Banking online is becoming more and more popular these days. Consumers are out to find the best products that can give them the highest returns on their investments. And, if you’re like most consumers you’ll find that some banks out there are really aiming to please, while others are stuck in their “old” ways of doing things. That said, if you’re looking to bank online and want a free account that can earn a good amount of interest – why not check out Aspiration Bank to see if a cash management account is the right option for you?
What is Aspiration Bank?
Aspiration is a financial service firm (sometimes referred to as an online investment company) that launched in 2015 and is currently headquartered in Marina Del Ray, California. Aspiration is considered a “neo-bank” as it currently only offers online accounts that are accessible via mobile apps or computers. In recent years, Aspiration has also gained notoriety for their program “Dimes worth the Difference”, in which they have been known to donate up to 1/10 of their revenue to charity.
In 2019, CNN reported that Aspiration Bank had approximately 1.5 million customers.
What Types Of Accounts Does Aspiration Bank Offer?
The bank currently offers the following account options:
Aspiration Spend & Save
- Aspiration Spend & Save is a cash management account which offers 1.00% APY interest on account balances. With this account type you can “choose your own” monthly fee and make unlimited transfers between your Spend account and your Save account, as well as earn cash back rewards on every purchase you make. Aspiration will even send you a physical debit card that you can use to make 5 free ATM withdrawals per month. In addition, this account type also comes with enticing features such as cell phone protection insurance and ID theft expense reimbursement.
- Alternatively, you do have an option to only open a “Save” account if you don’t need the “Spend” part.
** Just FYI – if you are researching their Summit Account option — please note it was recently discontinued. The Aspiration Summit Account was the precursor to their current Spend & Save Cash Management Account. It was an interest-bearing checking account that offered somewhere around 1.00% APY
Aspiration Investment Funds
- With an Aspiration Investment account, you have the option of investing in their Redwood Fund or their Flagship Fund. All it takes is a $10 opening deposit to gain access to sustainable, easy investment options.
Aspiration IRAs / Retirement Accounts
- At this time, Aspiration offers a traditional IRA option in which contributions may be fully or partially tax deducible depending on your individual situation. Minimum opening deposit is just $10.
How Can I Deposit and Withdraw Money from an Aspiration Bank Account?
Here are the ways Aspiration says you can deposit or obtain money from your online account:
- Direct deposits (only if you have an Aspiration Spend account – Aspiration’s Save account doesn’t accept direct deposit).
- Online transfers
- Mobile check deposit
- Wire transfers
If you need to deposit a check larger than $5,000:
- FIRST deposit it online and
- THEN mail the physical check to their partner bank:
- Coastal Community Bank, PO Box 2103, Everett, WA 98213
Note: There is not currently a way to deposit cash.
- Use an ATM
- Online transfers
- Wire transfers
- Request a check be mailed to you
It is important to note that Aspiration says that you can use any ATM world-wide that accepts MasterCard. They will reimburse up to 5 ATM transaction fees per month.
What are Aspiration Bank’s Account Fees?
Aspiration is challenging the way consumers look at monthly account fees with an emphasis on their “pay what you think is fair” fee structure. Yes, you read that right… the customer gets to choose how much (or how little) they want to pay Aspiration for their services on a monthly basis. It can even be $0. After you select your initial fee, you can update the amount anytime through their mobile or online applications.
Here is what Aspiration Bank does with the fees collected:
“Aspiration then donates ten cents of every dollar to charities helping spread economic opportunity to Americans working hard for a better life. The remainder of that fee goes to our company, our employees, the portfolio managers of our funds, and everything else needed for a company like ours to work – from computer servers to coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.”
Aside from the “fee” to use their bank, they do have a separate list of service fees associated with certain account actions:
|Monthly Fee||Pay what you think is fair|
|Minimum Deposit to Open Account||$10|
|Domestic Wires (In or Out)||$0.82/each|
|International Wire In||$2.50|
|International Wire Out||$15|
|Returned Item Charges||$1.15 per item under $5,000|
$5.33 if OVER $5,000
|Paid Non-Sufficient Funds||$0|
|Foreign Item Collection||$30 plus the foreign bank’s fees|
|Expedited Debit Card||$35|
|Inactive/ Dormant Account||$0|
|Daily Overdraft Charge||$0|
|Canadian Item Collection||$5|
|Deposited Item Reversal||$1.47/each|
What Are The Benefits of an Account at Aspiration Bank?
- Solid APY (1.00% as of August 2020)
- Socially conscious bank and gives back to charity
- Easy to use mobile app and online interface to review your account and deposit or transfer money
- You can pay whatever you want for the monthly account fee
- No overdraft fees (they will decline transactions that would make your account negative)
- No stop payment fees
- Only $10 is needed to open an account
- No minimum balance to maintain
- Free bill pay
- Personalized checks (your first set is free!)
- Unlimited ATM reimbursement, including international
- For services that do carry a fee, they charge what it costs them to provide the service and not a penny more. What they charge for a wire transfer is what it costs them to send or receive that wire transfer
What Are The Disadvantages of Opening an Account with Aspiration Bank?
- No ability to deposit cash
- No physical locations to speak to someone in person about your account
- Bill pay functionality is lacking, payments feature needs updating
- No options for money market accounts, CDs or loans ( it is not a one-stop-shop bank)
- Their debit card doesn’t work in every country. Check their list here
Additionally, while 1.00% is an alright APY for the market today, there are some banks out there are offer higher or may have better perks.
As of August 2020, here are some rates from competitors that you may want to check out:
- First Foundation Bank Online Savings – 1.20% APY
- Vio Bank – 1.11% APY
- Citi Accelerate – 1.10% APY
- CIBC Bank – 1.05% APY
- Goldman Sachs – Marcus Account – 1.05% APY
- Ally Bank – 1.00% APY
- American Express Personal Savings – 1.00% APY
- Aspiration Bank – 1.00% APY
- Capital One 360 Performance Savings – 1.00% APY
- Citizens Access – 1.00% APY
- CIT Bank Savings Builder – 0.95% APY
- Discover – 0.95% APY
- TAB Bank – 0.90 % APY
- Barclays Bank – 0.80% APY
- Synchrony Bank – 0.75% APY
- HSBC Direct – 0.70% APY
- MySavingsDirect – 0.65% APY
- TIAA Bank – 0.65% APY
Is Aspiration Bank FDIC-Insured?
Yes. Aspiration Bank is a FDIC member, which means that funds deposited into their accounts are insured up to the maximum allowed by law.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States government corporation providing deposit insurance to depositors in U.S. commercial banks and savings institutions. The FDIC insures deposits according to ownership category (such as individual, joint or accounts with beneficiaries). The current maximum amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.
How Do You Open An Account with Aspiration Bank?
Opening an account with Aspiration Bank is a simple and straightforward process. You just need to be a US citizen, over the age of 18, have a social security number and a $10 initial deposit in order to sign up.
- The first step is to open your web browser to Aspiration.com
- Next, click “Get Started” in the upper right corner
- Then, enter your email address
- Proceed to the application
- Fund your account with your initial $10 deposit
- And finally — you’re all set to start using your Aspiration Bank Account!
How To Access Your Aspiration Bank Account:
Online: Access your account by logging in with your username and password on their website: aspiration.com
Mobile Device: Bank on your phone/tablet through their mobile app.
Contact Aspiration Bank About Your Account:
- Call Aspiration Bank at 800-683-8529
- Monday through Friday from 6am – 6pm PT
- Saturday & Sunday from 8am-4pm PT.
- Online Help Request:
If you are looking for a free online-only interest bearing account from a socially conscious banking entity – look no further than Aspiration Bank. Furthermore, if you travel a lot and don’t want to pay international ATM fees — this may be a good account for you! They offer a higher than average APY of 1.00% for customers that deposit at least $1,000 per month into their account and there is no monthly fee or minimum balance required to keep your account open. They also reimburse ATM fees whether they are domestic or international (international just has a 1% foreign transaction fee), and opening an account only requires a $10 minimum deposit. Even though there are no physical branch locations, no ability to deposit cash and their overall banking product options are limited at this time, they have great potential for expansion as they continue to grow their customer base.