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Who knew Jeff Bezos' idea of online book shopping at discount prices would grow to become the dominating online beast it is today? Anything and everything you can think to buy can be bought on Amazon.com. Want it tomorrow? No problem because Amazon Prime will give you free overnight shipping.
While the whole world was going into lockdown, finding ways to get groceries or items we needed without leaving our homes sent us scurrying to Amazon. Amazon reported its profits went up 200% in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. While stores were shuttering, Amazon was hiring.
Anyone smart enough to put $10,000 into Amazon when it launched in 1997 at $18 a share is now a millionaire – those shares were worth $12 million in 2020.
There are several online brokers offering consumers a way to place stock market orders easily at any time and from anywhere. From these trading platforms, you can find information on the stocks, what stock price they’re trading at on the NASDAQ, how to place limit orders, and more.
Since you're probably thinking of $3,000 is too rich for your blood, buying fractional shares may be right for you. Brokers who allow for fractional shares give you a chance to buy a piece of one share for a price you can afford. As you can afford to invest more, you can buy more and get closer to the full shares you want.
Here’s a look at three online stock brokers that allow you to buy Amazon stock.
Using Stash, investors have access to a variety of stocks, bonds, and ETFs that can be invested in regular investment accounts, retirement accounts, and custodial accounts. Set up is quick and easy, and the platform is intuitive. Stash offers three plan levels costing $1, $3, or $9 per month. This also gives you a debit card account and a small life insurance policy.
Trades are commission-free with all plans. Shares can be purchased for as little as $1. Fractional shares are available, so even if you can’t afford a full share of Amazon stock, you can invest an amount that fits your budget.
Giving everyone easy access to investing, Robinhood offers new members a free share of stock at signup. Accounts are free to set up and maintain, and there is an optional $5 per month for Robinhood Gold which gives you access to additional features including trading on margin and detailed research reports from Morningstar.
There is no commission charged on buying stocks, but small regulatory fees are passed on to investors when you sell. Robinhood does allow users to purchase fractional shares which means you can start investing today, even if you’ve only got $5 to invest.
Amazon stock has come a long way since its initial offering back in May 1997. The IPO shares sold for $18 each and had a slow start as the online bookseller began branching out into other retail categories on its way to creating the Amazon that we all know and love today.
The first three years saw three stock splits, two with a 2:1 ratio and one that was 3:1. When a 2:1 split occurs, investors’ shares double, while the value of each share is halved. The only difference in a 3:1 split is that instead of doubling, investor shares tripled. For the buy-and-hold investor, this is a huge benefit.
Amazon stock has continued to rise over the years, with ups and downs as the economy and stock market fluctuate. It was the second company to reach $1 trillion in market capitalization. (Apple was the first.) Of course, 2020 was a great year for the company with many brick-and-mortar retailers closed and people turning to online shopping as their preferred way to stay safe among the global pandemic.
Amazon price history
At its IPO, Amazon was sold for $18 a share. Let’s say you invested $1,000 into it on that first day. We know that it has gone through three splits so here’s how your share numbers would have grown along with the present-day value.
Purchase: 55.5 shares
First split: 111 shares
Second split: 333 shares
Third split: 666 shares
2021 value of 666 shares: $2,068,675.92
Below is a graph from Morningstar, showing the continual rise of Amazon’s share price.
Here's a look at the last 3 years alone, showing how well it was doing during the pandemic.
Amazon dividend info
Unfortunately for investors, Amazon does not pay out dividends to shareholders. While there is plenty of that could be paid out as dividends, Amazon chooses to reinvest it into further growth of the company.
Best features of Amazon stock
Amazon shows promise of continual growth in the coming years. Of course, it’s bound to have ups and downs, and the growth of 2020 may never be repeated. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth considering:
Amazon is capitalizing on the shift in consumer spending. As more people get used to the convenience and ease of shopping online, Amazon may continue to see sales rise. Its platform is very “sticky” in that it draws people back regularly thanks to features that let you easily reorder past purchases, its subscription program that lets you set-and-forget pretty much any consumable item that you need on at least a semi-regular basis, and movie and book subscription programs that give you all-access passes to content libraries for low monthly fees. And of course, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can’t pass up the free one- or two-day shipping on orders.
Amazon is continually growing and innovating. From its humble start in Bezos’ garage in Seattle to hundreds of warehouses filled with its own devices like Kindle and Echo to holding inventory for third-party fulfilled by Amazon sellers, there seems to be no limit to how Amazon will continue to grow and integrate into our lives even more. The new Amazon Pharmacy is just one of the latest ventures the company has started as they attempt to cash in on the billion-dollar pharmaceuticals industry.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leader in cloud services. With more companies going remote and entrepreneurship on the rise, there’s plenty of opportunities for AWS to continue breaking revenue records with their services for cloud computing and e-commerce.
Step 3: Open an account & buy Amazon shares with Stash
Are you ready to get in on investing in Amazon stock? When you open a brokerage account with Stash, you can own Amazon shares (ticker symbol: AMZN), even if it’s only $5 or $50 worth, in under 10 minutes.
You start by going to the Stash website, entering your basic personal info, and answering some questions about your employment, savings goals, and investing experience. Your answers to the questions guide the app to create a more customized experience for you.
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in the processes.
After entering your name, email, address, and phone number you will answer several questions about the financial areas you want to focus on, your experience with investing, and more. While there are several pages to click through, each page is just one question, and probably won’t take you more than 30 seconds to answer before you click the “next” button.
First, you select one or more areas in which you want to expand your financial growth.
Next, you’re prompted to choose the plan that you’d like to use with an easy-to-read chart that shows the differences between plans. The lowest cost plan for those who just want to get started is only $1 per month, while a more robust plan that gives you more options and lets you add custodial accounts for your kids is $9 per month.
Then you’re prompted to pay for your plan. You can choose to pay monthly or for 12 months. There are no discounts if you choose to pay for a whole year at a time.
On the next page, you’re asked about your current employment status.
Then there’s a question about your estimated net worth. It’s just an estimate, so no need to break out your financial records. Remember, your net worth is what you own minus what you owe. So if your home is worth $150,000 but you have a mortgage for $100,000, you can count $50,000 towards your net worth.
The next page asks about your tax filing status.
Then you’re prompted to answer questions about your current retirement savings. You can only choose one, even if you invest in multiple types of accounts that are earmarked for your golden years.
Next up is a question on whether or not you pay your bills on time. Just select the one that’s the most accurate.
This next question asks how long your savings will tide you over, with your current expenditures, if you had no regular income. Pick the one that best reflects your savings accounts and any non-retirement accounts.
Next, share your confidence level as it relates to saving and investing to meet your long-term goals.
Also, share how much experience you have with investing.
On this next page, use the slider to indicate your preference for stability and growth. If you prefer less risk, slide the dot to the left. Moving it to the right shows that you’re more risk-tolerant. Leave it in the middle if you prefer an equal mix of growth and stability.
Hang in there, you’re almost done. Just a few more questions! This next one asks for how long you plan to invest your money. Remember that if you need the money in less than five years, single stock investing isn’t the best place to put your hard-earned money for the short-term, just in case the market dips down. We know that historically it recovers, but that takes time.
Now you’ll need to disclose if you or any close family work in the financial industry.
Finally, enter your Social Security Number which is necessary to set up your account.
Lastly, review the terms and agreements. Once you’ve done that, click “Accept & Continue” and you’re ready to start investing in Amazon stock!
Now your account is set up and you’re ready to start investing! To get to the following screen, choose “invest” from the menu and do a search for the stock that you’re interested in.
On the right side of this page, you can choose an amount, or type in a different one. Then click the blue button to buy fractional shares in that dollar amount.
How much were Amazon shares when the company first went public?
When Amazon went public on May 15, 1997, each share was worth $18.
How much does it cost to buy Amazon shares today?
Each Amazon share is worth $3,075.73 as of March 30, 2021.
Does Amazon pay dividends?
No, Amazon does not pay out dividends to its shareholders.
What is the minimum number of Amazon shares that I can buy?
At more than $3,000 per share, it’s not always financially possible for investors to buy a whole share. Fortunately, many investing platforms allow you to buy fractional shares. So you can decide to buy $1000 worth of Amazon stock, which means you have roughly 1/3 of a share.
The bottom line
While past performance does not indicate what the future will bring for Amazon’s share price, or any other stocks or mutual funds, it’s always good to have plenty of diversification in your portfolio. Buying Amazon stock through a stock trading platform is one way to carry out your investment strategy.
Of course, it’s smart to talk with a financial advisor to help you gain a better understanding of Stash or any other trading platform before you begin.