TradeUP is a free stock trading app similar to Robinhood or Webull that allows you to buy and sell stocks with no fees or commissions. They are currently offering a signup bonus of up to 5 free stocks if you fund your account with $100 to $5,000. There are different tiers, so you’ll get more free stocks depending on how much you deposit into your TradeUP account. Here’s how you can earn your TradeUP Referral Bonus:
- Open a TradeUP account using a referral link (here is my TradeUP referral link).
- As soon as you open your TradeUP account, you’ll receive one free stock valued at $2-$15.
- You’ll receive up to 4 additional free stocks valued at $15-$1,000 each if you deposit $100 to $5,000 (more details on this requirement are in this post).
- After you get your free stocks, you can sell them and withdraw all of your funds after 15 business days.
In this post, I’m going to walk through the exact process for you to follow to earn your TradeUP referral bonus, as well as explain why this bonus is worth your time.
It’s important to note that while TradeUP is an investing app, you don’t actually have to invest the money that you deposit into your TradeUP account. This makes TradeUP an easy way to earn free stocks, which you can then keep or sell depending on which you prefer.
What Is TradeUP?
TradeUP is an free investing app that allows you to buy and sell stocks and ETFs commission-free. It’s very similar to Robinhood, Webull, and Public, all of which are investing apps that also allow you to buy and sell stocks for free via your phone.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of these stock trading apps because I think they tend to promote the wrong habits when it comes to investing. I believe the correct investing philosophy is to invest in broadly diversified, passively managed index funds and to buy and hold for the long term. In contrast with that philosophy, I think a lot of these stock trading apps promote day trading among people that don’t really understand what they are doing. It also makes people think that investing is about hitting home runs, rather than a slow and steady habit of saving consistently.
That said, these apps do have some value because they give people access to investing without the fees that often come with it.
One big question you probably have is whether an app like TradeUP is safe to use. This is a new app, so I don’t blame you if you’re wary. That said, TradeUP offers its trading through Marsco Investment Corporation, which is a member of FINRA and is regulated by the SEC. I looked up their information via the FINRA BrokerCheck tool and it appears that Marsco Investment Corporation has been registered with the SEC since 1986.
In short, I’m comfortable with TradeUP given that Marsco Investment Corporation is a FINRA member and regulated by the SEC. A lot of people have also used this app, so if there were any issues, I think we’d have heard about it by now. But of course, as with any fintech product, whether or not you want to use it is going to be determined by your comfort level.
TradeUP Referral Bonus Step-By-Step Directions
Here are the step-by-step instructions to earn your TradeUP referral bonus. My general recommendation is to complete these steps using your phone. It’s not a requirement per se, but it seems like it’s easier and tracks better when you use your phone to open your account, rather than doing it on your computer.
1. Open Your TradeUP Account Using A Referral Link
The first thing you’ll need to do is open a TradeUP account using a referral link. Here is my TradeUP referral link that you can use to open your account and earn your free stocks.
The referral link will bring you to a page with the referral bonus terms. The page will also have a button that will allow you to open your account and earn your free stocks. There’s only one type of TradeUP account available, so it should be pretty straightforward. The one thing I would recommend is that when you open your account, make sure to pick the cash account and not the version of the account that lets you trade on margin (it’s not worth it to mess with margin trading, so just keep things simple here).
After you open your TradeUP account, you’ll immediately receive one free stock valued between $2 and $15. You’re guaranteed to get the free stock, but the value of the stock is random. Below is a table from TradeUP that shows you the different probabilities of getting each stock:
As you can see, you’re very likely to end up with a stock valued between $2 and $5. When I opened my account, I somehow got lucky and ended up with a stock valued at a little over $8. Meanwhile, my wife ended up with a stock valued at $3. Either way, it’s still free money that you earn without having to do anything other than open an account, so that’s a good start.
2. Fund Your Account With At Least $100 (Fund With $5,000 To Maximize Your Free Stocks)
Once you’ve opened your account, you’ll need to fund your account to earn up to 4 free stocks. The number of additional free stocks you’ll get is based on how much you deposit into your TradeUP account. Here are the terms:
To get the maximum number of free stocks, you’ll need to fund your account with at least $5,000. This is what I did when I opened my account, but $5,000 is obviously a lot of money, so if you can’t do that, you may want to consider depositing a smaller amount that will earn you fewer free stocks.
One thing to remember is that the terms do not require you to invest the money that you deposit. Instead, you can simply deposit the funds to earn your free stock, then withdraw your deposit later. There is a holding period of up to 15 business days, so at most, you’ll have to tie up your initial deposit for a few weeks.
Note that just like your initial free stock, the value of your free additional stocks is random. Here are the different probabilities for the value of each stock:
You’re guaranteed a minimum of $15 for each stock, and as you can see, your free stocks will likely be between $15 and $30. I received four shares of Funko stock, with each valued at about $21. In total, the value of my free stocks was approximately $92, with my initial free stock valued at $8 and my four additional free stocks valued at $21.
3. Claim Your Free Stocks In The TradeUP App
You’ll instantly receive your free stock(s) after you’ve funded your account with $100 to $5,000. Be patient – it can take a few days for your initial deposit to make it into your account (I think it took about 3 days for my initial $5,000 deposit to clear).
To get your free stocks, you have to claim them in the app, which can be a bit confusing because the app isn’t very intuitive. To claim your free stocks, click the profile button at the bottom corner of the app, then click “Rewards Center” in the menu that appears.
Next, you should end up on a screen that will allow you to claim your free stocks. It should look like the screenshot below.
The screen will show you which steps you’ve completed, as well as how many free stocks you’ve earned. Claim your free stocks by clicking the “Claim” button.
The free stocks will take a few weeks to clear and go into your account. Once you receive your free stocks, you can sell them immediately or keep them if you want.
4. Withdraw Your Initial Deposit
After you’ve received your free stocks, you’ll likely want to sell your free stocks and withdraw your initial deposit unless you actually plan to use TradeUP to invest. I think it’s a fine app if you want to use it that way, but I personally only signed up to get my free stocks.
Be aware that there is a holding period of up to 15 business days, so you’ll have to wait a few weeks before you’re able to withdraw your funds. In the app, it says you’ll need to wait 11 days after the accounting date.
One other thing to note is that some folks report that if you withdraw your funds without making a trade, TradeUP will send you an email asking you to explain why you’re withdrawing your money without making any trades. I believe this is a regulatory thing they have to do, but in any event, you can simply say you need the money or state any other reason you want.
To avoid the administrative hassle of having to explain why you’re withdrawing your funds without doing any trades, it might make sense to make one trade before you withdraw your funds. One easy thing you can do is purchase a non-volatile asset, then sell it a day or two later. I purchased a Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Bond ETF (VGSH), then sold it a few days later. The price of this ETF should only change by a few cents at most over the course of a few days, so it’s easy enough to buy one share of it, then sell it a day or two later.
Is The TradeUP Referral Bonus Worth It?
In my experience, it’s sometimes unclear whether these free stocks bonuses are worth going for or not. Depending on your financial situation, locking up $5,000, even for just a few weeks, can be a tall order.
Here’s how I think about it. Opening a TradeUP account and getting your initial free stock is simple enough to do. You won’t get much money for that initial free stock, but it’s still free money (even if not much free money).
Getting the additional free stock does seem worth it to me. For example, let’s say you’re only able to fund your account with $100 to earn one additional free stock worth at least $15. If you get a free stock worth $15, plus your initial free stock for opening your account worth $2, you’ll end up with $17 of free stock in exchange for a $100 deposit into your account. That’s a 17% return on your money in 15 business days (about three weeks). It’s obviously not a lot of money in absolute terms, but it’s still a 17% return on your money without much work.
The value proposition makes sense even with larger sums. Here’s how it breaks down:
- $1,000 deposit equals a minimum of $32 of free stock (1 free stock + 2 additional free stocks). That’s a 3.2% return in 15 business days.
- $2,500 deposit equals a minimum of $47 of free stock (1 free stock + 3 additional free stocks). That’s a 1.8% return in 15 business days.
- $5,000 deposit equals a minimum of $62 of free stock (1 free stock + 4 additional free stocks). That’s a 1.2% return in 15 business days.
Your average savings account earns 0.5% interest these days, which means that with a $5,000 balance, you’d be looking at $25 of interest in a year. As you can see, depositing $5,000 and earning $62 of free stock means you’ll get more than what you’d get in a savings account for an entire year – all in about three weeks. If you annualized your rates of return with this referral bonus, you’d be looking at a minimum 21% rate of return.
In short, if you have the money sitting around, the math says this bonus is worth doing.
Refer Your Friends To TradeUP For Additional Bonuses
You can dramatically increase your earnings as well by referring friends and family members using your own referral link. The person you refer will also get free stocks, so they have a reason to use your referral link. Whenever I get open these accounts, I always immediately refer my wife and my brother, both of whom are always willing to do these types of signup offers.
Currently, the referral gives you a free stock valued at $2-$15 as soon as your referral opens an account with your referral link. You’ll then get an additional free stock valued at $15-$1,000 once they deposit at least $100 into their account.
So, here’s how much in free stock you could earn if you open an account using a referral link, then refer a spouse or partner.
- First, you open a TradeUP account using a referral link, fund your account with $5,000, and get a total of 5 free stocks valued at $62.
- Next, you refer your spouse or partner and have them fund their account with $5,000. They’ll get 5 free stocks valued at $62. You’ll get two free stocks valued at $17.
- In total, your household will get $141 of free stocks, all for just a few minutes of your time.
TradeUP seems to be a fine investing app, although I personally won’t use it beyond getting my free stocks. It does offer commission-free trades, so if you wanted to use it as your investing app, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I think the app does feel a bit clunky, however, and I prefer using an app like M1 Finance, which also offers free trades and has a more intuitive and easy-to-use interface.
That said, TradeUP is offering a good signup bonus right now and I think it’s worth jumping on these offers while they’re available. I have no idea how long this type of promotion will last, but you have to imagine that at some point, they’ll have to stop giving away free stocks or dramatically reduce the value of the free stocks. My thinking is – get these bonuses while you can.
If you’re looking for additional apps you can use to earn free stocks, you may also want to check out Webull. They have a similar promotion going on that will allow you to earn free stocks after depositing $100 into your account.