GTE Corp., the country's largest provider of local phone service, unveiled a credit card on Monday that carries a teaser interest rate that is probably the lowest in the nation.
The GTE MasterCard, a telephone calling card that is also a general-purpose credit card, is being offered with an introductory rate equal to the prime lending rate, now 6%.
The new card, issued by Ford Motor Co.'s Associates National Bank, also has no annual fee.
But the rate, as GTE officials concede, is a gimmick.
Rising 10.4 Percentage Points
It expires April 30, 1993, at which point the charge on outstanding balances rises to 10.4 percentage points over prime. That would match the rate on the new General Motors Master-Card.
"We wanted to get a lot of attention in the marketplace," said Gordon Allen, general manager of GTE Card Services."We wanted to encourage consumers to transfer their balances to us."
The GTE Card also has features similar to those of other phone carriers. For example, cardholders will receive a 10% rebate of up to $50 a year on calls charged to the card. Associates Bank will issue the rebate check.
Master Card does not allow is cards to carry two account numbers. As a result, Associates National Bank will handle the billing for all charge card transactions while GTE will bill consumers separately for phone calls made with the card.
Local Phone Provider
GTE, based in Stamford, Conn., provides local phone service in 40 states. Its biggest markets are in Florida, Texas, and Hawaii.
GTE plans to mail 4.3 million solicitations this year in 29 states, Mr. Allen said, with 11 more states to follow next year. Consumers outside of GTE's markets can apply for the card, but cannot use its calling capabilities.