Introduction to Robinhood
- Apps for Android, iOS and desktop options
- Expertly and precisely designed
- Perfect for newcomers to the financial markets
- Surprising depth despite ease of use
- Minimalistic approach won’t work for everyone
Let’s introduce our first contestant in our Robinhood vs Acorns battle, and that’s the terrific Robinhood. For more detailed information though, do feel free to check out our full Robinhood review.
What they do is really very simple: they provide a stripped-back investment platform that’s carefully crafted to be as easy to understand as possible. Does that mean they have all the bells and whistles you can see from expert-approved options? No, not necessarily. Acorns vs Robinhood preferences aside, the fact is those things come with a level of built-in complexity. So, you do have a slimmer set of investment opportunities, but the stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrency trading set should be ample for the target audience of these apps.
That’s why we view the spread of options here as a choice, rather than a flaw. And what fantastic apps they are, beautifully put-together and completely nailing their mission statement of making investment accessible to a whole new set of people. You can even go further with Robinhood Gold available for $5 a month if you require greater depth. It’s not going to be for everyone but for many people, Robinhood will be the perfect solution.
Introduction to Acorns
- Fuss-free investment opportunities
- Expert help for small monthly fees
- App interface is perfect for beginners
- Family plan at a small extra cost
- Limited amount of control
Acorns are all about keeping things simple and what they provide is exactly that. For a small monthly fee, you can invest money automatically by linking accounts, even rounding up loose change to get you started on your investment journey. There’s also options to set up accounts for your children’s future, something that’s exclusive to Acorns. You can choose the level of risk you want and you’ll essentially get handed a diversified, expertly backed set of investments to help you try and achieve those financial goals.
Obviously, all of this means your options are more restricted because they’re fundamentally a lot less hands-on than other investment options, but we can hardly criticise them for that. That’s their whole unique selling point. It’s created for people who want exactly that.
What’s clear is that – although our Robinhood vs Acorns analysis will create some interesting comparisons and both are for a mainstream audience – they’re a different mainstream audience. We suppose it comes down to who best appeals to you, Robinhood or Acorns, which is tough, largely because they both do such an excellent job.
Robinhood vs Acorns: Usability, Look & Feel
Although they come at it from different perspectives, fundamentally, here we have two different applications which aim to make investing as easy as possible for beginners, whichever you prefer, Robinhood or Acorns. We’re going to go into the fundamental differences of what they offer in greater detail later in this Robinhood vs Acorn analysis but for now, let’s see how well they pull off that mission statement from a design perspective.
Frankly, they’re both an absolute joy to use. Some people may prefer more tools and a greater spread of options, but that’s simply not what either of these options are about. Both desktop and mobile versions are incredibly intuitive, streamlined, and, put simply, easy. Not only do you not need to be an expert to utilise them, but they’re built so practically anyone with even the smallest amount of understanding of finance can use them. Depositing and withdrawing funds is straightforward, as is their interface in general.
Acorns let you see your history of investments at a moment’s notice, while Robinhood benefits from things like customisable alerts, news feeds and charts. It’s all intentionally simple and may be too basic for some, but for their target audience, we could hardly imagine either of them doing a better job. Technically, in terms of things like loading times and responsiveness, we’ve found them practically flawless. Both can be found on the Apple and Google Play stores, too.
Robinhood vs Acorns: Payments
Let’s see if this part of Robinhood vs Acorns review can see a clear winner. Firstly, let’s talk about options. Acorns have a $1 monthly minimum, whereas Robinhood has none. Realistically though, you’re going to need to invest at least $1, so that point is moot to an extent.
Other tiers from Acorns go up to Personal, which is $3 a month and offers an individual retirement and checking account and family, which includes Acorns Early: investment accounts for kids. Once again, this is one exclusive they have in the Acorns vs Robinhood debate. Robinhood, on the other hand, has Robinhood Gold, which costs $5 and allows you access to additional investment options, more research and data. Both are reasonable and, once again in our Robinhood or Acorns journey, neither is better than another – they just have different goals.
Both require you to link existing accounts, so not much difference here when it comes to Acorns vs Robinhood. This makes a great deal of sense considering, in the case of Acorns, it’s a round-up service and that Robinhood are aiming for ease of use. In terms of timeframes, accounts can take 1-5 days to be approved. Beyond that, investment from Acorns takes a few days, although that isn’t much of an issue considering their business model. Robinhood provides instant deposits, while standard transfers take up to 5 days.
Neither has any minimums in terms of investment. Maximums entirely depend on what you’re looking to do. There are management fees from Acorns and this depends on your balance and type of account. Robinhood’s fees are famously low, and non-existent in many areas.
Robinhood vs Acorns: Customer Service
Both have some really terrific advice and information on their websites and apps. In other words, their Help and FAQ sections are extremely informative for newcomers. They often negate the need for additional customer support – another Robinhood vs Acorns triumph.
However, one area of this Robinhood vs Acorns analysis where there is a serious difference is in their customer support options. Acorns have email, social media and phone support, albeit with some waiting times, while Robinhood only offers responses through email and social media. The waiting times of these do mean the difference isn’t that great, but the extra options will be appreciated by Acorns users. It is, however, important to note that the Acorns telephone line does come with access charges, which depend on your particular market.
There’s no doubt that other more expensive broker options do have more customer service options, but to put it bluntly, in this part of our Acorns vs Robinhood analysis, that’s part of the reason they are so expensive. One of the reasons you choose Robinhood or Acorns is because they keep things cheap, and for the price, what they offer here is still generous.
Robinhood vs Acorns: License & Security
Firstly, in this part of our look at Robinhood vs Acorns – and what is utterly vital when it comes to license and security – is that both are members of FINRA and SIPC securities. FINRA is a financial regulatory body, and SIPA is a non-profit organisation that protects investors. What this means at a basic level is that both, whether you choose Robinhood or Acorns, are legitimate and offer a fundamental level of security.
They also require identification, which protects the site and the integrity of their funds but also prevents minors from utilising the site. Obviously, Acorns has a family option: one area where they are unique in this Acorns vs Robinhood debate.
Robinhood and Acorns also offer multi-factor authentication, and both utilise high-level SSL encryption. Other account safeguards include bank-level security checks and account alerts from Acorns, and touch and face ID support from Robinhood. These are just some examples of measures being taken but rest assured, your security is being taken seriously by both private companies.
Robinhood vs Acorns: Spread
This is where we really get into the fundamental differences between the two in this part of our Acorns vs Robinhood analysis. This is always a key comparison – just take a look at our Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade or Robinhood vs Charles Schwab articles for further proof.
You see, despite both being about investment, they just fundamentally do different things. Robinhood, despite being made as simple as possible, is an investment platform. You can choose between Stocks, ETFs, Options and even some Cryptocurrencies. They don’t offer as much as some competitors which are focused on a more expert market. This is a matter of choice – you get simplicity and a platform more suitable for beginners and intermediate investors, but you lose some of the depth of the expert platform. Neither approach is wrong, they just have different target audiences.
Acorns go further than that though, offering a selection of ETF portfolios with different levels of risk. Essentially, this is a way of investing without the need for much strategy, beyond which level of risk you want to take. It works by rounding up loose change from things like linked debit cards to help you save. You have to give some simple information about your financial goals and they’ll provide a diversified package based on those needs. They’re not pretending to be a platform for experienced, career investors. This is true across both platforms in this Acorns vs Robinhood analysis.
Conclusion: Is Robinhood better or Acorns?
We hope we don’t disappoint too much when we say we don’t think any kind of decisive conclusion is possible when it comes to Robinhood vs Acorns. Fundamentally, although they offer similar things, the way they go about them is different.
For Acorns, everything is pretty much automatic. You don’t have to think about anything. Essentially, you pay your monthly fees, tell them what you want and everything is taken care of. Despite Robinhood’s reputation for being all about ease of use, it’s still a much more hands-on approach. You make investment decisions – it’s just crafted to make the whole process as easy as possible, but it’s not automatic. In terms of things like customer service, design and security, they come about even.
With that in mind, we can’t say whether Robinhood or Acorns is right for you. The Acorns vs Robinhood debate – the question of ‘is Robinhood or Acorns better?’ – completely depends on what you’re looking for. Both are suitable for non-experts, but have an entirely different approach, with one being about as automatic an investment option as could be. Both of these approaches have their advantages, and there’s no right or wrong answer. You shouldn’t be asking for a winner but rather, whether Robinhood or Acorns works for you.
Robinhood vs Acorns FAQ
When you consider these are two of the biggest names for potential new investors, which between them provides the best service and the potential return on investment is a vital question for both of them. We’ve provided an in-depth comparison between Robinhood and Acorns to try to get to the bottom of that exact query.
As they appeal to so many people – and with a lot of crossover in that appeal – Acorns and Robinhood are often lumped in together. But that doesn’t mean that they are not without their differences. Indeed, we have learned throughout our detailed analysis and comparison of both that there are plenty of distinct features and benefits to discuss. Check out the article to find out more about these best online brokers.
Acorns pride themselves on being a way for newcomers to get involved in the world of investment utilising an extra change approach and an ease of use first platform. All of this makes them very tempting to a lot of different people, but it still begs the question, whether for all their simplicity, they are a good investment? Alongside our comparison to big rival Robinhood, we’ll be looking to answer that question in our analysis of both.