Acorns is an investment app designed to help you start putting a little money away by connecting your credit or debit card to a small investment account. While you probably won't build up your entire retirement portfolio with this app, it's a good way to start investing if you haven't already or if you don't have a large chunk of money to put in at once.
Automatic roundups: When you link your bank account or credit card to this service, you can set it to automatically round up each purchase you make to the next highest dollar amount and invest the difference. That way, you can continuously contribute to your account without having to think about it at all. And you also have the option of making manual contributions at any point, either as a supplement to or in place of the automatic draws.
Nice visuals: This app also includes a nice set of interactive graphic displays that let you see how your money is invested and how it will grow differently based on your monthly contributions. Adjustments only require you to slide your finger along the screen, and the visuals are helpful when you're trying to understand where the money you're putting into this program is actually going.
No auto lock: While you do have to create both a log-in with a password and a PIN for this app, it does not automatically lock when you leave it to go to another app. The only time it requires you to enter your PIN is if your phone shuts off after being idle for a while, and you then turn it on again. There is no way to adjust these security preferences either, and it seems like a substantial oversight when so much of your sensitive information is stored in the app.
Acorns is a convenient and intuitive way to begin investing for the future. Since there is no minimum contribution or balance required, it's great for people on a limited income who can't meet the minimum initial contribution requirements for larger funds. There are some fees associated with the service, and they include a $1 per month charge, as well as an annual fee of 0.5 percent for your first $5,000, and another 0.25 percent for anything over that amount. The app itself is free.