Aspiration Bank Review: Free Checking and No Fees

Learn what makes Aspiration Bank's checking account stand out.

Aspiration Bank might be one of the smaller American banks, but it prides itself on its ability to make banking accessible through its community-like approach. Based in Los Angeles, Aspiration continues to attract customers teetering between big banks and small banks, or online banks and traditional banks.

Check out which financial services the newer online bank has to offer so you can better decide if it’s the best bank for you.

Aspiration Bank Review

Only one Aspiration checking account is available. But what Aspiration lacks in products, it makes up for with charitable banking policies and its investing options. For instance, the bank is connected to multiple charities and donates 10 cents of every dollar it makes back into the community. Also, through Aspiration’s “Pay What Is Fair” program, the customer sets his own fee rate and Aspiration donates 10 percent of that amount to various charities. Aspiration’s bank rates also make it a force to be reckoned with in the banking industry.

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Aspiration Bank Products and Services

Unlike bigger online banks such as Discover or Ally, Aspiration has a limited number of financial products and services. But Aspiration’s checking account has been praised for its higher APY and little to no fees, which is more common with online-only banks.

Aspiration Bank Summit Checking Account

The Aspiration Summit Account is a high-yield checking account that offers up to 1.00% APY and is FDIC-insured. If you’re looking to try a smaller bank and open an account with limited fees, Aspiration’s Summit Account might be right for you. Here are some of the account’s key features:

  • $10 minimum deposit
  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum monthly balance
  • No minimum monthly deposit
  • No ATM fees

With the Aspiration Summit Account, you earn 0.25% APY if your daily balance is less than $2,500. But that rate jumps to 1.00% APY if your daily balance is $2,500. That’s up to 100 times the interest rate provided on checking accounts at bigger banks and 20 times the national average APY, which sits at 0.05 percent as of July 2, 2018. With its higher interest rate, Aspiration offers what could be one of the best checking account interest rates in the country.

Aspiration Bank Investing Funds

Not all banks offer mutual funds, but you can take advantage of two types of mutual funds at Aspiration Bank: the Redwood Fund and the Flagship Fund. The Redwood Fund is based on sustainable investing, which promotes investing in socially responsible ways to generate returns. The Flagship Fund is designed to make investing a reality for all customers, not just for the wealthy.

Here are some of the highlights from Aspiration’s mutual funds:

  • Two investing funds
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • Fossil fuel-free
  • Open to new investors

Aspiration Bank Redwood Fund

The Redwood Fund is a mutual fund that includes investment in sustainable companies. The majority of the fund’s money goes toward investing in information technology and financial companies. The Redwood Fund is managed by UBS Asset Management, one of the largest asset managers in the world, according to the bank’s website.

Aspiration Bank Flagship Fund

This Flagship fund is Aspiration’s other mutual fund and is categorized by low-volatility investing. It requires a $100 investment to get started and is open to all Aspiration customers. The primary objective of the Flagship Fund is to grow your investment over the long term while attempting to weather the unpredictability of the stock market.

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Aspiration Bank IRAs

The Redwood and Flagship mutual funds also serve as Aspiration’s two traditional IRA accounts. Here are the key features of both IRAs from Aspiration Bank.

Aspiration Bank Redwood IRA

Because the Redwood IRA account is interconnected with the Redwood mutual fund, the IRA is also based on sustainable investing. With the Redwood IRA, you can invest in companies that value the environment and their employees.

Aspiration Bank Flagship IRA

Like the Flagship Fund, the Flagship IRA is characterized by its low-volatility investing. In fact, the goal of this IRA is to invest with steady growth and less unpredictability.

  • Traditional IRA
  • Tax-deferred growth
  • $100 minimum opening deposit

Advantages and Disadvantages of Aspiration Bank

Although Aspiration charges only a limited amount of fees, it also is limited in its product offerings. Get a better idea of whether this bank is right for you by reviewing its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Aspiration Bank

The socially conscious banking style and lack of general fees for its checking account help make Aspiration Bank stand out. Here are some of the major benefits of banking with Aspiration:

  • No monthly service fees
  • No domestic and international ATM fees
  • Option to invest in sustainable companies through Redwood and Flagship funds
  • Tax-deductible donations to seven charitable causes
  • Choose your own amount for select fees through the “Pay What Is Fair” program

Cons of Aspiration Bank

Despite the benefits the bank offers, it also comes with a few disadvantages. Here are some drawbacks you should keep in mind before joining Aspiration:

  • One checking account option
  • $25 checking overdraft fee
  • $10 fee for incoming domestic wire transfers and $20 fee for outgoing domestic wire transfers

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Who Should Bank With Aspiration?

For people who prefer a simple checking account that doesn’t rack up a lot of fees and doesn’t need much maintenance, Aspiration could be an ideal bank. Also, Aspiration’s emphasis on socially conscious investing makes it a great bank for anyone looking to not only make some money but also make an impact.

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