Consumer Payment Card News

Electrifying MasterCard

While several U.S. electric/gas utility firms are mulling cobranding relationships with credit card issuers, DE-based Delmarva Power & Light Company became the first one out- of-the- chute yesterday. MBNA and Delmarva rolled out the ‘Conectiv MasterCard’ offering cardholders the ability to earn certificates, based on card purchases. Under federal and state regulations the certificates may not be used for direct payment of utility bills but rather the value may be applied to utility bills. The certificates are also good towards direct payment for non-regulated products and services. Delmarva is in the process of merging with NJ-based Atlantic Energy and will rename itself Conectiv after the merger. Conectiv will have one million electric customers and 100,000 gas customers.

Delmarva Power & Light Company and MBNA America Bank, N.A., announced Wednesday the introduction of the nation’s first co-branded MasterCard in the utility industry. The MBNA Conectiv MasterCard program is designed to allow residential customers of Delmarva Power and its “Conectiv” competitive businesses to earn rebates based on the use of the credit card.

Consumers who use the specially designed Conectiv MasterCard earn points when making purchases from retail establishments as well as products and services from the Conectiv family of companies.

Cardholders earn certificates based on their point accumulations. The certificates may be applied against the balance due for products or services from the Conectiv family of companies. Certificates may also be redeemed with the value applied to utility bills. The direct payment of utility bills using the certificates is excluded from the program because of state and federal regulations.

“We are pleased to partner with MBNA, a Delaware-based business that is one of the largest, most successful financial services companies in the nation,” said Joseph W. Ford, senior vice president of Delmarva Power. “The Conectiv MasterCard combines the convenience of credit purchasing with valuable rebate and savings opportunities for cardholders. We also envision this program expanding in the future to include using the rebate certificates for a variety of other services.”

“This agreement with a top-quality utility company like Delmarva Power represents an important innovation in the co-branded credit card business,” said William P. Morrison, MBNA senior executive vice president. “By designing a product that is both convenient and attractive, MBNA and Delmarva Power can offer customers a unique program with special benefits.”

The MBNA Conectiv MasterCard credit card has no annual fee and a special introductory annual percentage rate of 5.9% for balance transfers and cash advances. For more information or to apply for the card, call 1-888-892-4443 (priority code GM2S).

“We’re pleased to be partners with MBNA and Conectiv in this groundbreaking co-branding initiative,” said Gary Flood, senior vice president, Member Relations, MasterCard International. “It takes a tremendous amount of drive, innovation and teamwork to break into a brand new co-branding category, like the utility business. We’re confident that this program will be a win-win for all parties.”

Delmarva Power & Light Company (NYSE: DEW), an investor-owned utility based in Wilmington, Delaware, serves nearly 500,000 electric and 100,000 gas customers in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Upon completion of a merger with Atlantic Energy, Inc. (NYSE: ATE), an investor-owned utility that serves 500,000 electric customers in southern New Jersey, the combined company will be called “Conectiv.” The merger, after appropriate regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in early 1998. The new “Conectiv” will have revenues exceeding $2 billion and assets of nearly $6 billion.

MBNA Corporation , a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America Bank, N.A., a national bank, has $46.2 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the country’s second largest credit card lender, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, insurance, and card acceptance services.

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