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Acorns vs. Stash

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Acorns and Stash offer a novel solution to people with limited time and expertise to manage their savings and investments. These mobile apps are available for both Android and iOS devices, and they automatically direct a portion of your money into an investment account. 

A great feature of these apps is that you’ll be investing without needing to focus on doing so once you get set up. Stash lets you create an automatic investment plan that pulls a specific amount of money from your savings or checking account at regular intervals. For a more in-depth look at Stash, visit our Stash Invest Review

The Acorns app connects to a credit or debit card, then rounds up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar and channels the digital change to an investment account. You can specify what purchases to round up or use the manual option to round up just the transactions that you select. Our Acorns Review can give you a more detailed analysis of the company. 

Both apps use different methods to achieve the same results — investing your extra money for a small fee.

Pricing
$1/mo
Account Minimum
$5
Get started securely through Acorns’s website
Pricing
$1/mo
Account Minimum
$5
1 Minute Review

Acorns can help you roll your pennies into crisp hundreds with automatic savings, rounding up on purchases and inexpensive set-it-and-forget-it portfolio management. Integrate your checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts into 1 financial hub on your smartphone.

Best For
  • Newer investors looking to leave the heavy pulling to a robo-advisor
  • Regular debit card users who want to save change automatically
  • Families building wealth
  • Prepping for future investing
Pros
  • Inexpensive subscription cost at each tier
  • Smart, intuitive automatic investing strategies that utilize your spare change without leaving you cash broke
  • Retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s available for investment and management, which isn’t always the case with robo-advisors
  • Heavy metal debit card (maybe not the most important factor but still pretty cool)
Cons
  • No direct relationship with a financial advisor or certified financial planner
  • No socially-responsible investing portfolio model
Pricing
$1, $3, or $9 a month 1
Account Minimum
  • $0 for Personal Portfolio, Investment Account (Taxable Brokerage Account) and Bank Account
  • $1 for IRA and Custodial Accounts
Get started securely through Stash’s website
Pricing
$1, $3, or $9 a month 1
Account Minimum
  • $0 for Personal Portfolio, Investment Account (Taxable Brokerage Account) and Bank Account
  • $1 for IRA and Custodial Accounts
1 Minute Review

Stash operates under the mantra “investing should be simple and accessible.” Stash, which promises an easy start procedure, requires only two minutes and a phone.

Best For
  • Hands-off investors, who require advice and assistance
  • Beginners
  • Investors who want to invest in specific industry groups/sectors
Pros
  • Simplified investment procedure
  • Choice of easy-to-understand investments (ETFs)
  • Easy-to-read snapshots of all accounts
  • No minimum balance requirement to open a personal invest (taxable brokerage) account
Cons
  • It works out costly for smaller accounts

Acorns vs. Stash Fees

Although they have quite different business models, both companies charge a small management fee on a monthly basis. The services you receive vary significantly between the companies, with additional services available for an extra charge. 

What Acorns Offers

Acorns bundles its services into 3 different monthly subscription tiers for $1, $3 and $5 per month with different features at each tier. One of the advantages that Acorns offers for young people is that if you’re a student or under the age of 24, you can get your fees waived. That feature is not offered by Stash. 

What Stash Offers

Stash offers its customers 3 basic account types for different needs and goals at the rates of $1, $3 and $9 per month. You can cancel or switch to another type of account anytime and you also qualify for a gift of up to $200 when you open a Stash account.

The Better Platform: It Depends

The better platform in this case involves your needs and which of the companies fits them best. The promotional offer of as much as $200 to open a Stash account is a strong incentive not matched by Acorns, but Acorns’ discount to students and younger investors can even out the score for that investor group.

Pricing
$1/mo
Account Minimum
$5

Acorns vs. Stash Mobile App

Acorns and Stash offer both a mobile application and a desktop version, so you can monitor your accounts from your computer at home. Both mobile apps let you check your balance, schedule deposits and withdrawals and view the performance of your investments. You are also able to adjust the mix of your investments. Nevertheless, there are some small differences between the two.

What Acorns Offers

Acorns’ mobile app invests your spare change by connecting your bank account to the mobile application with no limit to the number of credit cards and bank accounts you can link. The app automatically rounds up or rounds the transaction to the next increment and deposits the change into your investment account. In addition, you can set a daily, weekly or monthly schedule for your investment deposits. 

What Stash Offers

Stash’s mobile app does not automatically invest for you like the Acorns app. Stash Invest gives you a series of investment recommendations, leaving the actual investment decisions to you. The investments are based on “themes” such as “Delicious Dividends,” for example, and you can combine any number of different themes. The theme you choose directs you to a related exchange-traded fund (ETF), where you decide whether to invest.  

The Better Platform: It Depends 

Again, your needs take precedence, so the better platform would be the one that best suits you. With respect to setup time, the Acorns app lets you get started right away, while the Stash app asks you to input your investment preferences to open an account. 

The Acorns app would also suit people who want to “set it and forget it” when it comes to investing, while the Stash app lets you decide where to invest your money. Neither app has a required minimum deposit and both apps offer an excellent, easy-to-use interface. 

Acorns vs. Stash Customer Support

Acorns and Stash do not focus on having great customer support, so don’t expect much more than a FAQ and email support from either investment app. See below for additional details.

What Acorns Offers

Acorns’ customer support consists of a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page with answers to many inquiries about Acorns’ investments and signing up. Its Contact Us page apparently lacks a phone number or live chat option. You can instead fill out a form to email them with pertinent information and a box for a message describing your problem. 

What Stash Offers

The customer support options for Stash include an Ask a Question page where you can email a question and an FAQ page if your question wasn’t answered to your satisfaction. An automated chat feature also lets you ask a question but just directs you to the FAQs. No phone number or live contact option was found on the Stash website.  

The Better Platform: Stash 

Neither platform offers an actual human agent that you can contact through their customer service, and no phone number or live chat option was apparent at either of the companies’ customer service pages. Stash offers a wider selection of FAQs, but not being able to speak to someone about a problem is a disadvantage they both have. 

Pricing
$1, $3, or $9 a month 1
Account Minimum
  • $0 for Personal Portfolio, Investment Account (Taxable Brokerage Account) and Bank Account
  • $1 for IRA and Custodial Accounts

Acorns vs. Stash Ease of Use

Both Acorns and Stash provide intuitive, easy-to-use applications, although Acorns interface may be easier to use for beginning investors. 

The Better Platform: Acorns 

Both apps are easy to use, but Acorns might be a little simpler and easier to learn for a complete investment novice. 

Acorns vs. Stash Accounts and Features

Acorns and Stash have different business models that achieve a similar end result: You make investments with your money either automatically or by accepting recommendations. The different account features and investment options for these companies are compared below.

What Acorns Offers

At Acorns, you’ll be asked about your risk tolerance when you open an account. You’ll be classified as a conservative, moderate conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive or aggressive investor. You can then select the types of asset classes you wish to invest in as represented by a corresponding ETF.

Acorns’ different account plans include:

  • Lite: For $1 per month Acorns will open an investment account for your spare change that you’ll invest whenever your qualifying purchases can be rounded up to the nearest dollar. You can also earn bonus investments from over 350 Found Money partners. 
  • Personal: For $3 per month you get an investment account, a retirement account, a debit card with access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs and up to 10% in bonus investments.
  • Family: For $5 per month you get additional accounts for your children, plus personal investment, retirement and checking accounts. This type of account lets you add multiple children at no extra cost and offers family financial advice, exclusive bonus investments, automatic recurring investments and added flexibility with the funds in your accounts. This account also offers potential tax savings while your children grow up. 

What Stash Offers

Stash also makes you fill out a questionnaire to determine your level of risk tolerance to categorize you as a conservative, moderate or aggressive investor. Your level is determined by your investment goals, your age and your time horizon.  

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, Stash gives you a choice of over 30 different investment themes matching your level of risk tolerance. You also get to pick from over 30 different ETFs to invest in, compared to only 6 for Acorns. In addition, you can invest in more than 70 different single stocks and have the option of adding investments of your choice. 

Stash also offers investment coaching to assess your risk tolerance and investment interests, as well as its proprietary Stock-Back Card purchase rewards program. This card program awards fractional shares of stock of the companies you shop at instead of cash or retail rewards. 

Stash’s different account plans include:

  • Stash Beginner: For $1 per month this personal investment account lets you invest in fractional shares and gives you a bank account with no hidden fees. You also get budgeting and savings tools, education and advice, a payday up to 2 days early and the Stock-Back Card.
  • Stash Growth: For $3 per month, this account gives you all of the features of the Stash Beginner plus a Roth or traditional individual retirement account, tax benefits for investing in your retirement and personalized retirement advice. 
  • Stash+: Stash’s premium account costs $9 per month and focuses on families, savvy investors and debit card spenders. This account comes with all the features of the previous 2 accounts, plus 2 investment accounts for kids and 1 monthly market insights report. You also get 1 metal double Stock-Back Card that gives you twice the stock rewards on purchases.

The Better Platform: Stash 

Stash wins this one hands down. Basically, Stash’s wider investment selection and the ability to add your own investments offer much more flexibility than Acorns. Acorns could perhaps be a better choice if you want to have the app take care of all your transactions and don’t want to get involved in your investments. Still, if you want some control over your investments and could benefit from its Stock-Back rewards card program, Stash would probably be the best choice. 

Overall Winner: Stash

Because of the added flexibility and number of assets to choose from, Stash wins overall. Acorns would probably be more suitable for a novice investor or someone who just doesn’t want to get involved with their investments and prefers the app to do it all. For those who have an idea of what kind of companies they want to invest in, Stash remains the clear choice. 

1   For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.   

2 You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

3 Stash banking account opening is subject to identity verification by Green Dot Bank. Bank Account Services provided by and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. 

4 Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA, or a tax deduction, or if a reduced contribution limit applies to a customer. These are based on a customer’s individual circumstances. You should consult with a tax advisor.

5 The adult (or Custodian) who opens the account can manage the money and investments until the minor reaches the “age of majority.” That age is usually 18 or 21, depending on the Custodian’s state. The money in a custodial account is the property of the minor. Money in a custodial account can be used by the parent or legal guardian, but only to do things that benefit the child.

7 Stash Stock-BackⓇ is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program. What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. See full terms and conditions. Bonuses are subject to Terms and Conditions.

This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value.

Benzinga is a paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser.

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