May 23, 2024
Acorns is a popular investment app that simplifies the investment process for users. However, it's important to understand the different revenue streams that help support the platform. This article explores how Acorns makes money through its subscription-based business model, investment strategy, financial products and services, partnerships with other companies, and growth strategies.

How Does Acorns Make Money?

Acorns is a financial technology company that aims to make investing accessible to everyone. The platform simplifies the investment process by automatically investing small amounts of money into diversified portfolios. It’s important to understand how Acorns makes money, as this can impact users’ investment performance and overall experience with the platform.

Subscription-based Business Model

At its core, Acorns operates on a subscription-based business model. Users pay a monthly fee to use the platform. There are three subscription options available:

  • $1 per month for the Lite tier
  • $3 per month for the Personal tier
  • $5 per month for the Family tier

The Personal and Family tiers offer additional features, such as a retirement account and investment accounts for children. The pricing structure can also vary based on account balances or other factors. For instance, students are eligible for a discount, and some employers offer Acorns as a benefit to employees.

Investment Strategy

Acorns invests users’ money in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other investment vehicles. ETFs pool together a variety of different assets (such as stocks, bonds, and commodities), allowing for diversification and lower investment minimums. Acorns collects fees on these investments over time, known as expense ratios. These fees are typically less than 0.5% of the account balance, making Acorns an affordable option for many investors.

Beyond Investing

Acorns offers a range of financial products and services beyond just investing. For example, the company has a cash management account, known as Acorns Spend, which offers a debit card and other features. Users can also earn rewards when they shop at certain retailers through the Acorns app. Additionally, Acorns has a retirement account, known as Acorns Later, that aims to help users plan for their future.

Each of these products generates revenue for the company, either through subscription fees or other fees associated with the products. Acorns is constantly expanding its product offerings, with new features and partnerships being announced regularly.

Partnerships with Other Companies

Acorns has formed partnerships with other companies to help generate revenue. One notable example is its partnership with PayPal. Acorns is integrated into PayPal’s platform, allowing users to invest using their PayPal account. In return, Acorns receives a portion of the revenue generated from these investments. This partnership has been successful for both companies, as it helps increase the overall user base and exposes more people to investing.

Growth Strategies

Acorns actively seeks to grow its user base and increase revenue through a variety of strategies. One of the most effective strategies has been its referral program. Users can refer friends and family to Acorns and receive a bonus when the person signs up using their referral link. This incentivizes users to spread the word about the platform.

Acorns also partners with employers to offer the platform as a benefit to employees. This allows employers to attract and retain talent, while also providing their employees with a valuable financial tool. By expanding its user base in this way, Acorns can increase its revenue over time.


Acorns generates revenue through its subscription-based business model, investment strategy, financial products and services, partnerships with other companies, and growth strategies. By understanding how Acorns makes money, users can make more informed decisions about their investments and overall experience with the platform.

However, it’s important to note that Acorns has faced criticism for its fees and investment options. Some financial experts argue that the fees can eat into investment returns, and there are limited options for customizing investment portfolios. Despite these criticisms, Acorns remains a popular option for many investors looking to start or improve their investment journey.

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