Acorns is a Micro Investing service. The app rounds up your purchases on linked credit or debit cards, then sweeps the change into a computer-managed investment portfolio. This approach is not for major saving goals like retirement, but it is a useful tool to save more. Acorns is free for four years for college students with a valid .edu email address. Other investors pay $1 a month until their account balance hits $5,000, then 0.25% of their account balance per year. Every dollar you invest is automatically diversified across 7,000 stocks and bonds to help improve your return while reducing risk. Acorns is best for College students, Hands-off investors and People who struggle to save
- Management fee: $1/month for accounts under $5,000; 0.25% for accounts of $5,000 or more
- Account minimum: $0
- Promotion: College students get up to four years free
Free management: Acorns goes after its target market — young, would-be investors who have little money to actually invest — by waiving management fees for up to four years for college students who register with a .edu email address. College students, specifically those who don’t have earned income and can’t contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement account like a Roth IRA, are ripe for this kind of service and could wind up with a nice little pot of money after four years of rounding up.
Automated approach: This is a tool that encourages mindless, automatic saving. If you don’t have to think about saving, you’re more likely to do it. This is why 401(k)s, which take contributions directly out of your paycheck, work well, and why auto-enrollment in those plans has more people saving for retirement. Though Acorns doesn’t manage 401(k)s — or offer any retirement accounts, it piggybacks on that concept by sweeping excess change from every purchase using a linked account into an investment portfolio. You can connect as many cards as you want, though all roundups are taken from the same linked checking account. With each purchase, Acorns rounds up to the nearest $1 and gives you the option to transfer that change into an investment portfolio. You can do that either automatically, so every purchase is rounded up and the change transferred, or manually, by going through recent purchases on the app and selecting which roundups to transfer.
Although these roundups are the bread and butter of Acorns’ platform, you can also invest lump sums manually or set up recurring deposits on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Lump-sum transfers can be as small as $5.
Minimum investment: There’s no minimum to open an account, but the service requires a $5 balance to start investing in one of Acorn’s five pre-built portfolios.
Found Money: The only thing better than building an investment portfolio out of a bunch of spare change is building an investment portfolio out of someone else’s money. Acorns’ Found Money program essentially lets you do that: It’s cash back for your investment account. Acorns has partnered with a short but relatively mighty list of companies — including Jet, Blue, Apron, Airbnb, Boxed and Hulu — to give you up to 10% cash back when you use a linked payment method at one of the partners. In most cases, you get the cash back automatically, without an additional step. You simply use a card linked to an active Acorns account to make the purchase, and the Found Money rewards will land in your account in 30 to 60 days.
Acorns Securities, LLC is a Member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) which protects securities customers of its members up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash). Explanatory brochures are available upon request or at www.sipc.org.
All of the information provided on this page and logo comes from the Acorns website and from nerdwallet.com.