Betterment vs. WiseBanyan Robo-advisor Comparison

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan Drill Down

Sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to differentiate between two similar robo-advisors. As you look through the many options available to you, you’ll notice that certain robo-advisors offer many of the same benefits: low minimum investment requirements, affordable fees, and access to human financial planners, to name a few.

Betterment and WiseBanyan are two such similar robo-advisors, offering many of the same attractive features. Yet, after digging deeper into this robo-advisor comparison, you’ll find a few similarities and many differences.

So, how do you pick between Betterment vs WiseBanyan?

Before you flip a coin, here’s a head-to-head comparison of Betterment vs. WiseBanyan to help you make an informed decision.

Betterment vs. WiseBanayan Robo-Advisor Comparison Chart

OverviewA goals based automated investment advisor. Betterment bills itself as, "Investing Made Better." Offers a variety of human financial planning options.Free automated investment management robo-advisor with access to add-on features for low fees.
Minimum Investment AmountZero minimum balance required.$1.00 minimum balance required.
Fee StructureDigital-0.25% AUM up to $2 million. 0.15% for accounts over $2 million.
Premium-0.40% AUM up to $2 million-Includes unlimited access to CFP. 0.30% for accounts over $2 million.
A la carte financial planning sessions from 150 to $500.
Zero account management fees for basic plan. Optional Wise Harvesting fee 0.25% AUM for taxable accounts-capped at $20/month. Portfolio Plus charges fixed $3 per month. Fast money package charges $2.00 per month.
Top FeaturesGoal based investing with opportunity to set up multiple goals. Investment rebalancing. RetirementGuide Calculator for planning. Tax loss harvesting. Betterment Digital clients can text with financial professionals. Betterment Premium clients have access to meetings with financial advisors.
Many diversified stock & bond fund choices.
Auto deposit, automated financial advice, rebalancing & tax-loss harvesting. New Portfolio Plus gives investors access to scores of investments covering many industries & sectors.
Investment AdviceHuman & automated investing & financial planning advice available.Digital/automated investment advice.
Contact InformationPhone & Live Chat M-F 9 am-8 pm ET, Sat-Sun 11 am-6 pm ET
Scheduled financial advisor meetings with Betterment Premium. Text contact for all investors.
Phone M-F 8 am - 4 pm PT
Accounts AvailableIndividual & joint investment accounts. Roth, traditional, SEP & rollover IRAs. Trusts. Betterment for Business manages & administers workplace 401(k) plans.Individual investment accounts. Roth, traditional, SEP & rollover IRAs.

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan: The Basics

Betterment and WiseBanyan are both goals-based robo-advisors. By this, we mean that each robo makes it easy for users to set and track financial goals through their platforms. Goals-based investing can help you plan for specific life events and easily evaluate whether you’re on track.

Betterment, for example, offers users three suggested goals based on their answers to questions during sign up. Users have a chance to read more about the goal choices and select or reject recommendations. The suggested goals can be changed and users can add their own goals, too.

In addition to letting users select goals that make sense for them, Betterment also offers recommended allocations for meeting goals. Still, if these predetermined portfolios don’t work for you there is always the option to change them to account for your risk tolerance.

Learn: 7 Best Robo-advisors for Millennials

Likewise, WiseBanyan offers goal-based investing options. This robo-advisor starts with a few common goals, including rainy day funds, retirement, building wealth, or saving for a new vehicle. These goals can be changed at any time, and users can add their own goals, much like with Betterment.

One neat feature of WiseBanyan is that you can break down your goals into dollar amounts and time frames. For example, if you want to save $15,000 for a new car in the next 3 years, the robo-advisor has space for you to do this.

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan – Initial Startup Investment

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan: Minimum Investment Edition would be a very boring battle. Both robo-advisors are extremely affordable, with minimal investments required for new users.

Betterment is slightly in the lead, with no minimum initial investment required for their Digital plan. Investors looking to start with higher investments might choose to go Premium, for an initial investment of $100,000.

Of course, WiseBanyan is a close second—they only require $1 as a minimum investment. What this means is that investors can get a taste of robo-led investing without much up-front risk. Win-win!

If you look at the big picture, there’s really no difference between the two on this front.

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan – Fee Structures

Betterment and WiseBanyan are also both on our radar as being top low-fee robo-advisors.

WiseBanyan is the more affordable of the two, since this robo-advisor offers zero account management fees for their basic service which includes investment selection, management and rebalancing. Not bad, right? Investors who want a bit more in terms of features can:

• Pay 0.25% AUM on taxable accounts for WiseBanyan’s Tax Protection Package.
• Pay $3.00 per month for the Portfolio Plus package that gives you access to more than 30 themed investment portfolios that you can add or remove from your portfolios at any time. (more about this later).
• Pay $2.00 per month for the Fast Money Package that gets your money growing more quickly.

Bonus: Robo-Advisor Fees from Lowest to Highest

Betterment is still on the low end of robo-advisor fees. Betterment offers two tiers along with a la carte financial planning options:

• Digital—A plan with fees of 0.25% AUM for up to $2 million. Fees drop to 0.15% of AUM for accounts over $2 million.
• Premium—A plan that includes access to Certified Financial Planners, with fees of 0.40% AUM up to $2 million. Fees drop to 0.30% for accounts over $2 million.
• A la carte financial planning packages range from one-time fees of $150 to $400, depending upon services.

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan Robo-advisor comparison

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan – Features

Since both Betterment and WiseBanyan are goals-based robo-advisors that offer low minimum balances and affordable fee structures, the real way to differentiate which one is a better fit for you would be to take a close look at the main features.

1. Access to Human Financial Planners

Robo-advisors are good precisely because they are not human–that is, they have faster response time and use algorithms, not emotions, to make decisions. However, many people are understandably unwilling to completely forego the human component of investing.

Betterment definitely wins in this feature. All Betterment investors are able to text human financial advisors. This is fantastic for on-the-go customers! For investors with higher investment values ($100,000 and up), unlimited access to advice from human advisors is available via phone or video chat through the Premium plan.

WiseBanyan, unfortunately, does not offer human financial planners as part of their services. This may account for the low fee structures! After all, robo-advisors do not need salaries.

Go directly to the Betterment Site

2. Investment Funds and Accounts

WiseBanyan offers investors a chance to invest in Vanguard, iShares, and SPDR ETFs. A typical portfolio owns approximately eight distinct funds from various asset classes. Investors can choose to open personal investment accounts as well as retirement accounts, including Roth, traditional, and SEP IRAs. WiseBanyan also allows retirement rollovers.

Investors who choose Betterment will have access to ETFs from diverse asset classes and fund providers as well. A typical portfolio owns roughly 10 distinct funds, from a variety of asset classes. Betterment also allows users to choose from single or joint taxable brokerage accounts, trusts, and common retirement funds like Roth, traditional, and SEP IRAs. Like WiseBanyan, investors can also rollover retirement funds.

So, the portfolio diversification of both WiseBanyan and Betterment are quite similar. Yet, Betterment has a greater variety of available accounts including the SEP IRA for business owners.

3. Customer Service

In addition to offering varying levels of contact with human financial planners, Betterment offers phone and email support every day of the week. WiseBanyan has 24/7 availability by email, but phone contact is limited to weekdays from 8am-4pm PT.

Betterment comes out on top in the customer service comparison with texting options and greater customer service availability.

4. Other Top Betterment vs. WiseBanyan Comparison Features

The three above features are some of the most commonly requested in robo-advisors. But that’s not all these two robos have to offer.

Betterment Top Features

  • Investment management options (digital and hybrid including human financial planners)
  • Socially responsible, income, and smart beta portfolios
  • Multiple levels of features—pay for what you’ll use
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Portfolio review
  • Retirement planner
  • Rebalancing

WiseBanyan Top Features

  • Auto deposit
  • Automated financial advice
  • Rebalancing
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Specialized investment tracks

Betterment vs. WiseBanyan Robo-advisor Comparison: The Takeaway

What really sets these two apart is the access to human financial planners. WiseBanyan relies on automated investing advice, so users may need some degree of comfort with investing period before choosing to go with this platform.

Betterment is also one of the oldest robo-advisors, founded in    . If you’re concerned about Fintech consolidation then this matters. And, Betterment owns the third place category of robo-advisors with the most AUM with $14 billion.

Free; Betterment Promotional Offer

Betterment, on the other hand, offers lots of opportunities for contact with human financial planners—at a price. Clients can text with financial advisors on the basic digital plan. Although for financial planner direct contact through phone and video chat, expect to pay fees of 0.40% of AUM for unlimited contact and will need a minimum of $100,000 invested to be eligible.

Still, Betterment and WiseBanyan show up on a lot of the same lists. Both are goals-based, low minimum investment, low fees robo-advisors. Both also have customizable goals options and flexibility in services so that users only pay for the features they’ll use.

Read the Complete Betterment Review

Direct Access: Betterment Website

Read the Complete WiseBanyan Review

Direct Access: Wisebanyan Website

Disclosure: Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t believe is valuable.

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Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

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