Finance Dollars & Sense Micro-investing apps are opening up financial markets. Here’s what you need to know
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Micro-investing apps are opening up financial markets. Here’s what you need to know

micro-investing
Micro-investing apps are opening up financial markets to people with less capital to invest. Photo: Getty
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The interest you’re earning on the cash in your savings account is paltry, but you don’t have the time or confidence to investigate buying individual shares.

This is where micro-investing could be a useful way to dip your toe into the sharemarket, without needing a huge amount of cash or time to get started.

Micro-investing apps allow you to invest small amounts of money in shares through lump-sum contributions or recurring investments.

You can get started with just $1, while the minimum share purchase through an online CommSec share trading account, for example, is $500.

Financial educator Lacey Filipich said micro-investing was a good place to start for people who are new to investing because there is no barrier to entry.

But it is important to be aware of the ongoing fees tied to micro-investing apps, which will diminish your returns.

“If you have enough capital, you wouldn’t choose micro-investing,” Ms Filipich said.

“Those fees eat away at your growth so you are going to get more of that growth in your pocket if you buy the share directly.

“Where it is great is for people who struggle to save up, say $500, or don’t really feel confident about the process to buy shares themselves.”

The main micro-investing apps in Australia – Raiz Invest, Spaceship Voyager and newcomer Sharesies – each work differently and have varying fee structures.

Ms Filipich said there was no one-size-fits-all micro-investing option.

“It really is a choose-your-own-adventure story here,” she said.

“There is no right or wrong – it is about what works best for you, what your preferences are, and every person is different.”

Raiz Invest

Money in Raiz accounts is invested in a mix of exchange-traded-funds depending on which of the six investment options you choose, ranging from low to high risk and including an ethical investment option.

You need $5 to open an account and you can choose to either make lump-sum deposits, recurring investments or use the round-up option, which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and then transfers this to your Raiz account once the round-ups hit a set amount.

Accounts with balances of less than $15,000 have a $3.50 monthly fee, while accounts with more than $15,000 have a 0.275 per cent annual fee.

Spaceship Voyager

Spaceship does not invest in ETFs, but investment managers buy individual stocks for each of its managed funds.

There are three investment options to choose from: High-risk options Spaceship Universe (with a focus on growth companies like Tesla and Spotify) and Spaceship Origin (some of the world’s largest companies like Apple and Amazon), and Spaceship Earth (companies with a positive impact on the planet).

Spaceship investors can either make recurring or lump-sum deposits into their account but there is no round-up option.

Starting from November 2021, Spaceship customers with balances of more than $100 will be charged a monthly $2.50 fee.

Currently, Spaceship balances under $5,000 have no fees, while balances above $5000 are charged a 0.05 per cent or 0.10 per cent annual fee, depending on the portfolio.

Sharesies

Entering the Australian sharemarket earlier this year, new kid on the block Sharesies allows investors to choose individual stocks, or buy part of individual stocks; so this option could be the right one for you if having that choice appeals to you.

Investors can choose from almost 8000 companies and ETFs across Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Investors are charged a 0.5 per cent brokerage fee on amounts up to $3000 and 0.1 per cent on amounts more than $3000.