Features

Aspiration is an L.A.-based investment firm that also offers checking account services through a partnership with Radius Bank. Radius Bank is based in Boston, MA. It has a four-star rating with Bauer Financial and more than $725 million in assets. Aspiration offers two main products: a checking account and a savings/investment fund. The company is located in Marina Del Rey, California, and was founded in 2013 by Andrei Cherny, who is also its CEO. As of December 2015, the startup has received $20.5 million in funding.

What Are Aspiration’s Checking and Savings Accounts Like?

Checking Account

Aspiration´s Summit Account offers users with a balance of $2,500 or more a 1.00% APY. Users with a balance of less than $2,500 only receive 0.25% APY. These rates are 100 times higher those offered by the vast majority of banks. However, relatively higher rates are not the only or even the main benefit of Aspiration´s Summit Account.

It also offers no minimum monthly balance, no monthly service fees and no minimum monthly deposit, and no ATM fees. That means no ATM fees, regardless of which ATM you use in the United States or overseas. 

The minimum deposit to open an account is $10, but you don’t have to maintain a minimum balance. Aspiration is not a bank but funds placed in the Summit Account are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 because they are deposited in Radius Bank. There is a $33 overdraft fee to consider, which is high considering many banks don’t even charge this fee anymore. There is also an $8 returned checks fee, a $10 incoming wire transfer, and a $20 outgoing wire transfer.

Savings Accounts

Aspiration’s Flagship fund is an investment fund, not a regular savings account. Your money is invested in the Aspiration Flagship fund, ASPFX. Instead of the 0.01% to 1.00% APY most banks offer, the return on this fund depends on its market performance. These funds are not insured by the FDIC, which means you could lose money. The minimum investment is $500.

Aspiration’s website says you can choose the fee you pay Aspiration for investing in their fund. You could even choose to pay nothing for their service. However, this does not include the 1.72%, or 1.35% depending what prospectus you read, in operating expenses the fund charges. If you decide to “pay” for Aspiration’s services you will be paying over and above the basic operating expenses of the fund. These expense rates high when compared to the 1.02% industry average expense ratio for indexed funds or the 0.18% expense ratio low-cost fund managers like Vanguard charge.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages of Aspiration’s Checking And Savings Accounts?

We love this about Aspiration:

  • 1.00% APY on a checking account.
  • No mínimum balance and no monthly service fee on the checking account.
  • No ATM fees, regardless of what ATM you use.
  • It donates 10% of all its profits to charity.

We don’t like this about Aspiration:

  • $33 overdraft fee
  • Fees on ingoing and outgoing wires and returned checks
  • Confusing pricing schedule investment funds. Not clear that there are operating expenses to pay.

 

 

  • Online
  • Checking Interest Rate
    1%
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0 votes

I am seriously not happy with customer service as well as their online page that doesn't seem to be able to accept a change in withdrawals. I have been trying to close an investment account for over a week. I cancelled the last transfer of money to the fund and they ignored my wishes.....there are too many hoops and whistles to get a simple issue solved. I am still waiting to hear back from someone who promised to get back to me by 10:30 today. I called again and was ... told the shares had finally been sold but closing of the fund had still NOT happened... they again ignored my request yesterday to NOT take another withdrawal from my checking account...Why ask me if I want to cancel this withdrawal if my answer is ignored? I wasn't alerted to the fact they were doing this till a day after. It's now pending in my personal account. If I didn't check my account every day I never would have known. When I took issue with this mix up the customer service rep told me their have been a few kinks they are working on. Obviously this is all automated and there isn't anyone paying attention to customers wishes. It was a great idea but it's not working for me. More Less

0 votes

Their fraud prevention "services" are out of control. My card has been deactivated twice THIS WEEK ALONE because of the very suspicious charge to Uber Inc., the taxi service that I use probably two or three times every single day (why it is they chose this specific charge as suspicious is beyond me). The idea of aspiration is great, but they have constructed a machine and set it in motion without checking to make sure that it operates properly. Consequently, I have to call them several times weekly just to ... keep my card active. Look into Chime banking or Simple banking, they are way better. You won't get as good of an interest rate, but you get what you pay for. More Less


0 votes

What a mess this "banking institution" is. I thought it looked like a good option from the big banks but after a week and a half after opening my account, I didn't receive my debit card. Meh. Things get lost in the mail, no big deal. I contacted Aspiration and they verified that my address was correct and they said they would mail another card. 10 days later, still no card. I contacted them again and this time they stated that after their research, it ... looks like I listed a different address when I opened my account so I must now follow the multi-page set of instructions in an email they sent and send: a Utility Bill (Gas, Water, Electric, Cable, Land Line Phone, dated within 3 months), a Property Tax Bill, Auto Registration, a Bank Statement with address (dated within 3 months), a Student Loan Bill with address (dated within 3 months) or a Mortgage Bill/Statement, then fill out the change of address form. Sign the document in ink, upload it.....and then they'll send me a new card.

Well, how about I send you a screen grab of my account information page showing that my address is not incorrect and INDEED lists my current address? I did that, and promptly closed my account....which by the way also involves a lot of hoops.

No thank you, Aspiration, I'll stick with my big bank, which come to think of it has never really done me wrong anyway. We give big banks a hard time, but at least they have one thing down: how open (and yes close) accounts. To me, if you are banking institution and you can't manage how to properly open an account, then it's just a matter of time before you fail. Can't wait to say, "I saw it coming".
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0 votes

Terrible customer service not for international customers. The fraud alert could only be removed temporarily after talking to many people and three weeks and costing me 100s of dollars as their go to is we will look into it and contact you tomorrow. They then don't fix it then say I am not able access my money for my own safety. I am constantly traveling and luckily have accounts with banks with actual people that understand that or I would be sleeping on the street in China or Paris ... when my aspiration card is rejected as a fraud safety measure even though I told them I would be there. I emailed the CEO no response. Customer service also were rude and now give me no response. More Less


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