Investing app Acorns now has a checking account that funnels 'extra' money into investments
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- The Acorns Spend Account is a checking account used with an investment and retirement account.
- When you swipe your Acorns Spend debit card, Acorns rounds your purchase up to the nearest dollar.
- Acorns partners will put up to 10% of your qualified purchase into your Acorns Invest account.
- See Insider’s picks for the best checking accounts right now.
Updated on March 22, 2021: We updated this review with a new section on Acorns’ Better Business Bureau rating and reputation as a company. We’re currently adding information on trustworthiness to all of Personal Finance Insider’s reviews.
You may already know Acorns for its investment account (Acorns Invest) and its IRA (Acorns Later). Acorns Spend is the company’s third account to help customers invest: a checking account created in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank.
Acorns is primarily known for micro-investing. By linking debit cards from external bank accounts to your Acorns Invest and Later accounts, Acorns rounds your debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar. Once your round-ups reach $5, Acorns invests the money.
Acorns Spend makes micro-investing smoother by giving you a debit card connected to the Spend account. Now your round-ups are invested in real time, so you don’t have to wait until your spare change reaches the $5 mark. You can also enroll in Smart Deposit. When you set up direct deposits with your Acorns Spend Account, select a percentage of your paycheck for Acorns to automatically invest.
This checking account is a good option for current Acorns members who want to make their auto-investing strategy more convenient.
Acorns Spend Account
The cons of an Acorns Spend account
You’ll pay $3 per month
Although Acorns Spend doesn’t come with ATM, foreign transaction, or overdraft fees, it does include a $3 monthly fee.
On the bright side, Acorns Spend includes access to Invest and Later accounts. Acorns charges $1 per month for an Invest account and $2 per month for an Invest and Later account. If you already use (and pay for) these products, you might not mind bumping that fee up to $3 per month to add the Acorns Spend Account.
If you only invest with Acorns Spend by signing up for automatic round-ups that invest only cents at a time, the $3 fee could take up a decent chunk of your investments. But if you also set up Smart Deposit to invest larger sums, $3 per month may not seem like such a big deal.
There are no joint accounts
With many banks, you can set up a joint checking account with a partner or family member. However, you don’t have the ability to do this with Acorns Spend yet.
There’s no ATM network
Yes, Acorns reimburses all ATM fees charged by ATM providers at the end of the month.
However, if you use ATMs frequently, then you may find it annoying that Acorns doesn’t have an ATM network with machines you can use for free. Other banks have an ATM network so you can access a machine without being charged a fee.
There are no physical locations
Acorns operates entirely online. If you prefer speaking to your banker face-to-face, it might not be the best fit.
Features of the Acorns Spend account
Acorns Spend is a checking account from investing company Acorns, created in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank. When you sign up for an Acorns Spend Account, your account is automatically tied to an Acorns Invest and Acorns Later account.
The checking account comes with a tungsten metal debit card. When you make a purchase with the card, Acorns rounds your purchase up to the nearest dollar and invests your round-ups.
You could simply link your debit card from an external account to your Acorns Invest and Later accounts, and Acorns will invest your round-ups once they total up to $5. But with an Acorns Spend Account, round-ups are invested in real time, so you can start earning compound interest faster.
Acorns also comes with a program called Earn Found Money. Shop with an Acorns partner (partners include Airbnb, Lyft, and Walmart), and it will invest up to 10% of your purchase with your Acorns account.
You can sign up for Smart Deposit with Acorns Spend. When you set up direct deposits into your Acorns Spend account, the company will automatically transfer a certain percentage into your Invest and Later accounts. This can help you save and invest more quickly.
Acorns charges $1 per month for Acorns Invest, $2 per month for Acorns Invest and Acorns Later, and $3 per month when you add Acorns Spend to the mix.
The money in your Acorns Spend Account is FDIC insured for up to $250,000.
Is Acorns trustworthy?
The Better Business Bureau gives Acorns a B in trustworthiness. The BBB grades companies’ trustworthiness based on responses to customer complaints, honesty in advertising, and transparency about business practices.
Acorns doesn’t have any recent public scandals, so you may decide you’re comfortable keeping your money with this company.
Acorns Spend compares to similar checking accounts
Acorns Spend vs. Betterment Checking
Acorns and Betterment are both online platforms that focus on helping customers invest. Unlike Acorns Spend, your Betterment Checking account will not help you invest through Betterment — instead, it’s designed to be a more traditional checking account.
However, Betterment does have a feature called the two-way sweep, which determines how much extra money you have in your Betterment Checking account and moves it to your Betterment Cash Reserve account (a type of savings account) so it can earn interest.
Neither Acorns nor Betterment has an ATM network, but they both offer unlimited ATM reimbursements. The main difference is that Betterment refunds an ATM fee almost instantly, while Acorns pays back all your fees at the end of the month.
Unlike Acorns, Betterment Checking is free to use. Your decision between an Acorns Spend Account and Betterment Checking Account will probably come down to whether you want a traditional checking account or one that helps you invest.
Acorns Spend vs. Stash
Like Acorns, Stash is an online micro-investing company that has created a checking account to help users invest smarter.
A Stash bank account offers Stock-Back rewards. If you make a purchase at Amazon, for example, then Stash invests 0.125% of your purchase in a fraction of an Amazon stock. If you spend money with a company that doesn’t have a partnership with Stash, then Stash invests in an ETF related to the industry you spent money with.
You can access a Stash bank account for $1 per month, or upgrade to $3 or $9 per month plans to access more features.
Acorns does not have an ATM network, but it offers unlimited reimbursements for ATM fees. Stash does have in-network ATMs, but the company charges $2.50 when you use an out-of-network ATM. (Plus, you’ll pay whatever the ATM provider charges.)
If you think you’ll use ATMs a lot, you might prefer Acorns Spend. But Stash will front you the money from your paycheck, allowing you to “receive” it two days early, so if you want faster access to your funds, you may choose Stash.
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