Consumer Payment Card News

Driver's Edge Cashback Option

Citibank’s replacement for its ‘Ford VISA/MasterCard’ program is being upgraded with more options to give cardholders a longer period to earn rebates toward the purchase or lease of any new car. The ‘Citibank Driver’s Edge’ credit card program, launched in January as the Ford program terminated, added “Driver’s Edge Options” last week. Cardholders who choose the new ‘Driver’s Edge Options’ rebates will be allowed five years, from the end of the year in which the rebates were earned, to redeem them. Additionally, ‘Driver’s Edge Options’ rebates have a ‘CashBack Option’ to insure that cardmembers can receive full value for earned rebates. This feature allows a cardholder who has not yet made a purchase or lease decision, but has rebates that are expiring, to redeem those expiring rebates for their full cash value. ‘Driver’s Edge Options’ rebates accumulate at 1% on eligible purchases, up to $500 in rebates per year, with a maximum of $2,500 on any one vehicle that is purchased or leased. Rebates may be applied toward a new car from any manufacturer (foreign or domestic) when purchased or leased from authorized dealers in the U.S. The rebates come directly from Citibank after the purchase is made. Citibank is launching a summer national print media campaign to announce the options and has formed a partnership with Penske Auto Centers to offer cardholders a 10% discount at over 800 Penske Auto Centers nationwide.

FULL STORY:
Citibank announced last week that it has enhanced its Citibank Driver’s Edge card program with new “Driver’s Edge Options” rebates, allowing cardmembers even greater flexibility when earning and redeeming rebates toward the purchase or lease of a new car. The Citibank Driver’s Edge card program was originally introduced to Charter Members in January 1998, and allows cardmembers to redeem earned rebates toward the purchase or lease of any new vehicle, regardless of model or manufacturer. Cardmembers who choose the new Driver’s Edge Options rebates will be allowed five years, from the end of the year in which the rebates were earned, to redeem them. Additionally, Driver’s Edge Options rebates have a CashBack Option to insure that cardmembers can receive full value for earned rebates. This feature, which is unique in the auto rebate card category, allows a cardmember who has not yet made a purchase or lease decision, but has rebates that are expiring, to redeem those expiring rebates for their full cash value.

“Our goal in offering this new rebate structure is to provide more customers with the opportunity to realize the benefit of their earned rebates,” said Sheryl Behar, Business Manager of the Citibank Driver’s Edge card program. “Some people want more time to accumulate rebates before purchasing or leasing a new car. Others may find that their rebates are expiring before they are ready to make a decision on a new car. The Driver’s Edge Options rebates address these concerns.”

Driver’s Edge Options rebates accumulate at one percent on eligible purchases, up to $500 in rebates per year, with a maximum of $2,500 on any one vehicle that is purchased or leased. The no fee Citibank Driver’s Edge card program is unique in the category in that rebates may be applied toward a new car from any manufacturer (foreign or domestic) when purchased or leased from authorized dealers in the U.S. Driver’s Edge Options rebates come directly from Citibank after the purchase is made, so the cardmember can take advantage of any special sales, promotions or other auto rebates accumulated on any other card, when negotiating the best price with the dealer. 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.

Citibank Driver’s Edge Options rebates can be redeemed up to five years from the end of the calendar year in which they were earned. This time period is consistent with the average five-year purchase cycle for a new car. The CashBack Option was added to insure that the Driver’s Edge Options cardmembers don’t lose the value of their earned rebates in the event that they are about to expire before the cardmember is ready to make a decision on a new vehicle.

“Our Driver’s Edge Options rebates offer the cardmember maximum flexibility in an auto rebate card,” explained Ms. Behar. “There is no pressure to select a vehicle from only one manufacturer, or to rush to redeem rebates that will be expiring. All the choices are left to our cardmembers so that they can make the decisions that are right for them.”

The card for Driver’s Edge Options rebates will have the stylized outline of a car against a blue background, with a red band carrying the “Driver’s Edge” name. The red band theme is continued on the back of the card where Citibank is introducing a red mag stripe. The red mag stripe is for visual effect, and will function the same as the black versions seen on other cards.

Citibank is launching a national print media campaign to announce the new Driver’s Edge Options rebates. The unique campaign illustrates the process of earning rebates by using everyday consumer goods creatively put together to form the shape of a car. The campaign will run from mid-July through early September in national and local print media.

Citibank also announced a partnership with Penske Auto Centers in which Citibank Driver’s Edge cardmembers will automatically become Preferred Customers at Penske Auto Centers. This special relationship entitles cardmembers to an ongoing 10% discount at over 800 Penske Auto Centers nationwide. As a special introductory offer, Penske will offer Citibank Driver’s Edge cardmembers a free Summer Check-Up and a 15% saving on parts and service through August 28, 1998.

The Driver’s Edge Options rebates carry no-fee, and the APR will be the U.S. Prime Rate plus 10.4%, currently 18.9%. Transferred balances from other cards may be eligible for a lower APR.

Citibank is a subsidiary of Citicorp, a global financial services organization serving consumers, businesses, governments and financial institutions through more than 3,000 locations in 100 countries and territories.

Citibank may revise or terminate the Citibank Driver’s Edge Rebate Program at any time with 90 days’ prior written notice. A customer’s redemption rights in the event of Program termination or revision may be limited.

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