Investing doesn’t have to be hard, or expensive either.

With advances in technology comes advances in trading algorithms, which allow users the option to passively invest their money into the stock market.

Robo-advisors are popping up all over the place, and today we’re going to talk about two of the most popular robo-powered brokerages, M1 Finance and Acorns.

The best investing app, M1 Finance or Acorns?

M1 Finance

Services 85%
Simplicity 95%
Sign-ups 85%
Stock Research 80%
Store Rating 90%


Services 80%
Simplicity 100%
Sign-ups 90%
Stock Research 75%
Store Rating 90%
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Overall, M1 Finance is a better investing app than Acorns is, and it’s free.

Both offer great passive investing features, but M1 Finance allows users to be a little more hands-on with their investments.

If you don’t want to think at all about investing, and you don’t care about the small monthly fee, then Acorns is a great app to use, it just lacks some of the functionality that M1 Finance and other investing apps have.

If you don’t want to really think about it any more, then just click the buttons above to sign up for whichever investing app seems good to you, OR you can keep reading to see why we rated them the way we did, it’s up to you!

M1 Finance Vs Acorns: Services and features

M1 Finance Services 85%
Acorns Services 80%

We have gone through a bunch of investing apps and listed the features each one offers investors.

Here’s a table that shows a comparison between the services and features of M1 Finance and Acorns.

M1 Finance FeaturesFree AccountPremium AccountAcorns FeaturesFree AccountPremium Account
Monthly Fee$0$125 per yearMonthly FeeN/A$1/$3/$5 per month
Minimum Balance$0$0Minimum BalanceN/A$0
Instant Depositsinvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noInstant DepositsN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Automatic Depositsinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesAutomatic DepositsN/Ainvestment app feature yes
Stocksinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesStocksN/Ainvesting apps feature no
ETFsinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesETFsN/Ainvestment app feature yes
Optionsinvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noOptionsN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Cryptocurrencyinvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noCryptocurrencyN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Fractional Sharesinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesFractional SharesN/Ainvestment app feature yes
DRIP/FRIPinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesDRIP/FRIPN/Ainvestment app feature yes
Bondsinvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noBondsN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Mutual Fundsinvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noMutual FundsN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Paper Tradinginvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noPaper TradingN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Margin Accountsinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesMargin AccountsN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Retirement Accountsinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesRetirement AccountsN/Ainvestment app feature yes
Banking Servicesinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesBanking ServicesN/Ainvestment app feature yes
Human Advisorsinvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noHuman AdvisorsN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Robo Advisorsinvestment app feature yesinvestment app feature yesRobo AdvisorsN/Ainvestment app feature yes
Stock Screenersinvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noStock ScreenersN/Ainvesting apps feature no
Level 2 Market Datainvesting apps feature noinvesting apps feature noLevel 2 Market DataN/Ainvesting apps feature no
OtherPie SharingPie SharingOtherN/ARound-ups, Custodial Accounts

Best services and features, M1 Finance or Acorns?

Overall, M1 Finance offers investors more features and services than Acorns does, but mostly because Acorns was made to be really hands-off.

Both of these investing apps will do exactly what you need them to do, but they don’t stand out enough to brag about.

Fractional shares and a Dividend Re-Investment Plan are helpful and make both of these apps really simple and convenient, which is nice.

Acorns DOES offer custodial accounts for children to learn how to invest with adult supervision, which is pretty neat, but not exactly a game-changing  feature for most investors.

Which investing app is easier to use, M1 Finance or Acorns?

M1 Finance Simplicity 95%
Acorns Simplicity 100%

Is M1 Finance easy to use?

m1 finance simple to use

M1 Finance isn’t exactly hard to use, it’s fairly easy to understand, but unfortunately some of the other investing apps, like Acorns, are just SO simple to use that the bar is set pretty high here.

Once you get your pie set up and automatic deposits/ automatic investing set up, then you basically just sit back and wait for returns, OR try to copy other investors’ pies, whatever you prefer.

Is Acorns easy to use?

acorns easy investing

The ease of use of the Acorns investing app is pretty much unrivaled, and it deserves credit where it’s due.

When I first heard about Acorns, I was skeptical that an app could be THAT easy and still make you money, but I was wrong.

The developers did a wonderful job making Acorns simple enough for any investor, to the point where the app is almost TOO simple.

Which investing app is easiest to use?

Acorns was designed to be the most simple investing app out there, so it’s no surprise that it wins this category…. again….

M1 Finance doesn’t require a college degree to figure out though, so don’t be intimidated, you’ll be able to figure it out if M1 Finance looks like a better app for you.

M1 Finance and Acorns sign-up and referral rewards

M1 Finance Sign-up and Referrals 85%
Acorns Sign-up and Referrals 90%

Who doesn’t like free money?

Thanks to the wonderful world of marketing, companies will pay users money to try their services, in the hopes of converting them into a long term customer.

So if you want to learn more about how much these apps offer people to sign up or refer new users, read on!

M1 Finance sign-up and referral program

m1 finance referrals

M1 Finance has a pretty standard sign-up and referral program which rewards users with $10 for signing up and depositing $100 into their account.

The user who referred the new customer also gets $10, which can add up if you know a lot of people.

A lot of investing apps seem to give out shares of stocks to new users, so getting a cash reward deposited into your account feels nice.

Currently, M1 Finance is offering $50 instead of $10 for successful referrals, which is a REALLY nice promotion, but that deal will only be around for a short while longer… so take advantage of it while you can.

Acorns sign-up and referral program

Acorns has a promotion running right now where users can earn an extra $300 for inviting 4 friends in August.

These friends have to be new users and have to deposit $5 into their acorns account to be eligible.

The regular sign-up and referral bonus of $5, which is a pretty small amount by itself, gets paid in addition to the promotional offer, and these promotional offers happen pretty much every month, so a lot of money can be earned if you know how to refer users.

Best sign-up and referral program?

Because of the constant promotional offers, Acorns wins this category. M1 Finance has some good promotional offers as well, but Acorns has them VERY regularly and the rewards are often quite large.

Both M1 Finance and Acorns offer cash bonuses instead of shares of stocks for their sign-ups and referrals, which is nice and convenient, but being able to make large amounts of money per month just for inviting a few friends gives Acorns a huge advantage.

It’s also much easier to talk someone into depositing $5 into an investment app than it is to talk them into depositing $100, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to get a lot of referrals.

M1 Finance and Acorns stock research tools

M1 Finance Stock Research 80%
Acorns Stock Research 75%

M1 Finance stock research tools

m1 finance research

M1 Finance has all the basics you would expect from an investing app, like news reports, index trackers, and basic charts.

Unfortunately, the app isn’t designed to really offer investors very powerful technical analysis tools, so if that’s important to you then you may want to try a third party market research resource like Marketwatch.

Acorns stock research tools

Passive investing, which is what Acorns is ALL about, doesn’t require you to pick stocks. All you have to do is answer some questions about your risk tolerance, income, and investment goals, and Acorns will do all the stock picking for you.

If you want your investing to be completely hands-off, then this is probably the best app you’re going to find. 

Best stock research tools, Webull or Acorns?

Honestly, neither one of these apps has very amazing tools.

Acorns is built to not even use stock research, you basically just answer a few questions and the app’s robo-advisor invests for you, so tools aren’t needed.

M1 Finance has some resources to learn about investing, and some basic tools included on their app, but don’t expect a professional-grade trading platform. If that’s what you want, you may be better off trying Webull, because M1 Finance is more of a passive investing app.

Since this is simply a comparison between two passive investment apps, technically M1 Finance wins, but I wouldn’t worry too much about this category in this specific case.

Passive investing typically requires more of a fundamental analysis approach, whereas day-trading usually opts for the fancy charts and indicators.


Which investment app did you prefer, M1 Finance or Acorns?

Or did you decide that passive investing wasn’t right for you and choose another app?

If you have any questions or suggestions to make our investing app reviews more helpful, make sure to leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading, and good luck investing!