Investing in U.S Stocks: Bamboo, Chaka, or Trove?

An objective review of their brand and product experiences

Nairastack
Jun 15, 2020 · 4 min read

Ever tried investing in U.S stocks from Nigeria, here is a quick attempt at an objective review on the customer service, user experience, exchange rates, processing timelines, and commission on these platforms.

Customer Service

For a product that deals with a real-time service (stock market) in a very sensitive industry, robotic and automated customer service are far off from giving customers the unique attention they deserve. Why hasn’t my wallet being credited for the past 24 hours, why didn’t my sale go through? These and many more are questions that require human intervention.

Having interacted with the customer service of these platforms, Bamboo is way ahead. I have never had to escalate my issues beyond the in-app chat. The responsiveness and attentiveness of Bamboo’s customer service are quite commendable. Chaka is terrible. They copy-paste responses, are difficult to reach and mostly do not care that much about their customers.

Summarily: Bamboo > Trove > Chaka

User Experience

There is a lot of information that needs to be shown for a single stock, and they also have to change depending on if you have those stocks in your portfolio or not. What was my buying price? Am I currently on profit or loss and by how much? The hierarchy in which these are laid out will either make or mar decision making, especially for short term traders.

User experience comparison for Bamboo, Chaka and Trove

Trove used to have a terrible interface, but their current design is topnotch. Bamboo has a neat design but the user experience of an app that crashes every other day leaves a lot of questions unanswered, I would really love to see how they match up once they include Nigerian stocks. Chaka’s design needs more work, it honestly seems like a responsive website than an actual app. The search never works. Chaka has the greatest features e.g a personal portfolio chart but their general design just needs more work so users can find things quickly. Chaka also has a web interface

Summarily: Trove > Bamboo, Chaka

Exchange rates

Since the U.S stocks are quoted in USD, most people need to deposit naira to these platforms for conversion. However, there are 2 sides to these: How much the platform is willing to sell USD to you when you deposit naira? and How much they are willing to give naira to you when you sell your stocks?. Chaka is quite ahead in all of these but only Bamboo has the option to withdraw your funds to your USD account. For the past 3 months, they have maintained the lowest USD to NGN rate, which equally means they have also had the lowest USD-NGN withdrawal rate to you, but it’s not that simple.

They all accept wire transfers, but as of this writing, only Bamboo and Chaka allow funding via a USD card.

As at the time of this article:

  • Chaka buys at 447, sells at 454
  • Bamboo buys from you at 444, sells to you at 454
  • Trove buys at 443, sells at 456

If you have NGN, they are all mostly on the same level since the difference between their buy and sell rates are relatively the same.

Summarily: Chaka > Trove, Bamboo

Processing Timelines

You’ve finally made some profits on that stock and now its’ time to sell, or you just want to liquidate your investment to venture into something else. This is what a typical deposit-sale flow will look like on Bamboo. If you deposit NGN on Monday, you will get value on Tuesday, if you buy stocks and sell on Tuesday, you will get value on Thursday, and if you withdraw your profit, you will get value the following Monday. When it comes to processing timelines, Bamboo is really struggling. If you are a short term trader, you will most likely get pissed.

For Chaka and Trove, you get value immediately you sell but you may not be able to withdraw till after 2 or 3 days. I’m rating Trove above Chaka though because Trove’s NGN-USD processing timeline is the fastest.

Summarily Trove > Chaka > Bamboo

Commission

  • Bamboo charges a 1.5% commission when you buy or sell stocks.
  • Trove charges a 1% commission when you buy or sell stocks above $200. Anything below $200 is a flat $2 charge.
  • Chaka charges a 1% commission when you buy or sell stocks above $200. Anything below $200 is a flat $2 charge.

If you are going to be trading above $200, Trove and Chaka will save you a lot of fees. If you are going to be trading below $200, Bamboo may be better.

Summarily Chaka, Trove > Bamboo

Disclaimer: There has not been a better time to create wealth irrespective of your location, and while Nigeria may have been at the backseat in terms of democratizing access to global stocks, these 3 giants are taking the leap to reconstruct that narrative. We at Nairastack recognize the efforts of these platforms and are only sharing these for educational purposes.

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Get alerts about the best places to invest your naira in Nigeria & beyond. On a mission to democratize investment.

Nairastack

Get alerts about the best places to invest your naira in Nigeria & beyond. On a mission to democratize investment.