“Green Purchases” Earn High Cash-Back Rates With the FutureCard Visa Card – CNET

The FutureCard Visa® Card* is a charge card with a mission: to financially incentivize people to make more climate-friendly choices in their daily lives.

After spending time on Kenyan farms and witnessing the devastations of climate change firsthand, Jean-Louis Warnholz, co-founder of Future, said he became “obsessed” with the misalignment between climate change and economic incentives. 

“It became clear that nothing I’ve done as a development economist really is going to matter because climate change is threatening all of it in ways that I just hadn’t really realized,” Warnholz told CNET.

The FutureCard was created to help consumers make more sustainable, eco-friendly purchases. With the FutureCard Visa, you earn 5% cash back on public transport, electric vehicle charging, bikes, scooters, secondhand clothes and furniture, and plant-based meat, dairy and eggs. And if you make a sustainable purchase that is miscategorized, Future will work with you to correct the purchase so you earn the elevated cash-back rate.

However, this card is not a credit card — instead, you’ll need to link it to your bank account. That means it doesn’t charge interest, and you don’t need to worry about a credit score to sign up. Payments are due in full at the end of each billing cycle, and the card will draft your account if you don’t submit the payment yourself. Purchases made on the FutureCard will not affect your credit score.  

Read on to learn more about FutureCard’s cash-back program and how to get your FutureScore, which is akin to a “credit score for your climate impact.”

FutureCard Visa Card

  • Monthly fee: None
  • Rewards rates: 5% on EV charging, secondhand clothes and furniture, public transportation, bikes and scooters; 6% on Rad Power Bikes; 1% on everything else
  • ATM fee: None
  • What you need to apply: Bank account

FutureCard’s cash-back program

You’ll earn 5% cash back on electric vehicle charging, public transportation, bikes and scooters (both rentals and purchases), secondhand clothes and furniture and plant-based meat, nondairy milk and vegan eggs. You’ll get 1% on all other purchases. As a bonus, FutureCard offers 6% cash back on any Rad Power Bike.

Electric vehicle charging counts for all brands — whether a Tesla Supercharger, or charging station from EVGo, Electrify America, ChargePoint or other. Buying from secondhand shops, which can reduce carbon emissions by “80% or more, depending on the merchant,” according to Warnholz, includes secondhand purchases from Lululemon, Patagonia and REI to your local independent thrift store 

There are currently 50,000 brands in the US — and counting — where you earn 5% cash back. And if you spend money on something you think should qualify for 5% cash back, you can upload your receipt through the app to get a correction made. For example, if you go to a niche thrift store that Future doesn’t already have on its radar, let them know and they will work to add the store to its database and retroactively add the 5% cash back you earned for that purchase. 

Getting the elevated cash-back rate for plant-based foods such as meat, dairy and eggs is currently a manual process. To earn the 5% cash back, you will have to upload your grocery receipt to the platform.

What is a FutureScore?

You don’t need a FutureScore to get the FutureCard, or vice versa, but it’s a handy app that gives you insight into how your decisions affect climate change and gives you guidance for improvement.

Your FutureScore calculates how your lifestyle impacts the environment based on local behavioral norms. It incorporates more of the nitty-gritty details to measure your carbon footprint than do similar scoring systems, according to Warnholz.

You can find the Future app, called FutureScore: Climate Impact, on iOS only (but the FutureCard is accessible from any device, not just those running iOS). On the app, you’ll complete an onboarding survey to get your FutureScore, which will take into account your ZIP code, household size, transportation habits, secondhand purchases, energy use and more. You can even upload grocery receipts for the algorithms to get a fuller picture of your carbon footprint.

An above-average FutureScore makes you eligible for prizes — such as an electric bicycle — or discounts from participating businesses. Future intends to continue modifying and gamifying this system to better motivate the change to more climate-friendly choices.

*All information about the FutureCard Visa Card was collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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