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China-based Shenzhen Development Bank has begun to issue what it calls an "environmentally friendly" credit card, a bank spokesperson tells CardLine Global. The "Deep Green" card is made from biodegradable material, the spokesperson says. "We will also provide cardholders with (electronic) bills and environmental protection news every month." Late last year, Discover Financial Services launched a biodegradable credit card made of biodegradable polyvinyl chloride, which allows 99% of the card plastic to be safely absorbed in landfills (CardLine Global, 10 Dec. 2008). Issuers in the United States and Europe have launched cards designed to result in carbon offsets or offer other environmental benefits based on spending. There exists no universal standard by which to judge the effectiveness of the benefits, though, and it remains unclear whether such cards will constitute anything more than a temporary marketing trend, especially in China. "It is quite possible that [such cards] will be a trend, but I'm afraid it is a little early to say that the green card is a trend or going to be a trend in the near future in China," Xiao Jun, a banking analyst from China-based Analysys International, tells CardLine Global. Research from Analysys shows cardholders appear more concerned about "convenience of repayment and card safety" than environmental benefits, Jun adds.

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