Posted by Chuck on September 2, 2018
Deals

Published on September 2nd, 2018 | by Chuck

17

Acorns Investment App Review, Round-Up and Robo Investing with Additional Perks

We’ve written about various promotions from the Acorns investment app so I thought it’s worth writing up a quick review.

Overview

Acorns is an investment app whose leading focus is their ‘Roundups’ program. Here’s how it works: you link your bank and credit cards with Acorns, and they automatically ’round-up’ your purchases to the nearest dollar and pull that funds into your investment account. For example, if they see a $3.87 charge at Starbucks, they’ll pull $.13 from your checking account to invest. (They wait until you accumulate $5 to invest, so they don’t actually pull the $.13 immediately.)

Acorns also supports direct investments as well, including automated recurring investments. You can add or withdraw funds at any time.

When setting up the account initially, Acorns will tailor an investment strategy for you, depending on the degree of risk you want in your investments, and all future investments will run under that strategy. You can change at any later date as well.

Acorns unveiled the Acorns Later platform which allows your investments to go toward retirement funds. They’re also launching a checking and debit card product called Acorns Spend which promises to let you save even more by giving up to 10% back at places you shop every day.

On the Home screen you’ll see your current balance (“Present”), account history (“Past”), as well as your Potential. You can view performance graphs under the Performance tab.

Acorns is available on the web as well as with their iOS app and Android app.

Fees

Link

Found Money

An interesting feature of Acorns is their Found Money program. There you’ll find various offers which will earn you money in your Acorns investment account. Some of these offers are like regular online shopping portals whereby you’ll earn a stated percentage for clicking through and shopping at various retailers.

Yet other offers are special deals, like this $250 offer for hosting your first Airbnb or this $35 offer for new Rover customers. Most of the offers are from merchants who offer such signup offers under various mediums, and sometimes the Acorns offer is better than the standard offers found elsewhere.

Some of the offers require you to spend on a debit card linked in your Acorns account, yet other offers work with standard portal-type tracking, not tied to any card.

RelatedComplete List of Card-Linked Reward Programs

Referral Program

Details

The standard referral bonus is $5 for the new member and the referrer. The $5 bonuses are only paid out if the new member completes signup and makes their first investment.

Acorns has also run huge referral bonus offers for limited times for those who refer many members. For example, they’ve offered $1,000 bonus for referring 12 friends. (That’s in addition to the standard $5 bonus for referrer and for new member.) I managed to hit that bonus once due to reader’s signups – thanks all! Here’s my referral link.

You’ll find your referral link in the Invite Friends tab at the top-right on the web version.

Final Thoughts

If you’re doing this strictly for the few dollars of roundups you’ll invest per month, the $1 monthly fee will easily eat up the value. There is additional value in their automated investment option which is something not offered by typical brokerages. And you can use them for regular investing.

Please do your research as to your best investment strategy; seriously, this post is not meant to be financial advice. Officially there are no fees other than the $1/month, but I’m not sure how they calculate returns (it could be the fees of the funds they are investing in are deducted off the top – I’m not entirely sure).

The Found Money feature is pretty cool – assuming you find yourself earning semi-regularly from those offers, that could justify the $1 monthly fee on it’s own. We also have to see if the debit card rewards program ends up being useful.

If you decided to signup,  appreciate if you use my Acorns referral link.



17
Leave a Reply

avatar
 

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
RevRec
RevRec

It’s worth noting that Acorns will waive the $1 fee for the first 4 years if you sign up using a .edu email address and set your employment status to “student.” They don’t verify student status either, so I was able to sign up with my old .edu address from college.

Snorlax
Snorlax

Careful with claiming to be a student when you aren’t: they could ask to verify student status in the future and charge back fees if you couldn’t verify.

Frank
Frank

But they won’t because the are a consumer friendly startup. Would be commercial suicide to charge back $48 in fees….Fast way to become “yet-another-fee-focused broker”

RevRec
RevRec

Good point. I personally wouldn’t be too off put if Acorns were ever to call me out and charge back fees, but this is certainly something to keep in mind for anyone considering signing up.

Snorlax
Snorlax

You can use found money without paying a fee: acorns doesn’t change a fee if your balance is zero, so if you withdraw all your money after it posts to your account you don’t get charged a fee.

If the “round up” feature appeals to you, an automatic withdrawal of $5-$10 a week from your typical brokerage will simulate it.

I wouldn’t use acorns for actual investing, it’s useful for the referral bonuses and the found money feature. Just keep your balance at zero to avoid fees.

Brian C
Brian C

Great tip.

How long have you been doing this? I would be worried they would close the account or still charge your credit card.

Snorlax
Snorlax

Good point, my account is a little less than a year old, always withdrew the funds right away. I don’t personally care if my Acorns account is cancelled though.

In their TOS they claim they will close the account with zero balances “in their discretion.”

“If your only Portfolio Account is an Acorns Core Account with a Portfolio Account Value on the Fee Date of less than $1, Acorns will typically in its discretion waive any amount of the Subscription Fee due in excess of the Portfolio Account Value and close the Acorns Core Account.”

Eric
Eric

I’ve used acorns for 3 years, started by just getting my feet wet and thought it was a cool way to do so. Soon in I added a daily investment (instead of monthly) and 3 years later I’m at 10k. Their investment strategy rivals betterment etc, I’ve had around 12% in the moderately aggressive portfolio. They also changed fees to be $1/mo for over 5k, instead of 0.25%, which is great for higher balances. Found money more than covers the fees.

Joe
Joe

I’m not sure if this is correct but I was told by one of Acorn’s rep that even 5k+ is $1 fee now.

gly
gly

I don’t like the fixed portfolio offered in the Robo advisors. This is not a good time to invest in the international stock and bond market. You are almost guaranteed to lose money.

Toad
Toad

Trying to time the market is the only guaranteed way to lose money…

Adam
Adam

I can’t believe people would pay for them to take money automatically out of your account. Auto-investing is standard at most fee-free brokerages.

Stan
Stan

Totally agree with you, but this is for college students with no stock market knowledge to invest at an early age. Start while in college and once they get a full time job, they can invest in IRAs and their 401k.

Information Booth
Information Booth

Another way to invest in the stock market for free is to use the Robinhood app. They also have a referral offer… sign up and both get a free stock. If Will or Chuck have a Robinhood acct… request their referral codes. John 3:16

Kevin
Kevin

good point

Onsale
Onsale

It looks like they no longer offer a special free option for being a student. The link to the page for student pricing cannot be found and there is no mention of it in the pricing section.

Back to Top ↑