Aspiration Zero Credit Card Review: Plant Trees When You Spend
Green neobank Aspiration has officially launched Aspiration Zero, the only carbon-neutral credit card in the U.S. Aspiration will plant trees every time you buy something with the card. Keep reading to learn if you should get it.
SustainFi Updated February 14th, 2022
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Rating: Excellent (5.0 / 5)
|Regular APR||11.65% – 21.45%|
|Balance transfer APR||11.65% – 21.45%|
|Cash advance APR||18.25% – 23.25%|
|Cash back||Up to 1%|
|Sign up bonus||$300 (must spend $3,000 in the first three months)|
|Balance transfer fee||3%|
|Foreign transaction fee||2%|
- Every purchase plants one tree and another one if “Plant Your Change” is turned on
- Earn 0.5% cash back on all eligible purchases (1.0% cash back if you reach “Carbon Neutral” by planting 60 or more trees each month)
- $300 welcome bonus when you spend $3,000 within your first three months
- Supports an eco-friendly bank that doesn’t fund fossil fuels
- Offsets your carbon footprint
- Up to 1% cash back rewards
- $300 welcome bonus
- Card made from eco-friendly materials
- No intro APR
- $60 annual fee
- 2% foreign transaction fee
- Strong credit score required
What is Aspiration?
Founded by Andrei Cherny in 2013, Aspiration is a fintech company with social and environmental goals. As a Certified B Corp, it has promised to balance profit and purpose. It has also pledged not to use your deposits to fund fossil fuels. And Aspiration has a mission of planting 125 million trees by 2030.
Aspiration’s mission is to help customers “make money while making the world a better place.” It’s the only financial institution that lets you pay what you think is right for basic checking and savings account services. Aspiration also donates 10% of fees to nonprofits helping Americans in need.
Because Aspiration is a fintech company and officially not a bank, the card is issued by Beneficial State Bank, another socially conscious bank.
How the Aspiration credit card works
Aspiration Zero is a carbon-neutral credit card that targets customers with strong credit scores and costs $60 per year. The card offers a competitive APR and lets you earn up to 1% cash back.
Aspiration Zero has several unique features.
Plant a tree every time you make a purchase
Aspiration will plant a tree every time you buy something using the card. You can also round up your change to the nearest dollar to plant more trees. Aspiration works with several reforestation partners: the Arbor Day Foundation, Eden Reforestation Projects, and One Tree Planted.
Offset your carbon footprint
Using the card twice a day will plant two trees, offsetting the average American’s entire carbon footprint. Aspiration views you as carbon neutral if you get to 60 trees in a month or 720 trees in a year, offsetting about 15 tons of CO2, which an average American emits annually (according to the World Economic Forum.)
To calculate how many trees are needed to offset 15 tons of CO2, Aspiration takes the estimated CO2 capture of 48 lbs/tree from the European Environment Agency.
You can track your progress using the Aspiration app. Although carbon offsets will not solve climate change on their own and do not replace reducing carbon-emitting activities, planting trees is better than doing nothing when you have to drive, fly or heat your home. (Most of us do).
Earn cash back of up to 1.0%
You earn 0.5% unlimited cash back on all qualifying purchases you make with the card. But if you use the card 60 times a month, you not only get to net zero, you get to earn 1% in unlimited cash back. You can also get to 1% cash back if you round up your change on 30 qualifying transactions through the Aspiration Plant Your Change program.
Get a sign up bonus
To get the $300 bonus offer, you need to spend $3,000 using the card within 90 days of opening your account. The offer is valid until 3/31/2022. Your account must remain open and be in good standing when the bonus is awarded.
Aspiration Zero credit card annual fee
Aspiration Zero costs $60 per year.
Additional fees may apply:
- Foreign transaction fee: 2%
- Balance transfer fee: the greater of 3% and $5
- Cash advance fee: the greater of 5% and $10
- Returned payment fee: up to $35
- Late payment fee: up to $10
What is the Aspiration Zero card made of?
Aspiration Zero is a Mastercard made from corn-based plastic substitute, not plastic. The corn-based plastic substitute has a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional plastic.
There are very few socially responsible credit card options, and Aspiration Zero is the only game in town when it comes to carbon-neutral cards. You can be assured that Aspiration doesn’t fund fossil fuels, and the neobank will plant a tree every time you use the card. And you get the perks you would get with a regular credit card, like cash back and a welcome bonus.