Wealthfront

Wealthfront

 4.0/5 (392 ratings)
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Written by Lorraine Roberte
Edited by Vincent Landino

About Wealthfront

This profile has not been claimed by the company. See reviews below to learn more or submit your own review.

Wealthfront builds a personalized portfolio for each client, and then it lets its automated system take over, making trades and diversifying and rebalancing investments as the market moves. It also offers a tax-loss harvesting (TLH) program to boost after-tax returns, cash accounts for banking services and lines of credit for qualifying borrowers.

Overall Satisfaction Rating

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Pros

  • Low 0.25% annual advisory fee
  • 1.8% average TLH benefit
  • Cash accounts are FDIC-insured

Cons

  • Need $25,000+ invested to borrow
  • No support for custodial accounts

Bottom Line

Wealthfront’s automated approach to investing is easy for beginners, and it keeps costs relatively low. You may give up some control and investment options as a trade-off, though.

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified

The service is pretty accurate and I received pretty much what I expected from this company. I would highly recommend it to family and friends who are looking for investments. The...

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified

Whenever I have questions that need to be answered on the phone I always receive high quality service. They are very nice and polite. They have always been able to answer all of m...

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What is Wealthfront?

Wealthfront is an investment advisory firm that also offers banking and lending services. To be more specific, Wealthfront is commonly categorized as a robo-advisor because much of its investment advice is automated.

It’s also worth pointing out that, even though it offers banking services, Wealthfront is not technically a bank. Its Cash Accounts are possible because of its partnership with Green Dot Bank and other banks.

Wealthfront products

Wealthfront’s products mostly fall into the following main categories:

Wealthfront offers automated investing services to build and manage your investment portfolio. The company supports multiple types of investment accounts:
  • Taxable brokerage accounts: Individual, joint and trust accounts for general long-term investing
  • Retirement accounts: Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP (simplified employee pension) IRAs and 401(k) rollovers
  • College savings accounts: 529 college savings plan accounts

Wealthfront also has a tax-loss harvesting program, where you receive a tax deduction by selling losing investments after dips in the market. This program does the following:

  • Automatically identifies tax-loss opportunities daily
  • Reinvests and rebalances your portfolio
  • Adds an average 1.8% extra to your after-tax return
  • Can lower your ordinary income tax up to $3,000 annually
Because Wealthfront is not a bank, it has to partner with banks to offer banking services in the form of Cash Accounts. Wealthfront’s Cash Accounts offer:
  • The ability to pay bills, deposit checks and get direct deposits
  • No account fees, overdraft fees or transfer fees
  • Access to over 19,000 free ATMs
  • Instant transfers to your investment portfolio
If you have an investment account with at least $25,000, you may have access to Wealthfront’s credit service. With a Portfolio Line of Credit, you can borrow up to 30% of your portfolio value (up to a maximum of $1.5 million).

How does Wealthfront work?

To get started with Wealthfront, you’ll open either a cash or investment account.

If you’re investing, you’ll be asked to fill out a short questionnaire so that Wealthfront can build your recommended portfolio and determine your risk score.

Wealthfront then chooses ETFs (exchange-traded funds) for your recommended portfolio, and the ETF information is presented on your investment plan page. You can continue with that initial investment plan or edit your portfolio to match your interests. Some popular investment categories Wealthfront offers include:

  • Cryptocurrency trusts: Invest in digital currency using your brokerage or retirement account.
  • Tech/innovation ETFs: Invest in companies leading tech industry advancements.
  • Socially responsible ETFs: Invest in sustainability-focused companies.
  • U.S. stock ETFs: Invest in companies based in the U.S.
  • Bond ETFs: Invest in fixed-income investments, such as treasury bills and municipal bonds.
  • Foreign/emerging market ETFs: Invest in developing stocks and bonds outside of the U.S.
  • Sector ETFs: Invest in specific industries, such as tech or health care.
  • Investing strategy ETFs: Invest using common strategies, such as dividend or value investing.
  • Commodity ETFs: Invest in specific assets, like metals or oil.
  • Global stock ETFs: Invest in assets spanning beyond the U.S.

Once you’ve determined your investment plan, you can fund your account with ACH (automated clearing house) bank transfers, rollovers or wire transfers. A 529 savings plan can also be funded by checks. Wealthfront requires a minimum of $500 for an investment account.

With the account funded, Wealthfront automatically trades and rebalances your investments as necessary.

You can also open a Wealthfront cash account to use the company’s banking services, such as depositing your paycheck and paying bills, and you can set up automated savings to fund goals like a vacation or a down payment. Additional cash can roll over into your investment account.

Wealthfront fees

Wealthfront charges an annual fee of 0.25% for its advisory services. That means if Wealthfront manages $25,000 worth of your investments, you’ll pay $62.50 per year or roughly $5.31 each month, according to Wealthfront’s cost calculator.

There are no fees to get a Wealthfront cash account, but there are possible transaction fees, including:

  • Out-of-network ATM fees of $2.50 plus the ATM owner’s fee
  • Bank teller fees of $2.50 plus the teller’s fee
  • International transaction fees of 2.75%
  • Fees for cash deposits at retailers up to $5.95

Wealthfront FAQ

Does Wealthfront have account minimums?
Wealthfront account minimums vary depending on the type of account and service in question:
  • Wealthfront cash accounts have a $1 minimum.
  • Investment accounts have a minimum of $500.
  • If you want to use Wealthfront’s stock-level tax-loss harvesting service, you need a minimum of $100,000 in your account.
What are Wealthfront’s eligibility requirements?
Wealthfront is open to anyone 18 years old or older with a U.S. Social Security number, a permanent U.S. address and a U.S. phone number.
What should my Wealthfront risk tolerance be?
Investment risk tolerance is largely a personal decision that depends on your goals and other facets of your financial situation. A tolerable risk level for a young investor with few assets may not be right for someone nearing retirement.

For context, Wealthfront can build portfolios personalized to your risk tolerance, which is scored between 0.5 and 10.0. You can use the example portfolio on Wealthfront’s website to get an idea of what your portfolio would look like with different risk scores.

Is Wealthfront safe?
It depends on what you mean:
  • Wealthfront claims over 470,000 people have used its platform, and it manages over $27 billion in assets, so it’s fairly established as an investment firm.
  • Wealthfront cash accounts are FDIC-insured up to $1 million, and they come with security features like active fraud monitoring, two-factor verification, app-specific passwords and the ability to lock your debit card.
  • Wealthfront has bank-level security to keep linked bank or brokerage accounts safe.

However, all investments have risk, and Wealthfront’s portfolios are no exception.

Is Wealthfront FDIC-insured?
Wealthfront’s Cash Accounts are insured for up to $1 million by the FDIC because it works with multiple partner banks. Wealthfront itself is not a member of the FDIC, though.

Is Wealthfront worth it?

Wealthfront is a good option if you’re looking for a hands-off investing platform, and its 0.25% advisory fee is lower than what you’ll pay with many traditional investment firms and even some robo-advisors. However, whether an investment platform is ultimately worth it depends on what returns you get. All investments have risk, so it’s impossible to say for sure whether you’ll come out ahead with any advisor.

To decide if Wealthfront is right for you, evaluate your options, learn about the market and make an educated decision about where and how you want to invest.

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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 4 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Oct. 22, 2021

Signing up & setting up my bank info was super easy. The min to start an account is only $500, which is a very affordable way to begin an investment account. If you want to deposit & then be hands off, this account is perfect. It does say in the informational materials, tho, that you can choose your own stocks. I signed up with some specific stocks in mind. I have been on the site a couple of times trying to figure out how to customize my account but have not been able to figure it out. If the information is there, it is buried. For that reason, I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5.

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 17, 2021

I have had a problem with sending a check in July. The check was suppose to be delivered on July 29, but I never received it (today's date: 8/17/21). I contacted Wealthfront in the first few days in August for them to be aware of the issue in order to reach a resolution. I've been speaking to a Wealthfront employee (through email) about the issue for the last three weeks and was constantly told that there is no update regarding my issue. I have always been the one reaching out to Wealthfront. At no time did Wealthfront voluntarily reach out to me. I feel that I have been 'reminding' Wealthfront to give me updates through email but I never received any updates without asking.

In order to gain another update to ensure something was being done, I've called two times in the three weeks all with the responses "there's nothing to be done now" and "there isn't any updates." I understand that it takes around 10 business days to have the funds returned to me, but it has been greater than 10, with no update by Wealthfront. I asked to speak to a manager but they said to email. Wealthfront does not necessarily handle customer service over the phone (this has major negative aspects alone, as you cannot speak to a manager over the phone if the representative can't handle the issue himself).

I need Wealthfront to communicate a plan of action and email updates to me as to how this issue is being handled. To benefit the customer, Wealthfront needs to have far better customer service. In my perspective, I can only assume nothing is being done as evidenced by having "no updates" for the past three weeks. I want Wealthfront to handle the situation and resolve the check issue and return the money ($$$) that was withdrawn from my account. It is not enough to tell a customer there is "no update" for three weeks. I never leave reviews because I'm not that type of individual but, In all due respect, I love everything else about the company and its product. However, this is a major issue for which I might consider a different company to handle my hard-earned money.

10 people found this review helpful

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Dec. 24, 2020

    I was a customer for a little over a year and for the most part the experience was neither great nor terrible, until today. I received a slew of emails saying thanks for scheduling a transfer and when I went to look as I did not schedule them found my account was locked. I emailed support, because they never answer the phone, and received a response that they have decided to terminate my account because I was “abusive” in a communication with them and threatened legal action because they wouldn’t release my funds in a previous request.

    Danny, I guess the only person who works there, stated they had sent my funds back to an account at another financial institution, the one I left to move to Wealthfront, which has been closed for over three months. No notice, no options and just a generic response stating that I should reference their terms of service. All of this on Christmas Eve and while I’ve been battling against identity theft for the last 6 months! Fair warning, read the fine print and don’t expect any type of customer service or support.

    17 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
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    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 21, 2020

    I noticed another customer who had a horrible experience with Wealthfront (Iori **) and wanted to share my own experiences with the bank, and particularly Iori. To provide a background, I had a cash only (savings account) with Wealthfront since 2019. At one point in time, when the interest rate was high, I parked my "down payment" money into the account, and over time, I have moved some of the money outside for investment opportunities. I had no issues in the past doing so. However, some 2 weeks ago, I transferred in some cash into the account and tried to transfer half of it out a week after to buy some stocks. Wealthfront kept scheduling this and cancelling my request for no reason (the bank account I was transferring from/to) were both previously used accounts.

    I called the customer service, and I have countable number of times in my life received such a horrible customer service. I asked the banker/rep for the reason my transfer was being denied, and they would not answer. I asked them when I can access my money (it's savings account FDIC insured), and they had no answer. They said it was being done for security reasons. I asked them to verify my identity and schedule a transfer. At this point, I was pretty sure that Wealthfront did something with my money, and the bank was down. In a panic mode, I asked the lady if I could also record her stating that the bank is unwilling to transfer my money. She hung up the phone (expected that). Spoke to another customer service rep, and he did not have an answer. He did however ask me to convert my savings into cash (checking) and that would make the process easier. I did so, and it got approved.

    Later that day, I received an email from Iori and he told me that the bank has terminated my agreement and will be transferring my funds into the bank it came from, and not to call the bank anymore (it was evening). Having told several people at Wealthfront that I had closed my other bank (and was trying to consolidate my finances), Iori kept on trying to transfer the funds into a closed account and told me to contact the other bank. When the email was sent, it was late in the evening, and I asked Iori not to initiate the transfer, and that I had cancelled the transfer. He then goes and blocks my online access, and told me not to call the bank. Exact words were "We see that you called in this morning as well. As mentioned previously, do not attempt to call us again. Doing so will result in an immediate end of the call".

    A bank, that has my money (1 year worth of saved salary to be precise), wants to transfer my funds into an account that I told them is closed, and have repeatedly asked me not to. I am soon in the process of filing an official complaint with anyone I can, including with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). I see that several of you had similar experiences as mine, and I will be happy to collaborate. The name of the customer service rep is Iori Omura, and seems to have CFP Board (CFP) certification, FINRA Series 7, 63, 65, and 24 certificates, and I will be filing a complaint about his "manhandling of my finances" and not giving access to my own funds. If he had no trouble breaking the law, I can only imagine the kind of access (identity) he has about his customers, and what his ethics are.

    29 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
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    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: June 11, 2020

    I tried downloading my 1099 onto my iPad. I was previously able to open it sporadically, but now I get an error message every time. They say I have to download it onto a desktop or laptop. That has not been the case in the previous three years, nor does it explain why I was able to sporadically download it this year. They say they “can’t” mail it because the agreement specifies that they won’t mail it. It seems they should get with the 21st century and make it downloadable on an iPad if they won’t mail it.

    I spoke on the phone with a very courteous woman. She maintained that they can’t mail it, but when I pointed out that they have an obligation to fulfill their end of the agreement, she said that she would reach out to another department to see what they could do. After reading other complaints, I am not hopeful. If they can’t resolve this, I have no faith in them and will withdraw my money. If I get the same problems getting my money as others have, they’ll be sued and need to pay my legal fees.

    4 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: March 18, 2020

    I will file a complaint about WealthFront’s business practices at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). I talked with CFPB today; they told me that if more people file a complaint, they would make a case out of it, and can force the company act. Below please find my story: I opened a Wealthfront account about e years ago, and until last Friday I have not tried to withdraw money. Since they invest with ETFs, I always thought that I would be able to withdraw my money anytime I like. That was a big mistake.

    I initiated a liquidation, and a risk score reduction order on Friday March 16, 2020 before the market close since it was a day when markets finally increased. I called them to confirm, and they told me that they executed neither. Then I asked them to cancel the orders (because I thought Monday would not be favorable). They said they cannot do it, the orders would go on Monday. How come they cannot stop an internal order? On Monday (the worst day in financial history since October 19, 1987), they liquidated my portfolio at super depressed prices. I checked each individual transaction: They sold everything almost at the bottom intraday. About 90% of the time during March 16, the security prices were above their sale price. How can this be? What determines their liquidation algorithm?

    I ask about these on several emails since March 16; they never answered me. I called them about my emails, they never answered me properly: they never gave me details when and how my portfolio would be liquidated, what determines the timing and amount etc. They were indifferent to hostile in general. They kept saying "send us an email" as if anyone answers those emails. In my latest call today, they simply hang up on my face.

    Since Friday I am trying to get my money back. They do not say when they will return my savings. Nothing is certain at that company, everything is “it depends, ago decides that etc…” Since then I warned all my friends who have accounts with Wealthfront, and all started to liquidate. My worry right now is whether they actually have the money to pay us, or they are just a nice User Interface that shows financial graphs. I will write here again if I am able get the money back.

    72 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 24, 2020

    I made the horrible mistake, the worst financial decision of my life transferring money to Wealthfront. No one works there, seriously. There's one help line that is manned by snarky women who act put out that you've called for help. They keep telling you ways to do it online even when you try to tell them you've tried--for MONTHS! They're dismissive and try to get you off the phone. Worst of all when I tried to move some of my money to my bank they said they didn't believe it was me and I had to call them. When I called they asked me questions to verify who I was that had NOTHING to do with me! Therefore I couldn't verify who I was to them and they won't give me my money. Seriously! I'm still trying to get not just a portion of my money from them but ALL of it at this point. I'm stunned that they have my money and won't give me access to it! I'm rattled and spooked by it. Still trying to get my money from them.

    51 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    profile pic of the author
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Dec. 29, 2019

    We're closing our Wealthfront accounts after a horrible experience with "iori" from Wealthfront Client Services. Iori was dismissive and patronizing to my wife, and flatly refused to assist with a minor request. It was disconcerting. I read the email exchange and thought we'd better get our money out before we ever need them for anything important. Definitely not a company you can count on to be decent. Not worth it considering their investment products are just average.

    44 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 2 stars
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    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Sept. 23, 2019

    I put a significantly large amount of money into the Platinum Money Market Account, hoping to take advantage of the highest interest rates possible in the market. 2.57% was soon reduced to 2.32% after the Fed lowered their rates .25%. Two months later, the Fed lowered interest rates again by .25%, and within minutes, Wealthfront Platinum Money Market Account is 2.07%. As of this writing today, Vanguard is 2.11%, Citi Accelerate Account is 2.21% and BOM Harris Bank is 2.32%, which may still be reduced in the days ahead.

    My point is this- Wealthfront was paying nearly the highest rates in the industry, and a couple of months later, they are paying some of the lowest rates in this market. Save me the discussion of the Fed reducing their rates, yada, yada, yada. If you are going to lead, you better LEAD. If not, you look a lot like a bait and switch company, which leaves a bad taste in the customer's mouth.

    Final thought: Be wary of your ability to take money out of Wealthfront. They limit you to $250K per day, so if you have a large deposit of cash in that account, it may take you weeks to remove it. I never really understood WHY they have this restriction, unless it is to make it very hard for customers to remove their money. They accepted my incoming wire transfer for millions with no problem, yet upon removal, they want to limit you to a small amount. Buyer beware!

    45 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 3 stars
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    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 9, 2019

    My investments did reasonably well, and the money market cash account is one of the best available at this point. However, the customer service isn't the greatest. I'm trying to move my investment portfolio into a charitable gift annuity. Unfortunately, Wealthfront doesn't make this easy, as they don't do any third-party transfers. It's their business prerogative, of course, but these are the kinds of things one runs into when investing with a totally online automated investment firm. Customer service simply keeps repeating that I have to read their "Can I transfer the securities in my account to another firm?" link. I have done that, and I understand what it says, but they seem totally unwilling to give me any more help than that. What it amounts to is this: When you invest with a firm like Wealthfront, chance are you're pretty much on your own. Also, you get what you pay for, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

    30 people found this review helpful
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    Wealthfront Company Information

    Company Name:
    Wealthfront
    Year Founded:
    2011
    Address:
    203 Forest Ave.
    City:
    Palo Alto
    State/Province:
    CA
    Postal Code:
    94301
    Country:
    United States
    Website:
    www.wealthfront.com