Aspiration Review: A Financial Institution That Gives Back

GOBankingRates Score

4.7
Quick Take: Aspiration Bank approaches banking differently. It focuses on a small, community presence. Besides the standard checking and savings accounts you'd expect from any online or traditional bank, Aspiration Bank offers ethical and socially-conscious investment options.
  • APYs
    4.6
  • Benefits
    4.8
  • Products
    4.7
  • Customer Service
    4.6
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Option to invest in sustainable companies through Redwood and Flagship Funds
  • No monthly service fees
  • No ATM fees
  • Direct deposits pay up to two days earlier

Cons

  • Only one checking account option
  • Fees such as a $25 overdraft fee, a $10 fee for domestic incoming wires and a $20 outgoing wire fee

Aspiration Bank Overview

Based in Los Angeles, Aspiration Bank was founded in 2015 and is backed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom. Aspiration Bank continues to attract customers teetering between big banks and small banks who are in search of a community-minded experience.

The bank donates 10% of every dollar customers pay to charities that help struggling Americans build a better life. In addition, Aspiration Bank is a member of 1% for the Planet and B-Corp certified for its commitment to social and environmental causes. 

Key Features

Aspiration Bank earned a GOBankingRates score of 4.7 out of 5 thanks to its strong performance in four main categories.

APYs

Aspiration Bank doesn’t provide many account options but it does offer high yields on your balances. Spend and Save Accounts can earn % APY, while Aspiration Plus subscribers can earn a higher APY on the first $10,000.00. However, account holders must spend at least $1,000 on their Aspiration debit cards per month to earn the high yield. 

Benefits

One of the main benefits of banking with Aspiration Bank is the opportunity to do good. Aspiration makes automatic offsets for the negative climate impact of driving your car and purchasing gas with the Planet Protection program. Plus, you have the option of investing in two ethical mutual funds: the Redwood Fund and Flagship Fund, both with a $100 minimum opening deposit.

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 and is managed by UBS Asset Management Inc., one of the largest asset managers in the world.

This Flagship fund is a low-volatility fund. 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 of the market.

Products

Only one 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 a dollar of every dollar they make back into the community. Aspiration’s Summit is a high-yield checking account. Here are some of the account’s key features:

  • $10 minimum deposit
  • No monthly services fees
  • No minimum monthly balance 
  • No minimum monthly deposit
  • No ATM fees at 55,000 locations. 

You can upgrade to Aspiration Plus for $7.99 per month. Doing so bumps your potential APY and adds one ATM reimbursement per month as well as automatic carbon offsets for the gasoline you purchase. 

Customer Service

To contact Aspiration Bank’s customer service agents, you can email support@aspiration.com or call 1-800-683-8529, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST and weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST.

How Aspiration Bank Stands Out

Aspiration Bank’s standout is its commitment to ethical banking for all. There are a number of ways you can participate in contributing to good causes. Plus, the bank claims your deposits will never fund coal or oil projects. For anyone in search of simple checking with a feel-good twist, Aspiration Bank is an ideal option.

Comparable Aspiration Bank Options

To compare banks before you choose, consider the following alternatives. 

Aspiration Bank vs. Ally Bank

Aspiration Bank and Ally Bank both offer high-yield accounts. Aspiration Bank’s rate is significantly higher, but it’s capped at the first $10,000 and requires debit card spending of $1,000 per month. Ally’s product is simpler — earn .00% on your balance without having to do much.

Aspiration Bank vs. Ellevest

Ellevest offers a similar banking platform featuring a spend and save account and a linked ATM card. While Aspiration Bank goes after the ethically conscious customer, Ellevest is designed for women by women. Ellevest also offers funds that focus on social and environmental causes, with up to 53% of your portfolio invested in ESG & impact funds. 

How To Apply

To open an account with Aspiration Bank, enter your email address to receive an invitation to apply. The application process is fairly straightforward — you’ll need to enter your name, address, Social Security number and set up a log in. When you’re ready to fund the account, provide a current bank account and routing number to transfer the funds.

Who Aspiration Bank Is Best For

Aspiration Bank is best for anyone in search of a simple checking account that doesn’t rack up a lot of fees and doesn’t need much maintenance. Aspiration’s emphasis on socially conscious investing could also be ideal for anyone who makes conscious decisions about who they do business with in order to make an impact.

Final Take

Most banks fall into three main categories: traditional bank, credit union or online bank. Aspiration Bank is unique because it offers a simple, online banking experience with the opportunity to do good with your money.

FAQ

  • Is Aspiration a legitimate bank?
    • Aspiration Bank isn't exactly a bank. However, it's a legitimate financial institution with FDIC insurance of up to $2.5 million per depositor.
  • What bank owns Aspiration?
    • No bank owns Aspiration. However, the financial institution has partnered with several banks to provide FDIC coverage on its customers' cash deposits for up to $2.5 million per depositor.
  • How much does it cost to open an Aspiration bank account?
    • There is no charge to open an Aspiration checking account. You could upgrade to Aspiration Plus for $7.99 per month to increase your APY and receive one ATM reimbursement per month.

John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Aspiration Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Aspiration Bank.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of June 22, 2022.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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