Aspiration Review: The Pros and Cons of This Online Account

Aspiration is an online-only cash-management account with features similar to your classic checking and savings account.
Best for
  • High-yield savings
  • Cash-back spending
  • Eco-conscious consumers
Overall Rating 4.5
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The Penny Hoarder Overall Rating
Checking starstarstarstarirc_half_star
Savings starstarstarstarstar
Fees starstarstarstarstar
Customer experience starstarstarstarstar
This is a hero card of a review of Aspiration, which has an overall rating of 4.5 stars.
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When it comes to successfully managing your finances, you’ll need to take some time to figure out where you want to keep your money.

This is a big decision. You don’t want to stash your money in a checking account that’ll hit you with hefty fees each month. Nor do you want to stick it in an account that doesn’t offer any perks (think: cash back, savings interest).

So, it’s time to shop for an account. One option? The Aspiration Spend & Save Account. (Formerly the Aspiration Summit Account.) Spend & Save is one fintech account that has separate checking and savings balances.

Aspiration’s pledge to be environmentally and socially responsible is a huge bonus on top of its financial perks that’ll appeal to just about anyone. Rather than funneling money into some of these big financial firms and corporations that are in it for the profit, Aspiration’s team actually genuinely cares about important causes.

At its core, Aspiration is a socially and environmentally conscious company that can help you make more sustainable choices — while making the most of your money.

In our Aspiration review, we’ll tell you all about the account’s financial and environmental benefits, as well as pros and cons to help you decide whether the account is right for you.

Aspiration’s Commitment to Good

What makes Aspiration stand out from the crowd is its commitment to do good. It donates 10% of its profits to charities that help struggling Americans build a better life. And it lets you opt into these sustainable banking features:

  • Planet Protection: Have a long commute? Drive a ton? With Planet Protection, Aspiration will automatically purchase carbon offsets when you swipe your Aspiration card at the pump. This is a feature bundled into Aspiration Plus, which costs $3.99 per month (but it’s totally optional).
  • Conscience Coalition: Conscience Coalition members are companies that are doing good, and you can get more cash back when you shop with your Aspiration debit card at these places, which include Warby Parker, TOMS, Blue Apron, Lola and Reformation, to name a few.
  • Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM): For each purchase you make, Aspiration will give you a Sustainability Score (out of 100) based on how a business treats its people and the planet.

Checking

Aspiration’s answer to a checking account is the “Spend” portion of its Spend & Save Account. It includes a cash-back debit card and unique banking features for environmentally conscious customers.

Aspiration Spend

Best for Cash Back Spending

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Up to 10% cash back on socially aware purchases
  • Monitor environmental impact of spending
  • Get paid up to two early with direct deposit
Aspiration’s Spend has similar features to a traditional checking account. You’ll get an Aspiration debit card to use on your purchases, and you can earn up to 10% cash back. You can use your Spend account to buy groceries, pay your bills, withdraw cash at ATMs, transfer money to other accounts — whatever you need.
Aspiration Spend

Welcome bonus
$150 or $200
Overdraft protection
Not available
ATM access
55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs

More on Aspiration Spend Account

An Aspiration account is free to open. To tap into perks including Planet Protection, you’ll pay a $5.99 monthly fee to access Aspiration Plus.

Use Aspiration Spend like any checking account, including to pay your bills. You’ll get your first set of checks free, and you can use Aspiration Payments, which lets you electronically schedule the delivery of a paper check to an individual or business for free.

More on Aspiration Spend Account

An Aspiration account is free to open. To tap into perks including Planet Protection, you’ll pay a $5.99 monthly fee to access Aspiration Plus. 

Use Aspiration Spend like any checking account, including to pay your bills. You’ll get your first set of checks free, and you can use Aspiration Payments, which lets you electronically schedule the delivery of a paper check to an individual or business for free.

Savings

Aspiration’s version of a savings account is the “Save” portion of its Spend & Save Account. It’s a high-yield savings account, with extra interest to earn for customers who meet certain spending and membership criteria each month.

Aspiration Save

Best for High-Yield Savings

5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • No monthly fee
  • Earn up to 5% APY
  • Deposits don’t fund coal or oil projects
The Save portion has features similar to a savings account. You can stash money in it and earn up to 5.00% APY (a.k.a. savings interest). That means you can make money on your savings. An Aspiration account is free to open and use, and it includes both Spend and Save features. To access higher interest rates, become an Aspiration Plus member for $3.59 per month.
Aspiration Spend

APY
3.00% on balance up to $10,000
Paycheck
Up to two days early
ATM access
55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs

Aspiration Save APY

Monthly Spend Amount Free Member APY Aspiration Plus Member APY

Less than $1,000

0.00% APY

0.25% up to $10,000

$1,000 or more

3%/balance to $10,000

5%/balance up to $10,000

$10,000 or more

0%/balance $10,000+

0.10%/balance $10,000+

Other Aspiration Products

Aspiration offers two more products to help you round out your money management with planet-friendly choices.

Credit Card

The Aspiration Zero card offsets your carbon footprint and rewards you for it. The company plants a tree for every time you swipe the card and gives you the option to round up your purchase to plant a second one. Get to carbon zero by using the card at least once a day, and you’ll earn 1% cash back for the month.

Investing

The Aspiration Redwood Fund is one of the earliest sustainable investment funds (ESGs). It analyzes companies’ environmental, social and governance practices to choose investments that have potential for financial growth and are sustainable for people and the planet.

Aspiration Bank Fees

With an Aspiration account, you decide how much your monthly fee will be — starting at $0. Through its “Pay What Is Fair” model, the company trusts customers to choose a monthly fee that’s fair for your wallet and fairly reflects the service you get from Aspiration. You can change your fee anytime.

For extras, including wire transfers and other services banks typically charge fees for, Aspiration charges just what it costs the company to provide the service — so it won’t pocket an extra for its trouble. You can’t overdraft on your Spend & Save Account, so you don’t have to worry about overdraft fees, either.

For $5.99 a month (billed as $71.88 annually), you can become an Aspiration Plus member for extra perks: Planet Protection, 5.00% APY on savings, 10% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases and a debit card made from recycled ocean plastic.

Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

How to Open an Aspiration Account

Is the Aspiration Spend & Save Account what you’ve been looking for? Getting started is super easy.

Just create a log-in and verify your identity. (This requires your Social Security number, which is typical for any new financial account you sign up for.)

From there, you’ll link your existing checking and/or savings account so you can funnel your money over. You’ll also want to set up direct deposit with anyone who sends you a paycheck.

Signing up shouldn’t take more than a few minutes — no standing in line or sitting on hold with a customer service agent. Plus, you can open an account (even an investment account!) with as little as $10.

Is Aspiration Right for You?

Aspiration can be great for anyone — no matter your income, spending habits or savings.

Because it doesn’t have any account minimums and there are no overdraft fees, it can be great for college students or anyone getting by paycheck to paycheck. And it makes saving money easy.

Bottom line: With Aspiration, the biggest perks are that you can save a ton on fees — and also even make some extra money from your debit purchases and your savings balance. Plus, it takes only a few minutes to sign up.

Pros and Cons about Aspiration

We’ve found a lot to like about Aspiration as you can see by our long list of pros and much shorter list of cons.


Pros
  • No sneaky fees
  • Pay “What Is Fair” model
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free in-network ATM withdrawals and one free out-of-network withdrawal with Aspiration Plus
  • Up to 10% cash back on sustainable debit card purchases
  • Up to 5% interest on your savings balance
  • First set of checks free and free bill payment
  • All-in-one Spend & Save Account with free transfers between balances
  • Investment and credit card options

Cons
  • No cash deposit (yet)
  • No physical branches
  • No interest on savings beyond $10,000 with a free account

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Aspiration

Here are our answers to common questions about banking with Aspiration.

Is Aspiration a Legit Bank?

Aspiration is totally legit but it’s not a bank. Like most other online banking platforms, Aspiration is a financial technology company that partners with FDIC-member banks to hold and insure your money. It partners with up to 10 institutions, which means you have access to more FDIC insurance than you would with most banks, up to $2.5 million. Aspiration accounts are offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC, an investment broker, and insured through its Insured Bank Deposit Program.

Is Aspiration a Good Investment?

Aspiration’s Redwood Fund is an ESG investment fund made up of companies selected for sustainable environmental, social, leadership and hiring practices — characteristics that have historically shown to mean financial sustainability and growth for businesses, as well. The fund comes with an administrative fee of 0.50%, and no front load fees, back load fees, per transaction fees, performance fees or redemption fees.

Does Aspiration Give You $100?

Actually, you can get $150 when you open an Aspiration account and $200 if you open an Aspiration Plus account. New clients are eligible for these bonuses if they open accounts with at least $10. The rewards come in about four months after opening the account and meeting all requirements. Get more details.

Do you Get Paid Early with Aspiration?

When you set up direct deposit with your Aspiration Spend & Save Account, you can get paid up to two days early. Money will be available in your account as soon as the payer authorizes payment, rather than waiting until the scheduled payday like traditional checking accounts.

Does Aspiration Charge a Monthly Fee?

No Aspiration accounts come with a set monthly fee. The company operates on a “Pay What Is Fair” model, which lets you choose the fee you think fairly reflects your needs and the service you receive. You can pay as little as $0, but most customers pay at least a few dollars a month. To get the most out of your Aspiration account, become an Aspiration Plus member for $5.99 per month.

Penny Hoarder contributors Carson Kohler and Dana Sitar contributed to this review. Both are veteran personal finance writers specializing in banking and other topics.