Compare the best ethical savings accounts March 2019 | finder.com
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Compare ethical savings accounts

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Feel good about saving by choosing a financial institution that cares.

Financial institutions make their money by using yours to lend to others, but now you can indirectly support a sustainable environment and other causes that matter to you by choosing a bank that offers ethical savings accounts.

Compare ethical savings accounts

Name Product Ethical cause
Pledges to plant a tree for every account opened and is PayItGreen certified
Donates to and partners with community nonprofits through the CIBC One for Change program
PNC High Yield Savings account
PNC High Yield Savings account
Offers grants and sponsorships to nonprofits to support education and economic development, including more than $72 million in 2017
PNC Virtual Wallet
PNC Virtual Wallet
Offers grants and sponsorships to nonprofits to support education and economic development, including more than $72 million in 2017
Contributed $105 million to community programs around the world in 2018 and works to increase access to clean water through the HSBC Water Programme, including providing access to water for more than 1.68 million people so far
Offers grants in Charlotte and Detroit to nonprofits that address affordable housing, financial education and workforce preparedness

Compare up to 4 providers

What is an ethical savings account?

An ethical savings account can be the following things:

  • A savings account offered by a financial institution that makes a commitment to not have a negative impact on our society or environment. These principles will directly impact the way in which the bank chooses to invest and lend the money you deposit into your ethical savings account.
  • A savings account that donates a portion of the interest earned to a registered charity or group of your choosing.
  • A savings account where the financial institution donates the same amount of interest you earn to a registered charity or group of your choosing.
  • Savings accounts from banks that only lend to ethical organizations.

How does an ethical savings account work?

Banks that offer ethical savings accounts structure their products in the same way as other financial institutions. Depending on the type of product you choose, the money you deposit will attract interest and fees based on your daily balance.

John decides where to save

john2-case-study

John wants to open a savings account but is concerned about how his money while it’s in the bank. After comparing various institutions he finds a few that work to have zero impact on the environment. Nothing that the interest rates and other features match what other banks offer, he chooses to save with a bank that also donates a percentage of his annual average balance to a registered charity or community organization.

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What are the different types of ethical causes I can help?

There are a number of ethical causes being supported by various banks and other financial institutions, allowing you to choose one that impacts an issue you feel most passionate about:


Contribute to community aid

Localized banks and credit unions can make a choice to only invest in local businesses and causes that directly affect the community.


The environment and sustainability

Ethical banks who focus on the environment will research their business partners and customers thoroughly to ensure that they are not participating in any practice that is polluting the planet or causing damage to natural resources.


Stand up for animal rights

Certain ethical savings accounts may make efforts to support institutions that protect and preserve wild and domestic animals.


Support political parties

If you feel passionate about the beliefs of a particular political party, you can find an ethical savings account that financially supports the same group.

How do I choose an ethical savings account?

Whether you’re looking for your first account or thinking of making a change, consider the following when searching for the best ethical savings account:

  • Your current bank’s values. If you already have a savings account, check their website to examine what their investment values are now. If you can’t find the information, you can call or visit a branch to find out more.
  • How your money is being invested. Once you understand what your bank’s investment policies are, you can find out where your savings are being invested now. In most cases, banks that provide ethical savings accounts will disclose this information openly.
  • Your personal beliefs and values. Think about the causes that you are passionate about and how you can make a positive difference to society or to the environment to narrow down your choices.
  • If you’re ready to switch. If you’re not comfortable with the investing principles of your current bank, or find one that is more suited to your morals, it’s usually easy to switch your accounts by providing your new bank with the details of your current accounts.

What are the pros and cons of having an ethical savings account?

Pros

  • Have a positive impact on society. You can contribute to a positive cause without donating directly.
  • Earn interest while you’re making a positive impact. Even as you make a conscientious effort to support ethical banking, you’re still able to earn interest on your savings.

Cons

  • Limited range. Not every bank is ethical. If you want a bank whose morals align with your own, that will limit your options when searching for the right account.
  • It might not be fee-free. If you find an ethical savings account offered by a credit union or mutual bank you may need to first meet the membership requirements and pay for your shares before you can apply for the account.
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Bottom line

You might need to do some extra research to find a financial service provider whose ethics line up with your own, but once you do, you can feel good knowing that you’re saving money and supporting a good cause at the same time.

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