Aspiration is a financial technology company that’s changing the way customers save and spend their money while building a better world.
The advent of digital banks in the United States ushered in an era of lower banking fees, faster transactions, and location-independent financial services.
While Aspiration is not a traditional bank, it has taken innovation in the financial services sector a step further by giving its customers the power to determine how their money impacts the world.
Think socially responsible investing, offsetting of carbon emissions, giving to causes you believe in, earning cashback, high-yield savings, no hidden fees, and more.
This Aspiration review covers its account offerings, pros, cons, and whether it is legit.
What is Aspiration?
Aspiration is a “neobank” based in Marina del Rey, California. It was founded in 2013.
The fintech is aimed at providing socially conscious customers with financial services that are 100% divested from harmful industries such as fossil fuels, private prisons, and firearm manufacturers.
Aspiration’s cash management accounts help reforestation efforts around the world when you shop and you can save over $300 in banking fees every year.1
You can access your Aspiration account on all devices, and it has dedicated a mobile app you can download from the App Store or Google Play Store.
You can also reach its customer service support from 6:00 AM-6:00 PM PST (Monday-Friday) and 8:00 AM-4:00 PM PST (on Saturday and Sunday).
Aspiration Account Features
Its Spend and Save account offers checking and savings-like features that make managing your money a breeze.
Depending on your specific needs, you can choose from one of the two plans available: Aspiration or Aspiration Plus.
The “Aspiration” Cash management account has the following features:
- You pay what you feel is fair, including $0 per month.
- Access to 55,000+ fee-free in-network ATMs.
- Earn up to 5% cash back when you shop at socially conscious retailers.
- $150 welcome bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
The “Aspiration Plus” Cash management account offers similar features plus the following perks:
- Earn $200 when you spend $1000 in the first 60 days of account opening
- Earn up to 10% cash back on socially conscious spending.
- Earn up to 1.00% variable APY on your Aspiration Save balance after conditions are met
- Automatic CO2 offset on all your car travel.
- One free out-of-network ATM transaction per month.
- Sleek debit card made from recycled plastic.
The Aspiration Plus account costs $7.99 per month or $5.99 per month with an annual subscription.
Aspiration also offers a professionally managed ESG mutual fund.
How To Open an Aspiration Account
Aspiration is only available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents with a 10-year permanent resident card. You must also be over 18 years old.
The account opening process is easy. Start by providing your email address and follow the prompts to provide your personal details and Social Security Number.
To fund your new Aspiration Save and Spend account, you will need to connect to an external bank account.
The minimum amount to open a Spend & Save Account is $10.00.
Benefits of an Aspiration Cash Management Account
Aspiration makes it possible for you to save on banking fees while ensuring your money is not used to fund projects that damage the planet.
By using its AIM “Aspiration Impact Measurement” metric, the fintech is able to score companies based on their social and environmental impact. You can also use AIM to assess your own personal sustainability score.
When you shop at a socially conscious retailer, you earn up to 10% cash back depending on your account plan.
Merchants on Aspiration’s Conscience Coalition include Warby Parker, TOMS, Blue Apron, Soapbox, Arcadia Power, Goodwings, Causebox, Girlfriend Collective, and several others.
Customers who have an Aspiration Plus account also earn up to 1.00% variable APY on the first $10,000 in their savings account after conditions are met
You determine what you pay in monthly fees for a standard Aspiration Cash management account (including $0 per month).
Finally, new account holders get a $150 welcome bonus (or $200 with Aspiration Plus) when they spend at least $1,000 in the first 60 days of opening the account.
- Aspiration has no physical branches you can walk into if you prefer face-to-face banking services.
- To continue earning the maximum 1.00% APY on your savings, you need to enroll in Aspiration Plus and spend at least $1,000 each month using your debit card. When Aspiration Plus members don’t meet the minimum spending requirement in a particular month, the APY for that month is 0.25%.
- It is only available to US residents.
Is Aspiration Legit?
Aspiration is a legitimate financial services company. As of this writing, it has had over 1.5 million customers and has raised over $200 million in funding from major institutional and accredited investors.
The Aspiration Spend & Save Account are cash management accounts offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC, a registered broker-dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, affiliate of Aspiration Fund Adviser, LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aspiration Partners, Inc. (“Aspiration”). Aspiration is a bank.
Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $2.46 million per depositor by being swept to FDIC Member Institutions. Visit fdic.gov and Aspiration’s Program Banks for more info.
1The “save as much as $300 or more” claim is based on Aspiration’s Pay What Is Fair model with all extra services provided at cost compared against the national average for monthly maintenance fees assessed at traditional financial institutions, $9.60 per month, added to the average cost of using ATMs, $3.00 average ATM operator fee, $2.50 average non-network ATM fee, and $5.00 plus percentage for international ATMs, combined with miscellaneous other services like sending and receiving wires, $15.00 – $45.00, issuing checks, up to $26 per book, and processing ACH transactions, from $0.20 – $1.50 per ACH. These fees add up for traditional bank customers, but with Aspiration, we empower customers to choose their own fee while providing extra services at cost, cash back opportunities, access to interest, and fee-free access to over 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs.