But at a minimum of $3 per month, Acorns isn't cheap for small portfolios. And it doesn't offer as many saving and budgeting tools as some of its competitors.
In this article, we're covering some of the best apps like Acorns that you can use to save and invest on autopilot.
The Best Apps Like Acorns Right Now
Best For: Overall Acorns Alternative.
Why We Chose Stash: Out of all the apps like Acorns, Stash is the closest alternative. It lets you invest in fractional shares on autopilot starting at just $5. The app helps you build a portfolio of stocks, bonds, and even cryptocurrencies to match your risk tolerance and investing goals. And, like Acorns, Stash supports IRA accounts and custodial accounts so you can invest for your kids.
Stash Pricing: Stash has two plans that cost $3 and $9 per month. The beginner $3 plan is cheaper than Acorns and has everything you need to invest automatically. The $9 plan is for families and lets you open two kid portfolios through custodial accounts.
Best For: Bank-Like Features.
Why We Chose Chime: If you want an Acorns alternative that has numerous bank-like features to help you spend and save your money, Chime is for you. And our favorite part is that its high-yield savings account currently pays 0.50% APY. Like Acorns, you can also enable spare change round-ups to automatically save money.Chime® also has numerous other features like a free checking account, credit-building account, and overdraft protection. You can also borrow up to $200 through its SpotMe feature. The biggest downside to Chime is that it doesn't offer any investing options. But, overall, it's a far more robust platform than Acorns.
Chime Pricing: Chime doesn't charge any monthly fees or require a minimum account balance. You also get free withdrawals at 60,000+ AllPoint ATMs.
Best For: Budgeting.
Why We Chose Digit: Acorns is an excellent app if you want to consistently put your spare change to work through investing. Digit works similarly, except the app uses AI to detect when it can move small amounts of money from your spending balance to invest. Like Acorns, Digit also invests in a variety of ETFs to match your risk tolerance.
We also like Digit since it lets you link your bills and credit cards and automatically puts money aside for your expenses. You can even add more expensive bills like car payments or rent so you don't fall behind on payments. The app also lets you create savings goals that you chip away at on the side. Overall, Digit is similar to Acorns but prioritizes budgeting and saving alongside investing.
Digit Pricing: Digit has a six month free trial and then costs $5 per month. This is more expensive than Acorns, but if Digit helps you avoid late payments, it easily pays for itself.
Best For: Rule-Based Investing & Saving.
Why We Chose Qapital: Qapital is a mix between Acorns and Digit and has features like spare change round-ups that let you invest in five different portfolios. But what makes Qapital unique is its depth of rule-based triggers. For example, you can use rules like Set & Forget to automatically invest a certain amount of money each paycheck. But there are also rules like a Guilty Pleasure rule that invests a small amount of money when you spend at retailers you choose.
Qapital also works for couples, so you can sync your accounts and set joint savings goals. Plus, there's numerous budgeting tools to help you put money aside to tackle debt and various financial goals.
Qapital Pricing: Qapital has three plans that cost $3, $6, or $12 per month. Most users need the $6 Complete plan which unlocks investing and budgeting tools. There's also a 30-day free trial you can use to test out the app.
Best For: Investing For Your Kids.
Why We Chose UNest: One of Acorns' more unique features is Acorns Early, which lets you invest in a custodial account for your kids. However, you need to pay $5 per month for Acorns Family to use this feature. Instead, you can use the UNest app to invest in a UTMA account for your kids. This is UNest's specialty, and it helps you invest in a variety of low-cost Vanguard ETFs to help your child build wealth early.
You can also invite friends and family to contribute to your child's account. And once your child becomes of age, UNest converts the account into a regular brokerage account.
UNest Pricing: UNest costs $2.99 per month for an individual account or $5.98 per month for UNest Family, which supports up to five children. The individual plan is much cheaper than Acorns Family, so it's our preferred app for UTMA investing.
Best For: More Serious Investing.
Why We Chose Betterment: One of the main downsides of microsaving apps like Acorns is that the fees can be steep for very small portfolios. After all, if you're paying $3 per month for Acorns but only have a $500 portfolio, that's over 7% in annual fees which is absurdly high.
If you're trying to invest more regularly or with larger sums of money, we recommend using robo-advisors like Betterment instead. Betterment helps you invest in portfolios of ETFs and bonds that match your goals. But it's much cheaper than Acorns for smaller portfolios, and there's a $0 minimum funding requirement, so you can start out slow.
Betterment also has SRI portfolios so you can invest in socially responsible companies. And it uses tax-loss harvesting which isn't something apps like Acorns usually offer. You can read our Betterment vs Acorns article for a complete breakdown of these two platforms.
Betterment Pricing: Betterment starts at 0.25% in annual management fees for portfolios under $100,000. Portfolios over this amount pay 0.40% but also get access to human financial advisors.
How to Choose The Right Acorns Alternative
When picking the best Acorns alternative, it's important to think about the Acorns features that turned you away from the service in the first place. Is the monthly pricing too high? Or, are there not enough budgeting tools?
Once you know why Acorns isn't a good fit, consider some of the following factors to make the right choice:
- Investing Options: Acorns does a good job at offering several portfolios, including SRI ones and even bits of crypto. But you have way less flexibility than using an online broker or going with robo-advisors like Betterment.
- Fees: As mentioned, the main downside of Acorns is that it's very expensive for small portfolios. Options like Stash are more affordable for individuals at just $1 per month. And we prefer Betterment since it starts at just 0.25% per year.
- Other Features: One advantage of Acorns is that it's expanded features to include a no-fee checking account and cash-back rewards. But again, it isn't as robust as online banks like Chime or apps like Digit and Qapital that have more budgeting tools.
- Room to Grow: We like Acorns since it helps new investors learn the ropes and build good habits. But what are you going to do when your portfolio reaches $50,000, or $100,000 or more? For larger portfolios, moving to your own brokerage account or using robo-advisors makes more sense. This is because the fees can be lower, and tools like tax-loss harvesting can start to make a significant difference.
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Our editorial and writing teams reviewed numerous apps like Acorns and selected the best options based on their fees, ease-of-use, investing tools, and other features. The companies on this list didn't influence their inclusion or position in any way. Rather, we believe these are currently the best alternatives to Acorns based on our in-depth research.
You can still grow your wealth with Acorns or a combination of these apps. And we always recommend doing your own research so you can confidently pick the best investing app for you.
If you want to build good habits and invest regularly, Acorns is one of the best investment apps for beginners. It offers a range of portfolios, invests in low-fee ETFs, and has continually expanded its features to bring more value to its users.
That said, the fees can be quite steep for very small account balances. And if you want more budgeting, saving, and investing tools, there's probably a better app or robo-advisor out there.
If anything, you can use apps like Acorns to learn the basics of investing. When you're ready to upgrade, you can take the DIY route with your own brokerage account or use leading robo-advisors like Betterment to keep building wealth.Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
1Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.
^Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.