Questions & Answers

Get answers to your questions, organized below by category. If you don’t find your question answered, please email us.

Purchase with Purpose.

Most Common Questions

Is This a Credit Card?

No, it’s a reloadable debit card that is powered by Visa. Read on below why a reloadable debit card is a secure, easy, and budget-friendly tool for our digital lifestyles.

What About My Current Bank Account?

You can keep your existing checking account and simply connect it to your new favorite nonprofit branded card, powered by GroundSwell. Now you can do all or some of your monthly spending on the card and Purchase with Purpose.

Are There Fees on This Card?

  • There are no recurring signup, annual or monthly fees! When you sign up for the card, the cardholder agreement will list other fees you may incur, such as for using ATMs or getting a replacement for a lost card, etc. And because it’s not a credit card, you can say goodbye to paying late fees and interest.

How Is a Reloadable Debit Card Different From My Bank Debit Card?

  • The GroundSwell Card is not a typical bank debit card. It stands separate from your main bank account, providing a “circuit breaker” between your main bank accounts and potential fraudsters. By only loading what you intend to spend onto the card, you can keep your main bank account safe from potential debit card fraud.
  • Reloadable debit cards are a more secure option, especially for online purchasing.
    • Use the GroundSwell Card as a more secure default payment method for things like Amazon and other online purchases; even monthly cell phone bills and other utilities.
  • Reloadable debit cards accommodate a wide range of budgets and lifestyles and can promote good financial habits. Everyone can participate because there’s no credit check required to get an account.
  • Auto-deposit functions allow you to set how much moves to the card, so you can set it and forget it – all while staying on a budget.
  • The best part, of course, is that you can join GroundSwell’s Rewards Program AND benefit your Nonprofit Organization with money that doesn’t come out of your pocket.
  • Think of your GroundSwell Card as your “Normal Spending Card” and think of your bank debit card as your “ATM” card.

Why Not Offer a Credit Card?

GroundSwell chose reloadable debit cards because they are more inclusive and don’t require a credit check. Further, credit card programs charge U.S. families, on average, $1,300 annually in interest alone. We believe that no one should incur debt to support a good cause.

How Do I Add Funds to My Card?

Depositing money is easy and automatic. You can direct deposit funds from your paycheck to your GroundSwell Card using your account number and the provided GroundSwell bank routing number. Or, you can set up automatic transfers from your existing bank account to the card when you first sign up or after you receive the card. You can change these options at any time. Or, you can do a one-time transfer from your bank account to the card.

Do I Have to Remember to Make Deposits?

Not at all.  After you connect the card account to your existing bank account you can set automatic transfers according to your preference.  You can also put all or a portion of your paycheck on the card using your GroundSwell account number and provided GroundSwell bank routing number.

Will This Card Connect to My Bank or Credit Union?

Yes. All you need is your bank or credit union routing number and your account number (those numbers that also appear at the bottom of your checks). You will be able to connect the GroundSwell Card easily!

Can I Use the Card If I Don’t Have a Bank Account?

Yes! You can Direct Deposit your paycheck to the Card with the provided GroundSwell Routing Number and your GroundSwell account number. Use the Card to take care of your purchases and bills.

What Is RoundUp?

Now your spare change can add up to a powerful and easy-to-manage 100% tax-deductible contribution to your cause.  RoundUp is like a virtual tip jar: we simply analyze your purchases and round up the difference to the next dollar and then transfer those amounts to your nonprofit cause.  You can turn on/off RoundUp at any time.

Do I Get a Tax Deduction?

If you use RoundUp or make Direct Donations (Direct Donations not available on all cards), those contributions are 100% deductible. The transaction fees that your card generates to support your Nonprofit Organization are not tax deductible, since that money comes from the fees that the banks charge the merchants for processing cards, not from you.

Does This Card Do More for My Nonprofit Than Other Cards?

There are 3 ways:

  • Merchant Transaction Fees: GroundSwell partners with a card provider that collects transaction fees every time one of our cards is swiped. We receive a portion of those transaction fees and then share the majority with our nonprofit partners to support their operations. While your purchases help generate these contributions, they don’t come out of your pocket and are not tax-deductible.
  • RoundUp: This is an optional feature you can turn on and off. When activated, RoundUp will round your purchase up to the nearest whole dollar. So, when you spend $2.75 on a cup of coffee, we’ll add a .25 cent deposit to your cause. RoundUp donations do come out of your pocket and are tax-deductible. 
  • Direct Donation: your card comes with the Direct Donation feature, it is a convenient and cost-effective way to directly support your cause. NPOs pay less to process donations made using your GroundSwell card, compared with traditional debit or credit cards. As a result, more money goes to support the cause. Direct donations are also tax-deductible.

Can I Decide Which Nonprofits to Support From My Card?

Federal regulations require due diligence on nonprofit organizations to verify their tax and security status. And, the transaction tracking and funds routing must be in place. However, we’ll soon offer a card option that allows you to distribute your impact across more than one of our vetted nonprofit partners. Imagine a card dedicated to a few of the best clean water NPOs, or animal welfare NPOs, for example. That’s a great way to support causes you care about on a broader scale.

How Can I Maximize My Support to My Cause Using This Card?

  • Great question. The best way to support the cause is to use your card whenever you make a purchase; in person and especially online. You can use it for things like:
    • Online subscriptions and purchases
    • Utilities, internet, and mobile phone bills
    • Restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores
  • To maximize the amount you generate, use your card for online purchases and press credit (or hit enter when prompted for your PIN) when you checkout in person.
  • We’ve built a RoundUp feature that lets you automatically donate your spare change with every purchase!
  • You can still make an annual cash donation using your GroundSwell Card, which will deliver more of your donation to your Nonprofit, compared to a credit card.

How Do I Elect Which NPO I Support With My Card?

Simply choose the card that is associated with your cause. GroundSwell conducts due diligence to ensure that each NPO we work with is in good standing with their tax and security status. We also set up in advance the reporting and funds routing to ensure your everyday spending directly benefits your cause.

Using My GroundSwell Card

Can I Auto-Reload My Card?

Auto-reload your card according to your preference when you sign up, or change it anytime on the cardholder site. You can also direct deposit all or a portion of your paycheck to the card.

How Do I Add Funds to My Card?

Adding funds to your GroundSwell Card is easy. Here are your options:

    • Direct Deposit: You can direct deposit all or a portion of your paycheck to your GroundSwell Card, using your card account number and the provided GroundSwell bank routing number. You can use your money immediately to pay bills and handle everyday expenses.
    • You can set up automatic payments from your bank account to your GroundSwell Card, according to your preference. You can adjust these settings at any time.
      • Auto Deposit: Auto Deposit sets up a recurring transfer from your linked bank account. You get to pick the frequency and amount – the computers do the rest. Transferred funds will be ready to spend within 4 banking days. If you set Auto Deposit to a weekly deposit schedule, your card is ready to go at all times and will help you stick to a monthly budget.
      • Auto Refill: Auto Refill is like a backup when your balance runs low. Funds will automatically transfer whenever your balance goes below a set amount. Transferred funds will be ready to spend within 4 banking days.
    • Consult your specific cardholder agreement to learn if additional fund loading options are available.

Can I Add the GroundSwell Card to My Regular Checking Account?

You can link your regular checking or savings account to your GroundSwell Card to add funds as described above, which is a great way to make loading your Card simple and quick. Transactions from using your NPO/GroundSwell Card are deducted from your GroundSwell Card account balance.

Do I Need to Setup a PIN

  • No you don’t need a PIN to use the card. In fact, every time you use the card in a store, choose “credit” instead of debit. Your transaction processes at a higher interchange rate to benefit your NPO. Not bad for just pressing a different button!
  • But, you can set up a PIN by contacting the customer service number on the back of your card and follow the prompts. Or, you can re-set your PIN if you forgot it. Have your card handy so you can pop in the 16-digit number to pull up your account.

What Can I Use My GroundSwell Card to Buy?

Your GroundSwell Card comes complete with the purchasing power of Visa, which means you can make purchases just about anywhere. Here are a few ideas:

    • Online shopping at Amazon or other retailers
    • In-store purchases
    • Online subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify 
    • Monthly bills you pay online

Can I Pay Monthly Bills Using My Card?

You can pay bills online using your GroundSwell Card. On the vendor’s payment site, set up your payment information using your GroundSwell card number, expiration date, and CVV code just like you would with a regular debit or credit card. This is a fantastic way to make your bill-paying more meaningful because every paid bill benefits your cause with no cost to you.

We recommend choosing recurring monthly bills that don’t vary much month-to-month. Simply set the AutoDeposit feature to ensure you have money on the card before the payment date for the bill.

Are There Restrictions on the Purchases I Can Make?

You can use the GroundSwell Card for everyday purchases and bills. There are, however, a few exceptions including lottery and internet gambling.

How Do I Access the Rewards Program?

Easy! We list rewards program details at www.groundswellcard.com/rewards. Cardholders can opt in to our Rewards Program to get significant savings and unlimited access.

I Already Have a Bank Debit Card. Why Should I Use the GroundSwell Debit Card?

Your bank debit card exposes your entire checking account to potential fraud. It’s best to use your bank debit card just for ATM withdrawals. Your GroundSwell Card is a reloadable debit card, and it stands separate from your main banking accounts. Advantages:

    • Reloadable debit cards provide a security buffer between your main banking accounts and potential fraudsters. Reloadable debit cards are a more secure option, especially for your online purchasing.
    • Auto-deposit functions allow you to set how much moves to the card, so you can set it and forget it – all while staying on a budget.
    • The best part, of course, is that you can join GroundSwell’s Rewards Program AND benefit your Nonprofit Organization with money that doesn’t come out of your pocket.
    • Think of your GroundSwell Card as your “Normal Spending Card” and think of your bank debit card as your “ATM” card.

Are My Funds Insured?

Yes, your funds are insured by the FDIC, the same as any other bank account.

Can I Withdraw Money From an ATM Using My GroundSwell Card?

Yes, you can, but there’s a $2.95 fee, and you’re providing no benefit to your cause. When you need cash, use your bank debit card at your bank ATM to get cash. Or, you can get cash with your GroundSwell Card using your PIN number while checking out at the grocery store. Keep in mind, your Nonprofit Organization does not benefit if you use the card for ATM withdrawals – however, you do help them every time you make a purchase!

What Happens If I Do Not Spend the Money I Put on My Card? Is There a Deadline to Spend It?

The money you load onto the card will not expire, regardless of the expiration date on the card. However, an Inactivity Fee may apply after 6 months of non-activity. A simple purchase will help you avoid this fee. We hope you love what the card does for you and your Nonprofit Organization so much that you never encounter this question!

How Do I Transfer Funds to Another GroundSwell Cardholder?

Easy! Use the card-to-card transfer function available for cardholders supporting the same NPO. You can instantly send money to a friend’s GroundSwell Card to pay back that lunch or coffee. You’ll need to know their card number first, however. 

Can I Get Additional Cards on My Account?

It’s not yet available, but GroundSwell has “companion cards” on our product roadmap for parents to get a card in their child’s name. In the meantime, people age 18 or older may sign up for a card in their own name. In addition, a parent may lend their card to their minor child to use.

Can I Gift a GroundSwell Card to Someone?

A GroundSwell Card is a reloadable debit card, registered securely in the name of the person who signed up for the card. It does not operate as a generic gift or cash card. In the future, GroundSwell may create additional tools to support Nonprofit Organizations, such as gift cards.

Can I Pay for a Gift Card Using My GroundSwell Card?

Yes, like any other purchase, you can pay for a gift card from any company using your GroundSwell Card – the purchase amount of the gift card will generate a benefit to your cause.

Is My Personal Information Kept Confidential?

Yes. Your personal data and individual transactions remain confidential. Like any other card, privacy and cardholder agreement disclosures are provided when you sign up and in your cardholder agreement. Here is what the NPO will receive from GroundSwel:

    • Quarterly aggregate transaction reports
    • Annual RoundUp reports by individual to communicate tax-deduction amounts to those individuals
    • First name, last name, email address for all participants

Why Does GroundSwell Use a Reloadable Debit Card?

GroundSwell uses a reloadable debit card for several reasons:

    • Reloadable debit cards accommodate a wide range of budgets and lifestyles and promote good financial habits.
    • Credit card programs charge U.S. families, on average, $1,300 annually in interest alone. For your everyday purchases, it is more economical and secure to use a reloadable debit card. We believe no one should go into debt to support their favorite cause.
    • GroundSwell wanted to create a better option (no overdraft, sign-up, monthly, or annual fees) that would also benefit Nonprofit Organizations. The GroundSwell reloadable debit card also comes with material benefits such as an awesome rewards program (unheard of for debit cards!), added security, peace of mind, and ease of use. You don’t have to change what you’re already doing to use a GroundSwell Card.
    • With a reloadable debit card, everyone can participate because there’s no credit check.

What is the Difference Between a GroundSwell Card and Amazon Smile?

There are some similarities between the two programs. However, there are two key differences.

    • You can use your GroundSwell Card ANYWHERE Visa is accepted. Amazon Smile only benefits NPOs when you make purchases on Amazon. 
    • Your GroundSwell Card produces a more significant financial benefit to your NPO. About 1% of the total purchases made using your GroundSwell Card go to your NPO. By contrast, on Amazon Smile, NPOs receive 0.5% of your Amazon purchases.

Here’s a GREAT idea: use your GroundSwell Card as your default payment on Amazon Smile and maximize the goodness going to your NPO, all at no cost to you!

Do Merchants Lose Money When I Use a GroundSwell Card?

No, they do not. There is a cost for merchants to accept non-cash payments, regardless of the method. If merchants have to pay the fee regardless, at least the GroundSwell Card ensures a majority of that fee benefits a good cause.

Does GroundSwell Offer Credit Cards?

GroundSwell decided not to offer credit cards because reloadable debit cards are more inclusive. We also believe that no one should incur debt to support a good cause.  

Why Use a GroundSwell Card?

I Already Have a Bank Debit Card. Why Should I Use the GroundSwell Debit Card?

Your bank debit card exposes your entire checking account to potential fraud. It’s best to use your bank debit card just for ATM withdrawals. Your GroundSwell Card is a reloadable debit card and stands apart from your main banking accounts. Advantages:

    • Reloadable debit cards provide a security buffer between your main banking accounts and potential fraudsters. They are a more secure option, especially for your online purchasing.
    • Auto-deposit functions allow you to set how much moves to the card, so you can set it and forget it – all while staying on a budget.
    • The best part, of course, is that your GroundSwell Debit Card comes with a Rewards Program for you, while also benefiting your Nonprofit Organization with money that doesn’t come out of your pocket.
    • Think of your GroundSwell Card as your “Normal Spending Card” and think of your bank debit card as your “ATM” card.

Why Should I Give Up My Points to Use the GroundSwell Card?

  • We think you’ll find a GroundSwell Card is a better option for you and better for the cause you’re supporting.
  • What’s more, you can get real rewards! With GroundSwell Rewards, you can save as much money as you want on whatever you want. The savings are unlimited and significant — like discounts of 20-70% on hotel rates. Your savings can easily offset points you may have otherwise accrued on your credit card. Unlike credit card programs, with GroundSwell Rewards you don’t have to wait for points to slowly accumulate.

Apart From Supporting My Cause, Why Else Would I Use a GroundSwell Debit Card?

When you use the GroundSwell Card, you’ll get:

    • Improved Financial Wellbeing: You won’t waste your money on signup, monthly, or annual fees, nor on sky-high interest! A reloadable debit card also is an easy way to stick to a monthly budget when you use the AutoDeposit feature.
    • Improved Peace of Mind: The optional alert feature provides updates on your card balance after every purchase. 
    • Increased Online Security: Using a GroundSwell Card provides a security buffer to your primary bank account and reduces the risk of digital fraud when purchasing online. 
    • Get Real Rewards: Have fun and save as much money as you want instead of slowly collecting credit card points that ultimately cost you money.

Know Your Impact: Using a GroundSwell Card makes you feel more connected to the causes you care about most. We work with the nonprofits you love to translate your monthly contributions into impact goals, which we’ll share so that you can calculate your monthly and annual impact.

Do Any Other Cards Support NPOs Like GroundSwell?

You’ve probably seen or used financial products called “affinity credit cards,” which are typically co-branded with major NPOs. Unfortunately, these cards provide more marketing benefits to the bank than financial benefits to the NPO.  

To our knowledge, no other card shares as large a percentage of the transaction fee with the NPO as GroundSwell does. GroundSwell became a member of the financial system to effect change and redirect vast amounts of money back to important causes. We are disrupting the financial industry because we believe there is a better way to empower nonprofits and support the economic wellbeing of the participants in the process. We’ve built our model to achieve this.

Tax Deductions

Do I Get a Tax Deduction for the Transaction Fees Given to NPOs?

No. Because the merchant paid that transaction fee, that money came from the merchant, not you. However, RoundUp is tax-deductible, as are your Direct Donations.

Is My RoundUp Tax-Deductible?

Yes, every year, we report all RoundUp contributions to our NPO Partners. Each NPO is then responsible for sending out confirmation of these amounts for your tax records. You can also tally up your RoundUp donations for all your transactions by viewing your monthly account statements on the cardholder website.

Is My Direct Donation Tax-Deductible?

Yes, every year, we report all Direct Donation contributions to our NPO Partners. Each NPO is then responsible for sending out confirmation of these amounts for your tax records.

How GroundSwell Support Nonprofits

How Does GroundSwell Generate Money for Nonprofits?

Every time you swipe a credit or debit card, the merchant pays a fee to the bank to process that transaction. Every year, these transaction fees generate billions of dollars in profit for the banking industry. GroundSwell taps into this supply of unseen money to support nonprofits. 

With the help of our processing partners, GroundSwell works with qualified nonprofit causes to develop a co-branded debit card, cardholder site, and communication program without charge to the nonprofit partner. Nonprofit supporters can then use those cards to make everyday purchases. When you swipe your GroundSwell Card, the majority of the transaction fee goes to your cause of choice instead of to the bank. It’s a way we can all help change the world for the better, without always having to spend more.

How Do Nonprofits Make Money From the GroundSwell Program?

Today, there are three different ways that NPOs can make money from the GroundSwell program.

  • Merchant Transaction Fees: GroundSwell partners with a card provider that collects transaction fees every time one of our cards is swiped. We receive a portion of those transaction fees and then share the majority with our nonprofit partners to support their operations. While your purchases help generate these contributions, they don’t come out of your pocket and are not tax-deductible.
  • RoundUp: This is an optional feature you can turn on and off. When activated, RoundUp will round your purchase up to the nearest whole dollar. So, when you spend $2.75 on a cup of coffee, we’ll add a .25 cent deposit to your cause. RoundUp donations do come out of your pocket and are tax-deductible. 
  • Direct Donation: If this function is available on your card program, supporters can use their GroundSwell card to make a direct donation. When someone uses a GroundSwell Card to make a direct donation, NPOs pay less to process those transactions, compared with traditional debit or credit cards. As a result, more money goes to support the cause. Direct donations are also tax-deductible.

How Much Money Will My NPO Make?

The amount of money your nonprofit collects depends entirely on the volume of purchases you and your fellow supporters make using the GroundSwell Card. NPOs with a large number of active and engaged supporters benefit most from our program.

Can I Choose My Own NPO to Benefit from the GroundSwell Card?

Federal regulations require us to perform due diligence on our nonprofit partners in advance to verify their tax and security status. Plus, we need to set up complex  tracking and routing information for each NPO partner.

About GroundSwell

Where Did the Idea for GroundSwell Come From?

In 2013 our founder and co-creator, Dr. Dan Rubano, was discussing the critical state of our world and the grave issues we face. During this discussion the seed of an idea was planted to use the power of the financial industry to help fund the people and organizations making the world a better place. GroundSwell was born of the idea that as a financial partner they could help redirect meaningful funds to chronically underfunded nonprofit organizations impacting the world.

When Was GroundSwell Launched?

GroundSwell was launched in May 2015 as a Nevada LLC. Two years later, the company reformed in a reverse merger as a Washington State social purpose corporation (SPC).

What is a Social Purpose Corporation?

Similar to a B-Corp designation (Benefit Corporation), a social purpose corporation (SPC) is a type of for-profit corporation in Washington and a few other U.S. states. Under a traditional for-profit business structure, directors must maximize profits for shareholders. Conversely, nonprofit organizations are legally prohibited from distributing profits to members, officers, and others. An SPC works as a hybrid between the two. GroundSwell is a for-profit company, but as an SPC it allows us to balance our profit motive and give equal consideration to our mission.

What is GroundSwell’s Mission?

GroundSwell exists to sustainably fund nonprofit organizations making the world a better place. Currently, we utilize a dynamic proprietary platform that allows customers to use their debit card transaction fees to support causes important to them. Working as a go-between, GroundSwell collects a portion of these transaction fees and then shares them with our nonprofit partners. Together, GroundSwell, our nonprofit partners, and their armies of passionate supporters can use their purchasing as a force for good and do something lasting to improve life on this planet.

Why Does GroundSwell Work with Nonprofits?

Humanity and the planet face staggering challenges. We believe the best way we can help is by building a company focused on supporting the nonprofits that are already doing this important work. Here’s why:

 

    • Nonprofits need better, sustainable ways to fund the real work of their cause. 
    • Nonprofit staff members are exhausted, planning continual fundraisers and galas.
    • Donors are overwhelmed by frequent requests for support. They want to give, but they don’t want to feel guilty for saying no to the dozens of donation inquiries they receive each year.

GroundSwell recognized an opportunity to engage, empower and transform global citizens into a force for good by redirecting the $90 billion in annual transaction fees to nonprofit causes doing the most good for people and the planet.

What Organizations Does GroundSwell Partner With?

GroundSwell partners with mission-driven, efficient nonprofit organizations that seek new ways to generate revenue and deepened supporter engagement without burdening their organization. Nonprofits seeking fresh solutions to their impact objectives and those already doing strong work to engage their supporters are of interest to GroundSwell. We prioritize causes serving women, kids, and the environment, but also embrace unique partnerships where both parties can generate impact.

How Do I Get a GroundSwell Card?

GroundSwell offers cards directly to supporters of select nonprofit organizations. We believe this approach both deepens a supporter’s relationship with the cause they care about and empowers them to find innovative ways to increase their financial impact.

But you and your friends can participate, even if you don’t currently support one of our Nonprofit Organization partners. Simply visit groundswellworld.com/count-me-in, select the cause that speaks to you, then follow the prompts to sign up. Soon, you’ll be on your way to supporting that important cause with every swipe you make.

Is GroundSwell a Bank?

Yes, but in a new and different way. We have bank, payment processing, program management, Visa, and card fulfillment partners all backing our daily work and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. However, our goal is not to be a traditional bank. Instead, we’re using the financial system to empower those who improve life for people and the planet. 

Disclaimer: BY USING THIS CARD YOU AGREE TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CARDHOLDER AGREEMENT AND FEE SCHEDULE, IF ANY. The GroundSwell Prepaid Visa Card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank (Member FDIC) pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” and “Metropolitan” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank ©2014.

FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE CALL PREPAID VENTURES, LTD – GROUNDSWELL AT (888) 386-2555.