Consumer Payment Card News

Driver's Edge Card

Citibank unveiled its replacement for the ‘Ford Citibank VISA/MasterCard’ yesterday. The new ‘Driver’s Edge VISA/MasterCard’ offers cardholders the ability to earn rebates toward the purchase or lease of any new vehicle, regardless of make or model. Citibank says all ‘Ford Citibank’ cardholders were converted to the new program as of January 1. Last summer Ford decided to end its co- branded rebate program with Citibank at the end of 1997. The new ‘Citibank Driver’s Edge’ card offers a 2% rebate on purchases with an annual rebate cap of $500. A maximum of $1,500 may be accumulated towards the purchase or lease of any one vehicle. Cardholders simply submit a special ‘Redemption Form’ and two proofs-of-purchase to collect the rebate directly from Citibank. Citibank is also running a sweepstakes, giving away a new car each month.

Citibank announced Tuesday a new “Driver’s Edge” card that will earn former Ford Citibank cardmembers Driver’s Edge rebates toward the purchase or lease of any new vehicle, regardless of make or model. Ford Citibank cardmembers were converted to the new Driver’s Edge card and began earning Driver’s Edge rebates on purchases made using their cards effective January 1, 1998. The Driver’s Edge program was created to replace the Ford Citibank card after Ford made the decision that the rebate program no longer fit within its marketing strategy. Ford will continue to honor previously accumulated Ford rebates.

“When Ford decided to discontinue the rebate program, we immediately began considering other options,” said Sheryl Behar, Business Manager of the Driver’s Edge program. “Market research and input from our cardmembers led to the development of the Driver’s Edge card. Cardmembers wanted flexibility, and we’re giving it to them with a car rebate program that’s as good as, if not better than, all others in the category.”

The new Citibank Driver’s Edge card offers cardmembers two percent rebates on eligible purchases made, up to $500 in rebates per year, with a maximum of $1500 on any one vehicle that is purchased or leased. The card, in an offering unique to the category, is not associated with any specific automobile manufacturer, so Driver’s Edge rebates earned can be redeemed on any new vehicle when purchased or leased in the U.S. Driver’s Edge rebates come directly from Citibank, and can be used in addition to those from any other auto rebate card, including previously accumulated Ford rebates. Under the Driver’s Edge program, a cardmember negotiates the best price possible with the dealer, including any special sales, promotions or other rebates that are available, and completes the purchase. Once the purchase is made, the cardmember then returns a completed Redemption Form, along with two proofs of purchase, to Citibank. A check for the rebate amount will be forwarded to the cardmember directly from Citibank within three weeks. “Cardmembers overwhelmingly approved when first asked about the new Driver’s Edge concept,” explained Ms. Behar, “because we put their concerns first. Offering a rebate on any vehicle means they can decide on their choice of vehicle at the time of purchase, and given that the rebates can be used along with any other rebate program, they’ll get it at the best possible cost.”

– Special Introductory Driver’s Edge Sweepstakes – In celebration of the new card, Citibank also announced plans to give away a car a month in the Driver’s Edge Sweepstakes. Every time a Driver’s Edge cardmember makes a purchase between February and August, that cardmember will automatically be entered in the sweepstakes. Every month a grand prize winner can choose any car, van or light truck, of any make and model valued at up to $30,000. Additionally, there will be 100 monthly winners of a first prize of $100 cash or $100 in bonus Driver’s Edge rebates, and 500 second prize winners of a $25 statement credit. In total over 4,000 prizes will be awarded to Driver’s Edge cardmembers over the course of the promotion.* Ford Citibank cardmembers were notified in July that Ford would no longer offer cardmembers the ability to earn Ford rebates on purchases made using the card after December 31, 1997. However, previously accumulated Ford rebates can be redeemed for up to five years from the end of the calendar year in which they were earned. The new Driver’s Edge card is initially being offered for the benefit of existing Ford Citibank cardmembers. These Charter Members can continue to use their cards until receiving a replacement Driver’s Edge card when their existing card expires. The card carries no annual fee. Driver’s Edge rebates will expire three years from the end of the calendar year in which the rebates were earned.**

Citibank is the largest issuer of Visa and MasterCard with over 39 million cards in circulation.

* No purchase necessary. For complete rules and alternative methods of entry, call 800-226-6884.

** However, if Citibank terminates the Driver’s Edge program, cardmembers will have only one year from the termination date to redeem all accumulated Driver’s Edge rebates.

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