More and more business practices are incorporating the go green initiative - including banking.

The lean, mean, green initiative is touching almost every aspect of doing business - including banking. How can banking be green? Actually, banking has been contributing to the green movement for many years by offering online banking. More recently, banks have added green mortgages and green credit cards to their green initiatives.

Conducting banking transactions online promotes green in a number of ways including the most simple - saving fuel and reducing fuel emissions to get to the bank or from sitting 20 minutes in the bank’s drive-thru line.

It also is green because it saves paper for receipts given for transactions, it saves wear and tear on bank buildings and the amount of energy used to heat, cool and light all areas of banks. Many banks are shutting off lights in offices that see less use.

A large percentage of late baby-boomers and Gen-X’ers have been paying their utility bills, car payments and mortgages online for years. By using your bank to pay bills online, it saves paper used for checks that would normally have been written. Online banking has much more potential as well because if the need to print and mail bank statements every month were reduced or eliminated – just think of the paper that could be saved.

US Banks such as Citigroup Inc., Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase & Company are just a few of the mortgage lenders offering special discounts on mortgages used to build or update buildings and homes to be more green. One of the reasons for the push for green mortgages is that green building and rebuilding tends to incorporate more energy-efficient materials and building plans.

There are two types of green mortgages: the Energy Improvement Mortgage – it’s like a second mortgage that is to be used to upgrade a home or building to energy efficient by installing energy saving items such as solar panels and improved insulation - and the Energy Efficient Mortgages for the construction of new energy efficient homes and buildings.

There are many states getting in on the green mortgage by offering subsidized green mortgages so that more home-owners and business owners can “green-up” their buildings. In addition to helping save the environment by using less energy, these mortgages offer many advantages to consumers by reducing monies spent on high utility bills and on high costs of obtaining a mortgage. The Residential Energy Services Network reported on a recent study showing that the market value of a home increases $20 for every $1 decrease in energy costs.

Whether UK banks will adopt the practices seen above remains to be seen. Credit card companies pull out all the stops when it comes to enticing people and companies to sign-up and start spending. One of the new incentives includes donating a portion of the purchasing fees to carbon offsets and financing projects to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

In the US, General Electric launched the Earth Rewards SM MasterCard® offering two options – users can donate one percent of purchases to global warming or keep a half percent for themselves and donate a half percent to saving the planet.

Also in the US, Bank of America is offering the Brighter Planet TM credit card where every dollar receives a point and 1,000 points equals a ton of carbon dioxide offsets.

MetaBank is offering the GreenPay MasterCard® rewarding cardholders with five pounds of CO2 reduction for every dollar spent and 10 pounds for every dollar charged to pay for gasoline or utilities.

One of the many international green credit cards includes the one offered by Triodos Bank’s ecological Visa card. The cards themselves contribute to going green because they are made of PVC-free recyclable plastic. Cardholders are rewarded with reducing emissions and with each first purchase, the bank will plant a tree in the cardholder’s name in the Triodos Forest in Spain.

The bank sets itself apart in other ways because they are known to only finance or invest in social or ecological projects and businesses.

Author's Bio: 

Christian Ward is an author of several articles pertaining to Credit Cards. He is known for his expertise on the subject and on other Business and Finance related articles.