Stash vs. Acorns: Which is the Best Investment App

While research indicates Millennials fear investing, new apps are making it easier than ever for this tech-savvy generation to do so. Two of the most popular are Stash and Acorns. Both make investing easy and automatic, but each will appeal to a different type of investor.

If you want to invest and ignore…

Acorns may be better for you.

There are a number of ways to add money to your Acorns investment account, but the two features that make Acorns unique are “Found Money” and “Round Ups.” With Found Money, Acorns’ partners will automatically deposit funds into your account when you purchase their services through the app. For example, if you sign up for a Blue Apron account through the Acorns app, Blue Apron will deposit $30 into your account. As this is basically free money, this is the most impressive perk Acorns has to offer.

Round Ups is the other feature that makes Acorns unique. When you link your bank account and credit cards, any purchase you make will be rounded up, which means you will be investing your “spare change” into your account. For example, if you make a purchase of $24.72 at Walmart, 28 cents will be put into your investment account. Once your Round Ups reach $5, Acorns will buy stocks for you.

You can also add money to your account through recurring deposits or one-time deposits.

The downside to Acorns is that you have very little control over your investments. When you open your account, you choose among five different portfolios: Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive and Aggressive. Outside of this, you cannot choose which companies to invest in.

Additionally, it is difficult to switch portfolios. When you open your account, you are given a series of questions and then Acorns enrolls you in one of the five portfolios. If you are put in a Conservative portfolio, for example, it takes some work to switch to a more aggressive portfolio, which can be frustrating.

If you want to control your investments…

Stash may be better for you.

With Stash, you have much more control over your investments. Instead of being placed in a generic portfolio, Stash allows you to choose the types of companies you wish to invest in. For example, when you click on the “Invest” button in the app, you can choose from a number of categories, including “I Believe,” “I Want” and “I Like.” From these, you can choose from portfolios such as “Clean & Green” or “Defending America.” Then, your portfolio will be made up of companies that fit these categories. The “Data Defenders” portfolio, for example, is made up of companies in the tech world that deal in network security, such as Symantec and Cisco. Additionally, you are not limited to just one of these portfolios but can choose as many as you want.

Like Acorns, Stash also makes it easy to invest automatically, as you can deposit money into your account in a variety of ways. You can make a one-time deposit, or you can set up recurring deposits, which is recommended. If you make recurring deposits, it is easy to divvy the money up between your various portfolios.

Not only does Stash beat Acorns on options, the app is also more user-friendly. Selecting portfolios, navigating the app and finding answers to your questions is intuitive on Stash.


If you still aren’t sure which app you would prefer, you can give them both a try. Your first month is free with both apps, so you can test them to see which is right for you. After the free trial, both services charge $1 per month, or 0.25% per year when your account reaches $5,000.

About Lynn Oldshue

Lynn Oldshue is a PR professional who has worked with the Birmingham Zoo, Coca – Cola , the Alabama Theatre, and the Saenger Theatre. She has covered personal finance issues for 10 years. Lynn can be contacted at [email protected]