Consumer Payment Card News

Postal Phone Cards

The U.S. Postal Service and American Express telecom announced the national roll-out yesterday of the ‘FirstClass PhoneCard’, a new, rechargeable prepaid phone card that is replaceable if lost or stolen. The new card will be available via the USPS this morning. The national launch follows a nine-month pilot jointly conducted in eight cities. Among the card’s features: rechargeability through any major credit card; prompts in six languages; speed dial capabilities and call activity reports via fax.

The U.S. Postal Service and American Express Telecom, Inc. announced today the national roll-out of the “FirstClass PhoneCard,” a new, rechargeable prepaid phone card that is replaceable if lost or stolen. The co-branded phone card, bearing collectible postal stamp art, will be available in most major post offices nationwide beginning this week.

Roll-out of the prepaid phone card was determined following a nine-month research and development test that American Express Telecom, Inc. and the U.S. Postal Service launched during the 1995 holiday season in eight cities: San Diego, Calif., Albuquerque, N.M.; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Miami, Fla.; and Providence, R.I. Based on early results, four larger cities were added in June 1996: San Francisco, Calif., Atlanta, Ga.; Orlando, Fla., and New York, N.Y.

“Prepaid phone cards have long been sold in post offices the world over,” explained Allen Kane, chief marketing officer, U.S. Postal Service. “Positive response from our product test indicates that America’s postal customers also find that prepaid phone cards add value when visiting our post offices. Moreover, the FirstClass PhoneCard is a revenue-building vehicle for the Postal Service.” Following the launch of the holiday design series in November 1995, the U.S. Postal Service and American Express introduced two additional FirstClass PhoneCard designs based on collectible postal stamp art: a “Love” series for Valentine’s Day, and a “Prehistoric Animals” series in June. The unique stamp art designs give the cards extra value as collectibles for philatelic enthusiasts.

The FirstClass PhoneCard also provides a unique combination of features:

If lost or stolen, card holders simply call a 24-hour toll-free number. Service resumes immediately with the issuance of a new access code and caller identification code.
The card is rechargeable through any major credit card.
Each card offers prompts in six languages; customer service is available in more than 30 languages.
The card’s speed dial capability stores frequently dialed numbers for later use.
Call activity reports are available by fax.
The cards can be ordered with Express Mail delivery service by dialing 1-800-297-POST (7678), or via the FirstClass PhoneCard web site:
“We are excited by the success of the FirstClass PhoneCard test and are looking forward to a continued alliance with the U.S. Postal Service. Together, we offer consumers a superior product,” said Carl Lehmann, president of American Express Stored Value Group. “American Express will continue to develop new stored value products which add value and convenience for the lifestyles of today’s consumers,” Lehmann added.

The U.S. Postal Service operates independent of taxpayer support and operates from the sale of stamps and other postal products. American Express Telecom, Inc., is part of American Express Stored Value Group, a unit of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Express Company — a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, stored value products, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.

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