Donating to Charity through a Credit Card–Does it Pay?

Affinity credit cards are a popular way for charities to raise money and for credit card issuers to gain market share.

What are affinity cards? They’re credit cards linked to a charity, public education institution, environmental organization, children’s causes, alumni association, or an animal organization. The organization receives a small percentage of every purchase or transaction a consumer makes. Don’t confuse affinity cards with cobranded cards, which give perks and discounts to the user, not to an organization. Sounds like a convenient way to donate to charity and make you feel good about yourself, right? They could be too good to be true.

According to, the average amount nonprofit organizations receive is .05%, or half a penny for every dollar spent. If you charge $100, the credit card issuer gives 50 cents to charity—charge that amount every month for a year, and you’ll donate $6 to charity. Is that enough to make you feel good about yourself? Probably not.

You may feel even worse after you find out what your annual percentage rate (APR) is on an affinity card. The average affinity card APR is generally 20% or higher, and many affinity card issuers charge annual fees. You, and the charity, likely are better off if you make a direct contribution to the charity. Your deduction might even be tax-deductible.

Affinity cards often are more costly for consumers to use than standard credit cards such as Hopewell Federal Credit Union’s credit card options. To find out more, stop in, call us at 740.522.8311, or visit us at

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