[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Rewards credit cards are incredibly popular due to the points, miles or cash back offered to cardholders. But ultimately, there is another type of compensation that some people will find even more rewarding: a donation to a cause they believe in.
There are three ways that cardholders can use their credit card to donate money directly to a charitable organization. First, there are some cards that are co-branded with charities, which raise proceeds for those organizations. Then, there are other cards that offer cash-back rewards that can be donated directly to select charities. Finally, you can always charge a charitable contribution to your credit card, but in most cases the charity will not benefit from 100% of your donation as it will have to absorb a roughly 2% to 4% merchant fee. Thankfully, at least one credit card issuer is now disbursing donations without imposing those merchant fees on charities.
So if you want to use your credit card rewards to give rather than to receive, consider one of these four credit cards that can help you give back.
1. Susan G. Komen Cash Rewards MasterCard From Bank of America
This card offers rewards for both the cardholder and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the largest and most widely known breast cancer organization in the U.S. For each new Pink Ribbon BankAmericard Cash Rewards MasterCard, the Susan G. Komen foundation receives a $3 donation and a further 0.08% of the purchases made with the card. Komen also receives another $3 for each credit card renewed renewed each year that is in good standing and does not have a zero balance at the time of the renewal.
New cardholders earn $100 in cash back after making $500 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. Cardholders also receive 2% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back on gas purchases for the first $1,500 in combined grocery store and gas purchases each quarter, as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.
2. World Wildlife Fund From Bank of America
Bank of America will donate $5 for each new credit card account, and another $5 donation when a card is renewed. Furthermore, the World Wildlife Federation receives a donation worth 0.25% of all retail purchases. Cardholders themselves earn a $100 cash-back bonus when they make $500 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. In addition, customers also receive 2% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back on gas purchases, for the first $1,500 in combined grocery store and gas purchases each quarter, as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.
3. Discover it
Discover has partnered with several charitable organizations to allow cardholders to donate their cash-back rewards directly. Participating charities include the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, Junior Achievement and the Make-A-Wish foundation. In addition, Discover donates an additional contribution each year to the charity that receives the most donations from its cardmembers.
The Discover it card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter at select categories of merchants and individual retailers, as well as 1% cash back from all other purchases. There is no annual fee for this card. The card currently comes with two promotional offers — the first offers 0% financing on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, and the second offers 0% financing on new purchases for 6 months and balance transfers for 18 months. (You can read our full review of the Discover it card for more details.)
4. Capital One Quicksilver Rewards
Capital One offers its No Hassle Giving Site that allows customers to use their cards to make donations to nonprofits affiliated with The Network for Good, which includes more than 1.2 million verified charities. And unlike other charges to your credit card, these charitable organizations will receive 100% of your donations, without incurring the costly merchant transaction fees that other retailers must pay.
The Capital One Quicksilver Rewards card is one of their top cash-back reward credit cards, although it offers others. New applicants can earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 within three months of account opening, as well as 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There is no annual fee for this card. (You can read our full review of the Capital One Quicksilver here.)
All four of these cards require good to excellent credit. So even if your heart is in the right place, you will qualify only if your credit is also in the right place. (If you aren’t sure where you stand, you can check a free credit report summary from Credit.com.) It’s smart to apply only for credit you feel reasonably confident you’ll be approved for, because every inquiry made for the purpose of extending credit can temporarily knock a few points off your credit score. However, checking your own credit does not affect it.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
At publishing time, Discover it (0% intro APR for six months on purchases), Discover it (0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases) and Capital One Quicksilver Rewards cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards with Rewards
- How to Get a Credit Card with Good Credit