Chemical-Shell Oil Card Unveiled

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - Chemical Banking Corp. and shell Oil Co. announced their joint credit card on Monday, vowing to make it the largest cobranding effort yet.

Revealing the plan several months after its development had become an open secret, Chemical said it will initially market the Shell MasterCard to nine million people, including a third of the 12 million who have Shell's in-house card.

Chemical expects the "vast majority" of Shell cardholders to convert, said Charles R. Walsh, executive vice president in charge of the bank's retail card services.

Industry experts say Chemical could double its base of 4.5 million accounts, raising its industry rank by three places, to sixth.

It remains to be seen if the Chemical-Shell card - the largest cobranded product in the petroleum industry - can challenge the AT & T Universal card (about 12 million accounts) or Household Bank's General Motors MasterCard (5 million).

Shell represents one more victory for MasterCard, which is the brand of the lion's share of cobranded credit cards. Chemical said it has no plans to introduce a Shell Visa version. …