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Credit card rewards go green
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Credit card rewards go green

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Credit card rewards are taking on a greener hue.

A rising number of card issuers let environmentally minded people use points for such options as donating to a renewable energy cause or buying a solar battery charger.

Last month, Wells Fargo added eco-friendly choices for its reward card holders. Bank of America and Citibank plan to add green points this year. And Bright Planet, a Vermont company, will soon introduce Bright Card, which will benefit clean-energy projects

“The industry needs a white hat right now, and green is good," says Robert McKinley, CEO of online publisher CardWeb.com.

Card issuers want to seize attention. And as airline rewards turn more restrictive, green rewards feel appealing, not to mention trendy. Credit card issuers are saying, 'How can we appeal to new segments?' If travel rewards are not so popular now, maybe philanthropic and environmental things are more appealing.

Among the green rewards being offered by international banks, are:

•Consumers with a Wells Fargo rewards card can now use their points to back renewable-energy projects. With points ranging from 5,000 to 10,000, they can support the development of green power.

•Bank of America's WorldPoints Rewards card holders can use points to buy environmental merchandise. Eventually, the bank says, card holders will be able to donate points to groups that invest in greenhouse gas reduction. Later this year, it plans to unveil an eco-friendly card in which every reward point will go toward greenhouse gas reduction.

•Citigroup has just begun a program of environmental projects that will include credit card green rewards. It says its card rewards will soon add environmental products, such as compost systems and recycled milk-carton furniture. Card holders will also be able to donate points to their choice of environmental groups.

•Bright Planet, which helps fight climate change, plans a card that will let people aid clean-energy projects each time they spend.












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