Total Petroleum of Denver will implement a smart card loyalty program for truckers.

Cards will be distributed to 100,000 truck drivers and will be accepted at 86 Total truck stops, beginning this spring.

The smart cards will record frequent-buyer points when a gasoline purchase is made.

Total has a proprietary credit card program, with 400,000 accounts - 200,000 active - according to David Robertson, president of the Nilson Report, an Oxnard, Calif.-based newsletter. Total ranks 15th among gasoline card issuers, he said.

David Bock, Total's general manager of customer loyalty, said the company may combine its loyalty and proprietary programs on a smart card. "This is a test for smart card technology," he said. "If it works for the consumer we could envision that happening."

Total rolled out a magnetic stripe-based frequent-fueler program in January for consumers. That program is available at Total's 1,800 retail locations in nine states.

Loyalty points are stored in a central data base and can be collected at all Total locations, but points can be redeemed only at the customers' home stations, encouraging them to return. For every 500 points, consumers get $5 worth of free gasoline or goods at the Total convenience store.

Because truckers travel the country, a more sophisticated system was necessary to allow drivers to redeem their points along the road, the company said.

Loyalty points for the Truckers' frequent-fueler program will be recorded onto Solaic-made smart cards through Dassault terminals, which accept chip and magnetic stripe cards.

Mr. Robertson said that during the next two years loyalty programs will become widespread among most retail segments. Total "is catching the curve on the upswing," he said.

Shell Oil intends to launch a loyalty program shortly, Mr. Robertson added.

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