An interest-bearing checking account that charges no ATM fees.
With a focus on doing good for the world — it donates 10% of its revenue to charity — Aspiration separates itself from other financial firms.
And its Summit Account is proof of this. With its interest-bearing checking account, you get to choose how much you’d like to pay in monthly service fees — if any at all. You’ll also enjoy free access to every ATM in the world and up to 1% APY on balances over $2,500. Moreover, with its mobile app, you can check your account balance and track businesses that make a positive impact on the world.
Aspiration isn’t without its weaknesses, however. For example, it doesn’t offer physical branches, and some of its fees aren’t cheaper than what other banks charge.
But if you’re looking for a checking account that helps you support important causes, Aspiration’s Summit Account could be the right pick.
Why open an account with Aspiration?
There’s no shortage of low-fee, high-interest online banks. But comparatively fewer firms let you support charities that change the world — Aspiration does.
Banking for social good
Aspiration donates 10% of your fees to charities that increase economic opportunity. It maintains multiple funds to disperse its contributions, including the Poverty Fund, Water Fund, Education Fund and Environment Fund.
Partner charities include, but aren’t limited to:
- Coalition for the Homeless
- Charity: Water
- The Sierra Club
- Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
- National Immigration Forum
Excellent interest rates
Open a savings account with a big bank and you’ll probably receive 0.01% APY. If you open a basic checking account, you can probably say goodbye to any interest at all.
Aspiration, meanwhile, offers an industry-leading interest rate for checking accounts.
|$0 to $2,499.99||0.25%|
|$2,500 and over||1%|
Consider a savings account for high interest
Aspiration’s 1% APY is top-notch for a checking account. But if you’re looking for high interest, a savings account may be what you really want. Here are a few online banks that offer great interest rates.
|Bank||Annual percentage yield (APY)|
|American Express Personal Savings||1.45%|
Use the Aspiration mobile app to check your account balance, view transactions, deposit checks, transfer money, pay bills and add money to your investment account.
Your experience with the mobile app may vary. It has a 3 rating in the iOS App Store, with users citing login issues and a buggy experience. However, it fares better on Android, with a 4.1 rating in the Google Play store.
Check the impact of your spending
Aspiration uses a proprietary method of gauging how conscious businesses are of the environment, employee pay, workforce diversity, and more. It calls this the Aspiration Impact Measurement.
The firm gives each business two ratings: a People Score and a Planet Score. Spend with high-score businesses to increase your own rating — your Sustainability Score. The higher this score is, the more you can be confident your money is going toward improving the world.
Low minimum opening deposit
The minimum to open an Aspiration Summit Account is $10. That’s a low threshold, especially as big banks usually require at least $25.
Aspiration’s ATM network and fees
Aspiration doesn’t require a minimum monthly balance or monthly deposit, and it doesn’t assess monthly service fees.
Use any ATM you’d like. Aspiration doesn’t charge ATM fees, including out-of-network fees. If a bank charges you for using an ATM, Aspiration reimburses you.
|ATM fees||$0||$0–$2.50 per transaction|
|Out-of-network ATM fees||$0||$0–$2.50 per transaction|
Checking account cost
You have the option to pay between $0 and $10 a month for your checking account. It’s part of Aspiration’s Pay What Is Fair policy: You choose the fee you pay.
|Overdraft fee||$25||$27–$35 per overdraft|
|Minimum balance fee||$0||$6–$15 per violation|
|Monthly maintenance fee||$0||$2–$16 per month|
|ACH transfer fee||$0||$0–$5 per transfer|
|Account closing fee||$0||$10–$50 depending on date of closure|
|Foreign transaction fees||1.1% per transaction||3% per transaction|
When you use your Aspiration card or make a transaction through Aspiration.com, an overdraft isn’t possible. If you don’t have available funds, the bank simply declines the ATM withdrawal, debit purchase or transfer. Note, however, that overdrafts resulting from a check will land you a $25 fee.
If your account is overdrawn, it’s best to get your balance to at least $0 as soon as possible. If you maintain an overdraft for five calendar days, you’ll accumulate a $5 fee every day until it’s erased.
Unfortunately, Aspiration transactions aren’t immune to foreign transaction fees. You’ll incur a 1.1% fee each time you make a transaction in a non-US currency. On the bright side, that’s about 2% less than you’ll pay with other financial institutions.
Wire transfer fees
|Incoming wires (domestic)||$10||$15–$20|
|Outgoing wires (domestic)||$20||$25–$30|
|Incoming wires (international)||$10||$15–$30|
|Outgoing wires (international)||$40||$35–$50|
What to watch out for
Banking with Aspiration has refreshingly few downsides. Like most online firms, however, it doesn’t offer the option to visit a physical branch.
Pay a monthly fee only if you want to
Aspiration makes money from customers choosing to pay fees. When you open a checking account, the firm will ask you to pay a voluntary monthly fee. Its rationale is most banks assess mandatory monthly service charges anyway — but the truth is a bit more nuanced.
Consider the four largest banks in the United States: Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citi. They do charge a monthly fee for a checking account, typically around $10. But you can get this fee waived if you meet specific requirements — most notably by maintaining a minimum balance — generally around $1,500.
Bottom line: You can pay Aspiration a monthly fee if you’d like. And doing so contributes to the 10% of revenue that Aspiration ultimately donates to charity.
But do it if you want to — not because you think you’d pay one at another bank.
How do I apply?
You can apply for an Aspiration Summit Account if:
- You’re a US citizen or permanent resident.
- You’re at least 18 years of age.
- You have a Social Security number.
- You have a permanent US address.
- You can deposit at least $10.
Applying for an Aspiration Summit Account
1. Visit the Aspiration website and click Sign Up at the top right corner.
2. Enter your email address and click Get Started. Aspiration will send you a link to sign up for an account.
3. Open the email from Aspiration and click Join Now.
4. Create an account by entering your email address and creating a password.
5. Complete the application with information like your name, date of birth, Social Security number and employment information. Fund your account with an opening deposit and pay a fee if you’d like. Then review your deposit and submit your application.
What other products does Aspiration offer?
Aspiration can help you grow your investments, save for retirement or donate to charity.
With a $100 minimum deposit, you can get started with Aspiration’s managed funds:
- Redwood Fund. Invest in companies that support sustainable environmental policies.
- Flagship Fund. Invest in multiple mutual funds at once to spread your risk.
Open an IRA with a $100 minimum deposit. Choose between the Redwood IRA and Flagship IRA.
Through your Aspiration dashboard, you can contribute to Aspiration’s partner charities.
Aspiration offers an excellent checking account. Its interest rates are industry-leading, and you’ll like paying no fees for ATM transactions.
Best of all, perhaps, you’ll rest easy knowing you’re banking with a socially conscious firm. It’s rare to see any company donate 10% of its profits, and Aspiration sets an admirable example. If you want your money to change the world, the Aspiration Summit Account deserves a serious look.