At a Wegman's grocery store outside Washington, the freshest items on the shelf include Coca-Cola and Apple not the products, but stock in the companies being sold for the first time as gift cards.
Shopper Jay Amofah was intrigued when we showed him the cards.
"Yeah, I’m definitely interested,” Amofah said.
The gift cards rolled out in October at major retailers, including Wegmans, Safeway, Kmart, Office Max, and others. So far, the cards can be used to buy stock in 20 big-name companies.
Avi Lele is the founder and CEO of Stockpile, a Silicon Valley startup which created the idea.
"We’re bringing wall street to America,” Lele said. “People have never been able to own a stock and get started as quickly as you can here.”
New York financial writer Gregg Brewer points out the fees can be the equivalent of up to 20-percent. The recipient must open a brokerage account and can redeem it for something other than stock despite the gift-giver's intention. There's a 99-cent fee to sell the stock.
"As an investment, I’d say that this is a pass for the vast majority of people,” Brewer said.
Lele said this experiment is no flash in the pan.
"I think it's here to stay because we are seeing growth,” Lele said.
In fact, Stockpile plans to add even more retailers next year.
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