Visa Launching Catalogue Plan

As American Express Co. contends with dissension among catalogue companies, Visa U.S.A. is rolling out a program designed to strengthen its ties will mail-order houses.

Called the Visa Catalog Collection, the promotion will provide Visa cardholders with coupons entitling them to 20% discounts on selected items purchased from participating cataloguers. Forty mail-order retailers, including Bloomingdale's by Mail, The Sharper Image, and Lane Bryant, are involved in the effort.

The program is the first Visa has done for the catalogue industry. A spokesman for the San Mateo, Calif.-based bank card association said its introduction was timed to coincide with the Direct Marketing Association's catalogue conference in Chicago this week. It has nothing to do with recent grumblings among cataloguers about the fees they pay to accept American Express, he said.

MasterCard International is also set to announce a new promotion at the catalogue show. Called "Forests for Our Future," the initiative focuses on the efforts of catalogue companies to preserve trees.

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