Betterment Sucks

So here's the deal: I thought Betterment was great, but now the company has given me reason to believe they kinda suck.

I decided recently that I wanted to consolidate different investment accounts into one place. I had tried out a bunch of different providers, and learned what I actually needed from an investment broker - and decided that Betterment wasn't it.

Their product is fine and whatnot - I just felt like I knew enough to avoid the fee and just handle balancing an account myself to save the 0.25% a year.

And this is when I found out that Betterment kinda sucks.

See, there is this cool system called ACATS that makes it easy for banks and brokerage firms to transfer assets around when a customer wants to move. Rather than people mailing a bunch of paperwork around and doing stuff manually, ACATS automates the process.

This is good for everyone! It's cheaper for the brokerage firms since they have one standard, automated process, and it's good for consumers since you can handle everything in the same way you manage your accounts - online.

As Betterment themselves describe it, "Generally, an ACATS transfer is faster and more convenient than other types of transfers." [0]

And this is where the whole 'Betterment sucks' thing comes in - they will let you transfer assets in with ACATS, but they won't let you transfer them out using ACATS [1]


I could kinda understand some argument for not using ACATS at all if they had a system they liked, or didn't wanna invest the engineering time or whatever

But this isn't that.

They already use ACATS - they just made the choice to make it harder for people to transfer assets out.

That sucks.

To transfer assets out, you've got to use the old system - mailing paper documents around so people can manually process them. [2]

Which brings me to this:

I have two goals in making this page - one is to warn potential customers before signing up for Betterment, but the bigger goal is to get Betterment to fix this mistake. I still really like Betterment, and absolutely appreciate the overall mission of making investing more approachable for everyone.

I just can't support them if this is one way they try and keep customers.

Here are all the sources for quotes/claims through this page. Did I miss something? Contact me at