Published on January 20th, 2016 | by William Charles6
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.
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fees, the only requirement is that when you open the account that you open it with at least $10 (but this can be withdrawn as there are no balance requirements to keep it fee free).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%
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.
These seems like a pretty decent checking account, although I have a few issues with it that are as follows:
- There is a waitlist to get the product (currently about 52,500 people long, although you can skip people in the queue by referring friends. Update: they no longer publish the waitlist)
- It’s possible to get a 5% APY on a lot of other products (such as high yield prepaid cards & rewards checking accounts)
- They charge a currency conversion fee of around 1.1% (there are better products for free ATM withdrawals)
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