Robinhood vs. Acorns: 2023 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.
Alana Benson
Chris Davis
By Chris Davis and  Alana Benson 
Edited by Arielle O'Shea

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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 and IRAs.

  • Margin accounts.

Robinhood at a glance

Account minimum

$0 for brokerage accounts, Robinhood Gold accounts and IRAs.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

$0. Options not currently available in IRAs.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual, inactivity or ACH transfer fees. $100 ACAT outgoing transfer fee. (Robinhood Gold costs $5 a month.). Matching funds in IRAs may be taken back if money is withdrawn after less than five years.

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • ETFs. • Options. (Not available in IRAs.) • Cryptocurrency. (Not available in IRAs.) • American Depositary Receipts for over 650 global companies. • Fractional shares.

Crypto availability

15 coins in 48 states. (Not available in IRAs.)

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Not rated.

Trading platform

Web platform is 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 Benzinga, Reuters, Bloomberg and WSJ. Gold members have access to research from Morningstar, Nasdaq, Nasdaq Totalview level II Market Data for an additional $5 per month. Portfolio recommendations available for IRAs for no additional charge.

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

Email, social media, in-app request-to-call service 24/7.

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.

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

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NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Fees 

$0

per trade for online U.S. stocks and ETFs

Fees 

$0.005

per share; as low as $0.0005 with volume discounts

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

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Methodology

How do we review brokers and robo-advisors?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers and robo-advisors. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars).

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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