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New Baseball Cards

First USA announced Tuesday it signed agreements with four Major League Baseball teams to issue and market their affinity cards beginning April 1. The Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Florida Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies will all offer First USA ‘Classic’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Platinum’ cards. The new cards offer no-annual-fee, a five-month 6.9% teaser rate, and a 17.9% long-term rate. First USA did not indicate there would be any unique value-added features, such as rebates or discounts, for each program. Marketing plans call for home game promotions, direct mail, telemarketing and online applications via each team’s web site.

FULL STORY:

First USA (NYSE: FUS) announced today it has signed agreements with four Major League Baseball teams — the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies — to issue and market their affinity credit cards beginning Opening Day of the 1997 season, April 1. The new agreements represent First USA’s first with any Major League Baseball teams.

“We are delighted at the prospect of helping our new Major League Baseball partners strengthen fan loyalty at the local level through these new affinity credit cards,” said James W. Stewart III, executive vice president, partnership marketing, First USA. “These cards are a great way for basebsall fans to show their allegiance to their hometown team, while enjoying the benefits of a competitively-priced product.”

Applications for the no-annual-fee cards, which feature individual team names and logos, are available at all home games, via direct mail, telemarketing and through a toll-free number (800-347-7887). Internet users will soon be able to apply online at http://www.firstusa.com, as well as at the Athletics (http://www.oaklandathletics.com), Mariners (http://www.mariners.com), Phillies (http://www.phillies.com) and Marlins (http://www.flamarlins.com) Web sites. This marks the first time the Marlins have offered credit cards to their fans.

The cards, which are available in Classic, Gold and Platinum versions, feature a 6.9% introductory interest rate for five months, followed by a competitive 17.9% thereafter; a credit line up to $100,000; a money-saving balance-transfer option; and 24-hour, toll-free customer service support.

First USA is a leader in sports credit card marketing, issuing credit cards for leading teams and sports governing bodies, including: the Florida Panthers, Major League Soccer (MLS), the New Jersey Devils, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Portland Trail Blazers, the PGA TOUR, the San Antonio Spurs, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), USA Hockey and the American Basketball League (ABL).

First USA, Inc. (NYSE: FUS) is a financial services company specializing in the credit card business and is among the largest providers of Visa and MasterCard services in the nation. First USA provides Visa and MasterCard services nationwide and had approximately 16 million credit cards issued and $22.4 billion in managed loans outstanding at Dec. 31, 1996. First USA participates in the payment processing business through its 57% interest in First USA Paymentech (NYSE: PTI). On Jan. 20, 1997, BANC ONE CORPORATION and First USA jointly announced that an agreement had been reached for First USA to merge with BANC ONE. The transaction is expected to be completed by June 30, 1997. First USA maintains a site on the World Wide Web at http://www.firstusa.com.

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