Investing can be intimidating, but despite all the hype, new and innovative ways to save and grow your money are hitting the app stores with surprising speed. Whether you want to play the cryptocurrency market or invest some spare change for the long term, here are five innovative alternative finance apps that we love.
Acorns is so simple, you’ll wonder why it’s not standard. Just sign up for the service, link your cards to it, and every time you buy something, the service rounds up your purchases. So, if you buy something for $1.50, it rounds it up to $2 and invests the two quarters for you in a mutual fund. It’s dead easy, especially if you use your cards for everything, and as the app says, every mighty oak starts with an acorn.
The one downside? Make sure you’re on top of your credit cards, because those extra pennies total up fast on your bill, too.
Stash is a similarly painless investing app that lets you start with $5 and pick from a host of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, essentially baskets of stocks themed around a specific idea. If you want to invest in companies who don’t contribute to climate change, for example, you can find it there. It also usefully describes ETFs that can be intimidating to invest in. Instead of trying to decipher how to invest in Berkshire Hathaway, for example, you can just invest in Roll With Buffett.
That said, it’d be nice if it were clearer which companies you’re investing in, and the option to assemble your own ETF with fellow investors would be a nice, if difficult to implement, option.
Think of Qapital as your piggy bank for saving for that trip or that concert. Just set a goal, some “savings rules” to put money in your account (which can be anything from matching your coffee purchase to a weekly deposit) and the app handles the rest. Still, make sure you’ve got a budget first, or you might get taken by surprise by how little is in your account.
Blockfolio is a straightforward way to track and invest in cryptocurrency, not just Bitcoin but the host of other currencies out there. Especially if you’re a casual, careful investor, it’ll be ideal to monitor what you’re putting in, and pull it out when you most need it.
HOWEVER (and this is a big asterisk): No app can substitute for knowing what you invest in, so please be mindful about wherre you put money.
Robinhood is an app to get started investing in individual stocks. If you’re fairly confident in your stock game, this app makes it easy and, more importantly, cost-effective to do so on a small scale, with no fees or charges and the option to upgrade your account if you get really into it. While you should be careful with any investment, this is probably the best way to learn about the stock market without paying a fortune up front.
What’s your favorite take on finance in app form? Let us know in the comments!