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LOL Get your new Enlightenment Credit Card NOW with the lowest APR available.........

Discussion in 'Consumer Affairs' started by MysticSang'ha, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger
    Premium Member

    Feb 9, 2006
    Believe it or not, I really admire this idea. Of course, it's best if you can manage your credit well, pay off your balance each month, and not carry a high debt load. *thumbs up*

    We are always bombarded with offers in the mail for credit cards that offer all kinds of extra gifts like watches, jewelry, higher credit line, etc. Reading this, I think, is a step in the right direction for offering rewards toward charities, environmental efforts, or even yoga classes or organic products! :)



    New meaning to plastic Buddha
    By Joann Klimkiewicz

    Plastic charge-card consumerism and yoga-minded, organic-eating activism — they seem to clash. ​

    But there they are, fused in new Visa credit cards bearing such images as a meditating Buddha and sunlit hands folded in prayer.​

    Called the Enlightenment Card, the rewards-style credit card is being marketed to the socially conscious set as a way to earn points toward making the world a better place. ​

    "Traditionally, the idea has been that money and enlightenment don't go together," said Christopher Miglino, chief executive of Conscious Enlightenment LLC, a California multimedia firm and global resource for spirituality, health and activism. ​

    "But money is not an evil thing. Money is just energy. What matters is the intention. Our thinking is … 'embrace the money that is a reality of our world and do good with it.'"…" ​

    Put more succinctly, he said: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." ​

    And so it goes: Not only do the clothes we wear and the music we listen to speak for us, the cars we drive and the bumper stickers we paste on them identify who we are and what we stand for. So, too, does the plastic we slap down to buy them in the first place. ​

    The Enlightenment Card is just one of many "affinity" credit cards, which are aimed at specific lifestyle niches and meant to benefit nonprofit groups and charitable organizations. ​

    They're not to be confused with co-branded cards, typically linked to a store or product, and offering rewards and discounts based on usage. ​

    Both types of cards have been around for at least 20 years, and both are seeing renewed interest from credit-card companies and the buying public. ​

    Issued this summer by Conscious Enlightenment and First Hawaiian Bank, the Enlightenment Card has features of both card genres. ​

    For every dollar spent on the card, these peaceful warriors earn points they can then redeem as monetary donations to a host of charities such as Trees for the Future, or for personal use on yoga classes, organic products and spiritual retreats. ​

    "We're not seeking to put people in debt," said Miglino. "Our view is that people are already spending on their credit cards or debit cards. They might as well take what could be a negative and make it a positive." ​

    Essentially, it's an emotional connection, says Jay Guskind. He's senior vice president of U.S. co-branding and affinity cards at MasterCard, which long has offered these programs and predicts future growth as new organizations and affiliations emerge — and as consumers seek to be identified with them. ​

    MasterCard's affinity program includes alumni associations, charities and sports teams (the Cardinals among them), as well as a new line of pre-paid cards dedicated to celebrities and rock bands. Those may not offer rewards or charitable donations, just the chance to identify with, say, rapper Xzibit or actress Carmen Electra. ​

    "The affinity card is almost always defined by an emotional connection," Guskind said. "It's 'I love Carmen Electra and I get joy from taking it out of my wallet and seeing her when I make my purchases.'"…" ​

    Visa has its NASCAR RacePoints Card. American Express has affinity cards for the American Society of Civil Engineers. And MasterCard has the Make-A-Difference card, which supports eight charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. ​

    "There are literally thousands of them out there," said Guskind. "There's really no limit, because every time there's a new sports team or a new association, there's an opportunity to create a new affinity program." ​

    It's not just a matter of personal loyalties or philanthropy. The cards also are a reliable marketing tool for promotions, for catering to affluent demographics and tapping into their spending habits, according to a report by Packaged Facts, publishing division of MarketResearch.com. ​

    As cash spending has dropped from 39 percent of all retail transactions in 1999 to 32 percent in 2003, the most recent data reported, transactions on debit and credit cards have risen. ​

    Because everybody loves a freebie and a discount, co-branded cards are a larger chunk of the market — 348 million issued, to affinity's 22.8 million. ​

    The firm reports that affinity and co-branded cards are getting a "second wind," predicting 15 percent growth in both 2007 and 2008 for co-branded cards and 5.7 percent in each of those years for affinity cards. ​

    The possibilities are endless. ​


  2. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    Excellent article Mystic.
    • Like Like x 1