AAA, Visa Celebrate Oldest Affinity Credit Card Program

Orlando, Fla., October 28, 2003

The nation’s oldest affinity credit card celebrates its silver anniversary this month as AAA and Visa join to commemorate their 25-year partnership with a cake-cutting ceremony today at AAA’s national office in Heathrow.

“The AAA Visa card was the first credit card experience for a lot of AAA members,” says Scott Denman, managing director, AAA Financial Services. “Many people had department store credit cards but not bank-issued credit cards we are familiar with today.”

he AAA/Visa credit card program was launched in 1978, offering the first affinity, bank-issued credit card to AAA members. At the time, the credit card industry itself was in its infancy. The AAA/Visa program introduced many AAA clubs to credit card payment systems and direct mail marketing.

The popularity of affinity credit cards and the AAA/Visa program proves the association was on the right track in 1978. In the past quarter century, the program has grown from 15,000 accounts with $5 million in outstanding balances to 3.3 million accounts with nearly $4 billion in outstanding balances.

“For 25 years, AAA and Visa have grown their relationship from a single product idea into a comprehensive partnership spanning multiple business lines and audience segments,” said Fran Schall, executive vice president of sales and integrated solutions for Visa USA. “I believe we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what we can offer our customers.”

“Those of us involved with the AAA/Visa credit card program today salute those at AAA who had the vision to pioneer the credit card industry,” says Denman. “While we have enjoyed 25 successful years, in the last year alone, we have added a 5 percent gasoline rebate, a rewards program, travel discounts and more benefits for cardholders,” says Denman. “Cardholders also can purchase fee-free Visa Travelers Cheques at AAA club offices with no cash advance fee.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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