South Korea promotes ‘green’ credit card payments
The South Korean government is planning a credit card programme that rewards spending on items carrying a small carbon footprint.
The card, to roll out in 2011, will reward purchases such as public transit tickets, buying a carbonless labelling detergent or collecting used batteries. The credits built up can be redeemed for cash rebates or be used to reduce utility bills.
The Ministry of Environment said the card could help reduce South Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from projected levels by 2020.
Points can also be collected for not using paper cups at coffee shops and instead opting for mugs that can be washed and used again.
The South Korean government already provides financial or non-financial incentives to people who participate in a “carbon-point system” by cutting down on their energy consumption, using public transportation or buying environment-friendly products.
The Ministry of Environment said that these incentives will be integrated into the “Green Card” which is to be embedded as a form of chip into individual credit cards.
Hong Sung-pyo, head of the Korea Green Purchasing Network, said the fact the programme is operated by the government will improve its chances of success, compared to privately run schemes that companies might regard as a marketing opportunity.
Rewards for reducing energy consumption are the latest credit card incentives to be offered on credit card in Korea where cards already give discounts on items such as films and food.
Another public ‘green’ card project is launching in the capital Seoul this month, where an eco-mileage credit card will enable participants to get discount coupons toward the cost of hybrid cars and eco-friendly appliances in return for conserving electricity and water. Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor are taking part in the scheme.