Can Credit Cards Help You Become More Charitable?
August 25, 2017
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When it comes to credit cards, there are too many options to count. From cash-back rewards cards that let you earn rewards to balance transfer cards that help you save money on interest, there’s a card type to suit everyone regardless of their credit needs.
And yes, that includes credit cards that can help you become more charitable. Believe it or not, some card issuers and programs make it easy to donate cash-back or miles instead of keeping your rewards for yourself.
Credit Card Programs that Make Giving a Breeze
While it might seem strange to “gift” rewards that were free to you in the first place, the idea of gifting miles has definitely taken hold. While some people choose this option to let others benefit from their unwanted rewards, others sign up for credit cards for the purpose of charitable giving.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter why you give as long as you do. If you want to use credit to up your giving game, here are a handful of rewards credit cards and programs that aim to make giving easier:
Pink Ribbon BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
This Susan G. Komen-themed credit card offers a dual purpose. Not only do you earn cash back for yourself, but your use of the card translates into valuable charitable donations for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Here’s how the charitable donations work: From June 2015 through December 2020, Bank of America has guaranteed the Susan G. Komen Foundation $3 million dollars in conjunction with this credit card campaign and a related checking account offer. For each new card account that stays open for at least 90 days, Komen receives $3 and .08 percent of all retail purchases minus returns. Komen also receives $3 for each renewal of a card that is open for 12 months and does not have a zero balance at the time of renewal.
On the consumer side, you’ll also earn cash-back you can parlay into Susan G. Komen donations if you choose to do so. Currently, you’ll earn 3 percent on gas and 2 percent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 each quarter in both categories combined. You’ll also earn 1 percent back on all purchases, along with a $150 cash bonus after you use your card for at least $500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. Best of all, this card comes without an annual fee.
Discover it Card
The Discover it Card is a traditional cash-back card that also makes charitable giving easy. Once you sign up for the no-fee rewards credit card, you’ll earn a flat 1 percent cash-back on every purchase you make along with 5 percent back on your first $1,500 spent in categories that rotate every quarter.
While you can choose to take the cash-back in a statement credit for yourself, Discover has taken the extra step to make gifting your points easier than ever. Through the bank’s online credit card portal, you can donate your points to popular charities that partner with the program.
Options include the American Cancer Society, ASPCA, American Red Cross, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Make-A-Wish, World Wildlife Fund, and many other deserving charities.
American Express Members Give
American Express offers a program that lets customers with any American Express credit card donate their points to a partner charity of their choice. With the Members Give program, there are multiple ways to donate. You can give to one or more charities and nonprofit organizations. You can also donate dollars with your American Express credit card, or redeem Membership Rewards points to make a donation. You can even set up recurring donations so you don’t forget.
The best part about the American Express Members Give is that there are more than 1 million partner charities involved. That means you should have no trouble finding a cause you feel passionate about, whether it’s in business or animal welfare or education.
Donate Miles to Make-A-Wish
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is notorious for granting wishes for dying and suffering children. But, did you know they can use your airline miles to help even more wishes come true? Through a special program facilitated by Make-A-Wish, you can donate unwanted or excess airline miles the program can use to send children and their families on once-in-a-lifetime trips.
Participating airlines include Southwest, American, Delta, United, and jetBLUE, and you need a minimum of 500 – 2,000 miles to donate depending on their airline. That makes this a great option for someone who has a handful of extra miles they know they can’t use. If you’re not going to use your excess miles, why not donate them to a family in need?
World Wildlife Fund Credit Card
If your love of animals has inspired you to become more charitable, you might want to check out the World Wildlife Fund credit card from Bank of America. This cash back card lets you earn rewards for yourself while simultaneously raising funds for exotic and endangered animals. According to Bank of America, the World Wildlife Fund receives a minimum of $3 for each new account opened along with .08 percent of all net retail purchases made and $3 for each card renewal after 12 months.
On the flip side, you’ll also earn valuable cash back you can donate to World Wildlife Fund or other charities. Not only do you earn a $150 cash bonus after you use your card for $500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening, but you’ll also earn 3 percent on gas and 2 percent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 each quarter in both categories combined. Lastly, you’ll earn a flat 1 percent cash-back on every other purchase you make with no caps and no limits.
The HaloCard Project was created to offer a seamless experience for card users who want to make tax-deductible charitable contributions. With either the personal or business version of this Visa credit card, you can donate an amount equal to 1 percent of your purchase to a participating charity of your choice.
The best part is, you can donate your proceeds to any non-profit organization of your choice, including your own or a charity you work closely with. Lastly, both the business and personal cards come with no annual fee and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted worldwide.
If you’re in the mood to be charitable but don’t have a ton of cash to spare, any one of these cards or programs could help. Keep in mind, however, that it’s crucial to pay your balance in full and avoid added credit card fees along the way.
While charitable giving is good for the soul, paying credit card interest or credit card fees is bad for the wallet. Helping others will only leave you better off if you don’t harm yourself financially in the process.