If sustainable banking is important to you, Aspiration Bank might be a great option.
Chances are you’re reading this Aspiration bank review because the company’s do-good marketing campaign caught your eye. Aspiration has pitched itself as the bank that cares about the issues, especially when it comes to protecting Mother Earth. If you want to put your money where your beliefs are, this is the bank for you. Unfortunately, Aspiration is often better at serving the environment than its customers.
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Aspiration Bank Features
Before you decide whether Aspiration is the best banking option for your hard-earned dollars, take a look at the features the bank brings to the table.
Aspiration provides two cash accounts and matching cards. The regular Aspiration card allows you to pay a monthly fee of what you think is fair, including the option to pay nothing at all. Aspiration Plus account holders pay fees of $15 per month or $150 per year. In addition to its cash management accounts, it provides the following:
- Socially conscious investing with a $10 minimum deposit
- Socially conscious traditional IRAs with a $10 minimum deposit
- Tax-deductible donations to Aspiration-vetted charities
Aspiration’s biggest selling point is that you can save the environment just by banking with it:
- The company promises to never use your deposits to fund the fossil fuel industry.
- You have the option to let the company plant trees with money from rounding up your purchases.
- When Aspiration Plus card members buy gas, the bank totals up the figure and invests in matching carbon offsets.
- It donates 10% of its profits.
The company provides up to 10% cash back on what it calls Conscious Coalition Purchases. The Conscious Coalition refers to companies it identifies as other do-gooders. However, you only get 10% on the Aspiration Plus card. On the regular card, you get 3% to 5% back.
You can earn up to 1.0% APY on your savings with the Aspiration Plus, but earning it is a complex process. You must spend $1,000 or more to earn 1.00% APY and it only pays it on the first $10,000. So, customers would pay more in fees than they earn in interest.
The bank has no physical branches, but you can get access to your money via your card ATMs. As long as you use its 55,000 in-network ATMs, you pay no fees on your transactions.
Our Aspiration Bank Review Rating
We give Aspiration a rating of three stars. It is ambitious in its efforts to save the environment, but the fees are too high for the personal benefits offered. Qualifying for just 1.0% APY is too complicated. To add to this, customers have complained about the company’s poor customer service. It has a poor Trustpilot rating of just 2.6 stars.
There are other banks to consider that have much better reputations and no fees. Note that the following rates might change but they were current at the time of writing:
- Synchrony Banks pays 0.55% APY.
- Chime pays 0.5% APY.
- Betterment Cash Reserve pays 0.4% APY.
- Capital One 360 Saving pays 0.3% APY.
- CreditKarma pays 0.3% APY.
There are also several options for socially conscious investing with low fees. Betterment is an excellent option. You can also use trading platforms to invest in companies of your choice that prioritize sustainability.
There are other factors affecting eligibility for the many tiers of APY. Depending on those additional factors, you could earn from 0.01% to 0.25%.
Yes, Aspiration raised its fees. In 2019, Nerdwallet reported that the Aspiration Plus subscription costs $44.99 per year or $3.99 per month. It costs more than three times that now.
Yes, and your first order of paper checks from Aspiration is free. It even pays for shipping.
Interested in other options for your bank account? Check out our look at the Discover checking account here.