Use Credit Cards to Donate Directly to Charity


Do you have business credit cards? Are you doing anything with them besides building your business? How about personal credit cards? Are you doing anything with them beyond having a more convenient way to pay for goods and services?

Business owners are understandably busy. At times, this can conflict with charitable impulses. No matter what, generous-spirited entrepreneurs need more convenient ways to help others. And maybe even save the planet.

Now, charitable giving may not be No. 1 on your list of perks you want from a business or personal credit card. But if you’ve ever wondered if your purchases of equipment, your travel, your rent and more could help out, then these cards are for you.

Keep in mind, you may need to get a little creative to do the most good. Here’s how.

Business credit cards for donating to charities

The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business Plus is a fine choice for small business owners who want to make charitable donations. There is no annual fee.

This card earns two Membership Rewards points per dollar on all purchases. This is up to the first $50,000 per year (then one per dollar thereafter). Transferable membership rewards points at 1.9 cents each is a lot like getting 3.8 cents in value per dollar charged on the first $50,000 charged per year.

It’s easy to donate points to all sorts of charities. American Express allows for this via a program called Just Giving.

Just Giving includes well-known charities such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Doctors Without Borders, the Wounded Warrior Project and the ASPCA. It is also possible to donate directly to families requesting donations. (If you’re looking for American Express Members Give, any search will redirect to Just Giving.)

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

If you want to make a donation of $5,000 or more, the American Express Business Platinum Card offers 1.5 membership rewards points per dollar for all purchases over $5,000.

But make sure that wherever you decide to donate, the entire amount is charged as one transaction and not split into two or more payments. That is, do not donate on a monthly giving schedule. This is because you only get the 1.5 multiplier on charges over $5,000 when made as a single purchase.

But beware: This card has an annual fee of $595.                                                                                   

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited business credit card has no annual fee and earns 1.5% cash back. Cash back can be converted to ultimate rewards points. Get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. Afterward, pay 13.49-25.49% variable APR.

There is no special bonus category for charitable donations for this card, but you can get ultimate rewards points at two cents each if you also have a premium ultimate rewards card such as the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This makes for a potential three cents in value for every dollar you spend. Cash-back rewards never expire.

While there is no annual fee, the premium cards necessary to make these points more valuable and transferrable to travel partners have annual fees. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card both have a $95 annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $450 annual fee.

Of course, entrepreneurs have personal credit cards, too. Here are some terrific personal credit cards for charitable giving.

Personal credit cards for donating to charities

Charity Charge Mastercard                                                                                                             

Earn 1% cash back on every purchase for your chosen charity/charities. There is no annual fee, but there is also no sign-up bonus. You can apply for this card via Commerce Bank with a fair credit score of 670 or higher. Odds of approval improve significantly if you apply with a good to excellent score of 680 or better. When you apply, Commerce Bank pulls your credit history from TransUnion.

There is a 1.99% APR for six months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the APR is 16.74% to 26.74%, based on creditworthiness. 

Cardholders can donate tax-deductible cash rewards to several nonprofits.

Every purchase earns 1% cash back. This money is donated on a quarterly basis to up to three nonprofits of your choosing. Donate to a number of well-known causes, including the ones listed above. There are about 1.5 million charities in Charity Charge’s database.

  1. By supporting one nonprofit, it gets 100% of the 1% cash back
  2. By supporting two nonprofits, each gets 50% of the 1% cash back
  3. By supporting three nonprofits, each gets 33% of the 1% cash back

Recipients don’t have to pay credit card processing fees. This means all of your rewards go directly to the organization(s) of your choice.

The only drawback is that you can get better cash-back rates from several other cards. But this World MasterCard comes with all of the perks of World MasterCards. Among a World MasterCard’s many perks are extended warranties, price protection, identity theft protection, $0 fraud liability and MasterCard Global Service to help out if you lose your card.

Bank of America Susan G. Komen Card

To make a contribution to breast cancer research via credit card, take a look at the Bank of America Susan G. Komen card. It has no annual fee. Get a 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. Afterward, it is a variable 13.99-23.99% APR.                                                                                               

For each new Susan G Komen card opened, the bank contributes $3 to this foundation, which is dedicated to education and research related to the causes, treatment, and cure of breast cancer. Furthermore, the Komen foundation gets 0.08% of all retail purchases made with the card and $3 per card renewal.

This personal credit card also earns 1% cash back on purchases, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% cash back on gas. Get a $150 online cash rewards bonus if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.

Bank of America customers get an added 10% bonus cash when they redeem their cash back as an electronic deposit into their BOA account. This better cash-back value is only for Bank of America customers.

One caveat if you’re donating to charity via business or personal credit cards

Rewards cards, whether charity-focused or otherwise, often require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, make sure you check your FICO. Only apply if you have a good shot at approval, as a hard credit inquiry can lower your score.

And pat yourself on the back for your generosity and kind spiritedness. You just might have helped to save the planet.

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