Chase Federal Bank is taking an unconventional road into the credit card business.
The Miami-based thrift is offering traditional credit cards to support a new secured card program.
The $2.7 billion-asset thrift, which calls itself "the bank for working- class people" is targeting consumers who do not have credit histories and earn $50,000 or less.
Though many secured cards are marketed to people who have had past credit problems, Chase Federal says that it wants people who are just beginning to build a credit record.
Two features of the secured program distinguish Chase Federal in the marketplace.
Unlike most secured cards, which are tied to certificates of deposit, Chase Federal offers a line of credit backed by a traditional savings account with a minimum balance requirement of $450.
Chase Federal also offers customers car rental and travel insurance, which are standard features of gold cards and cards issued by American Express.
Cardholders are entitled to $25,000 of rental car liability insurance, which allows them to skip insurance from car rental companies. Also, cardholders are entitled to $150,000 in travel insurance when they purchase, for example, airline tickets with their Chase Federal secured credit card.
Over the next 10 months, Chase Federal plans to send one million pieces of mail to potential customers. Advertising spots as well are planned in local newspapers, radio, and television.
The bank is charging a onetime $50 application fee for its secured card, and the interest rate is pegged at 18.99%.
Chase Federal's unsecured classic product, has a $20 annual fee and teaser rate of 8.9%, which jumps to the prime rate plus 7.9% after six months.
The gold card carries a $15 annual fee and a teaser rate of 8.5% for six months, after which the rate rises 5.9 percentage points.
No advertising is planned to promote the classic and gold unsecured products.