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Co-branded credit cards offer advertising


As companies continually seek out new and unique ways to make sure their name reaches a wider audience, may are finding one solution is as small as the plastic in consumers' wallets.

Co-branded credit cards, such as a Visa or MasterCard featuring an image of the cardholder's university or a favorite sports team logo, represent an enormous business worldwide.

According to a recent study from Packaged Facts, 30 to 60 million U.S. consumers (or three-quarters of those using credit cards) had a co-branded credit card by the end of 2006.

By that point, over 300 million co-branded credit cards were used in more than $849 billion worth of transactions. That marked an increase from the 212 million cards used in 2003.

Meanwhile, Packaged Facts notes that some industry estimates put the percentage of co-branded or affinity cards in consumers wallets at 45 percent of the total number of cards.

And, co-branded credit cards may have further to go.

Packaged Facts noted that many experts feel there is strong growth potential for co-branding, with co-branded credit cards only in their infancy.

Currently, the market research publisher states that co-branded and affinity marketers are developing programs aimed at new or under-served consumer groups.

Co-branders are also looking to establish programs designed to appeal to consumers at significant stages of their lives, including teens, college students, new drivers, engaged couples and more. They are also creating programs for specific lifestyles.

With the increasing use of co-branded plastic, companies and organizations whose names are featured on these credit cards stand to gain much in terms of branding.

Since consumers may use their co-branded credit cards for shopping both in stores and online, as well as over the phone, the customer and any store clerk who handles the card sees the company or organization's name.

Published: June 15, 2007

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