Is There a Free Savings Account That Pays Above-Average Interest?

Hands hold an Aspiration debit card in front of a colorful mural.
Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder
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If you’re looking for a free account to stash your money, but don’t want to sacrifice the benefit of high interest, we recommend Aspiration’s Spend and Save account.

It’s an online-only account with no fees* and no minimum balance. Plus it pays up to 2.00% APY on savings, and 0.5% cash back when use your debit card.

What You’ll Get With This Free Account

Lots of us at The Penny Hoarder use Aspiration for our savings, as a secondary account, or as our main spending and saving account. Here are the features we’ve discovered:

  1. No Fees

    Aspiration works on a pay-what-is-fair model. You choose to set a monthly tip up to $20 or as low as $0, and you can change it anytime.

  2. 20x the Average Interest Rate

    Aspiration offers up to 2.00% APY on savings. That’s 20 times the average savings account interest rate of 0.10% reported by the FDIC** — and at least 100 times what you’ll get with a typical checking account. With no monthly fee and a minimum deposit of just $1 per month, this is an attractive option for saving.

  3. Free ATMs

    Get reimbursed for any ATM fees (i.e. get money anytime, anywhere you need it without worrying about the exorbitant cost of those pesky machines). Users who travel, especially abroad, love this feature.

  4. Anytime Access

    This account can be a good place to keep an emergency fund, too. You can transfer between accounts easily and make payments as needed with an Aspiration debit card, via Apple Pay or through Venmo.

  5. Charitable Giving

    You can give to your favorite causes directly from your Aspiration account. Just enter an amount you want to give, and select one or more causes — poverty, water, education and more. Plus, the company’s commitment to “do well and do good” means it commits to donating 10% of its earnings to charity.

  6. Option for Sustainable Investing

    In addition to the free, high-yield account, Aspiration offers two investment funds for middle-class investors. These funds require only a $100 minimum investment, which opens up financial services that were traditionally only available to elite investors.

How to Open an Aspiration Account

If this sounds good to you, too, you can get started with Aspiration here. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Start by entering your email address. The whole sign-up process takes less than five minutes.
  • You’ll need your Social Security Number (you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to open this account) and your current bank account information to set up your opening deposit.
  • To open the account, you’ll need to make a one-time deposit of at least $10.
  • You’ll answer some questions to verify your identity online.

*Aspiration Partners, Inc. and its affiliates are committed to “All Extra Services Provided at Cost,” meaning that it’ll only charge you what it costs them to provide the extra service (such as a wire transfer), and not a penny more. Besides these at-cost service charges, the only account fee you pay is the fee you choose, even if it’s $0, which is why it’s called Pay What Is Fair.

**Interest rates accurate as of 5/2/19.

Dana Sitar is a writer and editor at The Penny Hoarder. Say hi and tell her a good joke on Twitter @danasitar.