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New debit card that helps the environment every time you spend

John Fitzsimons
Written By:
John Fitzsimons

Financial tech firm ekko has launched a new debit card with Mastercard, which it argues will help take action on climate change with every purchase.

Ekko suggested that every five purchases a shopper makes will pay for one plastic bottle to be collected before it enters the oceans, while every 50 transactions will pay for a tree to be planted.

Tracking your trees

It all comes down to the interchange fees. These are fees paid by retailers to the firm processing the payment, in this case Mastercard. 

Those fees are being used to fund this environmental work, meaning that as shoppers you don’t pay anything extra or have to change your behaviour at all. Simply using the card for your shopping means that you are supporting environmental efforts.

Ekko has launched an app, allowing card users to track their own personal forest, how many bottles have been collected through their spending, and even monitor their own carbon footprint. App users are also given access to a range of partner retailers, who the firms say offer climate-friendly goods and services.

Tangible change

Mastercard pointed to its own research had found that two in five Brits see reducing their carbon footprint as being more important now than before the pandemic.

Mastercard last year launched a ‘coalition’ of like-minded businesses, with the aim of planting 100 million trees by 2025. 

The ekko cards will be issued in June, with interested parties able to sign up to the waiting list now.

Oli Cook, co-founder and CEO of ekko, said the firm was determined to make it effortless for people to “make a real and tangible difference”.

He continued: “We needed to create something where every one of our customers can see what they themselves are doing to help climate change, without actually needing to do anything different.

Scott Abrahams, senior vice president of business development at Mastercard UK, added: “By embedding sustainability into every transaction, we can empower even more consumers to better understand the impact of their purchases and turn that into meaningful action for the planet.”

Going green

The debit card is just the latest innovation designed to help us be more environmentally friendly without having to put in a huge amount of effort.

Significant numbers of energy tariffs now are advertised as green for example, though households have been warned about the risk of ‘greenwashing’ meaning they sign up for tariffs that are not as green as they think.

Similarly, ethical investing is becoming more popular, with record inflows into ESG funds last year.