Should You Use Acorns Or Stash To Start Investing?

Contrary to what you might believe, investing doesn’t take thousands or even hundreds of dollars — and apps like Acorns and Stash prove it.

These platforms both aim to help novice investors start their journey without costing an arm and a leg. Neither charges fees for commissions or trades and lets you invest with just a dollar. Although there is a marginal monthly service fee, Acorns and Stash are a great way to invest in large corporations at an affordable rate. 

If you’re interested in these services but don’t know which one to pick, Money Under 30 reviewed both companies to help you decide.

What Are Acorns And Stash?

Acorns and Stash are online platforms where you can invest via their website or app. They are both Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and provide up to $500,000 of Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SPIC) insurance against bankruptcy.

Both simplify investing and make it accessible for the everyday user. While they share many similarities, there are a few key differences.


Acorns utilizes a new investment method called round-ups. You don’t need a minimum balance to create an account. With round-ups, you connect your bank card to the app. Whenever you make a purchase, Acorns will round the transaction to the next dollar. 

After you save $5 in round-ups, the company will invest the funds in your preferred ETFs portfolio. On top of round-ups, you can automate your investments daily, weekly, or monthly. Acorns gives you five ETF portfolio options and will rebalance your portfolio as needed.


Stash allows users to invest with just one dollar. It also offers fractional shares of popular stocks and ETFs, allowing newbie investors to create a diverse portfolio on budget. Fractional shares allow investors to buy partial stocks instead of spending big on a single share. Stash has many options for stocks and ETS so that you can make a portfolio based on your preferences.

Does Acorns Or Stash Have Better Returns?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this question. It comes down to your choice of investments. Since both platforms give you a range of options, you can’t compare outcomes side-by-side. Each charge about the same to use each month, so they’re relatively even based on the account you select. Both companies have no commission or trade fees, so you never pay more than the monthly fee, even if you invest more.

Investment Options


If you sign up for Acorns Invest, you can pick from five ETF portfolios. Your options include:


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


If you’re an experienced investor, you may find these options restricting. Nevertheless, many proactive investors underperform trades, so having fewer portfolio options may be beneficial.

With an Acorns Later account, you can save for retirement with a Roth IRA, traditional IRA, or SEP IRA. If you sign up for an Acorns Family subscription, you could open a UTMA/UGMA account for your kids.

Acorns lets you purchase fractional shares, so you can invest in whatever you want, whenever you want, and with whatever money you have.


Stash has more choices for first-level users. With just a Stash Beginner account, you can purchase a variety of stocks and fractional shares in themed ETFs. Like Acorns, Stash accounts are taxable.

If you want to save for retirement by investing in a Roth or traditional IRA, you can upgrade to a Stash Growth account. And if you sign up for Stash+, you can get access to UTMA/UGMA accounts for children.

Which Service Has Better Investment Options?

When it comes down to it, you can’t compare Acorns’ and Stash’s investment options. That’s because the results vary based on your personal investments. But, if you’re a fan of the Acorns’ round-up method or want to use a SEP IRA to invest, then Acorns may be the right choice for you. But if you want the flexibility to build your own portfolio, then Stash could be the better option.

Bottom Line

Acorns and Stash are changing the way everyday people look at investing. Both companies want to help new investors start their journey without paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to do so. While their small monthly fees may chip away at your investments at first, your returns will eventually offset the expense.

Acorns is ideal for people who want a streamlined option or a SEP IRA. On the other hand, Stash is suitable for hands-on investors who want to pick and choose their own stocks and portfolios.

Ultimately, both platforms are an excellent way for anyone to begin investing. Check them out for yourself and get started today.


  • Cothern, Lance. “Acorns Vs. Stash: Which Is The Better Investing App To Keep In Your Pocket?” moneyunder30.Com, 2 Dec. 2020,
Ian Schindler