Are You the 600 Dollar Man—or Woman?

Today, Aspiration is taking the next step to bring the best financial products to a middle class ignored by Wall Street: the Aspiration Summit Account — the pinnacle of checking accounts when it comes to interest rate, fees, and conscience.
But do you want to feel really special? Then just think about how important you are to the biggest banks in the country.

To them, you are the 600 Dollar Man — or Woman.

That’s about how much they make off the average American. Year after year after year.

How can that be? It starts out with a little word trick. Banks tell you they’re “offering” you a checking account or a savings account — as if they’re doing you a favor.

But they’re not taking your money and keeping it in a vault. They’re loaning it back out. They make money on the difference between the interest rate they’re paying you and the interest rate they’re charging someone for a loan. That difference is called “the spread.”

So let’s say you have $9,000 in an account at your friendly neighborhood Big Bank. That’s about what most Americans have in their checking and savings accounts at any one time.

They’re kindly offering you an interest rate of 0.01% — one-hundredth of one percent. That means they’re paying you $9 a year. Don’t go spend it all at once.

But what are they making off of your $9,000? The average interest on a 30 year fixed mortgage is currently around 4%. So basically 400 times the interest rate you’re getting.

Then there’s the fees. At many banks, $9,000 in an account puts it below the minimum level necessary to avoid monthly fees. The average fee is about $15 each and every a month.

Did you actually want access to your money? The average person takes money out of an ATM every seven to ten days. And about a third of those times are at “out of network” ATMs where you pay a total of $4.35 ($1.58 goes to your bank and $2.77 goes to the bank whose ATM you’re using).

Add it all together, multiply, carry the one, and what do you get? Your Big Bank making about $600 off your deposit every year.

These numbers are all just a snapshot and can change at any time. And, yes, this math is pretty simplified. In fact, it doesn’t count many of the other ways in which banks make money of your account including debit card fees and transactions.

But all in all, you are the banks’ 600 Dollar Man — or Woman.

No wonder one in three Americans feel scammed by the Big Banks.

There’s a better way.

We can rebuild your bank account. We have the technology. We can make your account better than it was. Better…stronger…faster. And with a cool Aspiration debit card.

That’s the Aspiration Summit Account.

Up to 100 times better interest rate than what is currently offered by the Big Banks.

No monthly maintenance fees.

No minimum monthly deposit or balance.

Free access to every ATM in the world (or rebated at the end of the month).

As with everything we do at Aspiration, the only money we make comes from what our customers choose to pay us. We trust them to decide to pay us what they think is fair.

And we give 10% of every dollar we make goes to charities providing microloans and mentoring helping low-income Americans start their own businesses and transform their lives.

This means that, more than any other financial firm, we’re aligned with our customers’ interests and values.

That’s a big reason that Aspiration has been growing faster than perhaps any other online investment platform over the six months since we launched. We have opened the door to asset-building investments to thousands — many who had never trusted a financial company enough to invest before.

That customer with $9,000 in their checking account would have $381 a year more if they moved from a Bank of America Interest Checking Account to an Aspiration Summit Account and $237 more if they moved from a Wells Fargo Preferred Checking Account. At a time that nearly half of Americans cannot afford an unforeseen $400 expense, this is a game changer.

It’s time Americans expected more from their financial institutions. Delivering on that is Aspiration’s mission. To help our customers solve their financial challenges. To bring to everyday investors the very best products that oftentimes have only been available to the super-rich. To be deserving of their trust and to reflect their values. And to help them reach their aspirations.