I’ve been reading about this App called “Acorns”. It’s an investment app that tracks your purchases, rounds the value up to the next dollar, then invests the money. This is similar to the concept of the banks that will do the same thing with your debit card purchases but the money is moved over into a checking account. The concept is to help you save money without having to think about it.
What sets Acorns apart is that the money is then invested in an ETF, theoretically providing greater returns. One of the reasons the creators came up with this App is to help young investors get started. ETFs are generally easier to invest in because they take less effort and help you diversify more quickly than individual stocks. Unfortunately most funds do require a minimum investment (the ones I’ve researched are around $1,000) and minimums to buy more shares.
Acorns does not have such a high requirement. Once your account has $5 they will start investing. You can build this up pretty quickly, within 10 transactions you could build this up pretty quickly.
How does it work?
To get started, you do have to choose the account that will be rounding up. This can be a debit card or a credit card. The App will track your purchases and determine how much to pull out to invest. This is where it could get a little tricky. The money is pulled out of your bank account that you link to the App. So if you keep your account at a minimal balance or drain your account in between pay checks, you’ll need to keep an eye on this.
Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s run through an example. You choose to link your Visa card. You make a purchase for $10.36. The App will then say the round up amount is $0.64 to get to the next dollar. That $0.64 is pulled out of the checking account you’ve linked. Now you have $0.64 in your Acorns account. Once that balance reaches $5, it will be invested.
What about the investment?
The Acorns App offers 5 levels of risk, ranging from conservative to aggressive, with more moderate options in the middle. You can always change what you feel your risk is. The App also offers some advice based on your age, your goals and other factors.
There are some fees associated with the App. The App itself is free to download. Once your account is funded, there is a $1/month charge. There is also a 0.25%-0.5% fee, depending on your balance. There are no fees for actual transactions, which means you can add extra money or withdraw at any time without having to pay.
The App itself
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the functions and purpose of the Acorns App, but what about the App itself? I found it to be really slick. The appearance is nice, and the controls actually work well. There is a lot of information to be collected at the beginning (it is an investment account, after all), and I had no problems navigating through everything.
So what’s the verdict?
This part is yet to be seen. The app itself is pretty nice, but what about the purpose? I do wish I had something like this when I was in my early twenties. An easy way to start saving and investing and getting a head start on things. I may not be in my twenties anymore, but I did decide to make an account.
I funded the account with $50 to get things started. Going forward I will have all of my purchases automatically round up and deposit into this account. I’m going to post some updates here on the site as things go on. What I’m curious about is the fees. Obviously you need to be making more than $1 a month to make this worth it. I’ll give it a shot for a while and see how it goes! Look for the “Acorns” tags below.
To read more about the App, visit the Acorns website at https://www.acorns.com/
Have you tried out the Acorns App? What did you think? Leave your comments below.