Aspiration Review: Online Cash Management Account

Mar 29, 2021

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Aspiration Spend & Save Account - Aspiration Plus
NerdWallet rating 

at Aspiration

Cash management accounts — or cash accounts — have features that are commonly found in both checking and savings accounts. They're typically offered by nonbank financial service providers, like Aspiration.

Best if: You’re looking for an account that earns interest, has a mission to increase social impact and offers international ATM reimbursement.

Where Aspiration shines

Where Aspiration falls short

  • Offers a hybrid cash account with a rare up-to-10% cash back on certain purchases and up to 5.00% APY with an Aspiration Plus subscription.

  • No monthly fee for the basic Aspiration Save account and no overdraft fees.

  • Optional Planet Protection feature offsets carbon outputs when buying gas.

  • Spending tracker for social impact, and 10% of Aspiration’s earnings go to charity.

  • The highest interest rate comes with quite a few hurdles and a fee.

  • No branches or CDs.

  • No cash deposits.

  • Limits on debit card use internationally.

  • Has had customer support issues.

» Want to see how Aspiration compares? Take a look at NerdWallet's list of Best Cash Management Accounts

Read on for more details about Aspiration’s account, overdraft fees and customer experience.

Checking and savings features

4.5/5.0

Aspiration’s Spend & Save account is technically one account with separate checking and savings balances. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. The opening minimum is $10.

upsides:

High interest rates. Aspiration customers with a basic Spend & Save account can earn up to 3.00% on their savings, or they can earn up to 5.00% APY with the Aspiration Plus subscription add-on — which costs $7.99 per month or $5.99 per month if you pay for a full year in advance. Both APYs are only available on the first $10,000 in a customer’s Aspiration Save account. Customers must also spend $1,000 per month with their Aspiration debit card to earn the high APY.

Customers who have the basic account and spend less that $1,000 per month won't earn interest.

Aspiration says: "The Aspiration Save Account’s up to 5.00% Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) with up to 71x the national interest rate is variable, subject to change, and only available to customers enrolled in Aspiration Plus after conditions are met. Customers not enrolled in Aspiration Plus receive 3.00% APY after conditions are met."

Fee-free ATM withdrawals with the Allpoint network. Aspiration customers can use more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs with no fees. Aspiration Plus customers get one out-of-network ATM fee reimbursed per month.

“Planet Protection” feature. Available at no extra cost if you’re enrolled in Aspiration Plus, Aspiration will buy carbon offsets to match the calculated carbon output for every gas purchase you make.

Free paper checks available. The first set of checks you order from Aspiration is free. A shipping fee applies to every order of checks after the first.

No overdraft fees. Any checking transaction that would push the account negative is declined without a fee.

downsides:

No overdraft protection. You can’t sign up for overdraft protection that would transfer money from savings to checking to cover overdrafts. Some banks also offer a low-cost line of credit to cover overdrafts, but that’s not an option at Aspiration.

No cash deposits. Aspiration currently doesn’t accept cash deposits into the Spend & Save account, but the company says it’s working on adding that feature.

» What is a cash management account? Check out NerdWallet’s guide to this financial product

Customer experience

4.5/5.0

Upsides:

Helpful FAQs. The website has a thorough list of FAQs to answer questions about Aspiration, account features and other information.

Strong mobile apps. Aspiration offers highly rated iOS and Android mobile apps. Both let you deposit checks with your smartphone.

Unique spending feature. If you want to support socially responsible business practices, Aspiration helps make that happen. It gives businesses a “social impact score” based on how they treat their employees, customers, community and the environment, and you also receive a score based on where you shop. Cash back for debit card purchases at companies that have the highest scores is 0.5%.

Other benefits. You can get reimbursed for losses due to identity theft as part of the limited insurance coverage that Aspiration offers. There’s also free cell phone protection if you pay your phone bill with an Aspiration debit card.

Weekend hours for customer phone support: Phone hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT on Saturday and Sunday.

Downsides:

No live chat. The main ways to reach support are submitting a written request, calling Aspiration and reaching out on its social media account.

No branches. The Spend & Save Account is an online-only account.

Limits on debit card use abroad. Debit card transactions don’t work in every country, so check Aspiration’s list.

Issues in the past with customer support. Complaints from customers, including NerdWallet readers, about slow responses, delayed transfers and other account issues increased in early 2019 when Aspiration migrated accounts partnered with Radius Bank to its own system. At the time of publication, response time appears to have improved, and app ratings are high.

Aspiration Spend & Save Account - Aspiration Plus
NerdWallet rating 

at Aspiration

If you’re interested in comparing Aspiration, read our reviews for Ally, Capital One 360 and Discover, three online banks that have good checking and savings accounts along with add-on services that can help you handle your finances. But if you’re looking for an online account with some appealing perks, the Aspiration Spend & Save account could be a solid choice.

The Aspiration Spend & Save Accounts are cash management accounts offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC, a registered broker-dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, and a subsidiary of Aspiration Partners, Inc. (“Aspiration”). Aspiration is not a bank.

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