It was announced in mid-January that the nation’s largest credit card networks–Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, would waive fees for some contributions that were being made to aid Haiti relief efforts, after taking a heap of criticism for charging up to 3% of charitable donations for transaction fees. This is only the second time that credit card companies have waived fees made from charitable contributions, which companies rake in as much as $250 million dollars annually from; the first time they waived these fees was after the tsunami in 2004.
Now that the major credit card companies have waived their (in my humble opinion, devastating and ill-willed) fees aimed at charitable contributions, many companies have also set up processes in which cardholders can redeem their rewards points to make donations to aid Haiti relief efforts.
- American Express has set up a website, GivingExpress Online, which lists a number of great charities and allows cardholders already enrolled in their Membership Rewards program to donate to any of the charities listed on the website by using their Membership Rewards points. American Express has also announced a donation of $250,000 to assist several different charities dedicated to the relief efforts in Haiti, including the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee and the United Nations’ Friends of the World Food Program. They are also matching employee donations for relief efforts.
- Capital One launched their No Hassle Giving Site in 2008. This website allows cardholders to donate rewards to more than 1.2 million United States charities. Since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti in early January, the No Hassle Giving Site has listed about a handful of worthwhile charities dedicated to Haitian relief efforts. Cardholders have the option to set up charitable donations online as either a one-time only donation or a reoccuring donation; cardholders will also earn rewards on their donation transaction. A Capital One spokeswoman has also declared that donations made to the relief efforts in Haiti are tax deductible and donors could obtain a detailed donation history and summary of taxable donations for their records.
- Chase cardholders who hold either Chase Freedom, Sapphire and/or Ink can redeem and donate their Ultimate Rewards points to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund. Donations can be made starting at $25 for 2,500 points and then in $25 increments beyond that. There is no limit to the amount of points you can redeem to donate to Haiti, as long as it is up to your points balance.
- Citibank has enabled cardholders to redeem their ThankYou Network loyalty points to make donations to the American Red Cross and the ARC Disaster Relief Fund before the earthquake hit Haiti. Since the earthquake, donations have been reported to increase to 20 times the normal number they will pulling in. On January 20th Citibank added a Haiti-specific donation option which benefits the American Red Cross International Response Fund and since then, there has been a nearly 100 times increase in the daily redemption rate of loyalty points. You may redeem your ThankYou Network loyalty points in denominations of $50 and $100 to benefit the American Red Cross International Response Fund. You can also call the ThankYou Network service center to redeem your points for a donation by calling 800-842-6596.
Woman Tribune has been reporting on the relief efforts, current conditions, ways to donate and how people around the world are uniting to help Haiti in a time of serious and desperate need. We will continue reporting as information becomes available, so please consider following our reporting on Haiti to stay up to date on what is happening there.