Aspiration Banking Overview
Choosing who to bank with isn’t as easy of a decision as it once was. Traditionally, there were just a handful of banks that you could choose between, but with the growth of the internet, there are now a lot of internet banks that you have to consider too.
When online banks first started, there were a lot of people that were skeptical about them. But, people quickly came around, and now a lot of people use banks that only operate online for their day-to-day life. After all, it is incredibly tempting to use an online bank, simply because there are so many to choose from.
One of the leading online banks is Aspiration Banking, but is this company the right choice for you? In this guide, we’ll be taking a complete overview of Aspiration Banking and the services that they offer to help you decide if this is the right bank for you.
What is Aspiration Banking?
First, let’s take a look at what Aspiration Banking is. Even though its name literally has the word ‘banking’ in it, Aspiration Banking isn’t actually a bank. At least not in the traditional sense. Instead, Aspiration Banking is a financial institution. In reality, the difference between a bank and a financial institution is very small, and it mainly revolves around whether, or not, an institution offers loans. Banks tend to offer loans, whereas financial institutions tend not to.
As a company, Aspiration Banking offers a couple of different services, and we’ll take a deeper look at these later on. If you are looking for a new company to bank with, then you are probably looking for a bank with a unique selling point (USP) that suits you. While a lot of traditional banks gain customers simply because they have existed for a long time, and as such have a good reputation, online banks have to offer things to make them more attractive.
The USP for Aspiration Banking is the company’s huge focus on sustainability. Sustainability and acting eco-friendly manners have become incredibly important in recent years, so it is easy to see why Aspiration Banking has become so popular. Now, let’s take a quick look at the company’s history.
A Brief History
In comparison to some banks and financial institutions, Aspiration Banking is rather young. The company was first founded in 2013, and they have grown significantly since then. Their headquarters are based in Marina del Rey, California, and they employ around 200 people. A lot of online banks are very similar to one another, and because of this, they have had to make themselves unique in order to attract customers. Aspiration Banking has attracted customers because of their huge focus on sustainability.
This focus on sustainability is front and center of everything that Aspiration Banking does. The rewards that they offer customers revolve around sustainability, and due to this, they tend to attract customers who also share these values. As part of their sustainability work, Aspiration Banking is a member of the 1% for the Plant and Drawdown Labs Consortium (alongside companies such as Google and Netflix). They are also a certified B Corporation, and donate 10% of their earnings to charity.
At the heart of the business, Aspiration Banking focuses on sustainability. This is something that we have spoken about time and time again, but it is what the company is centered around. Since they first started operating, Aspiration Banking has achieved awards for their banking services, the way that their company is run, and the impact they have on the environment. So, how does Aspiration Banking improve sustainability in ways that other banks do not?
Well, you might not know this, but the majority of big banks have close links with fossil fuel companies. These close links often include banks donating billions to companies that use fossil fuels. To begin with, Aspiration Banking is different because they don’t do this. Instead, Aspiration Banking looks to help the world by encouraging their customers to move towards sustainable companies.
They do this by rewarding customers for spending money with sustainable companies (in the form of cashback), and by giving them an Aspiration Impact Management score out of 100. As customers use their card, their score will change in line with their spending habits, and where they spend. So, Aspiration Banking actively helps their customers to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Products They Offer
Now that we’ve taken a look at Aspiration Banking, let’s find out what products and services they offer for their customers.
The main product that Aspiration Banking offers is the Aspiration card. This is the basic card that Aspiration Banking offers, but it still comes with lots of benefits. These benefits include the following:
- Choose your own monthly fee.
- Shop with a conscience using your Aspiration Impact Management score.
- Access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide.
- 3-5% cashback when you shop with Conscience Coalition partners.
- Push notifications to monitor spending.
- Schedule regular transfers.
- Deposit checks through the app.
- Unlimited transfers between spend and save accounts.
- Reimbursement for identity fraud costs.
- Cell phone protection insurance.
Alternatively, you can also get the Aspiration Plus card. This card offers all the benefits of an Aspiration Plus card with extras on top. These additional benefits include an increase on cashback from Conscience Coalition partners to 10%, up to 1% APY on savings, a planet-friendly debit card, carbon offsets for gas purchases, and monthly reimbursements for out-of-network ATM charges.
* The Aspiration Plus Debit Card is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated.
Finally, Aspiration Banking offers the Aspiration Zero card which allows you to go entirely carbon neutral. This card tracks your carbon footprint, and every purchase will take you a step closer to being carbon neutral. Every time that you use this card a tree will be planted (and you can also plant your own). Finally, you will also get 1% cashback on all purchases in every month that you are carbon zero.
The Aspiration App
The main thing that allows Aspiration Banking to pin such a large focus on sustainability is their app. Apps are incredibly important for banks that operate entirely online because they are the main interface that customers have for interacting with the bank. But, for Aspiration Banking, their app is even more essential, and that is because the app allows you to identify how sustainable your actions are.
Through the Aspiration app, you can track your Aspiration Impact Management score, and watch it improve/decline in line with your spending habits (in the same way you would your credit score). Likewise, you can use the Aspiration app to make banking transactions, including sending money via bank transfer, depositing checks and lots more. You can download this app on both Apple and Android smartphones.
Something that we have mentioned a couple of times throughout this is the Conscience Coalition, so let’s take a look at exactly what this is. The Conscience Coalition is a series of partners that Aspiration have aligned values with. Due to shared values, Aspiration Banking have partnered with these companies to offer their customers cash back incentives for spending their money sustainably.
The main principle behind sustainability is that everybody can make a difference, so individual actions can change the world. So while it might be difficult to believe, little things, such as where you shop can make a big difference. That is why you will get cashback incentives when using your Aspiration card to shop in Conscience Coalition stores. Some companies that are currently part of the Conscience Coalition include Dropps, TOMS, and Soapbox.
In short, this has been an overview of Aspiration Banking and the services that they offer. The main customers that Aspiration Banking wants to attract are those that have a keen interest in sustainability and the environment. But, if you simply want access to cash back incentives, or a card that comes without ATM charges, then Aspiration Banking could be a good choice for you.