Some credit cards let you donate your rewards to the charity of your choice, with no work on your part.
- Charity Charge donates 1 percent of each purchase to up to three nonprofits of your choice.
- Whole Planet Foundation says donated credit card rewards are a big help.
- There are other charity credit cards and ways you can give back.
If you’re flush with airline and cash back rewards or not a fan of dealing with reward points at all, then a card that gives your rewards automatically to the nonprofit or nonprofits of your choice might be right for you.
Whether you’re an animal lover, eager to help dogs and cats in need or passionate about schools and educating children, a credit card such as the Charity Charge Mastercard can help.
When you first sign up for the card, you can choose up to three charities from a list of more than 1.5 million nonprofits to give your rewards to. Once that’s set, your 1 percent cash back is delivered to the nonprofit(s) of your choice.
Charity Charge founder Stephen Garten, who lives in Austin, Texas, says he got the idea for his company after a frustrating experience trying to use his credit card points to book travel. He decided finding award flights wasn’t worth his time but giving back with every purchase was.
“It just resonated with people that are looking for something different,” he said. “They already have a cash back card, they might already have an airline card, so this is an option for them to add something meaningful to their wallet.”
Garten spent months drawing up a business plan and a model that would attract a credit card company. Eventually, he teamed up with Commerce Bank, Mastercard, Network for Good and Guidestar.
He now has Charity Charge cardholders in every state.
“Some use it all the time, but some just decide to get the card and set it for their recurring bills like their electric bill or their phone bill,” said Garten. “Or, they’ll use it for gas or groceries, a lot of purchases where they may not get double airline miles or something of that sort.”
For many nonprofits, even a little bit can go a long way.
Whole Planet Foundation provides microloans to women across the world. It takes less than $200 to help a woman start a business. And, even though they are only one of the thousands of nonprofits a cardholder can choose, the foundation has felt the effects of the donated credit card rewards.
“Through Charity Charge cardholders, we’ve been able to fund 20 of these loans and impact 20 families worldwide,” said Olivia Hayden, digital specialist with Whole Planet Foundation. With a regular flow of additional donations coming from cards, nonprofits like Whole Planet can better plan their budgets.
In addition to Charity Charge, charitable credit cards include:
- The Global Good Card, offered by Summit Credit Union of Madison, Wisconsin, lets cardholders donate rewards to financial education programs around the world.
- The Susan G. Komen Cash Rewards Visa credit card from Bank of America that supports the agency’s fight against breast cancer.
- The World Wildlife Fund Credit Card, which supports the group’s wildlife preservation efforts.
If you want to help others but you’re not looking to add a new card to your wallet, there are many ways you can donate points or cash back from your everyday credit cards to organizations that need them. Just head to your card’s online portal to find opportunities to give back.
Garten says no matter how you give, it ends up being a win-win situation.
“We all have to buy things, it’s the point of life, but now people can be everyday givers at the same time.”