There are tons of credit cards out there. Some offer frequent flyer miles, while others offer cashback or low introductory rates.
There’s even a card out there with Yoda on it, so chances are, if there’s a credit card feature that you want, somebody is probably making it.
However, there aren’t yet a ton of cards out there actively working to combat climate change.
Luckily, the Aspiration Zero Credit Card, launched by the neobank Aspiration, works hard to do exactly this. Keep reading to find out how to apply for this – or any other – credit card.
Applying for a credit card
Once you have all the right information to hand – and provided your financial situation is relatively stable – applying for a credit card shouldn’t be too difficult.
Here’s what you need to know before you get started.
Know your credit score.
Before you apply for a credit card online, you will probably need to know your credit score.
You can check yours online with the federally authorized AnnualCreditReport.com.
Even if you’re not after a credit card, your credit score can affect your application for an apartment or mortgage, and some companies run credit checks on potential employees.
Federal law mandates that all consumers have a right to a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies– Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion– once annually.
Taking advantage of this free report can be a great way to spot any inaccuracies and have them removed before you need the credit report for an application.
This can also be an excellent way to make sure you have not been a victim of identity theft or similar fraudulent activities.
If you’ve had a less-than-stellar track record of paying your bills, your credit score may have suffered, so it can be helpful to have a heads up before applying for your credit card.
Know your social security number and your annual income.
While this may be basic information for most, it’s worth mentioning as you will most likely be asked for this information during your application.
The credit card company you’re applying to needs that number to check your credit, and they’ll want to know your income to decide if you’re a good credit risk.
Even if you have a perfect credit score, some companies may raise an eyebrow at someone with no annual income applying for a card. In addition, some companies may require you to have a checking or savings account, so you’ll want to have that information at hand, as well.
Learn about the card you want.
There are hundreds of offers out there, and some maybe aren’t as friendly to your bottom line as they could be.
Before you apply for a card, it can help to do some research.
Check the annual percentage rate (APR) and learn about cash advances and the fees associated with them – some cards charge a higher interest rate on balances from cash advances than from purchases.
Some cards charge an annual fee, as well. That’s information you’ll want to have, as well as whether the company expects you to pay your entire balance each month.
While it can be tempting to apply for the first good offer you come across, it can definitely pay off to spend some time comparing cards to find the one that’s the right fit for you.
With the age of internet applications, applying for a credit card is usually a quick and easy process.
Simply locate your chosen bank’s website, fill out the application, and wait to hear back!
If your application does end up getting denied, all is not lost. While one company may deny you, you may have better luck with a different company, or you might even want to consider a secured card.
Secured cards work like gift cards in that you deposit some cash to back the card, giving you a balance on that card. This allows the card company to assume much less risk when their card is in your wallet, so they’re much less likely to turn you down. This can make this a great option if you have bad credit.
However, try not to fall into the trap of applying for tons of cards at once.
Each time you apply for a card, the company you’re applying to will make a credit inquiry on you, and your credit score will reflect this. Having a lot of these inquiries can lower your credit score, so it can be wise to focus your efforts on a couple of cards.
Use your card responsibly.
Once you get your new card, it can be a good idea to spend responsibly in order to maintain your credit score and avoid accruing a large amount of debt. Not only is this fairly intuitive, but it will likely help you out in the future if you decide to apply for a new card.
The Aspiration Zero Credit Card
While there are a ton of features you can get from a credit card, planting trees isn’t one you see every day.
This is what sets the Aspiration Zero Credit Card– a MasterCard– apart from other credit cards.
Not only are Aspiration committed to sustainability, but for every purchase you make (over $1.50) they will plant a tree on your behalf. Rounding up your purchase gives you the opportunity to plant another!
What’s more, if you reach a carbon footprint of zero – which is trackable through their app – Aspiration will offer you cash back of up to one percent on purchases. And if you want to take it one step further, you can even choose to use this cashback to plant trees, too.
Aspiration achieves this through its partnership with the Eden Reforestation Projects (ERP), which so far has planted more than half a billion trees. Since there are about 3 trillion trees in the world, that means ERP has so far planted about 16 percent of all the trees on planet earth – that’s a lot of trees!
These trees are planted in areas in which deforestation is a key issue, such as Kenya, Madagascar, Honduras, and Brazil.
Aspiration also offers socially responsible investing to its customers, meaning you can feel safe knowing that your money isn’t contributing to the destruction of the planet.
For a card that’s good for your conscience, check out the Aspiration Zero today.