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Betterment vs. Acorns

The size of your portfolio plays a role in how you weigh these platforms.

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Both Betterment and Acorns help investors allocate funds with the help of a robo-advisor. But one becomes more competitively priced the more you have to invest.

Which one is better?

  • Choose Betterment if you have less than $5,000 in your portfolio.
  • Choose Acorns if you have more than $5,000 in your portfolio.

These two platforms offer the same convenient set-it-and-forget-it approach to investing: investors sign up, create a profile, fund their account and the robo-advisor takes care of the rest.
Betterment and Acorns have a number of similar offerings — they both have tiered services, well-reviewed mobile apps and aim their features squarely at passive investors. They also offer fractional shares, portfolio rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting.

So is one better than the other? It depends on what you value most as an investor — and how much you have to invest. When we compared Betterment’s standard annual rate with Acorns’ lowest monthly fee, we discovered that Betterment’s pricing structure was better suited to portfolios under $5,000, while Acorns rates were more competitive above the $5,000 mark.

How do Betterment and Acorns compare?

BettermentAcorns
Betterment logo
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Acorns logo
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OverviewBetterment is an online financial advisor that makes investing easy by creating a portfolio just for you, based on your preferences and financial goals. It’s a solid choice for those new to investing.Acorns is a robo-advisor that offers individual investment accounts, retirement accounts, custodial accounts — even a checking account that comes with a free Visa debit card. It’s best suited to buy-and-hold investors who want their money managed for them.
Annual fee0.25%$1/month
Minimum deposit to open$0$0
Benefits
  • Diversified investments. Both its individual accounts and IRAs offer diversified investments across more than 10 asset classes.
  • Deductible charitable giving. Investors can directly donate to charities they support for tax deductions.
  • Tax benefits. Asset location and tax-loss harvesting are automated to minimize taxes and increase investor wealth.
  • Robust support. Betterment customer support is available seven days a week.
  • Account variety. Acorns investors have access to investment accounts, IRAs, custodial accounts and checking accounts.
  • Round-up feature. Investors can automate their savings goals by rounding purchases up to the nearest dollar and investing the difference.
  • ATM fee reimbursements. Withdrawals made within the US from an Acorns checking account qualify for unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.
  • Fractional investing. Investors can allocate funds to fractional interests in ETF units.
Drawbacks
  • Limited account options. Betterment investment accounts are limited to personal, rollover, IRA and trust accounts.
  • Minimum balance on premium accounts. Investors who want to access Betterment’s premium service tier will need a portfolio of $100,000 or more.
  • Limited support. Acorns support is only available on weekdays.
  • Limited asset classes. Acorns limits its investments to seven asset classes.
Tools and research
  • Advice packages. For a flat fee of $199 to $299, investors can speak one-on-one with a Certified Financial Planner to collaborate on a personalized financial action plan.
  • Investing calculators. Betterment’s free interactive quizzes, tools and calculators are designed to help investors identify investment opportunities.
  • Article library. The article library on Betterment’s website is dedicated to expert-written educational articles for its customers.
  • Acorns Grow. The platform’s personal finance blog covers a diverse range of investment topics to support new investors in their learning.
  • Money Basics. The Acorns website houses hundreds of articles that cover a range of financial topics, including taxes, insurance, debt and the economy.
Reputation and customer reviews
  • Reviews are: Mixed.
  • Customers praise: Diversified asset distribution and intuitive user interface.
  • Customers complain about: Slow transfers and unresponsive customer service.
  • Reviews are: Mostly negative.
  • Customers praise: Ease of use and automated round-up feature.
  • Customers complain about: Account withdrawal delays and delays in customer service responses.
Apple App Store reviews

★★★★★ 4.8/5

★★★★★ 4.7/5

Google Play Store reviews

★★★★★ 4.3/5

★★★★★ 4.5/5

Support
  • Phone. Call 646-600-8263
  • Email. Send a request to Betterment’s customer service Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m
  • Live chat: Available Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
  • Phone: Call 855-739-2859
  • Email: Fill out an online support ticket request on Acorns’ website.
  • Twitter: contact the team through their Twitter, @Acorns.
Learn more

Read our review

Read our review

Bottom line

Betterment and Acorns aim their platform features at passive investors executing a buy-and-hold strategy. Betterment has more asset classes to choose from, but Acorns tosses in a free checking account for investors who subscribe to its Personal tier. Their differing fee structures makes Betterment the practical option for portfolios under $5,000 and Acorns better priced for portfolios above $5,000.

Before you apply, review your account options across multiple brokerages to find the account best suited to your investment needs.

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