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5 free ways to turn card spending into charitable donations

Use these five tips to get more from your credit card spending and help organizations you care about without hurting your finances.

Many would love to give more to charitable organizations if only their budgets weren’t stretched so thin. A while it’s not quite the Giving Season yet, donating happens in many ways and doesn’t have to be unaffordable or leave you with less.

1. Make purchases with direct-donation credit cards

An excellent way to give more is using banks and credit cards that allow you to donate your points, airline miles, or cashback rewards directly to specific organizations or causes.

Known as affinity cards, they automatically make donations every time you charge. Whether you buy a coffee, groceries, or a pricey item, you’re giving back and helping others.

2. Donate your credit card rewards to charitable organizations

Donating credit card rewards–such as cashback, points, and airline miles–to charities is an excellent way to help others without increasing your expenses. Many card issuers and travel loyalty programs make it easy for you to give away your rewards.

After you choose a charity, they might convert your donated points to cash. While others accept airline miles or hotel points to support their missions, such as securing travel for their staff or disaster victims.

To give away your card rewards, go to the portal where you’d redeem them or to a co-branded airline’s website. Unlike cash donations, giving your points or miles isn’t tax-deductible; however, your card rewards still help those in need.

3. Get credit card sign-up offers

When shopping for credit cards, look for generous sign-up offers you can parlay into extra charitable donations. For instance, some cards pay a bonus when you get a new account and spend a certain amount within a period, such as within one to three months. Plus, if you get cash back on your everyday spending, you can spend it any way you like.

4. Make card purchases at stores that donate.

When you shop at local and online stores that give a portion of their profits to charitable organizations or have a “buy one, give one” business model, your spending habits automatically help others.

Use a credit card for your charitable giving.

Pay the organization with a credit card that earns the most rewards when you want to make a charitable donation. While some cards have a minimum charge to qualify for rewards, others may pay double or triple points when you give to specific charities.

By using a rewards card, your donation earns rewards you can keep or choose to give away. A bonus is that annual card statements make tracking your tax-deductible expenses, including charitable contributions, easy.

Credit cards are powerful tools that can improve your financial life and the lives touched by charitable organizations when used responsibly. By using one or more of these options, you can easily turn your everyday transactions into more acts of giving.

However, making donations or other card charges you can’t pay off in full each month isn’t wise. Carrying a card balance from month to month means paying accrued interest, which could ultimately wipe out the value of your rewards and hurt your credit scores.

About the Author

Laura Adams is a money expert and spokesperson for Finder. She’s one of the nation’s leading personal finance and business authorities. As an award-winning author and host of the top-rated Money Girl podcast since 2008, millions of readers, listeners, and loyal fans benefit from her practical advice. Laura is a trusted source for media and has been featured on most major news outlets, including ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, Consumer Reports, Forbes, Fortune, FOX, Money, MSN, NBC, NPR, NY Times, USA Today, US News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more. She received an MBA from the University of Florida and lives in Vero Beach, Florida. Her mission is to empower consumers to live healthy and rich lives by making the most of what they have, planning for the future, and making smart money decisions every day.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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