Like Winnie-the-Pooh, who was always searching for that perfect pot of honey, many credit card companies have looked for their pot of gold in Walt Disney Co.
Consumers are expected to spend $625 million on Disney products this year, said Jill Krutick, entertainment analyst for Smith Barney, not to mention the vast amounts spent at Disney properties.
But despite a reported interest in cobranding by the entertainment company famous for theme parks built around the cartoon characters Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto, Disney continues steadfast with its private-label card.
"With such a strong brand identity, Disney doesn't want to share marquee value with another company by issuing a cobranded card," said Joel Friedman, managing partner at Anderson Consulting in San Francisco.
Disney is known for producing "superb" merchandise, said Mr. Friedman, and its brand name is so powerful that it would outdraw other brands.
Disney has offered its customers a private-label card for about four years through Monogram Credit Card Bank of Georgia, the issuing arm of GE Capital Corp. The Disney credit card comes without a fee and carries a fixed interest rate of 20.5%.
Card purchases can only be made at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts, from the Disney Catalog, and in Disney stores within the United States.
"Disney may feel somewhat proprietary about maintaining the confidentiality of its very broad customer base," said Shelly Porges, chief executive of Porges/Hudson Marketing in San Francisco.
By remaining private it is able to "control credit standards and offer cards to customers that might otherwise be excluded," she added.
In September, Disney came out with a commemorative package to mark the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World.
The $25 package includes a 3-D holographic private-label credit card with such Disney symbols as Sorcerer Mickey or Cinderella Castle and Coach, a numbered holographic prepaid phone card with five units of calling time, a commemorative pin, and periodic Disney newsletters.
Non-Disney cardholders must obtain an ordinary Disney card in order to buy the package. Then either card may be used to access the Disney line of credit.
Huge demand is seen for the Disney package from collectors. "Disney material in general is very desirable," said Bill Weiland, founder and past president of the American Credit Card Collectors Society.
The collectors' markets for credit cards and calling cards are somewhat different, he explained, because credit cards are much harder to obtain and trade.
"The Disney credit card may be wanted more than any other credit card just because of the Disney name," he added.