Egghead Inc., the software retailer, has come out with a cobranded credit card for techies and geeks.

Issued by First USA Bank, the Visa card offers 5% rebates on in-store purchases and 1% back on general purchases. After racking up $500 on the card, customers receive a $5 coupon that can be applied to future purchases at Egghead stores.

The no-fee card comes with a 5.9% introductory rate, which jumps in January to 5.9% over prime.

The card was launched late last month to coincide with the release of Windows 95, Microsoft Corp.'s new operating system for personal computers.

The card will be marketed to the two million members of Egghead's Cue - Custom Updates and Eggstras - loyalty program. Members get 5% discounts on all purchases at the point of sale.

Kurt Schmidtke, manager of retail operations for Egghead, based in Issaquah, Wash., said virtually all Egghead shoppers become Cue members because there is no fee to join and the discount takes effect immediately.

The Egghead Cue Visa card enhances the savings with the 5% rebate toward future purchases, he said.

The retailer, with 164 locations across the country, decided to market the card "to bring customers back to us rather than one of our competitors," said Mr. Schmidtke.

Computer City, a rival with 88 stores, and CompUSA, with 85 locations, each sell a full line of computer hardware and software. Egghead, diversifying from software, began selling limited hardware items such as notebook computers just over a month ago.

It will promote the Visa card through store displays, newspaper ads, and direct mail. Promotions for the card appeared in Egghead's newspaper ads for Windows 95.

First USA will cover the costs of a direct mail campaign to begin later this fall, said Jim Stewart, executive vice president of partnership marketing for the bank.

He said the bank hopes to attract some 10% to 20% of Egghead's customers. "We're interested in niche-type products," he said.

First USA Bank, the credit card specialist owned by Dallas-based First USA Inc., is known for a low-rate strategy and has recently become the fastest-growing major issuer in the country. Its cobranded products include cards for Walden Books, Forbes Magazine, and Orvis, a mail-order clothing retailer.

Michael Auriemma, a credit card consultant based in Westbury, N.Y., called the Egghead program "a good deal." He said it contained a generous rebate with attractive pricing. "Anyone interested in buying that kind of merchandise should be very excited about this card," he said.

Mr. Auriemma pointed out that "to some degree cobranding is heading to smaller programs." He said "home runs" are harder to come by and called the Egghead card a "single." Still, he said, "You have to get runners on base to score."

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