REST Industry Super has entered into a partnership with Acorns giving members six-months free use of its micro-investment app, including the ability to make voluntary contributions to their superannuation account.
REST is one of the country’s largest super funds by membership with more than 2 million members, two-thirds of whom are under 35 years old – a demographic that is well known for its high use of mobile technology.
Six other super funds – North Super, Cbus, HESTA, Mercer, Prime Super and Christian Super – are also on the Acorns app and can have voluntary contributions made to them by users.
REST has struck a deal that allows it to entice its members to use the app by offering them a six-month fee-free period. Acorns charges a monthly flat-fee rate of $1.25 a month for accounts under $5000 or 0.275 per cent for accounts with more than $5000.
Acorns works by rounding up purchases made on linked bankcards, and then automatically investing that money into the user’s chosen investment portfolio.
“The app is about engaging people in investing,” Acorns chief executive George Lucas said.
“People learn financial literacy both from the fact that they know they can save on a regular amount small amounts … and by becoming familiar with how investments work.”
REST general manager marketing Mary Atley said the partnership with Acorns was a “perfect fit” as both organisations shared a vision of improving financial literacy, and in the importance of saving and investing from an early age to improve financial wellbeing now and in years to come.
“Making regular, additional voluntary contributions will have a significant benefit in later years, particularly if people make the most of initiatives such as the government’s co-contribution where applicable,” Atley said.
“The beauty of voluntarily contributing to REST via the Acorns app is that the technology makes investing for your financial future easier than ever.”
For the time being Acorns users wanting to direct their spare change to their super fund, rather than another account outside of super, have to take an additional step to authorise the transfer.
This presents an extra hurdle to participating super funds keen to encourage members to make voluntary non-concessional contributions via their Acorns account.
No reliable data is yet available on take-up rates of Acorns technology among participating super fund members, the option was only launched last month.
But Lucas is optimistic it will spur a huge spike in voluntary contributions among young super fund members, tipping a take-up rate of 10 per cent.
He said Acorns super fund partners had come on board in response to requests from their members.
“As we get more users we will actually start displaying super fund balance in the app and there’s more stages to come we shall come; this is the first step in a long journey,” Lucas said.
He has ambitions to grow Acorns from a start-up app into a full-blown investment platform.
With this in mind, he said the scope to get more super funds involved was “unlimited” and hinted that deals were already in the works.