Disclosure: We scrutinize our research, ratings and reviews using strict editorial integrity. In full transparency, this site may receive compensation from partners listed through affiliate partnerships, though this does not affect our ratings. Learn more about how we make money by visiting our advertiser disclosure.

If you’re reading this, you likely know about Acorns. It’s a micro-investing app that rounds up your purchases and invests your spare change.

The app is great for beginners looking to start investing money for the first time in an easy way. But maybe you want an investing app at a lower cost point with more features. In that case, what Acorns alternatives do you have available?

This article will answer that question by listing other investment apps like Acorns, as well as provide insight into some apps with debit card and bank account access.

These accounts are ideal for beginning investors who want to invest their money but don’t have much income or savings yet!

What is Acorns?


investing younger

The Acorns app first started by introducing the novel idea of “Round-Ups”, which work by taking purchases you’ve made on a credit card or debit card linked to your Acorns account and topping them up to the nearest dollar.

This money then gets swept into a robo-advisor-managed investment portfolio which automatically invests them into stock market index funds on your behalf based on how much risk you feel comfortable bearing.

This useful saving feature has enabled the service’s users to save $30 extra per month on average on top of their routine contributions made into the account—something that can grow from the tiniest of acorns into the mightiest of oaks—if you keep watering it with additional contributions.

Acorns includes two membership tiers with a monthly management fee as of September 2021:

Acorns Personal ($3/month):

  • Acorns Invest: Index fund investing capabilities through “Round-Ups” and account contributions
  • Acorns Later: Offers tax-advantaged investment options like individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Acorns Checking: This service acts as your bank account, offering free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs nationwide, no account fees and the ability to earn up to 10% in bonus investments

Acorns Family ($5/month):

As a note for any Acorns investors who joined prior to a plan change made effective in May 2020, your account may still reside under the pricing structure available at the time. Unless you have changed your plan, you have been grandfathered in on your plan at that time.

The primary difference between that plan menu and the one available now is the removal of the $1 per month Acorns Lite tier (as of September 2021) and the $2 per month subscription offering fewer products at the time (only Invest and Later, not Acorns Spend or Checking).

You can remain in place on the $2 per month tier or upgrade to the $3 per month Personal to add Acorns Checking.

How Does Acorns Work?


begin investing young

Acorns provides money tools to look after the financial best interests of up-and-coming, beginner investors through micro-investing, banking, retirement saving and investment accounts for kids.

They’ve simplified many of these products to make them accessible to everyone without the intimidating task of figuring it out yourself.

The service works as a robo-advisor to place your Round-Ups, recurring contributions and one-time contributions into age, income, risk tolerance and time horizon-appropriate exchanged traded funds (ETFs).

Your investment portfolio can invest in exchange traded funds, or investment vehicles which invest in multiple underlying securities as opposed to a single stock or bond, which focus on large company stocks, small company stocks, international stocks, corporate bonds and government bonds and more.

You can answer basic questions about yourself and the goals you have for opening this Acorns account to put your investments into assets which align with your needs.

And not only does this robo-advisor service invest your money, this platform offers you the ability to do so in small amounts over time.

Investing small amounts regularly in a diversified portfolio gives your money a chance to grow long-term. When the market is up, you get a chance to watch your money ride the high.

When the market dips—and it will—you can invest at lower prices, and stick with it for potential gains over time. Set it, forget it, and let spare change change your future!

As we’ll discuss later in this Acorns review, you’ll also want to consider whether this makes the most sense for your money or if you should also consider contributing more to your account to overcome the monthly fees charged by the service.

Once you open your account, you can tap into our automated tools like Round-Ups and Recurring Investments to save and invest every day.

To jumpstart your contributions, the service offers multiple products like Found Money, Earn, and Round Ups to build a diversified portfolio quicker.

Learn more in our Acorns review.

 

What is Micro-Investing?


investing from smartphone medium

It’s hard to fight the math behind investing in small amounts consistently over time. If you can start investing as little as $100 per week (or 10% of your paycheck) by your early 30s and grow these contributions over time, you’re very likely to hit the millionaire mark by retirement. Yet, not enough people do.

Over 100 million adults in the United States don’t have an investment account, leading them toward an uncertain financial future. Many choose to deposit money into a savings account instead.

The interest earned in these bank accounts will not make a significant dent in your retirement preparation like investing can. Investing is more powerful than leaving cash in a savings account.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be in that number. With a simple approach you can easily get started by following these investing principles:

  • keep it simple
  • keep investing
  • keep portfolios diversified
  • commit to your financial health

What are Micro-Investing Apps?


female investor using smart phone app medium

Investing scares many when it really shouldn’t. While it might be hard to get started investing, it is tougher to retire without any money.

In the last decade, many services work to make investing easy and affordable.

These micro investing sites simplify your investing experience and can put you in a great position for a secure retirement.

The right time to invest is now and it all starts with a simple download of a micro investing, robo-advisor app like Acorns or its alternatives. But don’t let that investing term scare you.

A robo-investing app takes your deposits and automatically invests them in a diversified portfolio.

This personalized solution simplifies investing and earns you far more than you would by leaving cash in a savings account.

By investing $100 per week over 40 years, you can grow your investments to $1.5 million by retirement.

Doing so requires consistent contributions into your micro stock trading robo-investor app and allowing compounding returns to do the heavy lifting.

For example, the average diversified portfolio earns 8% on average. That means the 8% you might earn this year will then have 8% earned on it the next year and the next, and so on.

While your actual returns will vary year to year, this should show why getting started as early as possible makes the biggest difference.

If you want to take the first step towards a secure retirement, that means taking action today. Start by downloading a micro investing app, opening an account and setting up your recurring deposits.

What are the Best Apps like Acorns?


young woman investing on smartphone

In truth, no one app serves every individual person’s needs the same. Some investors choose to follow a more active approach while others would rather a set-it-and-forget style.

While I espouse the latter more so on this site, I don’t necessarily think investing in individual stocks is a bad approach when using stock analysis and research to guide your decision-making.

In fact, stock picking services like the Motley Fool’s Rule Breakers and Stock Advisor have shown tremendous outperformance over the last two decades and really represent a significant value for investors looking to rely on others for making stock picks.

Some stock newsletters may even want to practice a more active form of trading and get vetted stock alerts sent directly to their phones to take advantage of market movements.

As long as you account for your risk preferences and level of commitment to following the market, your investment choices will depend on you.

No matter your investing style, when you want to get started investing, you want to look for micro investment apps that provide the functionality you want without feeling overwhelmed.

Therefore, the best stock trading app for you depends on your experience, investing goals, and desired level of educational support.

Beginners benefit from micro investing platforms that have the least amount of fees, low-cost investment options, educational resources and the ability to build a diversified portfolio in alignment with your financial goals.

They want all of this without getting lost in distraction if they can’t make sense of the information provided.

The adage of “keep it simple, stupid” usually applies, especially at the start.

Apps that provide a one stop shop for managing your personal finances often act as a great starting point. This means including your banking, spending and investing needs.

As you develop a better understanding of the market, you’ll want to extend your investing reach into new areas and see if other investing styles suit your needs. Your app should accommodate these growing needs.

With that in mind, this list of the best micro investing apps looks to offer simplified investing experiences at the start but ones which can still serve your needs as you grow your investing knowledge.

I try to highlight free apps where possible because investing your money shouldn’t come with charges unless the service provides other value-added products for managing your money. Descriptions of each app follow the table below.

App Rating (out of 5)FeesBest ForPromotions
SoFi Invest: iOS, Android and Desktopsofi logo4.6Commission-free tradesFee-free active trading and automated investingFree stock worth between $5 - $1,000
Public.compublic logo4.7Commission-free tradesSocial theme-based investing interests$10 free stocks for signing up
M1 Financem1 finance logo4.3Commission-free trades and automated investing; $125/year on M1 Plus subscription for custodial accountFee-free active trading and automated investing$30 sign up bonus with $1,000 deposit
Webullwebull logo4.7Commission-free tradesSelf-directed investors and intermediate tradersTwo free stocks with $5 deposit, valued between $11 - $2,300
Stashstash logo rebrand4.6$1/month - $9/monthEveryday people looking to start managing their finances$5 stock bonus for making a deposit of $5 or more
Robinhoodrobinhood logo4.4Commission-free tradesBasic stock, crypto and ETF investingFree stock with sign up
Wealthsimplewealthsimple logo4.50.50% AUM FeeUnlimited access to financial advisor; values-based investingNone
Greenlight + Investgreenlight logo4.7$7.98/monthTeaching investing fundamentals with guidance from parents; allows individual and index fund investingOne month free

Best Investment Apps like Acorns

1. SoFi Invest


sofi invest free stocks

  • Available via desktop, Apple iOS and Android App on Google Play.
  • Price: Free trades
  • Sign up here: (iOS), Android, Desktop

SoFi Invest is an app that allows you to track stocks and trade your money.

The well-known brand rivals that of Acorns in the personal finance space also has a presence in the investing world by offering free trades on stocks, ETFs, cryptos and more.

The service provides you the ability to trade actively or stand back and let its automated investing tools takeover.

This micro investing app allows you to trade in fractional share investing, called “stock bits” by SoFi. Fractional shares are tiny portions of a share of stock worth less than the full value of one share.

This means you don’t need to save up a lot of money before buying some of your favorite tech companies like Alphabet (Google), Amazon or Facebook.

The app is a great choice for investing your spare change or adding more to the market at once by tapping into savings accounts to make larger deposits on a regular basis.

Therefore, this app might make a good place to hold your investment accounts because you’ll have options of how to invest money.

Like Acorns, the company wants to serve all customers who have an interest in improving their financial situation alongside participating in their other personal finance products like refinanced student loans, money management, credit cards and more.

Start by making a $5 deposit today and maintaining this low account minimum.

 

2. Public.com: Best Free Investment App for Beginners


public.com sign up

  • Price: Free trades
  • Sign up here

Public.com is a commission-free micro investing app that targets Millennials and Gen-Zers who have attuned their senses to social media.

This price point compares favorably with Acorns: free is free and Acorns isn’t free.

While the company previously followed the lead of apps like Robinhood with monetizing Payment for Order Flow (PFOF), or receiving kickbacks from clearinghouses for routing trades to them, they’ve recently abandoned this practice.

Instead, they now rely on other revenue streams as well as a “tipping” system.

This places this beginner investment app firmly on the side of retail investors and not pledging allegiance to Wall Street clearinghouses.

Why is Public.com a Good Investment App for Beginners?

What Public.com is really about is making investing like an investing social network, where members can own fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, follow popular creators, and share ideas within a community of investors.

What Public.com aims to do above all else is make the stock market an inclusive and educational place, with social features that make it easy to collaborate as you build your confidence as an investor—for free (i.e., no management fee).

For younger investors who want to align their investing with their social preferences, as well as keep good company to socialize and learn from others, Public.com might be the app for you.

For those interested in starting to trade on Public.com, the online brokerage platform for beginners offers a free $10 signup bonus if you make an initial deposit.

Further, you can share your special link with others and gift them free stocks (fractional shares) as well.

If this sounds like an interesting investment app, open an account and make an initial deposit to see if the app meets your social and investing needs. Public has no account minimum requirements or minimum balance required to maintain.

Read more in our Public.com investing app review.

 

3. M1 Finance: Best Robo-Advisor Micro Investing Stock App


m1 finance

  • Available via desktop, Apple iOS and Google Android.
  • Price: Free trades; $125 annual fee for M1 Plus subscription
  • Sign up here

Unlike Acorns, M1 Finance offers free stock trades. Like Acorns, it also provides automated investing according to your predetermined investment decisions as this site’s top robo-advisor pick.

What we like most about this app compared to other investment platforms is the ability to make recurring deposits that automatically get invested into your portfolio. However, this is where Acorns excels as well.

You can use fractional shares on M1 Finance to break down your favorite investments into bite-sized additions to your brokerage account.

Similar to Acorns, M1 Finance acts as a singular personal finance app to assist with building wealth through automating your investments into diversified portfolios, having a bank account and linked debit card that provide market-beating interest rates and have access to valuable personal finance literature.

Most importantly, investing with M1 Finance can be as simple as depositing money, setting your stock and index fund selections and having the platform automate your investments on your behalf. Acorns doesn’t allow individual stock investing—only index fund ETFs.

I’ve said it before, but this truly automates your investments if you set up recurring deposits, allowing your wealth to build.

From there, M1 Finance automatically rebalances your portfolio in line with your stated asset allocation targets. Doing this at regular intervals has been shown to improve overall portfolio performance. Mutual funds do this when assets fall out of balance.

M1 Finance rebalances your portfolio by moving outperforming funds into underperforming ones, capturing a value effect over time as returns revert to the mean.

Consider opening an investment account with M1 Finance. If you deposit $1,000, you can even earn a free sign up bonus.

M1 Plus subscriptions come with a checking account, debit card, cash back, interest and $125 annual fee.

Read more in our M1 Finance review.

 

4. Webull: Best Stock Trading App for Beginners


webull sign up

  • Available via desktop, Apple iOS and Google Android.
  • Price: Free trades
  • Sign up here

Webull came into the stock trading world in 2018 when it started challenging Robinhood for market share.

This best stock trading app for beginners and experts alike offers commission-free stock trading (no trading fees) as well as commission-free trades on ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies (no mutual funds at this time). Acorns only allows low-cost ETFs.

The company also recently added the ability to trade fractional shares, making this a great app for micro investing.

Like most investment apps available, the company provides access to trade on your smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Further, it charges no commissions for the trades because Webull makes money on other actions you take, like Payment for Order Flow (PFOF), margin loans, interest on cash and service fees for their Nasdaq TotalView Level 2 Advances quotes subscription.

Webull also provides you access to several powerful tools you can use for in-depth trading analysis.

If these account features sound attractive, the best part might also come with knowing setting up a Webull account is free and comes with no account minimum requirements you must meet or maintain.

Finally, to de-risk your sign up, Webull also runs frequent promotions that give free stocks. Webull does not offer a bank account at this time.

Read more in our Webull review.

 

5. Stash


stash sign up

  • Available via desktop, Apple iOS and Android App on Google Play
  • Price: Starts at $1/mo (no discounted annual fee option available)
  • Sign up here

Stash is a mobile-friendly personal finance app that comes paired with investing options and a checking account. Like Acorns, Stash acts as a low-cost, all-in-one financial platform and gets included in this list as a result.

While the app primarily caters to hands-off investors looking to automate their investing, you can also actively select stocks to trade. Acorns only allows ETFs.

You can do all of this as you spend money and make recurring deposits into your account.

Stash offers custodial accounts for real beginners (young investors), or those under the age of 18. Getting started early on your investing journey can build real long-term wealth over time as your returns compound.

Stash comes with a recurring monthly fee but justifies this with a full-service personal finance platform, including access to a checking account and debit card. With purchases made on the debit card, you can round them up to the nearest dollar for Stock Back rewards.

Of note, while it does charge a monthly account service fee for its full-suite of products, it does not charge trading commissions for your investment holdings. Stash has no account minimum requirements nor ongoing minimum balance required.

 

6. Robinhood


robinhood

  • Available via desktop, Apple iOS and Google Android.
  • Price: Free trades
  • Sign up here

Robinhood became the first commission-free company among other trading apps to slash trading commissions to $0. That means no trading commissions or fees if you trade stocks and invest in the stock market.

Others in the industry had no choice but to follow if they wanted to remain relevant to retail investors.

Likewise, many new apps like Robinhood have cropped up in recent years, many of which feature on this list. Robinhood offers commission-free stock trade abilities, as well as the opportunity to trade index funds, options, penny stocks and cryptocurrencies commission-free.

Robinhood’s app offers a simple and easy-to-use design as well as the ability to trade fractional shares. Many have found this useful for placing their trades by not overcomplicating it.

If you’d like to level up your investing on Robinhood, consider upgrading to a Robinhood Gold subscription. Robinhood Gold is a suite of powerful tools, data, and strategies to supercharge your Robinhood brokerage account.

Robinhood has no account minimum requirements.

 

7. Wealthsimple (Robo-Advisor with Investment Advice)


wealthsimple sign up

  • Available via desktop, Apple iOS and Google Android.
  • Price: 0.50% Assets Under Management (AUM) Fee
  • Sign up here

Wealthsimple is another robo-advisor like Acorns in what has become an increasingly-popular investment strategy: automating your investing decisions and investment selections.

What makes Wealthsimple different from other investment apps, however, is the unlimited access you can receive from human financial advisors for no additional cost.

In fact, the expert financial advice comes with any of their investing products as part of the Wealthsimple Invest management fee, helping you with your financial decisions and savings goals.

Other services provide access to financial advisors but this often comes with an added cost, be it one-time, or a recurring set of fees.

From my experience of screening investing platforms, this included financial advising is not something many other robo-advisors offer. Investors who want some help from people in the know might consider Wealthsimple.

The Wealthsimple investment app also offers the ability to invest according to your values. That means you can choose specific investment strategies which reflect your values.

Some of the current values-based investing options include investment portfolio options for Halal Investing and Socially Responsible Investing.

Wealthsimple is available in Canada, the US and the UK.

 

8. Greenlight (Micro-Investing App for Minors)


greenlight sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free 1-month trial, $7.98/mo after for Greenlight Card + Invest package

Greenlight + Invest is an investment account for kids that comes paired with a debit card and bank account.

The Greenlight investment app is easy to use and can double as a savings account and bank account for teens. You can establish savings goals to work toward financial goals.

The app will teach the basics of investing, how to invest money in stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

It works best if parents and/or grandparents are involved in the process because it requires linked accounts from the custodians’ banks or brokerages. Plus, parents and guardians will need to approve trades made in the investment account.

The all-in-one plan teaches them important financial skills like money management and investing fundamentals — with real money, real stocks and real-life lessons.

You can use the investing feature to:

  • Buy fractional shares of companies your kids admire (kid-friendly stocks)
  • Start investing with as little as $1 in your account (with fractional shares)
  • No trading commissions beyond the monthly subscription fee (trade stocks with parents’ permission)
  • Parents approve every trade directly in the app on individual stocks and exchange-traded funds with a market capitalization of $1 billion+

Consider opening a Greenlight Card + Invest account to start investing in a custodial brokerage account for your kids today. The first month is free to trial the product and see if it meets your needs for giving one of the best investments for kids.

Read more in our Greenlight Card review.

Related: Best Prepaid Debit Cards for Teens & Family [Reloadable]

Is Micro Investing a Good Idea?


young adults laughing medium

Plenty of people deride micro investing because they only see it as rounding up your Starbucks purchases to the nearest dollar for the rest of your life. They reason this will only get you a small amount of money over long periods of time.

While not entirely untrue, especially after accounting for the fees of some investing platforms, micro investing doesn’t need to stop at Round Ups, Stock Backs or whatever the branded term is for topping up purchases on a linked debit or credit card.

Instead, as you age, you should try to aim for making recurring deposits into your account as your compensation rises.

This can be from side hustles, investing in real estate, investing in the best passive income ideas, or simply building up your career.

No one expects you to invest half your paycheck each pay period when you start working. It takes time to build financial security and an investment portfolio.

What micro investment apps help is to establish the habit of knowing your purchases also result in something more important: saving for your future.

As your financial resources grow, you can contribute more and more to your account, building your wealth.

Enough derision about micro investing only producing micro results.

Instead, consider micro investment apps as part of your investment strategy that ties into other long haul decisions you make about saving for retirement.

Investing for the long term requires dedication, persistence and work over time considerable amounts of time.

You might start small with a micro investment app while simultaneously starting to save through your employer’s retirement plan, your own individual retirement account (IRA), building an emergency fund, saving for a house down payment and paying off any costly debt you have.

Combined, all of these small steps add up to something big. As is often said, “the sum is more than the whole of its parts.” In totality, all these small efforts add up and move the needle in the right direction.

Micro investing as its own shouldn’t be the sole factor driving your retirement savings or for any other goal you have. It should be a tool you add to your arsenal to accelerate your wealth building.

As a side note: if you have kids who earn income, consider helping them out now by opening a Roth IRA for kids.

This will let them lock in low tax rates while they’re young and allow compounding to grow their wealth more than any major contributions later in life ever could.

About the Site Author and Blog

In 2018, I was winding down a stint in investor relations and found myself newly equipped with a CPA, added insight on how investors behave in markets, and a load of free time.  My job routinely required extended work hours, complex assignments, and tight deadlines.  Seeking to maintain my momentum, I wanted to chase something ambitious.

I chose to start this financial independence blog as my next step, recognizing both the challenge and opportunity.  I launched the site with encouragement from my wife as a means to lay out our financial independence journey and connect with and help others who share the same goal.

Disclaimer

I have not been compensated by any of the companies listed in this post at the time of this writing.  Any recommendations made by me are my own.  Should you choose to act on them, please see the disclaimer on my About Young and the Invested page.

Invest, manage and plan your money with confidence.

Start here with useful resources delivered direct to your inbox