By Jill Jaracz


5 Min. To Read

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The holidays are a time for giving, so it's only natural that you may want to spread a little holiday cheer with charities that help people in need. Credit card companies often have campaigns and programs that can make giving donations an easier process. Here are a few ways you can use your plastic to benefit others this year.

American Express' "Dine for a Cause" - American Express has partnered with Share Our Strength to raise money for the organization's No Kid Hungry campaign that aims to end child hunger in America. To participate, American Express cardholders must register their cards at Amex's Dine for a Cause website. Then every time you dine at a restaurant or make a restaurant purchase through Seamless Web or Grubhub until January 31, 2014, American Express will donate a dollar to the campaign, for a total maximum donation of $1 million.

Share Our Strength's mission is two-part: Get kids in need nutritious meals and teach families how to cook healthier on a small budget.

"We are thrilled to partner with American Express in welcoming Card Members to support No Kid Hungry," said Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength in a statement. "One in five children in America struggles with hunger, but American Express Card Members can help us get one step closer to making No Kid Hungry a reality."

Capital One's No Hassle Giving - Capital One cardholders in the U.S. can make their donation dollars stretch a little farther by donating through the company's No Hassle Giving Site. Capital One Cardholders can choose from over 1.2 million public charities that are registered through Network for Good and set up a credit card donation through the site.

One benefit of donating through this portal is that Capital One will cover the processing costs involved with credit card donations. According to the bank, these fees can cost up to ten percent of the amount being donated. With Capital One covering these charges, donations through this site will be completely passed on to the charity.

As with other charitable donations, those made through this site are tax-deductible. The site also features information from Guide Star, a database that provides information about an IRS-registered charity's mission and financials, to help you find responsible charities.

Get the card that helps you give every time you shop - Rewards cards that give you cash back are pretty common. Now there's a card that takes the cashback concept and gives that reward money to charity.

The HaloCard Project is a Visa card that allows you to give one percent of your transactions to any non-profit organization, or if you choose, you may take the rewards as cash back or account credits.

The card has no annual fee and a variable APR that maxes out at 21 percent. The card does come with similar fees to other credit cards, such as late fees, cash advance fees and returned payment fees, among others.

Cardholders choose their charities through HaloCard's portal, and those charities receive quarterly payments when designated by cardholders. Non-profits don't have to pay for this service either, although HaloCard does offer an affiliate program that gives non-profits some additional data gathering and donation reporting features.

HaloCard isn't affiliated with any major banks. If you're interested in getting the HaloCard, you can apply at their website. Accounts are available for both individuals and businesses.

With these programs and products, credit card companies show that giving money to those less fortunate can be easier than ever. Whether your dining dollars help a child get a better meal or your favorite charity gets a boost all year round, these dollars can go a long way to making a better tomorrow.

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