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Innovation

Aspiration Lets You Plant a Tree for Each Purchase

Aspiration debit card / Photo: Aspiration (press kit)

What do you do with your spare change? Leave it in the center console of your car, or do you pile it on a bedroom dresser? What if there were a way to have your spare change from credit card purchases directed towards planting a tree? Aspiration, a California-based socially and eco-conscious online financial firm, has made that idea a reality. The Plant Your Change feature, announced in a recent press release, lets you use your spare change to plant a tree by rounding up your debit or credit card purchases to the nearest dollar. 

Aspiration has a tree planted regardless of whether your change is the 5 cents leftover from your morning coffee or the 75 cents from your lunch. The company’s tree-planting partners include the Arbor Day Foundation, the Eden Reforestation Projects, and One Tree Planted

“We’re used to hearing, ‘Want fries with that?’ Now, every American can ask themselves whether they want a tree with any and every purchase they make,” said Andrei Cherny, Aspiration CEO, and co-founder in the release. “Plant Your Change lets you use your spare change to fight climate change with every purchase you make — a few cents at a time. And in this moment, we especially need something tangible and real we can do to make a positive difference.”

Screenshot of Plant Your Change feature / Photo: Aspiration (press release)

Aspiration launched the initiative to its debit cardholders in mid-April and made it accessible to all credit and debit cardholders in October. The company says that in the first few months of the program, its participants had 2.5 million trees planted. Now, it’s available to anyone interested. 

The company, which was founded in 2013, boasts over 1.5 million users and raised $135 million in a Series C funding round earlier this year.

Aspiration has set a goal of reaching 100 million trees planted in the next 10 years with the help of users to coincide with the platform’s wide release. 

Your spare change goes a lot further than you might expect. “For the average American, connecting their spending to Plant Your Change for a year is like erasing the annual climate impact of two cars or one home,” the company said in the release. 

Signing up is simple. Those who are not Aspiration customers can sign up on the Plant Your Change site and connect any credit or debit card to Aspiration’s platform via Plaid – a connection service. Anyone who connects a credit card will also be prompted to link their bank account so Aspiration can draw the roundups from purchases. 

Aspiration customers who wish to use their debit card for Plant Your Change can opt-in on their online banking account on the web or app. Users are able to customize how much or how little they want to plant at a time and can pause the service if necessary.

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