Acorns vs. Stash: 2023 Comparison

Acorns and Stash are investment apps aimed at beginners who want their money to grow but may not have the time or the expertise to manage it.
Alana Benson
Chris Davis
By Chris Davis and  Alana Benson 
Edited by Chris Hutchison

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Acorns and Stash are investment apps aimed at beginners who want their money to grow but may not have the time or the expertise to manage it. Each one mixes education and automation to help users understand how to invest and reach their goals, but which one is the better pick? That depends on which features are most important to you.

In general, Stash is most likely to appeal to DIY, hands-on investors, while Acorns tends to be a better fit for investors who want to outsource management of their investments. But Stash also offers a managed portfolio.

Below, a full comparison of the two apps.

Acorns
NerdWallet rating 

on Acorns' website

Acorns is best for:

  • Hands-off investors.

  • People who struggle to save.

  • Earning cash-back rewards.

Acorns at a glance

Reviewed: Oct. 2022

Period considered: Aug. - Oct. 2022

Account minimum

$0 to open account; $5 required to start investing.

Account management fee

Personal: $3 a month for an investment account plus an IRA and a checking account.

Family: $5 a month for all of the above plus investment accounts for kids.

Investment expense ratios

0.05% to 0.18%.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing)

$35 per ETF to have them transferred to another broker when you close your taxable Acorns account; no charge to sell your investments and have the resulting cash transferred.

Portfolio mix

Well-diversified portfolio with exposure to domestic and international stocks, bonds, REITs and a Bitcoin-linked ETF.

Socially responsible portfolio options

Sustainable portfolio built with ESG ETFs available for no extra cost.

Accounts supported

Individual non-retirement accounts. Roth, traditional and SEP IRAs. UTMA/UGMA accounts available at the $5-per-month tier.

Tax strategy

Not available.

Automatic rebalancing

Free on all accounts.

Human advisor option

Not available.

Bank account/cash management account

Acorns Checking provides a checking account with no minimum balance or overdraft fees and access to 55,000+ fee-free ATMs. This checking account does not offer an interest rate.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Customer support is available 7 days/week from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT via live chat, phone and email.

Stash
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Stash is best for:

  • Beginners who want to learn how to invest.

  • Investors who want to buy fractional shares.

  • Investors who want to choose their own investments and get automated portfolios.

Stash at a glance

Reviewed: Oct. 2022

Period considered: Aug. - Oct. 2022

Account minimum

$0 ($5 for Smart Portfolios).

Account management fee

$3 per month for automated investing.

$9-a-month tier available with access to Kids Portfolios (custodial accounts) and higher Stock-Back® rewards.

Full details about each option below.

Investment expense ratios

Average is less than 0.06% for Smart Portfolios.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing)

$0 standard transfer fee, or 1% fee for instant transfers.

Outgoing ACAT full transfer fee: $75.

Portfolio mix

Smart Portfolio mix is well-diversified but lacks exposure to non-market correlated assets like REITs and commodities. Smart Portfolio does give access to cryptocurrency.

Over 4,000 individual stocks and ETFs are available in the DIY individual brokerage account.

Socially responsible portfolio option

No automated socially responsible portfolio.

Themed ETFs, including socially responsible ETFs, are available in the DIY individual brokerage account.

Accounts supported

  • Individual brokerage accounts

  • ROTH and Traditional IRAs

  • UGMA/UTMA accounts

Note: Only individual brokerage accounts are available to be managed with Smart Portfolios. IRA and UTMA/UMGA accounts are available for DIY management only.

Tax strategy

Not available.

Automatic rebalancing

Smart Portfolios option features automatic rebalancing upon withdrawals or contributions, plus quarterly rebalancing.

Human advisor option

Not available.

Bank account/cash management account

Stash offers access to an online banking account with a stock-back rewards debit card, but the account doesn't pay interest.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone and email support Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Additional email support is available on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

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For more details about the categories considered when rating providers and our processes, read our full broker ratings methodology and our full robo-advisor ratings methodology

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