Green Credit Cards: Get Your Money's Worth


Those of us who depend on e-commerce to shop for much of the eco-hip fashion, gizmos and accessories featured in TreeHugger also depend on credit cards to make the transactions. Unfortunately many credit institutions are known to finance some rather un-TreeHuggeresque activities (like illegal logging and dirty gold mining), so even though the end (product) is good, the means (credit) we use to get there isn't so great. There are options however, and taking a cue from Ideal Bite's informative financial tips featured during Money Week; we've gone looking for the perfect plastic…Affinity Cards
Major credit card companies offer "affinity cards" like the RED Amex card Lenora told us about in March. These cards provide donations to nonprofit organizations whose logo or image is featured on the card. Donations usually run a half a percentage point from every purchase, balance transfer or cash advance made with the card. On the plus side, this is a dependable revenue stream for the nonprofit - on the minus side, purchases made with these cards still may support nefarious projects. Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for these cards can be 15-22 percent (though some are much less) and many have an annual fee. The credit card company MBNA offers the most affinity cards, they even have a PVC-free WWF card available in Europe.

Working Assets Visa Card
Considered the "greenest" affinity card by financial experts at Co-Op America, the Working Assets card donates ten cents with every purchase to your choice of one of 50 nonprofits. It also has a reasonable 9.9 APR and no annual fee. The card is issued by MBNA.

Salmon Nation Visa Card

Provided by eco-friendly lending institution Shorebank Pacific, the Salmon Nation Visa Card offers the biggest eco-bang for your buck. Half of the income generated for Shorebank from the card goes to "Salmon Nation" an economic, cultural and ecological community collective in the bioregion that contains Pacific salmon spawning grounds.

Check out Co-Op America's Real Money article, Responsible Credit Cards: Myth or Reality? To read up on the ethics (or lack thereof) of various mega-banks.