By now if you haven’t heard of Acorns (I will cut you some slack with Qoins) you might be living under a rock… or even worse, you might still have dial-up internet.
All financial insults aside, there are so many financial tools, apps, books, blogs, and resources out there that whether you have heard of Acorns/Qoins or you haven’t, here is what I can tell you:
Spare change apps are all the rage because let’s face it, hardly anyone actually has spare change or uses cash anymore these days.
Just recently I went to the bank and asked for some coin rollers. After the teller looked at me like I was crazy, she managed to find a few and for the next 36 minutes, I proceeded to sit there counting coins, knocking them off the table and fussing with them to get them into the rollers, only to walk out with $19.
Nevermind the fact I had been saving these coins for over five years… and all I had $19 to show for it. Meanwhile, my Acorns account had grown $12 since I started using it in March.
Over the next four minutes, you will learn about my two favorite spare change apps; Acorns and Qoins!
My Acorns vs. Qoins Review
Here is my honest transparent quick review:
I used to use Qoins for our student loan debt, but we have our debt pay off process streamlined at this point (We paid off $70,000 in 2018), but I did like the concept of using a spare change app so I switched to Acorns.
I really enjoy and like them both, but at the present time I only use Acorns, but it depends on your goals and needs, so keep reading for the full review of each!
How do Spare Change Apps Work?
Spare change apps are becoming more and more popular as the younger generations of the world look for ways to invest while maintaining a lower budget.
With just a few dollars, spare change apps allow you to save, invest and even pay off debt! The myth that ‘you need a lot of money to invest’ is completely debunked by those apps, where you can literally start with $1.
The way these apps work is pretty simple:
You link one or more debit or credit cards to the app so it can keep track of your spending. Every time you spend something, the app automatically does a ‘round up’.
- Let’s say you buy lunch at Chick-Fil-a for $9.27.
- The app will charge your debit card $10 in total. $9.27 goes to your yummy lunch at Chick-Fil-A (Spicy chicken, waffle fry & Cherry Coke is muy bien) and 73 cents will be held in the app.
- Depending on the app, those 73 cents might be used to save, invest or pay off debt.
Think about it, if you make 100 purchases a month with an average of 50 cents being ‘rounded up’, that’s $50 that will be put towards your improving your finances.
The best part: it’s all automatic.
You literally save money by spending – no discipline needed!
The only drawback is that these apps add money in after-tax accounts when really you want to be maxing out your tax-advantaged retirement account before doing any of that.
In any case, in this Qoins vs Acorns review, we’re going to look at two different types of spare change apps: one that invests the round-up and one that pays off your debt!
Acorns = Investing
Acorns is a rounding up app that keeps track of your spending activity. Every transaction is rounded up and all the ‘round-ups’ are then added to a queue until it reaches a certain threshold. Once you have enough in the queue, Acorns uses that balance to buy low-cost ETFs on your behalf, in a brokerage account. Over time this builds up a pretty sweet investment portfolio.
Acorns manages your portfolio through a robo-advisor using certain asset allocation to both maximize returns and minimize losses. The ETFs are broad market indexes, and by using ETFs your portfolio is spread across thousands of individual securities through just a few funds.
Acorns also offer five different portfolio allocations depending on your risk tolerance:
- Moderately Conservative
- Moderately Aggressive
(We cover the fee structure and costs in a section below).
Qoins = Debt Paid Off Faster
Qoins is another spare change app which uses the extra cents you round up to help you pay off your debt. They’ve estimated that users end up paying an extra $40 in debt every month when using Qoins… not bad.
The Qoins system is pretty simple:
- You pay off your debt every time your spare change queue adds up and reaches a certain threshold.
- Depending on how active you are with your app, this could be between 1 and 10 checks per month.
- Users of Qoins enter their basic loan information such as payment address and account number, and the app manages everything else.
The Qoins app has already had quite a bit of success, with thousands of users paying off over $5 MILLION in debt!!! Pretty good for a startup!
If you have student loans like Lauren and I did this is a great method to throw a little extra at them each month – remember, it all adds up in the end.
What are the fees?
With most spare change apps, the process of charging cards, routing money and so on means the companies doing this require a fee for their services.
Chances are the fees cost less than your favorite beer at happy hour. Here is how the fees work.
Acorns has 3 different types of accounts, each with different fees:
- Acorns Core: A basic taxable investment account. Fee is $1 per month (This is what I use).
- Acorns Core + Acorns Later: A combination of the basic taxable account with a retirement account. Fee is $2 per month
- Acorns Core + Acorns Later + Acorns Spend: A combination of the basic taxable account with the retirement account and with a checking account. Fee is $3 per month.
What about Qoins?
Qoins has a standard $1.99 monthly service fee. This fee is deducted from your monthly total payment round-up contributions, and not in addition to the amount saved up by the user.
So for less then a soda at your favorite gas station you can now start paying an average of $40 per month towards your credit card or student loan debt!
Pros & Cons of Acorns & Qoins
|Pros of Acorns||Pros of Qoins|
|Automated – AKA set it and forget it||Automated – AKA set it and forget it|
|You can save money by literally |
|If your loans have high-interest rates, you’ll probably save more by paying off debt than earning from saving money in the banks with low interest rates.|
|Acorns spend gives you a free checking account to go with your investment account.||Customer service available via the app|
|You can start investing with just $5.||Two debt payment options to choose from|
|Acorns Core is free for college students.|
So what are the cons when it comes to Acorns and Qoins:
|Cons of Acorns||Cons of Qoins|
|Fees: $1.00 Per month up to $5,000||Fees: $1.99 Per month|
|If you’re just investing a few dollars a month, the $1 can be a huge management percentage fee (But it still only a $1)||Paying $500 extra each year on a student loan might save you $25 in interest, but the app costs nearly $24 a year to use. You may be better off setting your monthly automatic loan payment $40 higher.|
|If your bank account tends to run low, |
the money Acorns withdraw could cause an overdraft and therefore a not so nice fee.
|It takes a few days to verify your account|
|Customer Service is limited to email. No phone contact. Response time is one to |
The Verdict on the Qoins vs Acorns Review?
- If you’re someone who is looking to start investing – but you don’t want to do the leg work and daily grind of playing individual stocks – then Acorns might be your best bet to start with.
- On the other side of the “Qoin,” if you’re someone who is looking to get rid of your debt and you need a little extra juice, using a spare change app like Qoins is a great solution too.
While both come with a monthly fee, it is less than a coke at the vending machine. Paired with typical consumer spending, spare change apps are great ways to be more productive with necessary spending like groceries and gas.
Related Post: Ways to Make Quick Money Today
Question: Do you use a spare change app? If so which one do you like best?
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.