Robinhood vs. Acorns: 2021 Comparison

Robinhood and Acorns both appeal to beginner investors, but differ in their approach: Robinhood is a DIY investing app and Acorns offers managed portfolios for investors who want to be hands-off.

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Robinhood and Acorns each have a unique target audience, but the biggest difference between the two is that Robinhood may be better for beginners looking to choose their own individual stock and ETF investments, while Acorns may be a good choice for hands-off investors who want help building a diversified, long-term portfolio. See our comparison of Robinhood and Acorns below.

Robinhood
NerdWallet rating 

on Robinhood's website

Robinhood is best for:

  •  Mobile users.

  • Individual taxable accounts.

  • Margin accounts.

  • Cryptocurrency.

Robinhood at a glance

Account minimum

$0 for brokerage account and for Robinhood Gold account; $2,000 for a margin account (regulatory minimum).

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

$0.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual, inactivity or ACH transfer fees. $75 ACAT outgoing transfer fee. (Robinhood Gold costs $5 a month.)

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • ETFs. • Options. • Cryptocurrency. • American Depositary Receipts for over 250 global companies.  • Fractional shares

Number of commission-free ETFs

All available ETFs trade commission-free.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

None.

Trading platform

Web platform is purposely simple but meets basic investor needs.

Mobile app

Mobile trading platform includes customizable alerts, news feed, candlestick charts and ability to listen live to earnings calls.

Research and data

News available from WSJ Markets, Reuters, Barron's, CNBC Business and Cheddar. Gold members have access to research from Morningstar, Nasdaq, Nasdaq Totalview level II Market Data for an additional $5 per month.

Customer support options (includes website transparency)

Email and social media.

Acorns
NerdWallet rating 

on Acorns's website

Acorns is best for:

  • Hands-off investors.

  • People who struggle to save.

  • Custodial accounts for kids.

Acorns at a glance

Account minimum

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

Account management fee

  • Lite: $1 a month for taxable investment account.

  • 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

0.03% to 0.18%

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing)

$50 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

Portfolio mix is generally well-diversified but lacks significant exposure to international bonds.

Sustainable portfolio available for free.

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 for kids.

Tax strategy

Not available.

Automatic rebalancing

Free on all accounts.

Human advisor option

Not available.

Bank account/cash management account

Personal and Family members get access to Acorns Spend, a checking account with a debit card, mobile check deposit and reimbursed ATM fees.

Customer support options (includes website transparency)

Customer service is available every day from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm PST through phone and email support.

» Compare more options: View our picks for the best robo-advisors and the best brokers for beginners