Consumer Payment Card News

Blockbuster VISA Dies

NationsBank and Blockbuster have mutually agreed to pull the plug on the ‘Blockbuster VISA’ program. Launched in March 1995, the program represented VISA’s first major, exclusive co-branded program, and was among the first major programs to offer monthly rebates. NationsBank projected three million consumers would sign-up in the first year following a major mail drop to qualified prospects among Blockbuster’s 43 million customer base. However after the first year NationsBank only approved 600,000 cardholders for the VISA only program. Like other no-annual-fee, value-added programs, NationsBank encountered pricing pressure last year due to the declining number of revolvers and began selectively charging annual fees to convenience type cardholders. This strategy has been largely unsuccessful in the industry. Under the program cardholders earned a 1% rebate on all purchases and a 5% rebate for purchases at Blockbuster Video, Blockbuster Music, Discovery Zone FunCenters and Paramount Parks. The rebates were issued with each monthly statement in the form of ‘Blockbuster Bucks’ redeemable for future Blockbuster purchases. The termination will take effect Aug. 31 with final rebates being issued with the September statements. NationsBank says it will replace the cards with other NationsBank cards as they expire.

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