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Aspiration Review: Online Checking

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Aspiration Review: Online Checking

NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0

4.0 stars out of 5

Learn more
at Aspiration
Aspiration offers an interest-bearing checking account with excellent annual percentage yields and free access to every ATM in 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’s overdraft policies aren’t nearly as consumer friendly.

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

Our Ratings
Checking account5.0 stars out of 5
Savings accountN/A
Certificates of deposit N/A
Customer experience3.5 stars out of 5
Overdraft fees2.5 stars out of 5
Overall4.0 stars out of 5

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

Checking account

5.0 stars out of 5
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

Customer experience

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 / 5.0

Aspiration users can contact the firm via phone, email, chat, Twitter or a robust help center. Its website is easy to use, but it doesn’t have the saving or budgeting tools that online banks typically offer.

Aspiration recently released its iOS mobile app, as well as the Android version. Both are highly rated, and let you deposit checks with your smartphone. With Aspiration, you can’t open multiple accounts or a joint checking account, though the firm expects to offer both in the “near future.”

Overdraft fees

2.5 stars out of 5
2.5 / 5.0

Aspiration charges $25 per overdraft, and there’s no limit to the number of these fees you can incur in one day. If your account is in the red for five consecutive days, you’ll be charged a daily $5 extended overdraft fee. Given that 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 under the same roof or simply 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.

Verified Jan. 19, 2017.

Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: checking, savings, CDs, 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 tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to each financial institution’s ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.

What the ratings mean:
5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best
4.5 stars out of 5 — Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
4 stars out of 5 — Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
3.5 stars out of 5 — Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
3 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution
2.5 stars out of 5 (or below) — Best to avoid