The best eco-friendly green credit card is the Green America Rewards Credit Card because it donates a percentage of every purchase to the green economy-oriented nonprofit, Green America. A few other options that give a slice of your purchases to green organizations are the Bank of America World Wildlife Fund Cash Rewards Card and the Amazon Watch Visa Platinum card issued by TCM Bank.
Donations aren’t the only way credit card companies can make an environmental impact. Payment technology company CPI Card Group announced its “Second Wave” credit and debit cards in September 2019, made from plastic that would have otherwise ended up in oceans. CPI said they’re partnering up with a yet-to-be-named “large U.S.-based card-issuing financial institution” in the near future.
Similarly, American Express is now offering its redesigned Green Credit Card, made of recycled ocean plastic collected by Parley for the Oceans. Amex has also recently announced a recycling service for its credit cards, which will roll out in 2020.
That said, finding a truly environmentally-friendly credit card is more complicated than it might seem on the surface. Some environmental groups suggest that all credit cards encourage consumption, which is generally not good for the planet. Plus, many credit card issuers that donate money to an eco-friendly organization on your behalf will not disclose how much gets donated. That includes the Green America Rewards Card issued by TCM Bank. And this makes it difficult to see how much good you’re doing.
There’s a big picture issue, too: Some bigger banks that issue “green” credit cards - Bank of America, for example - also fund ventures in notoriously not-green fossil fuel industries. That might make some environmentalists hesitate to sign up for Bank of America’s World Wildlife Fund Cash Rewards card.
Overall, making your spending more “green” is a good idea, but credit cards will only do so much in that effort. Being conscious of your purchases might be better for the environment than finding an eco-friendly or “green” credit card. Another option is getting a credit card with good rewards and simply making your own donation to the environmental group of your choice.
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