First USA hopes to strike a melodious chord with a cobranded credit card for classical music lovers.
The Wilmington, Del.-based unit of Banc One Corp. introduced the Classic Performance Visa card last week in partnership with British Broadcasting Corp. The card offers discounts on music and related merchandise.
In the last year the issuer has also come out with a cobranded card for jazz fans and an affinity card for consumers who want to support symphony orchestras around the country.
Classical music lovers are "an attractive group of potential cardholders and also an audience with a strong loyalty to this lifestyle," said Antonius Plohoros, a spokesman for First USA.
A BBC spokeswoman, Jocelyn Leka, said the card will be welcomed. "As far as I know, there was no previous card on the market for classical music devotees," she said.
First USA said the card will be marketed at music festivals, by direct mail, and through advertisements in BBC Music Magazine, which is sold in conjunction with compact disks that are packaged with it.
"The low-rate Classical Performance Visa card will give card members special offers and discounts on those things near and dear to a music lover's heart," said Jonathan Gifford, associate publisher of the magazine.
The no-fee card, available in both classic and platinum versions, carries a fixed interest rate of 9.99%.
Cardholders will be eligible for discounts on BBC merchandise and on music offers such as limited-edition collections of compact discs.
They will also be offered discount subscriptions to BBC Music Magazine. And to inaugurate the card, First USA and the BBC are publishing a 116-page magazine supplement, Classical Music America, a guide to concerts, operas, and ballets in major North American cities.
James L. Accomando, president of Accomando Consulting Inc. in Fairfield, Conn., noted that consumers of classical music tend to be higher-income people who pay card debt promptly.
However, he said, the First USA-BBC card is "a no-nonsense, straightforward product, and it has a very attractive rate for someone who might be disposed to revolve a balance."