Acorns Review: Invest, Learn and Earn

GOBankingRates Score

Acorns
4.6
SCORE
GOBankingRates Best Banks 2023 scores and rankings are objectively determined by our research/editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors that differ from category to category depending on what consumers want from varying products and banks.
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Quick Take: Acorns is a mobile-based neobank that offers competitive APYs. Customers can learn how to invest for retirement, college education and other savings goals. Acorns' new Mighty Oak debit card automatically saves and invests money for you. The financial learning platform contains tips, articles and videos to help customers build their financial literacy and investing confidence.
  • Checking and Savings Account
    4.8
  • Fees and Subscriptions
    4.5
  • Investing Options
    4.5
  • Banking Experience
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Automated saving and investing
  • Higher-than-average APY
  • No required opening deposit or minimum balance
  • Individual stock investments available through Custom Portfolios

Cons

  • No physical checks

Acorns Overview

Acorns is an app-based neobank supported by world-class advisors, board members and investors. Lincoln Savings Bank and nbkc bank provide banking services to Acorns backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Acorns offers members a better way to save and invest by automatically rounding up what’s left from every purchase with its Round-Ups® feature. For instance, if you buy a cup of coffee for $3.75, Acorns will invest the remaining $0.25 into your account for you.

GOBankingRates has named Acorns as one of the Best Neobanks of 2024.

Acorns Review: Key Features

Acorns has a number of perks for users. Here’s a look at some of its stand-out features.

Acorns Checking and Savings Account

Acorns bundles its checking and savings into one account with its Mighty Oak Visa™ debit card, yielding customers APY on checking and APY on an Acorns Emergency Fund. These rates are more than seven times the national average. You can grow your money by simply using the card. 

Acorns focuses on a financial wellness system, and the Acorns’ Mighty Oak debit card features:

  • A paycheck split which automatically invests part of your paycheck
  • A chance to enter and win a $50,000 sweepstakes
  • Paychecks delivered up to two days early
  • Emergency Fund account
  • Bonus investment rewards at over 15,000 participating retailers

Acorns Fees and Subscriptions

Investors pay no transaction fees or hidden costs, but Acorns bundles their financial tools, products and education services into one of three monthly subscription plans. The plans are tailored to each subscriber’s needs. 

All three Acorns subscription plans include these basic features:

  • A checking account that automatically saves and invests for you
  • Real-Time Round-Ups® that invests your spare change
  • No overdraft fees
  • More than 55,000 nationwide and worldwide ATMs
  • Metal Acorns Visa™ debit card — metal composition varies by subscription plan

The banking, earning, investing and learning features increase with each subscription plan. Here are the plans’ monthly pricing choices:

  • Acorns Personal: $3
  • Acorns Personal Plus: $5
  • Acorns Premium: $9 with the first month free

Acorns Investing Options

You can estimate your investment potential by using Acorns’ compound interest investment calculator on the website. Follow these steps to see how you can potentially grow your money:

  1. Enter your initial deposit.
  2. Enter your daily, weekly, monthly or annual contribution.
  3. Use the slider to determine the number of years you want to invest.
  4. Enter your desired average annual return percentage.
  5. Select “Calculate my estimate” to see the result of your potential future balance.

Acorns puts your investments on autopilot and recommends an investment portfolio to match your financial goals. With Acorns Round-Ups®, you can link all of your debit and credit cards, and Acorns will save the change from every purchase, round up to the next dollar and invest the money once it reaches at least $5.

If you have an Acorns debit card, it’s automatically linked to your Round-Ups® investment account. There’s no limit to the number of debit or credit cards you can link.

Acorns Overall Banking Experience

Millions of customers bank, save, invest and learn with Acorns. Their app is highly rated with 4.6 out of five stars on Google Play and 4.7 out of five stars on the App Store. Across consumer sites, the app has received some reviews with complaints of technical issues or customer service responses. But overall, the experience seems to be positive.

Comparable Acorns Options

Acorns is an affordable platform for learning how to save and invest. Here’s how Acorns compares to a few of its micro-investing competitors.

Acorns vs. Robinhood

Acorns investors can buy and sell ETFs, as well as individual stocks through Custom Portfolios. Robinhood offers its customers other commission-free investment portfolio trading options such as cryptocurrency and other retirement accounts. Similar to Acorns’ subscription plans, Robinhood offers a Gold membership for $5 a month.  

Acorns vs. Stash

Stash is a comparable personal finance app to Acorns in that customers can automatically bank, save and invest. Stash investors can put money into ETFs and stocks, while Acorns only allows ETF investments. Stash also rounds up your card purchases and adds them to your investment account.

Stash offers customers two paid memberships:

  • Stash Growth: $3 per month — first month free
  • Stash+: $9 per month — first month free  

Final Take

GOBankingRates named Acorns as one of the Best Neobanks for 2024 because of its appeal to first-time bankers and those who prefer to manage their money online. Acorns may be an excellent choice for you if you are tech-savvy and value convenience, personalized banking features, and on-the-go saving and investing.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Acorns.
  • How do I get a Mighty Oak card?
    • If you're a new Acorns customer, sign up for an Acorns account and a Mighty Oak card on the website. If you're an existing customer, sign up for an Acorns checking account and Mighty Oak card on your app's home feed.
  • How do I set up direct deposit with my Acorns account?
    • You can set up direct deposit from your account in the Acorns app:
      • Select "Set up Direct Deposit with Acorns."
      • Enter how much you want to deposit. You can waive your fee by depositing at least $250 per calendar month.
      • Confirm automatic deposits and investments from each paycheck split.
  • Can I get a Mighty Oak card without an Acorns checking account?
    • No. Since the Mighty Oak card is a debit card, you can only get one to access funds in your Acorns checking account.
  • Is Acorns actually worth using?
    • If you are new to investing, Acorns makes it easy and convenient to begin building your wealth. If you have a difficult time putting money aside, you'll find the features to be helpful as they do the work for you.
  • What are the disadvantages of Acorns?
    • One of the biggest disadvantages to Acorns is that the account fees of $3 to $5 per month are relatively steep and can deplete your balance unless you invest money and earn at least that much on your investments.

Cynthia Measom, Cynthia Bowman, Daria Uhlig and Laurel Funk contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 16, 2024.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

To determine rankings for the Best Neobanks, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (2) minimum needed to earn APY; (3) savings APY; (4) products/services offered (credit cards and investment services); (5) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores; and (6) number of extra benefits and perks unique to neobanks. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being the best. Factors (1) and (2) were weighted 0.5 times, and factors (3) and (6) were weighted 2 times. 

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