It’s an exciting time for people looking to invest as not only has the entry barrier been lowered, but there are many options to help you build your nest egg.
If you have been searching for an easier way to invest and to get started with little money, you probably have stumbled upon the investing app Acorns.
The financial company is one of the first and most recognized names in the micro-investing or “robo-investing” category.
And although the app has been around since 2012 and offers some solid features, you might be looking for some Acorns alternatives. Maybe you have outgrown the app, aren’t impressed with results, or just curious about other platforms.
Below I’ll share with you some of the best apps like Acorns that you might want to consider instead.
What is Acorns?
But first, if you are new to Acorns and want to learn a bit more — than stick with me here briefly. If not, feel free to skip to the best Acorns alternatives right after this section.
Acorns merges the old-fashioned idea of a piggy bank with the modern concept of robo-advisors to help users invest their small or “spare” change.
You probably don’t have a lot of actual loose change lying around, but that’s no problem.
Acorns lets you link your credit and debit cards and then rounds up your purchases and automatically invests the change. You can choose to let Acorns automatically do this for all purchases or you can manually choose which purchases to round up and invest.
Additionally, Acorns also offers a great perk called Found Money. This program lets you earn cash back to invest when you use your linked cards at 350+ companies, like Chewy, Apple, and Stitch Fix.
If you like the idea of investing your change but don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about it, Acorns is a great choice. The same is true if you struggle to save any money at all.
Acorn’s automated features make it easy to save, and the computer-managed portfolio means you don’t have to worry about investment decisions.
Account fees and a limited investment portfolio are the biggest downsides of Acorns.
Monthly fees are only $1-$5 depending on your plan, but that adds up quickly if your account balance is small.
Someone with an account balance of $100 would pay 12% – 60% of their account balance in fees per year depending on the plan they choose.
If your account balance is likely to stay small for a while or if you value a broad range of investment choices, you should consider other micro-investing options.
Best Acorns Alternatives to Try
Luckily, if Acorns has not worked out like you may hoped or are looking to diversify to other applications — you have plenty of options!
Below are a few of the best Acorns alternatives.
1. Stash Invest
Stash is a micro investment app focused on helping beginners learn to invest. Investors can choose from more than 1,800 ETFs and individual stocks.
Stash also offers fractional investing, which means you can buy portions of stocks of well known companies for small amounts of money.
Education is where Stash really shines. The app guides you through a series of questions to figure out your goals and how much risk you’re comfortable with. They also deliver a list of personalized recommendations and helpful explanations.
Another interesting Stash feature appeals to mission-driven investors. Their ETFs are divided into three categories: Beliefs, Balance, and Life. This lets you choose investments that align with your values.
Like Acorns, Stash offers a rewards program. There’s a twist, though.
Instead of giving you cash to invest, Stash rewards you with fractional shares in the companies you purchase from. Learn more about Stash and sign-up here.
Betterment is a tool for the goal-driven investor. The company’s micro investment offering is called Better Digital and has no account minimum and an annual fee of 0.25%.
The financial company focuses on helping you set specific goals for emergency funds, retirement savings, and general investment.
Based on your answers during the initial goal-setting process, the tool recommends targets and asset allocations to get you to your goals.
One of Betterment’s unique features is called “Two-Way Sweep.” If you link your checking account to your Betterment savings, this tool will move excess money from your checking account into savings and then automatically move it back if your checking balance gets low.
Retirement planning is also a strength of Betterment. You can link your non-Betterment accounts so the tool can see the big picture of your retirement savings and offer advice.
Betterment offers both strong investment portfolio management features and room to grow. Algorithms rebalance your account daily if needed.
The tool also uses fractional investing to make sure all your money is working for you.
Once your balance reaches a minimum of $100,000, you can upgrade to the Betterment Premium plan. This plan gives you unlimited call and email support and access to a team of human financial advisors. Learn more about Betterment and sign-up here.
Qapital is all about helping you meet your savings goals. Unlike some of the other tools we’ve considered, Qapital focuses on funding savings accounts and does not offer investment options.
Like Acorns, Qapital can automatically round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the change.
Instead of putting all your savings in a single account, Qapital lets you divide your savings based on specific goals.
You can set up specific rules based on where you spend your money. For example, the “change” from purchases made at REI can automatically be swept into your “Backpacking” fund.
Saving up for a trip with friends or a special Christmas gift for Grandma? Qapital can help you there, too, by allowing you to set up joint goals with family and friends. Learn more about Qapital and sign-up here.
4. M1 Finance
M1 Finance targets sophisticated investors with a long term focus.
For investors who have some experience with traditional investing and are clear on their goals, M1 offers maximum flexibility to build your portfolio.
M1 offers over 80 expert portfolios, plus the option to build your own completely customized portfolio from their selection of low-cost ETFs and individual stocks.
Unlike other tools we’ve discussed, M1 is a portfolio building tool rather than an automated service.
It offers such benefits as fractional investing and charges no trading or asset management fees.
On the flip side, there is very little educational material or goal-setting help for the beginning investor. Learn more about M1 Finance and sign-up here.
Public is the first micro investment tool to turn investing into a social activity.
The tool offers beginning investors an easy way to buy stocks and ETFs commission-free.
Public doesn’t have some of the automated savings features of other tools, but it does support fractional investing. The tool’s social features are what really differentiates it from other tools.
As a Public account holder, you will have an investment profile with a public username. Your profile is visible to anyone in the Public community.
Looking for investment inspiration? You can look at other Public investors’ profiles to get ideas.
And you can even connect the app to your phone’s contacts and see if any of your friends are using the tool. Learn more about Public and sign-up here.
Robinhood is one of the few brokers that offers cryptocurrency trading. You can also trade stocks, options, and ETFs with no commissions, fees, or account minimums.
In addition to trading options, Robinhood offers a high-yield savings account.
If you’re constantly on the go and use your phone for everything, you’ll appreciate Robinhood’s streamlined, mobile-friendly interface.
The account set up and funding process is set up with mobile users in mind. It’s quick and easy and can have you ready to transfer funds and start trading in less than an hour. Learn more about Robinhood and sign-up here.
SigFig offers low-cost automated investing options that heavily feature ETFs. SigFig partners with Charles Schwab, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade to manage your assets.
With SigFig, investments up to $10,000 are managed for free, with a 0.25% fee after that. The company does require a $2,000 minimum balance to set up an account and get started.
While SigFig is considered a robo-advisor, the company offers free access to human financial advisors.
This feature can give you extra peace of mind about your investments, especially if you’re just starting out or if you’re investing large amounts of money.
The company also offers strong online goal setting and portfolio tracking tools. Learn more about SigFig and sign-up here.
Acorns Alternatives: Which Is Right For Me?
All the above Acorns alternatives are solid options to consider when you want to start investing money. Each offers unique functionality and perks to their users, so it will be up to you to decide which best fits your needs!
I’d make a running list of what your financial and investing goals, what features you need, and how your investing may change over time.
And if you still aren’t sure, sign-up and try them out before dedicating more money to one particular platform.