PHOENIX -- After a slow start last year, the GE Rewards MasterCard reached its goal of one million accounts on Nov. 5, nearly two months ahead of its yearend target, an official of GE Capital Consumer Card Co. said at a conference here.

James L. Accomando, vice president of partnership marketing and business development for the Ohio-based unit of GE Capital Corp., made the disclosure at the Faulkner & Gray Credit Card Marketing Conference in Phoenix.

In a survey taken at the end of August and beginning of September, Brittain & Associates of Atlanta found that GE had about 677,000 accounts.

Bruce Brittain, head of the research firm, said the one-million figure was consistent with his research. He acknowledged that his survey might have undercounted slightly because the people answering the questions might have been unaware of cards held by family members.

In any event, the GE program's growth since its launch in September 1992 pales in comparison with that of the AT&T Universal Card and the General Motors MasterCard, which took only 78 days and 28 days, respectively, to hit the million mark.

Analysts said consumers might have been confused by the card's elaborate rebate and discount program, which involved 27 partner companies. Earlier this year, GE canceled the card's annual fee and introduced a tiered pricing schedule to encourage its use.

Referring to his corporation's history and its association with the inventor Thomas A. Edison, Mr. Accomando noted that the light bulb was not an instant success either.

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