The new Charity Charge credit card lets users donate their cash back rewards to any nonprofit of their choice, according to arelease. The MasterCard issued by Commerce Bank gives cardholders one percent cash back on every purchase, to be given to up to three organizations or K-12 schools of the user’s choosing.
“I just want to make doing good part of the routine of everyday living,” founder Stephen Garten told Fast Company. “A lot of people are saying ‘what’s the point of points?’ This is an easy way for them to do good in the world.”
Americans failed to use around $16 billion in loyalty rewards in 2010 alone — that’s almost a third of the total rewards points U.S. households earned that year, gone entirely to waste. Charity Charge, a public benefit corporation, lets people donate those otherwise-wasted points to a higher purpose.
Existing affinity cards also allow people to make a donation with each purchase, but often the return isn’t as high. Bank of America’s Susan G. Komen card, for instance, which gives part of every purchase to the breast cancer foundation, donates only 0.08 percent, according to the Chicago Tribune. So, if you were to stack up a $10,000 credit card bill, the charity would get $8. The same amount spent on the Charity Charge card would generate a $100 donation.
Importantly, Charity Charge also underwrites the onation processing fees, according to their website, so the full donation amount goes to the nonprofit.
The card allows users to give to any nonprofit in the U.S. For the uninitiated philanthropist, the company features some recommended options on its website, included animal rights organization the Humane League, faith-based Catholic Relief Services, or veterans’ nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project.
For users who want to be more hands-on with their giving, Charity Charge lets people change up the organizations they’re giving to at any time, and track how much they’ve contributed through the website.
“One of the big credit card companies asks: ‘What’s in your wallet?’” Garten said, according to a blog on Encast. “We prefer the question: ‘What’s in your heart?’”