Is Acorns a Scam

Is Acorns a Scam? Is Acorns Safe and Legit in 2024?


Is Acorns Safe?


If you have any concerns about the safety of Acorns, you’re on the right web page. We have compiled all the information you need, and here are the details:


Is Acorns Legitimate?


The investment arm of Acorns is regulated by both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These two organizations are America’s securities watchdogs. They keep a close eye on securities brokers like Acorns and enforce sanctions whenever they violate the rules (or at least, they’re supposed to).

Acorns’ FINRA membership ID is 168172 as a broker-dealer. It also has a registration as an investment-advisory firm. This ID is 165926. The company’s SEC ID is 8-69294 as a brokerage firm, and its investment-advisory ID is 801-78602.


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Acorns is registered in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. It has been registered since 2013 (for investment-advisory services) and 2014 (for broking).

Bank products available through Acorns are provided by Lincoln Savings Bank and nbkc bank, both of whom are subject to a myriad of federal banking regulatory agencies.


Is Acorns Insured?


Investment accounts at Acorns are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This entity provides $500,000 of insurance on every separate capacity, which is roughly every customer (not every account).


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Bank accounts at Acorns are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This government agency delivers $250,000 of protection on cash balances. Like SIPC insurance, it is possible to increase this maximum level through a few strategies, such as opening joint and retirement accounts.


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Acorns Better Business Bureau Ratings


On top of the insurance and regulations, there are consumer watchdogs that like to evaluate how companies are performing. One such group is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This organization has a profile for Acorns that shows an average customer review of 1 out of a possible 5. Although this is a low rating, there are only 12 reviews.


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Besides collecting customer reviews, BBB also assesses, in its own judgment, how a company is operating. In compiling this rating, BBB uses several criteria, including the size of the business, how well the company has resolved customer complaints, and how long the company has been in business. On BBB’s profile for Acorns, we found a grade of F, the lowest possible score.


Is Acorns Safe Verdict


Although Acorns has a very low grade from the Better Business Bureau (based on just a few reviews), it is a legitimate operation. Acorns accounts are insured under FDIC and SIPC guidelines, and there are many regulators keeping an eye on the firm.


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Acorns Review


With verification that Acorns is not a scam, we should now look at the details of its financial services.


Investing


Acorns offers automated trading in a small selection of exchange-traded funds that hold stocks and bonds. There are no other investment products at the investment firm for most customers, although ESG and bitcoin funds are available. Here are some examples of standard ETFs that accounts are invested in:

- iShares Core US Aggregate Bond Fund (AGG)
- Vanguard S&P 500 Fund (VOO)
- iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock Fund (IXUS)

A computer program decides what exact ETFs an account will hold, so this is a very hands-off securities firm. Some customers, but not all, can add individual stocks to a sub-account that composes up to 30% of the overall portfolio.

Robo accounts, like other accounts, must be opened with some type of tax structure. Acorns offers individual taxable accounts, custodial accounts, and retirement accounts. It does not offer other account types, including the joint account.


Banking


Although the first category was a little underwhelming, Acorns really steps up to the plate in the realm of cash management. Every investing account is eligible to open a linked checking account that comes with FDIC insurance and a debit card made out of metal. It can be used fee-free on an ATM network consisting of around 55,000 machines.

Acorns also offers roundups with the card that use spare change to make additional investments in the linked robo account. And Acorns Earn can be used to earn bonus investments simply by shopping with more than 15,000 participating retailers.

Although there is no physical checkbook with Acorns’ cash account, digital checks are a possibility. A final feature we really like is paycheck splitting, which sends a portion of a direct deposit into the linked investing account.

Although the checking account is quite impressive, Acorns isn’t finished. It also offers something called the Emergency Fund. It is basically a savings account that pays a higher rate of interest. Right now, that’s 5% APY compared to the checking account’s 3%, at least for some customers.


Pricing


Notice that we’ve been saying for some customers. There’s one really important requirement at Acorns: there’s a monthly fee to sign up for the company’s hybrid investing-banking service. There are three packages available:

Personal — $3 per month
Personal Plus — $5 per month
Premium — $9 per month


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The interest rates on the checking and savings accounts noted in the previous section are only available on Premium and Personal Plus subscriptions, as is the Emergency Fund itself. The Premium plan is the only one with stock investing in the sub-account.

All three subscriptions offer IRAs, taxable investing accounts, and checking accounts. There is no additional annual percentage-based charge for the robo service, as is customary in the industry.

Premium and Personal Plus subscribers receive matches from Acorns (up to 50%) on their bonus investments through Acorns Earn. They also get live Question & Answer sessions with investing experts.

Premium clients get life insurance and a free last will and testament at no additional charge. There are also children’s accounts (custodial investing accounts and a debit card for kids) on the Premium plan.


Mobile App


The Acorns mobile app is where all the action takes place, and there’s not much action, because, as already stated, this is mostly a robo firm. Nevertheless, the company’s app does have some useful features. During our investigation, we found a great deal of educational materials on the app (tap on the Learning tab in the bottom menu). There’s another section for Earning. Here, it’s easy to browse through various tiles that deliver all sorts of bonus investments for shopping with participating companies. Here are some example coupons we found:

H&R Block (up to 5% back)
Blue Apron ($40 back)
Adidas (5% back)


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Throughout the Acorns app, there are lots of advertisements for other services the company offers. We found tiles for roundups, features for children, and milestones to keep track of an account’s financial journey at Acorns.


Website


Acorns’ website mostly repeats the tools on the mobile app. In fact, the former platform has the same menu choices. One tool found on both platforms that’s a little easier to use on the website is the View Potential gadget. This tool shows in graphical format whether an account is on track for retirement based on recurring investments.


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Additional Services


Extended Hours: Trades inside robo accounts at Acorns are placed during the regular market session.

Fractional-share Trading: Acorns does use fractional shares in its automated accounts.

IRA Service: SEP, Roth, and Traditional accounts are available at Acorns with any monthly subscription.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan: Acorns incorporates a DRIP in its investing service.


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Awards





Acorns Review Judgment


Despite the flat monthly fee, large accounts can score a good value at Acorns.


Find a Financial Advisor


If you are looking for a professional money management service in your area, you can find a Financial Advisor on the Wiser Advisor (or read Wiser Advisor review).

Visit Wiser Advisor


Updated on 3/8/2024.


About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.