Wachovia Unveils New Payment Card Strategy
New retail credit cards allow customers to combine debit and credit reward points
July 27, 2006, CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Wachovia Corp. today announced the launch of its new retail credit card products as it re-enters the credit card business. The new Visa products feature an expandable rewards program, which will allow customers to combine debit and credit card points to reach reward redemption targets faster. The new credit cards also provide a customer-friendly fee structure, including nuisance fee and over-limit fee waivers, that reflect the value of a customer’s overall relationship with Wachovia.
“We saw an opportunity to offer a product that respected a customer’s total relationship with Wachovia beyond simply offering rewards,” said Steven G. Boehm, president of Wachovia Card Services. “Wachovia’s cards will offer customers a unique value proposition and help customers manage their total spending, whether they want to pay now with their debit card or pay later with their credit card"
Wachovia’s new credit card product suite consists of three different products – Wachovia Classic, Wachovia Platinum and Wachovia Signature. Features include:
* No annual fees.
* APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) that are reasonable and lower than many comparable competitive cards.
* Automatic waivers of one late fee and one over-limit fee every 12 months.
* Credit card specialists available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
* Fraud protection features.
* Wachovia Possibilities RewardsTM that allow consumers to combine Wachovia credit and debit rewards to reach reward redemption targets faster.
* A much more reserved account repricing policy than used by other competitors who reprice broadly and rapidly. Wachovia will not engage in repricing the interest rate until a customer has two consecutive payments past due three times or three consecutive payments past due once in a 12-month-period.
“Many card issuers have practices that penalize customers in an extreme way for being late on payments or going over their credit limits. In some cases, a customer’s APR can double if they are only a day or so late on their payment. Wachovia will not use hair-trigger repricing to penalize customers. We have developed these products to respect the overall relationship our customers have with Wachovia. It will also leverage the scale of our debit card business and the success of our Visa Extras rewards program,” said Boehm.
Wachovia announced in November 2005 that it had terminated its existing joint marketing agreement with MBNA and re-entered the credit card business. Wachovia, one of the leading retail banking and brokerage businesses, conducted an in-depth analysis of its credit card business options after the announcement that Bank of America would acquire MBNA.
“The credit card business is a very competitive business and we are realistic about the challenges ahead of us. We determined that issuing our own credit cards directly would allow Wachovia to continue providing industry-leading service to our customers and the best returns to our shareholders,” Boehm said.
Wachovia Corporation (NYSE:WB) is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services companies, providing 13.4 million household and business relationships with a broad range of banking, asset management, wealth management and corporate and investment banking products and services. Wachovia has retail and commercial banking operations in 16 states with 3,109 offices from Connecticut to Florida and west to Texas and California. Two core businesses operate under the Wachovia Securities brand name: retail brokerage in 49 states and in Latin America, and corporate and investment banking in selected industries nationwide. Globally, Wachovia serves clients through more than 40 international offices. Online banking is available at wachovia.com; online brokerage products and services at wachoviasec.com, and investment products and services at evergreeninvestments.com. Wachovia had assets of $553.6 billion, market capitalization of $86.0 billion and stockholders’ equity of $48.9 billion at June 30, 2006.
The proposed merger with Golden West Financial Corporation (NYSE: GDW), parent of World Savings Bank, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006, pending shareholder and regulatory approval. With this proposed merger, Wachovia would strengthen its position in California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey and New York, and enter attractive metropolitan areas in five additional states: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas and Nevada. The combined company would serve banking customers through 3,400 offices in 21 states and Washington, D.C. In addition, Wachovia would gain mortgage lending operations under the World Savings Bank name in 39 states.
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