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Growing Credit Card Charity

Americans Tend to Donate More Money via Credit Cards

Every year Americans donate billions of dollars to charitable organizations, nonprofit groups and educational institutions. Total giving is estimated at $295.02 billion for 2006. Private donations are the primary source of revenue for health services, education and arts. A growing number of charity credit cards give users more options to make donations. You can support a charitable group of your choice by contributing a specified percentage of your spending.

Charity credit cards are among the simplest ways to help your favorite cause. Since the 1980s the plastics have raised hundreds of billions of dollars for such causes as caring for victims of natural disasters, saving wetlands, helping abandoned animals, finding a cure for cancer and stimulating creativity in the arts and sciences. If there is a charity you are interested in supporting, there is probably an affinity card which goes along with it.

Charity credit cards have the same features and options as traditional plastics. The difference is in the rewards programs. When you pay with a charity plastic, the credit card issuer donates the amount of money worked out as a certain percentage of your purchases to the non-profit organizations it is tied to. Typically, the donation amount is about 1 percent.

Some credit card companies offering charity credit cards are trying to kill two birds with one stone. They enable credit card holders to earn reward points redeemable for cash or merchandise and still make donations to a charity they want to support. However, this idea is not always welcomed. Terry Macko, the vice president of membership and partner marketing at the World Wildlife Fund, says that the rewards credit cards which offer both points and a donation send a confusing message and offer less to the charity.

People who want to apply for a charity credit card are free to choose the organization they want to support. If you go for the Working Assets Visa by MBNA, you will have about 50 groups that you can make donations to, including Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Doctors without Borders. In 2006, Working Assets raised over $4 million for their organizations.

The Anne Geddes credit card from Bank of America is a plastic that allows you to contribute to the Anne Geddes Philanthrophic Trust. It is aimed to prevent child abuse. Anne Geddes works as a photographer. You probably have seen her famous pictures of children.

The Red card from American Express provides donations to the Global Fund. It helps fight against AIDS in Africa. You can see the videos and photo galleries of the Global Fund work on their website. This credit card is available for UK residents.

Charity plastics are a good way to benefit from the convenience and flexibility of credit card usage and be sure that your money is going to a good cause. With so many options available, consumers can choose the charity card that suits best their individual needs and beliefs. Just keep in mind to pay attention to the other credit card features like low APR and reasonable fees.


Greg C. Hatcher
07:26 AM, March 24, 2008
I support The Make-A-Wish Foundation with my Make-A-Wish Platinum Visa
Daniel Morales
03:03 AM, March 25, 2008
Charity credit cards have the most value for people who use them often but pay off the balance in full every month.
Leo Wright
02:10 AM, April 02, 2008
Using charity cards, you can donate 25 - 50 cents for every $100 charged on the plastic. It doesn’t seem much, eh? However, US charity card holders have already donated several billions dollars to various charities. And that impresses much more.
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