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How do hippies – agents of peace, love and Class C drugs – afford the £145 ticket price of this year’s Glastonbury festival? With their ethical credit card, of course. According to price comparison site (, 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 “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 £50 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 £67.8m was donated on plastic in the summer, while the ethical goods industry was reportedly worth £29.3bn in 2005 – overtaking the retail market for tobacco and alcohol for the first time in trade history.

“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 £20, with 25p being received for every £100 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 £15 for every account opened; a further £2.50 is donated if your account is used within six months, and for every £100 spent or transferred to the card, Oxfam receives 25p. Rate of 14.9% APR typical/variable.

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 £5k) 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 12.9% APR.

4. British Heart Foundation – Raises money for research into heart disease, as well as support and care for those affected by the condition. £50 is received from MBNA when the account is first used, with a further 35p donated for every £100 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. £15 is received for every account opened, with a further 25p donated for every £100 spent on the card. RSPCA receives a further £1 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 £3 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 £36 from MBNA when a purchase is first made on the card, receives 30p for every £100 spend on subsequent card purchases, and a further £2 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 £6 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 £50. 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. £40 is contributed to Breakthrough if the card is used within 90 days from date of issue. A further £2 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.


Notes to the editor:

About 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. collects relevant data which is then distributed to its financial services clients through its business web site, Finance Leads Online. currently focuses on the financial services industry and plans to roll out additional products before extending its business model into other industries. 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. 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.

For further information please contact the BTQ press office:

Narda Shirley
Tel: +44 (0)7770 888318

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Gong Communications in the following categories: Personal Finance, for more information visit