There’s a New Way To Invest Money: With Your Cell Phone Bill

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There’s a new corporate partnership that can help consumers get a boost in their efforts to save and invest.

If you’re a Cricket Wireless cell phone customer, you can sign up for Acorns and get a $10 bonus and $1 per month. And if you’re an Acorns customer, you can get a $20 Cricket bonus.

What Is Acorns?

Acorns, which I reviewed here, is an automated saving and micro-investing platform.

If you make a purchase from a checking account, credit card or debit card that’s linked to your Acorns account, the company will round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and set aside your change. Then Acorns invests that change in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

Customers can pick from three monthly membership tiers and choose between five portfolios that range from conservative to aggressive in terms of investment strategy.

Note though, that Acorns’ management and transfer fees are expensive, especially if you have limited funds in your account. For example, if you have a balance of $100 and you’re in the Personal tier ($36 per year), you’re paying a management fee of 36%.

What Is Cricket?

Cricket Wireless is one of the biggest names in prepaid cell phone service.

Money expert Clark Howard, a former Cricket customer, says the company’s typical rates are more expensive than low-cost carriers such as Straight Talk and Consumer Cellular. Cricket also sometimes restricts the speed of your data.

However, the company often offers deals. One long-running promotion: four lines of unlimited talk for $100 per month. Cricket also sometimes offers free phones.

What Are Acorns and Cricket Offering?

If you’re a current Cricket customer and you sign up for a new Acorns account, you’ll get a $10 bonus if you spend a minimum of $30 with Cricket and invest at least $5 in Acorns.

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Cricket will also invest $1 into your Acorns account for every month that you spend at least $30 on your cell phone service.

In addition, if you’re an Acorns customer and you sign up for a new Cricket account, you’ll get a $20 bonus.

Is This a Good Deal?

As I mentioned, Acorns’ management fee is expensive if you’re starting with $5 and adding some change a few times per week or month. The best robo-advisors charge between 0.25% and 0.40% per year.

Money expert Clark Howard also recommends saving and building an emergency fund prior to investing.

However, many people struggle to start saving and investing. If your budget is tight or you’re a procrastinator, Acorns could help get you into the habit. In that sense, it could be useful.

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