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The best socially responsible banks for your savings

Feel good about saving by choosing an ethical bank that cares.

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Finder's pick: Aspiration Spend & Save Account

Aspiration Spend & Save Account logo

Up to 1%

APY

  • Unlimited cashback rewards
  • New customers earn $100 bonus after $1,000 in transactions in first 60 days
  • Contributes to environmental sustainability
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Socially responsible banks make a positive impact on society because they allow you to control what your dollars support when you choose to stash them in an ethical bank account for your savings.

We researched over 130 savings accounts and looked at key factors such as social impact, values, interest rates, fees and eligibility requirements, to bring you the best ethical savings accounts available today, so you can put your money where your values are. Some of our options don’t have ethical savings account specifically, but the bank uses its dollars to support certain causes. We detailed why each account made our list under each bank’s section.

What’s changed in 2021?

We listed which banks have socially responsible certifications if any. We also added American Express, Discover, Capital One, Ally Bank and Alliant Credit Union to our list. While none of these banks offer ethical savings accounts, each one earmarks profits to support socially conscious causes in the local or national community.

The best socially responsible banks for your savings

Take a look at our top picks for ethical banks and alternatives that let you align your money with important causes.

Aspiration Spend & Save Account

Earn cash back for shopping at socially-conscious businesses.

  • APY: Up to 1%
  • Interest compounding: Daily
  • Monthly fee: From $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10

Aspiration is a Certified B-Corp, member of 1% For The Planet and it donates 10% of its profits to charity each year. It offers a socially responsible bank account that’s a checking and savings account rolled into one. But you’ll need to pay a monthly fee for its Plus account if you want to earn 1% APY. Otherwise, if you opt for the free Basic plan, you won’t earn any interest.

Pros
  • Track your spending impact. Use the Aspiration Impact Measurement app to track the environmental impact of your spending.
  • Plant Your Change. Opt in for this feature and your debit card purchases get rounded to the nearest dollar. For every dollar, Aspiration plants a tree. Plus, you can earn cash back rewards for trees planted.
  • Free ATM withdrawals. Aspiration reimburses one out-of-network ATM fee a month for Plus members.
  • Optional monthly fee. There’s no mandatory monthly fee for the basic Aspiration plan. But if you open the Plus plan, you’ll pay $15 a month or $12.50 if you pay annually.
Cons
  • APY requirements. To earn 1% on your Save balance, you must sign up for the Plus account, maintain less than $10,000 and spend at least at least $1,000 a month with your Aspiration debit card.
  • Required bank account. To sign up with Aspiration, you’ll need to link your existing bank account. There’s no way around this.

BankPurely SavingPurely account

A digital bank with an environmentalist twist.

  • APY: 0.25%
  • Interest compounding: Daily
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100

BankPurely is a green bank with a clear conscience. It supports various charities focused on human and eco-related causes, and it’s PayItGreen Approved, meaning it uses the least paper possible in order to reduce waste. BankPurely also has a small carbon footprint thanks to its lack of physical branches.

Pros
  • Plant a tree. BankPurely plants one tree each time someone opens a SavingPurely account.
  • Earns interest. Earn 0.25% APY on your total balance, which is higher than the national average but lower than competing accounts.
  • Large ATM network. Use over 55,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network for free.
Cons
  • Non-network ATM fees. You’ll pay $3 to withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM.
  • Wire transfer fee. BankPurely charges a $15 fee for all domestic wire transfers.
  • No branch. This is a fully-digital bank, so you can’t visit a branch for in-person support.

Mascoma Bank Logo

Mascoma Bank Statement Savings

Open a basic savings account with this certified B-corp.

  • APY: 0.01%
  • Interest compounding: Monthly
  • Monthly fee: $2
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10

Mascoma Bank is a Certified B Corporation that donates 10% of its profits to charity each year. It gives all of its employees paid time off to volunteer in the local community and 42% of the bank’s board members are women.

Pros
  • Avoidable monthly fee. The $2 monthly fee is waived when you keep at least $100 in your account.
  • Daily customer support. Reach out to customer support on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
  • Online application. It takes 10 minutes or less to open an account with Mascoma Bank.
Cons
  • APY requirements. You’ll need to maintain a $100 minimum daily balance to earn interest.
  • Low APY. This account earns 0.05% APY, which is much lower than the competition.
  • Limited branch locations. Mascoma is a regional bank with offices in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. If you live outside this area, you’re limited to phone and email support.

Amalgamated Bank Logo

Amalgamated Bank Give-Back Savings

This bank matches your earned interest and donates it to charity.

  • APY: 0.3%
  • Interest compounding: Daily
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0

Amalgamated Bank is a Certified B-Corp and member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). With its Give-Back Savings account, it will match half the interest earned on your account each month and donate it to a charity of your choice. So, if you earn $20 in interest, the bank donates $10.

Pros
  • Support a charity of your choice. You get to choose which charity your matched-interest goes to each month.
  • No balance requirements. You don’t need to maintain a certain balance to open this account or earn 0.3% interest.
  • Large ATM network. Each savings account comes with an ATM card that gives you access to over 55,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network.
Cons
  • Can’t open it online. You must visit an Amalgamated Bank branch to open this account.
  • Limited branch locations. This bank has about 13 branches spread across New York state, Washington, D.C. and California, so you’ll need to be comfortable with banking online.
  • $5 excessive transaction fee. If you make more than six outgoing transactions a month, you’ll pay $5 each time. This policy may be temporarily suspended, so contact Amalgamated Bank to see if this fee still applies.

Clearwater Credit Union Logo

Clearwater Credit Union Primary Savings

An institution focused on sustainability and financial literacy.

  • APY: 0.05%
  • Interest compounding: Daily
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5

Clearwater Credit Union is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) and Inclusiv, an organization serving residents in low-income communities throughout the US. It’s dedicated to protecting the environment, reducing its carbon footprint, providing equal pay to employees and helping families in need.

Pros
  • No monthly fee. You won’t pay anything to open or maintain this account.
  • Financial planning tools. Clearwater helps its members take control of their finances through free educational workshops, events, counseling sessions and more.
  • Online application. It only takes a few minutes to open a Primary Savings account.
Cons
  • Low APY. This account only earns 0.05% APY, which is slightly less than the national average.
  • Membership restrictions. Generally, this credit union is open to those who live, work or worship in a few select counties in Montana. But you can also join if you participate in an association that’s headquartered or dedicated to relieving poverty in its service area.

How to choose the best socially responsible bank account for you?

Whether you’re looking for your first account or thinking of making a change, consider the following when searching for the best ethical savings account:

  • Your current bank’s values. If you already have a savings account, check their website to examine what their investment values are now. If you can’t find the information, you can call or visit a branch to find out more.
  • How your money is being invested. Once you understand what your bank’s investment policies are, you can find out where your savings are being invested now. In most cases, banks that provide ethical savings accounts will disclose this information openly.
  • Your personal beliefs and values. Think about the causes that you are passionate about and how you can make a positive difference to society or to the environment to narrow down your choices.
  • If you’re ready to switch. If you’re not comfortable with the investing principles of your current bank, or find one that is more suited to your morals, it’s usually easy to switch your accounts by providing your new bank with the details of your current accounts.

What is a socially responsible savings account?

An ethical savings account can be the following things:

  • A savings account offered by a financial institution that makes a commitment to not have a negative impact on our society or environment. These principles will directly impact the way in which the bank chooses to invest and lend the money you deposit into your ethical savings account.
  • A savings account that donates a portion of the interest earned to a registered charity or group of your choosing.
  • A savings account where the financial institution donates the same amount of interest you earn to a registered charity or group of your choosing.
  • Savings accounts from banks that only lend to ethical organizations.

How does a socially responsible savings account work?

With an ethical savings account, your money automatically supports causes you care about — and doesn’t fund projects that you may be against. But like traditional accounts, you can access your money when you need it. And depending on the type of product you choose, your accounts attract interest and fees based on your daily balance.

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What are the different types of socially responsible causes banks support?

There are a number of ethical causes being supported by various banks and other financial institutions, allowing you to choose one that impacts an issue you feel most passionate about:

Contribute to community aid

Banks and credit unions can make a choice to only invest in local businesses and causes that directly affect the community. For example, Greenwood Bank strives to recirculate money within the Black and Latinx community and supports causes, including fighting hunger and committing to civil rights.

The environment and sustainability

Ethical banks who focus on the environment, like US Bank, will research their business partners and customers thoroughly to ensure that they are not participating in any practice that is polluting the planet or causing damage to natural resources.

Stand up for animal rights

Certain ethical savings accounts may make efforts to support institutions that protect and preserve wild and domestic animals. For example, Aspiration makes it convenient to donate to your favorite charity, including the African Wildlife Foundation and Wild Earth Guardians.

Support political parties

If you feel passionate about the beliefs of a particular political party, you can find a socially responsible savings account that financially supports the same group. For instance, Amalgamated Bank has a Political Action Committee (PAC) that favors the Democratic party.

What are the pros and cons of having a socially responsible bank account?

Choosing an ethical bank makes your money do more good for the world, but it has a couple of setbacks.

Pros

Feel good about putting money in the bank with a socially responsible account.

  • Have a positive impact on society. You can contribute to a positive cause without donating directly.
  • Earn interest while you’re making a positive impact. Even as you make a conscientious effort to support ethical banking, you’re still able to earn interest on your savings.

Cons

Here are a few headaches you may run into.

  • Limited range. Not every bank is ethical. If you want a bank whose morals align with your own, that will limit your options when searching for the right account.
  • It might not be fee-free. If you find an ethical savings account offered by a credit union or mutual bank you may need to first meet the membership requirements and pay for your shares before you can apply for the account.
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Compare socially responsible banks to keep your savings

Use this table to explore other socially responsible banks that put a focus on education, giving back to the community or improving the planet:

Name Product Ethical cause
American Express® High Yield Savings
Uses 100% renewable energy in US data centers, has donated over $65 million to preserve historic sites, has aided disaster relief efforts in over 30 countries and has trained more than 3,500 social sector and nonprofit leaders through its Leadership Academy
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Aspiration donates 10% of its profits to charity each year, and it pledges to never use your money to support fossil fuel projects, political campaigns or firearms
Discover Online Savings Account
Invests in financial literacy programs for high schoolers, including more than $1 million in Chicago Public Schools and $14 million overall
BankPurely PurelyMoneyMarket
Pledges to plant a tree for every account opened and is PayItGreen certified
Bank of America Advantage Savings
environmental sustainability, driving economic and social progress, and enabling financial health.
Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings
Donates money to nonprofits to support social, economic and environmental causes
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

You might need to do some extra research to find a financial service provider whose ethics line up with your own, but once you do, you can feel good knowing that you’re saving money and supporting a good cause at the same time.

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