Lillian Vernon Gets Carded

For the first time in the company’s 51-year history, Lillian Vernon Corp. is launching a cobranded credit card.

Under the terms of the five-year agreement, Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Metris Cos., will issue the Lillian Vernon MasterCard. Premiering in October, the card will be part of a loyalty program that will allow members to earn rewards for purchases made with their card. The rewards will be redeemable for Lillian Vernon gift certificates and other Lillian Vernon-related cardholder benefits and promotions.

“It expands the offer to buy,” explains Kevin Greene, president of the Rye, NY-based gifts and home goods cataloger. “Having a cobranded credit card will entice customers to increase their buying frequency and create more loyalty with the brand.”

Unlike private-label credit-card deals by companies such as Spiegel and Fingerhut, where the marketer assumed the risk of collecting receivables, with the cobranded card Lillian Vernon does not have to collect funds from truant customers; that responsibility falls on MasterCard.

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