, email, or message your personal referral link (located in the What’s New section of the app) to friends or family. To earn a $25 bonus, one person you refer must download the Plynk app, open a brokerage account, and link their bank account.

Who can I refer?

You can refer anyone who isn’t a former or current Plynk customer. They must use your personal referral link to download the app and complete the required steps so you get credit.

When will I get my referral bonus?

You will receive a $25 referral bonus in your Plynk brokerage account within 30 days once the referred individual opens a brokerage account and links their bank.

How many referral bonuses can I earn?

You can earn a maximum of 6 referral bonuses in a 12-month period.

What can I do with my referral bonus?

You can invest your referral bonus immediately in any stock or fund available on the Plynk app. If you’d like to buy crypto, withdraw, or transfer your referral bonus, you must wait 90 days.

Tax information

What type of tax form do I receive?

We provide you with what’s called a “Consolidated 1099” tax form. This form reports money you earned or received from the investments held in your brokerage account to both you and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

This is money you may have earned or received from capital gains, interest, dividends, and promotional incentives during the last calendar year.

The Consolidated 1099 is made up of a few different types of 1099 forms, including the:

  • 1099-INT, which reports any interest you earned
  • 1099-DIV, which reports any dividends you earned
  • 1099-B, which reports any capital gains (or losses)
  • 1099-MISC, which reports any promotional incentives you earned

When can I access my tax form?

Your Consolidated 1099 tax form will be available in your Plynk app on March 4, 2022.

How can I access my tax form?

Starting March 4, 2022, you’ll be able to access your Consolidated 1099 tax form in the Plynk app.

To view your form in the app, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Plynk app
  2. Select More
  3. Scroll down to the Activity and Banking section and select Statements and Documents.
  4. Select the Tax Forms tab

What if I’m having trouble accessing my tax form?

Please email if you experience any issues viewing your Consolidated 1099 tax form. Our team is dedicated to making this process as simple as possible.

Does Plynk offer any discounts for tax filing services?

Plynk is pleased to offer special discounts through tax services to help you prepare and file your tax forms:

Why does my tax form say it’s from National Financial Services instead of Plynk?

NFS is the entity behind the scenes of the Plynk app that distributes any money you make into your account. As a result, NFS is the payer and is responsible for reporting investment income to you and the IRS.

Why did I receive a corrected 1099?

There can be a few reasons why you may have received a corrected 1099.

  1. Income reclassification: Previously reported dividends or interest payments were updated to another tax classification.
  2. Updates to your personal information were made after your original 1099 was issued.

How do I correct errors in my 1099?

To make any corrections to your 1099, please email us at

My tax form says “De Minimis.” What does that mean?

De Minimis means “about minimal things.” If you made less than $10 from your investments (from dividends or interest), you’ll receive a de minimis 1099.

In general, NFS is not required to send your form 1099 to the IRS to report this income, but you’ll still receive a Consolidated 1099 tax form for your records.

How do I upload my tax form to a digital tax prep service?

You can import your Consolidated 1099 tax form directly into TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct to make preparing your taxes even easier.

Follow the instructions within the tax prep service for reporting any investment income. When given the option to import your 1099 forms from a bank, broker or financial institution, select “National Financial.”

You’ll then be prompted to enter your Plynk username and password. This gives the tax prep service access to your tax forms.

Once the information is imported into the tax prep service, be sure to carefully compare it against the official tax form that NFS provided for you in the Plynk app.

If you notice any discrepancies, you may want to manually enter the information on the tax form to avoid errors.

Plynk Crypto FAQs

Bitcoin Sweepstakes

What is The Plynk Crypto Bitcoin Sweepstakes?

The Plynk Crypto Bitcoin Sweepstakes takes place between September 29 and November 17, 2022. You can enter to win 1 grand prize and 1 of 7 weekly prizes.

Grand prize (1 winner): Cash value of 1 bitcoin ($25,000 min., $67,567 max.)
Weekly prize (7 total winners): $500 cash

For more detailed information on the Bitcoin Sweepstakes visit the promotions terms, opens in new window.

How do I enter the sweepstakes?

To enter the sweepstakes:

  1. Download the Plynk app: Download the Plynk app in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
  2. Open a crypto account: In the Plynk app, open a brokerage account and a Paxos crypto account.
  3. Link a bank account: To complete your entry, make sure to link your bank account.

For alternative ways to enter the sweepstakes, please visit the promotions terms., opens in new window

For up to 10 bonus entries: After completing the steps above, get an additional entry for every $10 you deposit in your brokerage account (up to $100).

If I already have a crypto account, am I still eligible to enter?

Yes, if you opened a brokerage account and a Paxos crypto account before the start of the sweepstakes (September 29, 2022), you’re still eligible to enter if you link your bank account.

If you opened a brokerage account, a Paxos crypto account, and linked your bank before the start of the sweepstakes, you’ve been automatically entered into the drawing.

When will the prizes be drawn?

The grand prize and the 7 weekly prize winners will be drawn on or around December 7, 2022.

Is the grand prize actually a bitcoin?

No, the grand prize is the cash value of a bitcoin ($25,000 min., $67,567 max.). For example, if 1 bitcoin is worth $45,000 on the final day of the sweepstakes, the winner will receive $45,000 in their Plynk brokerage account.

If the value of a bitcoin drops below $25,000 on the final day of the sweepstakes, the winner will receive $25,000. On the other hand, if the value of a bitcoin rises above $67,567, the winner will receive $67,567.

How are the prizes delivered?

The grand prize and weekly prizes are all deposited into the winners’ Plynk brokerage accounts. The prizes may not be withdrawn or transferred for 30 days after receipt.

If I win a weekly prize, can I also win the grand prize?

Yes, if you win a weekly $500 cash prize, you’re also eligible to win the grand prize. However, you’re not able to win two weekly prizes.

Crypto Basics

What is cryptocurrency?

In general, cryptocurrency—crypto for short—is digital currency that can be transferred from person to person without using a third party, like a bank.

Who owns crypto technology?

Unlike the US dollar, crypto isn’t owned by a government or other authority. You know how no individual person owns the internet? Same thing goes for the technology behind cryptocurrency.

Instead, it’s enabled and supported by all its users on networks of computers running certain software.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be transferred from person to person without using a third party, like a bank.

It was launched in 2009 and continues to be the largest and most widely known cryptocurrency.

A mysterious person (or group of people) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin and the technology behind it. Their identity is still unknown to this day.

What is Litecoin?

Litecoin is a type of digital currency that can be transferred from person to person without using a third party, like a bank.

It was launched in 2011 shortly after Bitcoin as an alternative (now known as an 'altcoin'). Litecoin was created by Charlie Lee, a former Google engineer who had a goal of making a faster, cheaper version. He called it the 'lite version of Bitcoin.'

What is Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin Cash is another digital currency that can be transferred from person to person without using a third party, like a bank.

The creators of Bitcoin Cash launched this new crypto in 2017 that could confirm transactions faster. They anticipated that the original Bitcoin may not be able to meet the needs of users with its existing confirmation times. But so far, there are few people actually using Bitcoin Cash for everyday transactions, so the actual volume of transactions per second hasn't surpassed that of Bitcoin.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum isn’t just another type of digital currency. It’s a unique digital platform that can be used to build applications. It launched in 2015 using the same foundational technology as crypto.

What's the difference between Ethereum and ether?

Ethereum is the name of the digital platform used to build applications. Ether (also referred to as ETH) is the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum platform. It’s used to pay the fees required to run a program on the Ethereum platform.

Think of it this way: Ethereum is like a car, and ether is the gas that fuels it.

Risk and crypto

Is the value of crypto volatile?

Yes. The value of many cryptocurrencies is very volatile, meaning the price can go up and down very quickly without warning. That's why it’s important to spend time deciding if you’re comfortable buying it.

What are the risks of trading crypto?

Cryptocurrencies are volatile and highly speculative, and you may lose the full value of your investment. DBS does not offer investment advice or provide recommendations. You should carefully consider your financial circumstances and risk tolerance before trading crypto.

For a full discussion of the risks involved when trading crypto, please see Risks of Trading Cryptocurrency at

Are my crypto assets SIPC or FDIC protected?

No. None of the legal protections associated with investments in your brokerage account (like stocks and funds) apply to your crypto investments. That means your crypto investments aren’t insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) nor protected under the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPC).

How do I decide if trading crypto is right for me?

Here are a few things to consider when deciding if you want to buy crypto:

  • Your comfort with risk: Are you someone who would lose sleep over a dip in your account balance? Crypto prices have been even more volatile than stock prices in recent years, so you'll want to consider your emotions before hopping on the crypto roller coaster.
  • Whether you have your other financial bases covered: Do you have enough cash to cover your bills each month? Do you already have some emergency savings? Are you contributing to your retirement fund? It could be a risky decision to use money you need for important financial goals to buy crypto instead.
  • If you can't lose it, don't use it. It is possible to lose the entire value of your crypto investment. So if you do decide crypto is right for you, consider how much you’re comfortable buying. Is it an amount of money you can afford to lose?

Opening a crypto account

Who is Paxos?

Plynk has partnered with a licensed company called Paxos Trust Co. (“Paxos” for short), to offer crypto trading in the app. Paxos performs all crypto-related trades in the Plynk app and serves as your “custodian” for all crypto assets.

If you choose to open a crypto account in the Plynk app, you agree to let Plynk provide your information to Paxos to create an account in your name. You will be required to sign Paxos' Customer Terms and Conditions.

Paxos is a registered Money Service Business and New York Limited Trust Company, (NMLS #1766787).

Who is eligible to trade crypto?

Any user who already has a brokerage account in the Plynk app can apply for a crypto account offered by Paxos. Paxos may choose to approve or deny your crypto account.

Unfortunately, if you have been notified by the IRS that you are subject to backup withholding, you are not eligible to open a crypto account with Paxos.

How do I open a crypto account in the Plynk app?

To open a crypto account, you must first open a brokerage account.

Follow these steps:

  • Download the Plynk app.
  • Select Get started on the first screen and answer a series of questions required to open a brokerage account.
  • Once Plynk approves your brokerage account, select the crypto icon in the main app navigation. You will land on a screen that asks, “Ready to open a crypto account?” Select Get started.
  • Review important legal information and additional documents provided. Check all boxes to accept the terms and then select Open crypto account.

To help users differentiate between their two separate accounts, the Plynk app shows clear symbols and markings to note which investments are available through Paxos and which are provided by Digital Brokerage Services.

Please note: It could take 90 minutes or longer for Paxos to approve your crypto account. We will notify you with a message in the app when your account is ready to access.

Can I open a crypto account without first opening a brokerage account?

No. You must first have a brokerage account in the Plynk app before you can open a crypto account offered by Paxos.

However, you’re not required to use the brokerage account to buy or sell any investments in order to use your crypto account.

Crypto trading in the Plynk app

What crypto can I trade in the Plynk app?

Currently, there are 4 cryptocurrencies available to trade in the Plynk app: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum (ETH).

What can I do with my cryptocurrency in the Plynk app?

Crypto account holders can buy, hold, and sell crypto in the Plynk app. Currently, users cannot transfer crypto, exchange one type of crypto for another, or use it to pay for goods or services.

What are crypto trading hours?

You can trade crypto in the Plynk app 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, except for monthly scheduled maintenance. Paxos will perform this maintenance once a month from 7 to 8PM ET.

We will inform you of upcoming maintenance in the app.

How long does it take for crypto trades to settle?

Crypto trades submitted to Paxos via the Plynk app settle in real time.

Can I transfer crypto I buy in the Plynk app to an external wallet?

No, the Paxos services provided through the Plynk app do not support the ability to transfer your crypto assets to an external wallet at this time. If you choose to close your Plynk account, you may open an account directly with Paxos which would enable you to trade or transfer your assets.

If I own crypto on another app (held outside of Paxos), can I transfer it into my crypto account in the Plynk app?

No. Transferring crypto from other platforms is currently not available in the Plynk app.

What order types are available for crypto trades?

Currently, the Plynk app only supports market orders. Limit orders are not available through the Plynk app for either brokerage or crypto trades.

Market Buy Orders are sent in USD. Market Sell Orders are sent in the unit of the crypto you’re selling (for example, BTC).

Account information and support

How do I add money to my crypto account for trading?

Your crypto account cannot hold cash; only your brokerage account can hold cash. So in order to buy crypto, you must link a bank to your brokerage account in the app, and transfer cash into it.

Once the cash is successfully deposited into your brokerage account, you will be able to buy crypto with it. It may take a minimum of 4 business days for cash to settle before you can use it for crypto trading. The crypto you purchase will then be held in your crypto account.

Who can I contact with questions regarding my crypto account?

If you have any questions related to your crypto account, please email us at, and we'll be happy to help answer them.

How can I close my crypto account?

To close your crypto account, please email us at and we'll help you through this process.

If the Plynk app is unavailable, can I still trade crypto?

No. All crypto trading must be completed through the Paxos platform via the Plynk app. If the Plynk app is down, you will not be able to access your Paxos account.

If the Paxos crypto platform is unavailable, can I still trade crypto?

No. All crypto trading must be completed through the Paxos platform, via the Plynk app. If the Paxos crypto platform is unavailable, you won’t be able to access your crypto account or make trades in it.

However, you should still be able to access the Plynk app and your brokerage account even if the Paxos crypto platform is down.

Pricing, fees, and minimums

Is there a minimum dollar amount required for a crypto trade?

The minimum for a crypto trade is $1.00, not including fees.

Some crypto orders may result in residual amounts of crypto in your Paxos account that are worth less than $0.01. Paxos will keep records of such residual amounts in your Paxos account.

Are there any fees on crypto trades?

Yes. For each crypto trade $100 or under, there is a minimum fee of $0.50. For each crypto trade above $100, there’s a 0.5% fee.

Crypto fees are added to the amount of your crypto trade. For example, if you buy $10 worth of crypto, the total amount you’d pay would be $10.50 with fees. If you buy $200 worth of crypto, the total amount you’d pay would be $201.00 with fees.

There are no added spreads, markups, or custody fees.

Crypto tax information

Do I need to pay taxes on crypto investments?

If you sell any crypto, you may need to report gains or losses when filing your taxes, just like you do with investments in your brokerage account (like stocks or funds).

If you have questions about your specific tax situation, it’s helpful to talk to a tax professional to get individualized advice. Plynk does not provide tax advice.

Will I get tax forms for crypto?

Yes, Paxos will provide a 1099-B tax form to crypto account holders for their tax reporting purposes.

General Investing FAQs

Preparing to invest

What's investing?

Investing is simply defined as using your money to buy something (an investment) with the intention that it could grow in value. With Plynk you're able to invest in stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). An investment has the potential to return more money to you than you originally spent, if the investment has increased in value when you sell it. But investing is also risky; investments can lose value, which means that you may lose money. Past performance doesn’t guarantee future gains, as you've probably heard before.

How will I know how much to invest?

At Plynk, we know how important it is to be comfortable with your money and how you spend it, especially when you're new to investing! Therefore, it's a good idea to start with an amount that you're comfortable with, knowing that the value of your investment can go up or down. Fortunately, Plynk lets you start with as little as a dollar so you can get started no matter your comfort level. As you learn and feel more confident, you can invest more.

Is 1% of your paycheck too little? Learn about the power of 1.

Consistently saving, any amount, can add up over time. And, whether your saving amount is $1, $10, or $100, investing over time can give your money a chance to grow.

Should I invest a set amount on a regular basis?

Deciding on a set amount to invest on a regular basis is a great way to help you stay on track with your investing goal. In fact, Plynk will offer the ability to set up automatic recurring investments so you can set it up once and feel more confident knowing that you're regularly investing in your Plynk account.

Types of investments

What's a stock?

Stocks are what you hear about most often when people are talking about the “market.” Stock allows you to invest in (or “own a piece of”) a company; each piece of ownership is known as a “share,” and each share is worth a certain dollar amount that changes throughout the day as stocks are bought or sold in real time on stock exchanges. Investing by buying stock in a single company is like “putting all your eggs in one basket,” and may be riskier—but possibly also more rewarding—than investing in a “fund,” like a mutual fund or an ETF.

What's a mutual fund?

Think of a mutual fund as an investment stew. Investments, such as stocks, bonds, and other ingredients are mixed together (some funds may invest only in stocks, or only in bonds) and sold as 1 dish, creating a mutual fund. Mutual funds offer a way to buy different investments packaged together, or served together like a “dish,” and sold together as 1 entity instead of as individual companies. Investments in mutual funds change all the time, as they are managed by a team of professionals who decide which investments to buy and sell. Mutual funds often come with additional fees (some low, some high) that stocks don’t have because professional managers are making the investment selections. The price of a mutual fund is updated at the end of each business day. You can find out more about each fund’s objective and strategies in its prospectus.

What's an ETF?

An ETF (exchange-traded fund) is another sort of investment stew (or for ETFs, more commonly referred to as a “basket”), that mixes together stocks and/or bonds, and sells them for 1 price. ETFs often try to mimic a major stock index, like the S&P 500®, which represents the 500 largest companies in the United States. Since you can’t buy from the S&P 500® directly, and most likely don’t want to buy stock in each individual company, you can buy one ETF “unit” or “share” and invest in all these companies at once, trading real-time like stocks. Doing the same with mutual funds that track indexes is possible, but your mutual fund trade would be executed at the end of the day, and not in real time.

What's a bond?

A bond is essentially a loan; money that you give to a company or the government and they pledge to pay you back in the future with more money than you originally gave them. Bonds are usually lower risk than stocks or funds, which means you usually won’t earn as much as with a successful stock or stock fund selection, but you also won’t usually lose as much as with an equally unsuccessful stock or fund. Bonds, however, have their own risks, such as interest rate risk (as interest rates rise, price will fall).

Basic investing terms

As I prepare to invest, what are some important concepts I should have on my radar?

It's important to understand the impact that asset allocation, diversification, rebalancing, and risk tolerance will have on your investments in the short and long term.

What's asset allocation?

Asset allocation is putting your money into a combination of investment types—like stocks and bonds—to help spread your risk. An easy way to remember it is, to spread your risk, you may not want to “put all your eggs in 1 basket.”

What's diversification?

Diversification takes asset allocation 1 step further by spreading your money between investment types with different focuses. There are different companies, industries, and business sizes for each investment option on the market—helping you spread out your risk even more. It's what helps decrease risk within your portfolio when 1 company, industry, or business performs poorly. Of course, diversification does not guarantee a profit or ensure against a loss, but it may help smooth out otherwise dramatic changes in a portfolio.

What's rebalancing?

Rebalancing is an essential part of managing your portfolio. Your mix of investments will likely change over time depending on how your different investments perform. Therefore, it's important to periodically review your asset allocation to make sure it still aligns with your objectives and timeline. When it doesn’t, that’s the time to rebalance your investments.

What's risk tolerance?

Risk tolerance is the degree of uncertainty you're willing to take when you invest. It's best determined by considering several factors: how much time you have to reach a goal, your experience investing, how much your goal amount is, your other financial resources, and how much risk (including loss) you’re comfortable taking.

What's micro-investing?

Micro-investing involves investing small amounts of money (even $1) to buy fractions of a share, making it easier for folks who may not have traditionally had enough money or been ready to invest.

Will I be able to micro-invest with the Plynk app?

Definitely! Micro-investing is helpful for investors who don’t want, or can’t afford, to invest a lot of money, regardless of the reason. The Plynk app is designed for beginning investors who often want to start with small amounts of money, so it’s a great fit for micro-investing.

What's dollar-based investing?

Dollar-based investing allows you to invest by the dollar rather than by the share and can be a good example of micro-investing. So instead of buying 10 shares of a company, you can buy $50 of a company. This method, otherwise known as buying fractional shares, allows you to match how much you invest with the money available in your account. On Plynk, you can buy fractional shares of stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds through dollar-based investing.