June 17, 2024

Apps Like Acorns

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Acorns is one of the best micro-investing apps out there. But is it for everyone? Read on to see some of your alternatives.

What are the best apps like Acorns?
Here are the best 7 Acorns alternatives on the market:

  1. Stash
  2. Betterment
  3. Qapital
  4. M1 Finance
  5. Public
  6. Greenlight
  7. Robinhood

Acorns invests your spare change from everyday purchases, which helps your money grow over time.

However, Acorns may not be for everyone. It may be too conservative for you or lack the assets you want.

Luckily, there are a few alternatives you could go with. In this article, you'll learn about each option. You'll also learn how they're similar to Acorns as well as the features that separate them.

What Is Acorns?

Acorns is a micro-investment, "spare change" robo-advisor. You link your credit and debit cards and Acorns will round up the change from your purchases and invest them into prebuilt portfolios.

The only thing you need to set is how aggressive you want to be with your investments. From there, you can pick from Acorns' expert-built portfolios and your money will automatically be invested in ETFs.

When it comes to fees, all of Acorns' fees are baked into their monthly subscription fees:[1]

  • Acorns Personal ($3/mo) - includes personal taxable account, IRA, and checking account
  • Acorns Personal Plus ($6/mo) - includes everything in Personal, emergency fund, 25% match on rewards, and 1% IRA match on Acorns Later contributions
  • Acorns Premium ($12/mo) - includes everything in Personal Plus, investment accounts for kids, 50% match on rewards, custom portfolio, Trust & Will, $10K Life Insurance, free GoHenry account, and 3% IRA match on Acorns Later contributions

What is micro-investing?
It's a strategy of investing small sums of money. Think of it as the digital-age version of a piggy bank. At the end of the day, you drop all your coins and spare change. Instead of coins, micro-investing puts your spare money into investments like stocks or ETFs. Over time, these can add up and yield returns that may be higher than traditional savings vehicles like savings accounts or CDs.

Have you used a micro-investing app before?

Top 7 Apps Like Acorns

Decided that Acorns isn't for you? Here are a few alternatives you could check out.

Stash

App Store4.7/5 stars (301,000+ reviews)
Google Play Store3.7/5 stars (104,000+ reviews)
FeesSubscription-based; $3-9/mo[2]

Stash is a personal finance app designed for beginners. You can learn, save, and invest all from one app. It assesses your financial goals and risk tolerance, then provides instant recommendations.

It offers stocks, ETFs, and crypto—all commission-free. However, you'll need to subscribe to one of their plans:

  • STASH Growth ($3/mo)
  • STASH+ ($9/mo)

Stash Growth features basic investment advice, a managed account, a retirement account, and banking access. The Stash+ plan includes all these, plus advice for family finances and kids' portfolios.

Similarities to Acorns:
Stash has a Stock Back Card that works similarly to Acorns' Round-Ups feature. This card lets you gradually invest with purchases you make with it. By making qualifying purchases, you can earn up to 3% stock back every time you spend.[3]

You can also set up recurring investments. Say you want to invest $5 weekly in Apple, simply set the amount, frequency, and asset. Stash will then auto-withdraw money from your bank and invest it.

Stash has the same "set-it-and-forget-it" investment approach as Acorns. You don't need to monitor your investments closely.

How it differs:
Unlike Acorns, Stash lets you pick specific stocks and ETFs to add into your portfolio. You can even set how much and how frequently you want to invest, offering further customization on your part.

Although you can buy individual stocks if you're subscribed to Acorns Premium, it's a limited selection. You'll only be able to pick and buy stocks from larger companies.

If you like the hands-off approach that Acorns offers but want more control over your investments, Stash could be the option for you.

Pros + Cons:

  • Guides you in investing
  • Automated tools available
  • Stock-Back Card
  • Monthly fees
  • No human financial advisors

Is there another app like Acorns?
Yes, there are a few apps similar to Acorns. These include personal finance apps like Stash or other robo-advisors like Betterment. Although none of these alternatives will be exactly like Acorns, they will offer similar features.

Betterment

App Store4.7/5 stars (49,000+ reviews)
Google Play Store4.7/5 stars (14,000+ reviews)
FeesFlat/percentage-based fee depending on plan[4]

Launched in 2010, Betterment was one of the pioneers of robo-advisory. It simplifies the entire process by automating everything.

All you need to do is let them know what your goals are and how you want to invest. From there, your money is put to work and managed by Betterment.

Here's what you can expect to pay if you plan on using Betterment:

  • Digital: 0.25% annual fee for accounts with $20,000 or more or with monthly recurring deposits of $250 or more, $4/month for accounts with less than $20,000
  • Premium: 0.40% for accounts $100,000 or more

Similarities with Acorns:
Just like Acorns, Betterment is a robo-advisor that focuses on micro-investing. They both allow small investments, with no minimum required in their basic plans.

Both apps let you diversify your assets. At Betterment, you can spread your investments across a range of ETFs.

How it differs:
Compared to Acorns' Round-Ups, Betterment offers a more comprehensive robo-advisory approach. It leans more towards goal-based investing (e.g., investing to build wealth, for a specific goal, for retirement).

This means you can set more specific financial goals with Betterment and customize your Flexible Portfolio accordingly. Acorns mostly has prebuilt portfolios ranging in risk tolerance.

Despite the ability to pick and choose stocks and ETFs with Acorns Premium, the choices are limited to larger companies.

Pros + Cons:

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Automated tools and portfolio management
  • Customizable portfolio
  • No individual stocks
  • Premium plan with human advisors requires $100,000

Qapital

App Store4.8/5 stars (83,000+ reviews)
Google Play Store4.4/5 stars (21,000+ reviews)
FeesSubscription-based; $3-12/mo[5]

Qapital is a savings/investing app that lets you automate your savings and investments. It gamifies the entire process by adding two things: Goals and Rules.

Goals refer to what you're saving for—vacations, weddings, emergency fund, etc. Rules are transactions that trigger the app to transfer funds into your account for saving. Qapital offers preset Rules, but you can also create custom ones.

On Qapital, you can set a target amount, timeline, and risk level. From there, they'll recommend an investment plan that'll fit you. Just link your checking account and you're set to start saving.

One of Qapital's unique Rules is their Spend Less Rule, which saves any money you spend below your typical budget. For example, you spend $100 a week on groceries. But this week, your bill at the supermarket only came out to $90. Qapital will take the $10 and save it in your Qapital savings account.

Similarities with Acorns:
Like Acorns, Qapital is a micro-investing app. Both let you start with a small amount of money and build your portfolio gradually.

Both apps can also automate saving and investing for you. Qapital offers over 15 ways to auto-invest. You can top-up when you get paid, when you spend, or even when you exercise—it's up to you.

How it differs:
The biggest difference between the two apps is the addition of Rules and Goals to Qapital's ecosystem.

While Acorns mainly invests your spare change into prebuilt portfolios of ETFs, Qapital lets you tweak the system a little bit more. The wide variety of Rules available lets you customize exactly when and how much you want to save.

If you're saving up for a specific purchase, Qapital may be a better fit since it allows you to set up multiple savings goals. However, if you're leaning towards general investing, Acorns and its Round-Ups feature may be better suited for you.

Pros + Cons:

  • Unlimited Goals
  • Unique savings "Rules"
  • Monthly subscription fee
  • Limited investing options

M1 Finance

App Store4.7/5 stars (59,000+ reviews)
Google Play Store4.3/5 stars (25,000+ reviews)
FeesCommission-free (but may have miscellaneous fees); Monthly platform fee (can be waived)[6]

M1 Finance lets users build what they call "Pies." These are visual representations of your portfolio. These Pies can go up to 100 slices, with each slice representing a stock, ETF, or even another Pie altogether.

The app offers 6,000+ stocks and ETFs as listed on NYSE and NASDAQ. It also offers crypto and some OTC securities.

M1 Finance is not a robo-advisor. It only offers self-directed brokerage services.

Similarities to Acorns:
Like Acorns, M1 Finance offers automated investing tools. It lets you pick the percentage of each asset that'll make up your Pie. For example, you could pick 100 different stocks, making up 1% each.

As you add more funds, M1 Finance will automatically buy these securities for you based on the percentages you set.

If you don't know which specific stocks to invest in, you can choose one of their ready-made Model Portfolios. Each has a varying risk level, so choose one that aligns with your investment goals.

How it differs:
At Acorns, the range of individual stocks and ETFs you can buy is very limited. Its main offering is its prebuilt portfolios.

On M1 Finance, you can pick and choose which specific assets to invest in. This makes it the perfect in-between when it comes to DIY investing and using a managed service.

Pros + Cons:

  • Hybrid between automated and DIY investing
  • Commission-free trades
  • Fractional shares available
  • No human financial advisors
  • Creating Pies have a learning curve

Public

App Store4.7/5 stars (68,000+ reviews)
Google Play Store4.1/5 stars (47,000+ reviews)
FeesCommission-free (but additional fees for extended-hours trading for non-Premium members and OTC trading)[7]

Public takes a social approach to investing. It makes the whole process interactive by combining it with a social community. It's free-to-use and offers ETFs, treasuries, crypto, and alternative investments.

The app also allows for "thematic" investing. This means choosing a theme and putting money into what's behind the theme. This allows you to invest into causes that align with your values.

Let's say you want to invest in environment-friendly ETFs. Public has a theme called Green Power. By choosing this theme, you're putting your money into companies that produce power through sustainable and renewable means. This also serves as a collaborative investment community where you can follow and chat with other investors in that theme.

Similarities to Acorns:
Both Acorns and Public are beginner-friendly, offer fractional shares, and are accessible for investors with limited funds.

They both also offer automated tools to help you plan out your investments. While Acorns has its Round-Ups feature, Public has Investment Plans to help automate your investments.

How it differs:
While Acorns also has social features built into it, Public doubles down on it. It has a more extensive and collaborative environment for traders to communicate and learn from one another.

In terms of investment options, Acorns mainly only allows you to invest in portfolios of ETFs. You can buy individual stocks and ETFs with their Premium plan, but the choices are limited.

Public lets you pick out individual stocks and ETFs. This allows you to build your portfolio from scratch.

Pros + Cons:

  • Sense of community
  • Thematic investing
  • Fractional shares
  • Limited account types
  • Limited analysis and evaluation tools

Greenlight

App Store4.8/5 stars (403,000+ reviews)
Google Play Store4.7/5 stars (51,000+ reviews)
FeesSubscription-based; $4.99-14.98/mo[8]

Greenlight is a finance app that's designed for kids and teens or for parents who want to save up for their kids' futures. It offers several banking features and a debit card, but it also includes investment options for both kids and parents.

Through the app, you can research, purchase, and monitor stocks on the NYSE and NASDAQ. You even have the option to invest in a recommended portfolio based on their profile or build a completely new one of your own.

Although the investment features are available on all their plans, you'll only get a lite version with their basic plan. Here are all the plans that Greenlight offers:

  • Greenlight Core: $4.99/month
  • Greenlight Max: $9.98/month
  • Greenlight Infinity: $14.98/month

If you're looking to start your kids investing as early as now, you'll need at least the Greenlight Max plan.

Similarities to Acorns:
Both Greenlight and Acorns are built with families and young investors in mind. By providing educational tools and resources, they help enhance financial literacy for users at various life stages.

Both platforms also offer fractional shares, allowing people of all ages to invest without having to drop thousands of dollars.

How it differs:
Greenlight is more comprehensive in terms of financial education and parental control. This includes features like setting up savings goals, allocating funds into different categories (spending, saving, and giving), and sending monetary gifts.

Family and friends can easily send gift funds to kids on their Greenlight Cards for birthdays, special occasions, or as a reward for a job well done using the Greenlight Gift feature.

Pros + Cons:

  • Family-focused financial management
  • Parental controls
  • Greenlight Gift
  • Monthly fees
  • No retirement accounts

Robinhood

App Store4.2/5 stars (4.3+ million reviews)
Google Play Store4.1/5 stars (483,000+ reviews)
FeesCommission-free

Robinhood is one of the most popular investment apps designed for beginners. It's perfect for those who want a no-frills approach to investing.

The app lets you choose the security you want to buy and what type of order you want to set on your own. This is ideal for those who like DIY investing compared to automated tools or robo-advisors.

It lets you trade stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto. It also offers fractional shares for as low as $1.

Similarities to Acorns:
If you're just starting out, Robinhood and Acorns are great options for you. They're both great jumping-off points for those who want to start making moves with their money.

They both offer fractional shares, have commission-free trading, are highly rated mobile apps, and require no minimum deposits. They also both offer matches on IRA contributions.

How it differs:
Robinhood takes a more DIY approach in investing. This means you get to pick and choose your securities as you please, instead of having the platform invest for you.

Although this means more control on your part, it may deter those who want the "hands-off" approach to investing.

If you're looking to set up an IRA, Robinhood and Acorns have one of the most unique ones on the market. They offer the only IRA that matches your contributions. This gives you a nice little boost to your retirement savings.

Pros + Cons:

  • Very beginner-friendly
  • Invest from $1
  • IRA Match
  • Past controversial issues
  • Limited research tools

How To Choose An Acorns Alternative

Although these apps are somewhat similar to Acorns, each will have a different type of investor in mind. Make sure to consider these important points before putting money into a particular investment app:

  • Fees
    Each app will vary in terms of pricing. Apps like Stash and Greenlight use a subscription-based model while other apps like Public or Robinhood are free-to-use. Subscription-based apps often have a few extra perks, while the free-to-use apps may have charges for specific actions.

    Be sure to consider the fees of each app and figure out how much you're willing to shell out to use the app.

  • Investment options
    Acorns offers prebuilt portfolios of ETFs for you to invest in. This means if you're looking to invest into other assets, Acorns might not be for you.

    Be sure to look at the assets you can trade on each app and see which aligns with your investment goals.

  • Features
    Each app has a unique set of features that will cater to different types of traders. For example, if you like the idea of social investing, Public may be the best option for you. If you like DIY trading, Robinhood is your best bet.

    Be sure to look at the unique features, perks, and benefits each app offers and see which will benefit your trading style the most.

  • Investment approach
    Compared to Acorns, some of these options may be more hands-on. Although this may mean more control on your part, some investors are looking to use the "set-it-and-forget-it" approach.

    Be sure to look at how investments are made on each app and pick one that aligns with how you like to trade.

What's your top priority in a micro-investment app?

Methodology

To come up with this list of apps like Acorns, we considered a few important factors.

First, we looked at their similarities to Acorns. We looked at some of Acorns' best features and looked at apps that either replicated it or have a version of it.

Next, we looked at their differences with Acorns. We took a look at some of Acorns' biggest weaknesses and added apps that addressed those. That way, investors may find what they need on our list.

From there, we ranked the list based on how similar they were to Acorns. The further you get down on the list, the further away the app is compared to Acorns. This way, investors can decide how far away from Acorns they want their new investment app to be.

Bottom Line

Acorns is a great hands-off investing app for many. However, it probably won't fit every investor's needs.

Luckily, there are apps that work similarly to how Acorns does. On top of that, they have their own unique spin on investing and add features that complement that style.

Ultimately, it all boils down to what and how you like to trade. If you like the spare change, hands-off approach of Acorns, you could stick with their app. But if you're looking for something a little bit more than that, there are options for you too.

References

  1. ^ Acorns. Pricing, Retrieved 03/13/2024
  2. ^ Stash. Your investing journey starts here., Retrieved 03/20/2024
  3. ^ Stash. Stock Back Debit Card, Retrieved 03/13/2024
  4. ^ Betterment. Pricing, Retrieved 03/20/2024
  5. ^ Qapital. Pick your plan, Retrieved 03/20/2024
  6. ^ M1 Finance. Trading Fees (Non-commission fees), Retrieved 05/04/2024
  7. ^ Public. Public's Fee Schedule, Retrieved 03/20/2024
  8. ^ Greenlight. Greenlight plans, Retrieved 03/20/2024
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Compare:

Have you used a micro-investing app before?
64% Nope never
31% Not yet but I'd like to try
5% Yes - love it!
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