Aspiration Account Review: Spend and Save

Aspiration’s eco-friendly, online-only account earns high interest when qualifications are met.

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Overall bank rating

Aspiration
  • Savings

  • Checking

  • Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Aspiration is a nonbank financial institution that offers the Spend and Save account, one that has both checking and savings features. Customers can opt for a basic account that has a “pay what is fair” monthly fee, which could be $0, making the account free. Alternatively, customers can opt for an Aspiration Plus account, which comes with a monthly fee and offers additional benefits including a higher interest rate on savings. That fee is lower if you pay annually.

Aspiration emphasizes eco-friendly features of this account, with offerings such as cash back for spending with socially conscious businesses, the option to plant a tree with every debit card transaction, a personal impact score that measures the social and environmental effects of your shopping habits, carbon offsets for driving your car and the promise that your deposits won’t fund fossil fuel exploration or production.

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.

Best if: You’re looking for an online-only account that earns interest and has a mission to create a positive social and environmental impact.

Pros

  • Offers a hybrid account with interest on savings and cash back for spending with socially responsible companies.
  • No monthly fee for the basic account and no overdraft fees.
  • Optional Planet Protection feature offsets carbon outputs when buying gas.
  • 10% of Aspiration’s customer fees go to charity.

Cons

  • The highest interest rate comes with several requirements and a fee.
  • No cash deposits.
  • Limits on debit card use internationally.

Full review

Aspiration Save
Aspiration Save

Savings

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
3.00%
With $0 min. balance for APY

Aspiration customers with a basic Spend and 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 available only 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 than $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 29x 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."

Aspiration Spend
Aspiration Spend

Checking

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft star rating
Not yet rated

Aspiration customers earn interest only on their savings balances, but they can also earn 3%-5% cash back on purchases made with Conscious Coalition retailers for basic accounts and up to 10% cash back with Aspiration Plus. Aspiration is part of the Allpoint network, which gives customers access to more than 55,000 nationwide ATMs. However, customers can’t deposit cash at ATMs. To deposit money, they’ll have to make electronic transfers from an outside account or use the app’s mobile check deposit.

Customers can also get paid up to two days early when they set up their paycheck direct deposit to go to their Aspiration account.

Banking experience

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

Upsides:

Helpful FAQs. The website has a thorough list of frequently asked 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. As you spend at socially conscious retailers, Aspiration generates your personalized “Aspiration Impact Measurement” to help track the impact of your spending history.

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 phone support. Phone hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT on Saturday and Sunday.

Downsides:

No live chat. The main ways to reach support are by calling, submitting a written request or reaching out to Aspiration's social media accounts.

No branches. The Spend and 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.

Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Aspiration doesn’t allow overdrafts, so customers aren’t charged overdraft fees. While this feature can be helpful to avoid extra charges, you may be out of luck if you don’t have the ability to overdraft, such as if your transaction is declined in the grocery checkout line.

Aspiration Save
Aspiration Save

Savings

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
3.00%
With $0 min. balance for APY

Aspiration customers with a basic Spend and 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 available only 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 than $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 29x 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."

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, banking 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.