Editor’s Note: Some offers listed in this article are no longer available.
Aspiration is an online financial institution known for its commitment to both the environment and socially-conscious causes. Aspiration says that unlike other banks that have a negative environmental impact by funding fossil fuel projects, your money will plant trees and help foster carbon neutral industries. We’ll offer some background on Aspiration and provide a review of their Aspiration banking plans to see whether it’s worth it.
Overview of Aspiration Bank
When you bank with Aspiration, your money will never be used to invest in the fossil fuel industry. Clearly, this is a financial institution designed for people who want their banking and personal finances to have a positive climate impact.
While technically not a checking or savings accounts, Aspiration offers a cash-management accounts that function similarly to traditional bank accounts.
Aspiration Spend & Save features valuable benefits on two different tiers. Its basic account earns cash rewards whenever you use your debit card, while Aspiration Plus earns an impressive average percentage yield — 5.00% APY — but you do have to jump through a few hoops to be eligible for its high-yield APY.
Additionally, for a limited time, you can earn a $200 bonus when you open either of these Aspiration Spend & Save Accounts and meet certain requirements with your debit card.
Although this isn’t among the best bank account bonuses around, I recently opened accounts with Aspiration because the bank bonus is easy to earn, and you don’t need to change much about your spending habits.
The amount of cash-back rewards you earn with your Aspiration debit card will vary based on the tier you choose. Here’s some more information about each option.
|Aspiration Plan||Aspiration Plus|
|Deposits won’t fund fossil fuel exploration or production||✅||✅|
|55,000 free in-network ATMs||✅||✅|
|Cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases||✅||✅|
|Personal impact score to help you shop to match your values||✅||✅|
|Option to plant a tree with every roundup||✅||✅|
|Get paid up to 2 days early||✅||✅|
|Free debit card||✅||✅|
|One out-of-network ATM reimbursement monthly||✅|
|Carbon offsets for all your gas purchases with Planet Protection||✅|
The Aspiration Plan is the bank’s basic plan. With this tier, you get to choose how much you pay on a monthly basis for your Spend & Save Account — and that choice can be nothing at all. Aspiration calls this a “Pay What is Fair” fee, and you set your own monthly fee when you open a new account. The monthly fee comes out of your Spend Account.
With this plan, you’ll also earn between 3% to 5% cash back on purchases with Conscious Coalition retailers.
You’ll also earn 3.00% APY on your first $10,000 of your savings.
- 3% APY on the first $10,000 of your savings
- Up to 3%-5% cash back on Conscious Coalition purchases
- Get paid up to two days early
- $10 minimum opening deposit
- 55,000 free in-network ATMs
- Option to plant a tree with every debit card transaction
- Personal impact score to help you shop to match your values
- No minimum balance requirements
With an Aspiration Plus plan, you’ll pay just $7.99 per month or $5.99 per year if you pay annually. While most consumers don’t like the idea of paying for their basic checking services, this monthly fee is much lower than what you’d normally expect from bigger banks.
You’ll get all of the benefits of the basic plan, but also:
- 5% APY on the first $10,000 of your savings
- 10% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases
- Automatic carbon offsets for the negative climate impact of driving your car with Planet Protection
- One ATM out-of-network fee reimbursed each calendar month
- Purchase protections for items that are damaged or stolen within 90 calendar days
To compensate for the monthly fee, Aspiration offers 10% cash-back rewards on all of your debit card purchases with Conscious Coalition retailers. Depending on how often you spend with the above merchants, you could easily get back your monthly fee and more.
You’ll also get one out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement each month and access to the Planet Protection feature, which provides carbon offsets for gas purchases.
Finally, you’ll earn up to 5.00% average percentage yield (APY) on the first $10,000 of your savings balance. To maximize this benefit, you’ll need to spend $1,000 or more monthly with your debit card.
The high-yield 5.00% APY interest rate applies only to the first $10,000, and if you don’t meet the requirements, your APY will be 0.25%. If you have more than $10,000 in savings, your balance above that threshold will earn just 0.10% APY.
How To Get a $200 Bonus from Aspiration
Overview: Bank bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. Moreover, the requirements to earn them can vary, depending on which bank or credit union is offering it.
With Aspiration, you’ll earn a $200 sign-up bonus if you open a Spend & Save Account — the bank’s version of a checking and savings account — and fund it with a deposit of $10 or more.
Then you’ll need to make at least $1,000 worth of cumulative transactions with your debit card in the first 60 calendar days from account opening.
Bonus Requirements: Note that $1,000 in net purchases is required to earn the Aspiration sign-up bonus. So if you spend exactly $1,000, then get a refund on a purchase for $50, you’ll need to make up that amount with more purchases to ensure your bonus.
Once you’ve met the requirements, you’ll receive the money in the form of a statement credit within 120 days of account opening, as long as your account is still open and in good standing.
As with any bank bonus, the $200 will be considered interest income, so expect to receive a 1099-INT form from Aspiration so you can claim it on your tax return.
Earn More Via the Referral Bonus Program
How to earn more bonus cash: Once you become an Aspiration member, you can invite friends and family to sign up as well. When a loved one opens an Aspiration account with your personalized referral link, Aspiration will give you and your referral $50 cash.
In order to be eligible, accounts must be open and in good standing for a minimum of 10 business days, the referred customer must use their Aspiration debit card to make at least $250 worth of cumulative transactions within 60 calendar days of account opening, and that there is a $1,500 per month per person limit for referral bonus cash.
Aspiration Account Features
While Aspiration offers a unique take on online banking, many of its functions and features resemble what you would find at other financial institutions. Here’s what you need to know about Aspiration’s bank accounts.
Spend & Save Accounts
Aspiration offers a cash management account called Spend & Save. These two accounts are the only bank accounts offered by Aspiration, and you receive access to both when you open a new account. Aspiration customers can’t opt-out of either account because they are a package deal.
Aspiration’s Spend account resembles a checking account and is meant for everyday use. Only the Spend account is accessible with the Aspiration debit card. Like a traditional checking account, you can also receive paper checks to use with your Spend account. Your first set of checks is free with Aspiration.
Your Save account works like a savings account and provides a safe place online to keep your funds.
With Aspiration Spend & Save, you’ll get a free Aspiration debit card that earns up to 10% cash back. Use your debit card to make purchases for everyday spending both online and in-store — and you have the potential to earn bonus cash just for making budgeted spending.
Keep in mind, you’ll need to use your debit card for purchases with companies listed in the firm’s Conscience Coalition. This is a partnership of ethical companies that are committed to reducing poverty, encouraging sustainable business practices and creating a just society.
As an example, a few of the members of the Conscience Coalition are Toms, Blue Apron, Warby Parker and Lola, among others.
Also, the cash-back rate varies between 0.50% to 10% with these select retailers.
Turn Spare Change Into Trees
The Aspiration debit card has a few other perks, too. Your debit purchases can also plant a tree with Aspiration’s tree programs.
Cell Phone Protection
You also get free cell phone protection when you pay your phone bill with your card.
However, Aspiration’s debit card does have disadvantages. For example, unlike other debit cards, Aspiration’s doesn’t work in all countries. Yet, for people who use rewards credit cards with no foreign transaction fees when they’re abroad, this limitation may not be significant.
No ATM Fees
Use your Aspiration debit card for unlimited fee-free withdrawals from Allpoint’s network of 55,000 ATMs worldwide. However, out-of-network transactions will result in ATM fees.
You can find ATMs on Aspiration’s website, through your account’s mobile or desktop dashboard, or using the Allpoint ATM site.
When you use a non-network ATM, you will be subject to that individual cash point’s fee structure and any related network fees.
Get Paid Early
Many online banks now feature early direct deposits. With Aspiration, you can receive your paycheck up to two days early when you set up the direct deposit from your employer.
Currently, there is no option to deposit cash into an Aspiration account. Deposit options are limited to:
- Direct deposits
- Electronic transfers from other financial institutions
- Mobile check deposits
- Wire transfers
Keep in mind that processing and cutoff times vary between transaction types. Direct deposits are administered by one of Aspiration’s partner banks, Coastal Community Bank.
Both plans come with a complimentary Aspiration debit card and access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs through the Allpoint ATM network. Aspiration customers have access to unlimited withdrawals at domestic Allpoint ATMs without any fees. There’s a $4 fee per transaction when withdrawing from one of Allpoint’s international ATMs. Aspiration Plus accounts come with one ATM fee rebate per month at any out-of-network ATM (domestic or international).
Other withdrawal options include electronic transfers, wire transfers, and through third-party apps like Venmo or PayPal.
Aspiration doesn’t charge any fees for accidental overdrafts.
Aspiration’s Spend & Save accounts are considered cash management accounts, not a traditional checking account or savings accounts. Deposits made to Aspiration are FDIC insured up to $2.5 million per depositor through the use of several partner banks.
Like other cash management accounts, Aspiration sweeps your funds into bank accounts at partner banks. Because more than one partner bank is used, they can offer FDIC protection beyond the standard $250,000 limit.
You can reach Aspiration’s technical support by calling 800-683-8529.
How To Open An Account With Aspiration
You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident over 18 years old to open a new account through Aspiration. Other account terms and restrictions may apply, so read the fine print before applying for an account.
Customers also need another bank account to fund their Aspiration account. There’s a $10 minimum deposit required to open an account.
To verify your identity, Aspiration performs a soft credit check, also known as a soft pull. This type of credit check doesn’t affect your credit score negatively and won’t show up on your credit report.
What Is Unique About Aspiration Bank?
Aspiration is an online bank that engages in socially-conscious and sustainable banking services. The institution engages in the following activities to achieve its mission:
- It doesn’t use any of its profits to fund fossil fuel production or exploration or to donate to political campaigns that work against its customers.
- Aspiration donates 10% of the fees its customers pay to charitable organizations.
- Its Planet Protection feature keeps track of the carbon output of all of your gas purchases. Then the bank buys offsets to help counter the impact of your carbon footprint on the environment.
- You’ll earn cash back when you use your debit card to shop with retailers in its Conscience Coalition, which is made up of merchants who also maintain socially-conscious missions.
But whether or not you care about how socially conscious your bank is, Aspiration provides significant features, rewards and perks, including its $200 bonus, making it one of the top online banking choices available.
The online bank also offers investment options, including retirement savings.
How Does Aspiration Work?
Aspiration manages its bank accounts a little differently than other banks and credit unions. Instead of offering multiple types of checking accounts and savings accounts, you’ll get a Spend & Save Account with one of two plans: Aspiration or Aspiration Plus. Pricing and benefits vary between the two options.
Regardless of which plan you choose, you’ll get access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs, the option to plant a tree with every swipe and access to your personal impact score, which can help you determine how your shopping matches your socially-conscious values.
You’ll also earn cash-back rewards when you shop at Conscious Coalition retailers, which include:
- Arcadia Power
- Blue Apron
- Girlfriend Collective
- Known Supply
- This Saves Lives
- United By Blue
- Warby Parker
The Bottom Line
Aspiration offers some valuable benefits to its customers, especially ones who are intentional with their impact on the environment and want to give their money to socially-conscious and sustainable businesses. The bank incentivizes using your money to do good by spending with and investing in like-minded companies.
The Spend & Save account functions similarly to a traditional checking accounts and savings accounts. So if you’re new to the concept of a cash management account, don’t let the Spend & Save account intimidate you.
Even if you’re not particularly excited about the bank’s mission, you can still take advantage of its $200 bonus for new customers, the high-yield APY on Aspiration Plus accounts and its cash-back rewards. Make sure you can make at least $ 1,000 in cumulative transactions within the allotted time before you sign up so you know you’ll earn the bank bonus. To earn even more rewards, check out the other top bank bonuses available right now to review some of the top checking bonuses available.
Aspiration Bank FAQ
Aspiration Bank is an online financial institution that is committed to providing its customers with a selection of ethical banking practices, including tree planting programs and carbon offsets. Additionally, this firm provides two main products: Aspiration Basic and Aspiration Plus — both are spending accounts that offer perks such as sign-up bonuses, interest-earning, cash back rewards and more.
Aspiration is a legit banking platform that provides FDIC insurance on customer deposits by partnering with up to 10 institutions, offering up to $2.5 million in FDIC coverage. This means that deposits are generally safe up to that amount because they are protected by the federal government should the financial institution fail.
Aspiration Bank is well suited for people who value both an online banking experience, but who also want to offset their carbon footprint and support environmentally-friendly causes. Additionally, Aspiration is for people who want to earn interest on their account balances and cash back with every debit card purchase.
You can contact Aspiration Bank customer service by phone at 800-683-8529. Similarly, you can submit customer service requests directly to its technical support and account services teams through either the website or the Aspiration mobile app.
What sets Aspiration apart from big banks is its commitment to providing customers with ethical banking through its tree planting programs, carbon offsets and partnerships with sustainable businesses, charities and non-profit organizations. Additionally, Aspiration says it’s committed to never funding fossil fuel projects.
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