NEW YORK -- MasterCard International announced on Tuesday that Mellon Bank, based in Pittsburgh, and Norwest Bank, based in Des Moines, will issue the MasterCard Purchasing Card.

MasterCard said sales in the $384 billion procurement market are predominantly handled through paper billing. MasterCard developed its procurement card product in 1991, when it signed up First Chicago and NationsBank.

The government defines small purchases as $25,000 or less, but corporations spend much less than this on supplies, typically under $100. A purchasing card program allows them to do this cheaper than through paper billing.

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