My Banking Aspirations? More Candy

Cara Lanz
My Banking Aspirations? More Candy
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I can vividly remember going to the bank as a child. Weird, right?

Every year at Christmastime, they had a musical treasure chest brimming with candy. But there was a catch. The top opened and closed every couple of seconds, so if I didn’t get my little hand in there at just the right time, I was sure I’d be trapped there well into the New Year.

I remember the bank was fun. And there was candy.

These days, going to the bank is decidedly not fun. There’s no candy anymore, but there’s still a catch—usually in the form of piddly interest rates and exorbitant fees.

So, when I learned about Aspiration, an online banking service that provides only what I need—you know, banking services—and not what I don’t—buildings with lots of overhead and pushy salespeople—I knew I had to give it a closer look.

Here’s what I can tell you about Aspiration

The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is their free checking account and savings account, but better than the ones you might be used to. It takes only ten bucks to open and offers a ton of perks that put real dough back into your pocket.

Earn interest

Aspiration pays 2% APY interest on your savings account, which is kind of unheard of in the brick-and-mortar banking world—and even some of the best online banks. Usually, you’re lucky to get .03%.

Get cash back

If you think you need your credit card for its cash-back rewards, you can go ahead and cut the cord. Aspiration pays .5% cash back on debit card purchases, without being a gateway to tons of credit card debt. Get even more cash back.

Aspiration lets you track your Aspirational Impact Measurement (AIM) score, which shows your sustainable impact, as well as the score of the places where you shop. And when you spend money at businesses with high AIM scores, you can get 1% cash back—instead of .5%.

No fees

This is where most banks make their money, nickel-and-diming you for fees. With Aspiration, there are no ATM fees and, get this, you choose your own monthly fee, which can be $0. I’d like to know who isn’t choosing $0, wouldn’t you?

They also don’t ding you with overdraft fees. Here’s how: when you don’t have the funds to pay for something, they don’t let the transaction go through. Smart.

Extras

You might be used to looking for all the ways your bank is going to charge you. Instead, Aspiration finds a bunch of ways to add value. Like $600 of insurance on your cellphone, when you pay your bill with your Aspiration account. And up to $1,000 in expense reimbursement if your identity is stolen. They also donate 10% of their earnings to charity.

What’s the catch?

I still don’t want to get my hand caught in the candy dish, so I’m a stickler for the details. I can tell you there isn’t much I don’t like about Aspiration, but these things could be a big deal for some people. No cash deposits.

If you deal in cash, depositing it just isn’t an option. They say they’re working on it, though.

No people

If you like to look someone in the eye while you do your banking, Aspiration won’t be able to do that for you. They do have people you can talk to, just over the telephone.

No candy

Maybe I’m the only one who cares about this.

So, if you can get over those minor hurdles—and weigh them against all the positives—Aspiration is worth a try. And if opening an online bank account seems daunting, they make it really easy and will help you if you get stuck. Check out their super-intuitive website with tons of Q&As to find out even more about Aspiration Bank.