Choosing a credit card first involves understanding why you need a credit card and what you plan to use it for. If you want to earn rewards, you may need to analyze your spending habits and budgets to determine which bonus categories you spend the most in and find a card that fits those habits.
For those who need low introductory APR periods and balance transfers, you will need to calculate the total amount you need to repay and how long it will take – it is strongly advised against holding a balance beyond a period Introductory APR due to the possibility of retroactive interest.
Applicants with poor or no credit may be interested in secure cards, student cards, or other cards designed for those who build credit and need to understand the ins and outs of using credit cards to establish, build or repair credit.
Benefits are also important: what insurance or coverage might you be interested in receiving as an added benefit with your card? Do you want online banking or the ability to use automatic payment? Convenience benefits can make your life easy or miserable when it comes to remembering to pay on time every time, something everyone should always strive to do, if possible. If you occasionally need to carry over a balance, looking for cards with the lowest possible APR is a better money move than focusing on rewards, perks, or welcome bonuses.
After determining what types of cards you might want or need and what your personal financial priorities are, you can focus on finding the perfect card for you from an issuer whose investment and cases correspond to your personal preferences.
Choose an environmentally friendly transmitter
The private banking sector can fund many sustainable or renewable energy projects, but let’s not forget that many institutions also make money on credit card transactions and other financial products while simultaneously funding industries and businesses that have a serious impact on the environment.
Some of the banks we write about here at Forbes Advisor most often for particularly attractive credit card deals have the biggest investment in fossil fuel industries: JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are believed to be leading the way. of global banks in investment in the oil and gas industries. (Unfortunately for those looking for eco-friendly cards, these institutions also offer many of the best credit cards on the market).
You can limit the risk that profits made on your transactions could fund or support investment portfolios that include fossil fuels by using a credit card from a more environmentally friendly issuer. Local banking with smaller banks and credit unions is one solution. Check out our lists of the best credit unions and find each institution closest to you for commitments to fossil-free investing and certifications or memberships of or with programs like B Lab’s B Corporation status, membership to the Global Alliance for Securities Banking (GABV) and more. .
B-Corp status, GABV membership, 1% for the planet and fossil-free programs
Many companies try to prove their sustainability efforts to their customers, but consumers don’t always know who or what to trust. Some banking institutions’ attempts at transparency lead them to partner with or hire the services of third-party organizations designed to provide accountability in the form of private certification.
Among these is B Labs, a non-profit organization that promotes the idea that business can be “a force for good” with its help helping businesses “achieve high standards of social and environmental performance. , accountability and transparency”.
Global Alliance for Banking on Values
Several small banks and credit unions across North America have joined the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), which is supposed to bind its members to a number of socially responsible environmental and transparency standards.
1% For the Planet
the 1% For the Planet organization is a non-profit organization that monitors and certifies companies dedicated to contributing at least 1% of profits to organizations or activities that benefit the planet. Some banks, including at least one on our list above, participate.
Bank.Green Fossil-Free Banking Alliance
Several institutions, including Beneficial State Bank, Atmos and Amalgamated Bank, have pledged not to invest in fossil fuels at all through the Fossil-Free Banking Alliance. These banks receive certification by self-declaration via Bank.Green.
Beware of bank greenwashing
There is a long history of companies telling individuals to fix climate change with individual choices; that the consequences of environmental benefit must be borne by each of us individually, whether each of us has gained directly financially or not. Much of the marketing around financial products may reflect “greenwashing” or token gestures favorable to public relations towards the environment.
When it comes to which banks finance fossil fuels and which don’t, consumers can struggle to find out the truth. For example, BNP Paribas (which owns Bank of The West in the United States) has pledged to exit coal, announced the exclusion of investments in specific oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and the Amazon and s is committed to net zero initiatives, but has since reportedly increased its investment in fossil fuel development. Bank of the West, meanwhile, has released what appears to be a public relations campaign to promote it and its parent company’s progress with statements such as: “Our low-carbon future depends in part on the fact that banks are not making the climate crisis worse by underwriting carbon-intensive industries. and announces a 1% debit card for the planet Mastercard with carefully worded promises about the specific types of fossil fuel investments that cardholder deposits will not be used to fund. Which story should you believe?
Temper your expectations
To be clear: no map we mention or include here is problem-free, so follow our advice with a grain of responsibly sourced sea salt: our suggestions may encourage better and greener options than most of what’s out there. exists on the market today, but because all of these cards function as products of an economic system intrinsically and historically linked to climate damage, none are perfectly “green”.
That said, forgoing personal finance products and immediately switching to bartering with neighbors for everything we need probably doesn’t seem quite feasible for most of us. Choosing a card from a greener institution represents a step that many of us can take in the near future, at least until other blockchain-based solutions or real-time payment systems find a way. more energy-efficient way to provide faster secure payments.