WiseBanyan is one of the newer names on the Robo Advisor space , and remains something of a mystery to many. What marks it out as different from its competitors is the fact that it is, unlike its closest rival Betterment, “free.” WiseBanyan builds and manages diversified portfolios of exchange-traded funds for nothing. There is no minimum account size; nor is there any fee to sign up.Even they are no charges to buy the funds or to hold them .(other than the underlying expenses of the funds, averaging less than 0.14% annually). Naturally, given that one of the major reasons for choosing Robo Advisors over human financial advisors in the first place is that it saves on fees. This truly makes WiseBanyan an interesting option for many.

Investing money in a relative newcomer, however, can be a risk.It’s perhaps best to find out how WiseBanyan is viewed by those who’ve had experience with it. We looked beyond WiseBanyan’s own marketing pages and discovered a number of interesting discussions on forums. such as Mr Money Mustache, Two Plus Two and Bogleheads. Everyone who’s anyone in investing, it seems, is intrigued by what WiseBanyan claims to offer.Even though its new its kind of making a name for itself.It’s offering are not common in the industry and are being perceived as disruptive.

One commenter stated that, as an experiment, he’d opened an account with WiseBanyan and determined that its website works in a broadly similar way to that of the competitor, Betterment. The website is “less slick”, but while Betterment charges a 0.35% fee, WiseBanyan doesn’t charge anything.

Of one thing, savvy forum users are sure: WiseBanyan is not, as was claimed in some media outlets early in its creation, “a scam”. According to the many users who’ve tried them out with smaller investments, they are most definitely a legitimate operation.

One commenter noted: ” I do much prefer Betterment’s website and processes but for a set it and forget it investment, maybe it doesn’t matter much.”

Another stated  that he preferred the WiseBanyan interface.

“I do like some of the tools betterment has for goals but neither makes one better than the other. Both sites are easy to use and I can just use a compound interest calculator to replace the betterment goal graph.”

For this user, having to draw up a graph of his own was worth it to be without Betterment’s fees. Makes sense in a way…..

(continued in part 2)