In-depth Analysis

Acorns Review

I. Mitic Image
ByI. Mitic
March 16, 2021

If the GameStop saga has taught us anything, it’s that investing money is no longer just for the fat cats. Thanks to micro-investing, the little guy really can take on Wall Street and win.

The team behind Acorns believes everyone can grow their own mighty oak from a single acorn. Endorsed by celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Lopez, and with the support of NBCUniversal, BlackRock, and PayPal, it promises a safe way of investing for beginners who struggle to save money.

Ours is one of many Acorns reviews that recommend this product. Read this guide to see all of the app’s features and decide whether this is the right virtual piggy bank for you.

Deposit minimum:
$5

Account management fee: $1 to $5 monthly

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Fortunly Rating

Account minimum:
$0 to open an account
Deposit minimum:
$5
Account management fee:
$1 to $5 monthly
Pricing plans:
Light, Personal, Family
Investment account ratios:
0.18% or less
BBB Rating:
not BBB-accredited
Withdrawal time:
3-6 business days
pros thumb up Strengths
  • No trading fees
  • $5 minimum investment threshold
  • Educational features
  • Automated approach
  • Cashback at select retailers
pros thumb up Weaknesses
  • Pricey subscription fees
  • Can lose principal
  • Limited investment portfolio

Overview

You can add ours to the long list of reviews of Acorns that praise the company for its innovative approach to the practice of saving loose change.

Based in Irvine, California, Acorns was conceived in 2012 as a financial company that would offer automated investing services by using robo-advisers.

It released an app for iOS and Android devices in 2014, revolutionizing the financial marketplace. Apart from micro-saving, it offers a checking account, a custodial account for kids, and retirement investment options.

Led by the belief that anyone – not only Wall Street giants – can thrive and grow their wealth, it creates a personal financial plan for its customers, helping them out on their journey of saving money.

How does Acorns work? This is a fair question to ask before setting your foot on the ground. First, Acorns reviews the personal information you submit in the blink of an eye. It then sets up your account for free, and that’s it – you’re good to go.

If you’re having difficulties putting your money aside, worry not; Acorns rounds up your spare change to the nearest dollar and automatically invests it into your portfolio.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an overflowing bank account to start earning. Simply deposit at least $5 into your Acorns app and review one of the three pricing plans it offers: Light, Personal, and Family.

How does Acorns compare to other services?

Acorns Logo
Acorns
Minimum investment:

$5

Pricing:

$1 to $5 per month

Stash Logo
Stash
Minimum investment:

$0

Pricing:

$1 to $9 per month

Robinhood Logo
Robinhood
Minimum investment:

$0

Pricing:

$0 to $5 per month

Why Should You Choose Acorns?

You might be wondering: is Acorns a legit business or a scam? You needn’t worry, as both the website and app are secured with 256-bit encryption and allow two-factor authentication.

Your personal information, including your Social Security number, won’t be stored on the servers. The company is also backed by some big-name investors, so you can rest assured that your money is safe with Acorns.

Intuitive and easy to use, Acorns offers the perfect kick-start for inexperienced investors, especially college students. Acorns investment app reviews – including ours – universally agree that this is an excellent option for young investors.

The signup process is also a no-brainer. If you’re struggling to put some money aside during these unprecedented times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, using the Acorns app might be a great muscle-builder for creating healthy habits. The company is geared towards up-and-coming investors and believes that the path to financial wellbeing should be within reach of everyone, no matter how much they have in a bank.

If you do opt for Acorns, not only benefit from the company’s safe and easy-going approach, but you’ll also get some additional features:

  • Invest – an investment account that rounds up your excess change. This is the users’ absolute favorite feature, according to the Acorns customer reviews we found.
  • Later – an IRA account designed to help you save for retirement with tax advantages. Acorns investment plans aren’t just about the here and now; they also allow you to invest with an eye on the future so you can meet your retirement goals.
  • Spend – a checking account that comes with a tungsten debit card, created in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank.
  • Early – a UTMA/UGMA custodial account specially created for parents so they can invest on behalf of their kids. What Acorns investment reviews on the internet don’t always tell you is that this account actually offers more flexibility than a 529 plan: money can be spent in any way you wish, not only on tuition fees, books, and supplies.
  • Earn – a savings and cashback tool that allows you to take advantage of special pricing and cashback deals from more than 350 retail partners. Lean back and let Airbnb, Disney, Apple, Walmart, Nike, and Sephora help you earn more money.
  • Grow – a magazine that’s integrated into the Acorns app and is packed with articles written by experts in the field. It’s designed to help you learn more not only about investing and finance, but also side gigs and student loans.

Perhaps the best thing reviews on Acorns investment show us is that each feature works on its own or together with the others.

The Application Process

You can download the app for free from iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play, then go through the hassle-free signup process.

How does Acorns work? First, you create your account by using your email and entering a secure password, then selecting your pricing plan. Then you link a checking or savings account and the credit cards of your choice.

To get started, you’ll have to provide some personal info, such as your Social Security number. You’ll also have to answer a few questions regarding your investment goals, the timeframe for achieving them, and your comfort level with risk.

After the signup, the Acorns app reviews the data and suggests a suitable portfolio for you. There are five portfolios to choose from: conservative, moderately conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive, and aggressive, depending on the number of bonds.

In less than 15 minutes, your Acorns login will be good to go. From then on, Acorns takes the investing reins from you, setting you free from all the hassle. This might be one of the smoothest onboarding processes we’ve ever witnessed.

Pricing Plans

Once you’re ready to start building your wealth, you should select the pricing plan that best suits your needs. We’ve been squirreling around Acorns reviews trying to untangle all the snarls for you.

Regardless of the Acorns fees you pay, you’ll need to make an initial investment of at least $5 before you start. If you want to play big, keep in mind that the maximum single deposit is $10,000.

The company offers three subscription tiers: Lite, Personal, and Family, which come at a monthly cost of $1, $3, and $5 respectively. It’s not common for robo-advisors to charge flat fees like this. Instead, most competitors opt for a percentage of your assets, which is more convenient, especially for investors with small balances.

If you don’t have a lot of money in your account, $1 per month can actually work out to be a high percentage of your assets. Any reasonable Acorns review will mention the company’s flat rates as a downside, along with its steep transfer fees. Namely, if you want to move your portfolio away from Acorns to another provider, it will cost you $50 per ETF. Of course, you can always sell your holdings instead and cash out for free.

But let’s take a closer look at the Acorns investing plans on offer. If you want to grow your mighty oak from a little acorn, you can start watering it according to one of the three pricing tiers. Before you choose one, take a look at our review of Acorns plans:

  • Lite – $1 per month; includes a taxable investment account, as well as Earn and Grow features.
  • Personal – $3 per month: includes everything mentioned previously and adds checking and retirement accounts, as well as the Spend feature.
  • Family – $5 per month: all-in-one investment, checking, and retirement accounts, plus Grow, Spend, and Acorns Early feature for kids.

If you’ve got a buzz from reading our review, we encourage you to give Acorns a try and squirrel away your savings in a virtual wallet.

Stash vs Acorns

It’s a close race between the two companies, and we’d say both are suitable for beginners. Acorns is very user-friendly; it actually invests for you, making the whole process hands-free. You can set off on a journey with as little as $5 and leave the rest of the work to the company.

However, if you’re further down the path of investing and want more flexibility, then Stash would be a slightly better option. It allows you to easily supplement your portfolio with your own investment choices.

Also, as many Acorns investing reviews highlight, the app limits investments to just six ETFs, whereas Stash lets you invest in more than 30 ETFs. There’s also no investment minimum on Stash – you can start right away. The downside to this is that Stash doesn’t make investment recommendations; you have to do the job yourself.

Both applications make it possible to build a meaningful portfolio from scratch, enabling you to invest very small amounts of money. They both also allow you to invest additional amounts so you can speed up your progress.

However, of the two, only Acorns allows you to save money on items you purchase from partner retailers with the “Earn” feature. So, choose your investment partner wisely.

Robinhood vs Acorns

Robinhood is one of the three leaders in the mobile-first investment area. Or at least it was, until recently.

The app has been widely derided after its decision to suspend trades on GameStop stocks during the recent stoush between hedge funds and Redditors. Despite that, it offers investment services for free, or for $5 per month if you opt for a Gold account.

As it doesn’t offer any financial advice, Robinhood is suitable for more experienced and active traders. Users can trade cryptocurrency or invest in a huge variety of stocks and ETFs.

The Bottom Line

If you enjoyed reading our review of Acorns, you’ve probably already made up your mind. The app’s novelty approach and hassle-free interface make it a great fit for amateur investors.

What makes Acorns stand out are all those extra little features that allow you to get cashback when buying from partner retailers and learn more about finance and investment.

Acorns prides itself on providing security that’s strong as an oak, and its automated approach makes it easier than ever to put your loose coins to work.

On the flipside, Acorns customer service doesn’t come with human investment advisors, which is a standard for most micro-investing apps.

The other negative most Acorns investing app reviews agree on is that the company falls short with its pricey subscription plans and steep transfer fees.

Nevertheless, Acorns is an app designed to make investing simple and accessible, right at your fingertips. So what are you waiting for? Start collecting acorns and your oak tree will surely thrive.

Acorns Q&A
Is Acorns a good investment? +

Yes, depending on your investment preferences. If you are an amateur investor who has difficulties putting your money aside, then Acorns is a great option. Geared towards young and inexperienced users, this robo-adviser will help you save your spare change with its round-up system.

Does Acorns actually make you money? +

As you can infer from our review of Acorns, it certainly won’t earn you tons of money right away by rounding up your change. However, it’s a good place to start. You won’t even notice funds missing from your account, as this system takes out only small sums. However, little by little, you can really grow your funds over the years. On top of that, you can earn from the app’s cashback features at select retailers.

Is Acorns worth it? +

We would definitely say yes. While its flat pricing fees might affect investors with small balances, those who are more ambitious would be surprised by how quickly the cents accumulate. You can also develop good habits while earning.

Do you pay taxes on Acorns? +

When it comes to paying taxes at Acorns, reviews and tests by our researchers reveal little to criticize. While the company does not provide tax or legal advice, it does remind users that paying taxes to Uncle Sam is a must. Speaking of Acorns tax forms, though, you might be surprised by the lack of a tax-loss harvesting feature, which would help you decrease the amount you owe in taxes.