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Insider’s experts choose the best products and services to help make smart decisions with your money (here’s how). In some cases, we receive a commission from our our partners, however, our opinions are our own. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.


Account Minimum

$100 ($500 for IRAs)


Fees

0% (cryptocurrencies are commission-free, but Apex Crypto takes 1% fee on transactions); $125/year M1 Plus


Investment Types

Stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies

M1 Finance M1 Finance


Account Minimum

$100 ($500 for IRAs)


Fees

0% (cryptocurrencies are commission-free, but Apex Crypto takes 1% fee on transactions); $125/year M1 Plus


Investment Types

Stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies


Account Minimum

$100 ($500 for IRAs)


Fees

0% (cryptocurrencies are commission-free, but Apex Crypto takes 1% fee on transactions); $125/year M1 Plus

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Overall rating

Is M1 Finance right for you?

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Chicago, M1 Finance is a money management investment app offering self-directed trading, automated investing, fractional shares, margin lending, IRAs, and more.

M1 Finance could be an attractive option for investors interested in balancing investing, cash management, and borrowing all under one roof. A drawback, however, is that it doesn’t offer human advisor support, nor does it provide tax-loss harvesting or investments beyond stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies.

The app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, offers a debit card that integrates directly into the platform and offers rewards and cash back on qualified purchases.

M1 Finance vs. Betterment

M1 Finance and Betterment could both be suitable choices for passive investors who want to utilize automated portfolio management. But fees, features, and account options differ for each platform.

If you’re solely interested in automated investing but don’t want to worry about minimum requirements to set up an account, Betterment could be right for you. However, M1 Finance is an ideal option for those who want access to both self-directed trading and automated investing.

A downside to M1 Finance is that you’ll need a minimum of $500 to open an IRA. You can access automated IRAs without any minimums at Betterment (i.e., if you use the Betterment digital plan).

M1 Finance vs. Wealthfront

M1 Finance and Wealthfront have many commonalities. M1 Finance is a better choice for self-directed trading, but it also offers automated investing features (thanks to its “pies” and portfolio rebalancing). Wealthfront is a stronger choice for automated investing, but it also offers portfolio customization, giving users a DIY option.

Both also offer ETFs and crypto exposure. However, M1 Finance is a better fit for self-directed traders who want access to stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. Wealthfront also offers ETFs, but you’re more limited when it comes to crypto. It only offers crypto trusts (these give investors a more indirect approach to crypto exposure since you’re mainly investing in a trust that holds crypto).

Plus, you can only allocate up to 10% of your portfolio in crypto trusts at Wealthfront. But unlike M1 Finance, Wealthfront offers index funds and 529 plans.

Ways to invest with M1 Finance

DIY accounts or automated investing accounts

M1 Finance is a hybrid investment app that offers a combination of self-directed trading and automated investing. The app uses pie-based models that let you choose which stocks, ETFs, or portfolios you want to invest in and what percentage of your money you’d like to allocate toward each investment. It also offers more than 80 professionally created portfolios.

According to its website, M1 Finance uses a proprietary trading system to automate each customer’s trading activity. This could be a great feature for investors who prefer to sit back and watch their money grow without managing all the nooks and crannies of investing.

In addition, the investment app says it aggregates and executes all trades during a morning trade window that begins at 9:30 a.m. EST. But clients who upgrade to M1 Plus accounts can take advantage of an afternoon trade window that makes it possible to invest whenever they want. You’ll need to pay $125 per year to upgrade to M1 Finance’s Plus accounts, but these plans offer additional perks such as custodial investment accounts, smart transfers, 1.5% loan reductions, and banking perks.

On the self-directed side of things, the app also lets you buy or sell individual securities or slices of your pie portfolio. M1 Finance additionally offers fractional shares, auto-invest settings, portfolio rebalancing, and tax-minimization features.

Retirement accounts

You can set up traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, or SEP IRAs at no additional cost. Each retirement account gives you the option to pick your own investments, select professional portfolios, purchase fractional shares, or automatically reinvest dividends. 

M1 Finance also offers IRA transfers and 401(k) rollovers. You’ll need at least $500 to open a retirement account.

Cryptocurrencies

The platform’s commission-free rule additionally applies to its crypto offerings. It offers bitcoin, ethereum, and more. Its custodian, Apex Crypto, assesses a 1% fee on all transactions. 

You can currently create your own customized “pies” (or portfolios) as long as you’ve funded your M1 Finance brokerage account. Plus, the platform will be launching Expert Crypto Pies, so you’ll be able to both invest with your own customized portfolio, utilize its expert-crafted portfolios, or trade with both.

Automated trading and asset allocation also apply here. You can set a percentage or allocation of each pie in your account, and you can automate trading. (This gives M1 Finance permission to rebalance your portfolio when you deposit funds.)

When it comes to storage, M1 Finance uses an Apex Crypto custodial wallet. Only M1 Plus members will be able to trade 24/7, though. 

Custodial accounts

You can also open custodial or UTMA/UGMA investment accounts for minors, but you’ll need to be enrolled in the M1 Finance Plus account to do so. So at the least, you’ll have to pay $125 per year to invest in a custodial account. Once your child or dependent reaches their state’s age or majority (usually 18 or 21), M1 Finance will restrict all trading on the account. 

The custodial account beneficiary has two options once they reach age of majority: withdraw the funds or transfer them to another taxable investment account. You can learn more about M1 Finance’s custodial account rules here.

Trust accounts

If you’re thinking of setting up a trust account, you’ll need at least $5,000 to get started. The investment app says it supports both revocable and irrevocable trusts that are authorized to invest in securities.

Another thing to note is that all trusts must be US domestic trusts in good legal standing.

Is M1 Finance trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau has given M1 Finance an A- rating. BBB ratings range from A+ to F, so this suggests that the investment app interacts well with its customers. 

The bureau primarily rates companies on customer interaction and complaint history, but it also considers factors such as type of business, time in business, advertising issues, and licensing or government actions. The BBB also states that its ratings don’t predict whether a company will be reliable or perform well, so it’s best to to do your own research before making a final decision.

In addition, the BBB cites that M1 Finance’s rating stems from the number of complaints filed against the business.

The company’s record seems to be clear of any major scandals or lawsuits. It has closed nearly 80 complaints in the last 3 years, according to the BBB.

M1 Finance – Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Yes. M1 Finance is an SEC-registered investment platform, as well as a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). 

Several features make M1 Finance a great move for those looking to get into investing. These include its combination of self-directed trading, auto-investing features, and easily navigable and intuitive web and mobile platforms.

Its fees and minimum requirements are also comparably low, so it could also be a great choice for those who want the best bang for their buck.

Although M1 Finance has a solid selection of investment products and account types, you won’t be able to utilize tax-loss harvesting. In addition, it isn’t the best choice for those who want to trade assets like bonds or mutual funds.



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