I Tried Grifin, the ‘Invest As You Shop’ App: What to Know

Fintech startup Grifin, which launched in 2017, has a unique solution when it comes to investing — it aligns where you shop with where you invest.

Grifin automatically pulls $1 from a user’s checking account every time they make a purchase at a publicly traded company, and then automatically invests that dollar back into the company for the user. For example, if a Grifin user went to Starbucks and bought a cold brew, the Grifin app would withdraw $1 with the purchase and give the user $1 of SBUX stock.

The company released a new adaptive investing model on Thursday that makes its services more flexible, from the ability to pause automatic payments, to disabling investments at certain companies where users shop. The user can also now manually increase or decrease how much they want to spend on investments, from $1 up to $99 per transaction.

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“By investing in small amounts, as low as $1 at a time, the aim is to help people to learn to navigate the world of investing without incurring too many negative consequences if they don’t get it right,” Grifin co-founder Aaron Froug told TechCrunch.

Grifin was created to democratize investing and help people understand their spending habits, Froug said. Having a positive relationship with money can be “an incredibly difficult thing to do and achieve,” he told the outlet.

Here’s How It Works

I tried out the Grifin app with the new adaptive investing model, and I found it easy to onboard and use the service.

Screenshots from the app. The first shows the steps needed to create a Grifin account, the second highlights that the app asks for personal information, like SSN and home address, and the third shows how the app identifies companies to invest in.

To create an account, I had to enter personally identifiable information, such as my social security number and my home address. I also had to connect a checking account to the app, and any other credit or debit cards that I used so that Grifin could track my transactions.

While I wasn’t thrilled about giving out all of my personal information, it was surprisingly easy to become an investor. It took less than 10 minutes to get everything connected and ready to go.

Within seconds, Grifin had already pulled the four places I shopped at in the past week, past two weeks, and past month.

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The app is simply laid out and the adaptive investing model gives me more confidence as a user because if I don’t want to invest in a particular company, but I want to buy something from it, I can do that. The $1 investment per transaction model reframes spending choices because the app makes spending less about consumption and more about investing time and money into businesses.

Grifin has an app redesign and an AI chatbot in the works according to TechCrunch.

As for me, I intend to keep using this app. The financial stakes are low enough that anyone can try it.