With any journey, the first step is always the most difficult, and it’s no different when it comes to saving money. Fortunately, Acorns is here to help you take that first step and start growing your wealth. Ours is one of many positive Acorns reviews that recommend this micro-investing app as a great starting point for beginner investors, so read on to learn more about the app’s features and decide whether this is the right virtual piggy bank for you.
Account management fee: $3-$5/month
- No trading fees
- $5 minimum investment threshold
- Educational features
- Automated investing
- Cash back at select retailers
- Flat subscription fees
- Can lose principal
- Limited investment portfolio
What Is Acorns?
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-advisors.
Led by the belief that anyone, not only Wall Street giants, can invest and grow their wealth, Acorns creates a personal financial plan for its customers, helping them on their savings journey.
The company 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 children, and retirement investment options.
And how does Acorns work? This is a fair question to ask before trying it out. First, Acorns reviews the personal information you submit. It then sets up your Acorns account for free, and that’s it - you’re good to go. If you’re having difficulties putting money aside, worry not; the service 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 choose one of its two pricing plans: Personal or Family.
How Does Acorns Compare to Other Services?
Why Should You Choose Acorns?
If you’re wondering whether Acorns is legit, you’ll be pleased to know it has been endorsed by celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Lopez, and that it has the support of NBCUniversal, BlackRock, and PayPal, promising a safe way of investing for beginners who struggle to save money.
Since the app is intuitive and easy to use, Acorns offers the perfect kick-start for inexperienced investors, especially college students. Many user reviews of the Acorns investment app recommend it as an excellent option for young investors, and we’re inclined to agree.
If you’re struggling to put some money aside, using the Acorns app might be a great muscle-builder for creating healthy saving habits. The company is geared towards up-and-coming investors and believes that the path to financial well-being should be within reach of everyone, no matter how much they have in the bank.
With Acorns, there’s no need to worry about the safety of your personal information, as both the website and the app are secured with 256-bit encryption and allow two-factor authentication. Your information, including your Social Security number, won’t be stored on the company’s servers.
Acorns’ Investment Accounts
Acorns offers investment portfolios composed of exchange-traded funds, which includes stocks and bonds. If your objective is climate-aware investing, Acorns offers ESG (environmental, social, and governance) portfolios built with iShares by BlackRock. And if you’re a more crypto-oriented investor, you can even invest in a Bitcoin-linked ETF.
If you do opt for Acorns, you’ll not only benefit from the company’s safe and beginner-friendly approach, but you’ll also get some additional features offered by its investment accounts:
- Invest - an investment account that rounds up your excess change. Acorns’ Invest account comes with the users’ absolute favorite “save and invest” feature, according to the Acorns customer reviews we found.
- Later - an IRA account, included with Acorns Personal and Family subscriptions. The retirement account is designed to help you save for your golden years 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 to meet your retirement goals.
- Early - a UTMA/UGMA custodial account created for parents to invest on behalf of their children. Something that online Acorns investment reviews don’t always tell you is that this account actually offers more flexibility than a 529 plan, as the money can be spent in any way you wish, not only on educational expenses.
Acorns Cash Management Account and Other Features
Acorns investing reviews tend to describe the company’s pricing as not-so-favorable, as some competitors offer a checking account as a free feature. We’re inclined to agree since the only way to get a checking account with Acorns is through one of the two subscription tiers.
So is Acorns worth it, then? We’d still say yes, since the paid plans are primarily designed to help novice investors save and invest, with the checking account as an added feature. Here’s a list of the features we found to be the most useful:
- Checking - a checking account FDIC-insured up to $250,000. It comes with a tungsten Visa debit card created in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank or nbkc bank.
- Earn - a savings and cashback tool that allows you to take advantage of special pricing and cashback deals at Acorns partners. Simply lean back and let Airbnb, Disney, Apple, Walmart, Nike, and Sephora help you save more money. Acorns Earn functions through the app and is also available as a browser extension for Safari and Chrome.
- Learn - an expansive knowledge base integrated into the Acorns app, packed with articles written by experts in the field of finance. It’s designed to help you learn more not only about investing and finance but also about side gigs and student loans.
The Application Process
You can download the app for free from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, then go through the hassle-free signup process.
Now, how does the Acorns app work? First, you create your account by adding your email and choosing a secure password, and then you select your preferred pricing plan. After this, you link a checking or savings account and any credit cards of your choice.
To get started, you’ll have to provide some personal information, including 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 based on your goals and risk tolerance. There are five portfolios to choose from: conservative (all bonds), moderately conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive, and aggressive (all stocks).
In less than 15 minutes, your account will be good to go. From that point, you can let Acorns take the wheel.
Before you pick a pricing plan during the registration process, you should see which one suits your needs best.
Regardless of the Acorns fees you pay, you’ll need to make an initial investment of at least $5. And if you want to play big, keep in mind that the maximum monthly check deposit limit is $20,000 or 25 transactions.
The company offers two subscription tiers: Personal and Family, which come at a monthly cost of $3 and $5, respectively. It’s not common for a robo-advisor 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.
Additionally, 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 available Acorns investing plans:
- The Personal tier - $3 per month: includes everything mentioned previously and adds checking and retirement accounts, as well as the Spend feature.
- The Family tier - $5 per month: all-in-one investment, checking, and retirement accounts, plus Grow, Spend, and Acorns Early feature for kids.
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Stash vs. Acorns
It’s a close race between the two companies, and we’d say both are suitable for beginners with small account balances. 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 - and this is not something you will read in many Acorns investing reviews - the app limits investments to around 25 ETFs, whereas Stash lets you invest in almost 60 ETFs. The downside to this is that Stash doesn’t make investment recommendations; you have to do that yourself.
Both applications make it possible to build a meaningful portfolio from scratch, enabling you to invest with smaller account balances. However, of the two, only Acorns allows you to save money on everyday purchases from partner retailers with the Earn feature. So, choose your investment partner wisely.
Robinhood vs. Acorns
Robinhood is one of the leaders in the mobile-first investment area, and one of the most recognizable names.
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 various stocks and ETFs.
Acorn Reviews by Users
Acorns Grow, Inc and Acorns Securities, LLC - companies associated with the Acorns app - are not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and have an F BBB rating.
Some users have complained about not being able to liquidate their funds in a timely manner, while others were allegedly still being charged for Acorns’ services after canceling them. Acorns has responded by laying out plans to address the pattern of customers’ complaints.
The Bottom Line
If you enjoyed reading our review of Acorns, you’ve probably already made up your mind. The app’s novel approach and hassle-free interface make it a great fit for amateur investors.
What makes Acorns stand out are the extra features that allow you to get cash back when buying from partner retailers and learn more about finance and investing through the company’s extensive knowledge base.
On the flip side, Acorns customer service doesn’t come with human investment advisors, which is a standard for most micro-investing apps. The other downside most Acorns investing app reviews agree on is that the company falls short with its flat-fee subscription plans and steep transfer fees.
Nevertheless, Acorns is an app designed to make investing simple and accessible, allowing you to invest spare change from everyday purchases.
Is Acorns a good investment?
Yes, depending on your investment preferences. If you’re an amateur investor who has difficulties putting money aside, then Acorns is a great option. This robo-advisor is geared towards young and inexperienced users and will help you save your spare change with its round-up system.
Is Acorns a good way to grow 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 to the nearest dollar. However, it’s a good place to start. 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 actually worth using?
We would say yes. While the flat monthly fee might affect investors with small balances, those who are more ambitious would be surprised by how quickly the cents accumulate.
Do you pay taxes on Acorns?
When it comes to paying taxes on Acorns earnings, the company doesn’t provide tax or legal advice, but it does remind users that they are still obligated to pay taxes on any money they make through the app.
Is Acorns safe?
Acorns checking accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. They also come with 256-bit data encryption, fraud protection, two-factor authentication, and an all-digital card lock.
What is the downside to Acorns?
Almost every Acorns review will point out that the service’s main downsides are the steep transfer fees and the flat monthly fees that can turn out to be a considerable percentage for those with low balances.