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Ethical Finance: Who Benefits From Our Spending?

On one hand consumers are being universally criticised for running up significant amounts of debt on credit cards, yet conversely many companies are capitalising on the growing credit card debt, from charities and political organisations to football clubs, the Association of Surgeons and somewhat ironically ActionAid, an international development agency whose aim is to fight poverty worldwide.

Financial comparison site moneynet.co.uk provided 226 credit cards in a general credit card search, from which the consumer could choose a product to suit their lifestyle, as well as their wallet. Credit cards with charity branding involve many major organisations including Amnesty International, Christian Aid, WaterAid, RSPB, Save The Children, the Ramblers Association, Oxfam, Greenpeace, the Vegetarian Society, RSPCA, ActionAid, Children In Crisis, Help The Aged, Tearfund and the Terence Higgins Trust.

Perhaps it is fair to say that if people are going to spend on plastic, they should be helping charitable organisations on the way and should they feel inclined to contribute to a political institution, donating a small % of each transaction is a convenient method. If most consumers were ethical spenders, then associations between transactions and third party beneficiaries would inherit this quality, but as debt spirals out of control, is it responsible or ethical that someone should benefit at the cost of someone else?

Although it is standard for most card providers to offer an introductory free period, the consumer may be hit by a more substantial annual percentage rate (APR) later on the year, with some providers, such as ASDA charging a massive APR of 28.8%. Even ActionAid charges an APR of 17.9%, rescuing the developing world at the expense of the developed.

About The Author:
For further information about credit cards and details on specific providers:
http://www.moneynet.co.uk/
http://www.eiris.org/
http://www.creditaction.org.uk/
http://www.moneybasics.co.uk/mb/site/Home.html
Rachel writes for Cashzilla, the personal finance blog:
http://www.cashzilla.co.uk/
Rachel drinks Guinness.

Rachel Lane