Acorn Account review

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Acorn Account

As an Acorn Account holder, you will have access to a UK-based account manager to assist you with your everyday banking.

This review takes you through all you need to know about the account. Read on to find out more about Acorn and whether it might be the right option for you.

What is the Acorn Account?

Acorn has been providing current accounts and payment services since 2007. Accounts are highly functional and easy to open, with no credit checks, signatures or branch visits required. Your regular outgoings are taken care of by Acorn’s Account Management Team.

Acorn believes customers shouldn’t be excluded or pre-judged when it comes to personal finance. You won’t be turned away due to any aspect of previous financial history.

How does the Acorn Account work?

Finances and account preferences can be managed online by logging in to Acorn’s website. Account holders can also check their balance and load funds via telephone or SMS.

Features of the account include the following:

  • Account manager: A personal account manager can be spoken to directly. They will set up the necessary direct debits and regular payments from your account.
  • Managing spending: Once the correct funds have been set aside for bills, the remaining balance can be moved to the prepaid Debit Mastercard. This process can be automated if you prefer.
  • Pay in at Barclays or at the Post Office: Take your cash and cheques to your nearest Barclays branch and pay in using your pre-printed GIRO. Alternatively, you can use a personal barcode to pay cash into your account over the counter in the Post Office.
  • Rewards: Acorn’s account holders qualify for a cashback reward. Customers can earn cash rewards of up to 3.5% at more than 35 major high-street retailers when you shop using your Acorn card.

Using Acorn abroad

There are fees for using your Acorn card abroad. ATM withdrawals outside the UK are charged at £3.00 plus 2.75% of the transaction value.

Acorn fees and limits

  • Monthly fee. There is a monthly fee of £14.50, which is debited from your account on the first of every month.
  • Bank transfer. Transfers are fee-free at the interbank rate in 23 currencies.
  • Secondary cardholder/joint account. A secondary cardholder can be added for £5 per month.
  • Withdrawal chargers and limits. There is a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal at ATMs while a maximum of £450 per day can be withdrawn from cash machines.
  • Limits. Maximum initial load is £1,250 and the maximum card balance is £5,000.

Is Acorn safe?

Your card will be protected with a four-digit pin, which can be amended at any Mastercard ATM. Acorn’s online account service, where you can check transactions, make payments and download statements, is protected by a personalised password only you have access to.

Your money, however, isn’t protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Instead, your money is held with Acorn’s bankers. This means that if something happens to Acorn, your money is already separate. Any money on your card is held by Fair Payments Limited.

Pros and cons of Acorn

There are some pros and cons you should take into account when comparing with other pre-paid cards:

Pros

  • Easy to manage regular bills and track your spending using an experienced account manager.
  • No credit checks. Individuals won’t be judged on their financial history.
  • Earn cash rewards of up to 3.5% with Rewards Scheme.
  • A shared account may be useful for individuals sharing bills and budgeting together.

Cons

  • £1.50 per cash withdrawal.
  • Monthly fee of £14.50 or £19.50 for an account with two card holders.
  • Maximum daily cash withdrawal limit of £450 from cash machines.
  • Expensive to use abroad with a £3 withdrawal fee plus a 2.75% surcharge.
  • No smartphone app
  • While you can check your balance via SMS, there is a 15p charge per inquiry.
  • £10 redemption fee to redeem any funds on the account.

Our verdict

With no credit checks or sigantures required, it’s easy to open an Acorn account, and nice to have some juicy cashback rewards. And if you’re looking for a more personal touch when it comes to managing your finances, Acorn’s UK-based account managers might swing it for you.

However, it doesn’t have a smartphone app yet, and the £14.50 monthly account fees and £1.50 cash withdrawal charges seem pretty high. So even though it might be quick and easy to open an account, make sure you spend the same, if not more, time weighing up the pros and cons beforehand.

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