Aspiration is a socially conscious online financial firm that offers banking and investment products. Aspiration’s products have a unique “Pay What is Fair” fee structure, and the company donates 10% of everything it receives to charity. Aspiration’s core product, the Summit Account was voted “Best Checking Account in America” by Money Magazine and is the only bank account that allows you to see the impact of your dollars through their Aspiration Impact Measurement feature.
While Aspiration doesn’t offer a classic “savings” account, they do offer two investment products- the Redwood Fund and the Flagship Fund. As of December 2017, the company has raised over $60 million in funding. Aspiration is a B Corp, and a member of 1% for the Planet.
What Are Aspiration’s Checking and Savings Accounts Like?
One of Money Magazine’s Best Checking Accounts in America, the Summit account offers up to 100x the interest offered by the big banks: .25% APY on balances from $.00 to $2,499.99 and 1% on balances $2,500 and above.
The Summit account has a minimum $10 opening deposit, but doesn’t require a monthly minimum after account opening. Aspiration offers worldwide ATM reimbursements, and doesn’t charge any monthly service fees (though they aren’t trying to be a “free” bank). Aspiration’s fee structure “Pay What is Fair” allows you to choose the amount you want to pay them (anywhere between $0 and $10 a month) for their service, and they take 10% of what they receive through Pay What is Fair, and donate it to charity.
In addition to the above features, the Aspiration Impact Measurement “AIM,” allows you to see the impact your dollars have by rating the merchants that you shop with.
Aspiration’s Android and iOS apps are easy to use and have mobile check deposit. Currently the maximum you can deposit a day is $5,000. They offer electronic bill pay, and your first order of paper checks is free.
The Summit account does have some ancillary fees including $10 wire in, $20 wires out and a $25 overdraft fee, but they don’t allow any ACH or debit transactions that would overdraft your account, so the $25 overdraft fee isn’t too relevant.
While Aspiration isn’t a “bank,” funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor like in other more traditional banks.
Aspiration doesn’t have any normal “Savings” accounts, though some people could use Summit as a savings account because of the high interest. Their investment products, the Redwood Fund and the Flagship Fund are just that - investments rather than savings accounts but of course if you want to invest you can use those as vehicles to save as well, as long as you know that investments don’t provide guaranteed returns. You can open either or both as IRAs, so either way you are saving for your future. The return on both products depends on their performance and funds aren’t insured like savings accounts. The minimum for each fund is $100.
The Aspiration Redwood Fund (REDWX) is a fossil fuel and firearm free, sustainable equity fund. It has Morningstar’s top rating for sustainability (5 out of 5 globes), and as of December, 2017 has outperformed the S&P for the past year. Expenses for the Redwood Fund as of January 2017, are .50%, and you can choose the amount you want to pay (up to 2%) through Pay What is Fair.
The Aspiration Flagship Fund (ASPFX) is intended to be a low-volatility fund that is made up of other mutual funds to provide broad
exposure. The fund has some an operating expense of .50% and because the fund invests in some other funds, total fees according to the most recent prospectus (Jan, 2017) are 1.49%. They don’t charge a management fee, but you can pay up to 2% annually through Pay What is Fair.