First Bank System Inc. has rolled out what it is billing as the nation's first credit card intended exclusively for employee moving expenses.

The Relocation Card, which had been tested since June, will enable transferred workers to reduce out-of-pocket expenses, while improving expense tracking and control for employers, the Minneapolis-based bank said.

The card, a Visa product, can handle a variety of moving expenses, including travel and temporary living expenses, mortgage closing costs, and fees for moving and storage of household goods. It is deactivated upon completion of the move.

First Bank developed the card at the behest of Merck & Co., one of its leading accounts.

The Relocation Card, which is issued in the name of the requesting employee, comes with predetermined limits for spending and cash advances that can be stretched for unusually heavy expenses.

Employers can use First Bank's proprietary authorization system to restrict card usage to certain items and situations.

Jim Baumgartner, FBS' senior vice president and general manager of corporate payment systems, said the Relocation Card "frees employees from the need to use their own funds for relocation expenses that can often become burdensome."

He added that "companies can expect to dramatically reduce the number of invoices processed for relocation expenses," resulting in substantial administrative savings.

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