MasterCard Debuts Rewards Program for Small and Medium-Sized Financial Institutions

MasterCard Debuts Rewards Program for Small and Medium-Sized Financial Institutions

Business Editors

PURCHASE, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 30, 2003

New Preferred Rewards Program Offers a Cost-Effective Solution for

Credit Card and Debit Card Issuers

MasterCard International today announced a new turn-key loyalty and rewards program for credit card and debit card issuers.

Ideal for small to medium-sized financial institutions and processors, Preferred Rewards(SM) delivers a cost-effective solution to enhance cardholder acquisition, retention and usage, while offering appealing financial incentives to cardholders.

The MasterCard Preferred Rewards package offers similar competitive advantages to current customized card-user loyalty and reward programs without the large financial investment associated with development and implementation, staffing, and data processing resources. Cardholders earn points for using their cards and have options for reward choices in the three most desirable award categories: travel and entertainment, merchandise, and gift certificates. The program represents an affordable alternative to the fully-customized MasterCard rewards solutions available since 1997.

“Preferred Rewards provides a comprehensive yet flexible payment platform that takes the expense and guesswork out of launching and managing a world-class payment card rewards program,” said Barbara Hvasta, vice president, Loyalty Consulting and Rewards Services, MasterCard Advisors. “Our wealth of hands-on expertise is critical to providing a financial institution with everything from set-up and roll-out, to marketing support, and professionally staffed customer service capabilities.”

Preferred Rewards is valuable for financial institutions seeking to enter or further capitalize on consumer credit and debit card programs. The points-based rewards package helps card issuers optimize card portfolio performance, while further enhancing the financial institution’s brand, and securing long-term customer loyalty. Issuers utilizing current MasterCard reward programs continue to report enhanced activation and usage rates, and improved cardholder loyalty.

“In today’s competitive landscape, an effective loyalty and rewards program is essential for both acquiring and retaining cardholders, as well as increasing usage,” said Bill Mathis, senior vice president, Member Relations, North America, MasterCard International. “With Preferred Rewards, we introduce a new turn-key activation and usage tool, continuing the MasterCard tradition of providing flexible programs that meet our members’ specialized needs–regardless of member size or banking charter.”

InterCept, Inc., a leading provider of technology products and services for financial institutions and merchants, will be the first to offer Preferred Rewards through the EFT Services division beginning in the fourth quarter of 2003.

“With nearly 400 MasterCard debit card issuing clients accounting for approximately 700,000 active cards, InterCept welcomes the opportunity to introduce, launch and implement the turn-key Preferred Rewards solution on behalf of our debit MasterCard customers,” said Denise C. Saylor, InterCept senior vice president and EFT Services director. “By enhancing the everyday user benefits associated with payment cards through loyalty and reward programs, InterCept continues to play a vital role in speeding the pace of electronic payments while improving our customers’ bottom-line performance.”

Preferred Rewards

Preferred Rewards has built-in quality control standards to ensure cardholder satisfaction and standardized program rules to help control program costs and liability. The program also includes turn-key marketing services and materials designed to include the issuer’s name and card design and to simplify promotion.

Cardholders have access to automated customer service via a toll-free number and the Internet; a full-service travel agency to assist them with point redemption for travel rewards; and a fully functional website where they can track up to 13 months of account history, check and redeem available points and search for available rewards by category and point level.

Preferred Rewards offers card issuers and processors the flexibility to “opt-in,” leaving program participation at their discretion. Those who choose to sign-up for Preferred Rewards will benefit from MasterCard International’s global payment resources and expertise, which currently manages rewards programs for millions of cardholders, and supports credit card and card debit programs accounting for more than $1 trillion of gross dollar volume.

MasterCard Rewards System

Since 1997, MasterCard International has offered a fully customizable rewards operating system capable of managing multiple points-based, travel, cash-back and certificate rewards programs. The MasterCard Rewards System (MRS) is supported by an expert team of consultants, who are available to work with issuers to design and implement a customized program just for them.

The MRS features state-of-the-art reward management and redemption functionality, including Internet redemption and a statement option that allows cardholders to view balances and redeem rewards 24 hours a day. MRS supports the flexible design of promotion criteria, as well as all reward redemption categories, including airline, travel, merchandise, certificates, prepaid cards, and financial products and services offered by our members.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard International manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment cards brands including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R) and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless(R) advertising campaign is now seen in 96 countries and in 45 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com.

About InterCept

InterCept is a single-source provider of a broad range of technologies, products and services that work together to meet the technological and operating needs of financial institutions and merchants. InterCept’s products and services include core data processing, check processing and imaging, ATM and debit card processing, merchant processing, data communications management, and related products and services. For more information about InterCept, visit www.intercept.net, email info@intercept.net, or call 770.248.9600.

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