Acorns App Review: Scam or Worth Your Time?

Acorns Investment App – Scam, or Legit?

Here’s my honest review of Acorns App. You’ve probably heard of Acorns already, and you may even know it’s a smartphone app that automatically invests your spare change. In this Acorns app review, we’re gonna dig into the ins and outs, and plusses and minuses, and help you decide whether Acorns is right for you.

One thing’s for certain, you get $10 just for joining.

What is the Acorns App?

Most people avoid investing because it’s complicated and risky. It’s counterintuitive, and it can feel like we’re losing control of our money. But we know from all those great Wall Street movies, the ones full of smug men in suits yelling at each other over piles of cocaine, the ones that are always “based on a true story”, that investment is a way to make a lot of money.

So what if a simple smartphone app did the work and the thinking for you? Skip the suit, skip the cocaine, skip the hair gel and skip NYC altogether. That’s the idea behind Acorns App.

The goal of Acorns is to get you started investing, using the money you won’t miss (literally your spare change). Acorns was founded in 2012 by a father and son team, Jeff and Walter Cruttenden.

How does the Acorns App work?

It’s simple, and brilliant.

They take and invest the change from your everyday purchases. For Acorns to work, you have to connect the app with your bank accounts as well as debit and credit cards that you use everyday.Then, you make your purchases and go about your life like normal. The Acorns app rounds up all your purchases to the nearest dollar, takes that spare change, and invests it.

Example: you buy a $6.50 sammich for lunch. Acorns rounds up your lunch to $7.00 and the extra $0.50 is invested. So with Acorns, you’re automatically investing your spare change every time you buy something with your debit or credit card.

You can also set up deposits directly from your checking account, if you want to grow the account more quickly. Acorns lets you make unlimited deposits and unlimited withdrawals without penalty.

How do you grow your money with Acorns?

It all depends on how much money you spend normally with your debit and credit cards. If you buy a lot of stuff, you’ll see all of those purchases rounded up, and the change adding up to serious dollars in your Acorns investment account. You can also set up a recurring daily, weekly or monthly investment, anywhere from $5 to $50,000 But that’s not the only good thing (hint…PASSIVE INCOME OPPORTUNITY ALERT!)

Acorns App Referral Program

You can add $ to your Acorns account by referring friends and family (and strangers, honestly) to the app. And if you’re taking my advice and starting your own web-based business, you can recommend the Acorns App on your own blog and tell the world about how awesome it is.

When one of your referral joins Acorns, you get $10, and so do they. Win-win.

Is it free to sign up for Acorns?

Yes, it’s absolutely free to sign up.

If you’re a college student, Acorns is absolutely free to use, from four years from registration date, and once you have a valid .edu email address.

If you’re not a college student, Acorns will assess a fee of $1/month for balances below $5,000. For balances over $5,000, you pay 0.25% per year.

You do the math: it’s way less what a bank or brokerage firm would cost.

Is it easy to sign up for Acorns?

Yes, it’s easy to sign up.

You can join Acorns on their website and click sign up, and then register. Or you can use the app, which you can get on Google play, or you can download it from the app store.

Because you’re setting up an investment account, you will have to provide personal information, including your social security number.

 

==>Click here to sign up and start investing with Acorns today<==

Let’s look at some detailed pros and cons of Acorns.

The Good:

Convenient

The Acorns app minimum investment amount is $5, so it’s easy to get started, especially if you’re not loaded to begin with, or still suspicious about the whole idea. Plus, you don’t have to physically go to an investment or brokerage firm; it’s all automated, and from the convenience of your smartphone.

Automation

With Acorns, your nest egg is on autopilot. It grows with each purchase you make and you’ll hardly miss the money with each purchase rounded up some cents amount less than $1.

Reduced risk with Index funds

Acorns’ portfolio options invest in index funds, which are funds that bet on the stock market performance as a whole. Every chunk of spare change you invest is automatically diversified across 7,000 stocks and bonds to reduce risk, and improve your return.

You do have some choices

Acorns offers a few different portfolios with different risk levels, depending on how aggressive you want to invest, and how much risk you want to tolerate. The portfolio options are:

Conservative –> Moderately Conservative –> Moderate –> Moderately Aggressive –> Aggressive

Here’s what it looks like inside the app, at the “Aggressive” level, investing $280/monthly for 10 years:

acorns screenshot

The Bad:

As with everything, there are a couple complaints and concerns from users, and it’s important to know about them before jumping in.

Glitches in the app

This app is getting older, so more people are enjoying it glitch-free, but sadly not everyone. There have been a few complaints of people being unable to sign up because of error messages. Others sometimes experience problems with the rounding up mechanism.

Not every bank is on the list

A few people with small, local banks found that their bank wasn’t on the Acorns App list of banks. So, if you happen to use a smaller bank or credit union, check with them and make sure yours is. If not, it might be worth reaching out to Acorns support to expedite the process.

Investing Means Market Conditions Matter

Because your money is invested in a portfolio of exchange-traded funds or ETFs, your earnings will depend on how the market performs as a whole. That will be true whether you invest through Acorns or anyone else.

What’s an EFT? Exchange traded funds are large groups of stocks from different sectors of the economy, which allow you to invest in all of them at one time rather than each individual stock. Acorns have different EFTs for different levels of risk – meaning, you can choose to invest in a very low-risk, safe EFT that is largely comprised of government bonds, or even a high risk EFT largely comprised of things like tech and new business stocks. Totally up to you!

Acorns states that its portfolios were designed by a Nobel prize winning economist. I don’t have a degree in economics, but I’m inclined to trust someone who’s won a Nobel prize in that field 🙂

Is Acorns Legit or Scam?

Acorns is definitely legit.

And it’s a great way to dip your big toe in the big scary waters of investment, especially if you’re new to it.

The best thing about Acorns is that it’s connected to your existing spending. The saving mechanism piggybacks on existing spending, so you spend and save at the same time.

It’s also a great way for young people and college students to get started, since the Acorns app is free for them. If you’ve heard anything about investment, it’s that compound interest is king, and you really need to start investing money, even small amounts, early in life, in order to make the most of it.

But if you’re looking for a completely safe and more lucrative way to grow your wealth, without fussing with the stock market, get a jump on building your very own web-based businesses using my #1 recommendation.

That’s a wrap for my Acorn review! I always welcome your feedback and questions, so let me know what you think! And if you use Acorns, definitely leave a comment and share your experiences!

-Steph

24 comments

  1. Thanks a lot for the informative review, I was in search of a legit app/option to invest a small amount each month and it feels like Acron could be one good option to look for. The bad mentioned are not too bad 🙂 will definitely have a look.
    Cheers

  2. Hi Steph,

    Great article. Sounds like a really good app if it all works ok and the newer version is not having any issues. Its a great idea and it is good for the small investor.

    Do you know if it’s available in Australia? I will check it out further. Acorns is a good name too. Thanks for a great post,

    Kev

    1. Hi Kevin – unlike a lot of cool web stuff, Acorns does seem to have more of a worldwide presence, and it is actually available in Australia, you should sign up if interested!

  3. I’m still skeptical. Sure it’s great to be investing your spare change, but I have two main problems with that:

    1. It’s spare change. If we’re talking about a few cents here and there, it’s going to take one hell of a long time to stash enough for even a small parcel of shares.

    2. What exactly are you investing in? There’s a right way and a wrong way to choose which shares to buy based on various conditions of the company and the markets. There are a lot of investment automators around and more often than not they turn out to be shoddy because they’re concerned with taking people’s money, not with giving people the best advice on investing. There’s a lot of room for error within the 7000 stocks your money could be invested in.

    Having said all that, Acorns does seem to be a good, relatively safe way to get a taste of the stock market and investing in general – if you’re only playing with your spare change, then you can only lose your spare change. Your number one recommendation is a MUCH better idea.

    1. Skepticism is healthy! I’m glad you raised your concerns. For #1, it really does all depend on how often you’re out and about spending money. If you use your debit or credit card 5 times/day, let’s average that to $3 of change that goes into Acorns. If this happens most days out of the month, you have the potential to save $90/month from spare change alone. When people see it adding up they are often motivated to set up recurring payments directly from their checking accounts into the Acorns account. For 2., they are EFTS, or Exchange Traded Funds, which behave just like index funds. Takes the thinking out of the issue for people who don’t want to, or don’t know enough about, purchasing individual stocks. Acorns claims their portfolio was designed by a Nobel-prize winning economist…so it’s definitely not a scam in that respect.

      But you are absolutely correct that my #1 recommendation is a much better route to go for people looking to make serious, life-changing money online.

  4. I’ve always been interested in investing but due to the long process of learning how the components and fundamentals work, I’ve never really gotten around to putting much effort into it.

    I’ve noticed the App is an American one does this mean it has boundaries for who can use it? I’m from Britain so if I wanted to use it would they have a British version also?

    1. The app does work for UK investors – give it a shot! And I agree with you, something that makes investing happen without breaking our brains is much-needed, especially for those of us drawn to the opportunity to make passive income through investing our money.

  5. I’d actually not ever heard of this so I think it sounds great. I’ve invested a little bit but I never feel like I know what the heck I’m doing so this could be helpful. Plus I wouldn’t miss the little tiny bits that come out of the account…though I do make a lot of purchases some days, lol. I’m going to check it out and pass it along to friends. Thanks so much for the info!

    1. Hi Maria – thanks for the great comment. I’m glad that this will be a helpful resource for you! I agree that it makes investing so much easier, with money that we won’t miss 🙂

  6. Great post! I’ve always wanted to get involved with stock and shares but had no idea what I was doing. I think this app would come in handy for me! I’d never heard of it before reading your post though so thanks for enlightening me. My only concerns with the app would be that I wouldn’t know where my money was going and in stocks and shares there is no guarantee of earning a profit so all the money could easily go up in smoke.
    I’m very interest in the app though!

    1. Hi Stephen, thanks for the great feedback. You’re absolutely right that there’s no guarantee with the stock market. Luckily, Acorns has several different EFTs designed for various levels of risk. And you see what types of stocks are in each portfolio (small business, electronics and tech, etc) – you get to pick among low level to high levels of risk, so it’s not a completely blind process.

      If the 1920s taught us anything, it’s that even if you got all your cash out of the bank and put it under your mattress as cash before the big crash, you’d still have to deal with the consequences of inflation, and, more troubling, the consequences of everyone else in your community being affected by an economic crisis.

      I think most of us go around with our money preferring NOT to think much about it, because it can be so overwhelming. Tools like this help fight that, while giving average people a chance to participate in a realm most of us assume is for fatcats or math whizzes only.

      good luck and happy investing!
      -Steph

  7. It just amazes these days just how many avenues there are on the web for not just passive income, but investing too.
    But I do like your honesty on this acorns app. Some apps can have lots of glitches and what happens some processes don’t register, like for example errors etc.

    Nice to know that they are not a deliberate scam to take your money, but there are some issues that need to be ironed out, as you say not all banks are on their list.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the review, I try to be unbiased and show the good and the bad about all these different sources of income. Overall I think Acorns does way more good than bad, especially as it gets older and more established (and de-bugged).

  8. Thank you for your review. I recently came across this app. I think I heard about it on the news and wanted to really understand more about what its all about.
    So do you use it? What’s the final verdict?
    It sounds so interesting. Thank you for your additional insights.

    1. I do use it, yes! It’s a great way to save money without missing it. The final verdict is that it’s a great, creative idea to save money and get people involved in investing who would otherwise find it too intimidating.

  9. Is “Acorns” available for all the countries over the world? Let´s say I have my bank account in Bermuda.. would I be able to link the account to the app? And one more question… do they offer tax assistance? because I believe there most be many issues related to taxes. Regards

    1. Acorns is available in many countries. I don’t know whether all the banks in the world are on their list, but they are available in Australia, Canada, and the UK as well as the US. I would be surprised if Acorns were available in a smaller country like Bermuda.

      Like any other investment company, they provide tax documents at the end of the year showing your gains and losses.

      thanks for the comment!

  10. So happy to have read this review. I just downloaded the app and it definitely seemed legit to me, but I was really scared that I wasn’t doing the right thing with my money. You have assured me that I don’t need to worry about Acorns being the wrong investment method for me. I now know I’m safe using it. Well as safe as one can be on the itnernet. Lol

    1. Hi Sean, thanks for the comment. I’m glad this review helped reinforce your choice to start using Acorns. it’s safe and it rocks! Have fun investing!!

  11. Nice review. I had loaded the Acorn app at one time but never used it as i had read some complaints on it. Your review addressed some of the things I was wondering about.
    Thanks

  12. That’s a great review and I kinda like the idea of investing those SPARES.
    Do you know if this is available in India?

    1. Thanks for the question! Unfortunately, Acorns hasn’t made its way to India yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changed in the next year or so, since they’ve been expanding to other countries like the UK and Australia.

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