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Compare the best ethical savings accounts

Feel good about saving by choosing a financial institution that cares.

Updated

Fact checked

Finder's pick: Aspiration Spend & Save Account

Aspiration Spend & Save Account logo

1%

APY

  • $10 minimum deposit to open
  • Unlimited cash back rewards
  • No monthly fee unless you choose to pay
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Financial institutions make money by lending your hard-earned dollars to others. But now you can control what your dollars support when you choose to stash them in an ethical savings account. We’ve researched the best five ethical savings accounts available today, so you can put your money where your values are.

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, it’s PayItGreen certification means it uses the least paper possible in order to reduce waste. Plus, BankPurely has a small carbon footprint thanks to its lack of physical branches.

Aspiration Spend & Save Account

Earn cash back for shopping at socially-conscious businesses.

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

This ethical bank account is a checking and savings account rolled into one. 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.

Mascoma Bank Logo

Mascoma Bank Statement Savings

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

  • APY: 0.05%
  • 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.

Amalgamated Bank Logo

Amalgamated Bank Give-Back Savings

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

  • APY: 1%
  • Interest compounding: Daily
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0

Open a Give-Back Savings account and support a cause that matters to you. Each month, Amalgamated Bank matches half the interest earned on your account and donates it to a charity of your choice. So, if you earn $20 in interest, the bank donates $10.

Clearwater Credit Union Logo

Clearwater Credit Union Basic 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 an ethical institution dedicated to protecting the environment and helping families in need. It works to reduce its carbon footprint and provide equal pay for its employees.

How did we choose the best accounts?

Ethical savings accounts help you make a positive impact on society while working toward your savings goals. We narrowed down our list of the best ethical savings accounts by looking into key factors such as social impact, bank values, interest rates, fees, eligibility requirements and more.

What’s changed in 2020?

For 2020, we added a list of the five best ethical savings accounts, so you can support institutions whose values align with yours. While there are other financial insitutions that support charities and provide donations, they didn’t have an ethical account that directly tied to it.

Compare ethical savings accounts

Name Product Ethical cause
American Express® Personal Savings 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

What is an ethical 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 an ethical savings account work?

Banks that offer ethical savings accounts structure their products in the same way as other financial institutions. Depending on the type of product you choose, the money you deposit will attract interest and fees based on your daily balance.

John decides where to save

john2-case-study

John wants to open a savings account but is concerned about how his money while it’s in the bank. After comparing various institutions he finds a few that work to have zero impact on the environment. Nothing that the interest rates and other features match what other banks offer, he chooses to save with a bank that also donates a percentage of his annual average balance to a registered charity or community organization.

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What are the different types of ethical causes I can help?

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

Localized banks and credit unions can make a choice to only invest in local businesses and causes that directly affect the community.

The environment and sustainability

Ethical banks who focus on the environment 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.

Support political parties

If you feel passionate about the beliefs of a particular political party, you can find an ethical savings account that financially supports the same group.

How do I choose an ethical savings account?

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 are the pros and cons of having an ethical savings account?

Pros

  • 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

  • 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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How did we choose the best accounts?

Ethical savings accounts can help you make a positive impact on society while working towards your savings goals, but it can be tough to determine which one is right for you. We narrowed down our list of the best ethical savings accounts by looking into key factors such as social impact, bank values, interest rates, fees, eligibility requirements and more.

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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