A UK FinTech firm offering prepaid Visa debit cards for kids as young as six has launched a new ‘plastic alternative’ card for their Gen-Z customers – and it’s already one of its most popular products.

gohenry was founded in 2012 by Louise Hill to solve ‘card-nag’ – parents being asked to make purchases on behalf of their children.

Now the app and accompanying card allows parents to top up their child’s own card, block and unblock use, and decide where money can be spent.

The firm already allows its young users to decide on the design of their Visa card, but after research suggested 40% of 6-to-14-year olds feel directly responsible for saving the planet, a new Eco Card has been created in line with Gen-Z environmental concerns.

The new card is made from a renewable material called polylactic acid (PLA) which – unlike standard plastic made from petroleum, coal and crude oils – is derived from field corn.

gohenry said the average credit card can take up 400 years to decompose, while their new card is designed to biodegrade in a landfill in just six months.

While individual cards makes a relatively small impact on landfills, collectively the effect is much greater. In the UK an average of 65 million cards were issued each month from February 2019 to February 2020, with an upward trend, according to Statista.

In April, gohenry racked up its millionth customer.

While the trend toward cashless and cardless payments grows – replaced by device–based payments – the firm’s COO and founder Louise Hill said cards are here to stay for longer among young people.

She said that while the majority of young people are already cashless, going cardless was more difficult.

“Cardless payments aren’t feasible for the younger generation, as the majority don’t have phones or devices that they could use to pay for goods themselves when out and about,” she told BusinessCloud.

“So far we’ve seen the initial uptake of our Eco Card already prove to be one of our most popular card options.”

The firm will also plant a tree, in partnership with the Eden Reforestation Projects, for every new card used. Eden Reforestation Projects plants the new trees in Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, Haiti, Indonesia, and Nepal for the purpose of reforestation, agroforestry and to help reduce poverty through the employment of local villagers to do the planting.

Hill said that society and business “can always thinking about ways to decrease our environmental impact”.

For gohenry, this continues with a flexible and home-working policy designed to reduce its carbon footprint.

“The current changes to work brought about by COVID-19 have opened up a lot of businesses to the benefits of this way of working, which can only be a good thing for the environment,” she said.