Green Credit Cards in Switzerland: Comparison 2024

Grüne Kreditkarten Schweiz

Anyone looking for sustainability in the Swiss banking system has to fight their way through quite a bit of unethical greenwashing!

As responsible people know that our consumption has a direct and indirect impact on our climate, the desire for green credit cards is increasing among the Swiss population.

That’s why I wrote this article: To help you make your decision on which credit card to take. Although Switzerland and its banks are quite behind when it comes to saving CO2, there are some green credit cards on the market.

Have fun choosing!

  1. Why Green Credit Cards are the Future
  2. Advantages of a Sustainable Credit Card
  3. How to find a Green Credit Card in Switzerland?
  4. The best Green Credit Cards in Switzerland
  5. My Experience with Green Credit Cards
  6. Conclusion

(Click to jump to the chapter)

1) Why Green Credit Cards are the Future ✅

In today’s world, environmental awareness is becoming more and more important. People see the effects of climate change and want to take action. Since finance is one of the best ways to make a difference, banks and other financial service providers are under increasing pressure.

This is where sustainable credit cards come in. They don’t just have to be a means of payment; they can also be a tool for environmental protection at the same time.

If enough people make sure they use a green credit card, it will force banks to adapt to the will of consumers.

So, it’s up to us to embrace sustainable credit cards. They are ideal for achieving our climate goals because we use them every day, and Switzerland’s biggest climate polluters, our banks, are directly affected!

2) Advantages of a Sustainable Credit Card 😏

become green

The biggest benefit for everyone is, of course, that emissions are saved, and we get closer to our net zero goal. But there are also some benefits on an individual level for companies and consumers, fortunately. I write “fortunately” because a lot is given to self-interest in our society, as we know.

Advantages for the consumer:

  1. Clear conscience: By using a green credit card, consumers can actively contribute to environmental protection. This raises awareness for sustainable action.
  2. Positive signal effect: With such a card, the consumer sends a signal to his or her environment. It shows that sustainability is important to him or her.
  3. Support for environmental projects: Some sustainable credit card models donate part of the proceeds to environmental or social projects. In this way, the consumer not only benefits from the usual credit card services but also supports good causes at the same time.
  4. Sustainable consumption: The card can remind the consumer to act in an environmentally conscious manner and encourage him or her to make more conscious and sustainable purchases, which both saves emissions and is beneficial to the personal budget.

Advantages for the credit card provider:

  1. Future-proofing: In a rapidly changing world where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, providers with green credit cards are positioning themselves to be more future-proof. They demonstrate that they recognize and respond to current trends.
  2. New target groups: With sustainable credit cards, providers can appeal to environmentally conscious customers and thus tap into new market segments.
  3. Positive image: A commitment to environmental protection and social projects improves the company’s image. This can have a positive impact on customer loyalty and acquisition.
  4. Long-term customer loyalty: People who choose sustainable products are often particularly loyal to brands. They appreciate companies that share their values. Rightly so, because no one should take our future lightly.

Overall, green credit cards offer numerous benefits for both consumers and providers. It is a win-win situation where both sides benefit and, at the same time, a comparatively large contribution is made to environmental protection.

If you want to know more about the general advantages of credit cards, take a look at our article on the pros and cons of credit cards.

3) How to find a Green Credit Card in Switzerland? 🤔

Let’s get to the core of the article: Sustainable credit cards in Switzerland. Is there such a thing at all? And how can you find them? How can you make sure that there is no greenwashing behind it?

In my experience, it is quite difficult to find a trustworthy offer as an individual within a reasonable amount of time. Hence this article. It is my concern to share the results of my personal research.

👎 Namely, there are now dozens of offers from self-proclaimed “green credit cards”. Most of them already have a big announcement on their homepage with a credit card made of wood instead of plastic and the like. That’s not a bad thing per se, of course! But if you look behind the scenes, the bank behind it often continues to invest in coal, etc…

👍 So it makes sense not to rely on appearances. Sure, a wood or metal credit card is more environmentally friendly, but if you can take a greener bank with a plastic card instead, it ends up being a thousand times more effective than saving 10 grams of plastic.

WWF regularly does research on the sustainability (German) of Swiss banks, which is where our credit cards come from. Here is the ranking:

WWF bank rating

Note that in the case of Credit Suisse, public pressure has led to quite an improvement since 2017. Of course, it’s a shame that no Swiss bank can position itself as a pioneer or visionary, but a slow trend in the right direction is visible.

Klimastreik.ch has also done a small mini-study (German) on this. Here, however, it must be noted that the results are much less meaningful than those of WWF because the rating is based on a questionnaire of only 3 questions, which the companies answered themselves.

4) The best Green Credit Cards in Switzerland 🌿💳

In Germany, the range of green credit cards is now very mature. There are banks that invest green, donate money to sustainability projects, and have trees planted when the credit card is used.

In Switzerland, we are not yet at this point, but even here, you can use some sustainable credit cards with a clear conscience. Because even if the offers are not perfect, choosing the most sustainable card leads to more pressure for all providers.

There definitely are relatively green options, especially from those banks that scored well in the WWF rating above.

1. 👍 Surprize Bonus Program from Viseca:

One example of this is Viseca’s “Surprize” bonus program. This program enables customers of numerous renowned banks, including Aargauische Kantonalbank, Zürcher Kantonalbank, and many others, to donate their accumulated bonus points directly to charitable organizations. It’s a simple but effective way to do good at no additional cost to the customer.

2. 👍 CO2 Compensation from Cler:

Another example of environmentally friendly banking practices comes from Bank Cler, a subsidiary of Basler Kantonalbank. It has launched an initiative that automatically offsets the CO2 emissions generated by purchases made with its “Zak Visa Card”. The good thing is that there is no additional cost to customers. It’s a seamless way to go greener while making everyday life easier.

3. 👍 Credit Suisse’s Micro-Donation Program:

In response to pressure from the Swiss public, Credit Suisse has also come up with an innovative solution to make it easier to donate. With its micro-donation program, customers can have their purchases rounded up using credit or Maestro cards. At the end of the month, the amount collected is then donated to a charity of your choice. It’s a simple way to donate regularly while leveraging your everyday shopping. We’ll see what happens with Credit Suisse’s offerings now that it’s part of UBS.

The 3 options show that banks and financial institutions can play an active role in promoting sustainability and social responsibility.

Let’s keep up the pressure and only entrust our money to the most responsible banks.

However, I have to explicitly mention two cards here because these are from smaller banks, but they still offer a green credit card.

4. 👍 Sustainable credit card from Freie Gemeinschaftsbank:

Mastercard Silver and Gold

  • Annual fee of CHF 100 for silver, CHF 200 for gold
  • Half of the annual fee gets refunded in the first year
  • Various insurances included
  • More information here (in German)
green credit card from Freie Gemeinschaftsbank

5. 👍 Green Credit Card from ABS (only for companies):

As a final option, Alternative Bank Switzerland also has an eco-friendly credit card, but it’s only advertised for businesses. If you’re interested, you can find more information about it here (in German).

That’s it for the sustainable credit cards in Switzerland. Sad that the offer isn’t better, but I’m hopeful that will change soon!

5) My Experience with Green Credit Cards

In my experience, sustainable credit cards in Switzerland are usually a bit more expensive or at least don’t have as attractive rewards programs as “normal” credit cards.

However, the decision to use a sustainable credit card is not based on self-interest, but on the desire to be fairer to nature and society by reducing one’s footprint.

So, I can say that a green credit card is definitely worth it. Because we should all put more effort and money into protecting the environment. Our daily spending is an important part of the effort.

If you ask me, choosing the right credit card is the easiest way to make your daily life a little greener without any effort.

6) Conclusion on Green Credit Cards in Switzerland

The demand for sustainable credit cards in Switzerland is growing steadily as more and more people realize the direct and indirect impact of their consumption on the climate.

Although the Swiss banking system still has some catching up to do in terms of sustainability, there are already some notable offerings on the market. These cards not only offer the advantage of being environmentally friendly but also bring individual benefits for consumers and providers.

It’s good to see that some banks have already started down the path of sustainability, and it’s up to us, as consumers, to support and encourage this trend! Even though the range of green credit cards in Switzerland is still limited compared to other countries, the development is heading in the right direction.

Hopefully, more banks will follow in the future so that green credit cards become the norm in Switzerland.

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