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Written by Jason Dolan on February 15, 2021
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Qapital vs Acorns 2023: Best Money App?

Today we are comparing two apps that make the act of saving money as simple and painless as possible. First up is Acorns, the spare change round-up investing app. Next is its rival Qapital, an IFTTT logic-based money-saving/investing app.

Qapital is a banking app offering a full menu of services, while Acorns is an online robo advisor that lets you micro-invest with spare change.

Years ago, investing was reserved for the high net worth individuals who had thousands of dollars to invest in the stock market. Today, countless investing apps allow you to invest with little to no fees.

Both Acorns and Qapital offer some features above and beyond the average app, so both charge a subscription fee for the service.

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Qapital vs Acorns: The Basics

Acorns is an app that is focused on helping its users save more consistently and without hesitation. This is done through Round-Ups where spare change is directed to pre-built investment portfolios. Though this feature is highly coveted, it does not come for free. Acorns users pay $1 - $5 for use of the app.

Qapital is a personal finance app that specializes in making a game out of your saving objectives while helping you invest for the future as well. The main focus of this platform is rule-based saving. Users can set different rules and automate the process of saving for their goals. Though it contains similar features to Acorns such as round up technology, Qapital comes at a heavy price tag. $3 for the lowest end and $12 for the highest. 

Both of these platforms allow users to get into the game of automated investing and saving while keeping the headaches to a minimum. These apps both share the functionality of rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and allow you to automatically invest those extra dollars in pre-built portfolios built to maximize your returns - based on your goals.

Main FocusSavingInvesting
Fees$1 - $5 billed monthly$3 - $12 billed monthly
Individual Stocks?NoNo
Pre-Built PortfoliosYesYes
Round Up PurchasesYesYes
Create Your Own Investing RulesYesNo
Best ForIndividuals who love to save toward goalsForgetful savers and first-time investors

Acorns vs Qapital: Summary

  • Qapital allows users to save by using pre-set events that trigger transfers to a savings account
  • And charges $3 - $12 monthly while Acorns charges $1 - $5 monthly 
  • Qapital offers just 5 investment portfolios, no individual stocks, similar to Acorns
  • Acorns and Qapital let you round up and invest or save your spare change 
  • Both Qapital and Acorns offer retirement accounts for long term planners
  • Acorns has a minimum investment of just $5
  • Neither Qapital nor Acorns allow you to trade individual stocks
  • Investing Simple readers can get a free $10 credit when they invest with Acorns
  • Both offer debit cards, but no credit cards yet
  • Many other investment apps offer free trading of individual stocks
  • Both investment apps are easy to use
  • Acorns and Qapital follow Modern Portfolio Theory based on the studies of Dr. Harry Markowitz
  • This means passive index fund investing, not active portfolio management

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What Is Qapital?

Qapital has its roots in basic mathematics. But don't worry, you don't need to be a math wiz. They do the hard work for you.

Qapital offers many different methods for saving money. The idea behind these methods is that Qapital is saving money for you in small chunks at a time. You might not even know that you are saving money!

Consider the following:

If you deposit $20 each week for 10 years, you could have $14,369 with an investment growing at a rate of 7% a year, as compared to $10,400 on a traditional savings account. (This calculation is based on weekly contributions with zero withdrawals).

This is the power of not only saving your money but also investing your money.

Qapital is a full-service fintech app that has successfully guided 2+ million users to stow away an average of $1,500 to $5,000 a year.

According to company reps, Qapital “empowers people to maximize their happiness by saving, spending and investing with their goals in mind.”

How Does Qapital Work?

The Qapital Spending Account, which links to the Qapital Visa Debit Card, is a checking account in your name with a participating bank, designed to help you track your weekly and monthly spending habits. It can also keep track of certain spending categories, and this can be useful when combined with the IFTTT (If This Then That) logic.

For example, you can tell Qapital to "move $1 to savings every time I spend money at Starbucks."

Good news: there are no account setup or overdraft fees.

More good news: you have unlimited immediate transfers to and from your Qapital Goals account, and you can set up direct deposit to pour money into your spending account.

Once you have that spending account set up, you will answer a handful of questions designed to gauge which portfolio fits you best for your investments.

Qapital Invest

The Qapital Invest account was created to help members obtain longer-term goals, such as buying a first home, taking a trip to Tahiti, or anything else you can come up with. Your money is held in an Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) portfolio based on the risk level you are can handle.

Qapital touts the importance of diversifying, which is spreading money across a variety of different investments so that one plunging stock or bond can be offset by a thriving ETF.

Your earned dividends will be distributed depending on the schedules of each fund. For the ETFs in Qapital portfolios, each stock fund has quarterly distributions, and each bond fund sends dividends monthly.

Read this carefully, because this is important: All dividends you receive will be automatically reinvested.

We say “bravo” to Qapital for this policy. It makes far more financial sense to keep putting your money back to work for you, rather than pocketing your earned dividends and spending them.

Reinvesting also gives you the massive benefit of compounding, which perpetually increases the value of your assets. It’s also a great way to set yourself up for long-term growth.

Qapital Plans

All of the plans come with the following features:

  • You can create as many savings goals as you want.
  • IFTTT logic can be used to automate your savings.
  • Unlimited transfers.
  • FDIC insured accounts.

Basic members pay $3 per month and save an average of $1,500 annually.

Complete members pay $6 per month, saving an average of $4,300.

As an added benefit, Complete members also get the Spending tools offered by Qapital. This includes a debit card, the Payday Divvy feature, and the Spending Sweet Spot feature. You also have access to Qapital Invest in this tier.

And finally, join the Master membership for $12 a month and see an average of $5,000 a year saved.

This plan comes with all of the features mentioned so far, as well as Money Missions and access to the latest and greatest features. These money missions turn saving money into a game. For example, one of these missions could be to "prep your meals for the week ahead."

Rules, Rules, Rules!

In a sea of user-friendly apps, there are a lot of steps to follow to make Qapital part of your life.

Their list of “rules” is meant to make saving and investing flexible and straightforward, but you have to take several actions to get them started.

Here is a partial list of saving “rules”:

  • The 52 Week Rule: Save $1 week 1, $2 week 2, etc. Do this every week for a year, and you can save $1,378.00
  • The Spend Less Rule: Funnels money towards your goals when you come in under your budget at a specified merchant.
  • Round-Up Rule: Every time you purchase with a linked account, Qapital will round up your purchase to a whole number, with the loose change sent to your goals account.
  • The Set & Forget Rule: You determine a set amount of money that goes towards your goals daily, weekly, or monthly.

"IFTTT" Rule

There is, however, an intelligent trigger for saving money called the “IFTTT” (If This Then That) rule.

This kicks in savings activity based on what’s happening on social media sites. For example, you can connect Qapital to several of your favorite social media outlets and reward, or punish yourself based on activity. For example, each time you like a video on YouTube, you can reward yourself by putting away a little extra cash.

Company info tells us Qapital employs behavioral science as an integral part of its foundation, making it enjoyable, rather than a dreaded chore, to save and invest without breaking a budget.

Can stay within a budget, spending wisely, and investing smartly be fun? We agree with Qapital and say absolutely it can be.

What Is Acorns?

Acorns is an online robo advisor that allows you to start your portfolio with spare change, actually activated by spending money.

When you buy those windshield wipers or frosted donuts or a day pass to the YMCA, the platform rounds up your purchases to the next dollar, then funnels it into your Acorns portfolio. Acorns offers 5 different investment portfolios that hold low fee index funds. These portfolios range from conservative for the faint of heart to aggressive for those who want to maximize risk and potential returns.

You can join for a monthly fee of $1 for Acorns Lite, the primary offering. If you want to unlock some additional features, like retirement accounts, you will need to upgrade to either the $3 or $5 per month plans. More on this later.

How Does Acorns Work?

Acorns Lite makes micro-investing possible for as little as one cent. Buy something for 99 cents, and Acorns will round it up to $1, with that extra coin tossed into your investment account.

This real loose change comes from any purchases made from a linked debit or credit card or even your PayPal wallet.

Once your round-ups total $5, the money will roll from your linked checking account into investments. There are no minimums and zero commission fees, and each investment is linked to your predetermined goals.

One key difference between Acorns and Qapital is that Acorns is an investing app. Qapital is a banking app, however, they also offer investing. Acorns does not give you the option to keep your money on the sidelines in a savings account. Instead, they invest that money.

Investing Your Savings

Talk about diversifying: Acorns Lite spreads your wealth around more than 7,000 stocks and bonds.

You speed up the process by making one-time investments from small savings. If you’re organized, you can schedule weekly or monthly transfers from your bank account into your Acorns investments.

Start by pondering your financial future, specifically, where you want to use all that newfound money. Acorns will ask you to choose among these options:

  1. Long term investment
  2. Short term investment
  3. Major purchase
  4. Children
  5. General

Acorns will settle you into one of 5 investment portfolios based on your “risk tolerance.” There is no individual stock purchasing or custom portfolios here. You have to pick one of the pre-built portfolios.

Other Useful Features

Acorns Earn is a long list of 350+ retail partners that will earmark an extra 5 to 10 percent of your transaction in cashback to your Acorns brokerage account. They include Dollar Shave Club, Groupon, Sephora, Nike, Warby Parker, and a whole long list of other cool places where you’re probably already shopping.

Acorns Spend, a debit card for a checking account with Acorns built-in, is a beneficial addition to the mix. The account has no minimum balance requirement, no overdraft fees, and unlimited free or fee-reimbursed ATMs nationwide.

But wait, there’s more! Acorns Later offers Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) recommended to you by experts, based on your goals, employment and income, then keep you posted on how you’re doing.

Jump into Acorns Grow, where you’ll have online access to a vast variety of tutorials and other educational content. This will help you grow your investment know-how and sound like one of the brilliant guys.

If you want to go all-in and sign up for Acorns Lite, Acorns Later, and Acorns Spend, it will cost you an astonishingly affordable $3 per month.

Investing for the Family

The $5 per month option is reserved for those who want to invest for their children. With Acorns Early, users can open up custodial accounts and begin investing early for their children. This account features everything included in the $3 option plus automatic investing for your child's custodial account. This could be a great option for families just starting to think about saving up for their children's education.

Qapital vs. Acorns: Closing Thoughts

Both Qapital and Acorns are offering a similar saving and investing type service to users. They are both empowering small investors and allowing them to get their feet wet with investing, without feeling the pain of saving!

At their cores, Qapital is a banking app while Acorns is an investing app. Qapital is designed to make goal-based saving as easy and painless as possible. For those who are interested, they do offer investing. Acorns is designed for not only saving money but also investing it for your long-term goals in one of their 5 portfolios.

Overall, we have to give the crown to Acorns for being less expensive.

While these fees seem small, it still means less of your hard-earned money is invested. We think you should keep your money where it belongs, in your investment account!

Not a fan of fees? Check out these fee-free investing apps.

Beyond that, these apps are offering very similar features. They both allow you to automatically save and invest your money. What it comes down to is the fees as well as the features offered by each. If you are solely looking to save money without investing, Qapital is going to be a better option. This is because this app is designed to do exactly that.

Acorns saves and invests your money, they do not offer strictly a savings account.

Article written by Jason Dolan

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