Your checking account is the centerpiece of your financial life. It’s how you get your paycheck, how you pay your bills, and, if you’re like most people, the balance in your account tells you when it’s time to stop spending.But when was the last time you checked to see if your checking account is right for you? The answer for a lot of people may be never. If you haven’t shopped for a new account in the last decade, one account you should absolutely consider is The Spend & Save Cash Management Account from Aspiration. And see how it compares to other accounts on our list: Best Money Market Accounts.Here’s what you need to know about it.
The Spend & Save Account from Aspiration can be broken down into two parts. The spend account offers 1% cashback on every purchase with a business that has a high “Aspiration Impact Measure” (social responsibility score) and 0.5% back on all other businesses. Very few financial firms offer any sort of cash back on debit card purchases, so this is a great perk for debit card users. Cash back is credited to the spending account once per month.Additionally, you’ll earn up to 2.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on all deposits (minimum $10 opening deposit) in the save part of your account. Which is actually pretty incredible. It’s also helpful to note that Aspiration has a competitive rate on interest paid on deposits.
The Spend and Save account has a $0 minimum balance, but you need $10 to open the account. You must be at least 18 years old and a US citizen or permanent resident to open the account.
When it comes to choosing where to put your money, you want to avoid as many fees as possible. In particular, you need to avoid monthly fees and overdraft fees. The Spend and Save account has no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, and myriad other $0 fees. In fact, it is one of the few banking products that has no international or domestic ATM fees. Aspiration will even reimburse you if the other bank charges you a fee for an ATM withdrawal. However, you will have to pay any currency conversion fees.The main fees on the account are $0.82 ingoing and outgoing domestic transfer fees, $2.50 international wire in fees, and $15.00 international wire out fees. You could also be charged $1.15 for a returned item fee if you bounce a check. A full list of service charges can be found here.
The Spend And Save account really doesn’t charge you fees, but you can opt to pay a monthly fee for the account. Aspiration calls this “pay what is fair.”However, Aspiration also has a charitable angle and pledges to give 10% of all profits to charitable causes, so you may want to pay for your account. The choice is yours.
The main drawback to the Spend and Save Account from Aspiration is that it doesn’t have any branches. You can call them to get customer service, but you can’t walk into a branch. This could prove to be a bit of an issue if you’re a baller who regularly gets large checks. Why? When you get a check over $5000 you have to mail the check to Aspiration’s partner bank: Coastal Community Bank, PO Box 2103, Everett, WA 98213.The money won’t be available in your account until the physical check has been received and cleared. Another possible issue with the Spend and Save Account is getting physical cash. Since you can’t go into a branch, you’re going to face certain limits. These include: Usually, these limits won’t be a problem, but if you want to buy a used car using cash (for example), you might be hard pressed to get what you need from your account.Finally, deposits in your Aspiration account are FDIC Insured up to $2,000,000 per depositor by being swept to FDIC Member institutions (visit https://www.fdic.gov for more on this). This is common practice for other cash management accounts like Fidelity or Schwab offer.
Overall, the Spend and Save Account may bean awesome centerpiece to your financial life, but it’s not perfect. Brick and mortar banks may still make some sense for you to consider, especially if you deal with cash on a regular basis. If access to physical currency isn’t too important to you, the accounts from Aspiration could be a great choice.