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Enlightenment in a credit card

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The Enlightenment Card from Visa is a credit card marketed to those consumers who hope to make the world a better place when they use their plastic.  Issued by Conscious Enlightenment LLC and First Hawaiian Bank over the summer, the Enlightenment Card is a affinity credit card that also has the features of a co-branded credit card.

With the credit card designs displaying such images as a pair of hands in prayer and a Buddha statue, the Enlightenment Card acts like a reward credit card for the socially conscious.  Cardholders earn points for each dollar spent using the credit card, which can then be redeemed as monetary donations to charities like Trees for the Future, as well as for personal use on organic products, yoga classes, spa treatments, and spiritual retreats.

There are a number of affinity credit cards, which are aimed at certain lifestyle groups, that now seek to benefit nonprofits and charities.  MasterCard's affinity programs, for example, include university alumni associations, sports teams, and charities, in addition to a new line of prepaid debit cards associated with rock musicians and celebrities.   

Co-branded credit cards, meanwhile, are generally connected to a store or product, and provide rewards based on usage.  Both affinity and co-branded credit cards have been around for over 20 years, with both credit card types now experiencing renewed interest from card companies and consumers.

According to the chief executive of Conscious Enlightenment, their goal with the Enlightenment Card is not to get users into credit card debt, but rather to get people who are already making purchases with a credit card or debit card to make a positive out of what could be a negative. 

For those consumers who have a favorite charity, getting a cash back credit card allows them to earn money on their purchases which can then be donated however they choose.

Published: January 9, 2007


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Updated: 09-28-2016


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