Better Credit Cards

Have a credit card with a big bank? In many cases you may be able to divest your credit card along with your bank account. Consider closing your old line of credit in favor of these options:

1. Apply for a credit card with your new credit union. Most credit unions offer credit cards, and often at much lower interest rates than the big banks. Because credit unions are member-owned nonprofit financial institutions, they put revenue back into the credit union to lower interest rates for their members.

2. Apply for a socially beneficial credit card. These cards provide a different approach to customer rewards. For every dollar you spend, a small contribution is made towards an environmentally- or socially-responsible cause. There are even cards that provide direct funding to specific nonprofits and advocacy organizations. Unfortunately, some social-benefit cards are issued by the very same big banks that invest in fossil fuels, so proceed with caution. Social benefit credit cards may be offered through your new credit union. Many are also issued by community development banks, such as the credit cards Green America lists here.

Here are some more tips for moving your line of credit:

1. When researching your new card, see if they offer 0% interest balance transfers. You can transfer the remaining balance of your big bank credit card to your new clean card. A 0% interest transfer will cost you nothing and may even save you money over time if your new card’s interest rate is lower.

2. Be sure to close your big bank credit card account after the transfer. Credit cards issued by big banks usually have annual or even monthly fees that are charged to your account regardless of whether you use the card. Even if your balance is zero, you may still be hit with fees, so be sure to fully close your old account to avoid any unexpected charges.

3. Don’t forget to write a letter to your old creditor. Let them know you refuse to do business with institutions supporting catastrophic climate change by propping up the fossil fuel industry.

4. If you can’t move your line of credit, stop spending on your big bank credit card. You can still make a statement by not spending another dollar on your big bank credit card. Interest is where big banks make their profits, and if you don’t have interest to pay, they won’t have those dollars to pour into fossil fuels. The success of this mass movement will depend on everyone boycotting the big banks in any way they can.

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