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HSBC releases new green card

Emily Crone

This past Earth Day, I put together a feature on all the “green” credit cards available in the United States. We can now add another one to the list: HSBC North America has just launched its own environmentally-friendly card (interestingly, Leonardo DiCaprio was promoting the Chinese version of it in Hong Kong earlier this year).

The new HSBC ecosmart MasterCard with Plus Rewards allows cardholders to earn one reward point for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed in several ways. One option is to use points toward charitable donations to environmental preservation organizations. Some of the available organizations include The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, National Arbor Day, Wind Power Renewable Choice and Our Energy.

Another option is to redeem points for eco-friendly merchandise, such as a garden composter or rechargeable mulching mower. Not-so-eco-friendly cardholders can also redeem points for gift cards at various retailers or for cash back, flights and stays at hotels.

As an effort to help save trees, all cardholders have the option of paperless billing statements.

“We are pleased to offer a credit card that gives our customers the ability to contribute to those important environmental causes they support,” Patrick Burke, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of HSBC’s card and retail services, says in a press release. “At HSBC, protecting the environment has been a long-standing concern for all of us as well. We will continue to look for additional opportunities to meet the environmental concerns of our customers.”

HSBC invests more than $100 million in global environmental causes, and in October of 2005, became the first financial institution to become 100 percent carbon neutral. I hope many more businesses follow in its footsteps.

On an unrelated note, I want to share that my post from last week, “Protect your identity while protecting us abroad,” is featured in the 154th Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted by Canadian Dream: Free at 45. I encourage you to check it out and read the other selected posts.

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