With more than 14 million personal credit cards in Australia, there is mounting pressure from consumers for card providers to be more considerate of the environment.
Overseas, many providers have been green-conscious for some time now. But the take-up down under is yet to get underway. The strange thing is, all of the green-friendly measures we discovered being offered overseas are loved by consumers. So, why have Aussie companies been so slow on the uptake?
The answer to that question is a little more complex. Making changes to a business is always a costly investment, and perhaps Aussie providers don't really feel the need to go green just yet. Sooner or later, Australians will start demanding that these features be available on their cards. And for the sake of our planet, the sooner we do this the better.
Abolishing paper statements
Converting to online statements offers many advantages over receiving a paper statement in the mail. Firstly, it is faster and more convenient for the consumer since the statement is automatically saved in your online account to be accessed at any time, from anywhere in the world. This removes the need for the consumer to store a paper copy of their statement.
Of course, online statements also save paper, which in turns saves energy costs associated with producing paper, which means less carbon is being emitted into the atmosphere. From the credit card provider's point of view, it is also a cost-saving measure since they don't have to post anything out! And of course, statements can always be printed by the consumer if the need arises.
Recycling old cards
Cards that are no longer valid can be recycled, and there are many providers now taking part in recycling schemes overseas. The cards themselves can also be made of PETG plastic, a green alternative to traditional plastic cards. Some Australian providers such as MECU are already using PETG plastic.
Some of the leading credit card providers overseas are offering their customers the ability to redeem reward points for carbon offsetting. Another popular option is to redeem points to fund renewable green power development. Some cards even allow reward points to be redeemed for the support of compost systems and recycled milk carton furniture!
Taking it to the next level
Of course, all of these features are great ideas and would add considerable value to the average credit card for Australian consumers, but what if there was a credit card dedicated solely to an environmental project? One such card exists in the United States.
The Salmon Nation VISA card is aptly named after the economic, cultural and ecological community collective in the bioregion that contains Pacific salmon spawning grounds. Half of the income generated from the card for the card provider Shorebank goes to supporting the Salmon Nation project.
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