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Stash vs. Acorns

One is built for active traders while the other caters to buy-and-hold investors.

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Both platforms are suitable for new investors and offer subscription-based pricing. But the best choice for your portfolio depends on how you prefer to invest.

Which one is better?

  • Choose Stash if you’re seeking a self-directed brokerage account.
  • Choose Acorns if you’d like to invest through a robo-advisor.

Stash and Acorns are tough to compare because they’re fundamentally different. Stash is a trading platform. Acorns is a robo-advisor. The right choice for your portfolio depends on your investment style.

But despite catering to different types of investors, Stash and Acorns have a lot in common. They’re both beginner-oriented, offer a wide selection of accounts and have subscription-based pricing models. Not many investment platforms offer checking accounts — but Stash and Acorns do. They also offer similarly structured rewards programs to help investors build their portfolio.

That said, Stash and Acorns are designed with different investors in mind. Stash investors can look forward to commission-free trades, automated investment features and ETFs organized by social preferences. Acorns investors are given a choice of five portfolio options with fractional investing options, custodial accounts for children and unlimited reimbursements on domestic ATM fees.

How do Stash and Acorns compare?

StashAcorns
Stash logo
Open an account
Acorns logo
Open an account
OverviewStash is a straightforward investment platform offering self-directed brokerage accounts for active traders. Investors can trade commission-free stocks, bonds and ETFs by signing up for one of Stash’s three subscription tiers.Acorns is a robo-advisor that offers individual accounts, retirement accounts, custodial accounts and checking accounts. The signup process includes a questionnaire about investment goals that matches investors to one of five portfolios. Once the account is funded, investments are selected and managed by the platform’s robo-advisor.
Stock trade fee$0N/A
Monthly fee$1$1
Minimum deposit to open$0$0
Benefits
  • Commission-free trades. Stash investors pay no commissions on tradable securities.
  • Stash banking. All Stash investors receive a checking account with a free debit card.
  • Rewards program. The Stock-Back program helps investors earn stock for their portfolio on qualifying purchases.
  • Account variety. Investors have access to individual accounts, retirement accounts, custodial accounts and checking accounts.
  • Niche ETFs. Investors are grouped by social preferences and risk profile.
  • Portfolio options. Acorns’ five investment portfolios were constructed by industry experts under the guidance of Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Harry Markowitz.
  • Fractional investing. Investors can allocate funds to fractional interests in ETF units.
  • Account variety. Like its competitor, Acorns also offers access to individual accounts, IRAs, custodial accounts and checking accounts.
  • Round-up feature. Investors can automate their savings by rounding purchases up to the nearest dollar and investing the difference.
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. Withdrawals made at ATMs within the US qualify for unlimited fee reimbursements.
Drawbacks
  • Monthly fees. The pricing of its tiered subscription model favors investors with large portfolios.
  • Limited investment products. Stash investors can only invest in stocks, bonds and ETFs.
  • Monthly fees. Instead of the percentage-based fee charged by most of its competitors, Acorns charges a flat rate that could harm investors with small portfolios.
  • Limited asset classes. Acorns portfolios spread investments across seven asset classes — a range that isn’t as comprehensive as robo-advisors like Betterment that offer over 10 asset classes.
Tools and research
  • Education library. Stash Learn, the platform’s education hub, helps new investors navigate industry jargon and investment basics.
  • Market insights. Investors can upgrade to Stash+ for monthly market, industry and economy trends.
  • Retirement calculator. Answer questions about current assets and long-term goals to receive a customized retirement savings plan.
  • Acorns Grow. The platform’s personal finance blog covers a range of investment topics aimed at beginners.
  • Money Basics. Investors can search hundreds of articles for information about taxes, debt, insurance, retirement and investing.
Reputation and customer reviews
  • Reviews are: Mixed.
  • Customers praise: An intuitive mobile app and beginner-friendly educational resources.
  • Customers complain about: Slow customer service.
  • Reviews are: Mostly negative.
  • Customers praise: Ease of use and automated savings features.
  • Customers complain about: Account withdrawal delays and unresponsive customer service.
Apple App Store reviews

★★★★★ 4.7/5

★★★★★ 4.7/5

Google Play Store reviews

★★★★★ 4/5

★★★★★ 4.5/5

Support
  • Phone. Call 800-205-5164
  • Email. Fill out a support ticket on Stash’s website for an email response from the team.
  • 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

Even though they’re geared toward different types of investors, Stash and Acorns share plenty of common ground. But for those who want to manage their own investments, the clear choice is Stash: a platform with self-directed brokerage accounts and a stock-back rewards program. For passive investors executing a buy-and-hold strategy, Acorns is the better call, with plenty of account options, automatic rebalancing and a round-up program to help your funds grow.

Before you sign up, review your account options with other brokerages to find the platform best suited to your investment needs.

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