Aspiration Banking Review

Are Aspiration’s deposit accounts worth it?

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Aspiration is a financial firm, not a chartered bank. It offers a variety of accounts, with a focus on rewarding customers with cash back for purchases made from ethical companies. The money customers deposit through Aspiration is held at one of its partner banks, which offer FDIC insurance. Check out our in-depth Aspiration banking review to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Who Is Aspiration Bank Best For?

Aspiration Bank may be a good choice for customers who want the convenience of banking online, without the need to visit a branch. It might be right for someone who wants to:

  • Pay no monthly maintenance fees on checking
  • Avoid ATM fees
  • Invest and save for the future
  • Support charitable causes
What We Like
  • Earn up to 10% cash back on purchases with the cash management account

  • Get unlimited fee-free withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs

  • Choose your own monthly fee

What We Don't Like
  • No brick-and-mortar branches for in-person banking

  • No checks are available with the cash management account

  • Paid upgrade required to earn best APY

Who Is Aspiration Best For?

Aspiration offers a unique take on online banking, with interest-bearing accounts and fee flexibility. Opening an account with this bank may be best for people who:

  • Want to earn interest on cash management accounts
  • Are interested in banking with a company that focuses on sustainability
  • Prefer the flexibility of choosing what you pay in banking fees
  • Want to earn cash back on debit card purchases
  • Would like added benefits such as cell phone protection and fraud reimbursement

What Does Aspiration Offer?

Aspiration offers accounts that are designed to help you spend and save money, as well as options for investing. Compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, Aspiration doesn't offer as many choices when it comes to the type of accounts you can open. But its offerings do come with several incentives you may appreciate if you're considering online banking.
Accounts offered at Aspiration:

  • Spend & Save Account
  • Save Account

Aspiration Spend & Save Account

The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offered by Aspiration Financial, a broker dealer, not a chartered bank. It allows you to spend and save money in the same place. Key features of the Spend account include:

  • Unlimited fee-free withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs
  • Digital debit card access while you wait for your physical card to be mailed
  • Up to 10% cash back on debit card purchases from the Spend part of the account
  • Earn 0.25% APY on the first $10,000 in the Save part of the account, and then 0.10% APY on any funds over $10,000
  • Choose your own monthly fee
  • Cell phone protection
  • Identity fraud expense reimbursement

This account is unique in that purchases earn cash back, while the money you save and don’t spend can earn interest.

Your cash-back rewards come from two types of purchases: A list of 15 companies in the Aspiration “Conscience Coalition” program, and companies with high “AIM” scores (Aspiration Impact Measurement).

Aspiration chooses the following Conscience Coalition companies because they “not only build strong businesses but also to help build a better world.”

5% Cash Back

  • Reformation
  • Warby Parker
  • United By Blue
  • Parachute Home
  • Causebox
  • LOLA

4% Cash Back

  • TOMS
  • Known Supply
  • Soapbox

3% Cash Back

  • Arcadia Power
  • Feed Projects
  • This Bar Saves Lives
  • Wag Walking
  • Blue Apron
  • Girlfriend Collective

If you enroll in Aspiration Plus ($3.99 per month, or $44.99 per year) you can earn up to 10% cash-back rewards from Conscience Coalition companies.

Aspiration’s AIM score rates companies based on their ethical treatment of people and the planet. Companies with the highest scores earn you 0.5% cash back, while companies with lower scores earn lower rates.

In addition to cash-back rewards, you can earn 1.00% APY on the first $10,000 in the Save part of your account if you enroll in Aspiration Plus and make at least $1,000 in purchases each month.

Aspiration also allows you to set your own monthly fee for this account. So if you'd like to pay $0 as a monthly maintenance fee, you have that option.

Additionally, this account also allows you to give back in a positive way. According to Aspiration, deposits don't fund fossil fuel projects and Aspiration donates 10% of its profits to charity.

Aspiration Save Account

If you only need an account to save money because you already have a checking account elsewhere, you might consider only opening the Aspiration Save Account (the Save part of the Spend & Save Account).

This account allows you to earn up to 1.00% APY on the first $10,000 in the account. The requirements to earn that 1.00%, though, are the same as the Spend & Save account: At least $1,000 in monthly spending with your debit card and you must have an Aspiration Plus account (which means you’ll pay a monthly or annual fee).

You can still earn interest though if you don’t open a Spend account and only open the Aspiration Plus account. If you don’t open the Spend part of the account, you’ll be able to earn 0.25% APY on your balance up to $10,000, and 0.10% APY on funds over $10,000. But if you don’t sign up for Aspiration Plus, you won’t earn any interest on the money in your Aspiration Save account.

Similar to the Spend & Save account, you can also choose your Save account monthly fee. However, you cannot deposit checks directly into the Save account.

Unlike other savings accounts, the Aspiration Save account isn’t a savings account at all. This means you can transfer money in and out as you please, though you can only make one transfer per day to an external bank account linked to your Aspiration Save account.

Other Financial Products From Aspiration

  • Managed investment portfolios
  • IRAs

Aspiration Customer Service

Since this is an online bank, all customer support is offered online or over the phone. You can submit a question using Aspiration's online form or call 1-800-683-8529. Phone support is available Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time, and on weekends 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time.

You can also manage your account through the Aspiration mobile app or online. The mobile app is free to use and is available for download for both Apple and Android users (and is pre-loaded with Apply and Android Pay).

How to Bank With Aspiration

Your primary methods of banking with Aspiration are online or via the mobile app. But again, you can make withdrawals and check your balance at Allpoint ATMs for free.

If you'd like to open an account with Aspiration you can do that online. As with opening any bank account, it's helpful to know what information you need to get started

The Bottom Line

Aspiration could be a good fit if you're looking for a company with a mission that's focused on promoting positive social and environmental change. The option to choose your fee sets Aspiration well apart from traditional and online banks. Being able to earn cash back with the Spend & Save Account is something you might appreciate if you'd like to earn rewards for debit card purchases while supporting ethical companies.

Aspiration's drawbacks are that you can't earn 1.00% APY on your money unless you open a Spend & Save account and enroll in Aspiration Plus. Additionally, Aspiration doesn't provide accounts for credit building, nor is it a chartered bank. While the company's focus on social responsibility is a benefit, it may not be appealing enough for customers looking for a variety of accounts and easy ways to earn interest.

Article Sources

  1. Aspiration. "How Do I Earn Extra Cash Back With Conscience Coalition?" Accessed May 21, 2020.

  2. Aspiration. "What Is Aspiration Plus?" Accessed May 21, 2020.

  3. Aspiration. "Open a Spend & Save Account." Accessed May 21, 2020.

  4. Aspiration. "What Interest Rates Are Offered for Aspiration Save?" Accessed May 21, 2020.

  5. Aspiration. "Contact Us." Accessed May 21, 2020.