AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - June 21, 2016) - Credit cards that offer cash back with every purchase are commonplace these days.
But Charity Charge is putting a new twist on a consumer favorite by making it pay to give and a creative way to address the estimated $16 billion in credit card rewards points and cash that go wasted each year. The Austin-based startup announced today the launch of a new credit card that lets users donate the cash back to the nonprofits of their choice.
With the Charity Charge World MasterCard, issued by Commerce Bank, cardholders can earn 1% cash back on all purchases, which they can use to support up to three local and/or national nonprofits. Charity Charge is unique among affinity card programs in that it also underwrites all cardholder donation processing fees, ensuring that the full 1% is transferred to charity. The card, which has no annual fee, is the first that enables users to choose any non-profit organization locally or nationally and give automatically. In addition, because the card is a World MasterCard, it offers a host of added perks such as ID theft protection, zero liability protection and special offers on hotels, cruises and vacations.
The card is the vision of millennial Stephen Garten, a maverick social entrepreneur who founded Charity Charge on the belief that everyone from movie stars to dentists to civil servants are united by a deep-burning desire to help those in need.
Garten's inspiration for starting Charity Charge is his late father, who was active in a number of philanthropic causes in Baltimore before succumbing to cancer in 2006.
"We built Charity Charge on the belief that philanthropy is not a burden but a duty," said Garten. "As we look at how people give today, particularly through affinity card programs, we feel that substantial opportunities exist to leverage technology to make the process more efficient, democratic and beneficial to nonprofits. On average, nonprofits lose anywhere from 3-5% when a donor makes a donation using a credit card and affinity card programs typically offer only 0.1-0.4% of purchases back to a single nonprofit. Through our innovative partnerships with leaders in the payment processing and nonprofit industries, we have created a new kind of credit card program that makes donating to charities easy and more impactful."
The Charity Charge World MasterCard takes purchase-integrated giving beyond the reach of nonprofit affiliate credit cards, whose rewards are tied to one organization. Through its partnerships with GuideStar and Network for Good, Charity Charge maintains a database that includes all registered nonprofits in the U.S., including K-12 public schools, colleges, universities and religious organizations.
Consumers have the option of applying for the card through Facebook Connect, making it one of the first to take advantage of this exciting technology. Using Facebook Connect will also enable cardholders to easily share information about their donations through social media.
Garten incorporated Charity Charge in Delaware as a Public Benefit Corporation, a type of for-profit legal structure recognized in 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia that's designed for organizations looking to make a positive social impact. The company is already receiving recognition for using entrepreneurship to help others: In 2015, IBM selected Charity Charge as one of the top 5 social startups in the U.S.
"MasterCard is deeply committed to 'doing well so we can do good,' Charity Charge fits that profile. The company has found an innovative way to give consumers the flexibility to take the cash back they earn on purchases and allocate it to nonprofits in the way they choose," said Cheryl Guerin, executive vice president, Global Products and Solutions for North America, MasterCard.
"Commerce Bank is pleased to serve as the exclusive bank and issuer of the Charity Charge World MasterCard," said Chad Doza, Senior Vice President of Consumer Card Products at Commerce Bank. "With our extensive experience managing credit card programs, we are well-suited to partner with Charity Charge as it launches what's really a first-of-its-kind product. Our relationship with Charity Charge underscores Commerce Bank's focus on fostering financial technology and social responsibility."
About Charity Charge
Charity Charge, PBC is an Austin-based startup that's transforming the way people give to nonprofits. The Charity Charge World MasterCard, issued by Commerce Bank, is the first credit card to let users donate the 1% cash back they receive on all purchases for up to three charities of their choice. Through unique partnerships with GuideStar and Network for Good, Charity Charge has the ability to distribute donations to any nonprofit registered in the U.S. Founded by CEO Stephen Garten, the company's goal is to leverage technology to bring philanthropy into the 21st Century.
To apply for a card or for nonprofit registration information, visit charitycharge.com.
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