Where you choose to bank is one of the biggest environmental choices you make. In fact, where you put your money has a bigger impact on your carbon footprint than pretty much everything else you do. As part of Third Act’s Banking on our Future Campaign, we are sharing information and educational resources about how you can align your money with your values and find better banks, credit unions, and credit cards.

The resources provided here are to help answer the numerous questions received by Third Act regarding how best to find and switch to banks and credit cards that don’t finance fossil fuels, as well as invest in and uplift communities and clean energy. Third Act recognizes that these choices are very personal and people have different needs and requirements. We offer this information to help raise awareness about your choices, but Third Act is legally prohibited from giving financial or investment advice – these choices are your own.

Watch a recording of the Responsible Finance Series Event #2:  Better Banks & Credit Cards Webinar here.

Please don’t cancel your credit cards just yet. That’s because if you just quietly cut up your card on your own, the banks won’t take notice. We are encouraging you to first – take the pledge – and second open new, greener credit card accounts. We’ll be organizing a big national Day of Action in early Spring 2023 where we can all together cut up our cards and move our money with greater collective impact. 

 

Q: How can I find out if my bank is financing fossil fuels?

A: BankTrack has created this great tool where you can look up a rating for various banks on fossil fuel financing: https://bank.green/ You can also check out the ratings of 60 banks investing in climate destruction in this report from Rainforest Action Network, Banking on Climate Chaos. Here is a good resource from NerdWallet to evaluate if your bank is “greenwashing”

 

Q: What should I take into consideration before finding a better bank, credit union, and/or credit card?

A: Choosing a bank, credit union, and/or credit card is a personal decision to meet your personal financial goals, your values, and your behavior and needs. There is no “one size fits all.” This is a very detailed and self reflective process, so please look through the overview and resources provided in Third Act’s Responsible Finance Series Event #1.

You’ll need to ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you travel a lot and need access to a large ATM network?
  • What types of accounts do you need – personal checking and savings, high-yield savings, business, CDs, money market?
  • Do you need a physical branch nearby or online-only?
  • What kinds of fees are you willing (or not willing) to pay (transfer fees, ATM fees, minimum balance requirements, foreign transaction fees)?

NerdWallet has a variety of guides and resources to help you identify your financial goals and needs, the types of bank or credit union accounts to consider, your must-have features, and more:

 

Q: How can I find a better bank, credit union, or credit card?

A: There are many search tools to help you find a better bank, credit union, or credit card. You can learn more in this recording of the Better Banks & Credit Cards webinar.

The different search tools use a variety of criteria to identify banks that don’t invest in fossil fuels, do invest in local communities, or are women-owned or minority-owned. Many of the search tools include financial institutions that have designations or certifications, including: Certified B Corporation, Global Alliance for Banking on Values membership, Fossil Free Certified, 1% for the Planet, Green America Certified, Community Reinvestment Act ratings (CRA), Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Certification. 

If you want to do your own research on local banks and credit unions, look on their website and ask their management for certifications like those listed.There are many overlaps among the financial institutions listed across these different search tools and there are some differences. And many of the sites need updating to include newer banks or banks that have made recent climate commitments and have not yet been included in the sites (for example two larger banks First Republic and Silicon Valley Bank, and Black-owned B-Corp local CityFirst Bank don’t appear on some of the sites, but are making good climate commitments). Third Act is not endorsing any particular tool or banking institution; we offer these resources to help you learn more about the choices that align with your personal needs and values.

Search tools for banks:

Search tools for credit cards:

Q: What are the next steps to consider in the process of Moving My Money?

A: Finding and opening a new account is Step Number One! Another step is trying out the new accounts before transferring or changing much in your other existing accounts. Other steps include compiling a list of all of your automatic deposits and payments, and then beginning the process of changing and re-scheduling those payments, deposits, and transfers. You will need to remember all your accounts, login information and other details of these other accounts. 

The last step is to close your existing accounts with the banking institutions that are destroying our planet. Third Act is focused on building momentum for elders to join in collective action to build sustainable communities, so we are planning to organize a nationwide event in Spring 2023 for everyone to join in and make the biggest funders of fossil fuels feel the power of our collective impact to choose greener banking solutions!

Please report-back to us on your progress and experiences with opening new accounts. 

 

If you want to get ahead in your personal research, these step-by-step guides and resources are helpful:

 

Please note: Third Act is a non-profit educational, organizing, and advocacy organization. We are not investment advisors and are legally prohibited from providing investment or financial advice. The information Third Act provides is for educational purposes. Third Act does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments. Financial choices are your personal decisions.