Mastercard has teamed up with sustainable payments company HELPFUL to launch a free consumer debit card designed to minimise global warming.

The HELPFUL debit card, launched in line with World Environment Day, aims to offer a financial solution that “puts the planet first” and appeals to conscious consumers who want their purchases to reflect their values.

So far, 150 sustainable brands have agreed to participate in the initiative. Consumers who shop with brands from the directory will receive a reward of up to 10% cashback.

Evan Michaels, co-founder and CEO of HELPFUL, said: “We are excited to launch our card in advance of World Environment Day, when people will be pausing to consider their own impact on the planet.

“Our vision with HELPFUL is to create a new way of digital banking that offers sustainable spending, and in future, savings and investments for people who actively put the Planet First. If we all shop more thoughtfully, we can each make a difference.”

HELPFUL has pledged to plant a tree for every purchase made on the cards. In addition, through the app, users can see the positive impact they are having on the environment with their tree planting actions, as a result of their shopping choices.

HELPFUL was founded in 2019 to help people break the plastic habit. During the 2020 lockdown, its founders accelerated the business roadmap by including payments and shopping tools to help people live sustainably.

Mastercard ups sustainability 

The initiative is part of Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition, which aims to plant 100 million trees to combat the threat of climate change.

Scott Abrahams, SVP of business development at Mastercard UK & Ireland, said: “We are thrilled that HELPFUL has joined the Mastercard Priceless Planet Coalition, offering environmentally-conscious consumers an easy way to help the planet as they go about their daily lives.”

It comes as Mastercard has been upping its sustainability initiatives in recent months. This week, Mastercard launched a badge to identify cards made from sustainable materials, after a report revealed that consumers are more concerned about global warming.

The badge was designed to identify cards made from materials such as recycled, recyclable, bio-sourced, chlorine-free, degradable or ocean plastics.

In addition, in April, the card issuer teamed up with Swedish fintech Doconomy to launch a carbon calculator for banks.

The Mastercard Carbon Calculator enables banks to equip people with carbon footprint data and insights to help inform consumer spending and offer ways to contribute to reforestation.