I'm back to greening my finances and this week I've been researching charity credit cards. These seem like a great way to help your favourite charity while you shop but is it the best way?
I've been looking at the co-op's credit cards (because they're often top of the ethical banking lists) and it's good to see nine great charities being supported. When you sign up your chosen charity get between £15 and £20 and most get an extra £2.50 when you use your card in the first 6 months. After that 25p will be donated whenever you spend or transfer £100 on the account. This all sounds great, but after reading a few articles on the internet I wasn't so sure. This website points out that if you chose a high reward (non-charity) card you can sometimes get 20 times as much money back-which you can then donate to your chosen charity and by signing up to Gift Aid it can go even further.
So, if you're willing to save up your cash rewards, and then remember to donate them each month it's probably best to go for a high rewards card rather than a charity card. But that's only considering the money side, and to be honest, I find it hard enough to track my finances without making another payment for myself each month. What I like about charity cards is that they get people talking. Whether it's the charity being able to cite the number of supporters they have through the scheme (an important tool for campaigning) or catching someone's interest when you pay for your petrol. It's amazing how many conversations an unusual looking card starts and then you can become an advocate for that charity, just by explaining what it does and why you think it's an important cause to support.
So, when I pick my credit card I think I'll go for a charity card, not just because it's an easy way to donate to charity (although if I'm going to have a credit card it's nice to know its doing good) but because it helps raise awareness of issues and get people talking about them and I can't put a price on that.