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Brief Published: 2 Apr 2019

New Bank Account Pays Back for Shopping Responsibly


A new debit card from US-based digital bank Aspiration rewards consumers for shopping at companies with sustainable business practices. As 64% of Americans say a company's environmental reputation impacts their purchase decisions (Sustainable Brands, 2018), the new card will incentivise consumers to uphold a sustainable shopping ethos.

Aspiration's new Spend & Save account gives users 0.5% cashback on any transaction, which itself is uncommon for a debit account. This reward increases to 1% cashback on purchases made at businesses with sustainable practices and employee-friendly policies. The bank calculates the average consumer could accrue $545 a year just by shopping more consciously with its card.

The bank measures companies' practices with both people and planet scores, calculated through the use of an algorithm which takes into account more than 75,000 data points. The people score tracks businesses' employment policies to ensure that staff have access to fair working conditions, while the planet score monitors how environmentally friendly a company is.

Aspiration promises that "deposits are fossil-fuel free" when consumers bank with them, giving individuals an alternative – and sustainable – financial option. This will appeal to eco-minded consumers; a recent report found that big banks invested over $115m in the harvesting of fossil fuels in 2017 (Oil Change International, 2018). The company also donates 10% of its profits to charities that help struggling US families, giving a further altruistic benefit to using the card.

New fintech start-ups like Aspiration have the opportunity to disrupt the banking industry by providing services that align with the ethos of those who rely on them. For more on connecting with consumers interested in philanthropic investment, see Bespoke Banking, part of our Spotlight Trend The Future of Money.