Magazine article American Banker

Big Apple Mulls the Possibility of Official Card

Magazine article American Banker

Big Apple Mulls the Possibility of Official Card

Article excerpt

Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants New York to have its own official credit card.

On Oct. 22 the Mayor's Office of Contract Services sent banks and other financial institutions a request for information about their willingness to issue and promote purchasing cards for city employees, as well as New York-branded travel and affinity cards.

The request was sent to "every major bank and card issuer," said Kimberly Spell, the communications director for the New York City Marketing Office.

"We've had a great deal of response from the various communities that we've been looking at in other marketing categories," Ms. Spell said in an interview Monday. "Given the credit card history with affinity programs and New York City being such a strong name, we're hopeful for a high response rate."

Responses are due Nov. 10.

The Office of Contract Services says the cards could handle $408 million of annual transaction volume; $5,000 would be the maximum transaction size. Seventy-six city departments purchase 59 goods or services from vendors that accept at least one credit card, the office said.

New York would be the first major city to have its own procurement, travel, and affinity cards. David Cramer, the senior vice president of commercial solutions at Visa U.S.A. Inc., said it runs procurement card programs for 30 states, including New York.

The New York Post first reported the city's plan Monday.

In September, American Express Co. introduced the In: NYC card, the only card offering a reward program tied to New York businesses. The card, which targets young people looking to earn reward points for bars, restaurants, VIP events, and other city entertainment venues, has no relationship to the city government or budget.

"The city is going to benefit from the card through local merchants," said Desiree Fish, an Amex spokeswoman. …

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