If you’re looking for a new financial account that consolidates spending and saving in one spot, Aspiration could be the financial technology company for you. Founded in 2013 by entrepreneurs Andrei Cherny and Joseph Sandberg, Aspiration is a Certified B-Corp devoted to sustainability.
What is Aspiration?
According to the company website, Aspiration is a “purpose-driven climate action company.” Aspiration supports businesses committed to sustainability, and consumers who wish to make a social and environmental impact through their financial decisions.
Aspiration is a financial technology company offering consumers a cash management account, bank account, and debit card with the capability to help you track how your spending habits affect the environment. Aspiration Spend and Save accounts are cash management accounts offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC.
Your Aspiration account combines a checking account and savings account into one, called the Aspiration Spend Save account. You will also receive an Aspiration debit card that offers cash back and unlimited fee-free withdrawals at the AllPoint network of 55,000 ATMs nationwide.
Who is Aspiration best for?
Aspiration is best for consumers who care about sustainability and the future of our planet. If you want to earn higher than average interest in your savings account, get cash back on debit card purchases, and get to choose how much you pay each month, an Aspiration Spend Save account could be for you.
Read our complete Aspiration review to help you decide if you should open an Aspiration Spend Save Account and, if so, which of their accounts is best for you.
Aspiration Spend and Save
Aspiration customers open what’s called a Spend Save account, with two different buckets that hold their money. Funds in the Spend account can be accessed through your Aspiration debit card, transferred to an external bank account, or transferred to Aspiration Save.
When you log in to your account, you can see exactly how much you have in your Aspiration Spend and Aspiration Save accounts. Money in your savings account earns 1% interest with a basic aspiration account and 3% with an Aspiration Plus account.
Cash Management Account to Track Your Savings and Checking in One Place
Many Aspiration customers like being able to track their checking account and savings account all on one screen. It’s effortless to transfer money between your Aspiration accounts and it only takes seconds before the funds are available.
When you transfer funds from your bank account to your Aspiration account, it can take three to four business days using ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers.
Is your money safe in an Aspiration account?
Aspiration securely connects to your external bank account through Plaid, to keep your money safe.
Money in Aspiration accounts is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for up to $2 million per account holder. Aspiration can do this by holding funds in partner banks, with each deposit carrying FDIC insurance up to $250,500 per account, per bank.
It’s important to note that Aspiration is not a bank, but a registered broker-dealer and Member FINRA/SIPC. The Securities Investor Protection Corp is a non-profit organization that protects the customers and interests of securities brokerage firms. Along with its investment arm, Aspiration Fund Advisors LLC, Aspiration Financial is owned by Aspiration Partners.
Aspiration Debit Card
Your Aspiration debit card is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, and licensed by Mastercard. It is a cash back debit card that offers Aspiration Plus members as much as 10% cash back when you shop at preferred, eco-friendly merchants that are part of Aspiration’s Conscience Coalition.
When you use your debit card, you can also round up purchases. The change goes directly into your Aspiration Save account. For every roundup you request, Aspiration will plant a tree to help with reforestation across the world.
Aspiration debit cards can be used for cash withdrawals with no fees at any ATM within the AllPoint ATM network. More than 55,000 ATMs in the AllPoint network exist in the U.S., giving you easy access to your money through your Aspiration card. If you have an Aspiration Plus account, you can also have one out-of-network ATM fee reimbursed each statement cycle.
Basic Aspiration Account Review
Aspiration is a checking account and savings account in one, with a host of features available for free. Rather than offering free checking and savings, Aspiration offers a “Pay What Is Fair” model. You can pay as little as $0 per month. A $10 minimum deposit is required to open your account.
Money in your Aspiration Save Account can earn interest at a rate of 1% for every month that you have $500 worth of qualifying debit card transactions. You will also earn 3% to 5% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases.
Your “Pay What Is Fair” Aspiration account also allows you to get paid via direct deposit two days earlier than you would with a traditional bank.
Aspiration Plus Account Review
Your Aspiration Plus account has a $7.99 monthly fee. If you choose to pay annually, you can save $2 per month, bringing the monthly fee down to $5.99, or $71.88 for the year.
With your paid Aspiration account, you’ll receive additional benefits that your Pay What Is Fair account does not provide.
- 10% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases
- 3% interest on money in your Save account
- One out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement per month
- Purchase Assurance for items damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase
More on Aspiration Spend Account
Your Aspiration Spend account makes it easy to manage your money, set up direct deposit, and automate direct deposits into your savings from other linked accounts. You can also schedule bill payments directly from the app.
Aspiration Bank Fees
Aspiration has a few fees you should be aware of. Aspiration Plus charges a monthly fee of $7.99, or $5.99 per month if you pay annually.
If you lose your card and require expedited delivery, it will cost $23.54 for 3 – 5-day shipping or $59.86 for 1 – 2-day shipping. Otherwise, your card will ship in 7 to 10 business days. To avoid these fees, you can use your digital card in the mobile app while you wait for your new card.
Domestic wire transfers cost $2.06 for incoming funds and $4.50 for an outgoing wire transfer. There is a foreign transaction fee of 1% if you use your card outside the U.S.
Aspiration Customer Service
You can speak to an Aspiration customer service agent by calling 800-683-8529 from 6 AM to 6 PM, Pacific time on weekdays or between the hours of 8 AM to 3 PM, PT, on Saturdays and Sundays.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
If you lose your Aspiration card or believe you’ve been a victim of fraud, you can report your card lost or stolen and request a new one in the app.
Aspiration is more than a financial services company. As a “purpose-driven climate action company,” Aspiration has introduced multiple sustainability initiatives to help customers and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and help the environment. Let’s take a look at some of the programs that set this nontraditional financial institution apart.
Owners of an Aspiration paid account receive carbon offsets based on their gas purchases through the Planet Protection program. Aspiration tracks fuel purchases and then divides that number by the average price of gas in your area to estimate how many gallons you bought. Then, Aspiration purchases carbon offsets equal to the CO2 emissions from each gallon of gas.
Aspiration Impact Measurement
Where you shop and what you buy has an effect on the planet. Aspiration members can track their personal sustainability score and measure the environmental impact of their purchases when they use their Aspiration Spend account.
The Aspiration Impact Measurement score is your personal impact score measuring how your purchases affect the planet. When you make a debit transaction with an AIM-rated business, it positively affects your personal impact score and your influence on the planet. Plus, you’ll see a halo around your profile picture in the app, reminding you of the good you’re doing for the world.
Aspiration Conscience Coalition Purchases
When you shop at stores recognized as part of the Aspiration Conscience Coalition, you’ll be further rewarded with cash back. Aspiration basic members earn 4% to 5% at these select retailers, while Plus members earn 10% cash back.
Plant Your Change
Consumers who use their Aspiration debit card and round up debit transactions to place in their Aspiration Save account contribute toward sustainability, as well. Aspiration plants a tree for every roundup purchase.
Other Financial Products Offered by Aspiration
Aspiration offers investment accounts as well as a limited number of insurance products. As with your Aspiration bank accounts, these offerings combine social good and sustainability with low prices and high value.
You can shop for life insurance, renters insurance, and homeowners insurance directly through the Aspiration mobile app.
Life insurance is underwritten by Haven Life, which is wholly owned by MassMutual. When you request a quote, Aspiration will plant 100 trees in your name.
Renters insurance and homeowners insurance can be purchased through the Lemonade app, a certified B-corp and an insurance company that bypasses insurance brokers and provides a fully digital shopping experience. With low prices and fast service, it’s worth a few clicks to see if Lemonade can save you money on your insurance policies.
Aspiration Redwood Fund
The Aspiration Redwood Fund is an investment account managed by Aspiration Financial. With as little as $10 minimum investment, you can invest in sustainable companies. Aspiration analyzes companies for their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices and invests in large-cap stocks that meet high standards.
The fund is A rated as 100% fossil fuel free, which means it does not fund fossil fuel projects or support companies that do. The fund has the goal of meeting or exceeding returns from the S&P 500. You can open a Redwood Fund account directly in the Aspiration mobile app and fund it through your Aspiration checking account.
Pros and Cons About Aspiration
Aspiration offers a lot of the same features as traditional bank accounts, along with some benefits you won’t find at traditional banks, including a cash back debit card. Let’s look at some pros and cons.
- No monthly fees required for a Pay What Is Fair account
- No overdraft charges
- Earn interest above the average annual percentage yield (APY)
- FDIC insurance up to $2 million per account holder
- Save the planet with various programs
- Earn cash back on debit card purchases
- Network of 55,000 fee-free ATMs
- Some online banks offer a higher APY for savings
- Cannot deposit money at ATMs
- Monthly fee for Aspiration Plus
- Wire transfer fees
Online checking account comparison
Aspiration’s low monthly fee, cash back debit purchases, and 1% to 3% interest sets it apart from a traditional savings account or brick and mortar checking account. But how does it stack up against other online banks and fintechs?
Ally Bank, one of the top-rated online accounts, has no monthly fee, no minimum opening deposit, and a 4.25% APY on savings balances. Plus, you don’t have to meet a spending requirement to earn interest on your account.
Ally offers many of the same features as Aspiration, too. You can round up your purchases into your savings account, but you won’t be helping to save the planet when you do.
If you are concerned about the future of the planet and are looking for an online account that makes a positive social impact, Aspiration may be the better choice for you.
How to Open an Aspiration Account
Opening an Aspiration account is easy. Download the Aspiration mobile app or click the “Get Started” button in the right corner of the Aspiration website home page. Enter your email address, set up your password, and choose whether you want an Aspiration Plus Account or Aspiration Basic account.
You can deposit money to fund your Aspiration account with an ACH transfer or wire transfer directly from any other deposit accounts through online or traditional banks. ACH transfers are free. You will pay a fee of $2.06 for incoming domestic wire transfers.
You can also use the mobile check deposit feature to deposit checks through the Aspiration app or set up your account for direct deposit from an employer. You should be aware that you cannot deposit cash or checks through an ATM.
How to withdraw money from an account with Aspiration
Aspiration provides multiple ways to access your money. You can set up online bill pay within the app. You can use your Aspiration card for purchases or to take out money, fee-free, at AllPoint ATMs nationwide or you can use your card for purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted. If you prefer, you can set up your digital card in Apple Pay for contactless payments where Apple Pay is accepted.
You can also initiate an outgoing wire transfer, although there is a small fee associated with this service.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Aspiration and a traditional bank?
Aspiration is a financial technology company devoted to sustainability. In addition to a combined checking and savings account and a cash back debit card, Aspiration offers many opportunities for consumers to reduce their carbon footprint and make a difference in our planet’s future.
Aspiration does not fund fossil fuel exploration and contributes its time and money to activities that can reduce the world’s carbon footprint. Additionally, Aspiration donates 10% of profits to various charities devoted to sustainability.
Does Aspiration give you free money?
Aspiration offers up to 10% cash back on every debit card transaction made with select retailers in their Conscience Coalition. The online account also pays interest on your savings balance. This is like earning free money just for shopping and saving with Aspiration.
What bank does Aspiration use?
Aspiration debit cards are issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC. Deposit accounts held with Aspiration are distributed between eight different FDIC-insured banks, with no bank holding more than $250,500 per individual Aspiration account.
Does Aspiration charge a monthly fee?
Aspiration Plus costs $7.99 per month, or $5.99 per month, billed annually. Aspiration’s Basic account asks you to Pay What Is Fair, which can be as little as $0.
Is an Aspiration account worth it?
Aspiration says consumers can save as much as $300 per year with Aspiration compared to other checking and savings accounts. If you want an online account with cash back rewards that also contributes to sustainability causes, Aspiration could be the right choice for you.