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A New Eco-Friendly Credit Card

Christine DiGangi

Earth lovers, rejoice! Now you can help reforest the Amazon while making everyday purchases with a new eco-friendly credit card. A company called Sustain:Green offers a credit card to consumers who want to reduce their carbon footprint — for every dollar cardholders spend, Sustain:Green says it will purchase two pounds of carbon offsets.

A quick explanation of carbon offsets: They're a form of trade, in which the purchaser financially supports projects like reforestation, livestock waste reduction, water purification, renewable energy and transportation efficiency, among other efforts, according to the American Carbon Registry. Offsets are measured by the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide reduction supported by the financial contribution to the project.

The Sustain:Green MasterCard also includes a bonus: an extra 5,000 pounds of carbon offsets when you make your first purchase within 90 days of opening the account.

The card itself is environmentally friendly. On its website, Sustain:Green explains the decomposition process for the cards, which the company says are made of a "special PVC plastic" that attracts microorganisms to break down the material. Perhaps the most unsurprising part about this account: paperless statements.

There's no annual fee, and the APR is a pretty standard 1.99% introductory rate for six billing cycles (plus the usual fine print about missed payments and a penalty APR), then 12.24% to 18.24% after that. Your credit history not only impacts whether or not you qualify in the first place, it also determines the interest you'll have to pay on financed purchases.

At face value, it seems like it could be an attractive option for people trying to reduce their carbon footprint: Help the planet, help your credit. If credit cards aren't your thing, the site says a prepaid card will be available soon, though it's important to know that prepaid cards don't help you work on your creditworthiness and often carry fees that can make card use costly.

Before you apply for a credit card (or any form of credit), you should have a good idea of what your credit history says about you — you can get a free credit report summary every month on Credit.com. If you don't have good enough credit to qualify for the card you want, it's a good idea to wait until your scores have improved, or look for different cards that you're more likely to be approved for.

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