Bank of Montreal, stepping into new but hardly unchartered territory, is offering a Star Trek credit card.
It's the first entertainment affinity card in Canada, but MBNA Corp. launched a Star Trek card in the United States two years ago.
The two cards, aimed at fans of the 1960s television series, are similar. Cardholders in both programs become members in the Star Trek fan club and receive discounts on Star Trek merchandise and on admission to theme parks owned by Paramount Pictures.
Both banks are working with Viacom Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Paramount Pictures.
The launch by Toronto-based Bank of Montreal is timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original "Star Trek" series and the November release of the eighth feature movie, "Star Trek: First Contact."
The card carries a $20 annual fee and a 18.9% interest rate, which is the Canadian bank's standard card pricing. The MBNA card does not have an annual fee, and its interest rate is 18.15%. The Maryland bank recently marked the 30th anniversary of "Star Trek," with a new 30th anniversary logo added to its cards.
"It has been a very successful program for us," said a spokesman for MBNA.
Applications for the Canadian cards will be available at Blockbuster Video stores and at Paramount's movie theater chain in Canada, Famous Players.
Industry experts, while praising the loyalty of Trekkies, point out that such programs are generally small.
Like MBNA, which is a leader of affinity card programs here, Bank of Montreal is Canada's leading affinity card issuer with 250 established programs.