Would you like to do something worthwhile with that cashback and reward points that you’re earning on your rebate credit cards? Many major non-profit organizations would be delighted to help you do that. By making an affinity credit card your major credit card, you can donate hundreds of dollars to your favorite charity — just by using your credit card the way that you normally would.
Affinity credit cards have been around since the 1980s, but they’ve really taken off in the last four to five years. Among the non-profit organizations that have teamed up with major credit card issuers to offer affinity cards are the American Red Cross, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Cancer Society. Add in the National Audubon Society and a wide variety of local police organizations, alumni associations, homeless shelters, and labor unions.
Affinity cards, like co-branded cards, have both the credit card logo and the emblem of the charity that benefits when you use it on the front. Most affinity cards, however, don’t offer special perks to the user, unless you count the knowledge that you’re supporting a worthy cause that’s important to you — and it’s costing you nothing.
Just how much good do affinity credit cards do?
According to MBNA, about 35,000 people use a Humane Society of the United States affinity credit card. Over the last ten years, contributions through the affinity credit card have been ‘well into six figures’ annually. That’s a lot of puppies and kittens being saved through people’s credit spending.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The World Wildlife Federation started issuing an affinity credit card in 1995. In the past ten years, they’ve earned over $8 million in affinity credit card contributions.
Affinity cards work on the same principle as Earned Rewards cards. Whenever a holder of an affinity credit card makes a purchase using that card, they’re credited with 1-1.5% back. The difference is that instead of receiving that reward themselves, it’s contributed to the company that places its emblem on the card. It’s a painless way to contribute to your favorite charity and let your spending habits do some good.
But how many people actually use affinity credit cards?
According to the Nilson Report, affinity credit cards make up almost 29% of all credit cards in use. That’s nearly 1/3 of all active credit cards. That’s a lot of charity going around for a country that supposedly has a heart of stone.
Should your non-profit agency consider issuing an affinity credit card? According to the experts, the standard rule of thumb is ‘can you generate 50,000 credit card users in two years?’
What can you expect if you do decide to market an affinity card in conjunction with a credit card company?
Most companies – and they include local police unions, sports groups, and philanthropic groups — get at least $1 per user that signs up for your affinity card, and a percentage of whatever is charged on those cards. Whether you’re looking into applying for an affinity credit card or finding a bank that might be interested in sponsorship from your organization, be sure to shop carefully.
The better the deal you get on your affinity card, the more you’ll be helping the people that are important to you.