Bank One, Columbus, has expanded its successful American Association of Retired Persons Visa program to include a MasterCard product.

Now the 33 million members of the organization for people 50 and older can pick one or both products.

Since the program's inception in the 1980s, 1.2 million AARP members have signed up for a Visa card. They have chosen from a fixed rate, now at 15.6%, plus a $10 annual fee, or a no-fee variable rate of 6.9% over prime.

The AARP MasterCard comes without a fee, and a variable rate of 8.9% over prime.

"This new MasterCard fits our goal to continually provide value to our customers," said Wayne Haefer, director of the membership division of AARP. "It will permit members to choose the type of card program that best suits their financial needs."

Whichever card they choose, AARP members will have an "Everyday low price guarantee" enhancement that was piloted on the Visa AARP card from November to March. The proFam, offered by NCCI, a Goochland, Va., credit card insurance provider, was rolled out for all cardholders Sept. 1.

The price guarantee reimburses cardholders the difference between the original price of a product bought in the United States to the lower price they have identified elsewhere -- up to $250.

The lower price must found within 60 days and cardholders must submit the receipt and a copy of the dated sales advertisement or letter from a store stating the lower price of the item. There is a maximum reimbursement of $1,000 per cardholder per year. Cardholders are paid by NCCI by check five days after the company has received the customer's claim.

Bank One said the program is geared to members of the association, and there are no plans to offer it to its other cardholders.

AARP cardholders can save lime initially by not having to shop around, Bank One said. The bank benefits by experiencing increased transaction volume, and the price guarantee helps to activate and retain cardholders.

Citibank has had a similar enhancement on the market since 1991, but the program will expire Dec. 31. Citibank cardholders have been able get refunds up to $150 per item in the form of an account credit, with a $1,000 per year limit. Both programs have restrictions on the items that are eligible for a price guarantee.

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