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Betterment is a fiduciary institution that provides robo-advising, personalized support from live agents and basic checking and savings accounts, depending on the plan you choose. It has prepackaged portfolios, including social impact portfolios and low-risk packages. It offers a satisfaction guarantee, which promises to waive all management fees for 90 days if you aren’t completely satisfied.
Pros & Cons
- Satisfaction guarantee
- No-fee checking and cash reserve
- Live advice with premium plans
- $100,000 minimum for premium plans
- Customer support not available 24/7
Betterment uses AI to provide personalized digital investment services that keep costs low and maximizes earnings based on each investor’s goals. It offers live advice from CFPs with premium plans.
I absolutely love Betterment and the automatic investing services they provide at a very low fee. Their website is extremely user friendly and you can make changes or withdraw you...Read full review
I've used a few different investment firms, some of the usual suspects that have been decent such as Fidelity but Betterment is by far & away the best place for my money. I only w...Read full review
What is Betterment?
Betterment is a fiduciary company that uses AI-based technology to make investment and financial recommendations and help customers earn more on those investments. It offers strategies to help users save for retirement, major purchases and education. The company’s technology also provides strategies for general investing and trusts.
Depending on your individual needs, Betterment portfolios are purpose-built to help you earn more and achieve your goals. When you sign up, indicate how much you want to save and by when. Betterment will use its AI technology to generate recommendations based on your goals.
For example, for customers who want to save long-term for retirement, Betterment might recommend a 90/10 stock/bond ratio. For customers who want to save for a kitchen renovation, the ratio would be 50/50. Betterment provides personalized digital investment advice.
How does Betterment work?
The Betterment platform is designed to help you build wealth by diversifying investments in the entire market. Customize a portfolio based on time horizon, risk tolerance and other factors. You can review any investment strategy’s historical performance before selecting it and monitor its performance in relation to individual goals.
- The Betterment Core Portfolio focuses on low-cost, tax-efficient ETFs.
- The Goldman Sachs Smart Beta Portfolio aims to outperform market-capitalization portfolios with ETFs.
- Socially responsible portfolio options include Broad Impact, Climate Impact and Social Impact.
- Lower-risk all-cash or all-bond options include Betterment Cash and BlackRock Target Income.
- Flexible Portfolio options allow investors to adjust the weight of asset classes or choose not to invest in certain geographies or bond classes.
In general, if your goal is short-term, Betterment will recommend a more conservative portfolio. For long-term investing, it’ll advise a more aggressive portfolio with higher volatility. Clients can have multiple portfolios and strategies.
Betterment has multiple pricing plans, from fee-free plans to 0.4% annual fees.
- The no-fee plan costs $0 in fees and requires $0 in a minimum balance. This account includes a checking account, a cash reserve and planning tool services. Because this plan is purely digital, it doesn’t require any fees.
- The 0.25% annual fee plan costs around $2.50 per year for every $1,000 in your account and has a $0 minimum balance. This plan allows for digital investing in any of the company’s portfolios or available accounts and gives users access to features like portfolio rebalancing and advanced tax strategies. It also includes all features in the no-fee plan.
- The 0.4% annual fee plan costs around $400 per year for every $100,000 and has a $100,000 minimum balance. This plan provides all the features and account access of the no-fee and the 0.25% fee plan but also includes unlimited correspondence with Certified Financial Planners. These CFP professionals can give in-depth, personalized advice.
Where is Betterment available?
Betterment is an online company with services available throughout the U.S. Its checking accounts are accessible through ATMs and include reimbursement of fees.
Is Betterment a good investment?
Investments made with Betterment carry the same risks you can expect from any other comparable portfolios: Any investment could lose value over time. The company’s savings account does have a higher APY than other similar banking products. It’s a fiduciary, which means it’s required to act in the customer’s best interest. Betterment is registered with the SEC and is a member of FINRA.
Does Betterment offer traditional banking services?
Betterment offers a savings account and a checking account only for its clients. 401(k) plans are also available. The company is not a bank, however.
Does Betterment have in-person services?
Betterment operates online and does not have in-person services. For customers who opt in to the premium plan, telephone advice is available from a CFP. Customer service is available for account holders by phone.
Is Betterment safe?
Yes. Betterment is a fiduciary company that’s registered with the SEC and a member of the FINRA. It hires Certified Financial Planners to give advice. While investments could lose value over time — a risk with all investing — funds in Betterment accounts are protected by SIPC in case of emergencies. Its checking accounts are FDIC-insured, and the company offers a satisfaction guarantee.
For customers who want to manage banking and investing in one place, Betterment offers checking and savings accounts along with investment portfolios. Investors who want to keep costs low by choosing a robo-advisor can trust Betterment as a fiduciary. Those who want personal attention from an advisor in person can choose Betterment’s premium plan for unlimited advice from a CFP, though this service requires a minimum investment of $100,000.
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Reviewed July 19, 2023
They make it super easy to deposit but if you need human help, good luck. They locked my account from me after I shared how their system made an error and made multiple deposits from my bank account. Be very careful as their platform has obvious errors and can easily leave your bank account overdrawn! No joke, their system drained my bank account and has been a nightmare to correct. Thank goodness for my bank as they pulled my money back from Betterment. So, Betterment locked me out of my account with an email. Can't talk to a human to fix it but only through email. Be very cautious with this company and their platform. Feels like a third world country in trying to work and resolve their issues with them. Very disappointed.
Reviewed July 3, 2023
I opened a Betterment Account because of how many great reviews they received. They must be pure fiction. They stole more than $250 from me and won't give it back. They say they put it back in my account but my account is gone. I just want my money back and my account closed but they refuse. Beware thieves.
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Reviewed March 17, 2023
Betterment has the absolute worst customer service of any company I’ve dealt with. They make it very difficult to manage individual account funds and it’s nearly impossible to get a live agent to speak with. They seem to be able to provide services with smaller fees but you end up paying more in the long run. Do yourself and employees a favor and take your investments to Vanguard. They actually answer the phone and help you.
Updated review: Feb. 8, 2023
Resolved in a timely manner!
Original Review: Jan. 21, 2023
When my Makara account was being liquidated into cash reserve at Betterment, because Betterment acquired Makara, they stole 2/3 of my money. And they are trying to brush me off with explanations of a market drop. The market did not drop 75% in one day. My funds were stolen during the transfer. Be Warned of them stealing money! If anyone of you have experienced the same thing, please LMK so we can do an investigation into their practice together.
Reviewed Jan. 18, 2023
If there is something you need done that involves customer service, it is hell. It takes weeks of effort. I am on day 12 of my current issue; the last one took six weeks to fully resolve. It is infuriated, it wastes a lot of my time, and it is just not worth it in the long run. I get similar or even slightly better returns elsewhere.
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2022
I run a small business and have been trying to set up our 401K with Betterment for a couple months now. The sales process was as smooth as butter. And then they sent over, as expected, extensive plan documents for us to sign before we begin. Some of the details we communicated about our plan design seem to be inaccurate. Others are inconsistent within the document. Mistakes happen, though, no big deal; that's something we can discuss and correct. But there are also parts of the 145 page document that just aren't clear to me, so I'd love if someone at Betterment would clarify how these specific terms play out. So I called. And called. And called.
They offer a support line for onboarding, but as far as I can tell the people who are supposed to answer it largely do not. I have spend hours listening to hold music while told I am "the next caller in line." Every 7 minutes, I'm kicked to voicemail and call back. Same deal. Still first in line. And still no answer. So, I've left voicemails and emailed to request to talk. I've received multiple responses from a CS agent who has effectively deflected my requests to get on a call and went from insisting I email all questions (which just isn't possible given their nature) to telling me that actually I should talk to sales rather than customer support. I've talked to sales. I've signed an agreement with Betterment. These are not sales questions. At the moment, I actually can't recall any customer service experience in my life that has been worse. Shocking.
Reviewed Dec. 7, 2022
After requesting funds to be withdrawn, I received a email that I needed to call to state the reason for my withdrawal. After calling, I still haven’t received my money in over a week. I initiated multiple transfers to close all my accounts after that experience and only one smaller transfer was completed after a week. I once again called after the week passed and still have not received my funds. They do not honor their published 3-5 days to return your funds. You should not have to call with a reason for withdrawing your funds nor have to face these kind of delays when other online banks transfer in 1-3 days. Beware!
Reviewed July 11, 2022
I was very happy, overall, with Betterment when I was using them for my IRAs and investments. However, after opening a checking account with them, I've had some rather major issues. Betterment Financial LLC manages your account, but they aren't the bank, NBKC Bank is the actual bank. That said, you can't contact NBKC Bank, as you're a Betterment customer, but then Betterment can't always assist you either because they aren't the bank. You get stuck in a weird limbo.
Betterment doesn't allow customers to speak to anyone in management, it's all filtered through customer service representatives to have authority to do nothing. If the customer service rep decides they don't want to talk anymore, they literally just hang-up on you. Other than that, when you're trying to spend your money, you have to use their app to select which account you want to use and then wait an hour for them to link your card to that account, it's ridiculous. The positives are that their website is nice, and the mobile app loads your information quickly, otherwise, they're difficult to use or work with.
Reviewed May 27, 2022
Based on available reviews, price, and great experience with sales person we moved our 401k over to Betterment. Unfortunately, the entire onboarding and support system has been horrible. No onboarding meetings to review next steps, requirements, or follow up. Their "policy" is to respond to phone calls and emails within 3 business days. Their website onboarding dates do not update based on real time status or information provided. Unless you press for updates you won't hear back from them and the dates won't change. They wait until the last minute to make requests for more information, leave the employer with little to no time to request info from previous provider. Overall, If you transfer providers or at least want decent support I'd suggest other companies first, look at Human Interest, Guideline, ShareBuilder, ForUsAll, or one of the more traditional options.
Reviewed Jan. 12, 2022
I have been investing in a Roth IRA with Betterment for the past few months. Yesterday my account was suspended for suspected fraud along with several other customers--based on what I'm seeing in online forums. Customer service was extremely difficult to reach. Email notices were sent out after customer support hours, which are very limited for a financial institution. When I was able to speak to someone they acknowledged they didn't see any reason why my account should be suspended but that it was uncertain what would be required to reactivate it?! They also asked me to write a statement as to why I logged into my own account so frequently over the past few weeks. I will be moving my funds out of this business as soon as my account is reactivated but based on other reviews here and elsewhere I anticipate more trouble in ending my relationship with this company.
Betterment Company Information
- Company Name:
- 61 W. 23rd Street, 5th Floor
- New York
- Postal Code:
- United States
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