New Monzo rival launches Britain’s first ‘eco-friendly’ wooden bank card

Laveta Brigham

A new banking brand trying to take on Monzo has unveiled an environmentally-friendly bank card made out of wood. TreeCard will launch in early 2021 and has already attracted 28,000 sign-ups in Britain before opening, the company said. It has pledged to spend the majority of its profits from retail fees on […]

A new banking brand trying to take on Monzo has unveiled an environmentally-friendly bank card made out of wood.

TreeCard will launch in early 2021 and has already attracted 28,000 sign-ups in Britain before opening, the company said. It has pledged to spend the majority of its profits from retail fees on planting tens of thousands of trees around the world.

This will make it the latest finance brand to offer a distinctive debit card. Monzo, Revolut and Curve all offer metal bank cards to their premium customers. 

Treecard’s Mastercard debit card is made from sustainably-produced British cherry wood, with a plastic inner made using recycled plastic bottles.

It will come with a mobile app that tracks spending, gives transaction notifications and shows the customer’s tree-planting effect in real time.  The account will be free to consumers but will pay no interest on balances.

TreeCard will make money from interchange fees, which banks charge retailers when consumers spend on their debit or credit card. The company has promised to spend 80pc of the fees earned on planting trees in areas of the world suffering deforestation.

It does not have a banking licence in Britain and will partner with a bank to provide its infrastructure and payment services. Details of this partnership will be announced closer to launch.

Ethical banking on the rise

TreeCard said it differed from other new financial brands, such as Monzo and Revolut, as it had prioritised tackling the climate crisis over profit.

There are several other ethical providers already operating in Britain. Bristol-based Triodos Bank is currently the biggest ethical bank in this country. It charges £3 a month for its current account and says this is fairer than banks which offer free accounts but punish customers with high overdraft fees and other hidden charges.

Triodos Bank’s debit card is made from renewable resources, such as plant leaves and corn.

Ecology Building Society does not have a current account, but offers mortgages on environmentally-friendly house purchases and building projects.

On the high street, Nationwide Building Society is entirely owned by its members, which means it does not have to prioritise profit-making for shareholders. 

Other banks have announced targeted green policies. TSB said in August it would plant a tree in Britain every time one of its mortgages was taken out. It plants about 1,500 trees per month. 

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