In November, the FutureCard Visa charge card debuted as a novel way for consumers to get rewards when shopping from companies that prioritize sustainability. Included brands use regenerative farming, circular supply chains or less impactful materials. The idea is to give FutureCard Visa card cardholders 5% cash back on purchases from their sustainable brand and 6% with their partners, with 1% cash back for all other purchases, much like a Chase Sapphire Card.
Future, the parent company of FutureCard Visa card, defines a purchase of a product or service as green if it has a significantly lower carbon footprint than the most common alternative.
FutureCard’s 5% cash back currently applies to fashion partner retailers, including Reformation and For Days, as well as over 20,000 thrift stores and online shops. At some, it applies to their second-had collections only. For example, shoppers receive 5% cash back on purchases from Levi’s SecondHand, Patagonia Worn Wear, The North Face Renewed and Lululemon Like New. Others include secondhand marketplaces like Rent the Runway, thredUp, REI Good & Used and Poshmark.
Future has been promoting the higher-tier cash-back incentive across its social media channels. It plans to roll out more marketing as its cardholder base grows. FutureCard is a Visa card and has 20,000 users across the U.S.
“We’re very focused on finding emerging fashion brands and working with existing fashion brands that offer circular options and opportunities for their shoppers to reduce their carbon footprint and get rewards in the process,” said co-founder Jean-Louis Warnholz. The card is the first of its kind; cashback rewards typically are not paired with sustainability. However, these perks are seeing more interest from investors, offering an opportunity for the finance sector.
When Future launched FutureCard Visa card, even its team was unaware that many of the brands they shop, including Lululemon and Levi’s, directly sell secondhand options. “It’s great quality, and you can sometimes save as much as 50%,” said Warnholz. He added that, especially with rising inflation, not every consumer can spend more money on planting trees and buying offsets. “We’re trying to combine those very real challenges American families [are facing] with opportunities to slash their carbon footprint,” he said.
Meredith Mirchandani, head of marketing at For Days, said there is a need to shift consumer consumption mindsets, and that FutureCard enables that. The brand is a partner, giving out the 6% cash back. “We strive to make it easy and accessible for shoppers to participate in circular choices that will drastically reduce fashion waste,” she said.
For Days’ business model is centered on circularity; it takes back used clothing and upcycles it into new collections. According to Mirchandani, shifting from a “Take, Make, Waste” economy to a circular one will be difficult. “It has to be done through meaningful partnerships across brands and industries to drive real, seismic change,” she said. “We know strong incentives can help shift shoppers toward circular consumption.” For Days still runs its Closet Cash store credit program, which gives customers credits for purchasing and recycling.
More sustainable options are often sold at a premium, due to the added expenses required to produce them. However, by targeting brands popular with Gen Z and millennials, Future hopes to encourage shoppers to see the opportunity of buying second-hand directly from brands.