Consumer Payment Card News

FirstClass PhoneCards

About 60% of purchasers of the ‘FirstClass PhoneCard’ say they purchase the card as a gift. The prepaid phonecard is issued by American Express and distributed via the U.S. Postal Service. This year, and for the first time, the phone cards will become available through many USPS stamp vending machines. The rechargeable and replaceable phone cards are also being offered in a special ‘Kwanzaa’ and ‘Hanukkah’ designs this year.

FULL STORY:
This year, the American Express and U.S. Postal Service FirstClass PhoneCard(TM) collectors’ series has several new features to accommodate the 60 percent* of consumers who purchase the FirstClass PhoneCard as gift items. Limited edition seasonal designs, availability at thousands of postal vending machines and a decorative FirstClass PhoneCard holder and matching envelope are among the added conveniences offered for the 1997 holiday season.

“Holiday shoppers looking for a unique stocking stuffer or practical gift for the frequent traveler, out of town family member, or son or daughter away at school can trust the FirstClass PhoneCard because it is backed by American Express and delivered by the United States Postal Service,” said Anne Hopkins, president of American Express Telecom, Inc. “This year we expanded the availability of the FirstClass PhoneCard, designed decorative packaging and introduced new designs keeping in the tradition of U.S. postage stamp artwork to make the FirstClass PhoneCard an ideal gift.”

According to the American Express Retail Index, the FirstClass PhoneCard is Priced Right

Sold in denominations of $10, $20 and $50, the FirstClass PhoneCard is priced to fit the budgets of those looking for stocking stuffers and office gifts. According to the 1997 American Express Retail Index on holiday shopping, 57 percent of shoppers plan to buy stocking stuffers this year and spend an average $15 per gift. At work, 29 percent have organized gift exchanges, with almost half (46 percent) having a spending limit of less than $20.

New Editions for ’97 Include Kwanzaa FirstClass PhoneCards

Another first this year is the $20 FirstClass PhoneCard honoring Kwanzaa, the week-long African-American festival of family, community and culture. The FirstClass PhoneCard features the artwork of noted artist Synthia Saint James which appears on the Kwanzaa U.S. postage stamp. A new series of limited edition FirstClass PhoneCard Holiday Designs, including American Holly with $10 of calling time and Midnight Angel with $20 of calling time, join the Hanukkah FirstClass PhoneCard and several other collectible images on sale this year(A).

A New Kind of Window Shopping – Vending Machines

For the first time, holiday shoppers will have the added convenience of purchasing FirstClass PhoneCards through many U.S. Postal Service stamp vending machines, which are often accessible 24 hours a day. In addition, FirstClass PhoneCards will still be available from postal clerks and by calling 800-AXP-POST (297-7678).

“A lot of last minute gift searching is for those who are hard to shop for, like a teacher, coach or co-worker,” said Jane Langdon, Manager of New Businesses for the Postal Service. “By making a practical and thoughtful gift like the FirstClass PhoneCard available at vending machines and service windows, shoppers will have the flexibility they need during the busy holiday season.”

Free Gift Card With Gift

Personalizing the FirstClass PhoneCard with a handwritten note is easy with the fitted stocking-shaped FirstClass PhoneCard holder gift card and envelope. These items are not available through the vending machines, but are free when FirstClass PhoneCards are purchased from a postal clerk or by dialing the toll-free phone number.

The FirstClass PhoneCard, available at over 11,000 U.S. Post Offices, is useable from any touch-tone telephone in the United States — no quarters, no hassles. After dialing an 800 number, FirstClass PhoneCard users hear an automated system telling them how much time is left on the card before the call is put through.

The FirstClass PhoneCard is less expensive than a collect call and more economical than many calling cards. In addition, unlike many other pre-paid calling cards, the FirstClass PhoneCard is both rechargeable and replaceable if lost or stolen, making it handy enough to use throughout the year. And the card is backed by American Express’ customer service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial services and network services provider founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, stored-value products, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.

The United States Postal Service runs independent of taxpayer support and is solely supported by ratepayer revenue, including the sale of stamps and other postal products.

(A) All card designs are subject to availability and expiration. Some FirstClass PhoneCards, such as the Kwanzaa and Hanukkah designs, have restricted availability outside the toll-free phone number.

* Based on a survey of FirstClass PhoneCard buyers.

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