Wanna Change The World? Change Your Bank
As impact investing enters the mainstream, many people are asking how they can make a difference and get a better deal. Yet the change they need to make may be right in front of them. If you wanna change the world, you may need to change your bank.
The truth is that, outside of investing, every dollar you use or save is doing something somewhere.
Every time you spend a dollar, you are having some impact on something outside of you which you may not realize.
Simply picking up your go-to bathroom cleaner at the store can create an impact of sorts, both on the environment and on your family’s health, that you may not be aware of and may not approve of.
Your money could be contributing both to the destruction of the environment and the health of your family. How can you know? Today we are lucky to have organizations that provide us with information about products and services. Information educates, and consumers who learn can push for change.
For example, when consumers first learned of the harmful chemicals in Johnson & Johnson’s baby products by referencing Skin Deep, an online database containing ingredient information for more than 75,000 personal care products, consumers pushed back and demanded change. Johnson and Johnson reacted by removing Formaldehyde from their baby products and have promised to reformulate others. Today, if you are wondering what’s in the personal care products you’re buying, all you have to do today is click and read.
The same applies to your bank account. If you have a bank account, your money is not lying in a box with your name on it, waiting for you to withdraw whenever you choose. In fact, if every bank customer tried to withdraw their money at the same time, they couldn’t. This is because banks do not hang onto your money, they loan it out and earn interest off it. Banks make money by loaning it out at a higher interest rate than the cost of the money they lend. And these loans may be financing all kinds of enterprises that you may not be too happy about.
Whether you like it or not, you are inadvertently investing in whatever your bank decides to do with your money.
The fees you pay to maintain your bank account, the interest you pay on your credit cards, every cent you contribute to your financial institution, in any way, will be used to make an impact somewhere. And it may not be inline with your values and beliefs.
This prompted the city of Seattle to completely cut ties with Wells Fargo.
So if you feel powerless, think again. Sustained social pressure is powerful.
Regardless of where you stand on that issue, if you were against the pipeline and you banked with Wells Fargo, you would be living against your personal beliefs. Without information, we may be blindly contributing to the very things we abhor. As consumers wake up to this, the market is responding with a plethora of alternatives. And this a good thing.
The traditional paradigm that separates capitalism and philanthropy is crumbling quickly.
Paying high-interest rates to financial institutions engaged in sketchy investments, and then turning around to give money to a favorite charity that may be fighting those very investments is a lesson in futility that consumers are waking up to. We owe it our communities to find out where our money is going, and we owe it to ourselves to find out where we can get a better deal.
You don’t need to be an “investor” in order to make conscious change through spending choices and reap financial benefits. What you need is access to information about the choices available so that your money is working in line with your beliefs and providing you with the best deal possible. It is our mission at Wellwallet to provide consumers with information they need so that they can decide for themselves whether their money is being used in line with their convictions, and is working in favor of their financial health.
Money is money, whether you save it from avoiding high banking fees, or whether you make it by investing wisely. It can be difficult to find out whether your “big bank” is investing in something that you may not agree with, but it isn’t difficult to compare the interest rates and fees with good banks who are both committed to socially responsible investing and are quite transparent about their investment decisions. Right now good banking services are competing for your business. Look into them and decide whether it’s time to change your bank.
What are good bank services? They are both customer-centric while financing values-driven enterprises for the good of the community and the planet. They want to offer you a better deal and show you what they are doing with your money.
Good Banking Services Offer You A Better Deal And Show You The Good They Are Doing With Your Money
Aspiration is divested from oil and gas and they put your deposits in places you can feel good about.
Here’s a quick overview of Aspiration’s Summit Account*:
- Pays you up to 2.00% APY interest – at least 100X more than traditional banks offer.
- No minimum deposit – you can open an account with $10.
- No minimum balance – no minimum balance required, ever.
- No service fees – their Pay What Is Fair philosophy allows you to pick your fee, even if it’s zero.
- No ATM fees – Aspiration reimburses ATM fees worldwide.
- Deposits are FDIC insured
- Certified B Corp
- Industry Level Security
- An app that lets you track whether you’re actually voting with your dollars. If you use their debit card, a People and Planet score is assigned to every merchant at which you shopped.
- They also commit to donating ten cents of every dollar to charities that help struggling Americans get off the ground (microloans.)
We, as consumers, must take ownership of our financial choices on all levels, from debt to investment, in order to make a change in both our finances and our world. And today we can. By choosing well, you can create good on all levels. No matter how small. You are already an investor and your money is already making an impact. You can’t escape this as a consumer in a capitalist system. If your bank is invested in bad ventures, simply change your bank.
You already have more power than you think you do. Now all you have to do is use it.
*The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) associated with the Aspiration Summit Account is variable and accurate as of [January 2019]. Rates may be changed from time to time without notice.
Based on a comparison of Aspiration’s up to 2.00% APY interest rate to the following checking account interest rates reported by Bankrate for January, 2019: Wells Fargo (0.01% APY), Chase Bank (0.01% APY) and Bank of America (0.01% APY).
All ATM withdrawal fees will be waived for your Aspiration Summit Account. In addition, your account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using an Aspiration Debit Card linked to your account at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Interlink®, Cirrus®, or Maestro® logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited from the account. Please note, there is a foreign transaction fee of one percent that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account.
Aspiration Partners, Inc. and its affiliates are committed to “All Extra Services Provided at Cost,” meaning that we’ll only charge you what it costs us 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 we call it Pay What Is Fair.
The Aspiration Summit Account provides customers with the ability to see Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) People and Planet scores on a range of merchants where they shop using the Aspiration Debit Card. These scores are determined using a proprietary algorithm that incorporates several measures of sustainability performance. For more information, please click here.
Deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor. For more information about FDIC insurance coverage, please visit the FDIC website.