New Grifin review update: It looks like the folks at Grifin are back with some new updates. The latest version of Grifin offers app users the ability to change how much to invest for each purchase. This is a big change from Grifin’s core system where every purchase using a Grifin linked credit card triggered a $1 investment in the stock of that same company. This latest version of Grifin lets you select whether to invest the traditional $1 for each purchase, or change it to $2 per purchase, or even $3 per transaction.
The other new update is the ability to transfer cash directly into the Grifin app to invest as you please from inside the app. Want to own $50 worth of Apple stock without having to buy something at Apple 50 times? No problem. Just transfer $50 from the same linked account you are using for your investment for every purchase and then click Apple and $50 for your cash investment.
Stock Where You Shop
There are a lot of micro-investing apps out there these days. So, what makes the Grifin investment app different than other investing apps like Stash, Wealthfront, or Acorns? Grifin is the app that buys stock where you shop. When you shop at Walmart, Grifin buys Walmart stock for you.
Is Grifin legit or is Grifin a scam? Find out how Grifin works, and if Grifin is a good way to invest in our Grifin app review or (Griffin app review if you misspell it).
Note: Before we get too far and mess up your mythology report, if you came here to find out what is a griffin and you forgot the second f, a griffin has the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. Like this one on the top of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Italy. Hope that helps.
What Is Grifin Investing App?
Grifin works as an app only. There is a web page, but it only explains how Grifin works and directs investors to download the Grifin stock app from the Apple App store or Google Play Store. You can’t log in or manage your Grifin investments from the webpage, only within the app.
So, what is Grifin investing app? The idea behind Grifin is to invest where you shop, buy, and use goods and services. After all, if you are buying their products, aren’t you a believer, and if so, shouldn’t you be investing in those companies? Like Grifin says, “Stock where you shop.”
How Grifin Works
Most Grifin reviews seem pretty thin, so I took the plunge and jumped right in, setting up an account and letting Grifin start investing for me.
Grifin works by linking to two different financial accounts. First, it links to a credit card. Grifin monitors each transaction made with the credit card and invests one dollar in the stock of the company used. For example, if you go to McDonalds for lunch, Grifin will see the McDonalds charge and set you to invest one dollar into McDonalds stock. If you buy something from a company that is not supported by Grifin, or that doesn’t have a publicly traded stock, Grifin can still take one dollar and put it into your cash account, which you can then manually invest in one of your other companies.
The stocks you are investing in cost more than $1 per share, so Grifin works by allocating fractional shares to your account. In other words, Grifin buys one share of McDonald’s stock. Then, using accounting, it allocates the fraction equal to $1 worth to your account. If McDonalds stock was trading at $100 per share, you would get credited with 1/100th of a share. When McDonalds pays dividends, you would get 1/100th of the dividend paid. When you sell you would receive 1/100th of the current price of the stock.
Behind the scenes, Grifin would allocate other fractions of that same share to other clients. For this to work without exposing Grifin to a lot of investments in its customers stocks, Grifin needs to be able to split the shares in a company between enough users for the stock to be fully owned by the investors. To ensure this happens, Grifin only allows investments into certain stocks. The company claims to offer the ability to invest in over 200 stocks but offers no list.
To get the money to make the investment, Grifin links to a second account, a checking account that it withdraws money from in order to make the purchases. Grifin does not monitor this account for investing, only the credit card.
As of today, Grifin only allows users to link to one credit card. The company notes that it costs money to process the transactions from your credit cards and to keep its product free, it needs to keep costs low, hence the one card only.
Grifin Investing App Review
Linking my accounts was fairly simple. There were a couple of glitches. It wouldn’t allow me to link my Capital One rewards credit card. Linking my checking account was easy and linking a different credit card worked fine. That’s where the good review of Grifin ends for now.
For an app that involves taking money automatically from your checking account and automatically investing in stocks, it has painfully few settings to manage how it is done. As long as you fully buy into Grifin and how Grifin invests your money, it is fine. If you want to tweak things to your needs or liking, that’s pretty difficult, or even impossible.
For example, I wanted to use the app going forward, as in investing in stocks that I purchased after installing the app. The app appears not to give investors this choice. Instead, it asks how long you want the app to look back, but I didn’t pick a time when the screen showed up because I was still checking the app out. Instead, the app decided it would go back through approximately one month of charges and withdraw the money to invest in all of those purchases. If you use your card a lot, that can be more than you were expecting. In my case, it was a little over $70. That’s not big money, but considering I was only trying to test the app out, it’s more than I meant to invest with Grifin right away.
Here is where it gets a little sketchy. Although money was taken from my checking account and shows up on the Grifin app in my cash account, nothing was ever invested. This is particularly disappointing because the stock market, and many of the stocks I should have invested in a few weeks ago, have been racing higher.
Now, the app wants to take an even bigger withdrawal from my checking account. The pending withdrawal shows over $100. I have not made $100 in purchases since the last withdrawal. In order to add up to that amount, it has to be overlapping with purchases it already withdrew money for. I can pause the withdrawal, but then my only option is to “resume.” There is no way to skip those investments. The app will come back for them one way or another. In other words, if you need to skip a month of your Grifin automatic investments, there really is no way to do it.
Worse, I can’t contact anyone about these issues. The company’s support is a chat-based system where bots attempt to answer your questions. The bots work pretty well, but it can’t answer what is happening with my account. When I select “Talk to a Person” nothing happens, at least not for the 30 minutes I waited.
Is Grifin a Scam or Is Grifin App Legit?
Is Grifin legit? Is Grifin a scam?
The good news is that it does not appear that Grifin is a scam to steal your money or banking information. Grifin is owned by Interest Investments, Inc. The company registered with the SEC is Interest Financial, LLC. The actual brokerage services come through DriveWealth, LLC.
But is the Grifin app legit?
While Grifin is not a scam, it did seem to be having troubles. Lately, this issues with Grifin seem to be getting sorted out which is nice when recommending an investment app.
At this point, I don’t know who to recommend Grifin to given all the options, but Grifin is a very cool idea. I signed up with Grifin just to be able to write a real hands-on review from personal experience. I ended up keeping it, at first because it couldn’t hurt anything, and then because I got a kind of investing thrill out of seeing my buy stock where your buy stuff portfolio. It’s been over a year now, and I’ve gotten so into it that I find myself switching credit cards based on whether I or not I want to invest in the merchant I’m buying from.
McDonald’s stock? Yes, please.
Kohl’s stock? Well…. maybe next time.
You can sort your Grifin portfolio however you want. I always find that sorting by percentage change makes me feel good about using the Grifin iPhone app.
I guess all of those Royal Red Robin burgers are paying off! Not so much for my investments in Comcast, Lyft, and Kohl’s. I’m not sure when I made those two trips to Macy’s, but I should have used my non-investing card. Of course, the beauty of this whole thing is the amounts. Despite being down 24.50% my investment in Macy’s has lost me just $0.49 out of the original $2.00 investment.
Sorting by amount invested is more fun and has me with significant investments in Apple (I buy apps), Amazon (who doesn’t), my grocery stores, McDonald’s, and Home Depot. I can live with that. Since I don’t time the investments there is an element of dollar cost averaging here, but since they are regular by use and not by time, maybe there is some more “$1.00 cost averaging”?
Is Grifin a Good Way to Invest?
There is a lot to unpack here, but I wanted to get this review up for folks who were interested in how the app works. No Griffin stock app review is complete with a look at how the investments turn out while you are using it in real life.
Grifin Investment Strategy
The biggest issue with Grifin investing strategy is that by only purchasing stocks where you buy something, you are focusing mostly on consumer goods and services. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but there are entire stock sectors that Grifin will never give you exposure to. Most of my portfolio after several months using Grifin is fast food restaurants like McDonalds, Wendys, Chipotle, and Yum (KFC and Taco Bell). Then there are a couple of oil stocks (gas stations) and a couple stores like Target, Lowes, and Home Depot.
Another issue is that many purchases won’t end up investing in what you buy, but rather where you buy it. No matter how many Cokes you buy, you will never get Coca Cola stock. Instead, you’ll get 7-11 stock, or Kroger stock, or wherever you buy your Cokes. Likewise, while you can buy shares of Comcast by paying your monthly bill with the card, you may never get any shares of HBO, unless you get your HBO Max separately.
One thing to watch is how many purchases you make at a single company. For example, my second largest investment is in Albertsons stock, not because I think it’s a great investment, but because I apparently go to the grocery store a lot. Sometimes it is just because I need a single recipe ingredient like an onion; that’s another $1 of Albertson’s stock.
My biggest investment is Amazon because I order stuff from Amazon all the time. Remember, no matter what I buy from Amazon, I get Amazon stock. I don’t get any HP stock for buying toner from Amazon, for example. I also have one fun quirk in that I have some Charles Schwab stock, not because I bought anything from Charles Schwab, but because I had some work done on my Honda CRV at Les Schwab, the tire place. I guess the computer matched Schwab with Schwab and went for it. I ain’t mad.
Sure, this is still “investing where I shop,” but I don’t think that is the sort of thing anyone was expecting when they download the Grifin app from the app store.
I have some Berkshire Hathway stock because of Dairy Queen. Don’t get the idea that I’ve been to Dairy Queen 12 times. When you buy something at a business that doesn’t have an associated stock, the app will just take $1 as cash (you can turn this off if you don’t want it). I used my extra cash to buy some Berkshire Hathaway, because, why not?
You cannot use your cash to buy a stock that you don’t already have in your portfolio. So, for example, while Apple stock is one of the available stocks in the Griffin app, you cannot buy Apple stock with your cash until you buy something from Apple and get at least $1 invested into Apple via the Griffin automatic investment. Once you have any amount of stock in your portfolio you can use your cash to buy it.
The Grifin app is available in the Andorid app store and Apple app store.
Griffin App Rating
Honestly, I like the Griffin app, but it’s more fun than it is a good way to invest. I turned off the feature where it takes $1 for cash whenever you buy something where there is no associated stock. Turns out that I only visit the kinds of places with stock enough to generate about $20 or $30 per month. I don’t miss that amount from my checking account, so it’s fun to have the app with my little blocks of my stock portfolio.
Over time, I could build up some serious money in Grifin, and these are all companies that aren’t going anywhere. Many of the companies kick out dividends which is fun. My notifications saying, I earned $0.02 from DRI, $0.07 from ACI and $0.07 from AAPL is a fun little boost to my day.
I guess at the end of the day, Griffin is more of a toy than a serious way to invest money. If you want to automatically save some money that you don’t plan to need in the near future, Griffin is as good a place as any. If you’d rather your money go into a diversified portfolio instead of all the places you buy things, you could try the Acorns app that has pre-constructed Acorns investment portfolios. Wealthfront does something similar. If you just want to save cash, you could look at the Digit app. If you want to buy and sell stocks and ETFs you are better off at one of the free micro-brokers like Stash or Robinhood.
Griffin App 4 Stars out of 5 – It’s great fun for what it does, but what it does is mostly unnecessary.
Author – Brian Nelson
By Brian Nelson – Brian is a former Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and financial advisor. He is a personal financial consultant and instructor. He writes for the Finance Gourmet and other financial publications. The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. At the time of publication, Mr. Nelson owned all of the publicly traded securities mentioned above, however, that may change at any time without notice.
ArcticLlama, LLC, FinanceGourmet.com, and Brian Nelson assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly, and that some information may therefore not be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.
Grifin Investing App
The Grifin app takes money and invests it in the companies you do business with. Is Grifin app legit? Does the Grifin app work? Is Grifin a good investing app?
- Easy way to invest
- Fun graphics
- Only invest where you shop
- Can add up quickly
- Amount of investment varies widely depending on how you use your attached card
- Investments are weighted to retail and service companies
- Difficult to integrate with other investing accounts
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