September 11, 2006 12:47 AM
New MasterCard Aims For The Riches
The competition for heavy spenders will never end. Let’s wait and find out if this is a compelling offer.
MasterCard Inc., seeking to tap a larger share of the affluent market, is launching a line of credit cards aimed at households with annual incomes of more than $250,000.
The first card in the series, announced yesterday, is aimed at customers of Saks Inc.’s upscale retailer Saks Fifth Avenue and will be issued by Britain’s HSBC Holdings PLC. The card, called Saks Fifth Avenue World Elite MasterCard, will carry no annual fee and sport a hefty interest rate of 22.65%.
It is the latest in a flood of “co-branded” cards that are linked to specific rewards programs from a particular retailer or airline. Saks already has a proprietary card that can be used only in its stores. The new card will be tied to Saks’s existing rewards program and also offer other perks, such as a free companion airline ticket with the purchase of a full-fare business-class international ticket.
Visa, meanwhile, says that the Signature card makes up 3.9% of its consumer credit-card accounts. The card accounts for 20% of Visa’s sales volume; cardholders spend an average $28,000 a year on each card.
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