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M1 Finance Review: Fee-Free Investing, Banking, and Borrowing for Savvy Investors

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

M1 Finance is a low-cost robo-advisor for self-directed investors. In addition to no commission or account management fees, this financial services app includes integrated investing, borrowing, and banking. This allows investors to get a fuller picture of their finances in one place and leverage their investments through borrowing. Read our full M1 Finance review to find out whether it's right for you.

Ratings Methodology

Our Rating:

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Bottom Line

A solid robo-advisor pick with standout offerings to integrate your investing and banking needs in one app.

Fees:

$0 commissions and no management fee. 0.06%–0.20% fund expense ratio

Account Minimum:

$100

Full M1 Finance review

This robo-advisor is a good fit for: Self-directed investors looking for an easy-to-use app to manage investing, banking, and short-term borrowing in one place.

Pros

  • Investment integrated with banking and line of credit
  • No commissions
  • No account management fees
  • Low expense ratios
  • Dynamic Rebalancing
  • Fractional share trading
  • Low account minimums

Cons

  • No access to human advisors
  • No tax-loss harvesting

Top perks

Integrated investing, banking and borrowing

An M1 Finance account gives you access to a variety of investment products, an interest-bearing checking account, and a portfolio line of credit that gives you access to revolving credit against your portfolio balance. Manage the bulk of your finances in one place with perks like low-interest borrowing without a credit check and automatic transfers into your investment accounts.

Fee-free investing

M1 Finance watches costs at every turn: no commission fees, no account management fees, no checking account maintenance fee, no application or origination fees for borrowing. It's conscious of expense ratios to keep investment fund fees low and even reimburses ATM fees.

Dynamic Rebalancing

When you deposit money into your account, M1 Finance's algorithm identifies the segments of your portfolio that are underweight and puts money there first to help you stay on target with the allocation you chose. And when you withdraw money, the algorithm sells the portions of your portfolio that are overweight first.

Retirement investing

In addition to traditional stock brokerages and trust accounts, M1 Finance offers traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs.

What could be improved

Access to advisors or recommendations

Unlike other online brokerages, M1 doesn't provide investment advice or recommendations. It also doesn't provide access to human advisors.

Tax-loss harvesting

Investors in high tax brackets or with large investment accounts will miss out on tax-loss harvesting, which could reduce their tax liability by offsetting taxable capital gains.

Automatic rebalancing

M1 Finance's Dynamic Rebalancing helps to maintain your target asset allocation using the funds flowing into and out of your account. However, M1 Finance will not automatically reallocate the funds you've already invested; you must instruct the app to do so. That means you have to keep an eye on your asset allocation and ask for a rebalance if your portfolio starts to get out of whack. This brokerage isn't as hands-off as some competing robo-advisors, though its design makes it easy to see how your portfolio's allocation compares with your target so you know when to ask for a rebalance.

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How M1 Finance works

Investing is at the core of your M1 Finance account. The M1 Spend checking account integrates with the investment account to automatically fund your portfolio, and M1 Borrow is a line of credit against your investment account balance of at least $10,000.

M1 Finance's investment account is built for self-directed investors, so you start by customizing your portfolio with stocks and ETFs, including fractional shares, or choosing from among expert-designed portfolios. You can answer questions about your financial goals and use M1's tools to make more informed investment choices.

M1 lets you visualize the balance of your portfolio with its "Pie" interface, which helps you easily see the weight and performance of each stock or ETF.

Minimum investment

A minimum initial investment of $100 is required to get started. After that, you can fund your account with just $10 at a time. Retirement accounts require a minimum initial investment of $500.

Services offered

M1 Finance offers individual and joint brokerage accounts; traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs; trust accounts; a checking account; and a line of credit.

The premium membership, M1 Plus, gives members perks on the following products for $125 per year:

  • M1 Spend is a fully functioning, FDIC-insured checking account. It has no monthly fee and no minimum balance. M1 Plus members earn 1% APY and 1% cash back on debit card purchases and ATM fee reimbursement for up to four transactions.
  • M1 Borrow is a portfolio line of credit that lets you borrow up to 35% of the balance of your taxable investments once it reaches at least $10,000. The line of credit comes with a low variable interest rate, no credit check, and no application. M1 Plus members get a discounted interest rate.
  • M1's Dynamic Rebalancing helps to maintain your portfolio when you make trades, and M1 Plus members have access to additional automated features to optimize investments.

Pricing and fees

SERVICE/ITEM M1 FINANCE COST
Account management fee 0%
Investment fund fees 0.06%–0.20%
M1 Spend account fees $0
All-in investing and banking fees 0.06%–0.20%
M1 Plus annual fee $125/year

Customer service and support

There are two types of support that clients of a robo-advisor could need: investment advice and help with technical issues. For product support, M1's customer success team is available via email between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST on days when the U.S. stock market is open. It has also published an extensive library of FAQs and customer support articles.

The company doesn't provide individual investment advice or stock recommendations. It provides personal finance education through its blog, Taking Stock, and its newsletter, The Investor's Mindset.

Alternatives to consider

If you want an account with more borrowing options: SoFi is well known for customer-centric products with integrated banking and lending, including SoFi Automated Investing. SoFi offers solid robo-advisor and self-directed investing services, in addition to personal loans, refinancing, home loans, and more.

If you want more personalized customer support: A larger, full-featured broker like Merrill Edge® Self-Directed lets you invest in stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. Its scale also allows for 24/7 phone support, fast chat support, and face-to-face service at branches around the U.S.

Offer


Rating
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Commissions $0 for online stock and ETF trades

$0 per trade, expense ratio 0.03%-0.08%

Account Minimum $0 $1
Next Steps

RELATED: See The Ascent's comparison of M1 Finance vs Robinhood.

M1 Finance is right for you if:

  • You're looking for a self-directed investing app and don't need the perks of a full-featured broker.
  • You want to integrate your investing and spending into a single account.
  • You want easy access to a line of credit for debt payoff, emergencies, large purchases, or leveraging your portfolio.
  • You want to diversify your retirement savings.

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