A New Jersey community bank has big plans for a credit card it will market to help parents save for their children's college education.
United National Bank of Bridgewater recently signed an agreement with Savor Inc. chief executive Dennis A. Doyle, who has been trying to sell his education-card idea for more than a year.
The features of the United National Savor card have not yet been determined, but Richard J. Mitkus, United National's vice president of credit cards, said a percentage of customers' credit card spending will either go into an annuity or be used to buy education tax credits from New Jersey, one of 30 states that offers such credits.
The Savor card, which would require a minimum deposit of $300, would also give cardholders rebates when they buy certain items produced or sold by participating manufacturers or retailers. The rebates will be deposited into savings accounts.
Mr. Mitkus said he expects the card to have a "significant" impact on United National's 66,000-card account portfolio.
"Just about everyone could benefit from a card that allows them to save for college costs," said Mr. Mitkus.
The concept of a card that promotes college savings is not new. Advanta Corp. introduced a similar product, called Edvance, in 1994.
Some of the potential business allies with which Mr. Doyle has had discussions include Holiday Inn, Ramada Inn, Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp., Ford Motor Co., and various telephone companies.
Cardholders, for example, could earn a $5 rebate for each night they spend in a participating hotel, or earn $1,000 when buying a particular vehicle.
Mr. Doyle, whose Plymouth, Mich., marketing company specializes in automotive sales promotions, formerly worked for Ford. His company developed the concept of a multidealer tent sale.
The 59-year-old entrepreneur has copyrighted, trademarked, and filed for a patent on the Savor card. United National has licensing rights, and Mr. Doyle plans to market his idea to other card issuers.
"Our purpose is to provide a financial instrument for prudent people who need to save for college," Mr. Doyle said.
The Savor card will probably make its debut around the Christmas shopping season, said Mr. Mitkus.