How do hippies – agents of peace, love and Class C drugs – afford the
145 GBP ticket price of this year’s Glastonbury festival? With their
ethical credit card, of course. According to price comparison site
BeatThatQuote.com, consumer spending has sprouted a conscience.
‘Emotional spending’ – normally used to describe compulsive shoppers’
neuroses – can now be used to describe acts of selfless consumerism.
Research showed that eight per cent of the 185 million credit cards
circulating in the UK today are affinity cards -which include credit
cards that apportion a percentage of their profits to a charity. And
with over 300 co-branded Visa card schemes, these can range from the
obscure Hereditary Knights Templar credit card, to more conventional
charities like Christian Aid, Bono’s Red Amex card and the NSPCC.
“Multi-national conglomerates and credit card issuers are tapping into
an ethical market that was once contemptuous of commerce,” explained
Sophie Neary, Director of BeatThatQuote.com. “Ethics has become the new
business aesthetic. New age hippies have eased up on the anarchy of
their Sixties predecessors and are using their purchasing power to buy
GBP50 vegan Jesus Creepers with charitable credit cards.”
People are increasingly aware of the developing world and environmental
impacts of first world consumerism. Credit cards are now being used to
reconcile the act of spending with ‘making a difference’. Last year, it
was reported that GBP67.8m was donated on plastic in the summer, while the
ethical goods industry was reportedly worth GBP29.3bn in 2005 – overtaking
the retail market for tobacco and alcohol for the first time in trade
“The act of giving releases endorphins but the emotional high of a
selfish spend is normally ruined by the guilt,” said behavioural expert
Natalie Bakova. “Particular personalities opt for certain cards,” Bakova
continued. “Die-hard capitalists and old City types, for instance, are
least likely to take out an affinity card over an ‘elite’ credit card
that provides them with a 24hr concierge service. The young and
highly-educated are most likely to take on affinity cards, investigate
greener suppliers and adopt a more ethical lifestyle.”
10 Charity Cards
1. UNICEF -Advocates positive change in international government
policies and practices harmful to children, as well as raises funds for
worldwide emergency and development work. For every account opened,
UNICEF receives GBP20, with 25p being received for every GBP100 spent on the
card. Benefits include a 0% pa on balance transfers for nine months, no
annual fee, and 56 days interest-free on card purchases. Typical rate of
15.9% APR variable.
2. Oxfam Advantage Platinum – This international charity campaigns for
lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice in developing
countries. Oxfam receives GBP15 for every account opened; a further GBP2.50
is donated if your account is used within six months, and for every GBP100
spent or transferred to the card, Oxfam receives 25p. Rate of 14.9% APR
3. American Express RED – Endorsed by U2 rock star Bono, AMEX Red helps
fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. A minimum of 1% of everything
spent on the card (up to GBP5k) is transferred to the Global Fund each
quarter, at no extra cost. Red cardholders get deals on affiliated gigs,
sporting events, and late shopping nights. It has a competitive rate of
4. British Heart Foundation – Raises money for research into heart
disease, as well as support and care for those affected by the
condition. GBP50 is received from MBNA when the account is first used,
with a further 35p donated for every GBP100 spent on the card. Perks
include 0% on balance transfers for twelve months, and 0% pa on card
purchases for three months from opening of the account. Offers a typical
rate of 15.9% APR variable.
5. WWF – The World Wildlife Fund campaigns for environmental
preservation and its endangered inhabitants. The card itself is
PVC-free, a more environmentally sound solution to traditional plastic
cards that emit toxic chemicals once discarded. Perks include 0% pa on
balance transfers for twelve months, no annual fee, and 56 days interest
free on card purchases. Has a 15.9% APR variable rate.
6. RSPCA – The UK’s most famous animal charity campaigns for the
prevention of cruelty to animals. GBP15 is received for every account
opened, with a further 25p donated for every GBP100 spent on the card.
RSPCA receives a further GBP1 on each anniversary of the card issue.
Offers 0% on balance transfers for five months and has a rate of 14.9% APR.
7. Childline – A helpline for children and young people in trouble or
danger. MBNA makes a contribution to Childline for every application
accepted. A further GBP3 is donated for every year the account remains
open and active. For every purchase made, Childline also receives 0.15%
of the value of the purchase. Offers 0% pa on balance transfers
8. The National Trust – This organisation protects and opens to the
public a range of historic houses, gardens, woodlands castles etc for
all to enjoy. The Trust receives GBP36 from MBNA when a purchase is first
made on the card, receives 30p for every GBP100 spend on subsequent card
purchases, and a further GBP2 annually for every account that remains
active. Offers twelve months interest-free on purchases, 0% balance
transfers for three months, and incurs no annual fee.
9. Nationwide Comic Relief – Raises money to tackle poverty and social
injustice in the UK, Africa and some of the poorest countries in the
world. Nationwide make a donation of GBP6 when the card is first used.
0.5% of the value of subsequent purchases are donated thereafter. Perks
include commission free purchases abroad, 56 days interest free credit,
56 days interest-free credit and free purchase cover for loss, theft or
damage to most purchases over GBP50. Offers a typical 17.9% APR variable rate.
10. Breakthrough Breast Cancer – Supports research into breast cancer
and campaigns for improvements in services for women affected by the
disease. GBP40 is contributed to Breakthrough if the card is used within
90 days from date of issue. A further GBP2 is donated annually for every
account that remains active thereafter. Every time a purchase is made on
the card, 0.25% of the purchase value will be contributed to
Breakthrough. Offers a typical rate of 15.9% APR variable.
www.BeatThatQuote.com is an online price comparison service and marketer
that expertly matches buyers with product providers by directing
consumers to its web site as they search on the Internet for the best
deals on financial products such as mortgages, credit cards and loans.
BeatThatQuote.com collects relevant data which is then distributed to
its financial services clients through its business web site, Finance
Leads Online. BeatThatQuote.com currently focuses on the financial
services industry and plans to roll out additional products before
extending its business model into other industries.
BeatThatQuote.com is the winner of the Growing Business Young Company of
the Year award as well as being the NatWest Startups Business of the
Year and Online Business of the Year winner. BeatThatQuote.com also
reached the national finals in the Orange National Business Awards, the
Women of the Future and the HSBC Start-Up Stars awards in 2006.