Two subsidiaries of Ashland Inc., a Kentucky-based petrochemical company, have joined with National City Bank of Columbus, Ohio, to issue a cobranded a credit card.
SuperAmerica gasoline and convenience stores, located in 11 southern and midwestern states, and nationwide Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers are offering customer rebates with the Performance Visa.
The card gives 3% rebates on goods and services at either corporate partner, to be applied to gasoline, oil changes, or products sold at SuperAmerica convenience stores. Customers also receive a 1% rebate on general purchases.
While other gasoline cards, such as the Sunoco MasterCard, offer a 2% rebate on general purchases, G. Brent Bostick, president, National City Card Services, said there's no rebate cap on the Performance Visa.
"Rebate programs drive customer behavior until they hit these caps and then it drops off," said Mr. Bostick. "Customers say, 'We don't want the tricky stuff,' so here's the deal - 3%, 1% and there is no cap."
The no-annual-fee card carries an 8.9% interest rate through September and then jumps to prime plus 8.95%, or 17.95%.
Performance dollars, in $5 increments, are issued quarterly, which Visa U.S.A.'s senior vice president of member relations, Francine Schall calls "reasonably immediate gratification - a motivator for the cardholder to keep using his card."
Initially, about 200,000 qualified SuperAmerica proprietary cardholders will be converted to the new program. New customers will be targeted through television, radio, and newspaper advertising in 14 markets, beginning April 6.
Mr. Bostick expects at least 300,000 cardholders by the end of 1995 with a preponderance of gold cardholders. At the present time National City Card Services has 2.5 million bank card accounts with $1.3 billion outstanding. This is the first cobranded program for the bank.
Corey Stone, vice president, Easton Consultants of Stamford Conn., said that the program didn't sound "glamorous." But he called it a "bread-and- butter kind of card, which will help get a few extra dollars into Ashland's doors."
Ms. Schall said regional programs such as the Performance Visa would be a growth area for cobranded cards in the future, with many local retailers and supermarkets expected to introduce with programs.