The Japanese unit of McDonald's Inc. has teamed up with three banks to issue the fast-food chain's first cobranded credit card.

The McJoy card, which is being marketed to women only, is available as a Visa or a MasterCard.

Introduced June 20, the McJoy card was designed to appeal to 18- to 30- year-old Japanese women, who rarely eat in fast-food restaurants, according to JCB International Co., Japan's largest credit card company and one of the McJoy card's issuers. The card's perks include free flower-arranging classes and a complimentary subscription to McJoy Club, a women-oriented magazine.

Discounts on Chicken McNuggets, shakes, and other McDonald's fare are also included.

Demand for the card has already exceeded expectations, according to McDonald's, with more than 7,000 women applying for the card in the first 10 days. McDonald's had expected to issue about 30,000 cards in the first year but now says it will reach that goal far sooner.

JCB is to issue 45% of the McJoy cards; Sumitomo Bank Ltd. and EON Finance and Credit Corp. are issuing the rest. JCB and Sumitomo of Tokyo are offering Visa cards, but EON, headquartered in Malaysia, is offering MasterCards.

"Women are a very important market for McDonald's in Japan," said Koichi Fugii, assistant vice president at JCB. He said the card is a marketing tool to bring women in the door.

The issuers said they hope the McJoy card will also attract youths to apply for credit.

"Exploring the new generation of young people is very important for our future," said Atsushi Yoneda, general manager for Sumitomo Credit Service, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Bank.

The new credit card is an addition to the McJoy Value Club, a three- year-old marketing program with 30,000 members. McDonald's has not said whether it will introduce similar credit card programs in other countries.

The McJoy card has a 13.20% annual percentage rate.

To boost its popularity, McDonald's is picking up the cards' annual fees for its customers, paying the banks directly for each person who signs up. The companies did not say how much this would cost.

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