Finding ethical banks that also actively strive to be eco-friendly not just in their operations but in the financial services that they provide to businesses can be more challenging than you think.
The banking industry hasn’t been one to embrace socially conscious initiatives. It has largely been nudged in this direction by the mounting public pressure. The people are now standing against what they believe to be excesses caused by big business.
They’re actively voting with their wallets. As socially conscious values gain momentum among the population, people have started taking their business away from companies that are not doing their bit in the preservation of our environment. They now favor companies and businesses that share the same values as them.
Any principled stand is not without its challenges. People who stick with their beliefs often have to face considerable discomfort. They may also have to change the way they live their lives or stop using the products that they once couldn’t go without.
Take credit cards, for example. They’re an incredible financial tool. Apart from the obvious benefit of aiding your question for a better credit score, they offer instant access to funds that can be used both online and in-store. That’s in addition to the lucrative rewards programs that provide everything from air miles to free nights as some of the best hotels in the world.
People have leveraged these incredible offers on credit cards to have experiences that would otherwise be out of the reach of most average people – think spending $20,000 or more on a first-class flight from New York to Dubai.
Is that enough, though? There’s no hiding the fact that the largest banks in the United States are also the issuers of some of the most sought-after credit cards. These same banks have loaned out hundreds of billions of dollars to fossil fuel companies and other businesses that aren’t mindful of the damage that they’re doing to the environment.
What’s a person who has the betterment of the planet at the heart of everything that they have got to do then? Should they give up on credit cards as a financial tool altogether? That would severely limit their ability to access credit when they need it. They would also be unable to use the strategies that can be utilized to improve credit scores by using and paying off the card’s balance in full by the end of the month.
Fortunately, there are a lot of companies that have recognized the need for a green alternative to conventional credit cards. There are now more options available than ever before.
Even if they don’t provide the same level of rewards as other cards, at least the people who get and use them will know they’re at least folding environmental sustainability into their everyday financial activity.
5 Best Eco-Friendly Credit Cards in 2021
Amalgamated Bank Credit Card
Amalgamated Bank is one of the few socially responsible banks in the country. It happens to be the largest union-owned bank, and one of the only unionized banks in the United States.
It’s not an entirely online-only bank; Amalgamated Bank does have retail locations in New York and Washington, D.C. However, it provides customers the ability to handle all of the transactions completely online.
As part of its sustainability initiatives, the bank is net-zero carbon, uses 100% renewable energy to power itself, and doesn’t invest in any fossil fuel projects. Furthermore, its investment funds also don’t make their way into the weapons, tobacco, and private prison industries.
In addition to the card, Amalgamated offers a wide variety of personal and commercial banking as well as institutional investing services. The First National Bank of Omaha is Amalgamated’s issuer of credit cards.
Available options include a secured card for those looking to build or improve credit history, a Platinum Edition, and a Maximum Rewards card that offers generous perks such as 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles, and no annual fees on the non-secured cards.
Green America Rewards Credit Card
A non-profit organization, Green America has a mission to create an environmentally sustainable society. It advances the cause of clean energy, support for green businesses, and fairness in trading systems.
The card that it offers is issued by TCM Bank. It’s a subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America, the organization that offers credit card services to community banks.
The Green America credit card has no annual fees and a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. Cardholders also get one point per dollar on purchases that can be redeemed for rewards. There’s no cap on the points that can be earned and they never expire.
M&F Bank Personal Credit Card
Mechanics and Farmers Bank or M&F Bank is an independent community bank that’s Black-owned and runs with a CDFI certification. It happens to be the second-oldest Black-owned bank in the country.
It does have a few credit cards on offer with the Personal World Mastercard being one of the most promising options due to the travel perks that it offers. The card does have a $35 annual fee in addition to a 12.24% APR on purchases. That’s a bit on the low side since the average APR tends to be a few percentage points higher.
Cardholders earn one point per dollar on purchases which they can then redeem for rewards. Additional travel perks include no foreign transaction fees when the card is used across the globe.
Amazon Watch Rewards Credit Card
Amazon Watch is another non-profit organization that offers a credit product. It was founded in 1996 to protect the Amazon rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. It partners with indigenous and environmental organizations to further the cause of human rights and corporate accountability.
The credit card that it offers is also issued by the TCM Bank. A percentage of every purchase is used to protect ecosystems in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. There’s an introductory 0% APR rate on all balance transfers in the first 6 billing cycles. The card also provides 1 point on every dollar spent using the card. The points can be redeemed for travel benefits.
Aspiration Zero Credit Card
Aspiration is an online bank that is 100% committed to clean money. No customer deposits are used to fund fossil fuel projects. It also enables customers to plant a tree with every transaction and provides them with investment opportunities in green companies.
The Aspiration Zero credit card rewards cardholders for going carbon neutral. Aspiration plants a tree every time customers make a purchase and also provides them with the opportunity to plant one, too.
Cardholders can track their progress each month in the app to eradicate their carbon footprint. For every month that they get to carbon zero, they receive cashback up to 1% on all of their purchases.
Why Aspiration Zero is one of the best eco-friendly cards in 2021
No green credit card nudges customers to be as eco-friendly as the Aspiration Zero. For customers who are looking to switch to more sustainable banking, this is another tool that they can use to reduce their overall impact on the environment and help make the world a better place.
By showing cardholders their progress in the app every month, Aspiration Zero challenges them to meet the goal to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. The incentive for them is that they will receive up to 1% cashback, so the more they strive to be carbon neutral, the more they’ll end up saving in the long run.
Join the Aspiration Zero program today and get the most powerful eco-friendly card in your wallet.