What's The Deal With Charity Credit Cards?

Even in today's tough economic times, many people still want to contribute to charity and to feel that they're doing their bit for society. Unfortunately, when money is tight it can often be the charitable donations which are the first pieces of expenditure to be sacrificed. So what would you think if you knew that you could carry on contributing to your favourite charity without any cost to yourself, just by using a credit card to buy the things you'd be buying anyway?

Charity credit cards are a special type of credit card where a small percentage of everything you spend is donated to the charity which is linked with the card. The amounts may seem small in themselves - a figure of 0.25% of your spending being donated is typical - but spread this across thousands or tens of thousands of cardholders and the total amount donated can be considerable, and very much welcomed by the charity concerned. Many cards also make a one off donation of a few dollars when you first open the account, or when you reach a certain level of spending. Again, these contributions really add up if enough people use the cards.

There are hundreds of such cards available through which you can sponsor a wide range of charities, supporting causes from medical research to overseas aid. Many such cards are provided by card issuer MBNA, although over providers do also have charity cards available.

Are charity cards worth it? Well, the fact that you're donating just by spending has got to be a positive factor, but what of the other features of the cards? In general, charity cards tend to be fairly average in terms of interest rate, balance transfer offers and the like. You probably wouldn't choose one as your main card if you're planning to carry a large balance, as there are other cards available more suited to that.

If, however, you solely use one of these cards for everyday purchases, and clear the balance every month so as to avoid paying any interest then it's definitely worth thinking about. You really will be contributing to your favourite charity with absolutely no extra cost to yourself.