Intro: Acorns App Reviews—Investing Your Spare Change Using the Acorns Investment App

There is a wide range of savings and investing apps available on the market for consumers and investors to use.

Some of these apps are free, while others require some type of fee. Some are complicated, while others have simple-to-use interfaces.

Identifying the best investing and savings apps (Acorns app vs. Robinhood vs. Digit app vs. Betterment vs. robo-investing platforms) can be a daunting undertaking for anyone, especially due to the wide-ranging online Acorns app reviews and the variety of investing app features.

Acorns Investing Review: About AdvisoryHQ 

Since launching our media site in 2015, AdvisoryHQ has become one of the fastest-growing review and ranking news sites for financial products. Most importantly, we publish our top-ranking software reviews for anyone to view for free.

With more than 1.5 million visitors, AdvisoryHQ’s editorial team often receives emails asking for our input on best investing apps.

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Acorns Investing Review

We’ve observed frequent requests for Acorns app reviews. Such review requests have been asked by individual investors and everyday consumers (often under the age of 35) who are interested in earning higher returns on their spare change and excess cash.

As such, we have gathered a list of requests for an Acorns investing review, and have conducted in-depth research to thoroughly answer these consumer questions.

Acorns App Review

Before getting into our Acorns app review, it may be helpful to address some of the most frequent questions being asked about the Acorns investment app:

  • How does the Acorns app work?
  • Is the Acorns investment app secure?
  • What are the various Acorns app fees?
  • Are my funds protected if I invest using the Acorns investment app?
  • Where can I find detailed and objective Acorns reviews?
  • Can Acorns investment reviews be posted on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site?

The questions above are really good ones to ask, but the really interesting questions that we observed include, “Is the Acorns app safe?”, “Is Acorns worth it?”, and most importantly “Is Acorns legit?” 

These questions are interesting because they touch on our fear (as consumers) of the unknown, especially when it comes to giving an app our most personal information (for example, our online banking credentials and log-in information).

With the Acorns app review below, AdvisoryHQ is addressing these key questions. In addition, we are providing a detailed review of the history of Acorns, including how it was founded, and who founded it. 

We also provide detailed Acorns investment review information that highlight the pros (benefits) and cons (complaints) of using Acorns for your investing, as well as information on the various Acorns fees.

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Acorns Investing Review: History, Background, and Founders

The Acorns investment app was founded by Walter and Jeff Cruttenden (father and son duo) in Newport Beach, CA in February 2012. 

While Jeff was in college, he noticed that a lot of students had difficulties managing their spare cash and putting such funds to good use. 

Based on this insight, Jeff decided to launch the Acorns investment app to help people easily invest their spare change in diversified portfolios. 

Four years later, in 2016, Jeff was featured by Forbes on their 30 under 30 list. At that time, Acorns had attracted 1.3 million users, investing $80 million in spare change.

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In an interview with MoneyUnder30, Jeff claimed that he “picked his first stock to invest in when he was 11 years old.”

Unfortunately, the cheese company that he invested in eventually went bankrupt. That was his first step on the investment wisdom journey.

Jeff’s father, Walter Cruttenden, is the CEO of Acorns and brought with him years of investing and management expertise. 

Walter founded E*Offering, which quickly became the top provider of online IPOs. E*Offering was ultimately sold to Schwab. Walter also founded and served as CEO of Cruttenden Roth, now Roth Capital Partners.

As recorded on CrunchBase, Acorn’s founders have raised nearly $63 million from a wide range of investors and venture capitalists. Their most recent funding was a $1M Venture on February 26, 2017.

Investors include MATH Venture Partners (this firm focuses on investing in early to growth-stage firms), (global venture capital firm that backs Internet and software founders) and PayPal, among others.

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Acorns Reviews: Is Acorns Legit? 

Regarding the question, “Is Acorns legit?”, the answer (to the best of our ability) is a resounding yes.

Acorns is just as legitimate a company as PayPal and the other well-known venture capitalists that were willing to invest nearly $63 million in the company.

Acorns has gone through seven rounds of funding, which involve seven rounds of highly intensive due diligence and review of their books, processes, business practice, and viability.

Each round of due diligence performed by VCs normally involve a process that takes from three to six months. Acorns would have needed to undergo the three stages of due diligence below for each round of funding:

  • Screening due diligence
  • Business due diligence
  • Legal due diligence

These levels of due diligence can safely put the “Is Acorns Legit?” questions to rest.

What about those wondering if the Acorns app is safe to use and what the Acorns fees are? We’ll address these key questions in the sections below.

But first, let’s discuss what Acorns actually is.

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Acorns App Review: How Does Acorns App Work? Is Acorns Worth it? 

Acorns is an investment mobile app that simplifies and automates investing. 

Anytime you conduct a transaction using your debit or credit card, the Acorns app will round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and then allocate this spare change to your investable pool.

For example, let’s assume that you went out and bought a cup of coffee at Starbucks for $2.67. The Acorns app would round the $2.67 up to $3.00. It’ll then “allocate” the $0.33 difference to your investable funds.

However, the Acorns investment app does not transfer the $0.33 out of your bank or credit account—yet.

As you perform more transactions, the app will keep on adding up (allocating) the “spare change/excess” amounts until you reach the $5 threshold.

At this point, the app transfers $5 from your bank account and invests this amount in pre-determined portfolios (more on this below).

Using your Acorns account dashboard, you can set recurring daily, weekly, or monthly amounts to be added to your investable cash pool in addition to the regular spare change that gets allocated.

Click here to jump below to the section that discusses how Acorns invests your spare change: Acorns Automated Portfolio Management.

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So Is Acorns Worth It?

The answer to whether Acorns is worth it depends on your needs as an investor or consumer.

For high-net-worth investors (those with more than $1 million in assets), the Acorns investment app will likely not be worth it. Such investors might want to consider robo-investment firms (See: “Top 5 Best Robo Advisors | Ranking & Reviews of Robo-Investment Firms“).

But most of us do not have $1 million or more in assets.

If you are looking for a low-cost investing tool or a simplified way of investing your excess cash, then the Acorns app could be an attractive alternative compared to other popular investing apps, sites, and platforms.

Also, students can use the Acorns app for free.

Don’t miss the section below that outline the negative aspects of using Acorns. You can also click here: Negative Acorns Reviews.  

Acorns App Review: How Does Acorn Compare with Other Investing Tools?

The Acorns app is very different from other robo-advisors and investing tools, like Personal Capital and Betterment, in that it is designed specifically for those who do not have a lot of money to invest.

Unlike other investing platforms, the Acorns investing app has no minimum account requirements. Putting aside a few dollars ($4–$10) every few days would allow you to raise about $1,500 in a year.

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Acorns Review: Acorns App Fees 

The Acorns investing app comes with a very simple fee structure, which includes a $1 per month fee for accounts that are $5,000 or less. Accounts with $5,000 and above are charged an annual Acorns fee of 0.25% of their account value.

For students, there are no Acorns app fees. These individuals can invest without paying a penny in Acorns fees.

Acorns Fee Structure


Acorns Investment Fees

$0 balance$0
$5,000 ​or more0.25% per year
Less than $5,000 $1 per month
College students * $0

* $0 fee for college students with a valid .edu address. Students pay zero fees up to four years from the date of registration. 

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Acorns App Review: Modern Portfolio Theory Process

So how does the Acorns investment app invest the various spare changes it collects?

According to Acorns’ investment team, the Acorns app uses an automated process driven by a team of engineers and mathematicians.

Portfolios are developed with help from a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Dr. Harry Markowitz, commonly referred to as the “Father of Modern Portfolio Theory.”

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Using this “Modern Portfolio Theory,” the portfolios used by the Acorns investing app are optimized to obtain the highest expected return for a given level of risk. 

Basically, Acorns’ investment team focuses on optimizing the diversification of each person’s portfolio across various asset classes. 

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Negative Acorns Reviews: Cons of Using the Acorns App 

Something to note is that with other investing apps, you can invest in a wide range of portfolios or securities, but with Acorns, you can only invest across 5 diversified portfolios.

Other online Acorns reviews recommend against using Acorns investment app, as they claim the app is not worth using. 

For example, published a negative Acorns review in 2014. A major point they made was that the Acorns app is basically doing something that you (the consumer) can do for free without getting charged a fee. 

Another example of a not-so-great Acorns review came from a post that was published by The Finance Gourmet.

One of the points they made on that post was that the $1 per month fee might not sound like a lot at first sight, “but as a percentage, this can become very steep, especially when you first start using Acorns. For example, if your round-ups for the first month total $25, then a $1 fee is 4 percent. But, don’t forget that’s for one month. Over a 1-year period, that same fee becomes a lot more, percentage wise.”

NOTE: there is no way to verify that these comments were posted by real Acorns customers, so take these with a grain of salt.

Acorns App Review: Acorns Investing Approach

As mentioned above, with Acorns, you can only invest in 5 diversified portfolios.

These portfolios have been designed using the highly popular Modern Portfolio Theory mathematical framework and are structured to cover the five levels of investor risk tolerance:

  • Conservative
  • Moderately conservative
  • Moderate
  • Moderately aggressive
  • Aggressive

Acorns’ investing strategy and algorithm seeks to maximize returns for each investing risk tolerance by carefully diversifying across multiple asset and securities classes via low-cost ETFs.

How Does Acorns Determine Which Portfolio to Recommend to Me?

The Acorns investment app considers your age, investing time horizon, income level, financial goals, and risk tolerance when recommending a portfolio to you.

You have the option to either accept the recommended portfolio or choose your own portfolio which may be more or less aggressive than the portfolio recommended by the Acorns app.

Also, you are free to change your portfolio at any time.

Each portfolio comprises six low-fee index ETFs that represent broad holdings of financial securities (stocks or bonds).

The Acorns investing platform automatically performs rebalancing of your portfolio against market benchmarks and toward its target allocation.

What this means is that the Acorns app continuously monitors your portfolio to keep it aligned with your level of risk tolerance and investing preference.

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Acorns Review: How Do You Sign Up to Use the Acorns Investing App?

See the steps below for how to sign up, download, and begin using the Acorns app.

  • Sign up with Acorns to get started. Provide your email address and create a password.
  • Download the Acorns app by entering your phone number. You can also download the Acorns investing app at the Apple App Store or via Google Play.
  • After you install the free Acorns app, you’ll need to provide your online banking login information (which generates the round-ups) and your checking account and routing number (where your money is pulled from).

Conclusion: Is the Acorns App Safe to Use?

So now we are back to the question: Is thee Acorns app safe to use?

Due to its 256-bit encryption protection and multi-factor authentication, our Acorns app review has found that yes, the Acorns investment app is safe to use.

For additional security and consumer peace of mind, Acorns investment accounts are insured up to $500,000.

After discussing common consumer questions, worries, and concerns, we hope that this Acorns review article has answered your own questions about the Acorns investing app.

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