Forget your flash metal debit cards, eco-friendly search engine Ecosia has invested £1 million for a 20% stake in TreeCard, a wooden payment card that channels profits from merchant surcharges into reforestation programmes.
TreeCard comes with an app that lets users track spending, split bills with friends and monitor how many trees have been planted as a result of user spending. Operating over the Mastercard network, and using back-end card processing services from Synapse, TreeCard acts as a fully fledged debit account, able to receive top-up from a user's regular bank account, with support for chip and PIN, contactless transactions and mobile payments.
TreeCard co-founder Jamie Cox says: "We’re looking to get at least 100,000 people on board. We estimate that this would help us fund the planting of six million trees. TreeCard will be launching in the US and a number of EU markets over the next twelve months, but so much depends on the interest and sign-ups we get from Ecosia’s users around the world."
Ecosia, which uses profits generated from search advertising to plant trees, says the fees generated from TreeCard will go towards reforestation projects in 38 locations worldwide.
Every $60 spent using the card equates to a new tree, with 80% of TreeCard profits ploughed into deforestation projects.
Ecosia has set up a waiting list and expects to begin shipping the first cards in December.
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