First Bank System Inc. has hooked up with AT&T Corp. to add a long- distance calling feature to its corporate card.
The customized billing service allows executives to charge long-distance calls to their cards and receive an itemized account on their First Bank corporate card statements.
Although it may be the first Visa corporate card to offer the service, a First Bank spokeswoman said American Express has a similar program.
"It's a value-added feature that differentiates us from any other bank card provider," said Alan Brown, vice president of marketing for FBS Corporate Payment Systems.
In the past two weeks, 60,000 corporate cardholders have requested the no-fee service, he said.
First Bank System, the largest issuer of Visa corporate cards, with 525,000, is second in the business to American Express.
First Bank offered the service because of market demand. Mr. Brown said it presents a "tremendous saving for customers." Corporations can save through discount calling plans, he said.
AT&T calling-card calls are automatically charged to the First Bank corporate Visa card, eliminating the need for a separate expense report for long-distance calling.
Some companies that use AT&T calling cards receive one bill for all their employees. Those calls must be verified centrally, coded, and charged to the correct department. With the service, calls are automatically sorted and billed to the appropriate employee, saving labor costs.
AT&T is the first partner, but it is not an exclusive arrangement. First Bank could cut deals with MCI or Sprint in the future.