Aspiration Vs. Ally Bank (Easy Checklist)

aspiration vs ally

Aspiration and Ally Bank are both digital banks that offer different banking services with a focus on social impact. Both have specific benefits and financial products for their customers, but how do they differ?

Here are comparative details of the Aspiration vs. Ally:

  • Ally’s online savings account earns an APY of 0.5%, while Aspiration customers can earn up to 1.00% APY.
  • Aspiration investment accounts require a minimum deposit of $10, whereas Ally doesn’t charge any minimum balance or fees.
  • Ally has more financial products than Aspiration, such as Money Market, Home Loans, Mortgage Refinancing, Certificate of Deposits, Checking, and Savings accounts.
  • Aspiration customers can opt to pay for a premium account with Aspiration Plus, while Ally doesn’t have upgrades.
  • Aspiration customers earn 3-5% cash backs on the primary basic account and up to 10% on the Aspiration Plus account if they shop with partners within the Conscience Coalition. In contrast, Ally doesn’t offer any cashback offers.
  • While Ally has unlimited ATM withdrawals in more than 43,000 Allpoint ATMs for free, Aspiration has a network of 55,000 free in-network ATMs.
  • With Aspiration Plus, customers get one out-of-network ATM reimbursement monthly, whereas Ally reimburses up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs.

These two financial institutions provide their customers with a distinct set of products and features based on these differences. Let’s take a look at why you should choose between Aspiration and Ally.

My Recommendation

Aspiration and Ally have a distinct set of financial benefits. I recommend Aspiration for customers who prefer banking with a socially conscious partner. This Fintech focuses on providing rewards for customers who use their services to erase the carbon footprint.

On the contrary, Ally is a perfect alternative for customers who want a digital bank with no fees. The bank is also ideal if you want investments, loans, mortgages, and retirement plans.

What to Consider When Choosing Between Aspiration and Ally

Before you decide between these two banks, here are some of the critical things to consider.

  • Annual Percentage Rate

Both Aspiration and Ally provide a savings account that earns an annual interest. For instance, the Ally online savings account earns 0.5% APY, while Aspiration can earn up to 1.00% APY on the premium account.

  • Account Offers

Aspiration has a Spend & Save plan, investment, and retirement products for their customers. On the other hand, Ally has a wide range of options to choose from including, savings and checking accounts, investment and retirement, mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans. Choose a bank that has features that meet your financial needs.

  • Fees

Digital banks like Ally don’t have overdraft fees, no minimum balances, or monthly maintenance fees. Furthermore, they also have fee-free ATM withdrawals similar to Aspiration.

  • Loans

If you need a bank with loan products, Ally might be the best option for you. They offer home loans, mortgages, car, and personal loans for their customers.

  • Investment Options

Both Aspiration and Ally have investment options. If you sign up with Ally, you could invest in mutual funds, ETFs, options, bonds, margin accounts, and IRA. On the other hand, Aspiration offers sustainable investment products, Redwood Fund, and the Redwood IRA.

  • Convenience

When choosing a digital bank, you need a convenient bank. Both Aspiration and Ally are available on the App Store and Google Play; therefore, they have customer reviews to help you check how the app functions. A mobile app is necessary to help you track your account from anywhere.

  • Early Paycheck

As a digital bank, Aspiration provides early paycheck for its customers. This is convenient, and you can get your check two days earlier.

Why You Should Choose Aspiration

aspiration

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose Aspiration.

  • Planet Protection

Aspiration services are 100% fossil fuel-free. The Fintech donates about 10% of its income to environmentally friendly businesses. The rewards and cashback from the company are tailored around a sustainability score. The Planet Protection feature automatically offsets the carbon dioxide for every gallon of gas you purchase using Aspiration Plus.

  • Rewards and Cash Back

The Spend & Save plan is classified into the basic Aspiration account and Aspiration Plus. Customers who sign up for the basic option, also known as Pay What Is Fair, get 3-5% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases. At the same time, the premium members can earn as much as % cashback on similar transactions.

  • Higher APY %

Customers on Aspiration Plus can earn 1.00% APY. Compared to other digital and traditional banks, this is a high yield on a savings account.

Why You Should Choose Ally

ally bank

As one of the low-fees digital banks, here’s why you should choose Ally.

  • Range of Financial Products

Ally offers digital banking services combined with financial products that you’d find in most banks. They have an interest checking account, savings account, high yield CD, Ally Invest, and Ally Home. It’s a full-service bank that provides all these services without the need for a physical location.

  • Fees

If you need a bank with low to no fees, Ally is an excellent alternative. The bank doesn’t charge monthly maintenance, ETM withdrawals, minimum balance, overdraft, and transfers. You won’t need to pay for a minimum balance like with Aspiration.

  • Digital Access

All the financial products and services are available via the app and online on the website. You can make transactions on the go without the need for a physical branch. In addition, their customer support is available 24/7. You can reach out via phone, email, or live chat.

Aspiration Bank History

Aspiration was started by Joseph Sanberg and Andrei Cherny in 2013 but officially begun operations in 2015. Headquartered in Marina del Rey, California, this Fintech is not a fully-fledged bank, but it’s registered as a brokerage that offers investment products and branchless banking services.

This company is different from other players in the banking industry due to its focus on the environment, climate change, and planet protection. All its products and businesses are tailored towards saving the planet. In addition, they have created a reward system that encourages its customers to support companies that finance fossil-fuel-free projects.

Aspiration’s mission is to help everyone. The company helps its customers to spend, save, and invest with a conscience to make the world a better place. Unlike the other banks, they don’t use customer deposits to fund oil pipelines. Because of this, customers earn cashback and bonuses when they partner with socially conscious businesses.

Aspiration deposits are held by the partner banks, whereas Beneficial State, Member FDIC, issues the Aspiration Zero Mastercard. Your money is also protected because the deposits are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000.

How Aspiration Works

To enjoy all the product features, you have to sign up for an account. The sign-up process requires you to provide an email address, and then you can get started. The basic Pay What Is Fair gives the customer freedom to pay as little as $0. However, the premium Aspiration Plus is billed $5.99 per month, billed annually.

Therefore, before signing up, you need to decide whether you need a basic account or a premium one.

Once your account is activated, the company provides you with a virtual card that you can use for some time until they send you a physical one via mail.

Aspiration provides customers with financial products such as debit cards from Mastercard, fee-free ATM withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs, and high-yield savings accounts.

With your debit card purchases, you can turn on plant your change which the bank uses to eliminate the carbon footprint by planting trees.

Features of Aspiration Bank

This company focuses more on planet protection and conscious environmental plans. Here are the key features.

  • Aspiration Spend and Save

Also known as Pay What Is Fair, this is the basic plan under the Spend & Save account. Aspiration gives customers the option to choose their monthly account maintenance fee, which can be as low as $0. All the deposits will not be used to fund fossil fuel exploration or production.

The account also has an early paycheck feature that enables customers to get their paycheck two days earlier. In addition, you can also opt to plant trees with each round-up on your savings accounts. This account also offers 3-5% cash back on purchases made at socially conscious companies.

  • Aspiration Plus

If you want more benefits such as 10% cashback and up to 1.00% APY, the premium account Aspiration Plus is the best alternative. With this option, you still access all the 55,000 free in-network ATMs, two days early paycheck, and a personal impact score. The company also gives you one out-of-network ATM reimbursement monthly.

  • Conscience Coalition

With an Aspiration debit card, you can receive up to 10% cash back while making a difference if you shop at a Conscience Coalition member’s store or website. Customers are encouraged to make a statement by shopping at companies that Aspiration has selected for doing the right thing with regards to planet protection.

  • Early Paycheck

Aspiration provides an early paycheck feature for its customers. You can receive your cash two days earlier if you sign up for a direct deposit.

  • Cash Back

If you shop with Conscience Coalition partners, you earn a cashback from Aspiration. The basic Spend & Save account earns 3-5% cashback, whereas the Aspiration Plus premium account will earn you 10% in cashback rewards.

  • Zero Credit Card

You can also apply for the Zero credit card from Aspiration. This new card will reward customers who play a part in erasing their carbon footprint. Shopping with this card will give the bank a chance to use the merchant’s fees to plant trees and add rewards to your account. Customers can now sign up for early access to join the card waitlist.

  • In-Network Free ATM Withdrawals

In total, Aspiration has a network of more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs. This number is even more than Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America combined. What’s more, you can withdraw cash for free at these machines. However, keep in mind that you may be charged if you use 3rd party ATMs without a reimbursement.

Although, if you have the premium Aspiration Plus account, the Fintech company pays one reimbursement each month.

  • Mobile App

The Aspiration app is rated at 4.7/5 on the App Store and 4.0/5 on Google Play. If you download the app, you can carry out all your transactions. You can track the app and transactions via the app on the go. You can take an image with your phone camera and upload it via the app to deposit the check.

History of Ally Bank

Ally Bank is a leading digital financial services company that was established in 1919. Starting as part of General Motors, the bank was useful in helping auto dealers when the car assembly company started. The company transformed into a digital bank years later and changed its name to Ally Bank in 2009. 

For the past 100 years, its mission has been focused on “Doing It Right.” The belief is that they have a responsibility to make a positive impact on the community. Ally is also different because it emphasizes environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

How Ally Works

Ally provides banking products and services at no fees. They don’t charge a minimum account balance, account maintenance, overdraft, or ATM withdrawal fees.

Customers that sign up with this bank can open checking and savings accounts. They can choose from the investment options available to sign up for Ally Home loans and Ally Invest. As a full-service bank, it provides all the services via a mobile app and online banking.

The savings accounts, high yield CDs, IRA Online savings, checking, and money market earn APY percentages.

Features of Ally Bank

If you want to sign up for an account with Ally bank, here are some of the critical features to look out for.

  • Online Saving Account

This account has 0.5% APY. It also has extra features such as buckets, surprise savings, boosters, and recurrent transfers account. Buckets allow you to create up to 10 savings buckets that coexist and earn interest in one online savings account. Boosters such as recurring transfers enable the customers to move money into the savings account regularly.

The round-ups track the checking accounts to round up transactions to the nearest dollar, while with surprise savings, the bank analyzes your linked checking accounts for cash to save on your behalf.

  • Interest Checking Account

The checking account from Ally earns an interest of 0.10% for less than $15,000 minimum daily balance and 0.25% for $15,000 minimum daily balance.

  • Ally eCheck Deposit

With Ally, you can deposit checks using a smartphone. You just need to take a photo of the check and upload it via the app.

  • 43,000+ fee-free ATMs

If you use any Allpoint ATM in the U.S to withdraw cash, you don’t get charged. In addition, they will reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.

  • Money Market Fund

Customers can also save in a Money Market fund. This account earns up to 0.50% APR on all balance tiers. The bank compounds the interest daily.

  • High Yield Certificate of Deposits (CDs)

These high-yield CDs earn a higher interest rate when you lock in your funds for a longer term. They don’t have a minimum deposit requirement and have a 0.55% APR.

  • Ally Home

With Ally Home, customers can apply for home loans and mortgage refinancing. The bank provides these services to target customers who require additional financial products.

Summary

When you compare Aspiration and Ally Bank, they both have their own product features to benefit their customers. They commonly focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues but offer different services. Aspiration is ideal if you prefer an ethical bank focusing on sustainable matters without competitive services like other digital banks.

On the other hand, Ally Bank is ideal if you want a digital bank with all the standard bank services but at a lower cost.

Related Questions?

  • How Can I Qualify For an Ally Bank Account?

You are eligible for this account if you are a permanent United States resident. You should also be 18 years of age or older.

  • Is Aspiration a Legitimate Bank?

Aspiration doesn’t hold a banking license. However, it’s a registered brokerage that’s safe for your money deposits. All the funds are held at Aspiration’s partner banks, which are FDIC-insured.