Acorns vs Stash: Which Microinvesting App is Better?

So you can't decide between Acorns or Stash invest? I've used both investment apps for almost 1 year and have enough experience to give an unbiased opinion on which is better for you.

For a quick overview, check out the quick comparison chart below for more info:

Acorns VS Stash App Comparison Chart

AcornsStash
Fees $1/$2/$3 monthly for assets under $1 million$1/$5/$9 monthly
Fractional SharesNoYes
Stock TradingNoYes
ETF TradingYesYes
OTCBB/Pink SheetsNoNo
Options TradingNoNo
Accounts Offered Checking, individual, IRA
Individual, Checking, IRA
# of Users~4.5 million~4 million
Mobile AppsAndroid and iPhone

Android and iPhone

Acorns and Stash App appeal to similar target demographics because they make it simple for beginners to start investing. The main difference between Stash and Acorns is that Stash allows fractional share investing while Acorns offers ETF investments instead of traditional stocks.

Acorns appeals to more passive investors who want to invest in ETFs without worrying about individual stocks or bonds. ETFs (exchange traded funds) are like mutual funds that trade on major stock exchanges like the NASDAQ and NYSE. They allow investors to own a group of stocks by charging a small expense ratio as a fee for managing your portfolio.

Stash App is for complete beginners who want to save money and invest in their favorite companies all while having access to world class banking features. For most people, owning a share of Amazon or Google stock is very expensive so that's why partial share investing appeals to beginners. You can invest as little as $5 at a time then own $5 worth of Amazon stock and slowly build up a position over time.

Fees & Pricing

Both apps start out with a cheap $1 monthly investment fee for beginners but Stash gets more expensive as your portfolio grows in value. Stash switches from a $1 monthly fee to 0.25% of your total portfolio when your balance exceeds $5,000. That amounts to $12.50 on a 5k balance.

On the other hand, you can only pay $1 monthly on the Acorns basic plan. The fees only change once your portfolio reaches high net worth levels (well into the 6 figure range).

Winner: Acorns

Portfolio Allocation & Investment Options

I appreciate the simplicity & ease of Acorns but they don't offer enough diverse investment options for my taste. For some investors, you will be better off just buying an ETF mix and focusing on other things if you don't have time to do good research and keep track of your stocks.

Since this site is called Investor Trip, I enjoy reading annual/quarterly reports and owning individual stocks because they represent a small portion of a real business. Stash lets you not only own fractional shares but purchase ETFs as well. If you are into ETFs, then Stash offers the best of both worlds.

Winner: Stash

Final Verdict

Over the last year, I've performed much better using Stash because I bought fractional shares in Apple. My returns are much higher (5+) than my returns using Acorns (4%). Acorns is a cool roboadvisor but you don't have enough control to outperform the S&P 500 (the main goal for most investors).

I prefer Stash Invest but be sure to check out both apps and let me know what you think in the comments.

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