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Giving to charity is a worthwhile thing to do, but you might not always have the cash for a monthly commitment. If you need to be selective about when to give, you might want to check out a credit card that lets you redeem your rewards for charitable donations.
These cards give you the power to donate your rewards at your own discretion and offer the convenience of donating directly through their rewards portals.
Here are three credit cards that let you donate or redeem your rewards for charity.
Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter for rotating bonus categories; 1% cash back on all other purchases. The rotating categories have to be activated in proximity with the 5% cash back offer.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover matches the cash back earned in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for six months on purchases, then variable 12.24% to 24.24% APR; 0% for 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 12.24% to 24.24% APR.
Why We Picked It: Cardholders can donate their cash back directly to charity.
For Charity: You’ll earn 5% cash back on spending categories that rotate every quarter and 1% cash back on every other purchase. Your cash back rewards can be redeemed for donations to select charities, starting at just a penny. Discover will match all the cash back you earn in the first year, doubling your giving potential for that time frame.
Drawbacks: This card is only for the detail-oriented, as you must activate and pay attention to rotating bonus categories.
Rewards: Two points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in annual purchases; one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 10,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 14.24% to 24.24% APR.
Why We Picked It: American Express’s giving program makes it simple to contribute to charity.
For Charity: This card earns double points on supermarket purchases and single points on everything else. With the Members Give program, cardholders can redeem their points for a donation to any participating nonprofit, starting at 1,000 points. Every 1,000 points is worth $10 in donations.
Drawbacks: After you redeem 500,000 points in one calendar year, the value of points redeemed for charitable donations is cut in half for the reminder of the year.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on United Airlines tickets and one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95.
APR: Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Frequent United flyers can easily donate their miles to charity.
Drawbacks: This card is only suitable for frequent United flyers.
How to Choose a Card for Charitable Donations and Redemptions
Be sure to choose a card that rewards the types of purchases you tend to make – a card with extra points at supermarkets isn’t valuable if you always eat at restaurants. If you plan to redeem your rewards for more than charitable donations, you should also pick a card that offers rewards that are valuable to you.
Many nonprofits and charities accept donations of travel points and miles, but you should probably verify with your favorite groups. You may want to check if your particular rewards are tax deductible when donated – that may not always be the case.
The value of rewards may vary depending on the type of redemption, so make sure you aren’t losing value when you redeem your rewards for a charitable donation.
Remember, a cash back credit card without a charity redemption option can be just as valuable. You can simply redeem your cash for a check or bank deposit, then donate your redemption – it’s one extra step.
What Credit Is Required for a Card for Charitable Giving?
Rewards cards generally require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, you should check your credit score to make sure you have a good shot at approval. You can check your credit score completely free at Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Discover it – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer, and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is 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. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
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