Benetton joins Deutsche Bank to launch Visa card

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MILAN -- The Benetton Group announced on June 26 an agreement with Deutsche Bank to launch its own branded credit card in Italy on July 1.

The United Colors of Benetton BankAmericard, which is connected to the Visa Electron system, can be used throughout the world at 1.2 million Visa Electron points and in 330,000 automatic tellers that honor Visa.

Benetton will hope to gain customer loyalty and raise its profile through the scheme. A point collecting promotion will kick off its marketing program. Until December 24, customers will accumulate one point for every $11.83 spent in Benetton, 012, Zero Tondo, Sisley and Undercolors stores, with credit card holders automatically credited with five free points. Prizes include in-line skates, watches, sunglasses, backpacks and sports equipment such as tennis rackets, skis, and snowboards. The card also entitles holders to specific services related to travel and health.

Card applications will be available at all 2,000 Benetton-owned stores in Italy and from this fall can also be picked up at Deutsche Bank SpA branches in the country. Benetton will charge a $11.83 fee for the card for the first year and $23.67 for subsequent years. Benetton says there are no plans as yet to expand into other countries.

Linking with a major bank to launch a branded credit/loyalty card is emerging as a trend among European stores, particularly among top U.K. supermarkets, which are acknowledged to be some of the most sophisticated retailers in the world.

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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