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Aspiration Review: Online Checking

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Aspiration Review: Online Checking

NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Learn more
at Aspiration
Aspiration customers have access to an interest-bearing checking account with excellent annual percentage yields and free ATMs around the world.

But Aspiration is an investment firm, so it doesn’t have any branches or offer savings accounts or certificates of deposit.

The bottom line

  • The Aspiration Summit Account is one of the best checking options on the market
  • Aspiration doesn’t charge overdraft fees on debit card purchases, ATM withdrawals or online transfers that push balances below zero. Instead, transactions are simply declined.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best online checking accounts of 2017

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

Checking account

5.0 / 5.0

The Summit Account comes with great rates, low fees and exceptional ATM access. Deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

  • Balances of less than $2,500 earn an APY of 0.25%. Larger balances earn 1%.

  • Aspiration reimburses all ATM fees worldwide

  • There's no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement

  • The initial deposit requirement is only $10
  • There's a waiting list to join Aspiration; you might have to wait up to two weeks to open an account

Account reviewed for rating: Summit Account.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best checking accounts of 2017

Bank experience

4.0 / 5.0

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.

Aspiration offers an iOS mobile app, as well as an Android version. Both let you deposit checks with your smartphone. With Aspiration, you can’t open multiple accounts or a joint checking account, though the firm said in May it expected to offer both in the “near future.”

Overdraft fees

3.5 / 5.0

Debit card purchases, ATM withdrawals and online transfers won’t trigger overdraft fees; rather, transactions are declined. But Aspiration does charge $25 for overdrafts caused by checks. Customers can rack up a maximum of two overdraft fees per day.

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. Because Aspiration lacks savings accounts, you can’t sign up for an overdraft protection transfer service.

Exceptional checking account, but shortcomings elsewhere

Learn more
at Aspiration
Aspiration’s checking account is better than most, but the firm is lacking in other categories. If you’re looking to keep all of your accounts together or want a more well-rounded banking experience, consider online banks such as AllyCapital One 360 and Discover. All three have good checking and savings accounts along with add-on services that can help you handle your finances.

Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @tonystrongarm.

Updated August 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.