Acorns vs. Betterment

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
November 2, 2023

Since appearing after the 2008 financial crisis, digital financial advisers have gained enormous popularity. Jon Stein created Betterment in 2008, and it became one of the first so-called robo-advisers. Jeff and Walter Cruttenden founded Acorns in August 2014. Both companies provide wealth management services, but the best way to invest still depends largely on your situation and risk tolerance.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Overview

Who is Acorns for?

Acorns works best for people who want to save and invest money without any effort. Beginners, young adults, micro-investors and passive investors generally find the ease of use and automatic deposits at Acorns ideal. Read Benzinga’s full Acorns review.

Who is Betterment for?

Betterment clients tend to be more experienced investors who take an active part in managing their money. Betterment provides a higher level of service and caters to people who like to diversify their investments as well as plan for and invest for retirement. Read Benzinga’s full Betterment review.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Platform and Tools

Acorns and Betterment’s platforms are different — here’s why.

What Acorn Offers

Acorns’ investment app is on the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android. The mobile app has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Acorns markets using the phrase, “Invest your spare change,” which describes the service it provides quite accurately.

Round Ups

Acorns’ app allows you to link an unlimited amount of debit and credit cards. The app then performs “round-ups,” where each transaction is rounded up to an even dollar amount. For example, if you made a purchase of $3.39 on one of your linked credit or debit cards, the app automatically rounds up the purchase to an even $4.

The merchant receives the $3.39 debit, and the remaining $0.61 goes into a savings account. Once the accumulated rounded-up amounts reach at least $5, the sum is deposited into an Acorns investment account, where it gets directed through the Acorns robo-adviser to one or more exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Recurring Withdrawals

Another way to invest in Acorns consists of setting up a recurring withdrawal program from a linked checking account. Acorns’ program requires a minimum of $5 per recurring withdrawal and allows users to make lump-sum deposits at any time.

Partnerships with Merchants

In addition to managing micro-investments, Acorns has partnered with many large and medium-sized companies to automatically invest in your Acorns Core account through its Found Money program.

After making a purchase at a participating merchant, Found Money appears in your account within 60 to 120 days. Merchants enrolled in this program generally include a percentage of the purchase or a specific dollar value on a minimum purchase. Chrome offers an Acorns extension, which can monitor Found Money notifications in real-time.

What Betterment Offers

Comparing Betterment vs. Acorns’ platform and research tools shows that Betterment’s offerings typically have a higher level of complexity and tend to cater to people with more investment experience.

Betterment, which has both a web and mobile app, has become the leader in the industry, with approximately 300,000 customers and $11 billion under management.

Account Linking and Access

Download the Betterment app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play for the Android version, or you can open an account and use the web-based platform.

While Acorns lets you link credit and debit cards, the Betterment App only allows electronic transfers to and from your Betterment account, with only one linked checking account allowed.

Accounts Offered

The Betterment app allows syncing your other investment accounts like individual retirement accounts (IRAs) as well as taxable accounts, loans, mortgages and 401(k)s. This gives you a central location to view and evaluate all of your investments and loans so you can keep track of your net worth.

It also gives Betterment an overview to use when advising you on your investments and liabilities.

In addition to reviewing your goals and account activity, the Betterment app lets you check the balance of your portfolio in real-time, make deposits and withdrawals anytime and anywhere and manage the allocation of stocks and bonds in your portfolio.

Bottom Line

The companies’ business models fit two different types of investors. Both apps adequately fulfill their role in what each company offers their clients. Depending on your investment or savings goals, either app would work well if you choose the one most suitable for your needs.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Research Offerings

Most brokers offer research or education to their investors at varying degrees. Here’s how Acorns and Betterment compare.

What Acorns Offers

When it comes to research, Acorns’ digital magazine Grow features a wealth of tips for savers and investors. The online magazine includes news, a Money 101 section and how-to menus and interviews with people who have used the platform successfully.

What Betterment Offers

Betterment’s research resources give investors guidelines on investing methodology and technical specifications.

Other selections on the research resource page include topics such as cash analysis methodology, assessing a portfolio’s diversification, and goal-projection and advice methodology. Betterment also produces white papers and financial planning guides.

Bottom Line

Experience level determines which company’s research would be more useful. Both companies give interesting information, the value of which depends on the investor’s goals and intentions.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Commissions and Fees

Because Acorns and Betterment are made for two different investors and offer different products, their commission and fee structures differ as well.

Acorns’ Commissions and Fees

Acorns’ accounts require no minimum balance, but for round-ups or one-time investments, deposits must add up to at least $5.

Plans start at $3 per month, but upgrading to a premium account provides more options and resources for investors. The company does not charge transaction fees, just an ongoing monthly payment so you know exactly what to expect.

Betterment’s Commissions and Fees

Betterment has two plans for management fees:

  • Betterment Investing: The plan does not have a minimum balance requirement and charges a flat $4 monthly fee. Once your account reaches $20,000 or you make monthly deposits of $250 or more, you’ll switch to a 0.25% annual fee for the amount held in the account.
  • Betterment Premium: The plan mirrors that of the standard investing account, but you have access to a certified financial planner for an additional 0.15% annual fee. You’ll need a minimum account balance of $100,000 to upgrade to this account.
Time-weighted returns on a hypothetical Betterment portfolio with $10 monthly deposits. Source:

Bottom Line

The extreme affordability of Acorns’ commissions and fees reflects the narrow range of options available to investors and savers. Betterment, while perhaps more expensive, offers a considerably wider range of investments and services more suited for seasoned investors.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Security

Both Betterment and Acorns offer top-of-the-line security. Take a look at how they compare.

What Acorn Offers

Acorns’ app consists of an investment platform that makes funds deposited ineligible for insurance by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). Acorns has coverage from the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which ensures clients for up to $500,000 if the company becomes insolvent.

Other security features at Acorns include SSL 256-bit encryption, secure servers and privacy verified by physical security. The company also offers account alerts and safeguards and uses multiple security measures such as automatic logouts, ID verification and constantly monitored client accounts.

The app uses two-factor authentication and ID verification to ensure the ultimate security of your account.

What Betterment Offers

Betterment's app also does not qualify for insurance coverage from the FDIC, but as a member of the SIPC, Betterment insures client accounts for up to $500,000 if the company becomes insolvent.

Betterment’s security features the strongest browser encryption available, secure servers and systematic procedures that monitor logging, auditing, backups and data safety. The company also runs frequent internal and external audits of software and systems to avoid hacking. Other security measures include two-factor authentication (2FA).

This security measure asks you for a unique verification code from a mobile authenticator each time you log in. This can involve Google Authenticator, Authy or a text message sent to you by Betterment.

Bottom Line

While each company handles security slightly differently, both offer outstanding features that keep your account safe and protect your funds.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Customer Support

Live phone support available 24/7 is the gold standard when it comes to brokerages. Both Acorns and Betterment don’t quite live up to this but do offer other support types.

What Acorns Offers

Acorns’ customer support consists of email and phone support from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. In addition, the company can be reached by a single support/contact web page where you enter your information (name, email, address, etc.) and wait for a response.

What Betterment Offers

Betterment offers an online form with a text box where you can type in questions. In addition, you can reach the support team through telephone or live chat from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. You can email customer support at

Bottom Line

Both companies offer strong support options with live chat and phone support, though Acorns hours are a bit more expansive than Betterment’s.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Tradable Asset Classes

What Acorns Offers

Acorns’ asset classes consist of ETFs on small companies, large companies, real estate, government bonds, emerging markets and corporate bonds. Acorns purchases fractional ETF shares for your account after rounding up spare change.

The graphic above depicts Acorns’ moderate risk portfolio

In addition to the above portfolio, Acorns offers a high- and low-risk portfolio option. The ETFs used by Acorns with their respective ticker symbols include: Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: VOO), Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA: VB), Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEARCA: VWO), Vanguard REIT ETF (NYSEARCA: VNQ), PIMCO Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEARCA: CORP) and iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ: SHY).

What Betterment Offers

You can find the ETFs used by Betterment below plus the index and the expense ratio for their investment fund.


Bottom Line

Acorns provides a limited service compared to Betterment, with fewer options and ETFs. Betterment gives its clients a wider range of investment options and fills the needs of more experienced investors.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Ease of Use

Ease of use and an intuitive interface make up common characteristics of both Acorns and Betterment. Acorns seems more geared toward set-it-and-forget-it investors. Betterment also has a wider range of investment and customizing options for more advanced investors.

Acorns vs. Betterment: Final Thoughts

Depending on the needs and financial education of the user, Acorns offers an extremely useful service to people just starting as investors as well as to those who have issues with saving money.

The limited options for investment and growth in an Acorns account have much more relevance if you do not want to actively manage your finances.

Set it and forget it makes a lot of sense for the average Acorns client. In contrast, Betterment has pioneered the industry to become the benchmark for robo-advisers.

The firm’s customer support options and low costs make it the No. 1 choice in one of the newest investment arenas offered to the public.  


Best For


Account Minimums

Account Minimums



Read full Acorns Review

  • Beginners
  • Micro investors
  • college students
  • Passive investors

$1.00 per month or $0.25 per year

$0Open an Acorns Account


Read full Betterment Review

  • Intermediate investors
  • Experienced investors
  • College students
  • Retired investors
0.25% - 0.40%


Open a Betterment Account

If you're still not sure if Acorns or Betterment is right for you, check out our other comparisons:

Frequently Asked Question


Is Betterment still worth it?


Betterment is a good choice for passive investors looking for a low-cost robo-adviser where they can invest and let the system do the rest.


Has anyone made money on Acorns?


Acorns is designed for long-term investors or those who can place their money in investments and leave them there for long periods. Short-term investors rarely make money.


Is Acorns better than Betterment?


Each platform has benefits for different types of investors. Acorns is good for long-term investors while Betterment can help provide ongoing passive income.`

About Rebekah Brately

Rebekah Brately is an investment writer passionate about helping people learn more about how to grow their wealth. She has more than 12 years of writing experience, focused on technology, travel, family and finance. Her work has been published in Benzinga, Hearst Bay Area, FreightWaves and Dallas Observer publications.