Holders of Associated Banc-Corp.'s two pet-owner affinity cards-the Action for Animals and Morris MasterCards-now get free membership in a pet-care discount program.

The program, from Pet Assure Inc. of Dover, N.J., offers a 25% discount on pet care by participating veterinarians. There are also savings of up to 50% on grooming, pet-sitting, training, and supplies.

Membership ordinarily costs $99 a year for the first pet and $79 for each additional pet.

The two cards, which rebate a percentage of transactions as donations to animal shelters, have been issued for almost five years, and there are about 20,000 cardholders.

The issuer is Associated Card Services Bank.

Applications for the cards jumped 300% after the announcement last month of the discount program, said Jay Bloom, Pet Assure's chairman and chief executive officer.

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