It’s said that investment is difficult for those who don't understand the ins and outs of the stock market, funds and different asset classes.
However, thanks to neo-banks, high-yield checking accounts, zero-commission trading, and affordable robo-advisor services, you can put your money to work without extensive market research. You just have to find the right tool for the job. And that’s what brings us to the M1 vs. Unifimoney debate.
While the two platforms define themselves differently, there are a lot of similarities between the two.
M1 is an investment app that allows you to open up a checking account, earn cashback by using a debit card (for qualified purchases), manage your investment portfolio yourself (or use their custom-built portfolios), and borrow against your investment portfolio at desirable rates. This makes it a functional financial service company with most of the products and services you might expect from a neo-bank.
The app was launched in 2015 and has been slowly and gradually increasing its user-base, thanks to its simplicity and straightforward design. It makes saving and investing easy for its users.
Unifimoney is a full-suite financial service company and markets itself as the neo-bank for high earning professionals. If you look at the products, services, and investment platform, the title seems apt. It has a powerful investment platform that allows you to self-direct your trade and invest in a wider range of assets than M1. Or you can employ Unifimoney’s robo-advisors to invest and re-balance your portfolio for you.
As a neo-bank, Unifimoney’s core product is its 3-in-1 integrated account. You get a hybrid of checking and saving accounts (which also comes with a checkbook), and you can invest using the same app. You also have access to typical banking products like mortgage, auto-loan, student-loan refinancing, etc.
There are plenty of things we can compare the two financial service companies for, the most prominent of which are their investment platforms, products & services, and credit.
Both M1 and Unifimoney offer robo-advisory and self-directed investment. But where Unifimoney’s platform is built for sophistication and asset-class diversification, M1went for simplicity.
While M1 is often considered and dubbed a robo-advisor, its investing automation tool is completely different from that of Unifimoney. It focuses on a pie-based investment portfolio, where you can control the ratio of stocks and ETFs in your investment portfolio. You can choose stocks and ETFs yourself, or choose one of their 80+ pre-built portfolios (made using a robo-advisor), or combine the two yourself. You can then schedule automatic trades and leverage their dynamic re-balancing tool to automate your investments completely.
This is a rudimentary combination of robo-advisory based portfolios and an investor’s own judgment.
Unifimoney’s investment platform is on a different scale (hence, the fees). You can self-direct your investments, or you can choose a robo-advisor to build and manage your portfolio for you. And we are not talking about any robo-advisor. Unifimoney has partnered with Quantel AI, and Unifimoney investment accounts get Quantel’s proprietary, machine-learning based robo-advisor TenjinAI™. At its basic tier, it creates a custom investment portfolio according to your risk profile. And it’s not an overly-diversified collection of ETFs created from a pre-determined mix of ETFs. These ETFs are chosen after conducting a deep analysis of the market, and are a perfect match to the investor’s risk appetite.
The advanced tier comes with automatic quarterly rebalancing to ensure that your portfolio isn’t straying too far away from the asset allocation and risk profile that you are comfortable with. And even that is outshined by the pro tier, which focuses on individual stocks, and can create a fine-tuned portfolio to maximize returns. The fee is well-worth the price.
The asset-classes you can invest in include precious metals and a broad range of cryptocurrencies and funds. This allows you to diversify your portfolio against market crashes and recessions thoroughly and give you access to growth and volatility (through crypto) that you just don’t have access to, with only securities and ETFs at your disposal.
The difference between the robo-advisory capacities of M1 and Unifimoney balances the scale quite heavily in favor of the latter.
M1 offers two different kinds of accounts: Basic and M1 plus. The plus version costs a bit more, but you get access to a wider range of tools and better rates, which is still paltry compared to Unifimoney. The difference here is because of the goals. M1 is built for simplicity and limited use. In contrast, Unifimoney’s comprehensive product and services range is created with your overall banking and investing needs in mind. It's complete banking and investing suite, which ensures that you don't have to rely on another financial service company for some of your financial needs.
Unifimoney offers a hybrid checking account (with double the APY that M1 is currently offering) that also wears the checking account hat. Its value-added services as a neo-bank, including student loan refinancing, mortgage, home improvement loans, and auto loans, make it a one-stop-shop for most of your financial needs.
This is where M1's simplicity helps it wins points. Once your investment portfolio reaches $10,000, you can start a portfolio line of credit, which allows you to borrow against your portfolio’s worth at very decent rates: 3.5% for M1 basic user and 2% for M1 Plus. It's a straightforward, secured line of credit that appeals to many.
Unifimoney, on the other hand, caters to a different pool of users and investors and offers a credit card instead. It's expected to come with flat-out cash back on qualified purchases, so you don’t have to keep converting points. This unsecured credit comes with an adjustable credit range (that reflects your incomes).
The answer would be different for different investors and users. For some, M1's simplicity and easy self-directed portfolio management would be a better fit. Some might take a more long-term approach and choose Unifimoney for their combined banking and investing needs. M1’s checking account’s APY and other banking products are not powerful enough to substitute for the primary checking account of a high-earner. For them, Unifimoney might be the better choice.
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