South Dakota-based First Premier Bank and Greyhound Lines, Inc. announced yesterday they have teamed up to offer the first co-branded secured card for the travel industry. The card is currently being tested to Greyhound’s core customer base in five major cities with plans to take it national in mid-97. The secured card program requires a $200 minimum security deposit and targets the credit challenged. The program also offers a rebate program redeemable towards free travel awards. New cardholders also receive a free round-trip companion bus ticket as a sign-up bonus. First Premier specializes in secured card issuance with approx. $20 million in receivables and 70,000 accounts in-force.
First Premier Bank and Greyhound Lines, Inc. are breaking new ground in the co-branded credit card industry by reaching out to consumers who desire to establish a positive credit history and have historically had difficulty obtaining conventional credit cards.
The Greyhound MasterCard credit card represents the first secured co-branded card in the travel industry. “The Greyhound MasterCard program is an excellent example of co-branding’s growth, specialization and ability to reach out to new customers by tailoring services and incentives to their specific needs. The program offers new possibilities to consumers who are just beginning to or have never established a credit history, or are working to build a positive credit history,” said Beth Horowitz, Vice President, MasterCard Co-Branded and Affinity Marketing.
First Premier Bank, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Greyhound are presently test- marketing the offer to Greyhound’s core customer base in five major U.S. cities. The program will be introduced nationally by mid-year 1997. The marketing plan includes point-of-sale promotion and take-one distribution through Greyhound’s corporate and agency bus terminal locations, direct mail and telemarketing.
“The Greyhound partnership provides First Premier a unique nationwide distribution network with one of the most recognized transportation brands in the world,” said Miles Beacom, President, First Premier Bank’s Credit Card Division. Beacom added, “We believe the trust that has been established between Greyhound and its customers will help us reach this often overlooked market.”
Through focus group research and customer interviews, the partners determined that a secured card product has strong appeal to many of Greyhound’s most loyal customers. The new secured Greyhound MasterCard card provides all the benefits of a conventional general- purpose credit card, including MasterCard’s industry-leading merchant acceptance and ATM accessibility worldwide.
The only difference is that the cardholder is required to establish and maintain a minimum $200 interest-bearing savings account to secure their Greyhound MasterCard card. Cardholders can obtain higher lines of credit by making deposits of up to $10,000. Customers also have the option to “build-an-account” by making deposits of as little as $25 until they reach the $200 minimum. First Premier also may provide the most credit-worthy applicants with partially secured credit lines. All Greyhound MasterCard customers will be reviewed annually for unsecured credit line increases.
“Our research sent us a clear message: Many Greyhound customers need access to credit but want help in managing the responsibility. A secured card can help provide both,” said William Connor, First Premier’s Vice President of New Business Development.
In addition to other benefits, the Greyhound MasterCard card will award each new cardholder a free round-trip companion bus ticket, good for travel anywhere in the continental U.S. Cardholders also will earn free travel awards based on purchases charged to their Greyhound MasterCard.
Greyhound MasterCard cardholders will also participate in the MasterCard MasterValues program. MasterValues offers discounts of 10-50 percent off regular prices whenever the Greyhound MasterCard secured card is used for payment at select establishments in popular travel and entertainment categories.
“The new Greyhound MasterCard secured credit card furthers Greyhound’s commitment to providing real value-added ground transportation,” said Jack Haugsland, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Greyhound Lines, Inc. “We believe First Premier’s innovative approach to meeting our customers’ needs will not only enhance our customers’ travel experience with Greyhound, but will also provide them much-needed flexibility and security. It’s really a win-win situation for all.”
Greyhound Lines, Inc. has provided ground transportation in the U.S. since 1914. Today Greyhound provides regular route service to over 2,400 cities throughout the United States. In addition, Greyhound provides chartered bus and package express services. Greyhound has a customer base of over 17 million ticketed passengers annually and sales of over $650 million in 1995.
MasterCard International, a payments company with one of the world’s most recognized brands, is dedicated to helping more than 22,000 financial institutions around the world offer consumers a variety of payment options. MasterCard remains focused on helping shape the future of money by expanding acceptance of its global brands (MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), the world’s largest ATM network) and maintaining reliable, secure networks facilitating global value exchange. MasterCard has nearly 370 million credit and debit cards that are accepted at more than 13 million acceptance locations worldwide. In 1995, gross dollar volume generated was almost $500 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at http://www.mastercard.com.