The Aspiration Spend & Save is an eco-friendly, hybrid checking and savings account. There are two plan options to choose from: Its free plan is called Pay What Is Fair, and its paid Aspiration Spend & Save Account plan costs $0 per month, or for a reduced option of $71.88 per year. While both plans offer interest savings and cashback rewards on Conscience Coalition business purchases, the paid plan offers stronger benefits. You'll earn 3% APY versus the 1% APY with the free plan and up to 10% in cashback rewards versus the free plan's 3% to 5%. Aspiration also offers a Plant Your Change program, an opt-in feature that plants a tree for every dollar you round up. But as an online bank, there are no physical branches, and it doesn't accept cash deposits.
Best for: Green consumers who want to earn interest and cash back with a socially conscious bank.
- Free membership plan available
- Get up to 10% cash back, depending on your plan
- Earn up to 3% APY on Save balances
- Accounts insured up to $2 million
- Best perks require paid membership
- No cash deposits
- No physical branches
- $10 opening deposit
Who is Aspiration Spend & Save best for?
If you’re conscious of your carbon footprint, this account is worth considering. Aspiration is an eco-friendly account well suited for those looking to put their money in a bank with green efforts.
The account lets you view your personalized sustainability score, which is based on your daily spending habits. And its Plant Protection program plants a tree for each purchase you make by rounding up the amounts, making it an easy way to better the environment.
How much does Aspiration cost?
There are two plans to choose from: The Pay What’s Fair plan allows you to choose your monthly fee amount – even if it’s $0. Its Plus plan is $7.99 but comes with extra features.
|Pay What’s Fair||$0||0% APY, or 1% APY on your first $10,000 by spending at least $500 each month||3% to 5% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases|
- Option to plant a tree with every round up through Plant Your Change
- Early paydays up to two days early
- View your personal sustainability score based on your daily spending
|Aspiration Plus||$7.99 per month||0.25% APY, or up to 3% APY on your first $10,000 by spending at least $500 each month||10% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases||Everything in the free plan, plus:|
- Plant Protection program where Aspiration purchases carbon offsets every time you gas up your car
- One ATM reimbursement per month
- Purchase Assurance coverage for items that are damaged or stolen within 90 days
What we like about Aspiration Spend & Save
As a hybrid account, an Aspiration account means you get access to the benefits of a checking and savings account in one. The account comes with FDIC insurance up to $2 million, cashback rewards and 1% to 3% APY when you meet spending requirements. The cherry on top is you don’t have to pay anything for the account if you don’t want to, but the best perks are reserved with the paid membership.
You won’t pay anything for overdrafts, and wire transfer fees are pretty fair, costing only $2.06 to $4.50 for domestic wire transfers. You also get checkwriting privileges, and your first 25 checks are free.
If you need to withdraw money, Aspiration partners with Allpoint, boasting an extensive network of over 50,000 free ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Aspiration doesn’t charge fees, but you’re still subject to operator fees. But if you’re a Plus member, you’re entitled to one ATM fee reimbursement per month.
Many eco-friendly features
This neoback really goes above and beyond to create an eco-friendly account:
- Aspiration Impact Measurement is a unique feature that gives you a personal sustainability score. By analyzing your spending habits with businesses, your score is determined by whether those businesses are socially or environmentally impacting the world in a positive way.
- Plant Your Change is an opt-in program that lets you round up your purchases to the nearest dollar, and that spare change goes toward planting a tree.
- Aspiration cards are made with 80% pre-consumer recycled content (PVC), and the Aspiration Plus cards are partially made with upcycled ocean-bound plastic.
- When you refer a friend, Aspiration donates $25 to the charity of your choice and another $25 to one of your friend’s charity of choice.
- If you decide to pay something with the Pay What’s Fair plan, Aspiration donates $0.10 for every dollar to charities. The remainder of that fee goes to the company’s operation costs.
Earn up to 3% APY
You can earn up to 3% APY on your first $10,000 in your Save balance as long as you’re a Plus member and spend at least $500 or more with the Aspiration debit card per month.
If you don’t upgrade to Aspiration Plus, you’ll earn 1% APY on balances up to $10,000 by spending at least $500 each month.
If you don’t meet the membership or spending requirements, your APY drops to 0.25%. That’s still higher than the average APY on checking accounts of
0.07% but lower than the average
0.46% for savings accounts, according to the FDIC.
Earn cash back whenever you use your Aspiration debit card with companies in Aspiration’s Conscience Coalition(1). Cashback rates vary between 3% to 5% for the Pay What’s Fair option and up to 10% with the paid Aspiration Plus membership. Some companies in the program include:
- Blue Apron
- Cloud Paper
- Girlfriend Collective
- Imperfect Foods
Where it falls short
While the Aspiration Spend & Save account boasts a competitive 3% APY on your first $10,000 in your Save account, you need to have the paid membership. You also need to spend at least $500 per month with the debit card. And if you don’t have a membership and don’t meet the spending requirements, the APY drops to 0.25%.
Also, the cashback rewards are great at first glance, but they’re limited. The eligible companies aren’t very well known and may not be part of your everyday purchases. While its cashback rate is high, you’ll have a better chance of earning cash back with other reward checking accounts.
And like most online banks, Aspiration doesn’t accept cash deposits. Since it accepts remote check deposits, Aspiration suggests the workaround of getting a money order to deposit cash into the account through a remote check deposit — but it states that not all money orders are accepted, and it won’t reimburse for the cost of the money order.
Aspiration Spend & Save fees and access
|Monthly service||$0 to $7.99|
- Domestic: $0 with Allpoint ATMs
- International: 1% foreign transaction fee charged by Mastercard
|Debit card fees|
- Cash withdrawals: $0 with Allpoint ATMs
- Foreign transactions: 1% foreign transaction fee charged by Mastercard
- Card replacement: $0
|Overdraft or nonsufficient funds||$0|
- Domestic: $2.06 service fee
- International: $2.06 service fee
- Domestic: $4.50 service fee
- International: $19.50 service fee
- Paper statements: N/A
- Account closure: $0
Compare Aspiration Spend & Save to other accounts
Narrow down top accounts by fees, APYs and opening deposits. Tick the Compare box on up to four providers to see features side by side.
Aspiration has great customer reviews and ratings overall. On Trustpilot, it holds an excellent 4.4-star rating, one of the highest we’ve seen with an online bank. It’s common for online banks to do horribly in the customer support realm, as they lack physical branches. But with Aspiration, the majority of reviews are customers highly praising the patient customer support, stating issues were quickly and professionally resolved.
Aspiration earns solid reviews on the Apple Store and Google Play. The app has a 4.7-star rating on the Apple Store and 4.2 stars on Google Play. Positive reviews praise Aspiration’s customer service, APY and green efforts. Negative reviews express frustration with locked accounts, and a few are unhappy with the ability to only earn cash back with select businesses. But overall, most customers are pleased with Aspiration.
Checking account ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.
Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.