Is the Acorns Spend Debit Card Worth It?
The Acorns app is offering a new banking and investment product, the Spend Debit Card, due in late 2018. The account carries no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fees, and will offer free or free-reimbursed ATM withdrawals throughout the U.S.
Though relatively new to the scene, micro-investing apps have gained a lot of traction over the last few years, and Acorns seems to be topping the charts and dominating smartphones nationwide. In June 2018, Acorns took their app and investment resources up a notch by offering a new feature: Acorns Spend, which is an investment and checking account that hinges on the Acorns Spend Debit Card.
The debit card will give you access to your Acorns Spend checking account. It is also composed of tungsten.
Though the product is fairly new (no one has actually had the opportunity to use the card yet), there is a lot of buzz surrounding it—so much so that you may not be able to get your hands on one until the end of the year, if not 2019.
When Can You Get an Acorns Spend Debit Card?
Acorns’ new debit card is popular, to say the least—so popular, in fact, that the original 100,000 pre-order cards offered by the company sold out in just four days. If you were one of the lucky 100,000 to reserve your card before June 22, 2018, then you can expect your card to ship around Nov. 1, 2018.
If you reserved an Acorns Debit Card after the original batch sold out, then the company estimates you’ll receive your card at the end of the year. No official date has been provided and, based on popularity, we’re assuming that the debit cards will be made available in batches throughout the remainder of 2018.
How to Get an Acorns Debit Card
If you’re not already an Acorns account holder, the first thing you’ll need to do is sign up for a general Acorns account. This will give you access to the basic Acorns investment opportunities, such as short-term savings and investing. To do this, you must link a bank account to this card, which will move your account to verified status, allowing you to begin saving.
Aside from having a verified Acorns account, eligibility requirements are few, and there are no spending/investment minimums aside from a negligible monthly fee, which is discussed below.
If you are already a member or you plan on completing the aforementioned process, then the next step in your pursuit of an Acorns Spend Debit Card is to pre-order the card, which you can do from a desktop, tablet, or from the mobile app.
Simply sign into your account and select the “Spend” tab or locate the Acorns Debit Card promotion in the app. Begin the process by selecting the “Pre-Order” button. Once you begin, you’ll be required to confirm your name and address, and then if you wish to continue, sign your name (using a mouse or your finger) and read and agree to a variety of forms and terms, including the E-sign Consent as well as the Truth in Savings Disclosure, Terms & Conditions, and Pre-Order Terms.
Once that’s complete, all that’s left to do is wait.
What’s the Deal With the Pricing?
The basic Acorns account, without the Acorns Spend debit card, is $1 a month. This entitles users to general access to the company’s resources as well as investment and savings options like weekly, monthly, etc. account deposits (e.g., moving $10 a week from your checking account to your Acorns account) as well as the round-up feature, which rounds up purchases made from linked cards and deposits small “round-up” amounts into the account (e.g., a debit card transaction for $1.30 would result in a $0.70 deposit into your Acorns Account).
For $2 a month, members can also take advantage of Acorns Later, a long-term investment program. And finally, for $3 a month, members can take advantage of Acorns, Acorns Later, and Acorns Spend, the benefits of which we will discuss next.
In general, there are a host of benefits that come with an Acorns account, which is what made this micro-investing app so popular. However, the following are being marketed as the major perks of the Acorns Spend account:
- Real-Time Round-Ups & Automatic Retirement Savings: Those currently taking advantage of round-ups through the basic Acorns account (i.e., with a linked bank card) will typically notice that their round-up transfers take place in batches, with transfers only occurring once the round-ups amount to $5. With the Acorns Spend Debit Card, round-ups will take place in real time.
- Earn More Money: Acorns already partners with a variety of merchants to provide cash back opportunities, but the new debit card promises up to 10 percent of purchases invested when the card is used at certain stores.
- Custom Spend Strategies: Acorns already has a fairly robust investment education resource center, though the new Acorns Spend product promises a resource that makes it easier for cardholders to intelligently save and grow their investment.
- Free Banking Features: One concern among potential cardholders is how this card will compare to their current debit cards (i.e., those through traditional banks). Currently, Acorns is promoting features such as digital direct deposit, mobile check deposits, and free bank-to-bank transfers.
- Additionally, Acorns has also claimed that the debit card account is free of minimum balance requirements and overdraft fees and will offer unlimited free or free-reimbursed ATM withdrawals nationwide.
If you’re looking for a straightforward debit card that gives you ultimate control of your finances, then this may not be a card for you, as investments are automatic. Additionally, Acorns has been marketed as a “hands-off” investment tool, and the portfolio is fairly small. If you’re market savvy or looking for big investment opportunities, Acorns in its current state doesn’t appear to hit that mark—yet.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that this is an entirely new product, and despite having a rather robust resource center, some of the functionality and benefits are vague, though this will likely change as the November roll-out nears.
Finally, the company does not currently offer joint accounts, so couples or families who want to invest or bank together might not find this to be the right fit. Of course, this too may change over time.
The Bottom Line: Is It Worth It?
If you’re looking for a hands-off banking and investment solution, the Acorns Spend Debit Card might be a great option. The current products have gained a lot of traction, and as an avid Acorns user, I’ve been happy with the experience thus far.
Is it worth it? That remains to be seen. The upfront risk for the card seems to be relatively low, as you can easily close the account, and ordering the card doesn’t mean you need to cut ties with your current banking institution. In other words, pre-ordering the card doesn’t appear to involve any substantial risk.
In the end, Acorns is helping everyday consumers enter the world of investment without requiring in-depth knowledge of an increasingly complex financial world. If you’re looking for a way to passively save money or make modest contributions to your long-term financial game, then the Acorns Spend Debit Card may be worth a shot.