Sustainable Banking With Ando Money (Review)
Ando Money is a new online bank that lets you visualize what green activities your deposits are funding.
SustainFi July 5, 2021
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Rating: Good (4.1 / 5)
- An eco-friendly neobank that doesn’t fund fossil fuel companies
- Track where your money is invested
- Earn up to 5% APY on up to $5,000 by recruiting five friends, completing five Ando Visa Debit Card transactions, and receiving $500 in qualifying direct deposits each month (then 0.17% percent APY)
- No monthly fees
- No minimum balance
- When your paychecks are direct deposited, you can receive them two days earlier
- No branches
- New bank still trying to figure out issues with the app and customer service
- You must invite friends to earn a higher APY (who must join and meet certain conditions)
- You must meet a lot of conditions to earn a higher APY
- No joint accounts
|Impact areas||Climate change|
|Account maintenance fees||$0|
|Interest||• Ando Spending Account: none
• Ando Savings Account: 0.17% (up to 5.00% on the first $5,000 if you get five friends to sign up)
|ATMs||• 37,000 free in-network ATMs nationwide (Moneypass network)
• $2.95 per transaction fee to use out-of-network ATMs
|App||• Apple Store: 4.0 / 5
• Google Play: 4.1 / 5
|Accounts offered||Checking and savings accounts|
According to the 2020 Fossil Fuel Finance Report, financing from the world’s top 35 banks provided $2.7 trillion to the fossil fuel industry in 2016-2019. The backlash against the big banks’ financing of oil and gas projects has spurred the growth in fossil free neobanks. Aspiration was the first, followed by Greenpenny and Ando Money in early 2021.
What is Ando Money?
San-Diego-based Ando Money is an online bank that promises never to fund fossil fuels. It will invest your deposits exclusively in eco-friendly projects like renewable energy. Environmentally friendly lending is combined with the advantages of modern bank accounts, such as a mobile app, competitive rates, and transaction notifications.
Ando includes the features you’d expect from an online bank. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. They provide bill pay, checks, and ATM access through the MoneyPass network. They also allow you to receive your direct deposit paychecks two days ahead of schedule.
Ando’s app has an Impact Center, where you can see what activities your deposits are funding.
Ando Money was launched to the public in January 2021. The neobank was founded by JP McNeill, who has a background in environmental finance. He was formerly the founder and CEO of Renovate America, which provided loans for energy-saving home improvements, helping homeowners buy solar panels.
However, McNeill left Renovate America in 2017, when the company’s business practices were faced with scrutiny from the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). (Renovate America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020.)
How does Ando invest your deposits?
Ando guarantees that your money will be 100% invested in green initiatives and not in fossil fuels. You can see exactly how your money is being used through the app’s Impact Center. The initiatives Ando is funding include clean energy, sustainable transportation, green buildings, and sustainable agriculture.
As your deposits go to fund green projects, Ando calculates the effective reduction in pounds of CO2, converting them into tree equivalents to make the numbers easier to understand. (Ando doesn’t plant trees on your behalf.)
You can even track your friends’ impact.
Ando Money Checking and Savings Accounts
Ando offers checking and savings accounts. Checking accounts come with the Ando Visa Debit Card issued by Ando’s partner, the Community Federal Savings Bank. The card is made with 80% less plastic than a typical debit card. The card also gets you access to fee-free withdrawals at over 38,000 MoneyPass ATMs. (There is a $2.95 fee for each out-of-network withdrawal.) Ando doesn’t offer joint accounts or secondary debit cards.
Interest. Ando checking accounts do not earn interest, but savings accounts can earn up to 5.00% APY on the first $5,000 if you meet several conditions. The standard APY is currently 0.17% (subject to change).
5% Grow Your Savings Offer. Ando has a 5% Grow Your Savings offer on your first $5,000 in savings.
To be eligible for a higher APY, you must complete at least five debit card purchases and receive $500 in eligible deposits each month. An employer or benefits payer can make an eligible deposit. A simple transfer from another account isn’t acceptable.
Then you must invite (up to) five people to join the program as “active users.” For each active user, you get 1% APY. Within 60 days of creating their account, an active user must make at least five debit card transactions and receive at least $100 in deposits.
We note that the Grow Your Savings program is only valid through December 31, 2021. There’s a chance it will be prolonged, but there’s no assurance.
Ando Referral Program. If you refer a friend to Ando, you can earn $15 for each signup that fits specified criteria. Your friend will also receive $15. There are extra requirements: the referred friend must create an account, get a $100 qualifying direct deposit, and make five debit card transactions within 45 days of account opening. They must not have previously had an account, they must utilize your referral link, and the deposit must be from an employer, payroll provider, or benefits payer. Your referral bonuses are restricted to $1,000 per calendar year.
The referral program is in addition to the 5% Grow Your Savings program.
Ando Money app
- Google Play Rating: 4.1 (110 ratings)
- Apple App Store Rating: 4.0 (63 ratings)
Although the app has a good rating, as of July 2021, several users were reporting bugs in the app, generally related to log-in issues.
What bank does Ando use?
Ando Money is a fintech startup that launched this year, not a full-fledged bank. So, to provide FDIC insurance, it partners with an FDIC-insured bank. Ando uses the Community Federal Savings Bank based in New York.
Are Ando Money deposits FDIC-insured?
Your deposits are then FDIC insured for up to $250,000 through Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC.
- If you are concerned with climate change, Ando Money is an interesting neobank alternative
- We particularly like the Impact Center, which shows what projects your deposits are funding
- You can also earn up to 5% APY on your savings account if you get five friends to sign up
- However, Ando is a startup with a limited track record, and it looks like they still need to iron out some customer service and app issues
Ando Money vs. Aspiration
Aspiration is the best-known fossil free neobank in the U.S. Both Aspiration and Ando Money have committed to not funding fossil fuels. So when should you choose Ando Money, and when is Aspiration best?
Aspiration is best if:
- You prefer a bank with a longer track record (Aspiration launched in 2015)
- You are interested in a retirement account and a fossil free mutual fund
- You want access to perks like a personal impact score, automatic offsets of carbon emissions when you buy gas, the “plant your change” program, and much more
- You want cash back on qualifying purchases
🔔 Read the review of Aspiration here.
Ando Money is best if:
- You want to sign up five friends and earn up to 5% APY on the first $5,000 in savings (the maximum you get with Aspiration is 1% APY on the first $10,000 in savings)
- You want to see a breakdown of what exactly your deposits are funding
🔔 Check out our list of the Top 5 socially responsible banks in 2021.