Micro Investing Apps: What Important Things Should You Know?

By Myles Leva


Last Updated: March 29, 2022


Stock investing was once thought of as an activity for the wealthy. In many ways, it was a much more exclusive activity than it is today. However, leveraging technology, many businesses have been able to democratize the investment space.

The old saying “it takes money to make money” does still have a lot of truth to it. However, recent developments have demonstrated how you can make a surprising amount of money by starting off with very little.

With consistent, small deposits, you can buy into the market through such things as ETFs and fractional shares. Even if you start small, such a process can make you thousands of dollars over the years.

This logic points towards the new trend of micro investing. In this article, we will cover:

  • What exactly micro investing is
  • How micro investing apps make it possible
  • Pros and cons of micro investing apps
  • Some practical tips in case you want to get started

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How Does Micro Investing Work?

Overall, it is meant for people who want to invest some of their savings even when they have very little saved.

It is tied closely to the tech framework that enables it, and there are a few crucial aspects. These are the things micro investing platforms enable you to do.



Micro investing platforms are applications that help their users save small sums of money every day. In this way, they serve the same purpose as a change jar.

The idea is that you save the change you make on your important regular purchases, like groceries. You save the change from such transactions by rounding up to the dollar, for example.

What this looks like in practice is that you sign up for a micro investing app, connect your debit card, and have what would normally be your change put into investing.

If you use your debit for groceries, you’re unlikely to notice $0.67 extra from a $19.33 transaction. However, as each transaction adds up, you build a small investment fund. You can view it as a tax that is paid to your future self, in theory.


Redirect Your Change To Investments

At some point, normally faster than you’d expect, you’ll have a sum of money that you can use to start seeing returns. Your “full jar of change” is then used to directly invest.

This idea was originally engineered by robo-advisor-based investment platforms. Unsurprisingly, the money collected is normally put towards investments like ETFs, which provide stable, comfortable returns with minimal risk.

Fractional shares are another investment that can be bought with a small investment account balance.

Often, the investing is done automatically, with the funds you automatically saved with your micro investing app. However, automatic investing isn’t necessary, and you can choose to maintain more control of your account with many platforms.


Why Do People Like Micro Investing?

Micro investing’s popularity can be viewed in the context of financial apps more broadly. Technology has made it easier for us to:

  • Save money
  • Track our financial habits
  • Become financially educated
  • Build a workable budget
  • Invest

In a way, micro investing is a logical extension of this trend. When you combine the power of automation, it makes sense that people would find it:

  • More accessible and thus more fair
  • Easy to get started with
  • Useful in building a better financial future on a low budget
  • Interesting

With financial products and services traditionally being harder to reach and benefit from, these kinds of services were bound to quickly grow in popularity.


Are Micro Investing Apps Worth It?

This is a matter of personal finances. If you have enough money to invest, you have many options, some of which may be far better than this option. However, you can start by comparing the pros and cons.


  • Low bar of entry: It allows anyone to get started investing with simple pocket change. Instruments like mutual funds are much further out of reach due to bars of entry like high minimum investments.
  • Diversification: Diversification is good for reducing overall risk to your portfolio. Micro investing enables you to invest in a diverse range of large-cap stocks and inherently diverse ETFs, making diversification a given.
  • Automation: Automatic depositing and investing make micro investing even more accessible, as it doesn’t even take much time.
  • Easily reinforced habits: Micro investing makes saving and investing as easy as they possibly could be.


  • You won’t achieve the most important goals: Micro investing is great if you’re not in a position to truly set and work towards important financial goals. However, it won’t cut it if you’re trying to build retirement savings, save for a new house, or something like that. If you’re young, you can afford riskier and more intensive investment strategies.
  • You just get spare change: Most finance experts suggest saving and investing 10% to 20% of your disposable income. This is primarily for retirement, but also for short-term emergency savings funds. Micro investing isn’t going to help much in this respect, either.
  • Fees: While it is a low-cost way to save and invest, micro investing apps normally charge monthly fees which cut into your savings. Their fees are normally flat and quite low, but if you’re not saving much through your debit card purchases, you’ll be left with truly meagre results.


What Are Some Micro Investing Apps?


Acorns is the pioneer of micro investing. As a robo-advisor (robo investing) platform, the company is no stranger to automation.

As a platform, Acorns charges reasonably low fees for the results they produce. It’s a talented company currently managing over $3 billion for over 8 million clients.


As the name suggests, Stash helps you build a stash of money. Their fees are also small, ranging from $3 to $9 per month, depending on your needs. They don’t charge fees for normal transfers, but charge a fee for instant transfers.



Micro investing is a young financial phenomenon defined by its accessibility. It simply makes it easier to save and invest. If you feel like you need to force yourself to start saving and investing, you may find micro investing apps very useful.

As the name suggests, it isn’t something that will solve your financial issues. If you are aiming for a better macro-financial future, you will need to take actions far beyond what micro investing enables.

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash


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