Aspiration Discontinuing Zero Credit Card, Continues Pivot
The climate-conscious FinTech Aspiration is making some changes. This week, the company announced that it was discontinuing its Aspiration Zero credit card.
According to an FAQ page pertaining to the card, the neobank notes that all Aspiration Zero accounts will be closed as of May 3rd, 2023. As of that date, customers will no longer be able to make purchases using their cards. However, cardholders will continue to be able to view statements and any disputed charges will be investigated even after the account closure. Additionally, customers who were charged an annual fee (the card carries a $60 annual fee) will be issued a prorated refund in the form of a statement credit. At this time, Aspiration’s Spend & Save accounts are not affected by the Zero card’s closure and will remain open.
Officially launched last year, the Aspiration Zero card allowed customers to strive for carbon neutrality, with the company vowing to plant one tree for every purchase users made with the card. Plus, cardholders had the option to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar, with the spare change being used to plant an additional tree. With Aspiration estimating that customers could offset their average carbon emissions by planting 60 trees a month, those who made at least 60 purchases per month with the card (or 30 purchases per month with the round-up option activated) would be rewarded by earning 1% cashback.
News of the Aspiration Zero card’s discontinuation comes as the neobank continues to pivot from consumer banking to selling carbon credits to businesses. In turn, the FinTech is planning to cut 180 positions next month — which, as Forbes reports, amounts to more than half of the firm’s current staff. The apparent shift in strategy is also evident on Aspiration’s site where the debit card and savings account features are displayed only near the bottom of the page.
Of note, in October of last year, Aspiration named Olivia Albrecht as its Chief Executive Officer. Albrecht previously served as Chief Sustainability Officer and took over the CEO position from co-founder Andrei Cherny.
While Aspiration’s Zero credit card had noble intentions, the financial proposition of the card was notably lacking. Not only did the card require customers to make a staggering number of purchases per month just to earn what most credit cards offer as a base cashback amount but the card carried an annual fee on top of that. As a result, cardholders likely needed to view the product as a charitable offering rather than a rewards credit card. That reality coupled with Aspiration’s recent pivot made the Zero card a prime target. Furthermore, while the Spend & Save accounts will continue for now, it wouldn’t be surprising if that offering was the next to go. Of course, that’s speculation at this point — so we’ll need to wait and see what becomes of Aspiration as the company continues to evolve.