GM Prepares to Launch Long-Awaited Credit Card

By Kantrow, Yvette D. | American Banker, October 22, 1991 | Go to article overview

GM Prepares to Launch Long-Awaited Credit Card


Kantrow, Yvette D., American Banker


GM Prepares To Launch Long-Awaited Credit Card

General Motors Corp. is on the verge of launching its widely expected general-purpose credit card, which would further crowd the field of nonbank card sponsors.

Industry sources said the automotive giant has signed a contract to market a MasterCard in conjunction with Banc One Corp., the Ohio-based company that is the nation's 14th-largest issuer of credit cards.

General Motors would not comment. But a number of indicators have surfaced in recent weeks.

Card Marketing Exec Hired

The company confirmed that it recently hired Ronald Zebeck, a marketing executive from Advanta Corp., to shepherd the card's launching. For five years, Mr. Zebeck had been vice president for marketing at Advanta, the large credit card issuer based in Horsham, Pa.

The advertising trace press also has been reporting intense competition among agencies to land the GM card account. Monday's edition of Adweek reported that McCann-Erickson had begun work on a $60 million campaign to introduce the card to the public.

Rumors about General Motors' credit-card aspirations buzzed through the industry almost two years ago, but a program has been slow to materialize. Meanwhile, such telecommunications giants as American Telephone and Telegraph Co. and Ameritech have put their logos on MasterCard and Visa products.

Banc One's Statement

In June, Ford Motor Corp. - GM's archrival - began offering free MasterCard and Visa cards to customers who had bought a Ford during the previous three years. Chrysler Corp. also has plans to sell credit card services to home appliance retailers through its finance subsidiary. Some industry observers see that as a forerunner to Chrysler's launching a general-purpose card. …

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