Aspiration, a neobank aiming to be a leader in sustainable finance, launched its first credit card Oct. 14, days after announcing industry-leading interest rates for its deposit accounts.
The new Aspiration Zero card offers unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase. In addition, using the card offsets your carbon footprint. For every purchase you make, Aspiration plants a tree. If you round up your purchase to the nearest dollar, Aspiration plants another tree.
The card is also primarily made from plant-based material, not plastic.
Aspiration’s high-interest bank accounts
Aspiration also announced deposit account interest rates that are among the highest in the industry. For its standard Spend & Save accounts, an account holder can earn up to 3% APY on up to $10,000 in deposits if they spend $1,000 on their Aspiration debit card. Aspiration Plus account holders, who pay a $5.99 monthly fee, can earn up to 5% APY.
Any transaction other than money transfers, which includes the use of vendors like CashApp and Venmo, is eligible.
Aside from high rates, Aspiration says it won’t use customer deposits to invest in things like oil pipelines, drilling, or coal mining. Other ways the neobank aims to green your money:
It assigns you a personal sustainability score based on your purchases
It also scores the businesses where you shop
You can earn more debit card rewards if you shop with environmentally friendly businesses
These announcements come as the neobank is set to become a publicly listed company. Aspiration recently entered into a merger with InterPrivate III Financial Partners, a publicly traded special acquisition company. Merging with “SPACs” has recently become an alternative way for companies to go public without undergoing a traditional initial public offering.
Andrei Cherny, CEO and cofounder of Aspiration, said funding from shareholders, who might be more interested in profits than sustainability, wouldn’t change how the company operates.
“The rush to sustainability has to be the largest, fastest shift in behavior in human history,” Cherny said. “That is a massive challenge. We also see it as a massive opportunity. Aspiration is in the business of fighting the climate crisis and we believe we will do well as a company because of that, not in spite of that.”