CNBC calls Acorns “the new millennial investing strategy.” Once you connect the app to a debit or credit card, it rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and funnels your digital change into an investment account. With the app, you’ll start small and stack up change over time with the Acorns “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $15.25 on your connected debit or credit card, for example, 75 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account and gets invested.
What’s the catch? None, really. Cash back apps act as affiliates for many online merchants, which means that whenever you make a purchase through one of the apps, they get a small commission — but then, they give you a portion of that commission as “cash back”. For example, if I buy a pair of Nike shoes through the Ebates app (or website) and spend $75, Ebates may get a $10 commission but then they’ll pass $7 back to me. It’s basically a way to get sale prices on stuff that isn’t on sale!