Bamboo App Review

Bamboo App Review

Robert McDougall 

January 8, 2024

Cryptocurrency

Micro investing is a popular trend for beginners and novices to gain financial exposure for investing and profiting from their money. I have seen a surge in investment apps all around the world. While a few apps offer global services, others like Alpaca Trading and Bamboo Investments service geo-targeted locations. While the former services investors in Asia, Bamboo currently offers investment opportunities to investors in Nigeria and Ghana. 

Bamboo is a recent micro/personal investment app I tried. Targeting individual customers in Nigeria and Ghana, Bamboo allows customers to buy precious metals and equities in smaller quantities. The app basically cuts down on bulk buying without compromising on the economies of scale.

While I do keep trying micro-investment apps for personal use, Bamboo appealed to my interests and immediately won me over. I've got plenty of reasons to believe it will impress my readers as well.

Read my full review on the Bamboo app to see how it stands out, and decide whether it is suitable for you.

Overview of the Bamboo App

The Bamboo investment application is an online micro-investment solution that helps you buy, sell, and trade U.S. bonds, ETFs, shares, and equities — among other options. I saw some of the biggest companies in the world listed on the application, giving me an opportunity to not only invest in them but become a preferred shareholder.

History and Background of the Bamboo App

The Bamboo investment app originated in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2019. The investment app was established by co-founders Yanmo Omorogbe and Richmond Bassey. In 2022, the Bamboo app expanded operations to Ghana, generating massive interest from micro-investors in the Central African country. The app currently has a market capitalization above $1 billion and provides substantial insurance on stock accounts up to $500,000 due to integrations with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation from the United States.

As of 2023, there are over 3,000 companies listed on the Bamboo investment app. You can invest in 3,000+ different shares and track periodic performance to decide whether your future investments will reap rewards.

Explanation of Bamboo’s Mission and Vision

By offering diversification options, research and education resources, and dollar-cost averaging, Bamboo aims to empower users to make informed decisions and manage their investment risks effectively.

The app plans to educate global users on risk management and simultaneously invest in growing American stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds.

Key features and benefits of using the Bamboo app

During my time investing in the Bamboo app, there were certain features that appealed to my interests. These include:

Fractional investing and diversified portfolios

The Bamboo investment app comes with a unique micro-investment model that helps you break your investment down into fractions. This fractional investment technology enables users to invest in small amounts of stock, which is a great way for beginners to get started. 

User-friendly interface and intuitive design

The Bamboo app comes with a user-friendly interface and intuitive design. The app design and functionality are meant for beginners, which is why the simple layout makes life easy for novice investors. Bamboo also makes it easy to jump from one asset class to another. For instance, I could simultaneously invest in an African ETF and a U.S. stock at the same time.

Range of investment options and asset classes

Continuing from the point above, Bamboo has a wide range of asset classes and investment options available to users. The app works like the popular crypto trading app Binance as far as the different asset classes and trading opportunities are concerned. However, while Binance primarily deals with crypto asset classes, Bamboo concerns itself with stocks and other investment options like mutual funds and ETFs. 

Social features and educational resources

The bamboo investment app comes with plenty of social and educational resources. When I first used the application, I saw a number of tips for beginners to start investing.

Bamboo gives beginners a chance to make serious money by guiding them through the investment process with tips, step-by-step guides, and friendly data visualization techniques to present data in a realistic manner. They also have a dedicated website resource that offers learning opportunities to all beginners and users in the form of blogs and articles.

How Bamboo App Works

In a nutshell, the Bamboo app allows Nigerian, Ghanaian, and U.S. citizens the ability to buy, hold, sell, and trade American and African stocks. The application breaks stocks and investments into fractions, where investors have the option to purchase a small fraction of a complete stock.

During my experience, I saw a number of mind-blowing details that help diversify your investments and manage your funds. Here is what I am talking about:

Registration and account setup process

The first step in your investment journey with Bamboo is to download and sign up for the app. Bamboo offers a simple sign-up process. This process includes the following steps:

  • You can download the app on iOS or Android and store it on your phone.
  • Create an account on Bamboo app.
  • Once you enter your email and contact details, you must verify your identity by adding your BVN or identity number to the app.
  • Link your bank account and deposit money.
  • You can then invest in thousands of Nigerian and American stocks.

The initial sign-up page will appear as below:

Risk assessment and portfolio recommendation

The Bamboo app provides multiple risk-free investment opportunities from blue chip U.S. companies and ETFs traded within the U.S. stock exchange. The app has over 3,500 assets in total.

In my personal experience, all assets are checked for risk and volatility. To give you an idea of all backend processes, Bamboo only trades ETFs that:

  • Are listed in a U.S. exchange.
  • Have a market cap of over $1 billion.
  • Have an average daily trading volume of $500,000 during the past three months.
  • Are non-leveraged in nature.

The selection process removes the risks present in some shady penny stocks and other leveraged ETFs. The thorough selection process assesses risks and removes any volatile stocks. 

Making deposits and selecting investment plans

During my experience with the Bamboo app, I found that the deposit process was fairly simple. The funding and deposit process for Bamboo is managed by Flutterwave, which provides a number of options to deposit money into your account. Flutterwave is a trusted Nigerian fintech company that provides payment gateways to vendors. 

You can use all Visa, Mastercard, and Verve cards to deposit money into your Bamboo wallet. Money from American Express and Discover cards can also be deposited into your account. Your funds will show up within 1-2 days of first being sent. 

Portfolio management and rebalancing

Bamboo provides a detailed section on portfolio management to help you oversee and monitor your investments. When I used the app, I would click on the ‘portfolio breakdown’ option to see additional details.

The section provides additional details on your overall investments, stock charts, total figures for the amount of investment, and much more. Additionally, there is a Bamboo watchlist that helps you monitor and check on all future stocks you can add to your portfolio. Once you add a stock to the list, it will show in this list, and you will be able to track all movements. 

Tracking investment performance and returns

The portfolio management tools and details I mentioned above can also apply when you’re tracking your investment performance and returns. The portfolio breakdown section provides additional details on your overall investments, stock charts, total figures for the amount of investment, and much more.

You can also use the section to track fixed returns and ensure positive profits. The simple breakdown is easy to understand for newbies.

User Experience and Interface

The app design and functionality are meant for beginners, which is why the simple interface makes life easy for novice investors.

Let me now look at how the user interface stands out:

User-friendly Navigation and Intuitive Design

Here's something you can't deny - Bamboo's layout is seamlessly intuitive. Navigating this app is incredibly user-friendly, because the menus are clear and concise and the app’s features are easy to find and use. From the moment you're on the welcome screen, everything is laid out crystal clear.

Availability of Mobile Apps

In the fast-paced mobile world we live in, Bamboo rewards its users not only with a fluid desktop experience but also with robust mobile apps for both iOS and Android. It's like carrying your own mini-investment bank in your pocket without the hefty bank maintenance fees! I downloaded the iOS version of the app, and within minutes, I could begin my personalized investment journey.

Customization Options and Settings

As they say, different strokes are for different folks, and Bamboo truly embraces this motto by offering a wide array of customization options. It's as if they have made every user the master of their own investment universe. 

I loved personalizing each aspect to suit my investment goals, risk appetite, and even aesthetic preferences. I added and removed stocks from my watchlist and was able to vigilantly monitor stocks that I was genuinely interested in. Additionally, the dark theme worked great for me, but others may prefer the conventional white theme.

Investment Options and Portfolios

Bamboo offers a wide array of investment opportunities and plans. Let me run you through these options:

Overview of investment plans and options

The bamboo app offers different investment options and plans for different users. The three investment plans I found on the platform are: 

  • Stocks: Bamboo offers the best local and global stocks for investors. Investors have access to the best U.S. and Nigerian stocks.
  • ETFs: ETFs or exchange-traded funds help diversify your portfolio. This plan includes indexes from the S&P 500 alongside a track of the U.S. economy.
  • Fixed Return: The fixed return plan is the Bamboo app's best possible investment option. The fixed-income return-dollar-denominated investment gives you up to 8% annually. The fixed-return plan is currently only available to investors in Nigeria. 

The app also helps with diversification through different asset classes and sub-types. The Bamboo watchlist helps you monitor and check on all future stocks you can add to your portfolio. Once you add a stock to the list, it will show in this list, and you will be able to track all movements. I was able to diversify my stock investments through the output on the list.

Evaluation of portfolio performance and historical returns

A vital part of any investment strategy is evaluating your portfolio performance and looking at historical returns. With the Bamboo app, this process isn't just made straightforward – it's enjoyable. Like keeping your ear to the ground, Bamboo offers tools to regularly evaluate your portfolio performance and scan through your historical returns.

You can view your historical performance by simply running over past trades. Additionally, there are charts and trends attached with each asset to indicate past performance and trends. 

Analysis of risk management and mitigation strategies

Fortune favors the brave, so they say, but Bamboo understands that it's not always about risk-taking when it comes to investments.

A personalized risk profile is created for each user, incorporating factors like investment objective, financial situation, and risk tolerance, creating a safety net for each investor. An innovative feature I discovered was related to diversification. The platform encourages spreading out investments to minimize risk, which is a sensible suggestion.

Bamboo's risk management extends to maintaining compliance with financial regulations. They implement robust measures, so you don't have to worry about breaking any rules when investing on Bamboo.

Pricing and Fees

The fee structure for Bamboo is fairly reasonable and simple. I paid a 1.5% commission on all U.S. stocks I purchased and sold through the application. However, do keep in mind that the percentage commission is paid twice – once when you buy the stocks and once when you sell them.

Withdrawal Fees

On top of the commission charged on purchasing and selling stocks, users have to pay fees when they withdraw any amount from the application. The withdrawal amount for foreign securities is set at a minimum of $500.

Traders can withdraw the money in their Naira account after paying 45 nairas or $0.10 as a withdrawal fee each time. Withdrawals for foreign accounts can be on the higher side, however, as they cost $45 per transaction.

Value for Money and Cost Effectiveness

The app provides good value for money with a cost-effective model for Nigerian bank users. However, if you have a dollar bank account, you may find the withdrawal rate to be a bit too hefty. I personally transferred funds into my Nigerian Naira account to save $45 each time I withdrew funds from the app.

Security and Customer Support

The security offered by the Bamboo app is the best among all competitors in the African market. The app provides two-factor authentication with the latest data encryption models, which are new for micro-investment apps.

Protection of user funds and data

Bamboo comes with Flutterwave as the payment processor for all withdrawals and deposits. The payment processor comes with PCI DSS and PADSS compliant policies, which meet the top-level compliance and security audit requirements.

Perhaps the feature I loved most was the insurance provided by US-regulated DriveWealth LLC. The insurance firm offers $250,000 insurance for cash claims. If, for some reason, your funds go missing, you can file an insurance claim and recover up to $250,000 as part of cash claims.

Availability and quality of customer support channels

The Bamboo app does fall short when it comes to active customer support. All customers are directed to the [email protected] email address whenever they have any complaints.

The lack of a quality live chat feature is a downside compared to other competitors who provide a live chat for handling complaints and reservations.

Transparency and reliability of the app

The app is reliable and has more than 1 million downloads and a rating of 4.1 on the Google Play Store. Additionally, it also has a rating of 4.2 on the App Store.

There are, however, certain concerns regarding the transparency of dispute procedures on the app. Some user reviews suggest that follow-ups from the team can take some time. 

Pros and Cons

As most of my readers would know by now, there is no shortage of pros and cons when it comes to the Bamboo app. Let us recollect these pros and cons in this section:

Assessment of Bamboo's strengths and advantages

  • Streamlined apps for multiple mobile operating systems. Easy-to-use UI makes investing easier.
  • 8% annual commissions as part of the fixed return scheme.
  • Access to U.S. ETFs and stocks.
  • Simple sign-up procedure.
  • U.S. insurance protection.
  • Affiliation with quality external providers for payment processing and insurance.

Identification of potential limitations and drawbacks

  • Limited geographically to users in Ghana and Nigeria.
  • The $45 withdrawal rate for dollar accounts is on the higher side.
  • Limited customer support.

Conclusion

I used numerous alternatives when I first came across the idea of investing in U.S. stocks and ETFs from Nigeria. However, Bamboo is the place to be if you want to buy and sell U.S. stocks without bogging yourself with requirements and complications.

In my personal experience with Bamboo, I've found the app not just as a digital tool but as a companion, guiding me through the ups and downs of the investment landscape. 

Obviously, there are downsides, but they didn't prove to be a hindrance during my experience, and I am sure that would be the case for you as well.


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