Acorns App Review: How To Invest Spare Change for a Big Change

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Acorns is one of the most popular micro-savings and micro-investing apps targeted at Millennials. Based in Irvine, California, the twelve-year-old company closed its previous funding round in March 2022, bringing in $507M in total funding, and is on its way to becoming one of the growing classes of tech unicorns.

The company is led by CEO Noah Kerner, a three-time entrepreneur and widely acclaimed advisor, speaker, author, and investor, who co-authored a book with the CEO of Barney’s (not to mention he used to be a DJ for Jennifer Lopez!). The company says that Nobel Laureate Harry Markowitz, the father of Modern Portfolio Theory, helped build the brand’s investing strategy.

Since 2014, over 10 million users have invested over $15B with Acorns.

Monthly Cost
for basic accounts
Management Fees
for accounts over $5,000
Minimum Deposit

  • Excellent in-app tools and learning resources
  • Save easily with the spare change round-up feature
  • Cash back on select purchases
  • Get a $20 bonus when you set up recurring investments
  • Get a $75 bonus when you set up Direct Deposit with Acorns Checking
  • Not as many customization options as competitors
  • Fees eat into small account balances

What Are The Best Features On Acorns?

Acorns is well known for a number of reasons. Here are the best features:

  • Acorns Invest: Use the Round-Ups® feature; invest your “spare change” by rounding up to the nearest dollar with every purchase you make with your linked credit or debit card. The Acorns app rounds up purchases and automatically invests the change into a computer-managed investment portfolio. For example, if you buy a metro ticket for $2.75, the Acorns app will automatically invest $0.25.
    • You can even start a sustainable ESG (environmental, social, and governance) portfolio too. An ESG portfolio consists of ETFs (electronically traded funds) designed to help you invest in greener, more sustainable companies. Pretty sweet!
  • Acorns Later: A simple and automated way to save for retirement; this feature helps you create an IRA and choose a low-cost portfolio based on your financial goals.
  • Acorns Banking: A checking account that actively saves and invests for you.
  • Acorns Early: Parents can set up a custodial investment account for their kids (it’s never too late to start saving!)
  • Acorns Earn: This browser extension feature allows you to earn cashback from over 350+ brands that you (probably) already shop all the time!

Acorns generally invest your money in “smart portfolios” based on your risk tolerance and distribute it across ETFs from up to seven asset classes. In addition to all these great features, you’ll have access to Acorns Education (in partnership with CNBC), regardless of your membership tier.

Why Acorns is Worth Your Time

Acorns’ investing platform is mobile-first and hands-off. Additionally, the company does not charge a fee for assets under management; many micro-investing competitors charge a minimum of 0.25% on the account balance.

Additional bonuses include educational tools and insights provided on the Acorns app, including a “Potential” tool that allows users to adjust the dollar amount invested to see how much their total investments are projected to increase over time.

How To Start Investing with Acorns

Once you download the Acorns app or sign up through the web app, you’ll need to submit:

  • A valid email address
  • Your online banking login information to link your accounts
  • Your physical address, social security number, and general information for your profile

You might be thinking: why does Acorns need all this sensitive information? Like any other bank or investment account, Acorns must verify your identity to set you up on its platform. But don’t worry; Acorns takes its privacy policy very seriously!

You may also need to upload a photo of your government-issued ID or other documentation to help verify your identity. Most accounts are approved within one business day. The Acorns app is available to all U.S. residents 18 or older with valid SSNs and Australian residents.

The Acorns app requires $5 to start investing, but no minimum balance is required. Unlike rival platforms such as Wealthfront, which offers users a variety of customization options, Acorns gives investors default portfolios to choose from on a scale of conservative to aggressive.

You’ll also get a $20 bonus when you set up recurring investments.

How Much Does Acorns Cost?

There are two membership tiers currently offered:

  • Personal: $3 per month
    • Includes the following features: Acorns Invest, Acorns Later, Acorns Banking, and Acorns Earn.
  • Family: $5 per month
    • Includes everything in Personal with the addition of Acorns Early for custodial investment accounts for children.

Both are great options for a relatively low cost, considering all the great financial tools you’ll have access to!

How Does Acorns Make Money?

Acorns currently make its revenue from Personal or Family monthly membership fees and interchange fees. An interchange fee is a transaction fee that a merchant’s bank account must pay whenever a customer uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase from their store. Acorns partners with Visa on this. So, Acorns receives a kickback from Visa for each purchase a user makes using their debit card.

Is Acorns Legit?

Indeed! Acorns is a regulated brokerage. While Acorn investment accounts are not FDIC insured (no investments are even on other platforms), they are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This means investors are insured for up to $500,000 per account per brokerage firm. That said, Acorns checking accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000.

Final Thoughts

Acorns is excellent for hands-off investors or those struggling with budgeting and saving money. Just think about all the spare change you can save to meet your financial goals and save for retirement! Depending on how many transactions you have per month, the nominal subscription fee could be a bargain.

For more on how to save, read our Micro-Investing: What It Is, Why It’s for You and How to Start.

Get a $20 bonus for setting up recurring investments

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