Micro-investing apps vs savings accounts

Micro-investing apps make investing easy, you link your internet banking login details to the app, set up a savings/investment plan and watch your money grow, or not. With savings rates low, they market themselves as alternatives to savings accounts and term deposits for millennial savers.

Spaceship CEO Andrew Moore said in August that Spaceship wanted to change the “whole customer experience associated with investments and superannuation.”

48,000 young Aussies had downloaded the app and created a Spaceship Voyager account said Mr Moore. The overwhelming majority of Spaceship members are aged under 40, the millennial generation.

“Spaceship is intently focused on its core purpose of enabling young working Australians to invest in their future,” said Andrew Moore, “by giving them engaging and innovative products to help them build their wealth.

“The success of these products underscores the strong demand from younger Australians for accessible, easy-to-understand investment and superannuation products.”

Comparing Raiz, Spaceship, Pocket and FirstStep

Savers with their money deposited at the big four banks are struggling to beat inflation. These are the rates for the four incentive saver accounts now on offer from the big four banks. Note this table has rates for balances under $50,000, current at 30 October 2019.

Westpac, NAB, ANZ, CBA

The best savings account rates in the market right now are from neobanks and smaller institutions.

“Savers need to be active in managing their money,” said Vadim Taube, CEO of leading Australian financial comparison site InfoChoice.com.au, “If they don’t want it to lose value over time.”

“If your money is in a savings account, you need to ensure that you are getting the maximum bonus rate by understanding the rules of the account.

 “Savers can still get a reasonable rate above inflation by comparing.”

This table is six top ongoing incentive savings accounts now listed on InfoChoice.

BOQ, Greater Bank, 86400, Bank Australia, UP, ME, UBank

Term deposit rates from banks are also low.

“Term deposit investors need to be active and seek out special offers and be prepared to move their cash to other institutions,” said Vadim Taube.

This table contains three top term deposit rates now listed on InfoChoice in the popular 6, 12 and 24-month terms.

Top term deposit rates on InfoChoice 30/10/2019

6 Months12 Months2 Years
Judo Bank 2.10%Judo Bank 2.05%Judo Bank 2.05%
Bank of Sydney 1.90% Bank of Sydney 1.90%Arab Bank 1.90%
Rabobank 1.85%Citi 1.80%Transport CU 1.85%

What returns can I get from Raiz, Spaceship, Pocket and FirstStep?

Micro-investing apps suggest their rates of return or unit price growth will be much greater than a savings account. Certainly, the unit price growth charts in the apps look positive.

Spaceship’s Universe portfolio has good returns over 12 months but flat returns in unit price growth over the last 6 months.

Raiz has revamped the Raiz app and says its returns have been well in excess of savings account returns over the last three years.

Our investment in CommSec Pocket’s Sustainability Fund is down 0.58 per cent since we started it two months ago, so nothing is guaranteed. An important thing to note about Pocket is that unlike the other micro-investing apps, you get to own real shares in actual listed ETFs, which go up and down.

If that’s too complicated, 200,000 Australians use Raiz, previously known as Acorns, which ‘rounds up’ spare change from transactions and transfers it to a Raiz account. Raiz accounts are units in Exchange Traded Funds, not actual shares. Raiz

What are the fees charged by Raiz, Spaceship, Pocket and FirstStep?

Raiz charges $30 / year (up to $10,000) and is a spending tool as well, featuring links and listings from retailers.

Spaceship Voyager fees are 0.10% per year on your balance over $5,000, so free to get started. CommSec Pocket charges $2 per transaction, which is every fortnight if you set up a regular ‘savings’ plan.

FirstStep has more services and three ETF based options – growth, balanced and defensive for fees of $1.25 per month and up.

Compare investment brokers, term deposits and savings accounts at InfoChoice.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

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