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Aspiration Online Checking Account Review

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, Checking Accounts
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Aspiration Review: Online Checking

NerdWallet rating: 4.0/5.0

Where Aspiration shines:

  • Offers interest checking with rates that start at 0.25% APY
  • No monthly maintenance or minimum balance requirement
  • Reimburses all ATM fees worldwide

Where Aspiration falls short:

  • There’s a waiting list: You might have to wait up to two weeks to open an account
  • No branches, no savings accounts, no CDs

Where Aspiration shines:

  • Offers interest checking with rates that start at 0.25% APY
  • No monthly maintenance or minimum balance requirement
  • Reimburses all ATM fees worldwide

Where Aspiration falls short:

  • There’s a waiting list: You might have to wait up to two weeks to open an account
  • No branches, no savings accounts, no CDs

Where Aspiration shines:

  • Offers interest checking with rates that start at 0.25% APY
  • No monthly maintenance or minimum balance requirement
  • Reimburses all ATM fees worldwide

Where Aspiration falls short:

  • There’s a waiting list: You might have to wait up to two weeks to open an account
  • No branches, no savings accounts, no CDs

 

The bottom line

The Aspiration Summit Account is one of the best checking options on the market. The account earns interest and doesn’t have monthly fees or ATM fees. In addition, Aspiration doesn’t charge overdraft fees on debit card purchases, ATM withdrawals or online transfers that would push your balance below zero. Those transactions are simply declined. But Aspiration is an investment firm, so it doesn’t have bank branches or offer savings accounts or certificates of deposit.

Best if: You’re looking for free checking that earns interest and has worldwide ATM reimbursements.

Learn more at Aspiration

 


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

Checking: 5.0/5.0

The Summit account is a free checking account, with no minimum balance requirement or monthly surcharges.

More upsides:

Earns interest. Rates are 1.00% APY for balances of $2,500 or more, and 0.25% APY for lesser balances. Deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Worldwide ATM reimbursements. You don’t have to pay out-of-network ATM fees with an Aspiration Summit Account, even if you’re traveling internationally. If you incur fees from the machine’s owner, Aspiration will reimburse those charges.

One drawback:

There’s a short waiting list.
You might have to wait up to weeks to open an account.

Overdraft fees: 3.5/5.0

The upside:

Electronic transactions don’t trigger overdrafts. Debit card purchases, ATM withdrawals or online transfers that would bring the balance below zero are declined, so there would be no overdraft fees.

The downsides:

Checks can trigger overdrafts. If paying with a check causes an account to be overdrawn, Aspiration will charge a $25 overdraft fee. Customers can rack up a maximum of two overdraft fees per day.

You can be charged if your account remains negative. If your account is in the red for five consecutive days, you’ll be charged a daily $5 extended overdraft fee until your balance returns to $0 or higher.

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

Bank experience: 4.0/5.0

Upsides:

Easy-to-reach customer service. Aspiration customers can contact the firm via phone, email, chat, Twitter or a robust help center. Its website is easy to use and provides a clear overview of fees, interest rates and other important information.

Good mobile apps. Aspiration offers an iOS mobile app, as well as an Android version. Both let you deposit checks with your smartphone.

Downsides:

No branches. The Summit Account is an online-only checking account.

No savings accounts. With Aspiration, you can’t open multiple accounts or a joint checking account. The firm is working on making the options available, but there’s no estimated date.

If you’re looking to keep your checking and savings accounts together or want a more well-rounded banking experience, read our reviews for Ally, Capital One 360 and Discover. They are three online banks that have good checking and savings accounts along with add-on services that can help you handle your finances.

Aspiration
Learn more
at Aspiration
But if you’re simply looking for an online checking account with great rates and other perks, the Aspiration Summit account could be a great choice.

Updated Oct. 18, 2017.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

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