Robinhood vs. Acorns: 2024 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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Written by Chris Davis
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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 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.

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 Matching funds in IRAs may be taken back if money is withdrawn after less than five years.

Interest rate on uninvested cash

1.5% for free accounts, 5% for Gold accounts.

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • ETFs. • Options. • Cryptocurrency. • American Depositary Receipts for over 650 global companies. • Fractional shares. • Bonds only available in the form of bond ETFs.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Not rated.

Trading platform

Robinhood's mobile and web platforms are known for their smooth sign-up, funding and trading processes. However, the constant pop-up notifications can be exhausting.

Mobile app

Mobile trading platform includes customizable alerts, news feed, advanced charting and ability to listen live to earnings calls for some companies.

Research and data

Access to professional research from Morningstar and Level II market data from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange (with Gold subscription).

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

24/7 chat support. Phone support available from 7:00 a.m. ET to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Acorns is best for:

  • Hands-off investors.

  • People who struggle to save.

  • Earning cash-back rewards.

Acorns at a glance

Reviewed: Oct. 2023

Period considered: Aug. - Oct. 2023

Account minimum

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

Account management fee

$3, $6 or $12 per month.

Qualifying IRA contributions at Personal Plus and Premium tiers have the ability to wipe out management fees.

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 $9-per-month tier.

Tax strategy

Not available.

Automatic rebalancing

Free on all accounts.

Human advisor option

Not available.

Bank account/cash management account

Acorns offers impressive high-yield checking and savings accounts. The checking account earns 3% APY and the savings account earns 5% APY, with no minimum balance to receive the interest rate. The checking account has no overdraft fees and access to 55,000+ fee-free ATMs.

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 

4.9

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.3

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Fees 

$0

per online equity trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Promotion 

1 Free Stock

after linking your bank account (stock value range $5.00-$200)

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

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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