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Brief Published: 19 Mar 2021

Meet the Fintechs Providing Sustainability & Social Change


What if you could help reforest the planet with every card tap? Or game yourself out of debt? We spotlight new fintech start-ups TreeCard and Charlie, which disrupt conventional financial services to provide sustainable and supportive solutions for modern money management.

  • Spend ‘n’ Plant: UK finance brand TreeCard has raised $5.1m in seed funding to launch its green banking platform – which helps consumers integrate eco-ethics into their everyday spending – later this spring.
    Users link their bank accounts to the TreeCard app, which automatically donates the interchange fee (the standard fee paid by merchants to accept card payments) of each card transaction to reforestation programmes run by German search engine Ecosia. To encourage adoption, the app displays a live tally detailing the number of trees each user has helped plant by using the platform.
    TreeCard also tackles plastic waste by crafting its payment cards from sustainably sourced cherry wood. See Enter EthiTech for more sustainability-streamlining digital initiatives. 
  • Gamifying Debt: In January, US-based financial wellness chatbot Charlie relaunched as an app to help Americans get out of debt. Users input their debt information, and Charlie uses artificial intelligence (AI) to calculate how long it would take to pay it down if only meeting minimum repayments – often amounting to many decades.
    To help pay it off sooner, Charlie gamifies saving. Users create personal ‘rules’ connected to their bank account to automate repayments – for example, when they buy a coffee, a set amount transfers to the Charlie digital wallet. The app also lets them toggle their repayment amounts and tweak their projected debt-free date to boost saving motivation.
    To increase engagement – and make saving fun – the app celebrates reaching saving goals with confetti animations.