Consumer Payment Card News

Giant VISA Dies

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One of the best supermarket credit cards around is being laid to rest this month. After floundering among three issuers the ‘Giant Food VISA’ card will finally rest in peace by the end of September. The mid-Atlantic grocery chain announced this week that its co-branded credit card program is closing down for good. Giant says First USA, the card’s current issuer, made the decision, earlier this summer, to terminate the popular program. First USA is notifying cardholders this week and offering to switch them to other First USA cards. The card has a colorful history. Buffalo, NY-based M&T Bank launched the program in early 1996, offering cardholders an unlimited 3% rebate on Giant Food purchases and an unlimited 1% rebate on other purchases. By October of 1996 M&T wanted to terminate the program after realizing heavy losses, in excess of $1 million per month. By the end of 1996 Giant and M&T ended up fighting in federal court over the program. By February of 1997 Chevy Chase Bank took over and re-launched the program, capping annual rewards and increasing the basic card pricing. Chevy Chase was later acquired by First USA, which further reduced the rebates to a maximum of 1%. Giant said yesterday it will mail out final rebate certificates to cardholders in October and November. For more information visit a Giant Food store in your area.

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