Acorns Review: How It Compares to Betterment, Robinhood, Stash [+ Review of Acorns Spend, Later, & Found Money]

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For millennials looking to save money and get into micro-investing, while not wanting to worry about high fees, rebalancing portfolios, and making a ton of choices, Acorns app is a great option for investment beginners. And before you start asking, has anyone made money on Acorns? I'm happy to say my husband was a pretty early adopter and we made money on Acorns. Neither of us have taken a real interest in actively following or investing in the stock market, so we really wanted to find a tool that would make saving and investing easier. It was actually the first app we used when we started investing our money. We loved how easy and affordable it made things. Sign up for your account here! In this post we'll look at Acorns various features, how it works, and how it compares to Betterment, Stash, and Robinhood, all of which continuously get ranked as the best investment apps for beginners.

Grow your money with Acorns

What is Acorns?

Acorns is a saving and micro investing app allowing users to invest in a low-cost, diversified portfolio of exchange traded funds (ETFs). Setting up your Acorns account is easy! You can sign up in under 5 minutes here by downloading the Acorns app with no minimum investment requirement.

Acorns has several features that help grow users money:

  • Round Ups: investing spare change from everyday purchases, creating recurring investments that can also be automated
  • One-time investments: Transfer over a sum of money when you get; e.g. when you get some birthday or holiday money
  • Found Money: Earn money when you shop with over 200 tops brands through the app
  • Referrals: Refer a friend to the app and you'll get $5
  • Acorns Later: Save for retirement
  • Acorns Spend: A checking account with a debit card that saves, invests, and earns for you

We'll be going deeper into each of these throughout this post.

Acorns vs Robinhood

Robinhood is an entirely free option, whereas Acorns does cost money, but the fees are nominal. The Acorns Lite program only costs $1 per month and their Acorns Personal account is only $3 per month. If you're looking for a completely hands-off option, Acorns will likely be the better fit. Robinhood is great for people looking to make individual stock choices, but Acorns allows users to passively round up spare change from purchases or invest money across a diverse range of industries and profit from overall market performance. Which brings up the question…

Help, “I'm losing money on acorns…”  WHY?

Acorns is an investment app, and while it's diversified things will still depend on overall market performance. If the market is down, your funds will be down. It's an investing app, not a savings account.

Grow your money with Acorns

Betterment vs Acorns

Betterment and Acorns are more comparable as they are both Robo Advisors. Betterment has a different fee structure than Acorns, so it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison when it comes to cost. Acorns has fixed fees, whereas Betterment charges anywhere from .25% to .4% of your invested amount. Both Betterment and Acorns offer a bunch of retirement account types from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs and SEP IRAs.

Betterment has a high-yield savings account, which is nice but if you're looking for an easy investing option Acorns may be a better fit. In my opinion, it's a little easier to use.

We found the micro-investing from round-ups on purchases to be better aligned with our lifestyle, and as an added bonus when we shopped through the Acorns website, which has partnerships with a number of brands we already purchase from, we get additional cashback on those purchases through their “Acorns Found Money” rewards system.

Stash vs Acorns

Stash and Acorns are the two most similar investing apps of all the ones we compared. Both have fixed fees, Acorns is $1-$3 per month and Stash is $1-$9 per month depending on what features and add ons you want to take advantage of.

Both of these apps offer nudges and automation making savings and investing easier. Users also have the ability to switch their checking account to use either Acorns or Stash’s debit card for additional rewards.

Stash does offer more individual stock choices, but if you're looking for an easier to understand/navigate option, then Acorns will simplify the portfolio management process (great for people new to investing).

Now that we have our winner, here’s an overview of some important things to know about Acorns for you to make your decision….

How does Acorns make money?

Acorns makes money off of monthly membership fees. I'm speculating here, but I also think they make money from their verified brand partners in the “Acorns Found Money” program, which benefits users too as they get to earn more money when shopping with those brands through the app.

What are the Acorns membership options?

They’ve simplified their membership to to two different options, Acorns Lite and Acorns Personal. We'll look at those more below:

Acorns Fees

Acorns offers two different accounts, Acorns Lite for $1 per month and Acorns Personal for $3 per month. With Acorns Personal, you'll get access to the investing features you have with Acorns Lite, but you'll also receive access to Acorns Later (retirement account) and Acorns Spend (checking account).

What are Acorns Later and Acorns Spend; and are they worth $3 per month?

Acorns Later Review & Recap

This is Acorns automated retirement savings account. Acorns will automatically select the right type of IRA for your lifestyle and goals, each offering distinct tax advantages and eligibility. It’s super easy and cheap to set up, and Acorns IRA tax form makes it extremely simple to get access to your 1099 as long you’ve met the IRS’ minimum reporting requirements.

You can start with as little as $5 and invest as much as you are allowed to by the IRS on an annual basis. Setting up a new IRA account or using Acorns IRA rollover tools can seem overwhelming, and you’ll be asking yourself questions like “how much can I save in my roth IRA” (hint: it's $6,000 annually if you're under 50, and $7,000 annually if you're over 50), but one thing that’s for sure is that they have simplified the process of setting up your IRA and made it easy to see what is happening in your retirement account.

Acorns Spend Account Review & Recap

This is a checking account with some actual benefits to its customers, such as:

  • Saving money with no account fees beyond your membership fee
  • Reimbursements on Acorns Spend ATM fees
  • Earning more with up to 10% bonus investments
  • Investing automatically with built-in investment and retirement accounts

With Acorns Spend you’ll have a checking account with a debit card that invests when you swipe, it’s like a fancy debit card.

Acorns Support

You can contact Acorns customer support via email (socialsupport@acorns.com) or via phone at (855) 739-2859. 

Acorns has done an amazing job at providing helpful information on their blog and FAQ section on their website. They can help answer your questions like what a Roth IRA is, or how the process works for withdrawing from Acorns Later account.

Setting Up Acorns Account

The account opening process is super easy and fast. It only takes a few minutes when you click here. Like any other investment account you will need to go through Acorns approval process by entering in your personal information such as legal name, date of birth, and your social security number to ensure you are who you say you are. That usually happens instantly or the same day, but if there is some wrong or missing information it can take up to 5 days. This all for your security though.

When will I get my Acorns Spend Card if I Sign up for one?

The Acorns Spend debit card orders typically take 7 to 10 business days to arrive from the time you are approved. You'll receive an email notification once your card has shipped with a link to track your card. You can also track the status of your card when you log in to your account.

What happens if I lost my Acorns debit card?

There is no fee to replace your Acorns debit card so you can start by contacting them to turn the card off and order a new one.

How do I get money onto my Acorns Spend Card?

When you go through the account setup process you will add an Acorns Spend funding source from your primary checking account which will be used to fund your debit card.

Grow your money with Acorns

 
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