Posted by William Charles on January 20, 2016
Checking Accounts

Published on January 20th, 2016 | by William Charles


Aspiration Summit Checking Account Review – No Monthly Fees, 1% APY, No ATM Fees Worldwide + Donations To Charity

There is a new checking account that looks very interesting, it’s called the Aspiration Summit Checking (or possibly Summit Checking by Aspiration) and it comes with the benefits listed below.

aspiration summit account

No Monthly Fees

This account doesn’t have any monthly fees, the only requirement is that when you open the account that you open it with at least $10 (but this can be withdrawn as there are no balance requirements to keep it fee free).

Up To 1% APY

This account has a tiered interest rate depending how much in funds you have in the account, broken down as follows:

  • 0.25% APY applies to balances of $0.01—$2,499.99
  • 1.00% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $2,500 or more

Although in the disclaimer it does say that rates can change at any time.

Free ATM Withdrawals

You won’t be charged any ATM fees for any ATM with the NYSE logo on it, that’s pretty standard to not be charged fees when it’s part of a network. But if you withdraw funds outside of this network you’ll have those funds reimbursed.

This reimbursement also includes ATM withdrawals made overseas, although if any currency conversion fee is charged this will not be reimbursed. Reimbursements are made at the end of every statement cycle.

The fine print says that this benefit can change at any time and that they will automatically identify which charges qualify for reimbursement. Although if you think a fee should qualify then they also give you a number to call (800.683.8529).

Currency Conversion Fees

International ATM withdrawals are free, but Aspiration does charge currency conversion fees though, according to this they charge two separate fees:

  • Currency Conversion Assessment: 0.2%
  • Cross-Border Transaction Fee (for transactions outside the United States): 0.9%

Charity Donations

Aspiration has a program called ‘Dimes Worth A Difference’ for every $1 they earn they will donate one dime to charitable activities. They say that they work with Accion U.S. Network (biggest micro-loan provider in America), although to me it’s not clear what happens to these loans when they are repaid (does Aspiraton re-donate the money? do they keep it? etc etc).

Accessing Online Banking

The Aspiration account is actually powered by Radius Bank, if you use the Aspiration interface it’s very clunky (they also offer a similar account called Radius Hybrid, but it’s slightly worse than this account). You can still see the Radius interface, rather than going into detail about how to use it I’d recommend reading this post by Out & Out instead.

Final Thoughts

These seems like a pretty decent checking account, although I have a few issues with it that are as follows:

I think Aspiration does a lot of things well, but it’s not the best in show for any particular aspect.  It could make sense to use if you don’t want to juggle a lot of different accounts


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I am a little confused by the waitlist. So if I understand correctly, there is an undetermined time a potential customer must wait to get an account that pays 1 percent…a rate that may change at any point. How long is the wait? What information do they take while you sit on the waitlist?


I started with Aspiration for their pay what you want investment account, but then I withdrew all my money after I realized that it’s just a mutual fund. The mutual fund already charges an expense ratio, so why would I pay them more money to “manage” it? It doesn’t make sense. They’re not a financial advisor.

I didn’t stick around for the checking account, but if anyone wants an invite I can send one along. Apparently we’ll both get $25 donated to a charity for the sign up, so at least the business has a giving aspect to it.


Slight off topic – Any thoughts on AAA High-Yield Checking account? They offer 2.85% on $10K balance (you need to do 12x$5+ debit purchases/month + $200 ACH/DD). No fees. No AAA membership is required.

Felipe M.
Felipe M.

Hey guys,

Has anyone come across the case that they request the proof of US citizenship when you tried to finish your application? I do remember they asked If I previously served in Military before. Is that happening to every applicant or just some random case? I have never ever had to do that with any bank so far, they are the first i came across.

What do you guys think? I just feel concerned about the my personal identity issues. If i have to do that in order to open a bank account.

Looking forward to hearing some of your experience.


John Richard Stewart
John Richard Stewart

I have had to jump through all sorts of hoops, finally getting a new SS card and proving I’m not “dead.” They’ve got a screwed up “Patriot/Terrorist” screening database, supposedly my SSN turns up as deceased, from public records.

I thought this was a 0 foreign transaction fee, not a 1.1%.

I was interested in this as a backup to my Capital One 0% fee, reimburse outside bank charges, but that’s not the case.

So, I’m out!


Has anyone else received an offer for $20 for signing up?


Yes, I have. Have not signed up yet. Just got a surprise from my CapOne business account that bill pay is going away so am looking for other options.


Today Swagbucks has $10(1000 SB) offer to open this account and it says 2% interest rate with no fees


So they’re now advertising a “Pay What Is Fair” policy on their products (maybe they have all along and I never noticed their advertising). Is anyone here who is using them paying a monthly fee? If so, what is the default? It seems like a questionable business model to me, but it could be that I’m frugal.

From their site:

What are Aspiration’s fees? What is “Pay What Is Fair?”
At Aspiration, you decide how much to pay us. We’re confident enough in our products and confident enough in the honor of our customers to trust you to do the right thing. We call this “Pay What Is Fair” because this fee model is fair to you and because we’re counting on you to be fair to us. We will not earn a cent from you other than the fee you select.*


They just offered me $100 to signup for their Spend & Save Account ($10 min) and make one direct deposit. Up to 2% APY and no ATM fees worldwide. Sounds like a winner to me.


@William Charles this might be worth an update

Zero fees at every ATM in the world plus no overdraft fees, no monthly fees & up to 2.00% APY. It’s that simple. This is banking that is built for everyone. Link a checking account with $10 min funding, get $50 added from Aspiration, and earn 2,000 SB.*


Opened the account yesterday, and got an email today to refer:

Refer a friend and when they open and fund an Aspiration Spend & Save Account (or Aspiration Save Account) by April 30th, you will EACH get $50: $25 in cash deposited into your Aspiration Save account AND $25 Aspiration “Do Good” dollars that you can donate to great eco-friendly charities.

You can earn up to $1,000 in referral cash bonuses and $1,000 in Do Good donation dollars.

And your friends and family members could have more money in their pocket too, with the Aspiration Spend & Save Account’s no-ATM-fees, up to 2.00% APY interest, and cash-back-rewards.

So get started today – remember, you can earn up to $1,000 this month but your friends will need to open and fund an Aspiration Spend & Save Account or Aspiration Save Account by April 30, 2019.


Since I just acquired an Aspiration checking account, I was looking into Foreign Transaction Fee. Definitely no ATM fees worldwide, and it includes full refunds on ATM fees.—Save%3EAspiration-Spend%3EAre-there-fees-for-using-an-international-ATM

I sent them an email today and also called them and they confirmed that there is no foreign transaction fee on ATMs/purchases. This is their reply via email “I’m happy to report that we do not charge any foreign transaction fees. Customers can use their debit cards for purchases and ATM withdrawals abroad at no extra cost. Please note that Mastercard determines the exchange rate used, and that rate does fluctuate frequently.”

I pointed them to the sentence in their homepage: “Please note, there is a foreign transaction fee of one percent that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account”. The representative found out that this applies to Mastercard; that Mastercard may charge, on a country by country basis, a percentage and that’s what the 1 percent on the website is referring to.

Shiv Kumar
Shiv Kumar

The save account used to be at 2%, but they just dropped it to 1%. Also they recently limited atm reimbursements to 5 per month if it matters to you.

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