Why can't "keep the change" send it to a charity instead?

Keep the Change is a Bank of America program that takes a debit card purchase, rounds it up to the nearest whole dollar and deposits the difference in the consumer’s saving account. Moving some spare change to your savings account every day probably isn’t going to guarantee a comfortable retirement, and so the program may not seem all that appealing to people. “I don’t use the program now because the incremental savings isn’t great enough to change my behavior,” writes reader Kate Barasz. How can Bank of America get customers like Kate to participate?

More than a few readers with similar thoughts have written in to ask: Why can’t Bank of America offer the option to send this spare change to a charity of the consumer’s choice instead? That would increase its popularity, readers say. Of course, sending the money, even in these small amounts, would move it out of the bank’s capital base. Given how pitiful interest rates are these days on savings accounts and how conservative lending standards have become, every penny that stays in house is likely to make banks a nice return. Bottom line: Good idea; don’t look for it anytime soon.

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  • Pete

    I am pretty sure the grocery stores do this once in a while – Wegman’s in PA, at least. It’s a great idea.

  • http://www.debtconsolidatedloan.org/keep-the-change/02/2010/ William Witman

    Wow great idea! Surely Bank of America won’t be interested in such a program. But if Visa or MasterCard were to offer some type of a rewards program that matches donations, or gives the cardholder some type of perk, that would be a card I would look into. Great idea!