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Banks help Sandy relief efforts

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

Aside from waiving fees for victims of Superstorm Sandy, banks and credit card companies are donating directly to the recovery effort and helping their cardholders do the same.

Here's what your credit card issuer is doing and how you can help:

Wells Fargo is donating $1 million to the cause, with $250,000 going to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and the remaining $750,000 to support grassroots relief efforts in areas hit by Sandy. The bank's ATMs also allow customers to make donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund through Nov. 13. The bank won't charge a fee for the service and 100 percent of the donations go to the nonprofit.

Citi is giving more than $1 million to Red Cross through its foundation and is encouraging its cardholders to donate their ThankYou Rewards points to the cause.

Discover is matching donations cardholders pledge with their Cashback Bonus points to the Red Cross, dollar for dollar, up to $500,000. Redemption donations start at $20.

Chase plans to give up to $5 million in disaster relief. That includes $2 million to the Red Cross, another $1 million in employee donations to the Red Cross, World Vision and United Way of America, and up to $2 million to local agencies working on recovery efforts. The bank is also allowing credit card holders to donate to the Red Cross using their Ultimate Rewards points, and their ATMs are accepting donations to Red Cross as well. The New York-based company said more than 30,000 of its employees have been affected by the storm.

Bank of America is donating $1 million to relief efforts. Half of that will go to the Red Cross and the other half directed at national, regional and local nonprofits working on Sandy needs.

American Express is waiving the transaction fee it typically charges for making a donation on its credit and charge cards for donations to certain nonprofits through the end of the year. Those charitable organizations are: American Red Cross, AmeriCares, City Harvest, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, Salvation Army, Save the Children, United Way and World Vision. The issuer is also donating $1 million to the Red Cross, and it's notifying cardholders that they can donate their rewards points to nonprofits supporting storm relief efforts.

Capital One is committing up to $1 million toward relief efforts. That includes $800,000 for emergency relief and longer-term recovery efforts. The issuer is also encouraging cardholder donations through its Giving Site. It will match Giving Site donations, up to $200,000, made to the Red Cross and other nonprofits working on disaster recovery through Nov. 9. Capital One covers the transaction fee, so 100 percent of donations go to charity.

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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