Lloyds Banking Group is to withdraw its charity credit cards from February, ending 23 years of this fundraising activity. It has written to customers of the Halifax and Bank of Scotland with charity credit cards to let them know that their cards will be replaced next month with standard credit cards that do not raise funds for charity.
The charities that have benefited from this programme are Cancer Research UK, the NSPCC and the Scottish SPCA. Cancer Research UK has received over £14.5 million from its card. In 2009 the cards raised about £1.1 million for the three charities.
The Cancer Research UK card was launched in 1988, the NSPCC card in 1995, and the Scottish SPCA card in 1997. The Halifax Cancer Research UK won Best Charity Card Programme at the Card Awards in 2010.
The Lloyds Banking Group cards usually gave a £20 donation to the charity when the card was first used, and after that a donation of between 0.25% and 0.5% of the amount spent on the card. A review at the Group found that there was limited demand for charity cards: less than one per cent of its customers use one.
Other providers such as MBNA and the Cooperative Bank continue to provide charity credit cards. Most benefit a single charity, although the Virgin Charity Credit Card lets you choose from over 2,500 charities.
Claire Rowney, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Cancer Research UK, said: "While it’s disappointing that the partnership has come to an end, we would like to thank all Halifax and Bank of Scotland staff and customers who have supported us over the years. We hope to find new ways to continue to work with Halifax and Bank of Scotland in the future."
Baroness Finlay, vice chair of the all-party parliamentary group on cancer, commented on the bank's decision on BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme. She said that the timing was not sensitive: "I think a bank which can produce that amount of additional money to give large bonuses has to look very hard at whether it should be giving back to the society on which it depends for its business."
New charity credit card scheme launched by Cashflows
In response to the withdrawal of the charity credit cards, business payment solutions provider Cashflows, part of the Voice Commerce Group, has announced a new charity credit card scheme.
Founder and CEO Nick Ogden said: "Our card issuing services are able to provide support for charities and in the current economic situation it is vital that we try and support them, whilst they face inevitable cuts in donations across the board.
"Fortunately, changes in legislation over the past few years, combined with support from the Government, the FSA and the Payments Council, are enabling new types of financial institutions to exist. There is a clear requirement for financial services to continue to support our economy as it slowly fights its way out of the ongoing credit squeeze and that is a role that Cashflows is keen to support."