Mobile Banking

Aspiration Review: Helping You Make Ethical Choices With Your Money

In this Aspiration review, you will see how this online-only financial firm is geared towards providing consumers compelling financial products, as well as helping customers in making ethical choices with their finances.

Aspiration Review: Helping You Make Ethical Choices With Your Money

Digital banking has definitely changed the way people bank. It made managing finances and making transactions so much easier.

Digital banking has been around for some time already. However, it initially attracted the younger generations more, which is not surprising because they’re the ones who are more tech-savvy.

However, things rapidly changed when the pandemic hit in 2020. In fact, in research conducted by RFi Group, the financial services insights provider, it was found that 71% of consumers around the world are now using digital banking channels on a weekly basis because of what happened.

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Meanwhile, in a TIME report, it says that based on an analysis by Fidelity National Information Services, an international financial services firm, there was a 200% jump in new mobile banking registrations in April 2020.

In a snap, digital banking has become essential to every consumer’s day-to-day life.

Experts believe that the rise in numbers and changes in digital banking will continue post-pandemic, especially since people now already know the essence of having mobile banking access.

Now, even before this whole pandemic thing happened, there are already a lot of online financial firms competing with one another – providing the best services and rates possible to attract as many clients as possible.

Among all the choices available, Aspiration is one of them.

Aspiration is an online-only financial firm that focuses on providing compelling financial products as well as helping consumers make ethical choices with regard to their money.

Unlike banks, the firm does not offer traditional savings or checking accounts. But, it does offer products that are equally beneficial like typical bank offerings.

If you find Aspiration interesting, then, continue reading on.

For your reference, in the next few sections of this Aspiration review, we are going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the firm, which include:

  • What is Aspiration?
  • Who is Aspiration best for?
  • What does Aspiration offer?
  • How does Aspiration work?
  • Are there fees involved?
  • Is Aspiration safe?
  • What to like about Aspiration?
  • What not to like about Aspiration?


Aspiration is an online-only financial firm that was established in 2015.

The banks pitched themselves to customers who are already fed up with the traditional banking industry. The bank focused more on targeting Millennials who want to patronize a do-good business.

Earlier we mentioned the firm is geared toward helping customers in making ethical choices with their finances.

True to that vision, Aspiration set an example by donating 10% of its income to good causes and offering an in-app feature that guides the firm’s customers to the environment and people-friendly businesses. In fact, Aspiration users can even get sustainability scores on their respective spending habits.

How the company does promote making ethical choices while you shop? Check this video by Magnified Money wherein he explains how Aspiration actually does it:

As mentioned earlier, Aspiration is not a chartered, federally insured bank rather a brokerage that offers a cash management account.

Before you freak out about the fact that it is not insured federally because it’s not a bank, the firm’s relationship with banks helps ensure that the money you put into your Aspiration account is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp or FDIC.

So, yes, technically speaking, whatever amount you keep through Aspiration is automatically insured by the FDIC through its partnership with an FDIC-member bank.


As mentioned in the previous section, Aspiration is an online-only financial firm, which obviously means, it should appeal to customers who want the convenience of online banking and not minding the absence of a physical branch location.

Furthermore, Aspiration is a great option for those who do not want to pay monthly maintenance fees, as well as ATM fees.

Also, it should be ideal for consumers who want to earn cash back on debit card purchases.

But of all, Aspiration is a financial firm that appeals to those who want to bank with a company that does not only focus on earning, but also on sustainability.


Unlike typical brick-and-mortar banks and other mobile banking platforms, Aspiration does not offer many account-type choices.

However, the financial firm offers products that come with several incentives that customers who are considering online banking may appreciate.

Aspiration has two major product offerings. These are:

  • Aspiration Spend & Save Account, and
  • Aspiration Investment Accounts.

Aspiration Spend & Save Account

The Aspiration Spend & Save is basically a credit monitoring arrangement (CMA) for customers. It allows account holders to spend and save, at the same time, providing them with many benefits of a checking account.

This product comes with two different plans to choose from. The first one is a free plan, while the second one is a paid plan.

Customers may opt to go free with some restrictions while still earning 3-5% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases or option the paid plan, which costs $15 a month (or $12.50 per month if paid annually) to enjoy all its features.

By the way, Conscience Coalition purchases are from companies like Warby Parker, Blue Apron, and TOMS. You may visit the Aspiration website to see the full list.

Moving on, let’s dig deeper into each of these product options —

Aspiration (The Free Plan)

The Aspiration Free Plant, allows customers to decide what they want to pay. The firm calls it “pay what is fair” regardless if you do not pay for anything at all.

The Aspiration Free Plan comes with the following features:

  • Deposits won’t fund fossil fuel exploration or production
  • 55,000 free in-network ATMs
  • 3-5% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases
  • Personal impact score to help you shop to match your values
  • Option to plant a tree with every roundup

Aspiration Plus (The Paid Plan)

Aspiration Plus is the paid plan, which costs $15 a month, or $12.50 per month if you pay annually. Unlike the Free Plan, Aspiration Plus comes with fewer restrictions and more benefits, which is fair enough since you are paying for it, right?

All Aspiration Plus account holders will get to enjoy the following features:

  • Deposits won’t fund fossil fuel exploration or production
  • 55,000 free in-network ATMs
  • 10% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases
  • Personal impact score to help you shop to match your values
  • Option to plant a tree with every roundup
  • Up to 1.00% APY on your savings
  • One out-of-network ATM reimbursement monthly
  • Carbon offsets for all your gas purchases with Planet Protection

Now, you are probably wondering if the monthly payment is indeed worth it.

Well, it is worth it if you spend a lot on companies within the Conscience Coalition, because it entitles you to a 10% cashback.

Additionally, the Aspiration Plus plan comes with carbon offset purchases, which means that the firm buys carbon offset to counter the climate impact of their customers’ purchases.

If you care about the environmental impact of your actions, then, the paid plan should be worth it.

As mentioned, the plan allows customers to earn 1.0% APY. However, it does have some restrictions. In order to 1.00%, APY interest on Aspiration Save Account balances up to and including $10,000 in any month, you must be enrolled in Aspiration Plus and spend $1,000 or more monthly using the Aspiration debit card.

Meanwhile, balances of more than $10,000 will earn 0.10% APY. If in case customers do not meet the requirements every month, the APY will be 0.25% on Save Account balances up to and including $10,000, while balances over $10,000 earn 0.10% APY.

Both Aspiration and Aspiration Plus comes with a digital debit card, which allows users to use it instantly while waiting for the physical card. Of course, it also comes with a physical debit card, which can be used to withdraw money, and in making purchases.

Aspiration Investment Accounts

Aspiration has four investment products. Two of them are allocated for sustainable investing, also known as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, while the other two are the Flagship Fund and Flagship IRA, both have a low-volatility theme.

The Redwood Fund and the Redwood IRA invest in companies that are participating actively in different concerns like gender diversity, ethnic diversity, addressing climate change, and better ethics.

These accounts are managed by UBS Asset Management.

Meanwhile, the Flagship Fund and Flagship IRA target investors who are risk-averse. These funds are basically made up of other funds with approaches that lessen the ups and downs of the overall market and produce risk-adjusted returns.

To avail of these products, Aspiration requires a minimum initial deposit of $10.

It is important to know that all securities are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to $500,000.

The financial firm’s Flagship products are under Emerald Asset Management.


First of all, you have to be at least 18 years old and a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident of the country to be eligible.

Opening an Aspiration account is very easy. All you have to do is process your application online.

Once you have opened your account, download the Aspiration app, which is available for both Android and iOS users, and start making transactions.

To open a Spend and Save account, the firm requires $10 as the minimum opening deposit. No minimum balance is required.

Meanwhile, you may use your debit card to withdraw money from your account in any of the Allpoint ATMs for free.

Bonus Offer

As of this writing, all newly opened Aspiration Spend and Save accounts get a $100 bonus for a deposit of at least $10 or more, as well as using the Aspiration debit card to make minimum cumulative transactions of $1,000 within the first 60 days from account opening.

Customer Service

Aspiration has a thorough FAQ section on its website, which is very helpful both for new and old customers.

However, if you wish to talk to a customer service representative instead, the financial firm’s customer support phone line is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST on Saturday and Sunday at 800-683-8529.

Unfortunately, Aspiration does not offer live chat support. So, you only have two choices — either to call via phone or to send a written request.


One of the major factors that attract customers to banks or any financial institution for that matter is either the less or no fee features.

So, in this part of our Aspiration review, we are going to look into how the firm fares when it comes to fees.

Generally, Aspiration Spend and Save account holders do not have to worry about monthly fees (unless you are enrolled in the Aspiration Plus Plan, which costs $15 per month or $12.50 per month if settled annually) as well as overdraft fees.

In fact, Aspiration does not charge any international or domestic ATM fees as well. If you have the Aspiration Plus Plan, you even get to reimburse once per month if the other bank charges you a fee for an ATM withdrawal made.

However, there are some fees that every Aspiration customer must be aware of. This includes:

  • Returned item fee (check or debit) – $4.50
  • Stop payment – $1.19
  • Domestic wire in – $2.06
  • Domestic wire out – $4.50


Customer data and account security and safety are very important, which is why as part of our Aspiration review, we also looked into how Aspiration handle this common customer concern.

The Aspiration team ensures that all its digital channels – website and mobile app – are safe and secured by using bank-level encryptions and other added security features.

The app is highly rated on both Apple and Google, which means users have not encountered any major concerns using the online platform.

Meanwhile, although Aspiration is not a bank, the firm has partnered with an FDIC-member bank to ensure that all money kept through the firm is insured for up to $250,000 in case the firm fails.


In this part of our Aspiration review, we are sharing with you a list of the things that really stand out about the firm, and this includes the following:

  • Impressive APY for Aspiration Plus – Aspiration Plus account holders get to enjoy a 1.0% annual percentage yield on balances up to $10,000, while 0.10% for balances higher than $10,000, which is still higher compared to what traditional banks offer.
  • Planet Protection Benefit – This perk is available for Aspiration Plus account holders. With this feature, Aspiration automatically buys carbon offsets based on the number of gasoline purchases an account holder makes with the debit card. Aspiration Free Plan may also avail of this perk by signing up for the service for a fee of $5.99 per month or $59 per year.
  • “Pay What Is Fair” Policy – This is applicable on the Aspiration Free Plan wherein customers get to choose their monthly fee amount, between $0 and $20.
  • Little to No Fees – Although there are monthly fees involved particularly on the Aspiration Plus Plan, generally, customers do not need to worry about other common bank fees like overdraft and ATM fees.
  • Large ATM Network – Aspiration account holders have access to 55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs.
  • FDIC-Insured – Aspiration partnered with an FDIC-member bank. Thus, all deposits are insured up to $250,000 per depositor, per account category in the event that the firm fails.
  • Highly-Rated Mobile Application – Aspiration mobile app is downloadable for free on both iOS and Android devices.


To complete this Aspiration review, below are some of the not-so-good things we found about the firm.  It includes the following:

  • Several Eligibility Requirements to Earn Highest APY – While the 1.0% APY is impressive, it is only available with the Aspiration Plus account that comes with a fee. More so, to be eligible, the account holder must spend a minimum of $1,000 using the Aspiration debit card. Balances that do not meet the requirements will only earn 0.10%, which is still higher though compared to traditional banks.
  • No Cash Deposit Option – Aspiration does not offer cash deposits, unlike other digital-only banks.
  • Highest Cashback for Aspiration Plus Customers Only – To earn a higher cashback from making purchases at companies within the Conscience Coalition, you must be enrolled under Aspiration Plus Plan.
  • No Physical Branches – Similar to other online-only digital banks, Aspiration does not have a physical branch location where customers can visit and do in-person transactions.
  • $15 Monthly Fee for Aspiration Plus Account – To enjoy more perks you will have to avail of the Aspiration Plus plan, which comes with a fee of $15 per month or $12.50 a month if paid annually.


Aspiration, although not a bank provides customers an alternative by offering compelling financial products as well as an opportunity for customers to making ethical choices with their finances.

Needless to say, to ensure all deposits are safe, the firm partnered with an FDIC-member bank. Thus, in the event that the firm fails, account holders’ money will not be put to waste.

If you are up for something new and exciting, then this one’s for you. Are you?

Generally, with this Aspiration review, we found a company that does not only care about earning but also making sure they get to create an impact in the society – particularly, the environment.

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