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Investing your spare change with Acorns

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A financial service that rounds up your purchases and turns the extra change into investments.

Investments are an essential part of a sound financial plan, but it can be hard to figure out where and when to begin. Acorns is a micro-investing tool that offers a unique way to grow your wealth by allocating your virtual spare change to stocks and fixed income securities in a personalized investment portfolio.

  • Consider Acorns if you’re new to investing and want your investments managed for you.
  • Look elsewhere if you’re an experienced trader seeking a brokerage account.

$0

Minimum deposit to open

$1 per month

Fee

Details

Available asset typesStocks,Bonds,ETFs
Available asset classesReal estate,Government bonds,Corporate bonds,Large companies,Small companies,Emerging market stocks,Emerging market bonds
Account typesRobo-Advisor

What types of accounts does Acorns offer?

Beyond its core robo-advisor service available through the Invest account, Acorns also offers retirement accounts, checking accounts and custodial accounts for kids.

Invest

Acorns Invest is an investment account equipped with a robo-advisor. Its Round-Up feature rounds transactions up to the nearest dollar and invests the difference. Acorn selects the appropriate investment portfolio for you based on your answers to questions about your risk tolerance and investment goals.

Later

Acorns Later is a tax-advantaged retirement account. Just like the Invest account, contributions are allocated based on long-term investment goals and risk tolerance. When you sign up, Acorns recommends the IRA and portfolio it believes best suits your investment needs. Traditional, Roth and SEP IRAs are available.

Spend

Acorns Spend is an FDIC-insured checking account equipped with a Visa debit card. It offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, digital direct deposit and free bank-to-bank transfers. It has no minimum balance requirement and rounds up your purchases to help you invest extra cash on everyday spending.

Early

Acorns Early is a UTMA/UGMA custodial account for kids. Invested funds can be used for anything that benefits your child, and they gain access to the account when they reach adulthood. Recurring investments start at $5 daily, weekly or monthly and there are no contribution limits.

How does the Invest account work?

At the core of the Acorns investment platform is a micro-investing tool that rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the difference. When you open an individual investment or retirement account, select from one of five portfolio options based on your risk tolerance and investment goals. The platform utilizes a “set it and forget it” approach that helps passive investors to build a portfolio without the pressure or complexity of stock trading through a brokerage account.

Here’s how the Acorn Invest account works:

  1. Choose an investment option. Select from one of five investment portfolios, each consisting of a mix of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) quoted on the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Average.
  2. Make purchases. Take advantage of its Round-Ups feature: anytime you make a purchase, your transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is added to your Acorn account to be invested.
  3. Withdraw or deposit at will. Help your account grow by setting up recurring deposits.
  4. Monitor your account. Watch as your spare change rolls into your investments and Acorns rebalances your ETFs according to market fluctuations.

Crunching the numbers: How much can you save using Acorns Round-Ups feature?

How exactly does Acorns help you save? Let’s break down the numbers for a week’s worth of transactions.

Let’s say you routinely make three transactions during the workday — your morning coffee costs $2.25, your transit fare is $3.75 and your lunch typically costs $12.50. Round up these three transactions and you’ve got an extra $1.50 per day. Multiply that by five workdays a week and you’ve got $7.50 to spare.

Acorns takes this $7.50 and invests it. And while $7.50 a week might not seem like much, it adds up to $390 a year — before factoring in any capital gains from your investments. The more purchases you make throughout the week, the more you’ll invest.

How much does Acorns cost?

For a monthly fee, Acorns investors can sign up for one of three subscription tiers based on their account needs and investment preferences. Each tier builds on the offerings of the tier below it.

Monthly feeAccountsFeatures
Lite$1
  • Investment account
  • Round-Ups automated investing
  • Bonus investments from Acorns’ Found Money partners
  • Access to the Acorns personal finance blog
Personal$3
  • Investment account
  • Retirement account
  • Checking account
Everything from the Lite subscription tier, plus:

  • Tax-advantaged investing
  • Automatic portfolio rebalancing
  • Metal Visa debit card
  • 10% bonus Found Money investments on eligible debit purchases
Family$5
  • Investment account
  • Retirement account
  • Checking account
  • Custodial account
Everything from the Personal subscription tier, plus:

  • Automated recurring investments
  • Exclusive bonus investment opportunities
  • Family financial advice

What portfolios are available?

Acorn offers five portfolio options, ranging from conservative to aggressive:

  • Conservative. A mix of assets balanced between short-term government and corporate bonds.
  • Moderately Conservative. A portfolio that balances a majority of its assets between government bonds, corporate bonds and large corporate stocks.
  • Moderate. A mix of large corporate stocks, government bonds, corporate bonds, international stocks and small company stocks.
  • Moderately Aggressive. A portfolio that buys into the same assets as the Moderate portfolio with a heavier weight of large corporate stocks and small company stocks.
  • Aggressive. A portfolio that heavily invests in large corporate stocks, small company stocks and international stocks.

What are the benefits of Acorns?

While there are a handful of micro-investing tools out there, Acorns is one of the more popular ones for a number of reasons in addition to its bank-level security and general ease of investing:

  • Portfolio options. Choose from five diversified portfolios constructed by industry experts under the guidance of Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Harry Markowitz.
  • Flexibility. You can withdraw and deposit money whenever you wish, and there are no limits to the number of withdrawals and deposits you can make.
  • Fractional investing. One of the most powerful benefits of Acorns is that you can allocate your money to fractional interests in ETF units.
  • Convenience. Get started with Acorns in minutes and manage your account from your computer or mobile phone.
  • Low fees. Compared to many of its competitors, Acorns charges low fees. Plus, it’s free for four years if you’re a college student.
  • Free debit card. An Acorns Spend account comes with a free metal debit card and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.

Compare with other robo-advisors

Name Product Minimum deposit to open Available asset types Annual fee
Betterment
$0
Stocks,Mutual funds,ETFs,Real estate
0.25% on balances up to $99,999

0.4% on balances of $100,000+
Betterment's automatic investment site aims to improve your returns and support good financial habits with passive investing and financial planning support.
Acorns
$0
Stocks,Bonds,ETFs
$1 per month
Invest your spare change. Anyone can grow wealth.
Blooom
Stocks
$10 per month
After an analysis, Blooom will place the trades within your 401k, 403b, 401a, 457 or TSP plan account for a low flat fee.
SoFi automated investing
$1
ETFs
0%
Put your money to work. Pay zero SoFi management fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What should I watch out for?

Acorns’ hands-off approach to investing makes it a strong choice for young people and beginner investors, but there are a few potential drawbacks to watch out for:

  • Lack of asset options. Your money is invested in pre-selected ETFs, meaning you won’t get to choose the stocks, bonds and other assets you invest in.
  • Market volatility. While some round-up services keep your money safe in a savings account, your investment portfolio with Acorns could be subject to fluctuations in value.

How do I get started with Acorns?

No matter which subscription tier you’re interested in, the signup process starts on the Acorns homepage:

  1. Go to Acorns’ website and click Get Started.
  2. Select the subscription tier you’d like to apply for and click Sign Up Today.
  3. Enter your email, create a password, review the terms and conditions and click Create Account.
  4. Link your debit or credit card for the Round-Ups feature.
  5. Connect or create a funding account that will invest your allocated money.
  6. Add more about yourself and adjust your investment preferences for a better user experience.

Eligibility

In order to sign up for an Acorns account, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements:

  • US citizen and resident
  • Valid Social Security number or Tax ID number
  • Valid bank account or credit card
  • Over the age of 18
  • State-issued ID

Required information

When you sign up for an account, you’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Email address
  • First and last name
  • Online banking information
  • Address
  • Social Security number or Tax ID number
  • Financial goals
  • Occupation and earnings

How do I contact Acorns?

The financial service offers dedicated support through email and phone at 855-739-2859 weekdays between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST. You can also contact the team through their Twitter, @Acorns.

I’ve signed up, now what?

Now that your account is set up, you’re ready to start investing. Here’s how to get the most out of your Acorns account:

  • Adjust your investment preferences. Make sure your money is being invested according to your risk tolerance, financial goals and other preferences.
  • Monitor your progress. Log in to your account or open the mobile app to manage your account and monitor progress as your investment grows.
  • Set up recurring deposits. Set up recurring deposits on the mobile app or website to help your account grow faster.
  • Make purchases. Making purchases from your Spend account will contribute more money to your portfolio, helping you reach your financial goals sooner.
  • Speak with your accountant or financial advisor. If you need investment or tax advice, consider speaking with your accountant or financial advisor.

Bottom line

If you’re interested in investing but don’t know where to start, Acorns might be right for you. This low-cost micro-investment service rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change in a personalized portfolio. It might not be the right service if you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to investing, so compare your options before moving forward to find a product that suits your needs.

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